Christmas horror

THIS TALE OF terror is true. It was posted by me almost a decade ago on another edge of Mexican cyberspace.

But due to the passage of time, plus the fact that the audience has changed — new people have come in, and others have stormed out — I feel justified in repeating this Christmas grotesquerie.

We were newly arrived here at the Hacienda. If memory serves, it was our first holiday in the new home. We put up a huge Yuletide tree and invited a horde of Mexican relatives, which is the only kind of relative I have now, which saddens me deeply, but that’s another story.

A brother-in-law whom I dubbed the Eggman in those distant days (yet another unrelated yarn) was in charge of the festive meal. Mexicans do their Yuletide dining late on Christmas Eve, not on Christmas Day.

Due to the many people on the guest list, the Eggman purchased an entire sheep and ordered it catered and cooked.

headThis main dish arrived on the afternoon of the 24th. It looked like a brown meaty stew in a massive tub, and it required two people to tote it into the kitchen, placing it on the floor.

Flash forward a few hours, to 10 p.m. or so, music was playing, people were eating here, there, everywhere, because there were more folks than suitable seating.

I had ladled one serving of the stew into a bowl, and found it tasty. It went down nicely with Coca-Cola.

Returning to the  kitchen, bowl in hand, I bent down to the tub and submerged the ladle. At that moment, he rose to the surface from the murky depths. The sheep’s entire head, its dead eyes staring me squarely in the face.

I froze in place, dropped the ladle, turned quickly and decided I had eaten enough for one Holy Night.

The horrible flower


We’re in the final full month, I hope, of the rainy season, and it’s right about now that weird and fecund things start to happen.

I first wrote about this creepy bloom, asking others for info, a few years back on my previous website. I forget now what it’s named, if I ever knew.

The flower, that is. The website, R.I.P., was called The Zapata Tales.

This dreadful flower comes from the little cactus to the left. You can’t see the stem. The bloom smells like Dracula’s basement, and it draws blue-bottle flies like, well, flies. Those are the flies that are so enamored of corpses and cow patties. This bloom reeks of death, rot and caca.

Mother Nature is quite a woman.

Fortunately, the flower makes just one appearance per year. My child bride first spotted the bud a few days ago. It grew quickly and opened yesterday morning. I took this photo, clipped the bloom off at the stem, and tossed it into the trash barrel on the Garden Patio out back, and sprayed all with Raid.

It’s quite pretty, you may be thinking and, yes, it is. However, you don’t want to stand near it, and if you do, keep upwind.

This is one example of the very strange stuff you encounter in this mad, mad world where people speak Spanish.

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I‘m getting the swing (no pun intended) of the electric Weedeater. It took a spell, mostly due to the long cord.

Don’t think, as I did, that electric Weedeaters ( I’m using the word generically, which means I should lowercase the W, but I’m not gonna) are only for ladies and girly-men. This baby has grit.

You don’t need the smell of gasoline, smudges of oil, and exhaust smoke to be a man’s tool. A nice touch is that there is nearly no noise, so I can hear the hogs next door and the horse too.

You must go slower than with a gas device due to the cord. Plus, it kept pulling out of the electric outlets (two in the yard) until I drilled holes, sank plastic anchors and screwed in hooks above the outlets to grip the cord.

Slowly, it’s falling into a nice routine.

Of course, I sweep the rock sidewalk when I finish.

I’m a detail man.

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When I lived in Houston, I had a little aloe vera plant out back. It never amounted to anything. It just sat there, inert but alive, year after year.

AloeThings are different here. When we moved in 2003 from the two-story rental near downtown, where I lived a couple of years, I stole a small piece of aloe vera from the yard there.

And I brought it to the Hacienda. We now have two aloe veras the size of small houses. Another two are heading in the same direction. The four of them are big mamas, and August-September is their time to scream.

Their long-lived flower stalks, about eight inches high and bright orange, are wonderful. I think that, and so do the hummingbirds. At this moment, those four plants are boasting about 100 blooms.

Yes, and each is about double the size of a Cuban cigar.

Though lovely, they have no smell, but the hummingbirds don’t care.

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I got a haircut yesterday, so I look neater and younger, by at least two weeks. Then I walked the long block to the big plaza for a stroll.

I walked slowly because I had nowhere to go, nothing to do, which is what much of life is like these days. I would sit on the plaza benches like the stereotypical old coot, but they are concrete and uncomfortable.

There are inconspicuous speakers all around the plaza, and music was playing, soft nice music. I recall walking through a much smaller plaza years ago in Zacatecas, a beautiful city, and music was also playing.

It’s a good use of municipal funds.

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Up early this morning, I was in the yard scavenging dead flowers and related organic trash when I heard:

Housewives! Here comes Gas of the Lake, the company you can trust.

It’s a truck that makes the rounds of the neighborhood every day, with portable cylinders of propane. We have a huge stationary tank, so we don’t need this service. But the housewives do, our neighbors.

North of the Rio Bravo these days, it’s an insult to label someone a housewife. Nobody cares down here. We know a housewife when we see one, and we see them every day all over the place. Slapping tortillas, etc.

It’s cloudy outside, so it will rain again today. I’ll have to pick up dead flowers mañana in the yard. I’ll hear the gas truck and pigs and the horse.

But the horrible flower will be just a stinky memory.