“Johnny, wake up man. I think you need to take me to the hospital. Come on, wake up!”
“What? What’s going on Bigotes? You have asthma attack? Where is your bomba?”
He sits up in bed and turns on the lamp on the night stand.
“No Johnny, that crazy bitch stabbed me in the back. I can’t tell how bad I’m bleeding or how deep the knife is in. Whatever you do, don’t pull it out, I’ll bleed to death before we get to the hospital.”
“Okay okay, tranquilo carnal, let me take a look.”
“I’m serious Johnny, don’t fuck around.”
I turn my back to him so he can get a closer look.
“Santi, I don’t think it is knife in your back. I think maybe it is fork she stab you with. What did you do to make her to stab you with fork?”
“A fork? Are you sure? Take another look. Turn on the ceiling light.”
He flicks the wall switch, shedding more light on the severity of my wound.
“Yes Bigotes, it is fork not knife. You should have me pull it out. I can’t tell how deep it is in.”
“Wait, let me think about it for a minute.”
“Santi, tell me why she stab you?”
“She wanted more cocaine and more cocaine and more cocaine. She was acting all strange and sketchy. I told her there wasn’t anymore, she got pissed off, started screaming at me, calling me a liar. I got up out of the bed, started putting on my clothes to get away from her, then I felt her stab me. She picked up her shit and ran out the door. Where’d you find that psycho bitch, man?”
“She is my cousin from Medellin.”
“What the hell. Of course another crazy person from your family. I should’ve figured as much. Are all your relatives mentally ill? I thought you were calling her prima (cousin) as a nickname. Like how I joke and call prostitutes prima.”
“I know, I am sorry. Everyone in my family is crazy with mental problems. I’m so lucky to have nothing wrong with me.”
“Are you serious? You’ve gotta be joking. You’re the craziest, most psycho Colombiano, mentally unstable individual I have ever been associated with.”
“Bigotes, why you say such mean things to me? I sometimes get crazy in a party way or when I get drunk and stuff but that’s all. Maybe you can get somebody else to take the fork out. You don’t want some crazy person doing it.”
“Sorry Rico, I don’t mean anything by it. You know I love you despite your quirks. Okay, let’s get this fucking fork out of my back and see what kind of damage we’re dealing with here.”
“There is not a lot of blood, Bigotes. But she sure stuck you good. I didn’t know a fork could be a dangerous weapon. Okay, you are ready?”
“No, I’m not ready. But go ahead and do it anyway.”
“Wait, I think maybe I should have a towel in case maybe you start bleeding a lot. Then we need to have the cut circlesized with alcohol for no infection. Oh no, I hope you will not need switches, the hospital is very far away Bigotes.”
Despite the pain I’m in, I can’t help but laugh at Johnny’s mispronunciations, casting the incident in an entirely different light. He’s acting so dramatically. I don’t remember when I’ve seen him so serious, as though he were a doctor giving me the prognosis.
“Why you laughing Bigotes? Because you don’t want to cry?”
“No Johnny, I was laughing at the words you used in English. I’m very proud of you J.R. You have come a long way with learning English, but sometimes you use a word incorrectly or mispronounce a word and it ends up being humorous. I’m not making fun of you my friend, it’s just funny is all.”
“So what you think I’m funny? Funny like what like a clown? I what, I make you laugh? How am I funny?”
“Now that’s hilarious, Johnny! You remembered that from Goodfellas. You do it better than Joe Pesci, very good.”
I’m laughing hysterically, applauding his performance until a twinge of pain reminds me of the fork still in my back.
“I’m happy you laugh. I always want to do that. Tell me what words I say wrong when I get back with towel and some alcohol. I think we can use tequila. Is there still some Patron?”
“Yes, it’s in the freezer. Good thinking, Johnny.”
He returns drinking from the bottle.
“Now we are ready you think? Yes?”
“Let’s do it!”
The fork was stuck in my lower left shoulder, just out of my own reach. I still had my shirt on with the fork having been stuck through it. I unbutton to remove the shirt, but as I go to drop it, it just hangs from the fork in my back.
“Bigotes, I don’t know if I can do it…”
“For Christ’s sake J.R. just pull the goddamn fork out already. Do it! It won’t hurt. In fact, give me the tequila. I need a drink.”
“Maybe you should drink more to not feel pain.”
“Another good idea, buddy. You’re really showing your smarts! Ooh, you know what, I have some Vicodin in my jacket. Can you grab it for me please?”
Johnny returns with my jacket in hand, sporting a huge grin.
“Look what you have in pocket. Here are the pills, look what else you’re hiding, a vial of cocaine and two puros that we forget to smoke at the beach. Now take your medicine and when you feel no pain, we will take the fork out, okay?”
It was 3:45am by this point, but it wasn’t like I had to go to work in the morning. Plus, I’d been wounded in action, so I could just lounge around all day if I felt like it. I think it was Saturday anyway, I didn’t have any appointments on my calendar, so fuck it I thought.
Here we go.
I swallowed a couple of Vicodin, snorted a cap full of cocaine. Johnny passed me the bottle of tequila and I took a nice long swig.
“Now, let me explain why I was laughing earlier. I think you meant to say ‘sterilize’ but you said ‘circlesize’, which sounds like ‘circumcise’, which has a totally different meaning. ‘Circumcise’ is when a doctor cuts the extra skin off the penis of a baby boy.”
“Why they do such a thing?”
“It was started by the ancient Egyptians then practiced by the Jewish people and on and on. I’m not going to get into the reasons why.”
“So you have circhimsize? I see your pene is different than mine. I am no circhimsize, I still have the skin.”
“Ya I know Rico, I don’t want to be talking about our dicks, okay?” I quickly change the subject. “Now, ‘stitches’ are what the doctor sews you up with, but ‘switches’ was the word you used. Understand now?”
Johnny lights a joint and passes it over to me.
“I have a question,” he says. “Why you always call marijuana ‘trisumman’? Why does it have that name?”
Immediately I start laughing once again.
“Hey, now I am going to get very angry, you laugh at me more.”
“Sorry, Rico. I’m saying, ‘try some man’, but you put all three words together. Maybe I say it too fast, so it sounds like one word.”
Johnny finally finds the humor in what I’ve been saying, laughing right along with me this time.
We sat there talking and joking around, with Johnny doing all sorts of impressions now that I had been amused by his Joe Pesci. They weren’t very funny but I laughed anyway, probably because I was a little drunk, high on Vicodin, coked up and stoned.
Suddenly we’re startled by a loud banging on the front door. I looked at the clock and it was 5:20. I still had the fork in my back, but I was no longer feeling any pain.
“Who the hell do you think that could be?” I whisper. “You think that bitch called the police?”
“I don’t know but I will go to the door and see. Okay? Just relax, I will take care of it.”
He staggers to the front door and I take cover down the hall within hearing distance.
“Quien es acá?” (Who’s here?) Johnny asks.
I don’t understand why he doesn’t just look out the window to see who’s there. I hear a woman’s voice but not well enough to know what she’s saying.
“Espereme uno segundo,” (Wait a second) I hear him answer.
He walks back over to where I’m hiding, shaking his head and chuckling.
“Bigotes, it is my cousin again. She has no money for taxi or bus and wants to say she is sorry to you.”
“What do you think? Does she seem normal to you, not all weird?”
“I’m not sure. You make the call.”
“Okay, let her in, but don’t let her come near me.”
He goes to the door, swinging it open to let her back inside. She struts into the room and heads straight in my direction, prompting me take a few steps back.
“Hey Rico, you better get over here…”
“Don’t worry Santi,” she says, “I’m not going to do anything to you. I want to say I’m sorry and to make it up to you. I didn’t hurt you real bad, did I?”
“You stabbed me in the back with a fucking fork! Here, take a look.”
I turn my back so she can see her own handiwork for herself.
I barely feel a thing as she grabs and yanks the fork out.
“I’m so sorry baby, let me make it up to you.”
She drops her dress on the floor, grabs my hand and starts leading me off into the bedroom.
“Make sure she has no scissors in her purse,” Johnny yells after me. “She might try to circhimsize you!”
“Thanks for watching out for me, Johnny.”
She closes the door behind us and looks me in the eye.
“So, you have some more cocaine?”