Demented Bedtime Stories
The following story is true. Names of characters have not been changed because, well, what would be the point? You know it’s me. I know it’s me. It’s so outrageous, that it could only be me. So let’s just agree that it’s a slice of my life, and the whipped cream has melted into a pitiful little pool.
The Mexicans in the Walls
So, I suppose this all started when I hurt my back and found out that I needed surgery, which is not terribly exciting, but it’s what happened after the surgery the makes this story interesting. But before I go on, I probably should preface all of this by coming right out and saying that I have nothing against Mexicans. In fact, I happen to be one-eighth Hispanic, on my father’s side, my grandmother, so let’s just take care of that smug little grin on your face that you got when you saw that the title of my narrative was “Mexicans in the Walls.” I mean, you don’t have to admit it, but that PC part of you immediately thought, “Well, I know that I’m not going to like this story because it has racist overtones. After all, it has something to do with hiding Mexicans in walls, and that cannot possibly be a positive thing.” A lot you know. Well, actually, the Mexicans in the walls weren’t a good thing, but it has nothing to do with race, at least not in the way that you’re thinking. You see, it’s a matter of color, or rather, colors. Actually, it was the streamers. Well fuck. This is going nowhere. Let us start over at the beginning: the back operation, and see if I can’t dig myself out of this quagmire (love that word: quag mire. Sounds like a duck swallowed some pasty hoisin sauce, and couldn’t quite get that last hard sound out in its quack, so I envision this pissed off duck, waddling around, saying quag, quag, quag . . . but I digress).
Okay, so last April, after many exorbitantly priced, uber-technical tests, my doctors told me that surgery was probably the best option for fixing my back and making the pain all better. Why not? The drugs certainly weren’t working. So they assured me that I’d have my own little pain pump, about a three to five day stay in the hospital, and about an eight week recovery period. Sign me up, and hooked me up to my IV because the pain couldn’t possibly be any worse. (Now let us pause for a moment here. Whenever someone says the words “couldn’t possibly be any worse” about anything in life, I believe that there should be someone standing on the sidelines whose sole job it is to walk up and throw an ice cold bucket of water over said person’s head and then look said person in the eye and ask the following: “Are you out of your freaking mind? Of course it could be worse.” And then, his or her job being done, the purveyor of truth could then take the bucket and move on to the next pinhead who is obviously not operating in reality.)
Post operation: I awoke to the worst pain in my life, and I have birthed four children, one without the assistance of any drugs (yeah, stupid, I was going through my earth mother phase, deserve a bucket for that one, too), and one by c-section. Fortunately, the entire time I was in the hospital, I just kept pressing that little button that delivered the happy medicine, and everything that happened there fell out of memory as unnecessary data to be preserved. My spouse, however, has very keen memories of this time, and I mention this only because it is relevant later when the S.W.A.T. team arrived and I had the sword, but more on that later.
We go home: Hooray for me (I think). I have this upper body immobilizing brace, and several bottles of heavy-duty pain pills and muscle relaxers and directions to my family on how to take care of me. I pay no attention as I am in pharmaceutical la la land and think only that life will be better at home. Uh, that would be a great big no.
Did I mention that I met some of the Beat Poets at some literary festivals? They were old and skinny and it was kind of sad in that awkward sad way. You know, you read them when they were espousing irresponsible behavior, and although you didn’t grow up in the sixties because you didn’t really have a good generation because you were an in betweener, like Fox Mulder, you WANTED TO BELIEVE. So anyway, they (the Beat Poets when they were cool) said that it was okay to experiment with drugs, which means that your friends Linda and Joyce did acid but you didn’t because you were too responsible, so all you did was pot and a little speed so you knew absolutely nothing about hallucinations, so when you started to hear the Mexicans in the walls, you were totally unprepared, and so, by the way, was the rest of your family.
Okay, so back to the story: I’m home. I lie down on my bed, which is more painful than the twenty-sixth mile of a marathon (which I know about from watching my ex-husband try to throw up his small intestine through his left nostril a tenth of a mile from the finish line all the while moaning something about god and misery). My husband is gently placing pillows all around my body creating a fort so that I won’t fall out of bed, which is something that I have been known to do without the addition of back surgery and pharmaceuticals (I’m clumsy, okay. Leave me alone.), and soon I am cocooned comfortably atop our very plush pillow-top mattress, praying to whatever gods that be to just let me sleep. Now, this is where things begin to get tricky, or as I like to put it, where all I am paid back for every transgression by the gods of vengeance and sarcasm. My eyes are closing, and I begin to hear Mariachi music coming from the walls. At first, I don’t say anything, thinking that perhaps someone in the living room is watching Desperado. That’s fine. Thoughts of Antonio Banderas are a wonderful way to drift off to dreamland. But the music gets louder, and it’s beginning to annoy me. So I do what only I can do: I bellow for my husband (did I mention that he has been sleeping in a chair at the hospital all of this time?) who comes running to the bedroom, thinking that I’ve fallen out of the bed. “What in the hell is that music and why is it so loud?” I ask sweetly.
Now, normally, I am a lovely, charming woman. Engaging, willing to have witty repartee, but not at this particular moment, “the damned Mariachi music. Could you please turn it off?”
Perplexed, my husband replied very tentatively, “There is no music. Why don’t you try to get some sleep?”
I was not going to be put off so lightly, but I was also not in any shape to do battle, so I acquiesced for the moment. I slept for a bit, and then I made the torturous trip to the bathroom, where I discovered that I could now here people speaking Spanish behind the walls of the bathroom. Let me pause again lest I lead you astray: Our house would be described by a realtor as a “starter home.” I know; I was marketing director for a realty company, and I know the lingo. Translation: not a lot of square footage. At the most, we have about 1100 square feet of living space. I’ve seen the floor plans for our house, and having worked closely with builders, I know how to read floor plans. Trust me when I say that there is no room in our floor plans for anyone to live between the walls, let alone set up a card table, play music, and drink coffee, but more on that later.
I came out of the bathroom and announced to my husband in a very firm voice that we had Mexicans living in the walls of our house, and I knew for a fact that my husband was hiding them there. Now, if you were my husband at this point, what would you do? Personally, if it were me, I would have packed up the kids, told them a whopper of a lie, and gone to the movies for a few days. But not him. He packs me back into my cocoon, gets me back to sleep, and gets the doctor on the phone and asks him what in the hell kind of drugs they are giving me to make me think that a family of Mexicans have moved into the walls of our house and if I need to be taken somewhere for my own safety. The doctor, a surgeon, says it’s nothing to worry about, just a reaction to the pain medications I had in the hospital, and it should clear up on its own. If not, just take me to the ER. Yep, that’ll work.
Did I mention that I’d moved on from just auditory hallucinations to visual—now that sounds like fun, doesn’t it? The next time I come out of the bathroom, I believe that my husband has remodeled the bedroom, as in built a new wall in the corner of the room so that he has more room to hide more Mexicans, but I actually like the change and the Queen Anne chair that he has placed there, so I don’t say anything. Granted, he made this change while I was in the bathroom (oh how I wish that he could remodel like that now, but we’ll just move right along on that, shall we?). By the way, in the midst of all of this, he is trying to explain to my sons that everything will be all right and that they should just avoid me for the time being, which is a bit hard as I accuse them of hiding Mexicans under their beds and in their closets. They look at their step-Dad for guidance, and at this point, exhaustion has taken over. He’s probably having his own hallucinations in which his wife is not loopy, and there are no Mexicans in the walls.
More to come . . . Peace.