A Spark, A Blast
By Rico Wallace
The airborne chair started an eruption. Flying bottles, a broken mirror, tumbled tables and a roar filled the room. When somebody hollered “Cops” there was a dash for the exit. Edwin, home for his father’s funeral, was reminiscing with his old friend. “You started the fight with O’Leary,” he said.
“I just told him, he and his pals were uninvited guests,” Frank said. “I said it was a private party; push came to shove. Now look at this.” He pulled a piece of cardboard from his pocket. “This is a reminder of the old days, so I don’t get a big head. It was for our shoes to cover the hole, remember?”
“You poor clod,” Edwin said. “I remember ketchup and an empty jug of milk in your refrigerator. You made me a ketchup sandwich on crust.”
“We didn’t have a lock and chain on it like yours did,” Frank said. They talked and laughed. Frank insisted he was going to visit him in Mexico. “Yeah, sure, come when you want,” Edwin said. “I retired to a peaceful life. ‘No worries.’”
A week later he got the call. “I’m coming tomorrow,” Frank said. After the shock and the attempt to change his mind, Edwin told him he would be busy in the morning. “Take a cab to the town plaza and have some breakfast,” he said. “Then go by the Church and ask for directions. The gardener will be there to let you in.”
After landing, Frank went out to the head of the taxi line, opened the back door, threw his bag on the seat and crawled in. “Take me to Ajijic plaza,” he said. The driver said they had a system and he needed a ticket. “Screw the system,” Frank hollered. “Let’s go.”
The young man, a little frightened, drove on.
At the plaza the driver wanted five hundred. “Here’s ten dollars,” Frank said. “It’s all I have. But I’ll buy you breakfast, while we wait for my friend. When he comes, he’ll pay you the difference.” The driver was upset but he was hungry. “OK Senor,” he said. He ordered the deluxe and a shot of hooch.
The chef introduced himself. “I need an Americano to do me a favor,” he said. “I am entering the chili contest and want your opinion.” He put the bowl down and returned to the kitchen. Frank tasted a spoonful. He said he had to go to the bathroom. He took the chili and dumped it in the garbage, which was so full it sat on top. He walked out the door.
When the chef came to see about his chili and saw it sitting on top of the garbage his head swelled and his face turned apple red. “Where is he?” he hollered at the driver. “Senor, I think he’s gone,” the driver said. “I think he screwed us.”
Frank sat in the church awhile and got directions to the house. Edwin came home. “Your amigo is here,” the gardener said.
Nobody was on the first floor, so Edwin went upstairs. A woman screamed and he heard Frank say, “but you have wonderful pillows!” The maid ran out. The gardener grabbed Frank but Edwin stepped between. “Get out,” he told Frank. “Go back to the plaza; I’ll meet you there.”
The taxi driver and the chef saw Frank. The maid, waving a frying pan, and the gardener arrived. Frank ran around the plaza. He went up and down the bandstand. He weaved around venders and benches with the driver, chef, gardener, maid and a nipping Chihuahua in pursuit. A policeman with his assault rifle ordered them to stop. Edwin arrived with his car. “C’mon Frank, get in,” he hollered. “I’m taking you back to the airport.”
At home the policeman was there. “Officer, I am going to handle everything,” Edwin said. “I’ll pay the taxi driver and the chef.” The officer handed him a shoe. “Your amigo lost this at the plaza,” he said. Edwin looked and saw the hole.