I oozed into the bar looking for sympathy. “Hey Fra- you're not Franco.” Some old guy with a dead rat stuck to each cheek was behind the bar. “Where's Franco?”
“Gimme a beer.” His shirt was too clean for a bartender. “Who're you?”
The guy put the beer down like he was afraid it might explode on impact. I didn't like the way he was looking at me. “Strictly speaking,” he said, “I'm the guy that put Franco in the hospital.”
I sucked down half my beer. The old fart didn't scare me. “Yeah?”
“Yeah. I told him coating his manuscript in donkey shit would improve it... guy has the IQ of a gnat. Then I discovered that the pathetic line in his query about supporting his mother-in-law, wife and 14 kids was true. They all showed up at the hospital. With pitchforks.”
His eyes were on the door behind me. Franco's scary wife, Manuela, eclipsed the bar. She was in and out of focus. Was I still on my stool? Things were spinning.
Manuela stood over me now. Her legs looked like two giant cactuses with spiny black hairs sticking out everywhere. She wasn't alone.
“Hello, gorgeous,” she said to me. “Franco's in the hospital with a hoof print on his forehead. We need a replacement. Mama's looking forward to your visit too. She hasn't had a man around since papa died.” The fourteen kids were lifting me up.
Mama Ramirez cackled in my face with breath like last week's frijoles. “Put him in the back of the truck. And tie him down; we wouldn't want him to blow out.”
I tried to struggle, but my body wasn't following orders. To Manuela, the man behind the bar said, “This makes us even.” Then to me he said, “You wanna write this up afterward, I'll have a look at it. Might be good for a laugh.”