close your eyes and floor it


maria tried to pretend she wasnt mexican and i tried to pretend that i didnt liker. sometimes shed roll her r's
and i'd say dumb shit like i like you. neither of us were good fakers except at work. she was an exotic dancer of
course and i was a high school english teacher in her neighborhood. her half brother was one of my worst
students. she came to the parent/teacher night in place of their mom. thats how we met. id say she was pretty
average looking in real life, less than average, really, since she didnt goop as much makeup as most of the
young boyle heights women liked to do. i liked all of their makeup. who doesnt? i woulda never thought that
i would actually be seduced by the *sister* of one of my students
but isnt that why we wake up everyday - to see what wild fucked up shit will go down?
maria was a terrific cook but refused to make anything mexican. she turned her back on her culture
and i said then why do you live in east la still and she said cuz i love my family. i said
but you never see them, your mom works days and you work nights. she said shut up and hand me
the quiches
. if there was one thing that girl loved it was those tiny Costco quiches. that, and being
fingered. she would lay back look at me through her hair and squirm. she said i was good at it
but everyone lies to me so i didnt listen. she was the first girl who ever let me in on the lesson
of naughtiness. shoes were an obsession to maria. she didnt have very many but each pair
meant a lot to her. "i just look down and memories slap me in the face". she felt the same
way about stockings knee highs and socks
. "once i was trippin hard on GBH and i was
crying hysterically and laughing at the same time - but out of fear. total nervous laughter.
i didnt know where i was or what i had taken or even who i was. someone asked me my
name and i had the longest brain fart that spun me into this frightening dark place and i
put my head down and i cried and cried. i could feel people patting my shoulders and
telling me it was ok but whatthefuck it wasnt ok! how dare they! it made me cry even more. i
felt so alienated. and then i caught a glimpse of my little mary janes that i was wearing and
everything shot right to my conciousness and i realized i was maria and i had just gotten off
work and i worked at bobs classy lady and one of the girls at the club had gotten me high. seeing
my shoes were like seeing an old friend, which is funny because how old could an old friend have
been. i was sixteen." you'd think that a girl who plays dress up all night wouldnt put on school girl
socks and sneakers before being played with but i think it soothed her somehow in a quiet way.
i learned early on not to ask questions. before i started teaching i sold used cars in korea town
and one thing the koreans taught me was this valuable lesson: if you are talking more than the
person who you want something from, you are talking too much. "talk dirty to me,"
she'd whisper
and if she was good i would but as soon as she was done asking shed start saying nasty things in
Spanglish most of it was lost on me but i think i understood the general idea. i think she was saying,
if you stop doing what you're doing im going to break your nose with my heel and eat you alive. for a
girl who loved being naked she could never be totally naked. playfully, i'd suggest that she was trying
to compensate for her b cups. somewhere i picked up the belief that if you joked with a completely beautiful
woman about how she is not beautiful, somehow she would get tricked into thinking that you weren't as smitten
as you were and therefore think more of you. not so with maria. it made her even more self-obsessed, if that was
possible. bitch had mirrors everywhere and photographs of she and her friends all over her place. she was in nearly
every picture. no one was complaining but i told her she was narcisistic and she said, "fuck that, im mariacistic. and
who the fuck told you to stop what you were doing, pedro?
" she liked calling me pedro for some reason and just like
this other friend of mine who'd suddenly appear in my life and suddenly disappear for long periods of times and
then resurface, maria disappeared a few years ago right as i was moving back to los angeles, naturally. right
as i was on my one year break from rene, of course. right as i was starting to learn a little spanish after
years in the mission district in san francisco where the gangmember girlfriends would teach me all
the dirty little phrases that i planned on whispering on one of those early mornings where
maria would climb up my stairs at five am after work with her tiny purse full of cash and
duffel bag stuffed with costumes. right before i moved to sf i wrote maria
in care of bobs classy lady addressed to her stage name and i said
whenever i write something and i put in the word
Pedro it means that im thinking
for at least a second about

some times i do wonder why the angels above would drop a girl like
her in my life and let me get real close but then give her have a name like maria rodriguez
which makes it virtually impossible to track down on a lonely night on the filthy internet.
and if i have to go to every strip club in america to find you, chica...