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Rose looks up, running mascara – we had to go to three different stores to find - mocks a faint smile; “Waxed and bleached.”

“First the moon and now waxed and bleached cosmic assholes floating around in some far-off space station.., far out. What will we think of next?” Proudly ponders patriot Jack in the back.

Sally didn’t think it was a good idea. Of course Rose didn’t know Sally was there and Jack thought she’d already left. Which is why they both were confused when I went right instead of left on Western,

“Cause I wanted to see what would happen if I turned right. You know, check out an alternate timeline.”

Of course it didn’t make sense, especially with a programmed DVR at home, but everyone was too distracted to notice putting an end to the questions and I needed to drop off Sally at the corner liquor store where I stopped to buy a beer and lotto ticket because of the whole left/right thing. They say the lottery is an unfair tax on the mathematically challenged; but then you can’t win if you don’t play - oh the paradox.

Sally followed me into the store on her way out the back and down the alley. I bought her a bottom-shelf half-pint and myself and Rose a beer along with an eye-catching scratcher I cynically bury in a back pocket soon to be forgotten; and before I said goodbye I asked her how she could be seen by Jack…,

“Because he’s gay?” I suggested.

“No. Because he’ll be dead soon. Well, that on top of the anti-freeze. Actually he’ll die in front of you but you won’t recognize, instead you’ll deny – too caught up in your petty world.” She said.

“What the hell are you talking about Sally?"

“I wish you would call me Jennifer.”

“But that’s not your name.”

“How do you know?”

“I know who you are.”

“Yeah but do you know who you are?”

She told me I couldn’t know who she was because I didn’t know who I was.

“But I thought you were a manifestation of that paraplegic Wiccan. What’s her name? Frida, or Hilda, or, Gris., no, I know it’s Mathilde.”



“Her name was Nancy.”

“Nancy.., Was?”

“Yeah she died from an overdose.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“Oh that’s ok she used to be a high-desert weed; but now I’m stranded. I was travelling incognito and she was my ride to find you. But she fucked-up took a detour in time to play her numbers – she won. Hell, I’m not even supposed to be in this story.”

“That’s what I told Jack.”

“But I did find you, albeit at the wrong time, so we don’t have any time to lose.”

She further explained in a tone reserved for dark secrets that she was the great-granddaughter of Juan Costellos the only survivor of San Lobos, New Mexico and I was his re-incarnation. I was the re-incarnation of a resurrected guitar playing prophet-for-profit gigolo from San Lobos, New Mexico. And that she would have to meet with me once more to tell me the story of Jalapenos and Beer as told to her by her great-grandfather and story’s main character Juan Costellos. This was all so very important and that I needed to write the story and failing this task could threaten my very existence, Sally warned.

“But how can Juan Costellos exist if the story doesn’t?”

“The Great Book Black-Out.”

“The Great Book Black-Out?”

“You see it’s all wrong.”

“What’s all wrong?”

“Your technology is all wrong. It has out-paced the intelligence of monied morons that are becoming too influential. Funded humanoids disguised by philanthropic design are like evil genius villains from well-worn sci-fi tales. The stories that end with the destruction of humanity and civilization!”

“Evil genius?”

“Well when you consider evil is just something that’s seriously stupid; and genius - better than most in a specific skill set; then they are just better than most at being seriously stupid. See when you’re poor and stupid it can go unnoticed but when you’re rich and stupid – believing your own bullshit - you can become like a deadly virus, dangerous to existence on this planet. The poor can’t afford to be as stupid as the rich – so not nearly as damaging.”

“So what does that have to do with Jalapenos and Beer?”

“See you already wrote the story but it didn’t survive the Great Book Black-Out when great and not-so great works from this perspective, deemed objectionable in this reality, were either altered or lost in corrupted clouds blamed on daylight savings time. Jalapenos and Beer was censored out of the Library of Congress by Their Masters in the Clouds. So it doesn’t exist.., not here.., but in other realities..,”

“But it did exist.”

“It’s not just erased from your future but also disappears throughout time into the past. Cause you can’t remember what you must forget. See, You don’t even remember it.”

“Remember what?”

“You are supposed to be more successful. Jalapenos and Beer had grown into a cult favorite among local junkies everywhere; even receiving rave reviews by noted underground columnist Cutting Ed.”

“So I got censored.., always afraid I wouldn’t. Have you read my stuff? Are you familiar with my work?” I asked.


“So, you’re the great-granddaughter of Juan Costellos, so what? And just going outside could threaten my very existence so that argument lacks motivation.”

“That’s my point. Look, I’m the great granddaughter of Juan Costellos. And when I say great granddaughter I mean manifestation of. And you should care who Juan Costellos is because, well – a re-incarnation can’t exist without the incarnation – you know, like re-fried beans.”

“Re-fried beans?”

“Look, if it doesn’t exist it can’t die.”

“Where do you get this shit? Ok., So in other words you are..,”

“That’s correct.”

“I don’t understand. How do you.., is it from a parallel dimension? Through some portal? I thought GE de-bunked matter’s anti-matter’s matter’s theory.”

“Oh, but they debunked the debunked.” Replied Sally.

“Yeah, but didn’t they debunk the debunked.., debunked?” I countered with a question as a statement – very Law and Order of me.

And “How can I in the present be a re-incarnation of someone in the future?”

“He’s alive in the future but dies in the past.., What? I don’t know. And even if I did know I wouldn’t ‘know’. Nobody knows. Time is like economics; you don’t have to understand it to be considered an expert in the field.”

“O.K. But why would I come back in the form of a woman to contact me?”

“Because he knew this is what you’d stop for.”

"So.., a character I made-up who is dead in the past but alive in the future; thinks I should come back as a woman - cause that's what I'd stop for..,
And he was right."

That’s ridiculous I thought as I got back into the car and handed Rose her beer while checking on Jack passed-out in the backseat.

“Did you win?” asked Rose.

“Win what? I don’t know., maybe.”


“I mean no.” rather pre-disposed I don’t know what Rose is going on about.


Couple of days go by and I can’t get Sally off my mind and Rose is getting suspicious and I’m getting migraines looking out the corner of my eye while watching my back; the anticipation is taking its toll. Then I get a call from Jack, wants to know if he was hallucinating the other day;

“That Jennifer was hot man. What’s her story?”

“I thought you were gay?”

“Why I got to be reduced to a one-dimensional character just because I butt-fuck men?”

“I don’t know.”

“I could come up with the cure of cures for cancer, bankrupt the profiteers and save humanity and they’re like ‘hey did you know he sucks dick?’ Mother fucker comes out the closet just to be put in a box.,” pauses for effect,

“Yeah but.,” was all I could get out.

“I can fuck whoever says yes. You think a gay man can’t fuck a woman and a straight guy can’t fuck a man?”

“That was my understanding. Need some sort of protocol. Without That, it’s just chaos – you know, sexual-anarchy and shit – right?”

“It’s called preference – I prefer steak don’t mean I won’t eat fish. Shit, most prefer those who say ‘no’ over those who say ‘yes’ but that ain’t stopping anyone. So obviously, horny desire compromises preference – it’s all a compromise. At the end of the day an orgasm is an orgasm – sex is sex, man.”

And I’m like, “dude find a support group. Damn, I can’t even remember what I was trying to say – fucking hormones – oh yeah”;

So I told him – again – how Jennifer was Sally a manifestation brought – like a virtual virus - by an overdosed Wiccan paraplegic that fell into the wrong time-zone and I got to write this story about San Lobos, New Mexico and Juan Costellos, that I’m supposed to be a re-incarnation of in order to put things right.

“No, really.”

I tried to get Jack to understand. That’s not even what this story is about. This story is about Rose, and bleached and waxed assholes.

“Waxed and bleached.”

That this story was supposed to be a romantic tale about a second chance at life. Rose would quit stripping and we would live - unconditionally - in the face of life’s trials and tribulations; “happily ever-after”; supported by blissful love; supplemented by the pampered-asshole bonanza.

“Yeah, sure, sounds like a must-read. Hey you got Jennifer’s number? Mind if I call her?”


Some days have gone by and I’m walking down Normandie thinking this may not be the best place to find a new gas cap for an old Monte Carlo – cheap or otherwise - when I spot Jack dropping Sally off across the street. Jack drives off never noticing me and Sally runs across the street stopping traffic and inspiring an orchestra of horns echoed off building glass and steel; exciting Wisconsin, trying to play undercover, now yodeling for change outside the Stop-n-Go.  

She approaches a bit out of breath and I says,

“Hey, what’s up, where you been? Can everyone see you now?” Commenting on the road rage she inspired.

“I’ve been here too long; soaking up too much local color so to speak.”

“How does that work?”

“It’s kind of like - You believe I’m real - That belief becomes a mental object fixed and rigid that goes on to inflict same belief in others growing exponentially to the point it becomes reality. You know like T.V. News. Or not, I don’t know.”