RMC

RMC
Summer 2016: The Forum, Los Angeles, CA (photo by David Tosti)
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Sunday, September 10, 2006

“El Mariachi en la Tortillería” Excerpt

The smell of maize from the corner tortilla factory reached us outside of Abuelita’s house. It made me hungry, and I asked— ¿Mamá, podemos ir a la tortillería?

Depende si Abuelita Neva necesita tortillas, mi’jo —she said.

I rang the doorbell and hummed the short doorbell melody back to myself.

¡Hola mis cariños! —Abuelita said.

She gave everyone hugs and kisses. I could smell the pollo asado on her and felt my stomach begin to rumble.

¿Tienen hambre? —she asked.

The smell of the pollo asado got stronger through the opened door.

Estoy cocinando pero me faltan tortillas —she said. She handed me some money and told me to hurry to the tortillería to buy a stack of corn tortillas. I immediately ran out into the street towards the factory, and the dog on the neighbor’s roof top barked at me.

¡Ten cuidado, mi’jo! —my mother yelled.

But, I didn’t respond.

Within seconds, I was close to the tortillería when I saw a mariachi with a guitar strapped around his shoulders heading towards the factory, too. I got in line to wait and heard him sing as he approached— Soy un pobre vagabundo / Sin hogar y sin fortuna / Y no conozco ninguna / De las dichas de este mundo.

With his guitar at his side, he got in line next to me.

¿Cómo estás, güero? —the mariachi asked.

He was tall and bent down on one knee to talk to me.

¿Cuantos años tienes? —he asked. I told him I was eight years old and turning nine in a month.

¿Te gusta la música? —the mariachi asked with pleasant voice.

I said I loved music and that my father was teaching me how to play guitar.

Pues, que bueno que lo estas aprendiendo tan pronto —he said.

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I'm in the process of printing my first collection of short stories. Please check this blog frequently to be notified of its release.

9 comments:

Luke S. said...

Mr Cardenas, your words are amazing, they paint a picture and tell a beautiful story

Roy Mitchell-Cardenas said...

Thanks for taking the time to read.
-Roy

Loretta S. said...

I love how you tell stories as if you are wanting to go back to your barrio and visit all the old places you went to as a child.

This reminds of the panadería that was at the corner of where we lived in East L.A. when I was 4. Oh, I LOVED the smell of that place. So much, that when I grew up, I was able to find the bldg on my own.

the mariachi: who was that man???? (wondering).

The fear and curiosity of seeing that swastika. . . I liked how you touched on how "mijo" felt there.

"I knew I had it in me. I was a true musician." Yes you do and yes you are!!! Oh this is fiction, I forgot! Or is it?

Oh how I identify with that statement. It's a huge part of my being, my heritage.

So you're recording these when???? :-)

Well done, mi'jo, well done.

12:20 PM

Kim B. said...

Sir, you are an artist in many senses of the word. I appreciate your words.

And your music.

Typo Panther said...

I just want to thank you for the opportunity to see a little bit more into your life. I always enjoy the opportunities that I get to talk to you and your band-mates after a show here in Denver, but that's a brief moment in a sea of thousands of other faces.

That, and now I want some Pollo Asado.

soup said...

Out of curiousity, where did you grow up? I lived in Weslaco for 5 years and a lot of the places you are describing (expressway 83, etc.) sound very familiar.

Angelica Cardenas said...

Roy, soy tu prima Angelica,
espero no te hayas olvidado de mi.
( tantos años sin vernos)
Estoy facinada con todo lo que escribes, ademas de ser un gran musico, eres un gran escritor, deberias escribir un libro.
Me emociono muchisimo saber que recuerdas esas visitas a la casa de mi abuelita Neva. Me hiciste acordarme de ella y de todos sus olores, del pollo, de las tortillas y de las galletas que hacia, te acuerdas, las de piloncillo.
La tortilleria esta a una cuadra, no a dos,acuerdate que mi papa vive a un lado de donde vivia mi abuelita. Y ese caminito a la tortilleria yo lo camine muchas veces.
Estoy muy feliz por ti, sigue como hasta ahora.
Tu prima que te recuerda con cariño.
Angelica

Roy Mitchell-Cardenas said...

I've got a lot of questions about my stories, whether they are "real" or not?

All my stories are fiction. Some are based on my personal experiences growing up on the Mexican-American border, but others are not.

Overall, these are for literary enjoyment. I'm not trying to be a journalist here.

Ciao,
Roy

Roy Mitchell-Cardenas said...

Gracias, Angelica, me alegro que te gustó la historia . . . espero viajar por México pronto y visitar toda la familia. Hasta pronto, Roy


Vintage Cab I used on MM debut (this is my dad's); it has two 15" Jensen speakers.