Remember going on field trips when you were a kid? It was a chance to get out the classroom, and it would an adventure. Not always a good one, but a diversion from the routine of school.
Last week I found a Botanica just a few miles away, bit it was like entering another universe.
This was a real, authentic Botanica, not the one in Hollywood that sells candles to hispters. It was dark and dusty, crammed wall-to-wall with weird packets of herbs, oils, religious statues, Santeria supplies, trays of amulets and charms and some shit you didn’t even want to know what it was.
There was a girl behind the counter in full cola uniform and manner. She might have been Filipino, and she didn’t speak much Spanish. She had died blonde hair with long black roots, heavy winged eyeliner, and a tattoo in gang writing down in her cleavage,
Her name was Jenny, and she watched me ogle the stuff behind the counter. I told her I was looking for something to cure a friend’s illness, instead of admitting to being a nosy Jew on a cultural field trip.
She asked me if I believed in “that stuff” and I said “nah,” immediately outing myself by mistake.
We talked for a bit and she told me she had a month old baby. It turned out that her husband was in jail, BUT IT WASN’T HIS FAULT.
Of course it wasn’t his fault! I watch Lock-Up, I’m not an idiot!
She told me his story and I narrowed my eyes like Nancy Grace and asked: “Who threw the first punch?”
It was the Other Guy, not her husband! But somehow the other guy’s wife, a crazy bitch, told the cops that bla bla bla bla.
Poor Jenny! Only twenty-two. She was watching the counter for her husband’s mother, who owns the shop and gives readings and ‘cleansings’ in a back room.
Jenny revealed that her baby was asleep in the back of the shop. She insisted on showing me the baby girl, who has some stupid name like Kaylee or something.
I cooed at the baby appreciatively. A fat little girl appeared and spoke to Jenny. She seemed to know her way around the store and might have been the innocent husband’s little sister.
The little girl fingered the tiny evil-eye bracelets and Hamsa charms in front of me. I told her that I love Hamsa’s, which actually isn’t true, but I wanted to engage her in conversation.
“Good for you,” she answered coolly.
What a fat little bitch, I thought to myself.
I am thinking of going back to get the owner to give me a spiritual cleansing in the back room. I am completely serious.
Plus I want to hear more about Jenny and her predicament.