Who Doesn’t Like Strawberries by Judge Santiago Burdon

Judge Santiago Burdon, Short Stories

Who Doesn’t Like Strawberries

“What do you mean I don’t have any future left, I’ve used it up? How is that even possible?” I questioned.  I had no clue as to what  she was talking about. It  was a challenge to just listen to her rant with the monster hangover I was nursing. Now I had to make sense of what the Hell she meant by  her statement. Please just shoot me my dear and put me out of your misery.

” You’ve spent it, you’re overdrawn. Similar to a cat using all nine lives, only it’s your destiny I’m referring to. It’s been wasted, squandered, and mismanaged. Kismet has given up, thrown in the towel. Get it smart guy?”

She motions pointing to her head while making a goofy face.

“Besides your checkered past clashes with my pastel colored future, so this relationship or whatever it is, has reached its end.”

” So help me to understand what you’re saying. The fate of my  future was that I would run out of destiny.  I am without any tommorows because I’ve used them up in my yesterdays? Fate is determined at birth. My destiny however is determined by my actions; it can’t be possible. Sounds like Bullshit to me!” I motion with my finger pointing to my ass.

 ” Have you joined the Church of Scientology again? Is this your Thetan talking? You’re sounding a lot like my mother, only she’d mix in some Jesus shit and top it off with some mystic witchy stuff. What is happening here I’m completely confused?”

Why is  it when relationships end it  always deteriorates into name calling with intention to cause emotional scars?  I would much rather walk away knowing the time we spent together was a wonderful ride that just ran out of road. This screaming and assigning blame is vindictive.

” And there it is, Mr. Negative putting down a religion he knows nothing about.”

” Hey I’ve done my research and have developed an opinion based on deductive reasoning.  Did you know L. Ron Hubbard was a science fiction author before establishing the Church of Scientology? Gives you an idea of how he came up with the doctrine for the religion. You sincerely believe you are an extraterrestrial being? You want to know what really bothers me, is who goes around calling themself L.Ron Hubbard? I find it extremely pretentious using an initial for your first name. Why? Doesn’t he like the name the L represents? Are we supposed to guess the name? Does he think it adds an air of mystery about him?  It’s like e.e. cummings or T.S. Eliot, what the fuck is that all about. Why is it that if I’m not in favor of or advocate a movement or dislike something it means I’m negative?  You didn’t like  “The Boys and Girls Guide to Getting Down”  which is on my favorite movies list and I didn’t give you any shit about your opinion. You don’t like strawberries, do I accuse you of being a negative person because of your dislike of  strawberries? No, although now that I think about it, it should’ve been a clue to your negative demeanor.”

“How the hell did we get to talking about this shit? I’ll admit Santiago you do have a talent for twisting a conversation into some obscure subject. I can’t do this anymore.  You should have seen this coming.” 

” How could I have seen it coming? I can’t determine my future if there isn’t any. Let’s not do this.  If you are no longer enamored with me please just say so and leave it at that. There’s no need for this destructive rhetoric, it’s not a healthy or worthwhile practice. Also, this isn’t my first breakup, so I’m sort of an expert. I’ve become immune to the derogatory dialogue and insults.”

” I’m more than sure of that. You’re a professional when it comes to this. Of course you’ve built up an immunity after all the relationships you’ve sabotaged.” 

There’s no winner in these types of frays. I’m truly sorry she has built up such loathing for me. However I’m completely without any clue as to what the hell happened here. It seemed to me we were enjoying each other’s company just yesterday.  Maybe she’s on her… no I’m not going to say it. Really? Y’all want me to mention it during this argument?  I’m at times a bit dense when dealing with women but I have learned there’s never a right time to ask the wrong question or to answer truthfully when asked your opinion, especially concerning her appearance.  All women want you to lie, it’s the one of the many unwritten laws of relationship survival. And all of you want to see me persecuted. You heartless bastards. You’ll have to wait for your sick entertainment at my expense in some other story.

” I’m still without a clue as to your sudden decision to break-up.  I do want you to know I cherish you. You are the complete package and the man that wins your heart is truly fortunate.”

“Stop with the sweet talk. I’ve practiced this dissertation for quite awhile, My mind is made up.” 

‘Well that’s disheartening to hear. How long have you been practicing?”

” I’m sorry Santiago, I don’t mean to act like such a bitch. I feel so… I don’t know,.. I’m sorry if I hurt you.”

” I’m more disappointed than hurt. I need to know the reason. Let’s not make this any more unpleasant than it already has become. I think it’s better we don’t continue with spilling any more bad blood.”

” I’ve got one question I would appreciate you answering honestly.

I found your passport in your Blazer before I took it to the drycleaners and I looked inside. You have been everywhere in Central and South America as well as Mexico numerous times in the past three years. Then I found a second passport from Canada with a different name, your picture and the same destinations. What’s up with you? What kind of work do you do? You disappear for days with no communication then appear back without an explanation. You always speak Spanish when you’re on the phone. And that friend of yours, that Donny Rico guy, there’s something seriously wrong with him. He is definitely mentally ill, no joke. Have you ever looked into his eyes? They are so empty without a spark of life in them. He’s definitely an alcoholic and a drug addict. What do you see in him?” 

“It’s Johnny not Donny.” 

” What? You lied about his name?” 

” No you misinterpreted his name. Johnny is my friend, my only friend and would never hurt anyone I was associated with. I never made condescending  comments about your psycho bitch friends. Talk about basket cases, they’re the most judgemental, self-righteous, backstabbing, delusional and evil women I’ve ever encountered.

Johnny has always been polite and courteous to you as well as respectful, isn’t that true?” She nods her head yes.

“Your friends treat me like a leper.  What am I doing? I’m beginning to get defensive.”

” So what’s up with you? What do you do for work? Are you going to tell me or not?”

“Why is it of any concern to you now? Since we are no longer together  I don’t feel I owe you any explanation.  And I’m feeling a bit violated that you invaded my privacy.”

“Why is it such a big secret? What, are you a spy? A secret agent like James Bond? Santiago please, just because I’m pretty doesn’t mean I’m stupid.” She opens a drawer in the desk then hands me the two passports.

” Do you want to know what I think?

” No, not at all. I’m not interested. In fact I should begin packing up and find a place to stay.”

” You don’t have to leave immediately, tomorrow morning will be fine. I’m not going to kick you out until you’ve found a place.” She sits down next to me on the sofa and grabs my hands.

” I asked my cousin Rodney he is an  Officer with the Border Patrol, he said most likely someone with that type of background with multiple passports is probably a drug dealer or someone smuggling contraband of some kind.”

” You asked who, what about me? Are you fucking insane? Your cousin is a Federal Officer? You didn’t! You can’t be serious.”

” He’s not like a real cop or anything like that, he’s Border Patrol.’

” Well tell all the guys doing time for drug busts that the Border Patrol aren’t real cops.”

“I didn’t mention your name or give him any information that would implicate you.  Listen, I know you’re a drug dealer. Not the kind that sells to people out in the streets. No, you’re one of those movie type characters dealing in the big stuff. There’s a name for them but I can’t think of it right now.”

” What like a, “Narco Traficante”? 

I blurt out. What the fuck is wrong with me? I leave my passports in my jacket for her to find and now I identify myself as a drug trafficker. Damn I’m a real tough nut to crack, and to top it off, I’m in a relationship with a woman who has a Federal Police  Officer in the family. 

” Yes! Yes, that’s it, Narcotics guy. Well are you? Tell me I promise not to tell anyone. Please. It’s hard to believe because I’ve rarely seen you do drugs and you never seem to have much money.  Tell me!”

I wasn’t about to disclose any more information than I already had. For some unknown reason I can’t come up with an embellishment to explain my vocation.

” Well that’s just God Damn great! You’re a real piece of work. If I was a Drug Dealer you would be in deep shit right now. Believe me you’d be on someone’s hit list. What the fuck were you thinking? I’m packing up and leaving now. My work never mattered for the eight months we’ve been together, why now has it become such an issue?”

“Why are you so upset? If you aren’t a Trafficker there should be nothing to worry about.  This is the reason I’ve decided to end our relationship, you are a mystery, I still don’t know who you are after being together for close to a year, not six months, genius. Sometimes I watch you while you’re sleeping and it seems you  never relax, your body is always jerking and twitching. I wonder if you’re chasing after butterflies or being chased by some monster, in your dream. When your son Nigel visited at Christmas he told the story of how all of your children were afraid to wake you from sleeping because you would abruptly jump up with your fists clenched in an aggressive posture. So they would use a broom handle and poke you from a safe distance then run out of the room. Everyone thought it was hilarious and laughed, except me. I thought it was sad thinking about what would cause someone to react that way. I asked Nigel later that night and he told me about your  childhood with your father and your time in prison. Santiago, the reason for me ending our relationship is that I’m falling in love with you. Why I said you have no future is that you seem to live only for the day, for the present, for the right now. You don’t ever talk or make plans for the future or for our future. I feel lost, need some security in my life. Who knows what could happen with the life you lead. You’re here one moment and then you vanish in a flash. You could be killed, busted, arrested or decide to just never come back, leaving me alone. How has anyone ever been able to risk a relationship with you? Oh that’s right they’ve all given up. Don’t you want a mellow life, a safe place, a home with someone who will be there for you, to take care of you, someone to love you?”

“And where could I find such a person? I’m not sure if that type of life is what I want at this time. I did the marriage thing, the house, the eight to five job, the family. I failed miserably at all of it. I’m grateful that my children were able to survive the fiasco, coming through it apparently unscathed. I’m not in favor of doing it all over again. The good side of having made a mistake is that you know when you’re doing it for the second time.”

Tell me what it is you are searching for in life. What do you want?”

‘ What do I want? I want a woman with the faint taste of cocaine on her lips. A kiss that takes my breath away. A cool summer breeze in her touch. Her hair with the smell of a far off rain, skin smooth like a river stone. Her laughter, the sound or Church bells at midnight, ocean waves splashing in her eyes, a hint of confession in her lies, her breath with the aroma of oven baked bread and can throw a mean punch.”

” Get out! Now go you Son of a Bitch!” Those were the last words I heard from her.

” Thanks for picking me up Johnny. I knew things wouldn’t work out with her. It’s all for the best. She’s got a cousin or uncle who’s a Captain in the Border Patrol.  Then she tells him about my passports and my travels for the last few years to Mexico and Colombia. And to end it all she called me a son of a bitch. Can you believe that shit?”

” No way? I know your mother was a very  nice lady. Maybe you should want me to get rid of her for you? Make the problem go away.”

” What the hell is wrong with you Rico?  You’ve been watching movies again, haven’t you. What, “Scarface” or “Blow”?  No, I don’t want you to do anything to her. You got it?”

“Yo entiendo. But I never like that womens. She always stares at me real strange. She kinda freaked me out. I’m happy you’re not with her anymore.” 

” Where did you get this car? Why aren’t you driving the van we used for the run?”

” Well somewhere I lose the keys and the rental guy can’t come till tomorrow with new keys. So I borrow this ride from the hotel parking garage.”

” You stole this car?”

” No, I borrow it to pick you up!” 

” Oh Rico! What am I going to do with you?”

” Why? What you wanna do?”