Idiots Contemplating the Snow

Alejandro Ricaño

Artwork by Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee


These are the unfortunate events that preceded the snow.

RAMONA was distraught. Her son, a juggler in a Las Vegas show, had committed suicide.

The reason was simple: the Cirque du Soleil had come to town and made his show look like shit.

JOHNNY:  Holy shit! Fuck!

He rode his unicycle out onto the tightrope and pretended to lose his balance. He broke his neck in front of the four spectators, who then asked for a refund.

RAMONA called her sister to tell her that no one in the whole world could possibly understand how fucking sad she felt.

RAMONA: Can you come down here?

MADRE:  To Tijuana?

RAMONA's sister depended financially on her son RAMSÉS. And RAMSÉS had done something stupid; so stupid that it would screw up the trip for RAMONA's sister.

RAMSÉS had decided to pursue a master's degree to avoid having to get a job.

He chose whatever boring shit might get him a CONACYT scholarship.

All he had to do was open a bank account and enter his information on the scholarship webpage.

But without noticing, RAMSÉS typed one of the letters wrong, just one, in his last name.

And one month later, when RAMSÉS’ name didn’t match the bank’s database, his payment was withheld, indefinitely.

MADRE/AGUSTINA:  Let me ask Ramsés if he has any money.

RAMONA:  Okay.

This was unfortunate event number one, before the snow.


BENITO:  Was it flashing?

RAMSÉS:  Was what flashing?

BENITO:  The crosswalk signal. Was it flashing?

RAMSÉS:  I already said it wasn’t. It just suddenly turned red.

BENITO:  And you got caught in the middle of the street?

RAMSÉS:  In the middle of the street, Benito. If I’d known that it would turn red in the middle of the street, I wouldn’t have crossed. But I didn’t know and got caught halfway there.

BENITO:  Did you run?

RAMSÉS:  I hurried a bit. It wasn’t such a big deal.

BENITO:  And that bastard ran you over?

RAMSÉS:  He tried to run me over, Benito. Tell me, what would it have cost him to wait just a few seconds? It was a narrow street, Benito, so I would’ve been done crossing in a few seconds.

BENITO:  How many?

RAMSÉS:  How should I know how many, Benito? I had six feet left to go. How many seconds does it take you to walk six feet?

BENITO:  Walking fast?

RAMSÉS:  Walking fast.


RAMSÉS:  Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say three. What would it have cost him to wait three seconds, Benito?

BENITO:  There’s no time for anything anymore.

RAMSÉS:  No time for anything? I’ll tell you what he did have time for: to call me an asshole from his window. He refused to stop for the three seconds it was going to take me to cross the street.

BENITO:  Walking quickly.

RAMSÉS:  Walking quickly. But he did have time to call me an asshole from his window. He stopped the car in the middle of the street and called me an asshole from his window.

BENITO:  On top of everything else.

RAMSÉS:  That, Benito, is rude. It’s not a lack of time. A case like that, Benito, calls for retaliation.

BENITO:  What kind of retaliation?

RAMSÉS:  Serious. Serious retaliation. I climbed into my car—which was parked right there where I had jumped out of his way—and followed him.

BENITO:  Did he see you?

RAMSÉS:  Following him? No. At first I thought, if I find him I’m gonna beat the shit out of ’im.

BENITO:  And then?

RAMSÉS:  Then I saw that he was bigger than me and I gave up on that idea. I thought, at the very least I’m gonna key his car. I’ll follow him until he parks somewhere and then I’ll key his car.

BENITO:  Did you scratch the shit out of it?

RAMSÉS:  No, I didn’t do it.

BENITO:  You didn’t do it?

RAMSÉS:  He parked at a hospital, Benito! How could I key his car at a hospital?

BENITO:  Discreetly.

RAMSÉS:  What I mean is I couldn’t do it, Benito. Morally speaking, I couldn’t do it. Just imagine he was picking up his wife.

BENITO:  Why would he be picking up his wife?

RAMSÉS:  Because they amputated one of her legs.

BENITO:  They amputated his wife’s leg?

RAMSÉS:  Hypothetically.

BENITO:  Why did they amputate her leg?

RAMSÉS:  She. . . she was bitten by a tiger.

BENITO:  A tiger? Why would a tiger bite her?

RAMSÉS:  Because they have a tiger, Benito.

BENITO:  In their home?

RAMSÉS:  In their home.

BENITO:  Why would they have a tiger in their home?

RAMSÉS:  Because they own a fucking circus, okay?

BENITO:  That’s stupid.

RAMSÉS:  It’s hypothetical, Benito!

BENITO:  It just doesn’t make sense to me.

RAMSÉS:  She was in the hospital because of the fucking flu! Does it make sense to you that she’s in the hospital with the fucking flu?

BENITO:  If it’s turning into pneumonia.

RAMSÉS:  He was at the hospital because he went to get his wife who has a soon-to-be-pneumonia flu. You can’t key the car of someone who is going to pick up his wife with a soon-to-be-pneumonia flu. That’s heartless.

BENITO:  It was hypothetical.

RAMSÉS:  You never know, Benito. When you leave the hospital, you’re exhausted. You go there to have them tell you that you’re fucked and that being fucked is going to cost you more money than you have. Just to have them inform you of this, you have to wait three hours, and to wait those three hours, you have to fill out who knows how many forms. It happens to me every time I take my mother. And the last thing I’d want after going through all that, Benito, is to go to the parking lot and find my car keyed.

BENITO:  So you didn’t key it.

RAMSÉS:  Aren’t you listening to me?

BENITO:  If you didn’t key his car, why all the regret?

RAMSÉS:  Because I didn’t just sit there and do nothing. I didn’t key his car, but I waited for him.

BENITO:  Did he come out with his crippled wife?

RAMSÉS:  He must’ve left her inside.

BENITO:  And you beat the shit out of him.

RAMSÉS:  Like I said, he was bigger than me. I followed him to his house. After he entered, I left a note on his windshield that said, “You tried to run me over, you bastard. I know where you live. When you least expect it, I’m going to sneak up behind you with a baseball bat.”

BENITO:  You’re going to hit him from behind with a baseball bat?

RAMSÉS:  What do you think I am, Benito? I simply stole his peace of mind. Now he’s going to spend the rest of his life waiting for someone to attack him from behind with a baseball bat.

BENITO:  After visiting his crippled wife with pneumonia, you thought it would be less heartless to hit him with a bat than to key his car?

RAMSÉS:  That’s why I feel so bad. This morning I was really pissed off, Benito. I went to the ATM and they hadn’t deposited my money. It’s already been more than three months, Benito, because of one wrong letter in my last name. In three months they haven’t been able to fix one little mistake so that they can pay me. I was fucking furious, Benito. I promised my mom a month ago that I would give her the money to go visit her sister in Tijuana. My cousin broke his neck, you know. And these bastards haven’t paid me because my last name has one fucking wrong letter. She’s always out pricing suitcases and I can’t even give her a dime because they haven’t deposited the money. I told her it was sure to happen this week. I couldn’t tell her again that they hadn’t deposited the money. I was leaving the bank when this asshole tried to run me over. I was beside myself, Benito.



Unfortunate event number two.

ELVIS’s father had a little grocery store. Behind the counter, one Wednesday at noon, he made love to his wife like no man has ever made love to a woman.

One of Elvis Presley’s songs was playing on the radio.

Convinced that he had conceived a son at that very moment, he decided to name him Elvis.

ELVIS ROSENDO, to keep with the tradition of giving children the ghastly names of their grandparents and fucking up their lives forever.

But that is not the unfortunate event. Forty years later, ELVIS ROSENDO gets a job as a janitor in a middle school.

Forty years and three days later, ELVIS ROSENDO loses his job, accused of stealing nine cell phones.

MARISA:  Fill out the yellow social security forms. Sign here and here. Don’t write outside the box, Elvis.

ELVIS found himself with the mortifying need to find a job doing the only other thing he knew how to do: drive a bus.

ELVIS ROSENDO had been born with one leg shorter than the other and he knew from past experience that he couldn’t reach the brake in time.

But, with no other option, he kept it a secret.

MARISA:  Didn’t I tell you not to write outside the box?

ELVIS:  Sorry.

MARISA:  There is no base salary. You get a percentage; 15 percent of what the passengers pay. So it depends on you. If you don’t pay attention, they’ll cheat you out of the fare.

ELVIS:  Yes.

MARISA:  Yes you’re not going to pay attention?

ELVIS:  No. . . I mean. . .

MARISA:  I know, I know. Whenever you can, cut in on the Route 52 buses. Stay between thirty and forty miles per hour and don’t slow down. Don’t worry about the traffic cops. My husband warns us when they’re out there, but you have to show a little thanks. It’s taken out of your salary.

ELVIS:  What salary?

MARISA:  . . .

ELVIS:  . . .

MARISA:  It means that at the end of the month you take $3 out of your pocket.

ELVIS:  Okay.

MARISA:  Do you have a place to park the bus?

ELVIS:  Like a garage?

MARISA:  A garage, Elvis, for a bus? Are you an idiot?

ELVIS:  I got an eight out of ten on the aptitude test.

MARISA:  Somewhere on the street, Elvis, where it won’t bother your neighbors.

ELVIS:  Somewhere on the street, yes.

MARISA:  You’ll start on the five o’clock shift.

ELVIS:  In the afternoon?

MARISA:  In the morning, Elvis. You get off at eleven at night. You have an hour to eat. Now, if it’s God’s will that you run into another car, the company will settle the costs, but they’ll be taken imperceptibly out of your pay.

ELVIS:  Impercepti- what?

MARISA:  It means that with the shit salary you’re going to get, your kids will end up paying for it. Do you have kids, Elvis?

ELVIS:  Six.

MARISA:  They won’t have enough to pay for it. So, drive carefully. As fucking fast as you can, but careful.

ELVIS:  Fucking fast, but careful.

MARISA:  No texting while driving, Elvis. I don’t know how else to ask you guys not to send text messages while driving.

ELVIS:  I don’t know how to send messages.

MARISA:  It’s better that way. There’s one other thing, Elvis.

ELVIS:  What?

MARISA:  Close the door.

ELVIS:  Do what?

MARISA:  The door. Close it.

ELVIS:  Okay. (Closes the door. Whispers.) What’s up?

MARISA:  Why the hell are you whispering?

ELVIS:  I thought that . . .

MARISA:  What?

ELVIS:  You asked me to close the door.

MARISA:  Because I’m fucking freezing. Listen, Elvis. You’re going to work a shitload of hours, hungry, driving the same route over and over again, doing the same things all day long. Before long, Elvis, you’ll be in a state of utter stupidity. You’re going to lose your mental clarity, your reflexes. So it won’t be at all odd, Elvis, that the day a fellow human being gets in your way, you’ll be so out of it, driving like a bat out of hell to keep the other buses from cutting in on your route, you’ll run right over him. Here’s my advice. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m a Christian woman with Christian principles. But if you’re going to run him over, do it right. Make sure he’s dead. Don’t leave him half-crippled. Don’t leave him half-retarded. If you leave him. . .
(SARITA enters without warning.)

MARISA:  What’s up?

SARITA:  You want anything to eat?

MARISA:  What’ve you got?

SARITA:  Chicken tacos or enchiladas.

MARISA:  Enchiladas.

SARITA:  Okay.

(SARITA leaves.)

MARISA:  What was I saying?

ELVIS:  Don’t leave him retarded.

MARISA:  Right, if you leave him half-retarded, handicapped, etcetera, etcetera, it’s going to cost you more than your seven kids.

ELVIS:  Six.

MARISA:  Well, it’s going to cost you more than seven. We’re talking lifelong payments, Elvis. If you kill him, Elvis, it’ll cost you seven years in the slammer or $1,000 at the most. I know it’s fucked up, Elvis, and that I shouldn’t be telling you this, but it’s for your own good. Throw the bus in reverse and make sure he’s dead. And if you can, get the hell out of there, because then we won’t have to pay for legal help. This advice is for your own good. Got it, Elvis?



Unfortunate event number three.

With her nose pressed against the window of the Liverpool department store, Bernardita contemplates the cappuccino machine on the other side. Fifteen minutes later, BERNARDITA has been given the details of their payment plan.

BERNARDITA:  All of a sudden the products started to sell. I don’t know why, Nana; I only know that all of a sudden they started to sell.

ADRIANA:  Miraculously.

BERNARDITA:  How do I know, Nana? My neighbors suddenly found themselves looking ugly from one day to the next.

ADRIANA:  All of them at the same time?

BERNARDITA:  My neighbors think collectively, Nana. It’s a mystery. All of a sudden they were at my door buying products. And now I have money.

ADRIANA:  Good. Pay me what you owe me.

BERNARDITA:  One step at a time, Nana. See, today at least I’m not going to ask you for money. I’m changing. It’s a start. All I need to get the coffee machine I told you about is your check stubs, but I’m going to pay for it myself; it’s just that otherwise they won’t give me credit.

ADRIANA:  Now, why would that be?

BERNARDITA:  Because they’re heartless, Nana.

ADRIANA:  You don’t need to respond, Bernardita, I’m being sarcastic.

BERNARDITA:  Oh, okay. But you’ll lend me your check stubs, right?



ADRIANA:  Because you won’t be able to pay for it.

BERNARDITA:  Yes, I will. What I don’t have, at least for now, is a way to prove that I have a monthly income of $2,500.

ADRIANA:  $2,500?

BERNARDITA:  Nana, who with a shred of honesty earns $2,500 a month?


BERNARDITA:  You don’t earn $2,500, you earn $4,000, plus whatever you steal. And only because that wretched husband of yours was kind enough to die.

ADRIANA:  Get outta here.


ADRIANA:  Go insult Virgilio. He’ll let you do it, I won’t.

BERNARDITA:  Listen to me. Listen to me. Listen to me, damn it! I need that coffee machine. I didn’t mean to offend you. But let’s not play dumb, Nana. Your husband got you a position in the government so that you could later step down and he could take your place. But before that could happen, the asshole died. And you stayed put. That’s dishonest, right? You don’t have a shred of honesty, Nana. What you do have are the last three pay stubs I need to get my coffee machine.

ADRIANA:  How much does your coffee machine cost?

BERNARDITA:  You don’t give a damn.

ADRIANA:  No, I do give a damn. I’m going to pay for it.

BERNARDITA:  No, no, no! I’m going to pay for it myself. $100 each month.

ADRIANA:  $100?

BERNARDITA:  A little less, like $80.

ADRIANA:  $80?

BERNARDITA:  For thirteen months, with no interest.

ADRIANA:  How much does your fucking coffee pot cost?

BERNARDITA:  $1,200.

ADRIANA:  $1,200! For a coffee pot?

BERNARDITA:  But it isn’t just any coffee pot, Nana. It’s a Krups Espresseria Automatic XP 9000.

ADRIANA:  Does it really need all those names?

BERNARDITA:  That’s how fucking awesome it is! It has a little LCD screen.

ADRIANA:  What do you need a $1,200 coffee machine for?

BERNARDITA:  To make coffee.

ADRIANA:  You need a $1,200 coffee machine to make coffee?

BERNARDITA:  Strictly speaking, no, damn it! Who needs a $1,200 coffee pot? Strictly speaking, I mean. Strictly speaking, no one needs anything. It’s those little pleasures, Nana. We all need those little pleasures to give meaning to. . . well, to life.

ADRIANA:  What the hell are you talking about?

BERNARDITA:  You, you, you know better than anyone, Nana. You don’t need the $4,000 that you earn and steal. Strictly speaking, you don’t need it. You don’t need that big fucking van, as if you had a whole troop of brats. You don’t even have kids. Who’s going to ride in it with you? That stupid fish that cost you a fortune?  Tell me, what do you need that fucking fish for when it doesn’t even pay attention to you?

ADRIANA:  It’s an axolotl.

BERNARDITA:  That piece of shit with feet in your aquarium. What do you need it for?

ADRIANA:  So that he can give me affection.

BERNARDITA:  Affection?

ADRIANA:  With his little feet.

BERNARDITA:  How does he give you affection with his little feet?

ADRIANA:  I put my nose against the glass and he moves his little feet.

BERNARDITA:  Because he’s scared shitless! You’re ugly as sin as you are, I can’t even imagine what you look like from inside an aquarium. Get a dog.

ADRIANA:  Dogs shed.

BERNARDITA:  Get a hairless one.

ADRIANA:  When have you ever heard of hairless dogs, you idiot? Fofy is unique!

BERNARDITA:  All the same, I repeat, he isn’t indispensable, strictly speaking. But, you have all those things that give your life meaning and I didn’t come to bug you about which ones are necessary and which aren’t. You rip off half the world so that you can have those things. I just need to rip off your last three pay stubs. I want that coffee machine more than anything. Get me the credit, Nana. I’m your sister.

ADRIANA:  Half-sister.

BERNARDITA:  Fine. Half-sister. There’s no way I’m going to screw you. I need that coffee machine, Nana.

Three years before, NANA was at a riding camp, hanging on to a tree, her dress up over her head, while the ex-Secretary of Communication and Transportation fucked her, gently, on tiptoes.

Seven years prior to that, the ex-Secretary of Communication and Transportation was the head of the Teachers’ Union.

When the presidential election came around, he approached the candidate and offered him all the votes from his labor union.

More than one million votes.

More than one million votes that, one year later, were given to a Secretary of Communication and Transportation who didn’t have the slightest idea of his responsibilities.

Then he met NANA.

NANA was technically a beautician, but at that moment she was working at a McDonald's.

When the Secretary met her one afternoon when he nostalgically fancied a Happy Meal, he contemplated her breasts, which swung each time she bent over to get a tray, provoking a sudden erection that he understood to be love.

NANA went from being an illiterate hairdresser, temporarily employed at McDonald's, to being in charge of unimportant things in the office of the ex-Secretary of Communication and Transportation.

Since then, every once in a while, the ex-Secretary took NANA to his daughter’s riding shows and fucked her against a tree, gently, on tiptoes.

One day, he locked her up in a hotel room with him for a week and made her memorize a fake resumé that made her look like a militant member of the party.

SECRETARY:  Damn it, Nana. I told you it’s a bunch of lies.

ADRIANA:  Uh-huh, little lies.

SECRETARY:  Little lies.

ADRIANA:  Uh-huh. But this bit about me serving as delegate of something-or-other, I don’t remember that either!

SECRETARY:  Jesus, you’re an idiot!

And so, six months later, NANA appeared smiling like an idiot on hundreds of billboards that promoted her as a candidate for the Senate.

The plan was very simple. NANA would become a senator, they would name the ex-Secretary her alternate, and, after six months, she would step down.

But the ex-Secretary was shot fifteen times inside his campaign van.

And NANA remained in the Senate, indefinitely.

That’s the story of NANA.

Senator NANA.



Fourth and final unfortunate event, before the snow.

MINERVO:  Now what, Chepita?

JOSEPHINA:  Now what? I’m a wreck!

:  A wreck.

JOSEPHINA:  Inconsolable, Mino.

MINERVO:  Why, Chepita?

JOSEPHINA:  Our bathroom, Minervo.

MINERVO:  What’s wrong with it?

JOSEPHINA:  It’s the end of a tube! I feel like I’m sitting on the end of a tube. I need a decent bathroom, like Reyna’s.

MINERVO:  Like Reyna’s?

JOSEPHINA:  You need to see her bathroom, Minervo. If peeing is a pleasure, peeing in that bathroom is the fucking peak of pleasure. Actually, I was going to do number two.

MINERVO:  You never do number two in someone else’s bathroom.

JOSEPHINA:  Sometimes I do.

MINERVO:  You never do number two in. . .

JOSEPHINA:  I was about to shit myself, okay? I sometimes shit in someone else’s bathroom. But when I saw that bathroom, my God, my sphincter contracted. You can’t do number two in a bathroom like that. It would be a disgrace!

MINERVO:  A disgrace?

JOSEPHINA:  It’s just a saying.

MINERVO:  You want a bathroom that you can’t shit in?

JOSEPHINA:  Like I said, it’s just a saying.

MINERVO:  Were you able to go?


MINERVO:  Because your sphincter closed up.

JOSEPHINA:  I was in awe. When we have our own bathroom like that, my muscles will relax.

MINERVO:  Are you still plugged up?

JOSEPHINA:  A little bit.

MINERVO:  You want a bathroom that keeps you from shitting?

JOSEPHINA:  No, it doesn’t stop me! It intimidates me, for a bit, just for a bit. That’ll go away in a few days. You don’t get it, Mino. Bathrooms are a reflection of their owners’ economic stability.

MINERVO:  Bathrooms?

JOSEPHINA:  Bathrooms, Mino. When we women pee in each other’s bathrooms, we think about their economic stability. One, one notices these things. . . talks about them. I don’t want to be the neighborhood loser, I want a decent bathroom. Inviting them over to piss in that kind of a bathroom is like pissing on their misery.

MINERVO:  You wanna piss on the neighbors?

JOSEPHINA:  Don’t repeat everything I say, Minervo. Don’t repeat everything I say with that . . . irony of yours. I want to piss on their misery. Not on them, on their misery.

MINERVO:  Why the hell, Chepita, would you want to piss on their misery?



JOSEPHINA:  What do you mean, why, Minervo?

MINERVO:  I don’t get it at all.

JOSEPHINA:  After you guys went to Victor’s house, didn’t you all go out and buy pistols? As if you were really gonna use them. And there you were, that's right, showing each other your pistols. And what did you guys say about Jorge when he didn’t buy one? Do you remember?

MINERVO:  That’s different.

JOSEPHINA:  That he didn’t even have the money to buy something to protect himself. As if you did. You were out there selling metal scraps and whatever junk you could find in the house to come up with the money. And there’s the fucking pistol, tucked away.

MINERVO:  You never know.

JOSEPHINA:  Who’s going to come in here, Minervo, when there’s nothing to steal? Except the pistol. I, on the other hand, will use my bathroom. I’ve never asked you for anything, Mino. Up to now I’ve been content, but I need a decent bathroom, understand? A woman needs to urinate with dignity.

MINERVO:  Pee with dignity in ours!

JOSEPHINA:  You’re a miserable prick, Minervo! A miserable prick! I hope you die shitting in that bathroom! Did you hear me? Shitting!

MINERVO knew that sooner or later he would have to give in. His wife was born impatient.

She was born at seven months.

You couldn’t even wait to be born, he would tell her. Ever since then, you’re in such a fucking hurry it drives me crazy!

MINERVO:  Well, I hope I die shitting, just like you say!

JOSEPHINA:  Me, too!

He stretched out in an armchair and fell asleep, trying to figure how to get the money to do the bathroom.

MINERVO was a drama teacher in a private middle school.

Every last one of his students, almost all children of government officials or local business owners, thought he was a loser and a jerk.

In a recurring dream, MINERVO entered the classroom and killed all of them with a shotgun. While they lay dying on the floor, he convinced them that he was a great artist and that he was only there due to a series of unfortunate events.

He woke up the next morning with a brilliant idea. 

MINERVO:  I’m off.

JOSEPHINA:  I don’t give a shit.

My former teacher is dying, he told his students.

MINERVO:  Multiple sclerosis. Do you know what multiple sclerosis is like? You flop around like a puppet. Everyone laughs at you. It’s degenerative.

Well, he’s dying and I’m collecting money to help him, he told them.

MINERVO:  Anyone want to donate?


MINERVO:  No one wants to give anything to save the life of Professor Shoeman?

Professor Shoeman had been dead for ten years, so it didn’t seem so bad to MINERVO to lie about someone who’d already died.

A few finally donated, but it wasn’t enough.

His infallible plan had failed.

He needed a new plan. He needed to take drastic measures.

MINERVO:  Okay. Okay. We’re going to do an exercise!

He told them to put their things in a corner and to form a group in the center of the room.

MINERVO:  Lean back and close your eyes. Breathe deeply.

You’re at the beach, he told them. And you feel utterly peaceful.

So utterly peaceful that they didn’t notice that MINERVO, sweating with fear, was stealing their cell phones from the backpacks piled up in the corner.

MINERVO:  You’re at the beach. . .with no worries. The only noise is the peaceful sound of the waves, woossshhh. . .

Nine cell phones.

When the students discovered that they’d been stolen, MINERVO ordered them to check all the backpacks.

MINERVO:  No one leaves this room until those cell phones appear!

Of course nothing appeared.

The parents were called and finally MINERVO confessed that he suspected the new janitor, who was always snooping around the classrooms.

The janitor was fired.

That same afternoon, MINERVO went to the pawnshop.

He left with $700. Smiling like an idiot.

MINERVO didn’t skimp. He replaced his wife’s old sink with an oval, glass one that wobbled and didn’t quite fit. It was held in place by a stainless steel faucet, which had no business being there since it was designed exclusively for restaurant use, but to MINERVO it looked “very sophisticated.” Stainless steel towel holders, stainless steel soap dish, stainless steel toothbrush holder. Everything fucking stainless steel, he decided. Why? He didn’t have the slightest idea. But he was sure that his wife would like it. His wife, prematurely born and so difficult to please. Sliding glass doors that sometimes got stuck. An ivory-colored Torreto Luxus toilet with a molded wooden seat and gleaming chrome hinges. He installed a fan so that his wife wouldn’t have to wait an hour to use the bathroom after he used it, but he never figured out how to make it work. Finally, with a couple sheets of laminate and a saw borrowed from his neighbor, and more out of obligation than desire, he built under the sink a little cabinet that clashed with everything. Crooked and rickety, but made, in the end, with love. In the final analysis, Minervo’s bathroom was nothing but a piece of junk, built with the best intentions, but absolutely ugly.

MINERVO:  Here’s your fucking bathroom! Eh? Don’t let anyone say I don’t fulfill the promises I make to my wife.

JOSEPHINA:  Thanks, sweetie.

MINERVO:  Thank you, like hell, it’s gonna cost you two blow jobs and some enchiladas.

JOSEPHINA:  Whatever you want, my opportunistic husband!

MINERVO:  Am I the shit or what?

JOSEPHINA:  You’re the best, sweetie!

MINERVO:  Now go and piss with dignity!

JOSEPHINA:  I’m going to tell the neighbors right away so that they can shit themselves with envy.
(JOSEPHINA pauses.)


JOSEPHINA:  Honey, could you trim this little bit?

MINERVO:  What little bit?

JOSEPHINA:  The little sharp edge you left on the sink.

MINERVO:  You can’t even see it.

JOSEPHINA:  Yes, sweetie, you can. Come on, don’t be lazy.

MINERVO:  Who’s gonna see it?

JOSEPHINA:  I will. Come on, since you’re already here.

MINERVO went to cut off the little piece with the saw. But his hand was so tired the saw fell and sliced off a piece of his knee. Blood started to spurt all over, while his wife screamed hysterically, watching the saw bounce around on the floor.

MINERVO:  Fucking hell!!!!

These are the unfortunate events, before the snow.

End of Part I

translated from the Spanish by Jacqueline Bixler

Click here to read an extract from another play by Alejandro Ricaño from the Summer 2013 edition.