This morning and today, we have a number of socials, including a church pic nic, which my husband forbid me to cook for, so I would relax. I did spend the morning going over the draft of "Rita vs the Duende", and it is shaping up beautifully! It is just a first draft, but solid, and I am looking forward to thoughtful feedback by my beta readers.
So, for your morning reading pleasure, here is the introduction to the story in my next story collection:
“Rita vs the Duende”
By Dr. Maria J. Estrada
Rita Sifuentes was sitting at her outdated Dell computer while most kids her age were watching Saturday morning cartoons. She frowned at it, and her cheek turned up in that funny backwards Y.
"Come on stupid thing! Load faster!" Rita hit the monitor. Her long obsidian black hair was an increasing nuisance that kept getting in her face, even with it tied back. Somehow, strands managed to escape the tightest ponytail. She looked down at her legs. Her long lanky body was a barrio joke in the desert of Somerton, Arizona. The other kids would call her noodle or worse, lumbriz—tapeworm. The kids in her neighborhood were just jealous of her. At least, that's how she reasoned it out because she was going to get out of the barrio, and they were not.
She was the only one with a computer, although it was three years old, ancient by modern standards. She was the only one in her neighborhood since anyone could remember of a ninth grader who had won first place in the science fair. Rita had also won first place in the math bowl, to the acid hatred of the junior and senior nerds. Her Nana didn't know what to make of all the ribbons with the cryptic writing hanging all over the house, but she was proud of her Rita.
Her Nana was a bent reed with long bright white hair like the clouds on a hot summer day. Her abuelita would wear it in a long silky braid, and occasionally when the kids would come outside their fence and make fun of Rita, she would chase after them with her cane, shouting -¡Callensen canijos!- When her parents weren't home she would chuck rocks at them. Once when Lizandro called her a puta, a whore, her Nana let out Bucho, the family dog. In truth, Bucho, wouldn't hurt a fly, but he was a large Rottweiler. He would just get excited to see other kids, so he would bark a low bark and prance after them. Lizandro got so scared that his feet tangled up. He fell down. Busted his front teeth. And never called Rita any bad names, at least not to her face and never in front of her house.
Have a fantastic writing Sunday! #barrioblues
Dr. Jesú Estrada,