My name is Carlos Piñata. I’m an illegal alien living in the United States and going to college on a government grant. My mother would have wanted it that way. In fact, she said on her deathbed (which happened to be a bed of nails), “Son, I want you to take this mattress back where you got it. And another thing. It is my wish that you live in the United States as an illegal alien and attend college on a government grant.”
“But Mama,” I said, “we are living in the United States as illegal aliens, and I am going to college on a government grant.” She died with a smile on her face and nails in her back.
It was around this time that I began to actively reassert my interest in prank phone calls, which eventually led to my arrest on harassment charges. Even then I used my one phone call to order a pizza, leaving a false name and address for delivery. I was going nowhere at that point in my life. I had graduated from college with a degree in mushroomology, unable to find work and still making large payments on the mattress my poor mother died on.
Then one day I decided to actively reassert my interest in getting drunk and stealing cars. I was on my way to church in a stolen pickup truck when it struck me that there must be something more to living. I took a sharp turn in the road and in my life and headed down towards Mexico to go barhopping. Shortly after I crossed the border I must have passed out from intoxication. I had nightmares about a large silver crow that swooped down from a red sky to peck at my head. Then the crow was mysteriously transformed into something that looked like Colonel Sanders in a sombrero. I woke up just as the old man was putting out a small brush fire on my forehead.
Strangely enough, when I awoke I was lying in the middle of the road, my truck was upside down in a ditch and the old man from my dream was setting a torch to it. This was my first meeting with the infamous Don Don, or as his friends called him, Donny. I yelled, “Get away from that truck you crazy old crow!” but just then it burst into flames. “You’ll pay for that!” I screamed. He walked up to me smiling.
“Do not be fooled by what you think you see,” he said, “for there is more than one world and more than one reality. What you can’t see is often more real than what you think you see. Let me show you: How many fingers am I holding up?”
“Two,” I said, and with that he poked me in the eyes.
“Now how many?”
“I don’t know. I can’t see a thing.”
“Yet I still hold up two fingers in a world you are unable to perceive.”
“Hey, get your hands out of my pockets!”
“Ah, already with just one lesson your perception of this other world has increased dramatically.”
“Well, I have taken a couple of metaphysics classes,” I said modestly.
“Fascinating!” exclaimed the old sorcerer. “But tell me, where do you keep your money?”
“In my shoes, of course.” I had no sooner answered than a fiery pain came to my head and I fell unconscious. However, due to my highly stimulated sense of awareness, I believe I was actually conscious that I was unconscious, and I remember thinking that the old man was truly a man of knowledge.
When I came to, both Don Don and my money were gone, and in light of this discovery I felt I must actively reassert my interest in bank robbing.
It wasn’t until several years later that I saw Donny again. I was now a rich man and unaccustomed to stopping in at the lower-class bars and brothels, but on this night I decided to make the rounds just for old times’ sake. The bar I found him in was simply a shack made of old road signs and the beverage was nothing more than local sewage that had been stored in a retention pond for several days to give it flavor. Even in the dim light of that tiny shack I recognized him. There he was in his familiar white beard and sombrero, wearing a dress and dancing on top of a table as dark, oily men bought him drinks and stuffed small bills down his front. As I looked on I was stricken with grief and horror at the realization that this was the only way a man of knowledge could get a drink in this country.
I pressed forward through the crowd with tears streaming down my cheeks. When I reached the table, our eyes met. He looked at me and winked, and without hesitation I stuffed a hundred-dollar bill down his brassiere. Insulted by this hint that he could be bought, he slapped my face savagely and I left the bar in shame, having learned another great lesson from this man: a lesson in pride. And never again would I stuff a hundred-dollar bill down the brassiere of a man of knowledge.