Open Mic Night at La Cantina Pt. 4

La Cantina is a Mexican restaurant off of 28th street. It smells of deep fat fryer, salsa, and bean dip. The walls are decorated with assorted paraphernalia like Sombreros and pictures with glitter. No one thinks this place is authentic Mexico, but it is authentic, cheap Mexican food.

 

In the back of the restaurant is a table tucked into a fake adobe house. The house is curved and rounded like a giant single breast. A place that Georgia O’Keef might like.

 

Connie, dressed in a long Spanish-looking frock and with her hennaed hair held up with a Spanish comb, addresses the table. On Connie, this outfit definitely suggests dime-store costume.

 

CONNIE:

Well, I’d like to begin by welcoming you here. I thought we were going to have an Open Mic night, but it looks like they weren’t able to set up a PA system without interrupting the mariachi singers. It’s a shame that iHop asked us to relocate. But, when life hands you lemons, make a margarita!

MABEL VANDERSTEEN: You use limes for margaritas. I say if someone gives you lemons, punch them in the face.

CONNIE:

Okay. Anyway. So since there’s no microphone and there are only a few of us here tonight, I thought perhaps we’d turn this into a workshop. You know, go over your pieces and we can all offer suggestions on how you can improve your work. Sound good?

CONNIE looks around the table. Mabel, in her wheelchair, has already slugged back one giant margarita. CARL is wearing a tshirt with an American flag, an eagle, and a wolf. He adjusts his red suspenders and then begins biting at a cuticle. CRICKET is saying a prayer. MELODY, Connie’s goth-grandaughter, sticks a chip in the bean dip and probes at it, as if she’s about to conduct an autopsy.

 

CONNIE:

Okay! Great! I’m glad you’re all excited. Let’s begin by reviewing the ground rules. 1st, we assume everything the writer writes is fiction. 2nd….anyone?

Cricket raises her hand.

 

CONNIE:

You don’t have to raise your hand, Cricket. Just talk.

CRICKET:

We don’t judge. We leave judgment to those who know best. Like God. And the Republican party.

CONNIE:

Great. And the third rule?

CARL:

We don’t talk about Fight Club.

MELODY:

(laughs). That’s the first rule.

CONNIE:

No. We’re not fighting, here. We’re supporting and loving. The 3rd rule is to use I statements, like we’re all in therapy together. Melody, why don’t you begin.

MELODY:

No.

CONNIE:

Now, Melody, you promised that you’d…

A waiter appears to take their order. He is tall and thin and speckled with acne.

 

WAITER:

Hey! I’m Billy! I’m your waiter! You know what you want, tell me and I’ll make it happen.

MELODY:

I want a burrito the size of his head.

She points to Carl.

 

WAITER:

Why his head? The menu says the burrito is the size of your head.

MELODY:

I have an unusually petite head. Carl, on the other hand, has a big head. I want a burrito that’s huge.

WAITER:

Okay. Gotcha.

CONNIE:

Why don’t you just bring all of us Combo #4 and I’ll pick up the tab.

MELODY:

Except something on my plate better be the size of a noggin, or I’ll stab you with this fork.

WAITER:

Okay! Cool! Thanks.

CONNIE:

Melody, please?

MELODY:

Whatever. I’ll read.

Melody clears her throat and begins to read.

 

TO BE CONTINUED