Monday, April 26, 2010
An Addiction & My Foster Mom Might Be Dead
It’s always a sign of good luck when you discover your new foster mom missing a sock and face down in the middle of the living room. I’m sure she was maybe sleeping, but I was late for bingo. So, I had to go.
See in my clever mission of practicing my Spanish numbers, I had accidentally gotten myself addicted to bingo. Sure, sure, I could go dancing with agreeable and cooperative backpacker girls almost guaranteeing that I could check off a couple more countries on my own personal sex bingo card, but Saturday and Sunday means real bingo at the local fire station. The choice was clear.
“No! Come with us!”
“We’re going dancing—hella fun!”
Without missing a kegel beat, I picked bingo solidifying the fact that I had exchanged one addiction for another. Like all addictions, it started off as harmless fun. A couple of games here on a Saturday night with friends and then, unchecked, somehow, there I was alone on a Thursday night with six cursed bingo cards and six spent cans of Fresca.
No lo tengo.
I would swat invasive hands of old ladies as they were trying to be helpful as they pointed their bad luck fingers at the numbers I’d missed. In turn they’d swap, with perfect accuracy, the bony part of my wrist when I would altruistically brush ants off their shoulders. I can only imagine their thoughts about the only attending gringo and his bingo sexual persuasion, as I seemed to be returning every night to flirt with fellow bingo fever old ladies. I mean, after four weeks of paying to lose it was clear I wasn’t there to play bingo.
I guess word spread about my passion, fever and addiction for losing at bingo. And instead of setting up an intervention, my Spanish instructor became an enabler by randomly interrupting the Spanish class to mention to me that a local school was having a big fundraiser night of bingo. The school was smart to pay my instructor for this gorrila marketing.
“It’s not for money. You can win things like, oh, I don’t know…things like bags of rice, soap or clothes.”
Oh, I get it you think I need to eat and bath more. And, you with your keen insight have noticed that I’ve been wearing this same blue shirt to class everyday for the last three weeks. No, I get it.
The rest of the class was a wash as I couldn’t stop thinking about winning bingo and having old bingo queens taking off my recently new prized shirt and scrubbing me with my new soap only to fan me dry with their losing bingo cards all in a shower of slow falling fresh rice.
After class, I dashed home to practice with my homemade bingo cards.
“Hermanos Neuvos! What are you doing later?"
“You want to go play bingo with your favorite older brother? You can win stuff.”
My new younger brothers came a running.
“Okay, look,” I confided, “you want to know a dangerous—real dangerous secret?”
Heads nodded furiously.
“Look,” I went on, “you can’t win money, but you can win stuff. Check this out. You can win bad-ass bags of rice--”
Okay, yes, I also wanted to be that cool older brother who took the younger brothers out so we could spend time together creating lifetime bonds…yes, yes. But, really, I just needed more labor to manage the array of bingo cards I had planned on playing with that night.
“—and some way-wicked soap…”
Shit, they’re walking way.
“—but really, I can trust you, my blood brothers, right? Okay, okay, I’ll tell you. You can also win rifles with infrared scopes."
They turned around.
“Yes, oh, and okay, don’t tell your parents, but you can also win a helicopter. I’m not talking about a toy one either.”
“Right like a big one?” They rightfully questioned and doubted.
“What? No, not like a big one, silly. It’s like a single-seater.”
Okay, yes, even as I write this now, I can sense from the future your short sighted judging energy reach me here in the past. Look, really, it’s quite simple. See, it’s my required and ethical responsibility, as the most mature and wise older brother, to teach my younger kin about sarcasm and to not to trust Americans. This will surely perpetuate the benevolent and very mutual relationship the U.S. has always had with our amigos in Central America.
My adorable younger brothers had already dashed off to scrounge up every coin they had ever saved of their entire life to join me in an innocent game of bingo. We quickly left.
“Wiser, loving older brother, what kind of rifles can we win?”
“Oh, you know, lil’ bro’, all kinds. Big ones, powerful compact ones, ones you can conceal at your school, ones made from a carbon plastic blend that evade metal detectors…”
I amused myself by watching their irises stretching open beyond their capacity.
“Well, I think I can trust you, right?”
“Claro!” They chimed in.
“Well, do you know what grenade launchers are?”
Their pace immediately picked up.
We arrived. And it was bingo heaven. They had the biggest bingo board I’d ever seen--big enough, in fact, that all 400 of us bingo addicts could see the numbers.
“Those your kids?” I was asked for some reason.
We walked through the crowd to an open table. While I was holding one brother’s hand and while my other brother was getting a piggy back ride, I notice the looks I was getting and had the feeling that there was a suspicion that I was that pedophile gringo out on the town with two young Latino boys. I felt proud that even while playing bingo I still had my creepy mojo.
“I need to go to the bathroom?” One of my brothers interrupted.
“Do they have bingo in the bathroom?”
And there we had an understanding.
The games started.
“Ah, no lo tenemos!”
“Caring big brother, that bingo prize was just a crate of apples.”
“Crate of apples? It’s a codename, bro’.”
Spending time with kids is always very important. So, I could feel my new good karma flowing into my bones. Surely now, my luck would change. I had to win now.
“Intelligent and most wise older brother. Where are the rifles?”
“Taped under the table.”
They quickly looked. Seriously, my brothers are so adorable.
“A joke, my friends, just a joke.”
My brothers seemed to look confused.
“Eyes on the cards, boys! Focus!”
Eventually we left. It might have just been me, but the kids seemed to be shuffling home with less gusto than when they had gone a skipping to the bingo parlor earlier.
The next day was Sunday, which is always a sad day; it’s the last bingo night in town. After Sunday, I’d have to wait until Thursday to get my next bingo fix.
“Bingo, mi Amigo, Hailey.”
Before my bingo binge for the night, I’d stopped to see my bartender friend for good luck.
“Fresca on the rocks, please.”
As I recounted my amazingly interesting story, sharing in exact sequence the number that were called out during the previous night’s bingo, Hailey interrupted me to tell me about his need to practice his new profession of being a tattoo artist.
“Well, Hailey, aren’t you the bartender? Couldn’t you just get a couple of gringos really coma drunk…then wait for them to pass out? You could then melt some dominos and give them a bad-ass stick and poke tattoo of a flaming bingo card. Each number on the bingo card could alternate between the numbers 69 and 666. Oh, and the free square in the middle, yeah, that could be a skull with glowing bingo chips for eyes. Hmm? What do you say?
“Why you are right. I was just leaving to play bingo.”
“Bingo, mi amigo, Hailey.”
It might just have been the result of the grape and Gatorade that I just slammed before leaving, but seriously, I had a good feeling about this night of bingo. I skipped along, arrived, gave a bingo node to the bingo MC and sat down. The older bingo widows scooted away. Prudes.
Ah, yeah—only one more.
I still needed one more number. I could finally get the bingo I rightfully deserved. The best/sad part was that I’d been waiting so long to win because I could finish this way-too-long chapter about bingo. But the best part, because I think I’m so..so very clever, was that I was going to yell BINGO DE BINGO!!!! I couldn’t wait.
And, then—then it happened.
I could hardly contain myself. I really couldn’t!
“BINGO DE GRINGO!!!”
Ah, man, yes, yes, yes! It finally happened. I was the big winner that I knew I was. A bingo granny next to me squealed.
“What?” Others were confused.
So, as only a suave bingo player could, I proudly re-announced again, “BINGO DE GRINGO!”
Ha! I’m so clever.
“Bingo de Gringo, I say!”
My addict brain came to life. My bingo story would be shared for decades to come. My bingo card would be retired from circulation. For good luck, a new series of cards would be printed with my humble face in the center square. Shiny bingo chips were raining down around me. The only Latino girl with luscious white girl curves emerged from behind the bingo board wearing nothing but three bingo cards over her pink parts. The crowd, in perfect synchronicity would put their bingo cards together creating a bridge for which my bingo beauty would strut over to me. My winning bingo numbers were blinking to the beat of the music and to my bingo babe’s steps. Immediate plans were being made for my family to be flown down to Granada. This was my moment. And yes it was indeed my moment all right. God this part is so hard to write. It seems that I have a wee problem understanding the difference between 24 and 34 in Espanol.
“Incorrecto!--” The usher announced.
“--No hay bingo [de gringo].”
My world was crumbling. Instead of bingo de gringo…I had bingo de dumbass. If I’d just peed my pants next it wouldn’t have been any more embarrassing. I tried to shrink and hide behind my fraudulent bingo card. Oh, crap, this is most, most embarrassing. The bingo commission surely would be notified.
I played a couple more of my regular losing rounds and then scurried away back to my friend’s bar.
“How did you fair, bingo athlete?”
“I called bingo but I had the wrong numbers.”
“Did you…you know, say bingo de..”
Defeated, I confessed, “…gringo. Yes…I yelled ‘Bingo de Gringo’.”
A can of Fresca was tenderly slid across the bar.
“On the house, champ.”