May 1, 2010

Parting Shots

When we drove out of Santa Rosalia last Friday my goal was to stop at the little marble shop Rancho Sonora at kilometer 149 just north of Catavina to purchase a few marble wind chimes for Esperando’s children, a small token of melodious sound from Mexico. I bought wind chimes there last year when the Brainy Blonde came for a visit and we were driving down from San Diego. It’s kind of a crappy little store all by itself out in the middle of dust and cactus, just a notch up from being a palapa. Then it was manned by a fat Mexican man about my age and his 30-plus year old son who put the hard sell on both of us to buy, buy, buy.

The out in the middle of nowhere marble store

This time Esperando opted to stay in the car for a small snooze since he had been driving continuously for the last 5 hours. I wandered by myself past the two ubiquitous dusty dogs that hung out on the porch, up to open the screen door and went inside. The room was dimly lit. Several shelves bore carvings of alabaster, and hundreds pale alabaster silhouettes hung from the ceiling in the form of wind chimes: turtles, dolphins, sharks, fish, whales, seahorses, stars, moons, suns, horses, seagulls, and so on. I knew already that I wanted sets of sun and moon wind chimes. A fat Mexican man about my age came out from behind the counter and asked if he could help me. So then I told him I wanted three sets of sun and moon chimes, but how much did they cost. Only 100 pesos per wind chime, such a deal! He had them prepackaged, wrapped up in sheets of newspaper. He sorted through them to find the ones I wanted and told me it would be 300 pesos, “What is your name?” he said. I told him. “I am Santiago,” he said.

Then I gave him 400 pesos and he started across the room to where he kept his change. Then he stopped dead in his tracks. “I don’t have change,” he said. “Oh ok, I will go back to the car, I think I have the right change,” I said.
Alabaster seahorse necklace

Out I bopped and said the to slumbering Esperando, “I need 100 pesos.” “Oh,” he said, “I thought I would get more of a snooze.” Wherewith he took his wallet from his pocket and passed the pesos over to me. I returned to the shop and gave Santiago the money. Before he would give me the bag, he started across the room to where he had some individual carvings, like the pieces in the windchime, that were hung on cords for use as necklaces. He chose a seahorse, and I thought he was going to try and sell it to me. Instead he wrapped his arm around my shoulder and pulled me to him, thrusting the seahorse in my hands and trying to kiss me on the lips. I turned my check to his lips, muttered gracias for the osequio, a little gift, the price of which was an undesireable kiss and a walloping waft of aftershave which he had applied liberally in my absence. I made a beeline out the door and ran back to the car to tell Esperando what had happened. As we drove off Esperando cackled over my mishap and Francisco’s dogs gave chase to the car. Lupita barked back as fiercely as she could. We both gagged for the next 3 hours on the fumes that adhered to my cheek.

The thing is when he stopped to say he didn’t have change, and I said I would go back to get some, he already had the whole thing planned. He knew he was going to put aftershave on the minute I left. He knew he was going to steal a kiss if he could. I was the fly walking into his little spider web. Ladies, be forewarned. If you stop to buy some marble—DON’T GO INTO HIS SHOP ALONE!!

Happy windchime recipient displaying her acquisition

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