Monday, November 19, 2012

I Was a Nasty Bitch

 by E. Martin Pedersen

            “Hey, Pepe, gatocito, I’m home.” Gloria yelled.
            “Back here.”
            “When you get back?”
            “I left Portland at ten last night, got here about an hour ago—easy run. I brought tamales from that lonchera down by Madera. You make us some refritos and ensalada, honey; I get the cold beers from the garage, ¿okey?”
            Bueno. I need to take a shower first. That old lady died today. I was watching. Her last words was: ‘I was a nasty bitch.’ White people are loco, huh? ‘I was a nasty bitch,’ and then she died. Just died, you know? Comprende? Where are you, man?”
            Pepe was watching ESPN in the den in his bathrobe. In the bedroom, Gloria peeled off her white Dr. Sholl’s clogs, her white nurse’s uniform, her slip, her pantyhose, her white bra and big panties, and put on her shower cap and thongs. After she showered, Gloria and Pepe had their tamales on TV trays, speaking loudly over the sports news.

            “Who was she?”
            “That old lady who died?”
            “She said a civil rights lawyer. No, a woman’s rights lawyer, back east, you know? I don’t think she was very good at her job.”
            “Why not?”
            “Women still don’t got no rights.”
            “Who loca now, woman? Dang, good tamales, huh? I got tortas too, for tomorrow. Pass the salsa.”
            “She start telling me her life story. I got stuff to do, but she said ‘sit’ and told me how back in Washington she’s fighting against men, patriartic or something, against men, for women’s rights. I didn’t listen too good till she got to talking about equal pay. A very angry old woman. Like she regrets her whole life. She starts crying.”
            “Oh, ‘cause she always treated people like shit for her whole life, a big-shot lawyer, you know? She was really sorry, crying so much. I also cried. Then she took my hand and said, ‘Gloria, I was a nasty bitch.’ Then she relaxed and died. It was so sad.”
            “You want another beer?”
            “I do.”
            “I’m not getting up.”
            “Dodgers won today.”
            “What do you think it means? Like she had a message for me, a warning to pass on about women or something?”
            Ay dios, baby, nothing. That’s what it means. Let’s go to bed early. I’m beat.”
            “Man, you just want me to beat your meat, you dirty puerco.”
            “Come to Pepe, you nasty bitch.”

E. Martin Pedersen is a San Franciscan living in Messina, Sicily for over three decades now. He teaches English at the local university. Though he has done lots of writing, this is one of his first short stories. Lastly, he blogs at

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