I popped the hood. I saw right away that a battery cable was loose and that one terminal was caked with green crud. The way I reckoned, that cable led straight to her heart. I ignored it so I could pretend I was checking different wires and cosas. I eventually cleaned the terminal and secured the cable to the battery terminal. It started.
"You are wonderful," she said, like I saved her life or something. I felt like Spider Man. And I was weaving my web.
I closed the hood and she came toward me. I was taller than she was so I bent my head down for a big beso. Ni modo. She just put out her hand again like we had just completed a business deal. I took it and shook it, all business-like, making a business-like face.
"Maybe we could go for a ride, get something to eat," I said, business-like, continuing the mood.
"You know, a little date."
"My schedule right now won't allow it."
"Then don't listen to your schedule. You allow it."
"Listen to your heart."
"I did. This is my last semester of college. I want to go back to Houston to teach and inspire children."
"We got schools here. And they're full of chavalos."
"So let's make it for any day you name."
"Not now. I have to go to an appointment," she said, getting in her little putt-putt. She and her books were here one moment then gone the next. No wonder they don't let women drive in Arabia.
"Hey, Arturo, soups on," yelled T?¡o Juan from across the street. I shuffled back toward my chante to enjoy his culinary skills.
"What did you cook?" I said to him, anticipating some exotic dish from some country with a name that sounds made up.
"Canned pea soup backed by a TV dinner."
"You have a sense of humor T?¡o Juan, but you have crossed the line."
"Not if you are invited to address the Samuel Johnson Literary Club, local downtown chapter."
"They invited me."
"What are you supposed to say?"
"What I think of John Boswell."
"I thought it was about that other dude."
"Yes. It is about a Doctor Johnson who wrote the first true dictionary of the English language. That was sometime in the late 1700's in England. John Boswell, a fellow from Scotland, became his camarada, hung around him like family then wrote about him, warts and all. So, I'm going to say what I think of his biography of Sam Johnson."
"He doesn't sound interesting to me. The only time I use a dictionary is when you use some word I don't think they even use in England."
"You have a lot in common with Dr. Johnson. His stomach stuck out in several directions like yours. He could gorge himself like you on his best days. He put away several platefuls of Scotch broth with barley and peas one cool day. Although he said afterwards that he could wait along time before eating that dish again."
"T?¡o Juan, tell me, from that egg-shaped head of yours, do you think I could find love around here or do I have to go outside of East Los?"