"My name is Emily," she continued before I could walk away. Actually, I wanted to fly away from there a de volada, ese, I mean, reader.
"My name is Artie," I said, humoring her.
"Arturo," she said, playing with a strand of her hair, which she had combed in a new way. "My cousin mentioned you."
"What cousin?" I said, not remembering talk of cousins.
"My cousin Rosie."
"You're Rosie," I explained to her.
"I am not," she explained to me.
I thought maybe I should wrestle her down and tie her up with the manguera.
Just then, another Rosie appeared. This one carrying books again.
"What's the matter?" said the most up-to-date Rosie with her old hair.
She was addressing my gaze. I'm sure I looked at her as if she shouldn't be standing there or anywhere else since she was already swinging on the porch.
"I did not expect you to look like someone else," I said accusingly. "Which one of you is Rosie?"
"I am," said the up-to-date one.
"People think we're twins, but we're not," said Emily aka The Swinging Rosie.
"What are you if you're not twins?" I said.
"?íPrimas!" they said at the same time as if they were identical twins.
"Cousins?" I clarified for English-only readers.
Emily nodded gaily.
Then my T?¡a Josefina drove up to my house, honking her horn like always. I felt like Archangel Gabriel who, ready to blow his horn for The Rapture, is tapped on the shoulder, and told it had been postponed. He could not have been more disappointed than me at the moment. I had to leave both Rosies to go greet T?¡a Josefina. Otherwise, she would spend the rest of the day making me a miserable Lowrider. I went to her car and made her jump an East L.A. foot when I appeared to her from an unexpected direction.
"What are you doing coming from over there?" she demanded to know and loudly, always ready to make me justify my presence.
"Exchanging chismes with my vecinas,??Qu?® m?ís?"
"Roll your gordura over to the back seat. I have a box I want you to carry in for me."
I rolled with the punch. After all, she is sangre. Siempre hirviendo but sangre. I turned to see the cuates on the porch as T?¡a Josefina cracked her old Chicana whip while heading for my front door. She barged into my house like she was jamming into a Wal-Mart on a Black Friday. I retrieved the box from the back seat and followed. She had covered the box with an old toalla.
I turned again to look across the street. Rosie, whichever was Rosie, was gone along with her twin. I entered my house and was about to set the box on the floor when T?¡a Josefina looked like she was ready to hit me with a Ronda Rousey right cross, followed by a good patada to the stomach.
"Put that on the kitchen table, not on the floor," she barked like an agitated seal.
"What is it?"
"It's something I need to ask T?¡o Juan about. Is that skinny rat??n home yet?"
Again, being used to my T?¡a Josefina's speaking manners, I did not blink; however the reader must understand that she means lots of harm, but only in the interest of what she wants, no matter the day of the week or time of year. So I was about to tell her he wasn't in while planting my feet firmly to await her verbal Tsunami.
Then the screen door swung open and T?¡o Juan himself made his regal appearance. He tossed his beret onto the couch with a flourish.
"Where you been?" asked T?¡a Josefina as if he were an inebriated husband sneaking in at four in the morning.