“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,” mumbled the 8-year-old Cayetano.
“Enunciate,” she demanded.
“Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.”
“Open your mouth when you speak. When a person can speak well, it is a beautiful thing to listen to.”
“All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again.”
“You need to open your lips and use your tongue when you speak. Move your hands and arms to let the people know what you are saying. That’s how my brothers and sisters do it,” she reminded her grandson.
That is how they did it. Being outstanding storytellers, every descriptive word often lead to a humorous ending.
“Ratti tatti sevolopo! Ratti tatti sevolopo! Rascate, rascate pero no voy! Ratti tatti sevolopo!”
“That’s my favorite one. Sing it again,” she said.
Cayetano did. She listened wide-eyed and mouthed the words as she coached his enunciation. Her lambe cazuelas bobbed up and down to keep the tempo.
“Very good.” Grandma Dallas smiled.
“Can I watch TV now?” the boy griped.
“Go ahead but be quiet. You don’t want to upset the ghost. He doesn’t like the idiot box.”
The boy jumped off the kitchen counter and ran to his uncle’s old room with the rotary dial, black and white television set to watch a Bruce Lee movie that he didn’t get to finish watching last time.
Last time, Cayetano and his brother Nicho were watching this kung fu movie. A young Chinese woman fell in love with the master Bruce Lee. Dramatic and romantic music played. She removed her blouse and kept a stoic expression. Master Bruce and she held hands and bounced on a trampoline with faces expressing bliss.
Cayetano and Nicho heard their mom’s voice, “Let’s go! Boys! Let’s go!”
Cayetano turned the TV off. The image on the television collapsed into a glowing white dot that slowly disappeared.
Some time later on a summer afternoon, Cayetano luckily caught the movie on TV again. This time the two brothers were watching it on the color television set in another room. The siblings practiced their kung fu moves. The dialogue in the movie went on and Nicho fell asleep. The conservative and stoic young Chinese woman returned. She looked at Master Bruce. The dramatic and romantic music started. Cayetano shot a glance at his sleeping brother. The woman began to unbutton her blouse, exposing her white bra. Cayetano couldn’t believe his luck. This scene that haunted his young life for months reappeared. This time he was going to finish watching it.
“Cayetano! What are you doing? Come over here.”
He didn’t hear her coming. Somehow, she knew what he was watching.
“Turn off that TV right now and come over here. Is your brother asleep?”
Cayetano grunted, turned off the TV and walked over to her, disappointed and bewildered. How did she always know when he was up to something?