My first encounter with snakes occurred in a dream. I was like 9 or 10 and I had no idea dreams could feel real. I was real scared, not crazy scared, but scared enough to make me scream and run to my parent’s bed. At that age I didn’t care about being butch. When snakes are about to eat you whole, even fake snakes, you run for your life. So I did. My parent’s laughed but I wasn’t amused.
My second encounter with snakes occurred much later in life but he wasn’t a snake at all. He was a scorpian. His name was Jim. My experience with Jim was the first time
I consciously understood the concept of imminent threat and the power of astrology to predict human behavior. It’s also the time I learned to laugh at myself. I have a four-letter word tattooed on my back to remind me of that day. It starts with an F. It protects me from forgetting.
Back to the snake, the scorpion king, who pushed me off the bus, face first, into a mud puddle. All the boys and girls on the bus laughed and I did too even though my face hurt from the impact. Even the bus driver laughed. I felt like a mouse surrounded by fat cats and my legs wouldn’t work so I pretended I was having fun and rolled around in the mud laughing. That was my first experience with make-up of sorts. When I got home I recognized the power of make believe, of pretending you are someone you are not in order to become something or someone more powerful than you really are.
As I removed the caked on mud I decided that I would never let that monkey off my back (or face) and began to experiment with rouge and blush on by little brother’s face. Mom wasn’t so happy but he didn’t mind so I started to practice on myself instead. That’s when my fascination for dress up began and led me to the person I am today.
Red shoes. Horns. Wings. A lion for a pet.
I miss the scorpion king and the sting I felt when my face made contact with Earth. I think about him often. When I spit in his face in the middle of homeroom the next day he didn’t say word. No one said a word. Not even our teacher Ms. White. He must have felt like the tiniest mouse in the world surrounded by the biggest cats he ever saw in his life. Meow, I whispered and gave him the finger. The whole class roared like lions.
|Neil de la Flor