10,000 people are buried at San Francisco's Mission Dolores. Among the dead are the early missionaries, colonial families, argonauts and 5,000 Indians.
10,000 people now reside around the Mission.
Among the living are Roxy, Leah, Reina and Dulce.
This is a novel about four women who solve mysteries, help hide China (the person, not the country), write cookbooks, and, finally, accept posthumous donations of tattoos.
New chapters will be added each week. Some of the chapters are pretty graphic and were written for mature readers. Other chapters are kind of raunchy and were written for a cheap laugh.
Editorial comments welcome.
"The reason we're so dangerous is because we're totally harmless." —Cheech Marin
San Francisco’s Mission District, 1974
The service at any family-owned restaurant varies throughout the day, but late-afternoon is the absolute worst time to expect to be served at La Taqueria de Tripas y Sesos. The lunch staff is engrossed in their daily ritual of smoking cigarettes while counting tips. The dinner staff make a point of not looking up as they roll flatware into paper napkins.
On the barstool in the cocktail lounge twelve-year-old Roxy was enjoying the afterschool snack Chucha had prepared for her. Halfway through the Doritos topped with melted cheese and slathered in packets of taco sauce—Roxy’s creation—she watched another potential customer give up and leave. When she complained about the loss of business to her father, the bartender, he gave her a ‘What are you gonna do about it?’ shrug. He refilled her glass of Pepsi, which was actually a generic cola and only cost pennies per pint.
Well, Roxy was gonna do something about it. She started doing her homework on the corner barstool so she could keep an eye on the entrance. Customers were greeted by a smiling chubby girl dressed in a parochial school uniform. Most thought she was cute in the way that all children are cute. Even the ugly ones.
Roxy seated four National Dollar store employees at the best table by the window. She turned around and glared at the waitstaff, both shifts. A quick game of piedra, papel, tijeras ensued to see who would wait on them.
As Roxy headed back to the bar she glanced at the overhead TV showing local news though the sound was off. Video footage of Patricia Hearst wearing a beret and wielding an M1 carbine was on the screen. The bank robbery occurring in their city gave the customers a certain ownership of the story. They debated over whether the heiress had been brainwashed or a bored teenage hippie rebelling against her wealthy family.
When the discussion was dying down they began to make things up. An older customer staring at the raw egg floating in his red beer said, “I heard the Siamese Liberation Army is still around and they’re planning on kidnapping a politician next. I think they said Mayor Alioto.”
“Why?” Mr. Zamora said, mesmerized by the fruit flies hovering over the liquor bottles in the well.
“Because they want to destroy the state capitals,” he said.
Roxy thought, capitalist state, but said nothing. Correcting adults was just showing off. She knew ‘Siamese’ wasn’t right either, but she couldn't come up with the actual name.
“What if they go to Mayor Alioto's house to kidnap him and Governor Brown’s visiting?” A customer said. “Wouldn’t they take Jerry instead? I mean, the mayor is like a full house, which is pretty good, but the governor is a better hand.”
“What hand is Nixon?” Someone asked.
The man slurped the egg, then paused for effect before saying, “A toilet flush.”
They all laughed uproariously. Some wheezed while slapping the bar. Roxy tuned them out. She flipped to the back of her school notebook and started a tally of the customers she seated.
San Francisco, 1980
MR. ZAMORA IS DEAD
Roxy and her younger sister, Leah, were at school when their father’s fatal freak accident occurred. He was electrocuted in the kitchen of the restaurant while attempting to unplug a faulty electric bean masher. It was actually an industrial electric potato masher, only they used it for beans. To this day, no one can explain why he was mashing the beans in the first place.
(New chapter next Sunday)
EARLY REVIEWS ARE IN
“Some of the most interesting, well-drawn character
incontemporary Chicana literature...It shines.”
—Rudolfo Anaya, author, Bless Me, Ultima
"...female friendship and empowerment strikes
universal chords that will resonate with all readers.”
—Michael Nava, author of The City of Palaces
“The yarn Sandoval spins of their lives…
would make an HBO show-runner proud."