Five Micros by Fortunato Salazar

"How I Made Myself into a Child and Drew Myself in Quarters"

how i made myself into a child and drew myself in quarters

my mother first made me into West Central Produce, Inc. Say what you will, it kept me on my toes—I had a revenue stream; at every traffic light I tapped my knee, sang gratitude. No Bob Hope for me! No Siberian Health! But my mother… and her connections with the union… I couldn’t settle. All around me settling went on, my brothers, sisters, settling of the obscure personage known to my mother as “Frank Fury.” All I knew about Frank Fury was that he hadn’t settled. Couldn’t be pinned down, vaguely daunting, sticky every

she did her pincers thing, stood tall… there was something of the iguana about Frank Fury… I said to my mother, “Mother, where do you see him stopping?” with his gruff aloofness that had something of a Chabad of Sherman Oaks about it… and she stopped me right there and made me into a generic figure, a silhouette rubbing one out, for all to see, the ubiquitous silhouette. Put me in a logically impossible configuration at the corners of a busy intersection, intended merely to brush me back, a light slap on the wrist. Thump! On the wrist

back in my boots, bookending invoices. The jolt had left a scar. When I tapped my knee, something happened to my voice, a subtle gruffness, immediately the gruffness stopped me in my tracks, though the vehicle continued down Van Nuys. The vehicle had something of a cash and title loans scam about it that can find its own way home. My mother waited in the renovated back room where she massages discounts. I cleared my throat. In the instant before I spoke, my mother witched me into a BevMo! the only BevMo! approved

charter school in a strip mall. In that instant I could not speak and at the same time heard the gruffness in the words I’d planned. Not only couldn’t speak, my doors were shut, middle of the day, a boon for the competition, a confidence-inspiring boon: hello, leasing banner. In that instant, I almost settled–a real comeuppance. This time I actually flinched. I only learned what flinching really is when I watched my mother pull into the strip mall in a lime-green boat tail Riviera. Grown ups

puffy jackets and backward baseball caps swarmed the Riviera. Kids in embroidered uniforms inquired knowledgeably about the boat tail, oblivious to what they were not. They were not the Green Coin Laundry on Reseda. They were not the Tarzana Park on Victory. They were not a lonely turquoise skateboard wheel made to live all by itself at the center of a busy flagship store, a wheel that anyone could come along and spin, and did. They were not Frank Fury and above all they were not


“Brother was mother’s first and favorite. He never talked back. He never went out. His paychecks went only into her account.”