Monday, September 12, 2011


A short story by Daniel A. Olivas

That pinche Alejandro…makes me take my pinche clothes off to paint me, my picture, me in the nude because he says mi cielo that is how your soul comes out to touch me, fill me up, only with your naked skin. Some kind of pendejo jack-ass shit line he laid on me and because I was all fucked up on Coors so I said, okay, you want to paint my naked ass, okay, here it is and I take off my shirt, sweat pants and everything and just kind of toss my shit up there on the fence and I hear a coyote scream like a woman in labor and the sun is coming up and Alejandro says, perfect! Perfect! You look so bonita, Ana, he says and he holds up his pinche thumb like those old movies and closes one eye, one perfect brown eye with eyelashes out to here and then he starts to paint. And he paints. And he paints. And the sun begins to spit out reds, yellows and oranges and I'm kind of cold but he says in a whisper, almost done, mi amor, almost done, don't move, I need to finish. And then I go all soft inside because he believes in his art, his painting, and in me. But then I begin to shiver and I say, fucking finish already, pendejo, and then he throws me this look like I fucking kicked my abuelita or something and he says, fuck you, bitch, fuck you. I say, wait, wait, I didn't mean it, mi cielito, I didn't fucking mean it, but he's already walking away muttering something. I don't know what to do so I cross my arms over my tits and walk to his canvas, all naked still, and take a peek at what he's been doing and it like totally takes my breath away, locks my breath up in a closet, because I'm beautiful in this painting. So beautiful. I pick it up and hold it, smelling the fresh oil paints and then I walk it over to the fence, set it down, and step back. And the coyote is quiet now and the sun begins to warm me and I just stare at myself by the fence. Who is that? She's so beautiful. Totally beautiful. And I breathe in the morning and the paint and I can't stop looking at her. At me.

[“Painting” is featured in Anywhere But L.A.: Stories (Bilingual Press) and first appeared in Tattoo Highway.]

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