A short story by Daniel A. Olivas
Ah, mis amigos. I have missed you so much! But you see, I needed some downtime, as my gabacho friends say. I needed to “recharge” myself. Partake in a little sopa de pollo para el alma. But I have returned, refreshed. My ch’i is back in balance, I have corrected the bad feng shui in my life, and I thank the powers-that-be that my house was not built facing a fork in the road, a dead end, or a valley. In short, all is well and I am ready to tell cuentos again.
¿Cómo? You think I joke? Oh, I would never joke of such things. Everyone must be in balance or else one cannot function as fully as one must. As my papá was fond of saying: El campo fértil no descansado, se tornará estéril. You know: The fertile field that is not given rest will become barren. Well, I was under great threat of becoming barren, spiritually speaking, of course. This is true of all living things. Even for the Devil. Yes, El Diablo. Or, as I’ve told you many, many times before, if you’re in certain neighborhoods in Los Angeles, it’s La Diabla. Because the Devil is legion, the Devil resides in most towns and cities and may be a man or a woman or both. It all depends on what is needed. So, apropos of my cuento for today, in some of the upscale areas of my beloved City of Angels, the Devil is very much female.
Well, one day back at the end of the 1970s, when disco was still king and just before the Reagan years, things weren’t going so well for La Diabla. Yes, she resided in a beautiful beachfront home at Malibu which should make any soul feel refreshed each day. But remember that she had gone through all that loco shit with Don de la Cruz not to mention that crazy Quetzalcoatl. ¡Ay Dios mío! That was some crazy-ass crap, wasn’t it? My cabeza starts to swim just thinking about it all! And though she’s a bit modest, if push came to shove, La Diabla would admit to having something to do with some of the best evil that befell the world in the late seventies: Jim Jones and his little escapade in Guyana, the oil spill from the Amoco Cadiz off Brittany’s coast, the rise of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Donald Trump, and the untimely death of Elvis. Legion always tapped her for the big jobs, even if it took her out of Los Angeles. Anyway, brilliant work if you think about it.
But spawning evil day in and day out can knock the stuffing out of anyone. ¿No? La Diabla couldn’t get away from her work even living in beautiful Malibu. I mean, think about it: her neighbors were film and music people who could give her a run for her money when it came to committing depraved and degenerate acts. It all made her feel so weary. Even her boy toy, Eduardo, an “actor” who made his real living as a very fine waiter at the Good Earth restaurant in Westwood, began to bore her. Besides, he slept with her not because she was beautiful. Oh, no. As you know, any man who fucks La Diabla suffers horrible pain. Eduardo did the dirty deed because La Diabla had promised him great and future success as an actor. Anyway, La Diabla needed to get away for a while and recreate in the truest sense of the term. But where to go? What to do?
La Diabla had already traveled throughout the world, from Paris, Texas, to Paris, France. She had enjoyed all climates, innumerable foreign delicacies, every conceivable carnal delight. But those were working vacations, really. She toiled wherever she went, never resting even while taking great joy in spreading her spleen. One day, after feeling particularly fed up with it all, La Diabla sat in her study, closed her eyes, and let the rhythmic crash of the waves work on her subconscious. Where could she go? What would be different? New? Relaxing and refreshing? And then it came to her, in a burst, just like that. Palo Alto! She had of course been to San Francisco and Oakland and even Sunnyvale, but La Diabla had missed Palo Alto despite a very fine recommendation from one of her favorite disciples. This gentleman (let’s call him “Simón”) attended one of Stanford University’s graduate programs (I won’t divulge which one for obvious reasons) and in his spare time was a staff artist for Stanford’s admirable and well-established humor magazine, the Chaparral. Simón’s particular talent was embedding subliminal messages in his illustrations. These messages were not innocent ones to encourage the student body to drink Coke or buy Nike shoes. Oh, no. His subliminal messages encouraged Stanford’s young folk to cheat on tests, haze neophyte fraternity brothers, listen to Boz Scaggs records, and buy additional copies of the Chaparral for loved ones.
In any event, Simón had always waxed eloquent when it came to life on “the Farm” as this fine university is called by all who love it. And he had nothing but praise for the surrounding communities of Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, et cetera. All-meat pizzas at Fargos, sirloin steak burgers from Kirk’s, TOGO’s six-foot-long submarine sandwiches, a cool mug of beer at the Oasis. As you can see, Simón’s life on the Farm revolved around food and drink. But he also sang the praises of the incomparable LSJUMB (those crazy pendejos make the football games so loco!), evening strolls along the Quad, visits to Hoover’s last erection (Hoover Tower to you), and chatting about current events over a frothy latté at the campus coffee shop. It all seemed so relaxing to La Diabla. Why not stay near the Farm?
So La Diabla contacted a broker and located a wonderful house for lease on Cowper. Perfect setting: not too far from campus, nestled among other fine homes in Palo Alto with trees lining every street. And a bargain, too, though she really didn’t need to worry about money. Who could ask for more? With a phone call, it was all set. La Diabla would finally have a vacation, come back refreshed, and be ready to do battle with good once more. ¡Hijole! She was going to come back swinging like a drunken puta! She leased her Malibu abode to a record executive who had been kicked out of his Pacific Palisades mansion by his third wife, packed up a few things, and flew up north.
Settling into the quaint Palo Alto home took little effort. It fit La Diabla like the knitted leg warmers she was fond of wearing during the cool beach winters. The hardwood floors gleamed with new polish, and the Shaker furniture proved to be functional, comfortable, and oddly calming. Ah! The only thing that gave La Diabla the willies was Saint Anne’s Church, which was no more than three blocks away down her street. But she decided not to let the competition bother her. Two full months of no work, just relaxation. Right? Of course, right!
So time passed. One week, then two, now three. And with each day of doing nothing but strolling the finely manicured neighborhood with a few jaunts onto campus, La Diabla grew more and more relaxed. The worry lines on her beautiful brow began to recede, her frown softened sometimes into a small smile, her neck and shoulders loosened. Why hadn’t she done this before? She knew the answer: La Diabla was a classic type A. No doubt about it.
Well, I wouldn’t be telling you this cuento, mis amigos, if La Diabla’s little vacation went swimmingly. No, that wouldn’t be a story at all. So let’s get down to it. ¿No? So I ask you: what would ruin such a perfect and well-deserved sabbatical from evildoing? Think hard. Remember my other tales of La Diabla? ¡Ándale! Got it? ¡Sí! Sex! La Diabla was missing it so bad! You know, she loved to have it in her all the time. Call it what you will: hueso, pistola, pinga, picha, bastón, camote, elote, bastardo, pito, chorizo, lechero, pirinola. Or, as you simple English speakers would say, dick. Nothing made her happier than to have one pulsating and thrusting in her nido, concha, tamal, pepa, mondongo, mamey, paloma, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. She even daydreamed of her insipid young man back in Malibu. La Diabla needed a fuck right away. But all she seemed to appreciate were these Stanford undergraduates. Should she mess with such youthful specimens of budding manhood? It would be wrong, wouldn’t it? Ah! So it would. Which is precisely why it would be so right for La Diabla. She is so evil and horny! A powerful combination. So one morning as La Diabla tossed about in her lonely, clean sheets, she reached up and grabbed her own chichis and swore that she would get laid that very night! Oh, the horror of it all! I’m so relieved that my son went to Berkeley!
Because La Diabla didn’t go to college she hadn’t realized how easy it would be for a woman of her beauty to land an undergraduate male, especially one attending the Farm. She could have her pick, as they say, particularly if La Diabla attended a fraternity rush party. But she was ignorant of such things. She needed help in figuring how to proceed. This could not end in failure for she would surely explode! La Diabla called her friend Simón, who luckily had not yet left his apartment for class.
“Simón,” she purred into the receiver. “I need your assistance.”
“Yes, mi amor,” he purred back. “Anything. Except, you know.”
And she knew what “you know” meant. Sex. You see, several years ago, after having a bit too much vino, Simón—who is a mortal—and La Diabla went for it. And as you might remember, when a mortal has sex with the devil, it ain’t pretty. Oh, the pain! It is indescribable. So I won’t even try. Even the booze couldn’t numb poor, unsuspecting Simón. Thus, despite La Diabla’s extraordinary pulchritude, Simón didn’t want to hit that again. And La Diabla understood completely.
“Well, Simón,” she continued. “I do need to have sex but I won’t burden you with the deed.”
Relieved, he said: “Ah, but you want me to set you up, right?”
“Any sexy friends?” she ventured as she let her left hand slide between her legs.
“Friends?” he said. “You don’t need any of my friends. There are dozens of young men on campus who would kill to get some off you.”
La Diabla loved the flattery. “So, how do I meet one?” Her fingers explored the wet folds of her womanhood.
“Meet me at the coffee shop at seven tonight.”
“Oh, yes!” she said as she climaxed.
Simón shook his head. “I won’t disappoint you.”
La Diabla couldn’t answer. She dropped the receiver in its cradle with a clack and closed her eyes to dream away the morning in delicious anticipation.
She awoke at noon and spent her dear time bathing, dressing, and putting on makeup (or war paint as she liked to joke). La Diabla felt like a young girl again. It was all so exciting! What wonderful man would she have tonight? Who would suffer the exquisite torture of sex with La Diabla? The mystery made her dizzy with anticipation. To burn off some nervous energy, she put on Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall album and danced around the house holding the album cover out in front of her like a partner. Oh, Mr. Jackson looked so handsome to La Diabla. Maybe she could find a man like him tonight! (Please do not be shocked . . . this was many years ago, remember?) She worked up such a sweat shaking her booty that she had to shower again. But no matter. All would be wonderful soon. Simón virtually guaranteed it!
La Diabla got to the Stanford coffee shop a bit early, giddy as a young girl, and ordered a glass of Chablis. She found an empty booth and perused the bustling room. Such good-looking young men everywhere! ¡Ay! Who would be in her tonight?
“Hey, chica, stop drooling,” said a familiar voice.
La Diabla looked up and rested her eyes on Simón’s tanned, angular face. She laughed.
“Oh, Simón, we could skip this hunt and go back to my house,” she purred.
Simón held up a finger: “Un momento. Let me grab a beer.”
When he came back, he took a long drink of his Anchor Steam and let out a tiny burp.
“You’re so sexy when you’re rude,” whispered La Diabla as she reached for his knee, which made Simón jump.
“Mi cielo,” said Simón as he stopped La Diabla’s migrating hand, “let us stick with our plan.”
“Si, mi amor,” she said feeling a bit chastened. “Who do you have for me?”
Simón nodded backward. “Over there, by the painting of the old man.”
La Diabla lifted her exquisite chin and narrowed her fiery eyes. In the corner sat a young man with dark, curly hair, a mustache, and a muscular build. Before him sat a coffee mug and a large textbook which he brushed back and forth with a yellow highlighter.
“Ah!” said La Diabla. “Muscles and brains. Not bad, mi amor, not bad at all.”
Simón acknowledged the compliment with a self-satisfied grin.
“But how do I approach a college student?” she asked. “This is new to me, mi amor.”
Simón leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially: “Easy. Take your wineglass and ask if he minds company.”
La Diabla frowned. “Don’t play with me. I’m so horny I could behead someone right now.”
Simón knew she wasn’t exaggerating because he once saw La Diabla kill for less. So he patted her hand and said, “I’m not joking. And then to break the ice, ask him what he’s studying.”
“I guarantee you will be fucking him within the hour.”
La Diabla asked: “Do you know him?”
Simón laughed. “No, not really. Not well. His name is Andy. Met him once at a party in Flo Mo. He’s a junior, pre-med, and currently single. Broke up three weeks ago with a cute little sophomore from Casa Zapata.”
Oh, mis amigos, such words made La Diabla squirm with sexual energy! A future doctor with the body and face of an actor who probably hadn’t enjoyed any sex for a few weeks. How could she lose? Not possible. She squeezed Simón’s knee in thanks, grabbed her wineglass, and made her way to Andy’s table. After a few moments, he realized someone was standing over him. Andy looked up, a bit annoyed, but then his eyes widened as he took in La Diabla’s beauty.
“Mind a little company?” she asked as her heart beat so hard it seemed to be traveling up her chest into her throat.
Andy offered a crooked smile. La Diabla loved crooked smiles. He stood, gave a slight bow, and pulled a chair out for her. She sat and crossed her long, smooth, brown legs.
“And who might you be?” he asked as he took his seat again.
Now this was a tough one. La Diabla had enjoyed many aliases throughout her centuries-long life. But she wanted something special for tonight. Something cheap, dirty, fuckable. Who should she be? She glanced around the room searching for an idea. Just then, a young woman walked by carrying several books including Nicholas Nickleby.
“Nicki,” said La Diabla turning back to Andy. “With two i’s.”
“Nicki with two i’s, I am Andrew,” he smiled, “but call me Andy.”
They sat in silence for a few moments basking in each other’s admiration. Simón observed them from across the room feeling quite proud of himself.
La Diabla was ready to make her move: “So, what’s your major?”
Andy grinned. “Hum Bio. I’m pre-med.”
La Diabla had no idea what Hum Bio was but she certainly knew the meaning of pre-med. This pretty boy had brains.
“Well, you know what they say,” she purred.
“All study and no fucking makes Andy a boring boy.”
Can you believe it, mis amigos? Such audacity! No woman has ever said such a thing to me and I’m not chopped liver! I’ve had a few chicas in my day. But this is loco! And what do you think Andy did? Well, he fell back in his chair, shook his head, and tried to respond. But not a sound came from his lips. La Diabla knew she had hooked him. So, she played a bit with this poor boy.
“How about it?” she said and slid her foot up Andy’s poor, unsuspecting right leg. He quivered at her touch.
Andy sputtered: “But I have a roommate.”
La Diabla whispered: “I have a house in Palo Alto all to myself.”
Oh, magic words indeed! Better than “I have a single in Serra.” Andy became woozy with anticipation and the possibilities!
“Let’s go!” he yelped like an excited puppy. And then he whispered: “I assume you have a car.”
Of course La Diabla had wheels! And only the best: a cream-colored 1979 (then only a year old!) Mercedes convertible 450 SL with tobacco interior. A joy to ride with the top down on your way to get laid! ¡Chingao! So, they sped to La Diabla’s rented house on Cowper, and, and, and . . . Well, this is where my little cuento gets a bit strange. I’m not quite certain if this old hombre has the palabras to express precisely what happened next. Let me take a swig of my cerveza. Ah! That’s better. Now a copita of Presidente. A reverse chaser! Okay, my lengua is loose, my mind is agile, and I think the words will now come.
This is what happened: they screwed in the hallway, they did it in the closet, they humped up the staircase, and did the fandango in all three bedrooms! For hours and hours they did not stop! La Diabla couldn’t believe her luck to have hooked up with such a campus stud! And after a full twenty-four hours of this craziness, she had to rest, take a nap, to get ready for the next round. This is where it gets strange, mis amigos. La Diabla fell into the deepest sleep of her existence, and she dreamed! You see, she hardly ever slept and she certainly never dreamed. In her dream she strolled alone on the Stanford campus, peering into empty classrooms, gazing down deserted paths, listening to the complete silence of an abandoned university. This brought a chill to La Diabla’s spine, something that was as alien to her as righteousness and piety. And in her dream she felt the anguish of solitude as complete and total as can be. So horrible was this feeling that a tear appeared at the corner of La Diabla’s left eye and made its way, slowly at first, down her cheek and then sped off her face and splashed to the ground.
Then she woke! At first she forgot where she was. Then La Diabla heard Andy moving around in the bathroom. Oh, this Andy. What was he doing to her? He was different from the rest. He didn’t feel the horrific pain when he put his manhood into La Diabla. Why not? What was different about him? But after a moment, it came to her. Andy merely lusted after La Diabla—for the beautiful woman she appeared to be—and he didn’t know that she was the Princess of Evil. In other words, mis amigos, Andy didn’t try to please La Diabla to get something in return such as great wealth or tremendous fame. No. His was an honest, heartfelt desire to fuck La Diabla.
And as the nickel dropped (to coin a phrase, pun intended), Andy opened the bathroom door, grinned a lascivious grin at La Diabla, and bounded back into bed. As La Diabla let this young man enter again, she shed another tear. For you see, she was falling in love. And we all know that La Diabla cannot allow herself to do such a thing. It would ruin her without a doubt, creating that one, true weakness in her being that would make her almost human. So, once they finished, she knew what she had to do to this mortal. There was no choice.
As Andy came for what would be his last time, he said, “Nicki, I love you.”
“Yes, mi cielo,” La Diabla whispered. “Te amo mucho.”
Oh, such sadness, such romance . . . like a Juan Gabriel song. I’m getting a bit choked up just thinking of that poor lad, now long dead. I’m not quite certain that I have a moral for this little story. But I’m reminded of a dicho my abuelito was fond of: “El amor es el último que resiste morir.” You, know: Love is the last thing that dies. Perhaps it is. Perhaps it isn’t. Ni modo. But for one poor Stanford pendejo—who should have known that this woman’s offer was too good to be true—it doesn’t much matter.
Mis amigos, that is the end of my cuento. There you have it. Sex. Death. Stanford. What more is there? Nada más.
[“La Diabla at the Farm” is featured in Daniel Olivas’s new collection, The King of Lighting Fixtures: Stories, which will be published by the University of Arizona Press in fall 2017.]