Thursday, January 02, 2020

Chicanonautica: Cuca, the Monsters of Aztlán, and Me

Though it looks like 2020 is going to be an another pendejada of a year, but it’s starting off in a good way for me. I’ve got a new story out! Which is the sort of thing I live for.

It’s called “Cuca,” which is short for the main character’s name La Cucarachona. Yeah, I’m aware that it means “The big female cockroach,” I’m not like those tontos who have named their Mexican restaurants La Curaracha (they have existed, Emily and I used to eat at a Pancho’s Mexican Buffet across the street from one). Cuca is Chicana masked wrestler. It begins like this:

The empty highway dumped them onto a road lit only by the light of distant stars.
            'Look!' The driver jabbed a metallic brown fingernail that matched her bug-eyed, antenna’d mask and her lipstick. 'We found it.'
           'Wonder how they get electricity out here,' said the passenger, a smartly dressed, balding, green-eyed Chicano with a hint of a mustache.
            On one side of the lumpy stretch of unpaved road, a dilapidated motel was illuminated by a sputtering neon sign that had the iconic Indian and his horse hanging their heads, only the Indian was missing his head, and the horse was missing his tail.
            'I was about ready to grab the wheel, and talk you into looking for a nice, sleazy motel.' He put his hand on her thigh, 'And give you what you’ve really been needing.'
            She gave him a quick, hard elbow to the ribs.

In that mysterious motel in the middle of an Arizona desert, Cuca and her agent find themselves in a nexus of the monsters of Aztlán. She has a life-changing experience that involves the disturbing trend of corporate entities gobbling up local cultures. It’s a short piece crammed with strange creatures of this corner of the world.

This all began with me getting a message from Margrét Helgadóttir, asking me if I lived in North or South America. I guess if people are confused over that, I’m being a proper Chicanonaut, also I wasn’t sure what Scandinavian country she was from (she’s Norwegian/Icelandic). I told her I’m in North America, and she informed me that she was doing a series of anthologies about monsters from different parts of the world, and was looking for stories for the volume about South America, but she would get back to me when she did the one about North America, which she did, a year later.

The book is American Monsters Part 2 (Part1 was the volume about South America), and it’s available from Amazon and Amazon UK (it's from a UK publisher, in case you were wondering about the quotations marks in the snippet).

I couldn’t settle for just one of the monsters from my neighborhood, so I contrived a way to write a monster orgy with Chicano/Mexican pop culture for some sabor pincante.

So buy it, read it, now!

Ernest Hogan, author of High Aztech, Smoking Mirror Blues, and Cortez on Jupiter considers himself to be a monster of Aztlán.

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