Banner M Club

The Margarita Club
(All Rights Reserved)


Chapter 1


It was Friday morning, and not only the beginning of Memorial weekend, but also the official beginning of summer. She stepped outside, and took a deep breath of the warm air, as she held the United States flag in her hand.

Margarita del Carmen Fuentes, was proud to be an American, and flying the flag was something that she always did for all holidays, including the most forgotten one, which was celebrated on June fourteenth, in honor of the flag itself. For a million dollar prize, you could ask people what day Flag Day was, and it was a shame that several people didn’t know there was a special day to honor the flag.   

So today, she would fly the flag for Memorial Day, to honor those soldiers who lost their lives defending our country. She looked up to see where Bernardo, her husband, who she called Bernie, had drilled the flag pole holder on the front wall of the house. She shook her head, and as always le echaba madres a Bernie, for having drilled the flag holder so high for her to reach. She was only 5’3” and had to use either a step ladder, or wear a pair of her highest, high heels to insert the flag into the flag pole holder. So there she was, early in the morning, in her bright red satin robe, wearing her black stilettos, trying very hard to insert the flag into the holder, as her neighbors rubbernecked driving off to work. God only knows what they were thinking of their erotic-romance-writer-backslash-neighbor, whose husband was seldom ever home.

She noticed a silver Chevy truck coming along the loop. “Oh God,” she rolled her big brown eyes and muttered to herself, as the idiot she detested passed by ogling her. His name was Javier Silva, and he lived on the other side of the loop of her street. He was a pervert, who still worked for the school district after having been caught peeking in the middle school girls’ dressing room as they showered. Yes, you read correctly. The girls reported the incident to their coach and what did the district do? They moved his perverted ass across town, to another school, just like the Catholic Church moves perverted priests; and yes, she too was Catholic. She never understood why the parents of those girls never protested, because if it had been her daughter, she would have gone straight to the local PRO 8 News television station and demanded on their Problem Solvers team to have something done. But that wasn’t the only reason that she didn’t like him. He had grabbed her son Anthony by the back of his neck intending to hurt him. This happened last Christmas holiday, when Anthony was over at his best buddy Mark’s house. It just so happened that Mark lived next door to this idiot Javier, who was also friends with Mark’s father. But that is another story that will be told later, because justice still had not been served, for this one pissed off mamacita for laying a hand on her son.

“Me la vas a pagar, Viejo cochino, desgraciado,” she muttered, narrowing her eyes and giving him the death stare, as he drove by. “I hope you have a flat tire. I hope you get a speeding ticket. I hope you get diarrhea at work and shit in your pants.” She tried to say as many evil things to him, hoping to send as much negative energy his way. Her energy healer, Blanca, had told her that we always need to control what we think, because our thoughts are very powerful and could hurt people. Well, today she was hoping that her negative energy thoughts would catch a ride with the pervert. “That’s what he gets for passing by here anyway.”

From a distance, she heard her son’s voice. “Mom, what are you doing?” asked Anthony, holding his backpack with one hand.

Margarita was already out of breath, when she turned on her heel. She was also, feeling the burning in her arms from trying to reach up to the flag holder or maybe it was from holding the position that long, while she sent her negative thoughts to the pervert.

“What do you think I’m doing, son? I so wish your father would fix this dang pole holder to my height.”

“Mom, then the flag would be flying close to the ground.” He teased.

“Ay que huerco fregado!” She tried to hold back her laughter, because he had a point.

He laughed and said, “Here mom, give me that flag. I’ll do it.” He laid his backpack on the ground and within seconds placed the flag in the flag holder.

She looked at her handsome son, who had inherited his father’s height. He was a junior in high school and next year he would be busy with his senior year. She grabbed him by his face, holding onto his cheeks and kissed his forehead. “Thank you, son.”

He blushed. “Aw, mom.”

She looked towards the front door. “Where is your sister? You are dropping her off for me, aren’t you?” There was desperation in her voice.

“Yes, mom,” he drawled. “I don’t know why girls take so long to get dressed.” He bent over to grab his black backpack from the ground.

“Be patient, son. Wait till you have a girlfriend, because I’m more than sure she’ll have you waiting too.”

“I told Andrea, if she doesn’t come out in five minutes that I was leaving her behind. And I’ve been here with you for at least two minutes, and if she doesn’t come out mom… I will leave.” He stared at her with wide eyes. “I need to teach her a lesson, that when I say something, that I mean it.” He grinned at his mother. “Sound familiar?”

Of course it did, because that was one of her sayings. She took a deep breath, and screamed from the bottom of her stomach, with all her might, “Andrea! Get out here now!” Her throat veins became visible and her face turned red.  

Andrea was an eighth grader this year and was excited that she would be going to the high school next year with her brother. She stepped outside the front door and almost twisted her ankle in the wedge heels that she wore. “My God, MOM! How embarrassing! I think the whole neighborhood heard you.”

The entire neighborhood probably had heard her cheerleader yell. Yes, she still had that yell. She had acquired it, back in the day of her cheerleader years, when there were only five of them in the squad, including the Panther mascot. Funny how after drinking a few drinks, she loved to sing her school fight song when she got together with her older brother Jessie. It didn’t matter where they were, or who was there, if they were intoxicated they were going to sing the Mirando City fight song from her hometown. At the end of the fight song, if she could still stand, she would throw in a cheerleader kick or two, because she thought she still had it.   

 Margarita walked towards her daughter. “Just making sure your brother doesn’t leave without you, mija,” her voice was now tender and sweet.

“You just don’t feel like driving me today mom,” she blinked, sad puppy dog eyes at her.

There was sarcasm in her voice, “Yes, that’s true too.” She leaned in and gave her a kiss on her cheek. “You look beautiful, mija.” She pulled away, admiring her daughter’s hairdo.

Andrea had braided the top of her hair, into a headband, but wore the rest of her long hair loosely. She flashed her mother a warm smile. “Thanks mom.”

Margarita stood on the front porch, waving, and watching her children drive away to school. She was so happy that she didn’t have to drive the kids to school anymore, because Anthony had his driver’s license now. Even though the car insurance was costing Bernie two of his huevos, in the end, it was all worth it.

She sent them with a blessing, “Diosito, cuida mis hijos con tu santo manto, y cubra los con las alitas de los angelitos.”

When her son’s green Toyota Tacoma truck was out of sight, she ran inside and headed to her home office. Yes, she could run in high heels, because she began wearing high heels at a young age of fifteen. She sat comfortably in her black computer chair, and rubbed her hands together, waiting for the computer monitor to come to life.

She hit the F5 key on the keyboard to refresh her Texas Hold‘Em Facebook page. “All right! Let’s see how many lucky bonus poker chips I can claim today.” She had over sixteen million dollars in poker money and every day she craved more, and more. She hit the spin key and was lucky to collect twenty thousand dollars more. “Yes!” She threw her hands in the air, grinning a goofy smile, only to be caught by her seventy-nine year old mother, who lived with her.

Her mother gave her a weird, Are-You-Okay look from where she stood. The older lady then said, in a peppy voice, as she waved, “I’ll see you later. I’m off to the Concilio.”

“OKAY, AMA!” Margarita yelled, from her desk. Yes, her mother was hard of hearing and was in denial. She said that she didn’t need hearing aids and claimed that they only wanted her money.

Her mother, whose name was Maria del Refugio Hernandez, but was known at the house as grandma Cuca or guela Cuca, came to live with her three years after Margarita’s father had passed away. It was now fifteen years later, and her mother was very much part of the Fuentes family household. Cuca was a strong-willed woman, with the motto, “it’s my way or the highway,” and in Spanish, me vale madre. Margarita always teased her mother that Me Vale Madre would be engraved on her tombstone when she died.

Cuca was still able to drive herself every day to the local senior center, sponsored by the Border Area Nutrition Center, but known to the locals as El Concilio. Leave it to la raza to come up with their own names for things around town. There at El Concilio, the elderly gathered to eat lunch and to play Loteria for money. And talk about gambling, some of the viejitos played four to six cards at a time, and her mother was one of them. So if anyone was wondering why Margarita loved to gamble, you didn’t have to go too far to figure it out. So as the Mexican saying said, “De tal palo, tal astilla,” and in English, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Her cell phone rang, and the ring tone filled the room with Vicente Fernandez’s voice singing “El Rey.” That was the ring tone she had for her husband, Bernie. “Hey honey, how’s your morning going?”

He called every morning when he was away at work, to make sure everyone and everything was okay at the house. One never knew what could have happened during the night with teenage kids and with an elderly woman at the house.

“Hey, mama. How’s everything at the house?”

“We are all good this morning. The kids have left for school and mom has left for the Concilio.”

“Well, I know I promised you and the kids that I’d be home today, but the company man is not releasing us like we thought.”

She blinked a few times, as the words echoed in her head. Why didn’t this surprise her, for this wasn’t the first time he had to cancel? “Can you find someone to relieve you?”

“Uh, that’s a stupid question to ask. You know how everyone wants this holiday off.”

She looked out the window to her home office and stared at the flag, watching the red, white, and blue fabric blow with the wind.

“Hello, Margarita. Are you there?”

“Yes, I’m here,” she muttered.

“Oh, I thought my phone had dropped the signal.”

She released a deep sigh. “No, I’m just disappointed. Well, I guess there goes Garner State Park with la familia for Memorial weekend.”

“No! You go and take the kids.” He insisted.

“Na. I’m tired of going alone without you. So if you’re not going, I’m not up to it. I’ll call my brother and tell him not to expect us.”

“I’m sorry Margarita.” There was sincerity in his voice.

“Me too,” she drawled.

“Mama, I have to go, but I’ll call you later this evening. Love you.”

“Love you too. God bless you and be safe.” She ended the call and stared out the window, as far as she could see.

This was the way of life, for a wife whose husband worked in the oilfield. Bernie was a Well Tester, who primarily worked with natural gas wells out in the brush, better known as en el monte, and his work required him to be gone for weeks at a time. This had been their way of life for the past twenty years of their marriage, since he began working in the oilfield. So many missed birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s day, Father’s days, Valentines, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, children’s school performances, and the list went on. She had even prepared to drive herself to the hospital when she was pregnant with Anthony. Lucky for her that he had asked for time off, because her car at the time was standard and it would have been unbearable to shift gears. She also got lucky again, when Andrea was born, because it just happened that he was on days off. Bernie had sacrificed so much of himself, over the years being away from his family, but that was what paid the bills.

She got up from her office chair and went to the kitchen, with Pepito, her mixed Chihuahua dog, following right behind her.

“I need some coffee before I call Jessie and Carmen, to tell them not to expect us tonight,” she said, to herself.

She was so looking forward to seeing her brother and her sister-in-law and their family. She had pictured herself tubing the Frio River while drinking cold Lone Star beers with the Garner Regulators Gang. That gang consisted of her sister-in-laws other three sisters and their families, which sometimes totaled to about thirty or so of them, at the campsite.   

She took her favorite coffee cup, with a picture of a pink flamingo wearing pink fluffy slippers that read, ‘I’m Not A Morning Person.’ That was probably why she liked the coffee cup so much, because it fitted her to the tee. She had bought that cup in Panama City, Florida, last summer, when la familia had caravanned to visit her niece, Krystal. What an adventure that turned out to be.

Pepito barked from the back patio door, alerting her that he needed to take his morning pee break. She walked to the patio door, holding her hot coffee, opened the door, and stepped outside with him. She looked at the pool water, then at the patio table, and then at the lounge chases. And voila! Her eyes widened, and the end of her lips curled, when her bright idea came to her mind; something like when the Grinch who Stole Christmas expression.

“I know! I’ll invite some of the girls over for some margaritas tonight!” She looked at Pepito who had his leg lifted in the air, watering a bush with his natural juices. “I’ll leave you to your business Pepito, because I have to make some important phone calls.”     




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