Juanita’s Victories Chapter 17.
Written By Sher Trott Bailey.
The next day, Salvano came to pick Juanita up for her meeting with Fred Thompson. In the car, the two discussed Fred’s property.
” So it’s 80 acres for only USD $30,000. He must really want to sell. I checked out the pictures, the land is pretty flat for the most part and already has mature fruit trees. Plus there is a house that you could move into” Salvano said.
” Yeah, and it’s not too far away, just about a two-hour drive, down by Punta Gorda,” Juanita said.
” Juanita, I also saw some seaside properties,” Salvano mentioned.
” But those properties are way out of my price range for now Salvano,” Juanita said
” 80 acres would be great for your luxury farm idea. You could do a lot with that. Plus the price is really good.” Salvano said.
” Oh look there is the entrance coming up,” Juanita exclaimed.
She called Fred on the phone to let him know they were coming up his driveway.
“Who knows if he has dogs?” Juanita thought.
Right after calling Fred, Juanita let out a loud sneeze. A distraught feeling flashed through her.
” Oh no! Oh no, no no no” Juanita said forlornly.
” What? What is it? Did you forget something important or something?” Salvano asked a bit perturbed by her obvious distress.
” No, oh god! I hope it’s not what I think it is.”Juanita exclaimed again.
” Hey, tell me what’s wrong?” a puzzled Salvano said.
Juanita made a face. She was on her period and when she had sneezed she felt a gush of warm blood flow out into her padded underwear. What was really distressing was that she felt her skirt getting wet after that. It meant that maybe her sanitary pad hadn’t absorbed the sudden gush. Her thoughts rapidly went to:
“Did I mess up Salvano’s car seat? is there blood on my skirt? Oh, how am I going to meet Fred? Where was she going to clean herself up?”
Stemming back feelings of embarrassment that wanted to engulf her, she instead squared her jaw and reminded herself that periods were a normal way of life for women. There was nothing to be embarrassed about. She just had to get to a bathroom.
” It’s my period, I think I may have bled onto my skirt, maybe even onto your car seat,” Juanita answered a very concerned-looking Salvano.
” Oh thank God! I thought it was something drastic. I’ve never seen you so distressed before. ” Salvano said in relief.
” It’s ok, we will ask Fred to use his bathroom. I can go drive to a nearby haberdashery and get you any supplies you might need.” Salvano said.
” It’s ok. I have a lady kit. I have extra pads and panties. It’s just my skirt though.” Juanita said worriedly.
” Oh, don’t worry I have some fresh jogger pants in my trunk. You can wear those.” Salvano offered.
” Ok. Thank you Salvano.” Juanita said silently thanking God too.
” Let me go and greet Fred and ask him to use his bathroom. Do you mind if I explain a bit to him?” Salvano asked her.
” Yeah, it’s ok. I’m not embarrassed.” Juanita said
Salvano went out and greeted the elderly man coming down his stairs. A smiling Fred held out his hand to shake Salvano’s hand.
” Welcome, you must be Salvano. Where is Ms. Cortázar?”
” Hello, ah Juanita has a woman’s issue. Can we use your bathroom shower?” Salvano explained.
Pausing a bit, Fred’s eyebrows knitted together, then understanding dawned on him. Juanita was looking at the two men talking in the rearview mirror.
” Ohh!!! Ok, no problem. Of course please come inside.” Fred said waiting and looking at Salvano’s car.
” Thank you,” Salvano said to Fred.
Walking back to the car, Salvano came around to Juanita’s door and opened it.
” Come on beautiful, let’s go clean you up and get on with the tour,” Salvano said.
Juanita got up from her car seat and quickly looked back to see if blood had gotten onto Salvano’s seat.
” That’s the least Juanita, my seat is black leather. It’s easy for me to clean. I will take care of that. Don’t worry your head about it.” Salvano said softly.
” Ok,” Juanita said, holding her skirt and walking over to greet Fred.
” Hello, Mr.Thompson.”
” Ms. Cortazar, please call me Fred. Please come let me show you to the bathroom. Is there anything I can get you?…fresh towels are in the bathroom, I have clothes and new underwear from when my daughter’s left here last.” Fred rushed to say.
” Ahmm, it’s okay. I already have a little kit that I take with me. Plus Salvano will give me some pants that he has. I’m going to wash my skirt though, can I hang it on your clothes line?” Juanita asked.
” Of course young miss,” Fred said showing her the door to his bathroom.
” We have warm water and liquid soap, powdered soap and detergent are all under the sink. Please make yourself at home.” Fred said smiling warmly.
Liking the kind man’s vibe and face, Juanita smiled and went into the bathroom. Juanita went about undressing and taking a shower. She washed her skirt and underwear and wrung out the water. She used a fresh towel to dry her body and quickly opened her kit. She changed her pad and underwear.
“ It’s this stupid new brand of pad that I bought. The ones with no wings. No wonder the pad shifted.” Juanita thought.
Juanita had always had smooth periods for the most part. She was never one to have cramps or heavy bleeding. At most her breast just got more sensitive and she had cravings for sweets.
Meanwhile back outside, Salvano had already quickly wiped down the passenger’s seat. He went to get the pants and brought them to Juanita. Fred was very talkative and had been telling him about the history of the farm.
“I don’t get embarrassed about these things. My wife Rebecca would have sweet cravings around her time of the month. My Rebecca loved this place. We planted many trees together here, raised the kids. She passed four years ago. Now it’s only me.” Fred was saying.
” Ah excuse me, Fred, where is your clothing line and can I get some cloth pins?” Salvano asked.
” of course Salvano, let me get you a handful. It’s so nice to have you, young kids, here. I’m surprised that your my buyers, you guys look very young.” Fred said while scuttling to what seemed to be his kitchen. He came back shortly with four clothespins.
” Thanks, let me just go check on her,” Salvano said to Fred.
” Yes of course.”
Knocking on Juanita’s bathroom door, Salvano waited for a response.
‘ Yes” Juanita answered quietly.
” It’s me Salvano, pass me your skirt and underwear so I can go hang them. They should dry in an hour in this heat.” Salvano said.
” Are you sure? I can do it myself.” Juanita replied.
” I’m sure Juanita, it’s no problem.”
Juanita cracked the door and handed him her washed clothing.
” Thanks, Salvano,” Juanita said.
” No problem beautiful.” Salvano took the clothes and went out of the house to hang the clothes.
Fred was busy bringing out some fruits, drinks and three slices of cornmeal pudding. Fred was used to giving old-school hospitality. He hadn’t had company in a while so he was feeling extra perky.
” Ah, there you are. I brought us all some nice slices of cornmeal pudding. Would you like anything to drink?” Fred asked Juanita after she came into the living hall.
” Oh that’s really nice of you Fred, I haven’t had cornmeal pudding in a long time. No I don’t want any drinks but can I have a cup of ice? Please.” Juanita said.
” Ice? Just ice? Well ok…sure.” Fred said in surprise.
Nodding her head Juanita replied, ” Just ice please.”
Juanita waited for Salvano to return inside and for Fred to offer him his cornmeal pudding before she dug into hers. The two men watched as she alternated between eating ice and eating bites of her pudding.
” I make a nice lemon and mango sauce with some condensed milk to go with the cornmeal pudding. Try some on your slices. By the way, if you want more pudding I have more.” Fred said kindly.
” This sauce topping is really delicious!” Juanita commented
Judging by how quickly Salvano had cleaned off his slice of pudding, Fred got up and went to cut another large hunk of pudding for him- no questions asked. Salvano also finished off that piece and finished with a nice refreshing drink of Fred’s Pineapple and Ginger drink. Juanita continued biting into her ice while listening to more of Fred’s stories. Fred questioned Salvano briefly about his job.
” When I was young like you Salvano I had a similar physique. What are you? About six feet?” Fred asked.
” I’m 6ft” 2 Fred.”
” Nice, you are a good-looking man, with a lot of hair! And you sound like your doing well for yourself. Well Ms. Cortázar you seemed to have picked well.” Fred said chuckling.
Juanita did not comment but only smiled. When they were done Fred showed them the title for the farm and a drawing of the layout of his 80 acres.
” There is a river that runs through the land, but I haven’t gone to look at it for years. I put in a road but even so I really haven’t been able to drive out all of the lands for years. There are some good trees for lumber on the property too.” Fred informed them.
” We once had goats, over a hundred, but that too I sold off as I got older and after Rebecca passed on,” Fred said wiping his sweating forehead with a handkerchief.
They spent another hour with Fred touring the more groomed parcels of Fred’s land. It really had a nice feeling about it. Fred stopped regularly to show them his guava trees, cashew trees, mango trees. He had a patch of mixed vegetables growing such as carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
” As you can see, we already have running water and electricity here. I also have a small solar panel system that gives me electricity too. So what do you think?” Fred asked.
” It’s a really lovely piece of land Fred. When would you be leaving to live with your kids?”
” As soon as I sell. I’m priced to sell as you can tell. So many acres for a small price of USD $30,000.” Fred said knowingly.
” Ok. Well, we will definitely talk it over and get back to you if we are putting in an offer.” Salvano said to Fred.
” Wonderful. Ok. You do that. Talk it over as a couple and come to an agreement. Just remember that at this price it won’t stay on the market long.” Fred said.
The three said their last goodbyes. Fred had loaded their car with mangoes and guavas. They waved goodbye to the older man as Salvano reversed down his driveway. All in all, it had been a pleasant meeting.
Back in the car, Salvano said,
” That Fred can bake a good cornmeal pudding and the sauce was perfect.”
Chuckling Juanita teased him saying,
” Mhmm…Fred sure loaded you up with the rest of the cornmeal pudding and sauce, after you wolfed it down. I’m surprised you didn’t choke from eating so much.” Juanita teased.
Fred had packed a whole other cornmeal pudding with his topping and given it to Salvano, clearly touched by Salvano’s enthusiastic eating and compliments of his pudding.
“Salvano, I’ve noticed you. You have a sweet tooth don’t you?” Juanita asked rhetorically.
” I admit that I have a weakness for pastries. I don’t do sweets or candies but when it comes to cakes, puddings and pretty pastries I indulge.” Salvano answered.
” As a matter of fact, the pudding and the sauce were so good that I’m going to let Mrs. Mac taste it and ask her to make her version of it,” Salvano said.
” So what about me now? You think I can’t cook or bake?” Juanita said saucily.
” I don’t know, it just never crossed my mind,” Salvano replied.
” You want to marry me but you don’t know if I can cook?” Juanita picked
” I’m not marrying you for your cooking, though it would be wonderful if you can cook well. Hey, I’m no buffoon in the kitchen, I can cook tacos, burritos, enchiladas, bake chicken, I can grill too.” Salvano said.
” Oh? Where did you learn?” Juanita asked curiously.
” I’m half Mexican, I learned while around my aunt’s and uncles. My mom wasn’t a good cook either, so in an effort to help myself I would watch cooking videos and cook for me and her.” Salvano shared.
” A man of many talents,” Juanita said smiling.
” By the way, you know that now that you’re moving out of your mother’s home and with your business taking off, you will need a vehicle. Even with putting together your farm and hotel idea, or any other business your going to do.” Salvano said.
” I know… you don’t have to convince, I know. But let’s get my official driver’s license first, buy the property and I will figure out the vehicle after.” Juanita said.
Just then a loud rumble came out of Salvano’s belly. Salvano’s brows knitted together as he felt a sudden shift in his bowels. Instant heat and sweat broke out all over him. Immediately pulling over and grabbing some tissue papers from his car’s glove compartment, Salvano turned to Juanita and said,
” I think Fred’s cornmeal pudding wants to explode out of my ass.”
Juanita watched as a scurrying Salvano disappeared into thick bushes. He was dressed in a nicely fitted white polo shirt and some nice olive green pants. He really was looking fine and stylish. Pity he was having this instant diarrhea.
“Well, at least we stopped along a fairly deserted stretch of the highway so at least the poor thing can relieve himself in peace.” Juanita thought.
Juanita had a bottle of water and she had little packets of soap in her female kit. She took them out in preparation for him. At least she could help him wash his hands.
“It really is funny though, that Fred’s pudding proved to be honey to his mouth but a tornado to his guts.” she thought smirking.
It was about ten minutes before a relieved-looking Salvano returned looking sweaty. Juanita didn’t say anything about his emergency, she just told him to come to wash his hands and face.
” Thanks. Oh, come on let’s go cool down in the air conditioning” Salvano said after having used two bottles of water to wash his hands and face.
Thinking the ordeal was over, Salvano began driving again, but about twenty minutes later he had to stop again and run into the bushes. By this time, he asked Juanita to take over the driving. Juanita had put a wet rag over his forehead and reclined his seat for him to relax. Soon enough he fell into a restful sleep, his running belly calming down.
He woke up when they were close to Juanita’s home. He looked much better.
” I don’t care if Fred’s pudding sticks me to the toilet, I’m still going to finish the rest!” Salvano quipped.
” Hey who says it’s Fred’s pudding? It could just be your body cleansing itself. Don’t you feel better?” Juanita pointed out.
” Yes, I feel good actually,” Salvano answered.
” Good,” Juanita said.
” Ah, what a day! Well beautiful….. we are almost at your house. Will your mom be on your case about where you have been?”
” Maybe….she’s looking for any reason to start fights. But don’t worry I think we beat her home. Thanks for reminding me why I need to leave as fast as possible.” Juanita said.
” Which other property will you look at next?” Salvano asked.
” The one with 50 acres by the waterfront. It’s for USD$150,000 but it’s been sitting on the market for a long time. I will offer $50,000 for it, perhaps the seller is desperate. You never know what God will work out for me.” Juanita said.
” Yeah your right, things can turn in your favor, like you said ‘ask and you shall receive’ right?” Salvano said.
” Right. Fred’s piece is nice, but if I could get a piece of land with such a big lake/lagoon it would be nice for water sports and fishing.” Juanita shared her thoughts.
” The truth is Salvano I really don’t know what I should be looking out for. There is no bad parcel of land really, it just all comes down to what my vision is for it.” Juanita confided.
” Hey I know your feeling rushed, but still keep in mind that it’s your first purchase. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s not like you won’t ever buy more land. You will make more money and when the time comes you can own even bigger properties. Who knows maybe you’ll find something even more precious than you bargained for on Fred’s land or on any land you choose. Just believe that God will give you the best for your current situation.” Salvano said.
” So your leaning towards Fred’s land?”
” It what comes most easy isn’t it? It has a house you can move into, existing fruit trees, it’s been cleared a good deal and the price won’t blow your budget.” Salvano said.
” Ok, Ok but still let’s look at the 50-acre property and then compare and decide,” Juanita said,
Nodding his head in agreement Salvano said,
” Sounds good Juanita. Just let me know when and I will pick you up as usual.” By this time he had pulled up at her house.
” I will Salvano, thanks so much. Is the beach cookout thing still on?…I think I will come.” Juanita said
” Yeah, it’s still on. I would love it if you came.” Salvano replied.
” Ok, then it’s settled. Anyway, bye for now. Let me go cook something before the dragon gets back.” Juanita said
” Oh wait, take some of these guavas and mangoes first.” Salvano handed Juanita a bag.
“Alright later beautiful.”
” Bye Salvano, call me when you get home.”
” I will,” Salvano assured.
Soon Salvano was driving away. A fairly tired Juanita made her way up her stairs. She saw a package on her doorstep. When she read the note attached to it, it was from Gabriel, Michelle’s brother.
” Hey Juanita, here are your snakeskins. Thanks for the payment.” Gabriel’s note said.
Picking up the package, Juanita went inside.
That night she laid on her bed, thoughts of what she could do with the property flowing through her mind. She wanted to be able to make pizza from a real stone oven. She wanted to make gelato ice cream. She wanted to showcase her fashion designs. She wanted to use food grown on her farm to create a delicious menu for her guests. She wanted to create daily cooking activities that guests could participate in, like roasting breadfruits and ripe plantains.
She thought of creating a nice outdoor kitchen space for roasting meats. Yeah, a whole outdoor buffet with live cooking. Juanita felt bolts of excitement at the prospect of everything she was stepping out of her mom’s house to do.
Juanita heard her phone ringing, it was Salvano calling,
” Alright stop overthinking about the land,” Salvano said.
” How did you know?” Juanita said
” I’ve figured out some of your nature by now,” Salvano said.
” Mhmm I see. And what are you up to?”
” I’m just chilling and watching a Tamil movie,” Salvano said,
” Ah what’s a Tamil movie.”
” It’s an Indian movie in the Tamil language. Not every Indian speaks Hindi and there are several subsects such as Telegu, Malayam, and Tamil. At least that’s my understanding.” Salvano said
” Oh, are their movies good? My brain cells die every time I watch a Nigerian movie and Hollywood isn’t much better. Everything is cliche.” Juanita said.
” Well, the thing with Tamil Indian movies is that when you just start watching them, the plots are refreshing and different because it’s so different from Hollywood, Nollywood and Bollywood. You of course get used to the love songs and dance scenes. But after a while of watching Tamil movies, you of might find some plots get repetitive or small-minded.” Salvano said.
” Like give me an example of one that you watched,” Juanita asked
” Like there was this one about a little rural town that had no bus stop so because of that buses refused to stop at their community. So if they wanted to take the bus they had to go to the bus stop of another neighboring community. This caused tension between the communities. So the bus would refuse to stop even for pregnant women, or sick people or old people, school kids, etc.
So one day the hero of the movie attacks a bus and this causes the police to get involved. Then the police arrests the elders/ leaders of the hero’s community because the Elders were hiding the hero and the rest of the guys who destroyed the bus. The police then beat up the elders in secret and this causes even more anger to burn. So eventually they fight the police and eventually ten years later they get a bus stop. The end.” Salvano summarized.
” Oh so why didn’t they just pool together to get their own bus?” Juanita asked
” Exactly! Exactly Juanita!” Salvano said approvingly
” I mean a whole movie based on such a small-minded issue and filled with violence. The people were rich in cattle. Why not sell their cattle or pool together to get a bus? The writer of the movie could have done so much more to show the people being victorious but of course, they only wanted to show oppression, violence and sadness .” Salvano said.
” Don’t worry, I’m sure you will save the movie world with BodyStrike and all the other movies you will write in the future,” Juanita said.
” I hope so, I don’t want to focus my movies on people being oppressed and weak. Then on top of it be using stupid sentimental scenes to justify people’s weak-minded behaviors and bad choices for their lives.” Salvano said.
” I guess the Indians are writing about their reality and what they see happening around them is the inspiration for their scripts,” Juanita said.
” Yeah but if the reality sucks, write something that can inspire the next generation of Indians. Write a script to pump people’s blood and give hope. Do you think I want to write a script about Belize being poor or my countrymen being a bunch of losers? Nope!” Salvano said.
‘ Okay, Mr.Salvano I hear you. Well your certainly not an ordinary-minded person so I wouldn’t expect you to tackle issues from the same old cliche perspectives.” Juanita commented
” So have you decimated the cornmeal pudding?” Juanita asked.
” No, Ms. Mac and Dal along with Daisuke beat me to it. I couldn’t beat off the wolves. Ms. Mac plans to bake some tomorrow.” Salvano said.
” I’m feeling good because the guys are having so much fun just chilling at my home. Between Ms. Mac cooking and teaching them different meals, them helping out on the farm and going down by the lake they are pretty entertained….which gives me free time to spend with you.” Salvano told her.
‘ Oh busy man, aren’t you the one scheduled to train a bunch of people soon for the Olympics?” Juanita reminded him
” The Olympics isn’t for another two years, they won’t lose their talents if o delay training a bit. Plus I’m having more fun with Juanita” Salvano replied.
Smiling at his words Juanita said,
” What’s so fun about my company? It’s not like I’m a party girl or anything, i’m not hype”
” That’s what’s fun about your personality, your not about the fake hype or manufactured lifestyle. Do you know how valuable to me it is to hear words of encouragement like ‘ don’t worry Salvano as long as you can plant, you and your family can eat ‘ Do you remember you said those words to me?” Salvano said
” Yeah, I remember,” Juanita answered.
” Well, it’s words like that, the right words at the right time that are my party, my excitement and enjoyment. It’s what a man needs to hear.” Salvano said.
” Take your Nigerian movies, for example, the highlight of those womens’ or men’s lives is when they buy a Mercedes Benz or Range Rover and they can boast in front of their friends or when they can say they took a trip to Dubai. What the fuck is Dubai? Yet they can’t depict their women giving their boyfriend’s or husband’s any solid word of encouragement.” Salvano said
” Ugh… Salvano your so right.” Juanita said in total agreement.
” That’s the world for you, always chasing fake firework moments instead of daily contentment. Juanita, I would take your company any day over some party girl’s hype or shallowness” Salvano said.
” You sure know how to make me feel good Salvano without being cliche,” Juanita noted
” I’m just being forthright,” Salvano replied.
” Those Nigerian movies do black men so dirty. If a woman watches those she would grow bitter against black men. They never change the script, it’s always cheating husband’s and boyfriend’s.” Juanita said.
” That’s what Nigeria chooses to put out into the world about themselves. They depict their women as abrasive and money-hungry. They depict their men as weak-willed and oversexed. It’s despicable. They are a people with cursed minds so what can you expect to come out of their movie industry. They can’t even write a script about some mystery-solving or an action movie. It’s the same disgusting depictions of horrible relationships between men and women, husband and wives, mother in law’s and daughter in law’s.” Salvano said.
” Yeah, you can tell your movie sucks when you have to start using porn-sounding titles to draw viewers,” Juanita commented.
Salvano chuckled at Juanita’s keen observation.
” Perfectly said Juanita, perfectly said,” Salvano said.
” Oh I want to talk longer, but sleep is overtaking me. I’m going to say goodnight for now.” Salvano then said
” Ok Salvano. Have a good night. Bye”
” Goodnight Juanita,” Salvano said with a yawn.
Written By Sher Trott Bailey. The next day, Salvano came to pick Juanita up for her meeting with Fred Thompson. In the car, the two discussed Fred’s property. ” So it’s 80 acres for only USD $30,000. He must really want to sell. I checked out the pictures, the land is pretty flat for the…Read MoreRead More