Quien Graznar?Ocean Park, San Juan, P.R.
April 4, 1998
Walking into their newly re-decorated ocean-front house, Michele is excited to show us the changes he and Fanny have recently made. Our first stop is right next to the entrance: a shrine, covered with mexican-hand-painted miniature skulls, each with a name enscribed on the forehead... Nadia, Jose, Manuelo, Alberto, Berta, Porfina. Immediately, I see a photo of Freida Kahlo, along with another contemporay photograph of a woman in her early sixties. Michele says that this shrine is dedicated to Freida Kahlo and also to his mother, who died just a few weeks earlier. Meanwhile, Lydia has followed her friend Victoria into the center of the house, setting off some kind of motion detector, which chirps in the background.
Michele explains to us that his mother died in the hospital after a short and seemingly minor illness; a bout of diahrrea actually, which quickly escalated into increasingly serious conditions until she expired. I am just offering Michele my condolences, when Lydia walks up to us saying "Who croaked?"
We all act like we didn't hear her correctly; so she says it again: "Who croaked?"
Lillian pulls Lydia aside to explain to her that she can't talk that way. Lydia has a puzzled expression, matched by Michele's look of chagrin and annoyance. Michele says to Lydia, "That's not a very nice thing to say." As I'm trying to figure a delicate way out of this dilemma, Lydia obviously is not making sense of Lillian's exhortation to be more polite and understanding.
Lydia says, "When I walked into the room, something croaked at me. I'm just want to know who croaked; you know, like a frog."
Looking down, next to where she was standing across the room, Lillian and I both see a large green plastic frog next to one of the arm chairs. Michele's one-year old, Gabriel walks past, and it gives out a loud "Burp!". We both point at the blurping device.
"What's that thing?" I ask Michele.
"Oh," he says, "that's our motion-detecting-green-frog-burglar- alarm."
Gabriel goes near it again, jumping up and down and laughing.
"Croak! Croak! Croak!" chirps the frog.
Next: Angelo Emanuel