Communicating with just The Look
Author’s Note: One of my goals as a writer is to publish in every genre possible. It’s challenging but an interesting experiment. The latest effort is Chronicles of Ash, a nine-book fantasy series influenced by steampunk. In Vol. 0 – Ash to Ashes, we meet Ashleigh Peters, a young woman from Brooklyn, NY who is sucked out of our world and transported to another world.
I try to include some Latino flavor in every book because what’s life without it? I am not entirely sure how non-Latinos will interpret this scene, where housekeeper/former nanny Pilar has an entire conversation with her former charges using The Look.
Chronicles of Ash, Vol. 0 – Ash to Ashes is available for download at Smashwords, enter the code KE88N prior to completing checkout to download a free copy (offer expires 9/3/12). Follow all my projects at Amapola Press.
Chronicles of Ash, an excerpt
From that moment on, Diddy was addressed as “Miss Ashleigh” by her nanny. Pilar stayed on as housekeeper to Ashleigh’s mother and then to Joe and his wife, as well as nanny again, to Damian.
“Edward Scissorhands,” Pilar said to Damian, “bed, now!”
Sharon took on an air of Lady of the Manor that cut through the tension already in the room and exploded into napalm.
“As long as you are already up, Pilar,” – which Sharon, even after 20 years pronounced Pee-lore – “dust off that sofa and put on a pot of coffee, because at this point nobody is going to get back to bed.”
Pilar’s head snapped around and she had The Look on her face, causing Ash, Damian and Joe to turn to Sharon in horror and collectively yell, “Are you insane?!”
“Esta pendeja se cree que yo sere la jodia esclava de ella,” Pilar muttered as she retied the belt on her robe and left the room. She whipped around at the archway leading to the stairs and said, “Y tú, me le dices a la mujercita que se me calme. ¡Carajo!”
Instead of going back to bed, she turned and headed for the kitchen still muttering in Spanish.
“I don’t know why she does that,” Joe said. “She knows I don’t speak Spanish.”
“She said to tell your little woman to calm herself down,” Damian said.
“She also made reference to something about slavery,” Ash said.
Damian then pointed to the kitchen, “Yeah, and don’t expect anyone to sleep now because there’s going to be a lot of banging coming from that room. Then again, you may get a birthday cake out of it, aunt Diddy.”
Joe sat back down.
“Damian, I am not going to tell you again, go to bed,” Joe said. “Diddy, sit. We have to discuss mom.”
Damian sat down.
“I’m not leaving,” he said. “Did you think I was just going to go to bed and let you gang up on aunt Diddy?”
“No one is ganging up on her!” Sharon protested. “She needs to know what has been happening here and why decisions were made.”
“Fine,” Damian said. “I’m here for moral support and to translate comemierda to English.”
“That’s an insult, isn’t it?” his mother asked.
Joe picked up an ashtray from the table and threw it across the room, shattering the crystal.
“Joe!” Sharon screamed in horror. Her face went pale and she looked like she might pass out. “That was St-st-steuben!”
Pilar ran into the room. She was still holding a rolling pin.
“What happened?” she asked.
“Ashtray broke,” Sharon said, pointing at the shattered crystal across the room. “It was an accident.”
“An accident,” Pilar repeated, unconvinced. “So, what, it hurled itself at the wall because it didn’t want to live no more?”
Ash and Damian burst out laughing and Pilar again deployed The Look and silenced them.
“Well, somebody better clean that up before that obnoxious cat gets into it,” Pilar said and turned to the loveseat and stared down Damian.
The next minute and a half, Damian and Pilar had an animated and passionate conversation using only facial expressions. Joe and Sharon looked petrified and clueless. To Ash it played like this:
I thought I told you to hightail it upstairs…
I can’t go now.
Have they come to blows yet?
Give it a minute.
OK, stay and protect your aunt.
I got her back.
Who did that over by the mantle?
Yes, the ashtray.
He did it.
I’m going back in the kitchen to make a cake for that one over there. Don’t start any shit.
Ashleigh burst into applause, knowing full well this meant the layered cake with butter cream, chocolate mouse and the dripping chocolate glaze and decorated with those candied silver beads that tasted like sugar, chalk and licorice.
Pilar had one more facial expression and directed it at Ash.
I thought I taught you that eavesdropping was unladylike.
Ashleigh responded appropriately by hanging her head in shame and saying, “I’m sorry, ma’am.”
Kali Amanda Browne, a chancleta survivor, was born in New York City, came of age in Puerto Rico and has lived her entire adult life in Brooklyn, NY. She is a writer, food enthusiast, devoted daughter, marketing specialist, technology analyst, big mouth with a daemon tongue and super geek with pagan tendencies.