Excerpt from CRUNCHY EGGS By Félix Solano Vargas

As charcoal for the embers and wood for the fire, so its a contentious man for causing a quarrel to glow. - Proverbs 26:21

As a young brown kid I was instructed to never look back, but that you better watch your back. I took heed and I think that has kept me safe for now. "Let her go!" Johnny looks over his shoulder and goes back to slapping her. She is Lydia, my mom. I walk up to him and point my neon-green superhero gun at the side of his neck. It looks one of those expensive toy water guns I always wanted. My mom could never afford to buy me one of those, she tried once, but we lost it in the big layaway pile at K-Mart on Van Buren. Suddenly and without explanation, I am 5 '8, or taller than his pee-drinking-crap face. (Nothing against pee-drinking-crap faces in the queer bdsm community). Then I say, "You let her go you fucking asshole!" He doesn't listen to me, so I get closer to him and I whisper in his ear. "You let her go or I'm gonna splatter your ugliness all over this nice wall." (I was raised in a Chicano Jehovah's Witness household in the Inland Empire so the idea of good versus evil is really stuck to my ribs. And It will probably be there my whole life, and it will save me and make me a good judge of character because people suck but things can't just be separated into good and evil no matter how much we would like to think that they can be or should be. And I will learn about accountability and calling-in rather than calling-out and I will try to get free or sliding-fee scale community centered LGBTQ therapy sessions for myself after the summers I spent with my mother and the years I spent in the congregation. I should be fixed in six sessions, I think…) I have suddenly grown a neatly groomed moustache in the timespan it took to say "You" to "wall", and as I pull away from his free lobe my thick moustache brushes up against his ear, and he can feel it, and he shudders because he knows that I am a man. He lets go of her wrist and my mom is able to get out from under him. She runs behind me. I am protecting her now. I am a son protecting his mother from too much Budweiser, Johnny's hatred of women and his machismo. In my imagination then and now I was a little buff golden brown macha kid protecting her beautiful mom. We were Thelma and Louise and I was the golden boy. The chosen one! I float backwards as my mom walk backwards behind me, both going back to the spot I was standing in when I first yelled "Let her go!" He turns to face me, and I am now 45 years old, floating in mid-air and have been on hormone replacement therapy for five years (I think I will start injecting T when I am 40 years old). I give him a piece of not-so friendly dead end advice that I picked up from a movie I watched with my mom one morning when she was working grave yard at the warehouse in Riverside, CA that makes parts for race cars. I tell him "Looks like you got a real fucked up idea of fun. In the future when a woman is crying like that, she isn't having any fun." And we all know (well Chicano kids like me whose mothers would watch those Thelma Louise* type movies after a long day working at the warehouse all night) what happened next.