Well hello, little nieta. How nice to see you! It's been so long since you came to visit your abuelita. Here, sit, sit! I'll go get you some crepes with cajeta. Yes, my favorite, too! Always, always.
Here you are, eat, eat. Have another one. Muy bueno, si? I think you are old enough for a little Torito, no? No! Well, I won't tell your mama if you don't. Deal? Drink up!
So good to see you. What brings you to see me today?
You want to learn the old ways? Ah. Did your tio send you? I see.
Brujería, ahh. You come to learn brujería.
Let me close the curtains. I hope you are not scared of the dark. Or spiders. Or blood.
Truly, you will eventually have to go back to Mexico. There are initiation ceremonies that can only be done at Lake Catemaco. It's best not to speak of those rituals in the daylight, though. Hmm. Where to start? There's so much. For now I suppose I can tell you about my darkest, most difficult spell. You think raising the dead is hard? The Underworld doesn't want you and they're more than happy to spit you back out you got the right currency. No. No, nieta. The hardest thing by far is to convince el infierno to take someone whose time has not yet come. For that, you need more than a bribe. For that, you need to make a trade.
And what do you trade an underworld that has more dead than it can possibly ever want? Living space. To send someone to Hell prematurely you must be willing to accommodate a certain number of restless dead. That's why Veracruz is inundated with duendes.
You don't know what a duende is? Ai yi yi, has your mama taught you nothing?
Mostly they just cause mischief. You can learn to live with them, I suppose. They can be destructive and they love to frighten children. Don't we all! But they are very good at it.
Sometimes when the toll is too high, we try and, how you say, cut corners, si? We learned that if you sewed an extra heart into the body of a lizard, that lizard would get two spirits. Indeed, why stop at two, eh? But that is very dangerous. You must be very careful not to get caught.
Shall we give it a try? You ready?
Ha ha! Pa' su mecha! Your face, nieta, your face! Ay Dios mio. Brujería! I went to Universidad Veracruzana and learned telephony. You want to learn the old ways? I can teach you to use a rotary phone, you want.
Oh, don't be so mad. Your tio and I played that same joke on your mama. Now, pass me the AppleTV remote, and come sit and watch Jane the Virgin with me. It's a very nice show! Not as good as Mexican telenovelas but still pretty good!
- Nathan Waddell