Today there is a creature riding la Marijoe’s shoulders. It is a man-bird, ungainly despite the strong, wide wings it extends. Its long toenails puncture the skin just above la Marijoe’s clavicles and sink straight through muscle to bone. The creature’s ugly pin head turns to meet my gaze.
“Vamos, pues,” la Marijoe says to me.
She knows I see the creature, have seen it from the first day she became my client. If I’ve earned any respect from her it is because I didn’t run out of the office screaming that day.
Marijoe calls it her zope — after zopilote, vernacular for the vulture from which the creature takes its shape — and these days I only see it riding her when something has pushed her beyond survival and deep into her core, where fear still lives…