One day I left her with the children for ten minutes while I rushed to Cristobal’s market, in the arch, to buy a few things. When I returned the neighbors were gathering outside my door. As I pushed my way through the crowd, I found Jessica lying in the bed downstairs and Fatty rubbing olive oil on her shoulder. On asking what had happened, it turned out she had tripped down the last few steps and started screaming. Fatty didn’t want the neighbors to think she was hurting her so did everything to shut her up. The olive oil was something she had seen someone do on the beach in Morocco and felt it must make you feel better. So she was slathering Jessica in it. Fatty hadn’t ever had any schooling and came from a very poor part of town so it was all she could think of. I took Jessica to Don Diego, our only doctor and he said that her clavicle was broken and would have to go to the hospital to get it set. We set off for the hospital leaving a hysterical Fatty behind to explain to the neighbors that it was an accident not child abuse. Jessica was extremely composed and calm, by this time, and not at all frightened by the hospital or the doctors. It wasn’t until we came outside that she broke down into floods of tears. The cast was a figure eight around her shoulders leaving her arms hanging behind her. That is when she discovered that she couldn’t suck her thumb. Instant hysteria, by the time we got home the cast was broken enough that she could get her thumb in her mouth. Later that year Fatty left with her suitcases full of candy to prepare for her daughter’s wedding.
Everyone has a gardener
I planted two hundred tulips and when they came up I carefully explained how he had to water them from the ground and not to just squirt the flowers. After fully understanding me he preceded to take a fire hose to all the blossoms and the tulips were instantly gone. As a professional gardener he then explained to me that tulips only last one day. To his defence, my father pointed out that everywhere he worked they did only last one day so he was right in a strange way. He would spend hours watering our plastic grass around the pool just to listen to the latest gossip and watch the girls in their bikinis. He used to lurk behind trees and bushes, until Jeannie set a trap for him. She knew he had been watching her sunbath in the nude, so one day she took a pellet gun with her to the pool and when she saw him peaking around a bush she yelled bloody murder and rushed stark naked towards him waving the gun around her head. He had to run all the way down the street with a naked Jeannie chasing after him, making as much noise as she could so that the neighbors would come out to see him running away. Our gardener was also a closet drinker and hid a bottle of booze in a tree where it still sits twenty-five years later, long after his death and even after the ravages of the fire. He used to hang his lunch from a tree every morning until one day one of our whippets smelled the chorizo, and being great jumpers, he jumped up and stole the treat. The gardener was perplexed as to where his lunch had gone but on the second day he saw the culprit steal it right out of the tree. The following day he was waiting and as the dog jumped for the lunch the gardener cut his back leg off with a shovel. We rushed the dog to the vet where after hours of surgery, pieces of the leg were replaced. We had to lock him in a small bathroom during his recovery, so he didn’t move much, and he was taking enough tranquilizers to put an elephant down. After months, he did recover and was able to use his leg; it was just unsightly to look at. Soon after, the old chap reached an estimated 65 years of age and we gratefully gave him a gold pocket watch, thanked him for his service and tossed him off the property. He had no idea about the deal with a pocket watch; I guess that is a modern way for a company to say good-bye to an employee. I must say we have not missed him.