My search for La Señora Falcón, the woman who raised me from the dead and transformed me into a zombie, began with a trek to the old neighborhood–Boyle Heights. I figured that if this bruja had once attended El Buen Pastor church maybe there was someone there who might know how I could get in touch with her. I was determined to find out just how many other zombie kids might be walking around East Los Angeles.
I went on a Saturday afternoon and found the minister posting announcements on the cork bulletin board in the church lobby. Of course I didn’t give him my real name. I’m sure he wouldn’t recognize me from the time I was five if, in fact, he was the same mister who had officiated at my funeral. But no need to take chances.
“Jaime García,” I told him. “Our family lost track of my aunt when she moved to Los Angeles. We’ve just arrived from El Paso and we’re trying to locate her.”
The minister was all smiles and ready to be helpful until I told him that my aunt’s name was Mrs. Falcón. The smile on his face suddenly disappeared.
‘There’s no one by that name in our congregation,” he said gruffly.” I can’t help you.”
“But someone said that she used to…” I began. He cut me off.
“I said I can’t help you. Now be on your way!” He turned and walked into the church.
Wow. This Falcón lady must have really pissed people off. I could tell from his nervous look that he DID know her. He just didn’t want anything to do with her…or me.
The next week I searched the phone directory and found six women with as a last name Falcón. But four turned out to be Catholics and the other two had never heard of El Buen Pastor.
I was stumped.
Until one day, quite by accident, I got a lead.
I had returned from school one afternoon and found something lying on the porch next to the front door. It was the carved wooden hand that had been hanging on a nail by the door since the day we moved into the new house. The twine that held the wooden hand to a rusty nail had worn away and the hand had fallen from its perch.
This carved hand, with the fingers and thumb all close together, had been carefully and artfully carved out of a piece of pine wood. In the middle of the palm someone had painted a circle and inside the circle was the image of yellow butterfly. Ever since I could remember mom had the hand hanging next to the front door of our house in Boyle Heights, along with her collection of hanging spider plants, a plaster of Paris statue of a hunched over Mexican sleeping next to a cactus and a framed image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico.
I had never thought much about the wooden palm or the other junk on the porch, and just presumed it was mom’s idea of porch decorations.
As I examined the wooden hand, I wondered what the symbolism was with the butterfly inside the circle. I had a premonition that this had something to do with me.When I asked mom about the carved hand she became suddenly quiet.
“Where did you get anyway?” I asked.
A troubled look came her face. She looked down. I could see she was trying to make a decision.
“I suppose you should know.” she said finally. “Me lo dió La Señora Falcón.”
“Mrs. Falcón gave it to you?” Now she had me.
“She gave it to me just before she left, right after she had brought you back to life. She said I should always hang it outside the front door of wherever we lived.”
“Why what does it mean?”
“I asked her that question. She just said that in time the hand would reveal itself to me.”
“Has it?” I pressed.
“I don’t know anything about this wooden hand. Except it has something to do with you, mijo.”
I was becoming a little indignant. Here I had walked by the wooden hand hanging by the door all my young life and didn’t even know it had some special significance for me.
“Why didn’t you tell me this, ‘ama?”
“La Señora Falcón said I was not to say anything about it until you asked. And then I was supposed to explain that she gave the hand to me and say these words to you, “When the time is right, the butterfly emerges.”
Wow. This was deep!
All of a sudden at age fifteen I was confronting a mystery about my very being as a zombie. If the hand came from Mrs. Falcón, then of course it had something to do with me being a zombie. But what? And what was so special about the fact that butterflies come out of their cocoons when the time is right?
More than ever I needed to find this mysterious Señora Falcón!
Copyright 2012 Lazaro de la Tierra and Barrio Dog Productions Inc.