Cuca's Ball: A Short Story
A ball. Cuca ran all the way home from school. Breathless, she stopped before opening the front door. "A ball," she gasped for air. "I'm going to a ball!" Cuca regained her breath and the enthusiasm that forced her to dash home. Quickly she opened the door and screamed as she entered, "Mom! I'm going to a ball!... Mom... MOM!" She searched throughout the house without really looking. She just screamed at every corner of every room hoping for a response. "mom... MOM!" The pitter, pitter, pitter, patter of her feet echoing back. "She's not even in the basement. Where is she?!"
Cuca climbed the basement stairs and as she turned left towards her room she ran into something. She lost her balance and looked back at the long way down the stairs.
"Cuca!" Zuzea grabbed her just in time.
Without missing a beat Cuca said, "MOM! I'm going to a ball! Where were you? Is dinner ready? I'm going to a BALL!"
Zuzea continued her daily routine while she talked to her daughter at the kitchen table. "This ball must be a big deal. You almost got killed now and didn't even notice it. Are you OK?"
Dismissing this last remark with a simple "yes" Cuca jumped up and down waving her hands as if they were on fire. "AND, I have a date!"
With her back turned to her daughter as she took out pots and pans she did not allow Cuca to see her immediate alarm at these last words so she played along to gather as much information as she could, "Wow! One thing at a time. Let me sit down while I chop the meat and you can tell me about this dance and... date."
"OK." Cuca nervously swung her feet back and forth as she talked, "It's not a dance, mom. It's a ball. You see, we get dressed up..."
"Who's we?" Interrupted the concerned mother nonchalantly.
"I'll tell you. I'll tell you. Let me finish. We get dressed up like old, old folks used to do, and waltz like they did too."
"So, it's a theme dance."
"Yes. Something like that, but instead of wearing chiwawa skirts we wear pretty lace shirts and skirts and..."
Zuzea stopped chopping the meat and vegetables and looked at Cuca, "What are chiwawa skirts?"
"You know..." Cuca stood up and twisted side to side making her uniform skirt twirl around her minny legs. Zuzea realized Cuca's mistake, "You mean poodle skirts!"
Cuca continued talking ignoring her mother's laughter. "Yeah, anyways. Here's the date thing." "Yes." assured Zuzea, "I want to hear about this date 'thing'."
"Well, Salo from across the street has a friend who bought two tickets to a ball and found out he couldn't go after all so he gave them to Salo who asked ME if I wanted to go. I said yes I want to go, but I can't go until you say so."
"Oh I see. Well, Salo's parents are very good neighbors, but Salo is a little crazy sometimes. I don't think the two of you should go anywhere alone."
Cuca saw her hopes fading fast. She needed to save her dream. "He's a little crazy when he's around his buddies, but he's really fine otherwise. Really, mom. Is it OK if I go?"
"From what I've heard you scream all over the neighborhood you are already going." Begging was Cuca's last option. "I really, really want to go. Pleeeeeease?"
A ray of hope shone in Cuca with Zuzea's next question, "Where is it going to be held?"
"It's a real fine place. It's called the Chick Hop. Only fine folks go there. And Salo promised to bring me home by 9:00. That means we would only be there for three hours which really isn't a very long time and..."
"OK. You can go." Cuca was dumbfounded. "Really?"
"Really. Isn't that what you wanted to hear?" "Yes, but it was kind of easy to get your yes."
"Well, you did work hard on your homework this semester, and you helped me out in the yard this week. I have been looking for a way to reward you. I think this is it. But..."
Cuca held her breath. "You have to behave."
A triumphant "Yes!" burst out through the house.
* * * * *
The phone rang. Zuzea left the computer work and picked up the phone. "Hello? Cuca? Why are you calling this early?"
Breathless and between sobs Cuca explained, "Mom, they ran us out!"
"What are you saying? Are you and Salo OK? Did he hurt you?"
"No! No. Salo didn't hurt me. I guess we're OK." Cuca started to cry again.
"Cuca, stop crying, please. Tell me where you are and what happened."
"Mom, pick us up, please! Mom, they were... chickens! All of them! There wasn't a cockroach in the entire ball, just us! Those chickens almost pecked us to death!" She broke down and cried some more.
"Don't worry, my poor baby." Zuzea tried desperately to calm her child down, "You and me, and Salo can also come, we will go out together and have some ice cream. You'll see. We'll have a ball."