POST: 'Empanada Loca' - sh*t gets weird


What's it about?

A women tells her story.

What did I experience?

This past week has been hell. The autumn weather combined with my anemia means a sore throat and numb fingers. Yay. All of that and a healthy dose of stress made me look forward to Saturday that much more. As I left from an early dinner with my brother and mum to catch my train I was not expecting to meet the craziest women I have ever met on the train. I’ll try to keep it short.

The train itself was relatively packed tonight, but there was this woman who was sitting in a far corner. All Alone.  And I know this is supposed to be a red flag for really bad BO - which if you don't know is 10 times worst in NYC, like urine and garbage. But I was exhausted and really wanted to sit, so I did. As I walked down the cart I noticed there was no bad odor so I sat in the only seat available - right across to her.

She seemed surprised that I did, but she smiled at me. Like I've mentioned before I suffer from chronic b*tch face, so smiling is really hard for me. Yet, somehow (a miracle really) I was able to muster a smile back at her. Her entire face just lit up - like a damn Macy's Christmas display. She seemed like a normal crazy. The type that won’t follow you home, more like they just need someone to talk to. I guess because I actually made eye contact with her she decided I was decent enough to talk to. She asked me where I was headed and I lied to her. Judge me, but just because some lady smiled at me doesn't mean she wasn't still possibly a homeless stranger. Her hair was up in a messy bun (not the cute ones from Pinterest) and she had on this raggedy black sweat suit that looked older than me. She appeared distressed, but she didn't necessarily make me uncomfortable. If anything she kind of reminded me of how I felt on the inside this entire week.

Now, this lady talked. A LOT. She started out by telling me her name was Dolores and then asked me my name. Before I could answer she stopped me and said, "Sorry, I'm not instigating or nothing." So I stayed silent. From there she pretty much took off on what as arguably one of the strangest stories I've heard.

She told me she typically took these train rides when she needed to get her mind off of things from work . After looking up and seeing my blank expression (aka my normal face), she explained that she worked from home, specifically a basement - under a pastry shop (which I'm having a hard time remembering the name of). She claimed she did massages from said basement, while Luis managed his shop upstairs. When she mentioned Luis she said he was the reason why she had started having to take these train rides.

Caution: This is where sh*t gets weird.

A lot of the conversation seemed like she was trying to not say anything out right (much like I am). She said that stuff with this Luis guy was complicated and even more so since they started “working” together. It started when she tried to help Luis out while his landlord wanted to evict his shop - 3 months of delayed rent - so she offered the landlord a massage. He rejected the offer claiming it was unprofessional, but Dolores says that she convinced him and he ended up on her massage bed. She says everything was going fine at first, they even had small talk about the guy’s dead father, yet when she tried to bargain with him about the rent situation he straight out said no. Dolores offered to pay the late rent - with all her savings - but still he rejected the offer.

The way Dolores tells this story is so heart rending. Her face expressed an internal frustration, the one I can imagine she’d have after having made so many mistakes in her life (for which she paid 13 yrs of incarceration) and just trying to get back up and finally live freely. That’s what makes the next part of her story hard to listen to. She says that while the massage was coming to end she explained to him that she had enough money to pay him, if he could just give her and Luis a chance. The man finally confessed that he had planned on selling the property and wanted Luis out for good. Dolores mentions that she’s still not sure what it was exactly that made her remember when Svetlana (made up name for the Russian masseuse from jail), specifically when she taught her to break someone's neck. How your suppose to hold down the shoulder and just pull the head back and - CRACK!

What you don’t expect is that person’s response to be “OW!”. As he rises from the bed, Dolores lunges at him and clutches her hands around his neck cutting off his airway. She has this gleam in her eye as she explains the way her nails sunk into his skin. She says that in that very moment you have so much adrenaline coursing through you that nothing scares you. The redness that seeped into his skin, the bulging of the eyes, the futile squeals, everything was described in graphic detail. With such attention that I can still retell the entire encounter in that same detail.

She says that as soon as he sunk to the floor she ran up the stairs. When she found Luis she could barely let out any sound. She told him that the man and lunged at her -  Luis didn’t hesitate and ran down to the basement. Dolores says that once she reached the bottom of the stairs, before she could set foot in the room, he stopped her and said, “I’ll take care of this”. I know this sounds crazy and like she may well be some lunatic women who just wanted to creep me out, but what she told me later makes me question myself even more. She said that the day after she returned there was a sudden boost of business for Luis’ shop. He had made a new pastry and people were buying it by the basket load! She told me she hadn’t seen that much business since she’d left, 13 yrs ago. When she found Luis in the kitchen she says she was so happy to see him smile, “It had been a while.” When Luis thanked Dolores, she asked why, but he just said it was nothing. Now, Dolores says that she noticed a unnaturally pink large piece of meat on the table behind Luis. She looked back at Luis and then back at the meat. The way she looked at me said it all. I am pretty sure what I am thinking is what she was thinking. Could it be?

Yet, here she is with me - sitting on a train. I don’t know what to think honestly, if she really did do all those gruesome things - why would she tell me of all people?  I could easily go and report her - I know her enough to describe her face and what she wore. But if nothing of what she said is true... then what?

Oh, I finally remember the name of the shop,
Empanada Loca.

Want to see it?

$40 tickets

Empanada Loca
Labyrinth Theater Co.
@ Bank Street Theater
thru Nov. 15