Trebled Times of CeCe Santos
PITCH: Singing is CeCe's escape from the barrio and her overprotective Papi. When a stranger promises fame, CeCe abandons everything, only to be betrayed. She fights back to reclaim her voice and destino, or die silenced.
QUESTION: What type of Easter Egg would your MC be?
ANSWER: Coconut flan because mi madre would’ve enjoyed this jiggly sweet in Colombia.
Bob Marley once said that the good thing about music is when it hits you, you feel no pain. I believed that in the days leading up to the stranger.
Now I know Mr. Marley was a liar.
The stench of mothballs and mold smacked me in the face as I entered the Salvation Army Store to buy the kind of music Papi hated, bubbling with bad language and boiling over with lust-filled lyrics. I held my breath as I rushed down the middle aisle past the women’s jeans. My little cousins, Eduard and Bertita, sifted through the maze of families in the children’s section to catch up to me.
Eduard wrinkled his nose. “It stinks in here.”
“Until you get used to it, breathe into your shirt like this.” I buried my nose in my shirt.
Bertita tugged on my sleeve. “I’ll never get used to it, CeCe!”
“It’s amazing what you’ll get used to if you have to,” I said. “Like babysitting you two every day.” Smiling, I palmed the tops of their heads and guided them to the back of the store and toward the bin of CDs.
I found two rap albums from the nineties. One by 2 Live Crew had a parental advisory label warning of “profane or sexually explicit” lyrics. Perfect. The other was by The Beastie Boys. The CD cover pictured three white dudes with dark hair sitting on a curb in a ghetto that looked a lot like my city, Chelsea.
As I celebrated my find, Bertita picked up a red dress behind me that had fallen under a rack of clothes. Eduard snatched it from her and transformed it into a cape by tying the sleeves around his neck. Bertita chased after him down the aisle. Dios, ayúdame. God help me.