Datura Manzanillo walks alone and she started walking alone back in 1964.
That was the year she murdered her husband because she got tired of him.
She was tired of his jokes and the sound of his voice and the way he buttered his toast.
That was the worst; the careful way he sliced that thin shaving of butter from the cube and the careful way he smoothed it over the bread, which was of course a certain shade of gold.
Nothing else would do.
God she couldn’t stand it, he’d actually concentrate over those slices of bread the same way a heart surgeon would over an open chest. No, that’s going to far. The heart surgeon probably didn’t put that much effort or concentration into his work the Stewart did.
So one morning after listening to him blah, blah, blah-she didn’t actually remember what he said because she’d learned to shut off the minute he opened his mouth years ago she saw him start his toast.
“ God, no “ she said “ please not the toast, sweet Lord not the toast. I can’t take it anymore.”
But Stewart, who was actually a nice person if you asked anybody else and really had no idea that a monster had been sleeping next to him for over 20 years thought she was teasing and he actually laughed. She remembered him asking her if she wanted some too and when she said yes and he turned away from her to reach for more bread Datura Manzanillo came up behind Stewart with a knife and she said, “ I wasn’t kidding Stewart.”
And when Stewart turned around he saw how serious she was.
There was a trial and Datura remembered the way the Jury tittered when the story about the toast came up. It didn’t matter though, it was a cheap laugh and in the end they sentenced her to death.
If she had just stabbed Stewart to death they may have spared her life. But she’d cut and hacked and at some point nearly took off his head. The jurors didn’t laugh when they heard that. One looked positively green and the rest looked at her with pure unadulterated disgust.
The jury only had a glimpse of the real Datura when they heard the details of her crime, poor Stewart saw her for what she was in all of her glory and if anyone thought a rope around her neck would end anyone having to suffer through that again they were woefully mistaken.
Datura remembered her execution and she remembered when they cut her down from the hangman’s noose. “ Don’t let her fall, “ someone had said, “ if you drop her you get to clean up the mess “
She remembered that no one came to her funeral and she remembered the way the Undertaker had looked into her flat dead eyes and said, “I sure wouldn’t want to be you right now. “
” No, you wouldn’t want to be me ” she wanted to say back, but instead she smiled her dead woman’s smile and then they buried her.
She thought at least she’d go to Hell or something…but where did she end up? Right outside the cemetery they buried her in. She wondered if she would see Stewart and she guessed not. They wouldn’t bury him in the same place they buried her now would they?
Datura Manzanillo spent years and years walking that short walk in front of the cemetery and she didn’t mind, though she did wonder why she was here and not anywhere else.
Then one day it all changed
She’d hung around for years, in all of that time she couldn’t actually see anyone but she could feel them…living people passing around her and by her and one day a woman actually stopped and turned around and she really saw Datura and Datura finally saw someone else.
After that first time it happened more and more often.
Datura eventually learned that only certain people with a certain little secret festering away at their brains and soul would see her. Those people popped out of thin air and she’d come up behind them and snicker into their ear, “ I know what you’re thinking, you silly goose and we can make it happen. Come on, let’s take a walk.”
It was difficult to say how time passed after Datura first talked to newfound friends and when it was she’d see them again. When she finally did see them they’d be leaving the cemetery and getting into these old fashioned paddy wagons being pulled by these gigantic black horses.
As they’d pass her they’d spit or swear and more often then not she’d hear, “ thanks for the advice you dirty hound!”
Datura would shrug and laugh and she’d start to do what she will be doing forever; she’s walking in front of that cemetery gate.
So here’s a little useful advice; if you’re out walking one night and you’re devoutly praying for someone close to you to drop dead and a little voice says,“ I know what you’re thinking, you silly goose and we can make it happen. Come on, let’s take a walk.”
Don’t turn around and for heavens don’t stop and listen, Datura Manzanillo walks alone and she’s always looking for a little company.