Every Monday night Sofia juggles.  She uses lemons, oranges, apples, any sort of fruit, even rolled up socks. Sister puts a kazoo in her mouth and has her blow tunes like “You Are My Sunshine” or “Milk-cow Blues.” Tuesdays it’s the guitar, on which she’s proficient, until she starts fingerpicking. This is when she gets frustrated and slaps herself in the head until Sister stops her. Sister will bend down and whisper gibberish into Sofia’s ear but sometimes she threatens to cane her bare bottom after the show. Beer and whiskey calms Sofia down most nights and then she’ll strum until her fingers bleed or she breaks a string. Only once in a while does Sister have to take the guitar away from her. Wednesdays it’s cabaret and she’ll do a striptease down to a g-string and pasties. She has this way of prowling around the stage on all fours, which can get the crowd worked up but good. Only the best people attend these performances and they do it to support Sofia. Everyone knows Sofia needs help and this is why people come out. The best is Thursdays when she does a ventriloquist act. She has a puppet named Benjamin dressed up as a prostitute and there’s this whole routine involving two pimps and a parole officer. A lot of us don’t show up on Fridays when she tries to impersonate famous movie stars and politicians. She’s not very good with the voices. It’s the same for Saturday when she’ll pantomime or dance ballet or even do the shim-sham, which is complicated due to a sequence of very particular movements. She is a great dancer, both graceful and athletic and her performances are sublime, but it’s not what most people want to see, as they simply don’t appreciate that kind of entertainment.

Robert Lopez is the author of A Better Class of People due from Dzanc Books April 5th 2022 and Dispatches from Puerto Nowhere coming September 13, 2022 via Two Dollar Radio
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