I can't get it out of my head.... Seriously it's like a curse.
If you shop at Ralph's you've probably heard the TortillaLand jingle on the P.A. system. If you've heard it once, you'd know it stays with you, repeating itself over and over in your head. An annoying buzz that clouds your thoughts.
If you go after midnight, you'd see they play the ad repeatedly. Once every three or two minutes and sometimes back-to-back. I commented this to Rosario, the only cashier working at these hours.
"I hardly notice it by now," she said. "I have it so stuck in my head I can no longer tell if its playing or if its just my thoughts." Rosario had trouble packing my groceries. Her hands shaking like those of an octogenarian. "I cannot sleep since I started working here. That's why I got this shift."
"Kind of peaceful, right?" I tried with a soothing smile. She shook her head.
"It brings the wrong type at night. Gangbangers. Xipe Totec."
"It's written on their tattoos. Not a gang I've heard of before."
That night I couldn't sleep myself. I kept tossing and turning and repeating the silly jingle in my head. I was completely absentminded the next day at work and decided to look up "Xipe Totec gang." Couldn't find anything, but the name comes from the Aztec god of harvest. To ensure a successful crop, the priest would make a ritual of human sacrifice that involved wearing the victim's skin over his own face.
That image made me nervous for the rest of the day. I couldn't sleep again and decided to go out for a walk at midnight. I wandered through the dangerous streets when I found myself again in front of Ralph's. I went in looking for Rosario."
"She's no longer here," told me the burly new cashier who spoke with a thick accent. "Got sick or something. She cried and said the music was bringing in gangs," he smirked. "She went back to her homeland."
He handed me my groceries when I noticed the tattoo on his wrist: "Xipe Totec."