This is part II to part I of the ever exciting Popcorn Guy saga. You may want to re-read it here to see where we last left poor Harry Hamilton.
‘My father?!’ Harry stuttered, at a loss for words. ‘I’ve never met him in my life. For all I know, he never existed and I’m just the product of some college kid jerking off while trying to pay for books.’
‘Oh yes, Senor Hamilton. We’re talking about your father.’
‘You’re insane. Wipe this Velveeta off my toe!’ Harry was so mad that flecks of spit flew out of his mouth onto Senorita Guerrero’s nose as he struggled with his chains.
BAM. Out of nowhere, Senorita Guerrero slammed down two 20 lb perfect pushup handles made of cast iron onto the coffee table in front of Harry. While he was stunned, she proceeded to duct tape his mouth shut, just like in the movies.
‘Listen,’ she hissed , ‘your father ruined my family and it’s time for you to pay.’
Retching noises from Harry. Senorita Guerrero continued, ‘In 1973, your father was a very powerful man. He was the owner of 3 booming companies spanning a number of industries. He was the owner of a textile factory, the CEO of an airline, and the president of Redenbacher, LLC.
Harry inhaled sharply, but stayed silent thanks to the professional duct tape job.
‘Your father played dirty. To the public, he was Orville Redenbacher, the golden child from Purdue who discovered the ‘lightest, fluffiest popcorn.’ But to us, he was a killer. He ruined us.
More gagging from Harry, mostly out of delight. Kin to the popcorn king?!
‘My maiden name is Ortega. Have you heard of it? We make salsa.’ Like a foghorn and a dying dog harmonizing, Senorita Guerrero emitted a low pitched, pathetic wail. ‘We MADE salsa!’
Harry managed to rip the duct tape from his mouth with his good toe. Fortunately, his single mother had always encouraged him to go to gymnastics class, and he was extremely flexible. His high pitched shriek was back: ‘What are you talking about? Who cares about salsa?! Why would the success of my dad’s popcorn ruin your family?!’
‘The fifth shelf.’ Senorita Guerrero whispered almost inaudibly. ‘Orville schemed and schemed to get that 5th shelf at Ralph’s and Safeway – that’s the one at eye level. The one that all the lazy people and deadbeat parents purchase from because they don’t want to look up or down! He threatened us, kicked us out of our spot threatening blackmail – and we were done. Once we were off the 5th shelf, everyone started eating popcorn instead of chips and salsa. We were out on the streets, living in old wholesale salsa boxes.’
Harry was confused. It was a bit much to take in. His dad was Orville Redenbacher, his idol? He did make some damn good popcorn. But could he accept the news knowing how much pain he caused this crazy, Velveeta-obsessed Mexican woman? He wasn’t sure.
‘If it’s any condolence, I’ve never met my dad – and I’m not quite sure this is all true. You have zero evidence.’
‘What about this?’ Senorita Guerrero pulled a black and white photo out of her bra. Harry felt his lunch coming up. It was a naked picture of a young Orville Redenbacher. He obviously didn’t know he was being watched, as he appeared to be belting out a song quite loudly in the shower. An oblong, dark purple birthmark was visible on his back.
For the 5th time today, Harry gasped. ‘That’s my birthmark. I have the same one. It’s true.’
Panicked, Harry suddenly developed superhuman strength and ripped himself free from his chains. In a schizophrenic frenzy, he ran around to the back room and found a giant 7 foot vat of boiling Ortega salsa, extra spicy. He glared and Senorita Guerrero, duct taped her mouth, picked the little Mexican woman up and threw her in. Then, he ran out of the apartment and never saw Senorita Guerrero again.
Of course, Harry decided that the only logical next step was to forget. He would go on to become a senior editor at BNET.com, where he wrote about career advice for managers and CEOs. But no matter how hard he tried, he could never escape the popcorn.