Darlene Was Gay

ROCKY

The four of us were kneeling on the side of the road with our hands tied behind our backs  — except for Mack who had lost her bionic arm to El Diablo’s crew. Her remaining arm was tied securely to her waist.

“Whatever happens, let me handle it,” Sisko advised us.

“I think we’re way past that,” grumbled Mack. She gave him a look that had Shit List written all over.

“What are they gonna do to us?” asked Sanji. He looked scared.

“Nothing,” said Sisko. “I’ll convince El Diablo to let you go.”

“And why would he listen to you?” I asked.

“Because I work for him.”

“You what?” Then Nelson’s voice came back to me from two years ago: I know you. El Diablo’s errand boy. “Since when?”

“Since always.”

“Why would you do something so stupid?” I exploded.

“To support myself. Not everyone can be like you, with a posse of holy rollers waiting on you hand and foot.”

“You had a home to go back to whenever you wanted!” Sisko never talked about his life at the Compound, but I was almost positive his parents were Corporate executives.

“I had my reasons for leaving and I’m not defending them to you.” He paused and took a breath. “Look, Raquel, we don’t have much time before El Diablo returns and there are some things I need to clear up.”

This should be good. “Such as?”

“Darlene was not and has never been my girlfriend.”

You know, most people, if they thought they were having the last conversation of their lives, would lead off with something like, “I just want you to be happy,” or “I love you.” But clearly this was not going to be one of those times.

“I heard you call her darling,” I protested.

“Everybody called her that,” said Sisko. “It was her nickname.”

“Bullshit. I saw how the two of you were together.”

“I don’t know what you think you saw,” said Sisko, “but we were never more than friends.”

“Oh right,” I snarked, “because that’s what every guy wants: a drop-dead gorgeous woman friend.”

Sisko sighed with impatience. “Are you really that blind? Darlene was gay!”

Damn. I did not see that coming. I thought back to the day I met her. Did I miss the signs? Were there signs? “How gay?”

“You would have had a better chance with her than I did.”

“So you’re saying you wish she wasn’t gay?”

“No, I am not saying that.”

“Would you go out with her if she was straight?”

Sisko was incredulous. “How can that possibly matter?”

“Just answer the question.

“No, I wouldn’t.”

“Really?” I wasn’t buying it. “Not even if she made a boo-boo face and said pretty please?”

“Not even then.”

“Why? Because she’s not good enough for you?” I taunted.

Sisko gave me a venomous look. “Because she’s El Diablo’s niece!”

Damn. I didn’t see that one coming either. “But if she wasn’t gay and wasn’t El Diablo’s niece—” I began.

Footsteps crunched on the roadside. “Be quiet,” ordered Sisko. “El Diablo’s coming. If I’m lucky, he’ll kill me and I’ll never have this conversation with you again.”