Cris Franco & Michael Caldwell
More feared than Donald Trump on a bad “bad hair” day — for the last 500 years Latin-American parents have kept their chiquitos from misbehaving by threatening that La Llorona (The Crying Woman) would first steal, then drown them… Catholic parenting 101.
Her vast legend portrays her as a jilted lover, a spurned wife, a mother turned monster, the Aztec woman’s revenge against the “conquistador,” a witch, a ghost – she’s got more versions than Windows software. I was thrilled to finally sit down to a one-on-one chat with the Queen of Mean.
Her very hot agent, L.D. Ablo, instructed me to meet her alone at midnight near the L.A. River – I didn’t hear her coming – you never do…
LA LLORONA: (WAILING)
¡Ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, miiiiiiiiiiiiiis hijoooooooooooooooooooos!
CRIS FRANCO: (JUMPING OUT OF MY SKIN) Holy cow, you scared me! Ever since I was a little kid.
LL: That’s pretty much the idea. Only Michael Jackson kept more children up all night. (WAILING AGAIN) ¡Ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, miiiiiiiiiiiiiis hijoooooooooooooooooooos!
CF: My goodness! I’ve never heard anyone scream so loudly and uncontrollably.
LL: Oh, come now. I’m not as bad as the commentators on FOX News.
CF: Whew! Let me catch my breath.
LL: Buen idea, m’hijo. Why don’t you come a little closer and sit with me here by the river?
CF: I’m not falling for that. You wanna pull me into the water and drown me, right?
LL: Well, (JUMPING AT ME) Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! It’s what I do — and children are getting harder and harder to grab.
CF: (PULLING MYSELF FREE) Really. Why?
LL: Their reflexes are much faster since they’ve started playing video games. I haven’t nabbed a single kid since the release of “Just Dance 3.” Plus, they’re getting harder to trick. In the old days I’d bait them with candy, then I had to step it up to cigarettes and beer, now I lure them to their watery deaths with the promise of a free down-loadable ring-tones.
CF: So what are you doing with all your spare “scare” time?
LL: Working on my craft. Taking Pilates to improve my upper-body “grabbing” strength. Luckily, a Curves just opened nearby.
CF: You still appear amazingly young for a 500 year-old woman. How do you do it?
LL: I promised Veronica Castro that I wouldn’t give out our secret. Licenses could be revoked — again.
CF: Were you — as all versions of your tale describe — the most striking woman in history?
LL: Very much so. I was the Latina “Helen of Troy” – I had the face that launched a thousand chips.
CF: Speaking of ancient legend, your story is remarkably similar to the Greek Medea myth; she kills her two children to get revenge on her husband, Jason.
LL: Those Europedos claim to have invented everything! My story is unique. The only thing the Greeks originated was that sheep-based STD and a couple of SAT words.
CF: What do you think when you’re compared to that South Carolina woman who a while back drowned her sleeping kids by letting their van roll into the lake?
LL: Susan Smith is a wannabe. She’s the Tanya Harding of the infanticide set — yet she got a whole TV movie. What did I get? One episode of GRIMM and a bit part on Modern Family for which, I get no residuals, BTW. Next question.
CF: But we still haven’t established who you truly are….
LL: Okay, how’s this? I’m the furious female cuckold, the stay-at-home soccer mom who discovers she hates home and soccer, the enraged hen whose rooster leaves the roost for a younger chick, the lucky virgin whose first date miraculously transforms her into Our Angry Lady of the Broken Condom. I’m the cast of Jerry Springer. No matter how you start it, it always ends the same: I wanna kill my kids and while I’m at it, why not yours as well?!
CF: So … you are many women.
LL: Yes! And they’re all pissed-off!
CF: Some people would say, you’re just the first documented case of postpartum depression. Do you at least feel bad about what you’ve done?
LL: Of course, that’s why I’ll spend eternity crying, ¡Ay, mis hijos! I’m sorry I killed them – but at least I did it quickly and not like those “good” moms who do it over 20 years with fast food.
CF: Have you ever tried acting out in another less tragic way?
LL: I can moan very long and low. There’s not much call for my particular skills — aside from voice-over work in the San Fernando Valley’s “adult film” industry.
CF: What of the theory that you’re actually Malinche, who fell in love with Cortez and wants to kill her offspring as retribution for having betrayed her raza to the White overlords?
LL: Yeah, exactly. But, just like Barbra Streisand I came back. ¡Ay, my high ticket prices!
CF: Oh, so you follow popular music, cool.
LL: Have to, ever since The Knack. “My Sharona” was originally “La Llorona.” It would have ruined my image, I had to stop it and get back to creeping out kids.
CF: Was there ever any boys or girls you wanted to finish off, but couldn’t?
LL: Lots. Mickey Rooney, the entire cast of Zack and Cody: The Suite Life, the little boy on The Middle and I’m still trying to get that short white kid on American Idol — Ryan Seacrest!
CF: Over the years, how many innocent children have you drowned?
LL: Let’s not dredge up the past. I don’t know the actual count – when I actually begin “Llorona-ing” I go into a zombie-like trance. It’s a lot like house music.
CF: You sound a little fuzzy on the facts. Are you sure you’re the real La Llorona?
SHE LETS GO A GHOULISH HOWL.
CF: Wow! How do you do that?
LL: Diaphragm control. Something I have to do for the fans.
CF: Have you seen any changes in the familia since you started?
LL: Lots. Long ago a woman would rather murder her children than face the embarrassment or shame of a divorce. Moral decay has left us with a generation of latch-key kids. And the problem with latch key kids is that they will poke you in the eye with their key. They will.
CF: What’s the hardest part of being over 500 years old?
LL: Straining to read the tiny print in The Pennysaver. I’m always looking for a new old shroud.
–Cris Franco is a multiple L.A. Emmy Award and SoCal Golden Mike Award winner.