The Miami Creation Myth

first published in acentos review, november 2017

Eons ago, long before the world was created, long before there were people, or animals, or trees, or the immeasurable ocean to the east, or the endless Everglades to the west, or the great mountain of Tropical Park, or pastelitos, or Radio Mambí, there was only darkness and cold. And in this darkness slept Pachango the Creator, on his divine pin pan pun. Pachango shivered in the dark and the cold, and after time unknowable, awoke from his slumber and uttered the first, the holiest of all words in existence.

“¡Coño!” he cried, sitting up slowly and rubbing his arms for warmth. “¡Que frío!”

And so, Pachango resolved to fill the universe with heat to expel the cold and light to turn back the darkness. He crossed his legs on the divine pin pan pun and meditated on heat and light until a great, burning, orange ball of fire we call the sun emerged from the abyss and lit the entirety of the universe.

“Pero que cosa más grande,” marveled Pachango, gazing upon the majesty of his work. As the darkness retreated to the farthest edges of the world, he surveyed the universe and noticed how empty it was.

“Esto lo voy a resolver,” declared Pachango, and he made up his mind to fill the world with the most beautiful new creations one could imagine.

Just then, Caridad, Pachango’s mother and the most powerful entity in existence, kicked down the celestial door to the universe and proceeded to berate her son.

“Oye, mi’hijito, ¡yo no soy gerente de la compañía de electricidad! Apaga esa luz o te daré un chancletazo que te partirá la cabeza.”

Pachango pleaded with his mother about the importance of the monumental task before him. Caridad, however, would have none of it, and Pachango quickly extinguished the sun as she reached for her chancleta. Caridad gave a satisfied grunt, walked through the celestial door of the universe, and slammed it behind her.

Greatly demoralized, but unshaken in his resolution, Pachango grabbed the divine pin pan pun, dragged it through the celestial door, and moved to an entirely new universe where his mother would be unable to bother him about the electricity bill.

After reopening the divine pin pan pun, Pachango turned his attention to creating his new universe. He once more meditated on heat and light until a new, even more glorious, golden sun rose above the horizon and illuminated the shapeless void around him. Satisfied with his work, but exhausted from the effort, he laid back and conjured the first cigar and rum and coke to help him relax.

He took three deep sips from the rum and coke and three deep puffs from the cigar, letting out three large clouds of smoke.

Pachango watched the clouds as they floated over his head. Instead of dissipating, however, they began to swirl and coalesce. He gazed in amazement as they grew arms, and legs, and heads, and eventually transformed into three beautiful siblings: two sisters and one brother. They looked about the formless universe, the burning sun, and their great creator.

“Oye consorte, ¿que es todo esto?” asked one of the three.

“Esto,” replied Pachango with a wave of his cigar, “Es el universo. Bienvenidos. Yo soy Pachango, el creador del mundo y tu padre. ¿Cuales son tus nombres?”

“Yo soy Yamilet,” said one of the sisters.

“Yo soy Marisleisis,” said the other sister.

“Yo soy Submarino,” said the brother.

“Eso es un nombre estupido,” replied Pachango. “Yo no te voy a llamar ‘Submarino.’ Tu nombre será ‘Yusiel.’”

“¿Me puedo llamar ‘Yusiel el Submarino’?” asked the brother.

“Llamate cualquier estupidez que quieras,” responded Pachango. “El resto del universo te llamará ‘Yusiel.’”

Pachango sat his children on the divine pin pan pun and explained how he wished to fill the universe with diverse and beautiful wonders. Yamilet, Marisleisis, and Yusiel grew very excited and begged their father to allow them to assist him in this great endeavor. Pachango smiled at their enthusiasm and acquiesced. He divided the universe into three great realms, granting one to each of the siblings to create and rule as they wished.

Yamilet, being the most spirited and exuberant of the three, rose high above her family and claimed the sky as her own. She shook her head in disapproval as she looked at the drabness of her new domain. Using a mattress feather from the divine pin pan pun, she painted the sky a magnificent shade of bright blue. She then blew upon an ice cube from Pachango’s rum and coke, forming the clouds, while her breath became the wind. Satisfied with her work, Yamilet descended back onto the divine pin pan pun to the praise of Pachango, Yusiel, and Maryslasis.

Yusiel then took another ice cube from his father’s glass. He pressed it tightly in both hands, melting it and forming the great eastern ocean. The sweat of his exertion mixed with the water, turning it salty.

Marisleisis, being more patient than her hurried brother, allowed a third ice cube to melt in the sun. This created the fresh water expanse to our west that we call the Everglades. She also used un hilo from the divine pin pan pun to weave the mangroves, sawgrass, and cypress that populate that massive, slow-moving river.

Satisfied, the three siblings reclined on the divine pin pan pun and congratulated each other on their work.

Unbeknownst to Pachango, a stray puff of smoke from his cigar had also coalesced to form a new, invisible entity whose machinations would forever mar the harmony that existed at the beginning of the universe. His name was Achepé—the god of chisme.

Achepé, though not categorically opposed to order, hated stagnation, and above all, boredom. He therefore never projected a concrete physical representation of himself like his brother and sisters, but preferred to remain a nebulous cloud that could instantly travel to all corners of the world to record secrets and spread half-truths. The only way to discern his presence was by the strong smell of tobacco that always followed him.

Achepé looked at the new world and yawned loudly.

“¡Que aburrido!” he said to himself. “Tres reinados estáticos: el cielo, el mar y el pantano, donde nada cambia nunca. Bueno, éste huevo quiere sal y yo soy el salero.”

Achepé approached the divine pin pan pun, which sat at the nexus where all three realms met. Marisleisis, Yusiel, and Yamilet, oblivious to his existence and unused to his smell—against which they would forever be on their guard—did not notice when he whispered in their ears.

“Tus hermanos quieren reclamar el pin pan pun divino,” muttered Achepé. “Ellos son avariciosos. Quieren que tu padre te rechace. Quieren conquistar tu reinado. Ten cuidado. Prepárate para la pelea, que ya comenzó.”

Marisleisis, Yusiel, and Yamilet eyed each other suspiciously and excused themselves from the divine pin pan pun to continue working on their respective kingdoms. Instead, however, they bred and marshaled armies to battle their siblings.

Marisleisis was, by the far, the most patient of the three. She mixed mud and cypress bark to create fearsome alligators and crocodiles. She made poisonous snakes of all sizes from straightened mangrove roots. Excess thread from the divine pin pan pun was used to spawn hordes of spiders that wove impenetrable webs stronger than steel. With her fortifications complete, Marisleisis simply waited for her enemies to entangle and entrap themselves within her citadel.

Yamilet agitated and spun the wind into great, swirling hurricanes, and sent them crashing across the ocean and into the Everglades. Yusiel, meanwhile, dove to the bottom of the sea and, dredging mud from the darkest recesses of its depths, shaped an endless fleet of bacalao, and sent it streaming into the Everglades. He also raised mountainous, frothing waves upon the previously glass-still surface of the ocean to drown Yamilet’s celestial domain.

In retaliation, Yamilet rent the skies with lightening, frying the bacalao and creating the world’s first croquetas, which floated to the surface of the ocean, and filled the battlefield with an exquisite aroma. This instantly froze all hostilities.

“Ñoooooo,” exclaimed Yamilet. “¡Tremenda jama! Eso huele delicioso.”

“Dímelo cantando,” added Marisleisis. “Oye broder, ¿nos dejas compartir de esta delicadeza?”

“¡Aprovecha, hermana!” mumbled Yusiel between fistfuls of croquetas, “Dale, antes que se pongan frias.”

The three siblings forgot their animosity and joined each other for a hearty meal. The waves were calmed, the wind died down, and all returned to its prior harmony. Needless to say, this irked Achepé to no end.

He floated in perfect silence to where the sisters and brother enjoyed their croquetas and set about spreading new, more devastating rumors.

“Yamilet y Yusiel dicen que tus cejas fueron arregladas por una ciega,”  said Achepé to Marisleisis.

“Marisleisis y Yamilet creen que tu eres hijo del lechero,”  said Achepé to Yusiel.

“Yusiel y Marisleisis piensan que tu tienes una cara de culo,” said Achepé to Yamilet.

“¡Mis cejas están perfectas!” cried Marisleisis.

“¡Yo no soy hijo del lechero!” exclaimed Yusiel.

“¡Yo no tengo una cara de culo!” yelled Yamilet.

And so, the croquetas were dropped and the battle resumed.

Yusiel created far deadlier fleets of bull, great white, hammerhead, and mako sharks; sting and eagle rays; barracuda; whales; dolphins; crabs; and lobsters, and sent them streaming into the Everglades.

Yamilet used feathers taken from the divine pin pan pun to fashion huge birds—far larger than their contemporary counterparts—to devour Yusiel’s monsters. These included gigantic brown pelicans that could swallow whales whole; egrets that stalked the deepest parts of the ocean without wetting their knees; and ospreys whose wingspans darkened the sun.

Marisleisis ordered her alligators and crocodiles to tear apart Yusiel’s predators once they were entangled among the spider webs and mangrove roots, while swarms of mosquitoes drained any birds rash enough to fly over or wade into her domain.

Pachango watched in horror as his once-peaceful world was transformed into a raging battleground. He cried out to his children to stop their fighting, but the cacophonous din of crashing waves, howling wind, screeching birds, and roaring monsters drowned out his voice. In desperation, he pleaded for the intersession of the only power in the universe that could stop the violence.

The celestial door to the universe flew open with a kick that shook the very foundations of existence.

“¡SIÓ!” thundered Caridad.

The waves and wind died in an instant. Every one of the millions of creatures locked in battle immediately froze in primordial dread.

Caridad flung her chancleta, that most feared and powerful of weapons, three times through the air. Ignoring all laws of physics and common sense, it chased down the warring gods around corners, through walls, and into their most secret hiding places. Three times it hit its marks on the behinds of each of the three siblings, and three times it returned to Caridad’s hand.

“¡Niños malcriados!” cried Caridad as she placed the chancleta back on her foot. “¡Portense bien o les daré un soplamocos tan duro que lo sentirán hasta sus bisnietos!”

She walked through the celestial door of the universe, slamming it behind her with a resounding boom that echoed for a dozen years.

With his children subdued, Pachango realized he needed to separate them to head off future conflict. He drew deeply from his cigar and let out a large cloud of smoke, which coalesced to form Yúnior, the god of the earth.

“Separa a tus hermanos para que ya acaben con sus comemierderias,” commanded Pachango. Yúnior nodded to his father and lifted both arms high above his head, raising Miami-Dade County and the Keys from deep below the ocean floor and separating the realms of the sky, Everglades, and sea.

Terrified that the upstart god of the earth would create an impenetrable barrier between Marisleisis, Yamilet, and Yusiel and put an end to his fun, Achepé rushed to Yúnior’s side.

“¡Que fó!” he whispered. “¡Y que grajo más malo! Oye compadre, ¿te lavaste las axilas esta mañana?”

Yúnior lowered his arms in embarrassment, stopping South Florida’s ascent only six feet above the ocean. This forever allowed Yamilet’s hurricanes to scour across the land on their way to the Everglades. Likewise, Yusiel would seek to wear down the barrier between himself and Marisleisis through the tides and flooding that Miami would experience until it eventually succumbed to the eternal enmity of the gods.

Pachango noted Achepé’s mischief, however, and captured him in his glass of rum and coke.

“¡Niño odioso!” he yelled at the god of chisme. “Yo vi lo que hiciste. Todo esto es tu culpa. Yo sé que destruiste la armonía del universo. Yúnior, construye un palacio adequado para tu hermano.”

Following his father’s commands, Yúnior raised Mount Trashmore, a towering peak in southern Miami-Dade made entirely of garbage, where Achepé was forced to take up residence.

Yúnior then created Mount Tropical Park, the holiest of all landmarks in Miami. Pachango rose high above the clouds, surmounting miles of sheer cliffs and rock walls, placed his divine pin pan pun at the summit of that blessed mountain, and summoned his errant children to answer for their discretions.

Greatly saddened by their missteps, but resolute in his decision, he banished each of the three gods to three great houses, which he placed at the three farthest ends of the universe. Yusiel was sent far over the eastern ocean to reside in Casa del Carajo. Marisleisis was sent far to the west over the Everglades to reside in Casa Culo. Lastly, Yamilet was sent over the great, interminably wide chasm that marked the northern border of Miami, to Casa Pinga. Half-crazed sages of later epochs would claim that Yamilet’s abode actually resided in the mythical land of Broward, where up was down, cats barked, humans were born with three heads, and cafecito was nowhere to be found, but their divinations would remain untested for many, many more years.

Exhausted and demoralized by his children’s misconduct, Pachango laid upon the divine pin pan pun. He called Yúnior to his side, instructed him on the proper order of the world, and named the god of the earth as his steward. Pachango then yawned loudly, placed his cigar and rum and coke by his side, and drifted into a deep sleep. He would not awaken from his slumber until the end of times, though he resolved to always guide his precious creations from his dreams.