Walter Mercado died last year, but a new Netflix documentary about his life is about to tell his story and will be streamed on repeat in every Cuban house for the foreseeable future. And that’s a lot because your Abuela swore he saw the future.

But with renewed attention how can you succinctly explain Walter Mercado to your sorority sisters before they come over for your family’s ‘coronavirus can’t happen to them’ party?

Here are some quick answers you can give to Rebecca and Hillary so they don’t make a fool of themselves by confusing him with Rue from the Golden Girls when they see your Abuela watching VHSs of his show she has had since the 80s in preparation for the Mucho Mucho Amor documentary premier.

Who is Walter Mercado?
Walter Mercado was a TV astrologer who owned a lot of capes. He has been on TV since it was invented and could predict the future in a vague sort of way.

What is an Astrologer?
An astrologer is, generally speaking, a con-artist. Not to be confused with an “astronomer,” which is a scientist. Neil Degrasse Tyson is an astronomer, but that lady who your Tia Larissa gives $40 to once every month that told her to break up with her boyfriend is an astrologer.

So Walter Mercado was a con-artist?
You shut your mouth. Walter Mercado was a national treasure who has brought untold joy and entertainment to Cuban matriarchs for more than 50 years.

Oh okay, so your grandma likes him because he is Cuban?
No, Walter Mercado is a proud Puerto Rican. But every Spanish speaking country has basically claimed him as their own, so you’re sort of right. 

Are you sure he isn’t one of the Golden Girls?
Pretty sure, but I wouldn’t want to bet money on it.  

Con mucho, mucho amor.

What’s that mean? Why do you guys eat so much pork? Your cousin Pedro just kissed my cheek but like shouldn’t we be social distancing? Wait he just gave me his number, but like isn’t that his girlfriend in the corner? He’s asking me if I want to go outside and see the rims he just put on his Acura. What do I do?

Just go with it, Hillary. But if you do want to learn more about Walter Mercado, there’s a documentary debuting on Netflix July 8, 2020, that was made by a group of documentarians from Miami.

Days after signing an executive order that, on its face requires Florida residents to stay inside, but in reality allows most businesses to continue to operate, Governor Ron DeSantis thinks its time to educate Floridians about Coronavirus. The State will be throwing a series of “awesome beach bashes” around the State that the Governor believes will provide residents information about social distancing and also a damn good time.

“Coronavirus is extremely serious, I guess,” said Governor Ron DeSantis, “So I thought it would be a great idea to spread information about the disease while also allowing the community to come together during this trying time and, most importantly, support our local businesses.”

“I think this is a fantastic move by the Governor,” said recently arrested Tampa pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, who plans on preaching in the name of Jesus Christ at the Coronavirus festival, an act deemed essential and therefore exempt by the Governor’s stay-at-home order. “Everyone knows you can’t catch a virus if you love Jesus,” said the Pastor, citing the story of Jesus and the lepers before having to stop the interview on account he was coughing up blood.

The Governor’s tepid response to the Coronavirus crisis has been heavily criticized by County and City governments throughout the state who believe he should have closed down all non-essential travel and commerce weeks prior. The Plantain attended the Governor’s first Corona bash and asked Mr. DeSantis to respond to critics who say he hasn’t taken the crisis seriously enough.

“Oh, that’s crazy,” said DeSantis as he was flipped into a kegstand. “I’m doing everything I can to make sure local communities are safe,” he added shortly before signing a second executive order preventing local governments from enacting their own social distancing restrictions.

The Plantain asked the Governor about the possibility that Coronavirus would spread through on account of his lax order, but never got an answer on account Mr. DeSantis heard someone playing “I Got Friends In Low Places” on acoustic guitar and ran off yelling “This is my song!”

“If Joe Carollo does it then it’s in the public interest and he can’t be removed from office,” said City of Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo from behind the bushes of the Ball & Chain night club in Little Havana. The argument makes up the Commissioner’s prime defense against a challenge mounted by “socialists” and “uh, did I say socialists?” to remove him from office for being insane and terrible and obstructionist.”

In a brief interview with the Plantain, Commissioner Carollo said that he isn’t worried about being removed from office: “I’m going to beat the shit out of those socialists and their agenda to remove me!” he said. We asked if his threat of violence should be taken literally or was just the type of rantings typical of elderly men upset that their grip on the world and reality is lessening with each passing day.

After a moment of deep self-reflection, Carollo admitted that he would beat the charges politically, and not with violence. “I only beat women,” he said before asking if I was a socialist and threatening to sick code enforcement on me if I didn’t take this article down.

When Miami resident Gonzalo Garcia started building an Ark earlier this year, his friends and neighbors thought he was crazy. But few are laughing at the 43-year-old Cuban native now that the United States’ coastal border has irrefutably begun to flood , and Cities like Miami Beach are discovering that their infrastructure cannot accommodate rising sea levels. “I guess climate change actually is a real problem,” said nearly everyone on earth not named Rick Scott

Mr. Garcia says that God, the almighty creator of all things that ever were and ever will be, came to him and commanded that he start building the Ark in anticipation of a great flood. “I was just sitting in a café, staring deeply into my cortadito when I heard God’s voice. She told me that a great flood was coming and that I should build a 300 cubit long vessel for me, my family, and the world’s animals,” said Mr. Garcia through his 8-year-old daughter and translator Gabriella. “God also told me I should get Gabriella a cell phone like everyone else in her class,” added the girl before being shot a stern look by her father, whose English wasn’t that bad. 

While Mr. Garcia’s divine correspondence has netted him many believers, not everyone is convinced that he has had direct communications with God. Devout climate change denier Senator Marco Rubio insists that Mr. Garcia’s claims are both preposterous and blasphemous: “You only have to look at the scripture to see that Mr. Garcia’s claims are false. I have had a personal relationship with God, and he tells me to look to the Bible for answers. Genesis 9:11 says that God will never again destroy the earth with a flood. How can Mr. Garcia, or any so-called scientists with so-called facts, contradict God’s divine word?”

The Plantain sat down with God at her Aventura condo and asked the deity to respond to Senator Rubio’s assertions.  The Lord, who wholeheartedly denied having a relationship with the diminutive senator, acknowledged the existence of a covenant preventing Her from destroying the world in a flood again, but argued that because climate change is a man-made problem She wasn’t “technically violating the covenant.” 

When confronted about the equity of Her position, God stated that She chose Mr. Garcia to save the human race so as to not appear cavalier and unsympathetic about what many will mistakenly believe to be a covenant violation. “I didn’t have to save the human race, but I am a just and righteous God, so I figured I’d give y’all another shot. But this is really the last time.” 

“I think Gonzalo is going to be a great savior,” said God confidently. “Obviously, everyone is going to want to compare him to Noah, but they both have their own qualities.” When asked why Mr. Garcia was chosen to save the human race, God said the choice was easy. “I thought to myself: What kind of person would be best equipped to build a serviceable sea-vessel with rummaged material on short notice? Gonzalo was the first Cuban guy I met.”

Sir. Daniel Tannenbutton and Mr. Whiskers, two rats that live together beneath a drainage pipe in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood, are eager to enjoy the abundance of rotting mangoes that will soon fall from the many mango trees that line the City’s residential neighborhoods.

“It’s my favorite time of year,” said Mr. Whiskers gleefully. “Normally I only eat trash like discarded Pollo Tropical leftovers or soiled diapers. But come the end of the summer I finally get some real food in my little rat tummy,” said the stay-at-home rat who has been in a long-term relationship with Sir. Daniel Tannenbutton for 2 years.

“Well, I wouldn’t say that Mr. Whiskers only eats trash,” interrupted Sir Daniel Tannenbutton. “I work very hard to provide him with the food he eats and I guess I stupidly thought he appreciated it until now. Remember the discarded orange peel I brought home for our anniversary, Mr. Whiskers? Maybe if he didn’t spend all day “working on his art” and watching telenovelas through Mrs. Perez-Santiago’s window we could afford a meal that was up to his sophisticated standards a little more often.”

“Don’t do this Daniel, you know that’s not what I meant,” said Mr. Whiskers to his partner in a whisper.

“Well that’s what you said, Mr. Whiskers. That’s what you said,” said Sir. Daniel Tannenbutton before pausing, taking a sigh, and saying “I’m sorry. I’ve just been working too hard. I’m excited about the rotting mangoes too.”

Following an incident last month in which a Miami Police officer accosted an African American doctor outside his home for no reason, the Miami Police promise to make significant changes in their department.

Dr. Armen Henderson, a physician recently profiled for his efforts to test and care for South Florida’s homeless population during the Coronavirus pandemic, was unloading his van when he was approached and handcuffed by a Miami Police Officer. The Officer approached Dr. Henderson with a vague claim of reports of “suspicious activity” in the neighborhood and detained him. The officer was not wearing a mask during his interaction with Dr. Henderson.

“In a pandemic, everyone should wear masks,” Dr. Henderson said. “You should keep your distance between people, especially and limit your interactions. I was taking tents out of my car, why was that even a reason to stop and talk to me?.

The Plantain contacted a spokesperson for the Miami Police Department who told us bluntly that “no cops did nothin’ wrong.” When I mentioned I hadn’t told him what I was calling about yet, the spokesperson apologized, allowed me to ask about his officer harassing Dr. Henderson in the middle of a pandemic for no reason, then responded, “no cops did nothin’ wrong” before calling me a faggot and hanging up.

Following widespread outrage about the incident, the Miami Police issued an additional statement that “even though no cops did nothin’ wrong, we have updated our internal protocols to require all our officers to wear masks when interacting with…oh jeez, how should I say this…can’t say black any more thanks to the liberal media, ah, I got it…with persons reasonably believed in the officer’s sole discretion to be subject to the type of harassment that could go viral.”

When asked why a racist officer’s anonymity should be protected, the spokesperson said: “Officer safety is our most important task.” When asked about the safety of Miami’s residents and how the police would make sure its officers do not continue to harass people of color, the spokesperson put on a mask and threatened to detain me if I didn’t stop asking “stupid fucking questions.”

Update: An internal investigations by the Miami police department concluded that “no officer did nothing wrong.”

The Coronavirus is bad. Like really, really bad. But, in a time of social distancing and a worldwide panic about the spread of infectious disease, at least you can take solace in knowing you no longer have to give your friend’s creepy cousin a kiss on the cheek.

“This is bullshit, bro,” said your friend’s creepy cousin, Juan, as you stop him from leaning in. “For real? Bro, I’m so sick of people overreacting to the Coronavirus. It’s just flu,” said Juan before leaning in again to kiss your cheek. When you decline his advances again, he explains that he was “just being polite” before changing the subject to what high school you went to.

“Not leaving the house or being able to go to Ultra is hard, but at least I don’t have to kiss every greasy guy I meet on the cheek,” said esthetician Marielys Rosario after leaving a small, 40-person social distancing get together Juan’s cousin Yammy was having.

The Plantain spoke to Juan about how he feels about not being able to kiss Marielys’s kiss, to which the 27-year-old Belen alum said he understood the precaution but still thought Marielys was a total bitch for not kissing him.

“I think Esteban Bovo would be a great mayor for Miami,” said Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro shortly after funneling money to his mayoral campaign through a consulting run by former representative David Rivera.

“Oh, Jesus, he said what?” asked Mr. Bovo upon learning of the Venezuelan dictator’s support. “Well, I have always been staunchly anti-Communist,” said Bovo of the President’s support. When asked why he would accept money from a dictator responsible for thousands of deaths and untold misery, Commissioner Bovo said: “Well, I’m also staunchly capitalist,” before pivoting his messaging and promising to give back the money and claiming this entire story was manufactured and probably just a plot by the Castro regime.

The Plantain asked Commissioner Bovo why his instinct, wherever he is criticized, is to blame it on Castro. “Castro’s dead, Commissioner Bovo,” I told him. “I know he’s dead! Thank god he’s dead!” said Bovo before admitting that “being a Cuban politician in Miami was a little easier when you could blame everything on Castro.

“It used to be that if I didn’t want to do something for my constituents because it was not in my personal financial or political interest I could just say that is something they would do in Communist Cuba,” said Bovo. “I still do that, but it’s less effective now that El Jefe Maximo is dead,” added Bovo who just last week refused to vote for emergency funds for County contractors because that sort of thing is what Castro would do.

The Plantain reached out to other frequent Castro invokers, including City Commissioner Joe Carollo, who beat up his wife in front of his daughter, and Marco Rubio, who is legally a snail. Both men the wife-beater and snail admitted that life just hasn’t been the same since Castro died. “Castro really let me deflect my own failures,” said Joe Carollo, who beat up his wife in front of his daughter.

Friday 7:22 PM

It’s the freakin’ weekend, baby! That means I finally get to watch TV and pace from my living room to my kitchen like I have done every other day for the last seven weeks.

I may be quarantined right now, but you know where I am not quarantined? In my dreams! So I’ll also take myself a nap or two in between Korean soap operas and hopefully dream of a happier time, not too long ago, when I was allowed out of the house to attend a Kobe Bryant memorial or protest the President’s racist and anti-feminist agenda. Those were the days.

But I’m one of the lucky ones since I still have a job and it lets me work remotely. I haven’t been able to get much work done because I have been watching so many of those Korean soap operas and fully expect to be fired in the next couple of weeks, but it won’t matter because I’m getting a stimulus check from the government! $1,200 baby! My rent is $2,400, but I’m not too concerned because this pandemic is about self-reflection and working on yourself and I refuse to let myself become a victim of negative energy.

Saturday 9:04 AM

I just found out my mom tested positive. My dad called to tell me and like, I wanted to know, but also didn’t need to know this early in the morning. I was having a nice dream about sitting in traffic on my way to the job I hate. I’ll never get back to sleep.

Saturday 11:45 AM

Okay, if it weren’t bad enough that my mom is being intubated and I can’t go visit her, Yop Sung-Soo just called off her engagement to Nang Ji-Hoon which will bring great shame to his family. I know I was trying to remain positive, but Sung-Soo’s betrayal has got me feeling low so I ordered some comfort food from my favorite restaurant to make me feel better. I ended up spending $40 on an $11 bowl of pasta, but at least I got to eat something I love and was able to mostly ignore my persistent concern that it was prepared by someone who has been infected. I wonder how my mom is doing?

Saturday 4:30 PM

She didn’t answer, but I’m sure it’s fine. I’ll just smoke a little weed and watch some more TV. Hopefully, Ji-Hoon can prove to his father that he is honorable enough to take over the family’s business. Of course, if 젊은이의 양지 were real then surely Ji-Hoon’s family’s tea shop would be out of business at this point and Ji-Hoon’s prospects of a bride from a family as well-respected as Sung-Soo’s is unlikely. I wonder if smoking weed is a good idea during a world-wide respiratory virus outbreak? No need to worry about that, I can’t catch Coronavirus if I just stay in my apartment all day…But what if I did catch something from that $40 pasta?

Saturday 7:00 PM

I took a little nap and boy do I feel better. I had 15 missed calls from my dad and siblings, but I’m sure everything is okay. They are probably just bored too. Before I call him back I want to finish the season and find out whether Ji-Hoon was able to find love after all.

Saturday 11:12 PM

He was! That’s great, but I wish his grandmother was able to meet his new bride before she passed away. At least his fiance was able to honor his late grandmother’s memory by attending her funeral. Family is so important. I wonder if we’ll even be able to have a funeral if my mom dies? I’ll call my family back in the morning, I’m sure everything is fine…

Sunday 11:45 AM

I just spoke to my dad and he says my mom is stable. He and my siblings are bored and had nothing to do but call me. I have been talking to them an awful lot since this quarantine, a lot more than I had in years, which is sort of nice, but they call so much that I just can’t get anything done around the house. I mean, this was supposed to be a relaxing weekend and all they want to do is talk to me about their anxieties about the life-threatening virus or mom’s condition. Sort of inconsiderate, if you ask me.

Sunday 6:45 PM

Well, I’ve finished Netflix’s entire catalog of Korean dramas so I guess I’ll try the Scandinavian shows next? The weekend went by quite quickly and I’m excited tomorrow begins a brand new week. That means I finally get to watch TV and pace from my living room to my kitchen like I have done every other day for the last two months.