Roger Donnelly's best friend says that Jesus and the Virgin Mary have started talking to him.
Jesse Montoya is Roger's all-time best pal, and he swears he's having visions and can work miracles. Roger has stood by Jesse since the first grade, but as time passes and Jesse insists his mysticism is real, Roger reluctantly gets dragged into Jesse's weird world of Catholic dreams and maybe-miracles.
OUR LADY OF THE LOWRIDERS is a comic novel, a trip through the '60s and '70s with a pair of best buddies trying to make sense out of growing up Catholic in L.A. suburbia. As they fall in love with irresistible girls, battle psycho nuns, and dodge random acts of an apparently pissed-off God, Roger and Jesse learn that the real miracles aren't always so obvious.
Sister Mary Annunciata wants to kill me.
I can tell. Everything about her says, "Kill Roger": those black, mean eyes, the angry red cheeks, the smile that isn't really a smile. A gold crucifix necklace slides across her cardboard chest cover as she moves. Jesus on a swing. More shiny white cardboard frames her face. Maybe someday I'll under-stand the reason for all the cardboard coverage, but right now it doesn't matter. I'm just a terrified little kid.
Because Sister Mary Annunciata wants to kill me. "Well, Roger?" she demands.
The beady eyes eat a hole in me. My Cheerios churn. I'm going to throw up. I know it. All because I can't remember what the ninth commandment is. I always get the covets confused.
"Answer me, Roger!" "I don't know."
Now she heads for me, cardboard flapping, black habit flying, thick-soled black shoes clack-clacking on the yellowed floor. I'm definitely going to throw up. My classmates turn and watch me and wait. Some, like Jesse Montoya, smile. Others look terrified. They know it could just as easily be them. I close my eyes. Maybe it's just a bad dream. Maybe Sister Mary Annunciata won't try to kill me. Maybe it's all a mistake. Maybe I'll wake up and the horrible, rosy-cheeked monster will turn into smoke, safely put away for another nightmare, maybe….
I open my eyes. She towers over me, a wheezing, giant black-and-white beetle. I look up at the hair in her nose. Oh, my stomach. The Cheerios have definitely turned on me. Little tears wet the corners of my eyes. I pray silently to Jesus: Please don't let Sister Mary Annunciata kill me.
"You're to stand when I ask you a question, Roger. And if you don't know the answer you are to say 'I don't know the answer to the question, Sister Mary Annunciata.' You are not to simply shake your head and say 'I don't know.'"
I scramble to my feet. My eyes are level with the bottom of her chest cardboard. Up close she's even scarier. Her breath smells like Vapo Rub mixed with pee. The classroom is quiet. I don't know what to do next. And I hope she doesn't, either. But then the cruel monster inside her rises up in holy Catholic glory.
"Hold out your hand."