Just Amigos Bonus Scene


This is my idea of a fun Saturday night.

On the floor, sitting criss-cross applesauce, having my hair tugged, yanked, pulled, and twisted by a four-year-old.

It doesn’t hurt, but I like to pretend it does just to hear her laugh at me.

“Oh ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!“

“Daddy!“ Luddie giggles a light, sweet, bubbly, giggle, that floats through the room, like cotton candy caught on a breeze.

“I’m gonna do this right here.” She starts chanting while she dances with my hair still in her tiny fists.

“Ponytail, ponytail, ponytail.”

“I want space buns,” I say. “Can I have space buns?”

“No, daddy. Silly daddy. Space buns are for princesses.”

“And why is that?”

She has no logical response.

“You’re a daddy and I’m a little girl and a princess is a princess.”

“You have to give me a better reason than that.”

“Princess Leia,” her older sister, Leigh, says, globbing orange paint on my thumbnail.

Last Halloween, Desirée, the girls, and I dressed up as the Skywalker family. I was Anakin, Desirée was Padme, Leigh was princess Leia, and Luddie decided she wanted to be Grogu. They haven’t seen any of the movies yet, but that’s what they wanted. The power of merchandising at its finest.

“Well,” I say, I think the princess’ daddy can have space buns, too.  Can you do that for me?”

“OK Daddy.”

Leigh has abandoned her task of painting my fingernails, goes into her cubby, and comes back with four more bottles of polish.

She puts all her colors in a row, which is more nail polish than a six-year-old should own, and hands me one of the bottles. The blue one.

“Help me open this please,” she says.

How can I resist when she asks like that?

“I thought we decided we were doing orange,” I say.

“No, we are doing rainbow.”


She hands me the bottle and I open it for her.

Then she hands me the other ones to open.

I live to do her bidding.

“Do you want me to open every single one of your nail polish bottles? Ouch! Luddie! Hair.”

By the way Luddie giggles. I don’t know what she’s doing to my hair, but I might be bald by the end of the day.

“They have you wrapped around their little fingers,” says Desirée, leaning on the door frame to our daughters’ room.

“That’s not true,” I say. “I’m training them to be my minions.”

“Mmmhhmm. Sure.”

“In another year, I’ll never have to do any of my own grooming.”

“That’s an interesting way to look at it, but for now, why don’t you come downstairs? Scott and Rusty just got here and we’re ready to record the acceptance speech.”

“More snaps,” says Luddie.

 Snaps are what she calls hair clips because they snap into place. Also, she’s a little rough with them. But who’s complaining?

I shrug at Desirée as if to say, “Whatta ya gonna do?”

She half-smirks and gives me a pointed look. “Anytime you’re ready, superstar.”

“As soon as my makeup artists are finished, I’ll be right down.”

“Daddy, can we come too? I’ll wear my tiara?” asks Leigh.

Luddie jumps up and down. “Yes, yes me too.”

“I’m not going anywhere sweetheart. I’m just going downstairs where Uncle Scott and Uncle Rusty are going to help me and Mommy with something.”

When I found out we were nominated for best independently recorded album of the year for the International Music Awards, I was pretty excited.

But Desirée is due any day now with our third child (another daughter), and since she’s the other half of our songwriting duo, I won’t accept any award without her.

We couldn’t have done it without Scott and Rusty, so they’re also going to get on camera with us whether they like it or not.

A few days ago, I was contacted by the president of the IMA, pressing me to attend the ceremony in Nashville.

When it was evident I wouldn’t get on a plane a few days before our child was to be born, he caved. He called me back five minutes later, asked me to sign a nondisclosure agreement, and then informed me that we had won.

The award show airs tomorrow night, so we have a Zoom call scheduled with the IMA president, another executive, and a lawyer to record our acceptance speech. I suppose they’re trying to take precautions.

After a proper head scalping and a sloppy coat of rainbow nail polish, I go downstairs with the girls on my heels. They only found one tiara, so Luddie is sporting a goldfish hat.

When Scott sees me, he laughs. “Nice hair, my man.”

By the way, he no longer speaks like a bad imitation of Bert from Mary Poppins. Neither does Rusty, thank goodness.

The girls run to Scott and Rusty, slamming little bodies against them, then clinging onto their legs so they’re unable to walk without taking them along.

“I have a monkey on my leg,” says Rusty.

Luddie titters.

“Oh wait. What’s this? That’s no monkey.”

He then tickles her, as he does every time. And, like every time, she acts surprised, squeals, and runs around him in circles while Leigh climbs up Scott, hooks her ankles around his neck, and hangs upside down.

My kids are maniacs.

“I have the guys from IMA on the call,” says Desirée from the coffee table where she set up the computer. We don’t have a green screen background or anything fancy. Just our living room.

This is where we do our writing. Everything is done at home except when we film music videos or make appearances at small venues. We never tour. And thanks to virtual concerts, we don’t have to.

We’ve been approached more than once to sign with a big label. But we never even entertain the idea. We like the freedom being independent artists gives us.

And we do it all together.

They’re calling us the modern-day Captain and Tennille. To be honest, I had to look that up, and I’ll pass on that comparison, thank you. For me, “love will keep us together” means for life.

I join Desirée on the couch and greet the other Zoom attendees.

“Mateo, good to see you,” says the president. “You’re looking… well.”

I can see the wheels turning in that executive head of his, like he so badly wants to comment on my wonky, lopsided space buns, but maybe thinking this is a new ‘look’ for me. Ya never know with musicians.

He introduces me to the other exec and the lawyer. The lawyer goes over the legal crap which I pretty much tune out.

Meanwhile, the girls climb on our laps, proudly wearing the taira and goldfish hat.

The president is all very cordial about it until it’s time to get started. Then he strongly suggests we send the girls off somewhere. But they’re not going to budge, and I’m not about to make them.

“They can stay,” I say. “And while we’re at it…” I wave Scott and Rusty over. “Come on, guys. We’re doing this as a family.”

Scott and Rusty try to protest, but Desirée isn’t having any of it.

“Get your butts over here and smile for the Zoom call,” she demands.

When Desirée says “jump,” they say “how high?” and let’s face it—so do I.

They take a spot behind us on the couch, and we adjust the computer to fit us all on the screen, only to make further accommodation for Zeta. We look like a ragtag bunch. Especially me with my special hairdo.

“Wait!” says Leigh. “What about Mr. Hopkins?”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” says the other IMA executive.

“You better believe it,” Desirée says while we all wait for Leigh to bring Mr. Hopkins to the party.

The lawyer goes over the same legal spiel for Scott and Rusty while the girls wiggle on our laps. Then, after a few verses of “Baby Shark,” we’re finally ready to do the speech.

I actually don’t have anything prepared, thinking I’ll be spontaneous. Desirée, Scott, Rusty, and I take turns saying awkward thank yous, and then Luddie sings a song of her own composition, one she’s making up as she goes along. If I had to guess, it’s entitled “Thank You, Thank You, I’m a Fish, Thank You.”

I shrug and look directly at the camera. “She takes after her mother. A musical prodigy.”

“And her father,” says Desirée, “A big ham.”

Luddie’s song turns into an ode to ham, (Yummy, Yummy Ham), Scott finds a nearby guitar and strums along, and the rest of us contribute with dissonant counter melodies.

It’s chaotic and perfect, just like the rest of our wonderful, crazy lives.

As the impromptu song comes to a close, we end with a combined “Ta da!”

I kiss my wife on the cheek, and a giant grin overtakes her features as she waves to the camera with her beautiful giggle.

I don’t wait for the IMA president to sign off before closing the laptop, gathering my little family in my arms, and kissing them all. Excluding Scott and Rusty, to be clear.

“Who wants ice cream?” Rusty sings.

The girls can’t get off the couch fast enough, sending Zeta and Mr. Hopkins in a shuffle.

“We’ll take them out for some froyo so you lovebirds can be alone,” says Scott, wagging his brows. “We’ll take our time, if you know what I mean.”

“Good,” says Desirée, struggling to get up from the couch. “I’ll take a long nap.”

“Yeah, me too,” I say, slapping a hand on Scott’s shoulder. “Have fun with the sugar high.”

Without looking back, I help Desirée climb the stairs and take her to bed. Tucking in to spoon behind her, I stroke her hair and hum softly like I always do to help her relax.

She turns her head, gazing at me sweetly.

“I’m hungry.”

Okay. No nap, then.

I slide out of bed and slip on some sweatpants.

“Watermelon again?” I ask.

“Sure,” she says with her eyes peeking out from the covers. “And some churros, too.”