happy birthday to me.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The area in which I worked was on the fringes of skid row. Trash lined streets with old liquor stores and porno shops and cut rate hotels. The throng of deviants who prowled the night were out in full force. Junkies squealed and meth addicts howled at the yellow moon as prostitutes of both sexes did their orchestrated ballet back and forth in front of the Rialto Theater. Florescent shadows played along cracked walls.
“Hey, man - ya lookin’?” White boy in hip-hop clothes asked through crooked teeth.
“Nah, I’m cool.” I kept walking.
Dark avenues packed with filthy, tattered hobos lay in their own piss and well-dressed, hip blacks on the hustle, clenching crack rocks in quivering, cold hands dominated the carnival atmosphere. I stealthily passed liquor stores and blue red purple neon of porno shops which peddled it real nasty all night with all kinds of sick junkies screaming in the back alleyways of the world.
I walked along discolored, spotted pavement and found a bar full of hip kids and fags. I sat there at the counter savoring my beer when a middle-aged black man - tall and rail thin - barged in and sized me up as an easy mark. He plopped next to me on a stool and began gesticulating with over-sized, boney hands.
“Now, what you need is a safistamacated woman.” He breathed liquor and halitosis into my face.
I glanced indifferently over to him and croaked, “What?”
“A safistamacated woman, boy. One’ll fuck ya all night.” When he said ‘all’, his yellow eyes rolled around a bulbous, ashy head.
I mumbled fuck off or I don’t have time for your stupid shit or something equivalent and he stared me down all gangsta and shit, but opts to jet, leaving me to my beer. I quickly finished up, paid the man, and headed to work.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
A young man named Juan Carlos moved in next to my room, asphyxiating me with futbol scores...thin and sickly and continually fidgeting with candles and religious icons of that condescending bitch Guadalupe, goes on and on about his novia and lack of funds to support her...A cockroach crawls slowly up the blue chipped paint wall...I look out my window to the hotel across the street. A dark-skinned whore of Mayan descent with floppy breasts and discolored teeth stood in the door and asked for a cigarette from a scrawny young man... She steps in and takes off her yellow slip and stands naked...the young man drops his ragged pants - erection swinging free - and lies down on the dirty bed, smoking a Delicado, hard and waiting...
Friday, March 20, 2015
I walk down the garish arabesque neon of Juárez Avenue. Not a soul. Drunken corpse lies in someone else’s overcoat, shiny over the dirt. Mexican cowboy a foot away converses to Durango via cellular. Taxi drivers don’t even bother me. The wind blows harder. Trash and dirt swirls in eddies across the street up into the blank dark. Dirt in my eyes. Fucking desert!
I curse as I cross a street in front of Tequila Derby - weekend be-bop joint for teenage revilers and high school hipsters. Look down the alley. Taxi? Asked meekly. He acknowledges I require nothing. I stop and purchase a pack of Lucky Strikes from an indigenous Mexican Indian huddled in a cove of crumbling masonry, small television emitting black and white images of The Simpsons in Espanola. We chat on the weather. Nasty. Muy feo.
Two queens saunter by and give me the eye as I pass café 656. I stride up to the corner and cut down a street, hands in jacket pockets, cigarette hanging from mouth in a real James Dean fashion, you dig, giving the fags their B-movie production. Down a silent street. Lampposts emit yellow glows...intermittent areas dark and foreboding with shadow-like phantoms fluctuating within the gloom. Black dog drags something grisly and wet in its maw. It whines and stops. Scratch. Scratch. Picks the black wet thing up again and trots off down the dark street lined with brick and adobe houses. Was it meat?
I light another cigarette and amble to the corner, the wind is howling fierce. I stand under the lamp and listen to the buzzing of the condenser. I think of Saul. I think of Hector. I think of all the myriad things I had done the previous years.
I wish I never had left Tijuana.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
4pm. At the bar three regulars sat and sipped drinks. They sit apart. Three or more bar stools between each of them. The leather padding on select bar stools were cracked, exposing yellow foam underneath. Another customer entered and moved methodically to one such worn seat. The maroon padding sighs deeply under familiar weight.
I inclined my head toward the bartender. Neither of us speak. I let my eyelids fall, listening. Three cubes drop into a short glass. Trickling nectar. The slightest crackling. I inhale, a faint burn. Scotch. Finally, soda fizzes and the glass slides across slick mahogany to rest against my forearm. My lids flicker and I thirstily sip. Satisfied, gulps.
As I drank, I listened with one good ear. A cue ball strikes another sphere. I reveled in the sharp, audible sound. I enjoyed it because it permeates and resounds inside my skull. Many sounds do not. In loudness - bustling, mingling noise - sounds don’t reach me. I hear them but they are nonsense, a scrambled blur of meaningless racket. I enjoy this bar for its softness of sound. Most nights the cracking of billiard balls being the dominant utterance.
And I enjoy the regularity of my visits, how I needn’t to verbalize. Needn’t strain my puny voice to gain what I desired. The bar was one of the few public places I don’t avoid. Most others are loud. Busy.
I removed my pen from my laptop satchel and scribbled onto a soiled napkin: He sat alone in an unfamiliar bar listening to the static of the night. A grim smile hidden behind his shallow features. He held a glass of vodka to his lips and hesitated. His small penetrating eyes watch the room. He liked the bar. He liked the vodka. He liked the sound. He hated the people. He hated the smell. He hated the loneliness. His head was a maze. He could no longer separate his fantasies from reality. He tried, in vain, to find an anchor, yet none stood fast. He withdrew. His faults maximized, and his skills began to minimize. His observant, determined, independent behavior began to diminish, as a sad, cold, foreign sense of emptiness overtook him. His sense of being was no more. He felt empty, cold, lost. Gone.
I finished my vodka and waved to the bar tender for another.
Saturday, March 14, 2015
Later, I stumbled out of the bar into the dank Tucson alley which smelled of rotted garbage and festering urine. The night was halfway over. While I was in the tavern, it must had rained. The uneven bricks of the back alley were glistening in translucent reflection. I retrieved a cigarette out of my pocket with intoxicated, numb fingers, lit up. I leaned my head back and blew great plumes of smoke up into a dark and cloudy sky. The undulating clouds parted here and there so the stars could look down and judge me.
“Fuck you.” I mutter and almost fell. I held onto a lamp post covered in flyers to support myself. The beers and tequila shots were taking their toll. I was truly screwed. Truly damned.
“Hey.” A voice out of the darkness hissed. “You spare a smoke?”
Goddammit, I don’t want to be bothered. I want to get home. First, I gotta piss.
I didn’t answer the phantom and wobbled over to the filthy dumpster, whipped out my junk, and relieved myself. Cigarette precariously dangling from numb lips, I zipped up and half-assed a scan for police patrols. On one end of the alley, a group of loud frat boys stumbled past gregariously as they often are.
“Can I bum a smoke off you?” The voice asked again.
I gazed over to a dark corner filled with shadows and dread. He slithered out of the inky blackness in grungy clothes and frayed sneakers. His blond hair was disheveled and he was sniffling. The boy was on something. It was his eyes. His eyes gleamed in the half-light, burning with sadness and despair and evil as hell addiction.
“What?” I croaked.
I felt like Fagin all hunched over and bitter and shitty.
“Do...you...have...an...ex-tra...cigarette?” He asked slow and drawn out as if speaking to a retard. Funny thing, he was.
I mumbled ‘Oh yeah’ or something like that and handed him one. He took it in slender fingers, dirt under the nails. He was slight of build and I wondered the last time he ate.
“So, what are you looking for?” He asked coyly.
Ah yes, the standard ice-breaker question of every male prostitute in every alley of the world.
“Death.” I grunted.
“Oh don’t say that. Life is good. It is full of great times.” He smiled broadly.
I blearily gazed at him and saw him in a new light. Here standing in front of me was a beautiful, homeless youth and in lieu of all his hardships he currently endured, he remained positive. I was like that once. Before being beaten down by lovers and friends and trust and mishap decisions and misguided circumstance. Before my mind went and became toxic and corrosive in embittered self-loathing.
“Are you hungry?” I asked, pointing towards the 24 hour café on the opposite end of the alley. “I need to get some food in me to suck up this alcohol.”
“As a matter of fact, I am hungry.” He stated, smiling. “Been drinking, huh? You drink a lot?”
“It’s all I have left and even that proclivity is becoming a bore.”
I began stomping down the alley; expertly dodging pools of iridescent, oily water. He paused, then followed.
We cut into the shop. Ordered food and strong coffee. Took a booth at the wall. The place was empty excluding a lonely hobo with a panting dog and a deranged homosexual on a laptop. My guest and I both sat for some time not speaking.
“I’m James.” He finally stated.
I introduced myself the best I could, with the exception I was so drunk and depressed, instead of coming across cordial, my words and tone came out loathsome and obscene. I drank my coffee in silence until our sandwiches arrived. The boy ate with gusto.
“Haven’t eaten in a while?” I asked as I watched him devour his meal.
“Not good anyway.” He managed between chomps of pre-processed flesh.
Outside the rain began and late night revelers dashed under awnings and into doorways. I observed James. Rentboy to be sure. Then again, I think it was forced in way of certain living arrangements. Or perhaps he was simply a sex addict. A lot of them are. They won’t admit it. But, they are.
“I was thrown out of this place today.” I divulged, glancing around the coffee shop.
“The café? Why?”
“There were a couple of heroin addicts I was chatting with in research of a new book. On account I was in association, and basically because the barista was an imperialistic bitch, I was asked to never come back.”
“And, yet here you are.” He laughed. “Wait. New novel? You’re a published writer?”
“Yes.” I croaked. “A curse.”
“Wow!” James gushed. “I never met a real writer. What do you write?”
“Garbage.” I grunted.
“Oh...come on. It can’t be that bad.”
I sighed. Took a sip of coffee, poked at my sandwich. “You have a place to stay, James? It’s raining outside and it’s late. I need to get some sleep.”
“Actually, I was couch surfing with some friends over on 4th. A bunch of fucked up tweekers. The bitch who runs the house and I got into an argument. So, as of right now...the rain is my blanket.” He extended an open palm towards the street.
I looked off into the darkness beyond the grime streaked pane window. The intermittent flash of summer lightning. The glow of yellow lamps igniting sheets of cascading rain. I took a cigarette from my pocket, offered it to James. Removed one for myself, lit both.
“You can stay at my place if you wish.” I stated. “No monkey business. Unless you’re into monkey business.” I raised a fey eyebrow, took a drag.
James leaned over the small table and asked in hushed tones, “Are you gay?”
I continued to look out the window, slouched against the wall in the booth, “I haven’t been gay a day in my life. I am, however, a homosexual.”
We finished our meal and then found ourselves briskly walking over incandescent pools and dribbling rain to my rented room a few blocks away. I opened the door and invited him in. He took in the place like a good hustler, making certain there were no sinister weapons or weird sex gadgets. I noticed in his face he was relieved the place was somewhat bare - bed, bookshelf, table, a couple of chairs, clothes neatly hung in an open closet. Nothing to hide.
He turned to me, “You mind if I take a shower? It’s been a few days.”
I said sure and gathered him a clean towel and an unused bar of soap. I lay on the edge of the bed, smoking a damp cigarette, watching the shadows move across the ceiling from passing cars outside and listening to Miles Davis on the CD player. Through my experiences in Mexico, as long as he was in my house, I wasn’t going to let him out of my sight. I could use a shower, too. However, I believed as soon as I exited the bathroom, anything of value would had been long gone.
James walked out of the bathroom with a green towel wrapped around his scrawny torso.
“Let me see if I can find some pajama bottoms for you.” I offered.
“Don’t bother. I like to sleep in the nude.”
Convenient. I offered him a beer from the mini fridge and we chatted a bit as he lay under the thin blanket. He mentioned something of getting enough money for a bus ticket to return to Las Vegas. He had family there. I didn’t bother questioning why he didn’t hit his family up for the fare. After I finished my beer, I peeled off my damp clothes and slid under the blanket.
He was shivering and so was I. Wordlessly, he snuggled next to me, briefly muttering that my body was warm. His torso was so boney. In the half-light of the room, he turned towards me and slid his arm across my chest, his erection thumping against my hip.
“I want to feel you inside of me.” He breathed into my ear.
We began kissing. The taste of saliva mixed with coffee, beer, and ham swirled in our mouths. James kissed my chest, making his way down to my own erection, and sucked my dick like something I needed in a long time. It felt as if I was in heaven. He definitely was a professional. I got to the point I couldn’t take it anymore and rolled the blond onto his stomach. I parted his cheeks and rimmed him for a good ten minutes. He squirmed and gasped as I loosened him up. I flipped James over onto his back, placing his feet up onto my shoulders. Spitting into my palm, I lubed the head of my penis and slowly pushed it in. He clung to me like a baby monkey as I rapidly rutted and lunged. His ass muscles tightened and grasped as I thrust - literally sucking my cock into him. I couldn’t hold back any longer. I yanked out and sprayed him with semen. He masturbated wildly, unloading his pent up frustrations onto his self. It was a work of art. I snatched my cell phone and snapped a pic before he could hide his face.
“Hey!” James laughed. “You should ask before doing that!”
“It’s for the archives. Dr. Windom needs it for my reports.”
“Ford Windom. PhD. Never actually passed the bar exam. Faked various psychoanalyst credentials with Photoshop. He once committed a friend to an asylum because he laughed at his eyebrows. Another nearly overdosed on a prescription from the good doctor when he swapped the patients lithium with Viagra, he then notified the guy’s parents and told them the patient was a sexual deviant with a bad case of crabs. Crazy fuck needs to be arrested.”
“He sounds weird.” James chuckled.
“You have no idea.” I plopped next to him, placing my phone onto the end table. “How about first thing tomorrow morning, we head over to Greyhound and get you that ticket to Vegas?”
“For reals?!” He beamed, lying next to me, propped up on his elbow. “You’ll do that?”
“And more.” I said esoterically. “Now, let’s get some sleep.”
Friday, March 13, 2015
He smashed his cigarette out onto the cracked pavement with the toe of his shoe. Thin, aquiline features seemed pale and ghastly under the throbbing blue and white light of an overhead marquee. He peered at me as I entered the bar. His eyes ascertained a lazy gaze of crimson in them. Was he tired or inebriated? Undoubtedly both. American hustlers work long hours to make ends meet.
I sat at the bar and ordered a beer. The pleasant old hag tending the counter stated they did not serve Sol, “Only Coors. On tap.”
For two dollars in a sixteen ounce glass, why not? The shit still tasted like a homeless man’s piss. I glanced around the bar – lost derelicts, antiquated hookers, furtive junkies. As I stared at my reflection in the mirror across from me, the hustler at the front door slid onto a stool next to me. In the reflection, his image was sliced in half by the parting of the mirror plates. One pane was slightly higher than the other. The reflection was somewhat off putting. One good, the other bad.
The aging bartender placed a styrofoam bowl of popcorn between us. With amateurishly tattooed covered hands he scooped up a fistful and shoved them into a broad mouth. As I watched, I got a better look at him. He was tall, thin, and wore the expression of annoyed petulance common to all Americans. It was a look designed to project aloof coolness to whomever cared to meet that gaze, but instead it simply reflected on how sad, beat, and completely bitchy a person could be. His torso was draped over by a green t-shirt with a large red star on the chest, loose fitted jeans, and black leather work shoes. His light brown hair was buzz cut and stood out dark against pale skin. His eyes....his eyes, though blood shot, were a light blue when they were blue. He held a face of a young boy, smooth and clean, who seemed to be perpetually pouting.
I turned toward him as he shoveled another handful of popcorn into his mouth.
“Hungry?” I asked jokingly.
He smiled through discolored teeth that he was or to that effect. I offered him a beer.
“Sure, man. Thanks.” He said sniffing. “You spare a smoke?”
I fished a cigarette from my pocket and he went to stand outside again and smoked. I sat sipping my beer. When he returned, he drank a gulp and then asked, “You live around here?”
“I rent a hotel room up on Oracle. I’m waiting for my housing vouchers to clear so I can get an apartment.”
He repeated. “You rent a hotel room? Isn’t that fucking expensive?”
I said nothing and took a gulp of beer.
“What do you do?” He asked.
“I’m a writer.”
“A writer? Really? What do you write?”
He chuckled and I ordered another round. It was that time of early evening when the bar was kept exceptionally dark and cool from the insidiously dry one hundred degree weather outside. Even with the sun gone for the day and it being a full moon, the climate was uncomfortably hot. I snatched a paper napkin from a stack on the counter and wiped it across my forehead.
“It’s too fucking hot here.” I expressed to no one in particular.
“Shit! It ain’t even June yet.” Stated an old man with a huge, cascading beard at the end of the bar. “Wait till yer ass gets stuck outside during August. Fuckin’ shit’s hot then!” It was Buddy, the bar regular. Word had it he had been frequenting the joint since 1967. I simply smiled at him and turned back to the hustler.
As I was about to speak, he slid off of his stool and walked to the mensroom. His jeans were pulled down and hung off a pair of bulbous cheeks hidden under grey boxers. As I watched him disappear into the pissoir, I thought, That’s an ass begging to get fucked.
Yeah, I was feeling it. I wanted to conquer someone. I was stateside now and did not require to placate some Mexican macho fuck who kept his sphincter clenched the entire time while we had sex. I decided when the hustler returned from the restroom, I was going to casually pop the question to come back to my place. So, I waited...and waited...and waited.
What the fuck? He fall in? I thought.
I paid for two more beers and then walked into the mensroom. Nice set up. Red light, dim. The crumbling walls were a mural of scrawled graffiti. There was a long, metal piss trough and one toilet stall in which the boy stood. Fine, I’ll take a piss while I’m in here. As I stood at the urinal, for a moment it was silent, then I heard a light rhythmic clanking of a belt buckle and the muted raspy sound of skin sliding against skin. He was jacking off.
I was already slightly inebriated, so what the fuck I thought, and said, “You need help over there?”
Momentarily he was silent. He then walked out from the stall and stood in the middle of the restroom with jeans unbuttoned. One hand hung limply at his side as the other held his pants up. Pointing out and up from the hole in his boxers was a stunted, circumcised erection.
His face was tense and determined as he spoke in the crassest tone, “Yeah, man, I want my cock sucked.”
I casually walked over to him and placed his erect penis in my hand. I read the callous warts lining the shaft like braille.
I jerked my hand away, looked up at his despairing face and said, “Not today, man. Don’t feel the need.”
“You don’t want it?” He asked. I saw in his eyes that his affliction disgusted me. Obviously, I wasn’t the first to recoil from his advances today.
“No.” I left him standing frustrated in that empty bathroom.
Sunday, March 08, 2015
Even though it being the eighth of March with the hope of oncoming spring, the skies were a mottled grey which only prolonged the unrelenting freezing winter. I decided to alleviate my current malady of obsessing over my early demise with a simple cure: a cup of coffee.
However, not simply any cup of coffee would do, of course, but a fine cup at a decent café. As I shuffled over the shattered sidewalks of this decaying city, the cold winds chilled me to the marrow and I had to admit, I was feeling somewhat hungry. Around me lay the visage of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The City always held the appearance of what the world would look like after an atomic war – vast panoramas of rotting, crumbling buildings, heaps of mortar and trash congested bricks. Dead dogs, cats, and human feces scattered about great rubbly lots rimmed with bent telephone poles. Antique school buses leftover from the 1950’s chugged by coated in a fine layer of white dust – sad, brown faces stare out at me through cracked and broken windows. In a vast concrete park, several boys play futbol yelping and hollering. Two lovers sit on a chipped marble bench and stare silently into each other’s eyes. I glance up at the skeletal trees and grin as I notice the tale-tell signs of buds forming on the long, spindly branches. It will be warm soon.
I entered downtown and slithered through the congested promenade on 16th de Septiembre, the locals were out in mass. Along with a legion of vendors, shoe shine boys, and sellers of glistening, soot covered concessions. Several live bands positioned at intervals along the lengthy way wailed various styles of music ranging from standard ranchero to 60’s oldies to big band bebop – all competing with the obligatory asshole with a bullhorn screaming about Jeeeeeeesssussss on the cathedral steps…so it goes.
I dart into the dusty glass fronts of Café Central. It too was congested with Saturday afternoon revelers. The long hall was a cacophony of polite chatter, clinking utensils, and the roller-rink type music emitted from an enormous jukebox next to the cashier. I sat at the long, curving counter and ordered caldo de res.
As I waited for my order, I utilized the massive mirrors which lined the walls just below the ceiling to observe the deluge of life around me. Laughing, chatting locals communicated their ideas and passions to one another with such vitality. Why can I not be like them? Why have I alienated myself so far from the simple pleasures of humanity? On an emotional level, I had successfully pulled all the wires and become such a passionless robot. I leered at the animated people around me - how I envied them.
I suppose what really upset me and brought on this chain of dubious thought was I have begun work on my next novel. The quirky love affair between William Burroughs and his wife Joan which resulted in him putting a slug in her forehead. The only problem being, I’m penning it as a love story. How am I to write that? In all sincerity, it has been so long since I have loved anything, I have forgotten what it feels like. Honestly. And the back memories on past relations pulls up black blanks in my mind. How am I to write on something I do not attain any memory of?
I quickly ate my food and stepped out into the bustling streets. I still wanted a coffee, so I made my way over to Café 656. I pushed open the door and was met with silence. There was no one there. I had thought perhaps owner Coco was in the restroom or in the back washing dishes, so I sat at a table and waited. And waited. An entire hour passed. I was becoming concerned by the fact that she would simply leave the café unattended. Her laptop sat on the counter, the lights were on. During my wait, several other customers entered. Two elderly women on canes wobbled in and attempted to make pleasant conversation. One of the plump women stated she was returning a book she had borrowed from the shelves. I explained I had no idea where Coco was and on how I found the café empty.
Mario, a mustachioed street singer – his shtick was to peruse the cantinas and strum ballads on a guitar for pesos – entered and inquired the whereabouts of Coco. He too became alarmed. With luck, he had her number on his cell and gave her a buzz. He eventually stated, she stepped out to make copies and was in her car returning to the café.
“They must’ve been some damn important copies to leave the store open like this.” I quipped.
At that moment, for some reason, one of the fat old women slipped off her seat and tumbled onto the floor. She lay there a moment like an overturned crab with flailing arms and legs as her friend and Mario dashed to her aid. I stood there impassively and didn’t care. I simply wanted some fucking coffee. After a brief moment of awkward mumblings, the women excused themselves and left. Mario stated something about being hungry and he too left. A couple of young girls entered and sat. They looked at me and ordered cappuccinos each with cheese cake. I simply ambled behind the counter and began preparing cappuccinos.
At that moment, Coco bursts in demanding how I got into her café. I simply stated that I pushed the door open and entered. She insisted on that the door was locked and I asserted that it wasn’t. I had enough of this drama and explained the two customers order and sat with my cup of coffee. An hour and a half late. I still believe she was under the assumption that I broke in somehow. I sat and watched the people outside. Happy and set in their ways. And then my mind began to drift into the realization that I need to escape from this city…not to escape this life on account that my life is abundant with strange and wonderful things. I seriously desire to return to Tijuana. The only place in all my myriad travels I ever thought as home. There are too many painful memories here. I want to return and live, not merely exist, and write about it. Convey my passions to other like minded cohorts.
You see, I’ve come to realize there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. As writers, that's what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant... oh, fuck it.
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Depression is insidious. Anxiety attacks - public attacks - on the other hand, are downright pure horror. If you, Dear Reader, have experienced such woe and understand, then you understand; if not, you never will.
Case in point: This afternoon I sat in a café I usually haunt. I sat observing the passerby out the large and grime streaked pane-glass window, listening and not listening to the polite chatter of the other diners mixed with the clinking of utensils. It began as a swelling in the chest – not a pain, but a sensation. A mounting sadness which consumes your entire being. Why? What brought it on? Was it the chat with an age old friend yesterday? The finality of accepting the dread soaked alteration from a person whose only passion was to live free and delight in all the wonderments life offered only to disintegrate over a period of a few short years into a non- compassionate corpse whose only wish was to lay down onto the dusty sidewalk and stop breathing? Why is death, a final termination of mounting emotional grief the only true reprieve from such despair? I do not write about this, yet for the past few months – on nearly a daily basis – I have been contemplating ending this sorrow, this horrid loneliness I have trapped myself in.
I sat silently, attempting to cover this emerging lament from the passing waiters, the chatty eaters. It grew and grew, I was overwhelmed with such a feeling of utterly bleak despair. My eyes became shrink wrapped in moisture as I vainly attempted to control the crimson flush of my face. With quickness of breath, trembling of hands, the tears begin to trickle down my cheeks and the added bewildered embarrassment associated with the despondency as others began to notice my uncontrolled public display with questioning looks and inquiries of “What’s wrong?” I could not answer, for the reason that my mind was a kaleidoscope of shattered emotions. Sobbing uncontrollably, my only escape was to get up and flee from the questing eyes and out into the solidarity of the street.
I quickly rushed the few blocks to the dim coolness of my apartment. Sitting in the darkness chain smoking as my mind was bombarded with millions of nostalgic images. I have failed at so much. There is nothing left that inspires me. I seriously believe I am near the end. An end that I so painfully covet.
Tuesday, March 03, 2015
A man in a dark trench coat and fedora stood in a poorly lit alcove. He relentlessly scratched his dry wrist in a smoky haze. Skin flaked down to his dress shoes like drifting snow. He stepped back into the shadows; only the cherry-red tip of his cigarette could be seen…“cough”…I drunkenly wobbled out of the cantina and down into the heart of Zona Norte, cabron.
The Red Zone, for my Dear Readers who are ill informed, is a diminutive patch of streets and alleys on the north side of downtown. Walking along that district, I received a feast for the eyes: the buzzing flash of iridescent neon, putrid drunks lay on the grungy, broken sidewalk in their own waste as hawkers screamed at you to enter their bars and strip clubs. Ugly, mangy dogs ate out of rubbish piled in dark doorways as catatonic and filthy Mexicans dressed in rags glared at me as I walked by. The smell of cheap, greasy fried food mingled with the stench of sour beer, piss, and shit.
An entire block of malignant female prostitutes lined up shoulder to shoulder grabbing and goosing as I walked by.
“Wanna fuck, meester?”
“Twenny dallah make you hallah.”
“Watch me fuck my brother?”
What was next: Me so horny?
I was occasionally harassed by intimidating, tattooed covered cholos asking if I needed to score any heroin or crystal. I muttered no, smiled like the stupid gringo tourist, and moved on.
In Tijuana, female prostitution is mostly restricted to licensed brothels - like Adelita’s Bar or the Hong Kong Club. On the other hand, male prostitutes are everywhere. They assume all visitors are homosexual and solicit openly in the streets. I had been approached by boys who could not had been over ten. That aspect appalled me - I loathe pedophiles.
As I strolled past, tired and petulant prostitutes breathed smoke out of chapped lips, teeth plated in silver, “Wanna fuck me, meester?”
Preteen hookers cooed and grabbed at me as I ambled by lost in the sauce - no...no cunt for me. I am out on the prowl for some rough tattooed sex. Cause that’s the way I liked them - always been a sucker for the bad boy.
A bent over, gnarled gentleman in drab clothes approached me from the passenger side of a parked taxi cab. “Senor...one moment, senor.”
I stopped. “Yeah? What is it?” I asked, looking down on that shriveled sage.
He placed his withered hand on my arm and confided through putrefied teeth, “I got the biggest pussy in Tijuana.”
“You!?” I asked incredulously, lighting a Lucky Strike.
“Yes!” He cackled.
“Man, you’re in the wrong line of work as a taxi driver.”
“No! No!” He chuckled, realizing his mistake of words. “No, I take you to the big pussy!”
His brother sat next to him nibbling a dripping taco. A scrawny, antiquated little man in a black police uniform. With that fucking white police motorcycle helmet on his enlarged head he reminded me of Gazoo. Which I stated. Thought it was funny. He didn’t.
I proceeded over to one of my favorite dives called, Kin-kle. Thieves, deported criminals, junkies, pedophiles, cholo gangsters, fags and lezbos - a good watering spot. I entered the dark, smoked-filled den as a Spanish version of Achy-Breaky Heart warbled out of a multicolored jukebox. I took a seat in the back at a dented and rusted iron table with plastic lawn chairs. A cadaverous looking waiter in a wrinkled white shirt and black bow tie approached and I ordered a Sol beer.
The place was more or less empty for this time of the day - the bored looking bartender wiped the counter under dusty, torn soccer posters. The sole individuals at the bar were a fat cowboy groping and finger banging an old whore in a stained, yellow dress. She wiggled and giggled brown teeth at his advances. He smiled red eyed with a stunted hard on.
Nothing interesting here, so I decided to hit other bars. El Dorado? The Happy Naco? Bar Vaquero?
I entered a smelly, dark den with pink coral tiled walls. A short, chunky female in a black thong whirled and jiggled her wares in all the wrong places on a tiny stage of glittered stucco. Bar had only two others, junky cholo in white tank top and baggy khaki pants who sat on the nod like a fool on a stool against the pink wall and a flabby, sweaty American who eyed me fingering his camera so nasty.
I was about to take my business elsewhere when a tall, handsome Mexican with distinctive Aztec features and pencil moustache donning a blue mechanic’s tunic walked in and made a bee line for the men’s room. Quickly downed my beer, it was on like Donkey Kong: I am in the pissoir languidly jacking off with the guy in the mechanics uniform as the obligatory old fart with the camera looked on. The hottie had the most exquisite penis I had seen in many a moon. One hand on my soldier; the other traced black hair on toned pecs. Me and the hottie cum in spurts onto lemons and ice and left the quivering codger standing there wondering where his youth had gone.
The mechanic - Miguel he says - and I drank a couple more bottles and I asked if he cared to go back to my room for an afternoon of filthy, rotten sin. No, it’s back with the wifie and kids, he claimed. Shake hands and part. Old queen leered at me from furtive shadows. Frustrated fruit. Short cholo with shaved head and wife beater is hip to the fact and smiled with silver capped tooth, hard on a-pulsing in dirty khakis. I exit - leaving the cholo to the whims of that withered vampire.
Sunday, March 01, 2015
Hunched over the bar, El Puta sat naked on a frayed, red leather stool. He gave off a faint, greenish steam of decay. An emaciated hand grasped a high-ball glass of black, oily liquid. A proboscis-like mouth slurped the fluid in a lurid, unspeakable manner with a pink-black tongue.
Insipid, withered buttocks were openly exposed to passive intercourse. His pungent rectum resembled a gaping wound of brown, glistening gristle from decades of taking it up the ass from drunken and desperate machos. Every so often, black clunks of putrefied feces would drop onto the floor which in turn, was quickly swept up by a terrified assistant.
Parched, mocha-colored skin stretched over protruded bones and swollen ligaments…purple blue in places… interspersed with sickly liver spots and boils of unnamed diseases. His skin flaked off in drifts like sclerosis. Greasy, lanky black hair was combed over a burnished, misshapen head. Sitting immobile as a lizard, two large, disk-like eyes scrutinized the cantina via the enormous mirror situated behind the counter. Four lurid youths stood at his call, hips cocked to one side. One emaciated waif placed dirty fingers of a delicate hand to El Puta’s shriveled penis, languidly fondling his putrid foreskin.
“His face is science fiction, nothing like mama used to make…”
Rumor had it El Puta dwelled in an abandoned water closet at the end of a dead-end, shit strewn alley tended by a blind, armless boy.
The youth, despite his handicap, was extraordinarily beautiful – the classic beauty eighteenth century fags would compose epic sonnets about. Always dressed in a pristine white loin cloth and silver high-top sneakers that sported little wings at the ankles, the petite and armless lad would warmly smile with tiny white teeth towards anyone he sensed was near. In contrast, El Puta would fly into a screaming rage in the chance encounter any other queer in Tijuana even glanced in his boy’s direction.
Bitter and resentful, El Puta made it his business to discern every detail of the private lives of each expat who entered the Plaza. If you fell in disfavor (which was inevitable and usually for no reason at all) the evil old fuck, exercising telepathic waves like a bat’s sonar, would smear the most outlandish and disreputable rumors of ones person throughout the Plaza causing the bewildered citizen who fell into his disfavor to be marked as untouchable by the legion of hustlers. If a rentboy disregarded his telepathic commands of sexual cordon (downright cockblocking), he would corner them in the bar toilet stall and forcibly rape them – sucking semen, blood, and entrails from their screaming torso leaving behind an emaciated carcass. It was whispered El Puta slept on the piled desiccated corpses of past offenders.
An unattractive old queen, who sat at the table next to me, noticed my dismayed look. He continued to leer at my person with liver sick eyes - eyes dead and preditory. I fidgeted uncomfortably amid his vain advances, did my best to arrogantly ignore the old fruit. He smiled through long, yellow teeth, “Be kind, guero, or I just might have to inform El Puta how you are behaving towards me. You don’t want to be labeled as an ugly American, do you?”
The words ‘ugly American’ drifted through the cantina. Several expats and hustlers lifted their heads like animals sensing danger. El Puta’s semen engorged pot-belly gurgled in apprehension.
“No.” I said. “No, that would be insidious. I’m actually a nice person.”
The old fag began bouncing up and down in his seat, baying like a famished sheep, “Then fuck me! Fuck me now!”
Several rentboys heard his call to arms and slithered up, surrounding the old fag.
“Hola, papi. You horny for beeg dick?”
“Buy me beer, papi, I need your company.”
“One cigarette for me?”
“One beer for me?”
“Presteme dias pesos?”
The old fag continued his halitosis infused chant fuck me, fuck me now! as the boys swarmed in and ripped him to shreds - leaving a bitter, penniless old American in their wake. His ashy-pink face draped with a cascading lank of silver hair, he sat slumped in his seat. Shoes stolen. Pockets emptied and turned inside out. A trickle of piss ran down his khaki pant leg, past soiled socks and onto the dirty, tiled floor...
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
I was cold and my shadowy room silent and for the first time in a while I actually desired to go out. I had been mired in a depressional frump for some time and been purposefully avoiding contact with people. Standard manic-depressive crap.
I showered, dressed and made my way out into the street-light frosted chilled air. The dark navy sky was crisp, splashed with a myriad of twinkling stars ringed by obsidian shadows of surrounding barrios and the branches of dead trees grasping up toward a half-moon. Across shattered concrete of the sidewalk, I step over a dead cat on the corner whose week old corpse was now in its final state of decay.
It was just past nine and the promenade on Juárez and 16th of Septiembre still hosted a crowd of people. Mostly heterosexual lovers and bored families. I lit a cigarette and sat on the cold bench to people watch and think. Me being inert of course flagged several beggars to approach with grasping hands, black fingers shiny over the dirt. I deny all their advances. I care little these days for the struggle of the human species. We should had bombed ourselves into extinction back in the ‘80’s at the height of the Cold War.
A gust of wind blew down the boulevard creating small eddies of trash which swirled in locked doorways. Damn, it was cold! I extinguished my cigarette with the toe of my shoe and quickly strode with hands in coat pocket towards the swinging doorway of Bar Buen Tiempo. I stop at the wooden door and exhale a sigh, listening to the muted thumping of the rockola from inside, readying myself for whatever ignorant faggotry likely to be hurled at me.
I was relieved when I pushed the door aside to find that the bar wasn’t crowded at all. A total of nine or ten men sat around the square counter commanding the middle of the large bar. The plump female bartenders, dressed in their best day-glow spandex and hookerish attire largely stood slumped against the bar chatting with clientele.
I took a stool in the back, facing the door. Several prehistoric pedos and doe-eyed twinks eyed me like animals sensing danger, not for the fact of fresh meat but why a goddamn gringo was in the joint in the first place. One of the bartenders approached me all smiles brandishing silver capped teeth and I ordered a caguama. After handing over a crumpled bill, I squeezed a lime in my glass, poured my beer, took a sip. The refreshing drink cascaded down my gullet, I emitted a satisfactory sigh. I lit a cigarette – reveling in the freedom that people can still actually smoke in bars down here – and clandestinely scanned my constituents. Mostly made up of pot-bellied old men in faded white Stetsons, the others were two young queens with their fag-hag, animatedly cackling and squawking loudly as fags do, across on either side of one another sat two masculine, college-types attempting their best to look aloof and uninterested in their surroundings, and the ever present hustler perched on the corner with the look of terminal sadness, a high-ball glass in front with a sip of beer left which had not been touched for hours.
I took another swig as the song on the rockola switched to El Ruletero by Prado. That was when he burst in. I say burst, because it seemed he literally slammed open the door to the bar. Or perhaps it was the wind. This caused all eyes, bloodshot or lust filled, to swing in his direction. If it was a movie, the rockola would had scratched to a stop.
He was tall and lean. Late twenties. His clothes, pedestrian as they were, pressed and void of dust or smudges. Despite the wind outside, his wavy, ebon hair was meticulously slicked back, a handsome face: thick eyebrows, full lips, commanding jaw. Hazel eyes were enveloped in dark lashes. Yet, what appealed to me was his copperish skin color which suggested Mayan heritage. He confidently struts toward the back of the bar, possessing that slight, macho bow-legged gait I secretly find so appealing. Of all the empty stools lining the counter, he plops one over next to me. Of course, he does.
I take another drag and nonchalantly swing my gaze toward him. Elbows on the counter, he petulantly sniffs, stroking an index finger against flared nostril and orders a small bottle of Indio. Adding a lime, he downs a healthy chug and lightly exhales his approval.
“That wind is getting bad.” He says to me in Spanish with gaze still fixed forward.
“It usually is this time of year.” I answer.
The following conversation was in Spanish:
“Do you live in El Paso?”
“No. I live here.”
“In Juárez? Why is a gringo living in Juárez?”
I grin, “I’ve been asking myself that for a year now.”
“What do you do?”
“I’m a writer.”
“A writer? What do you write?”
“I really despise having to repeat myself.”
He smiles a smile that could launch a thousand ships, “It’s the first time I’m hearing of it.”
“I write reports for the citizens of the United States.” I state in a monotone.
“Are you the FBI?” He chuckles, uncomfortably.
“No.” I take another drink.
“What are you then?”
He purses his full lips, clicks his teeth with his tongue, nods. “I like people who are different. They make life exciting.”
I laugh, “Oh, man, are you in for a fucking Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride!”
“What?” He smiles again, utterly confused from my blatant American reference.
At that moment, one of the two fags on the other side of the counter saunters around the bar and approaches us. Standing between my new friend and me, the fag places a folded napkin in front of my colleague. My drinking partner arrogantly sighs through his nostrils, unfolds it, revealing a scratched phone number. He balls it up and lets the offending tissue fall to the floor. With annoyed anger on his handsome face, he imperiously looks the fag up and down and then hisses, “No. Don’t ever bother me again.”
I shift awkwardly in my seat as the fag returns to his place, mumbling obscenities under his breath.
He leans over toward me and asks casually in Spanish, “Do you want to be with me?”
“Be with you?”
“Not in a relationship. I was at home and simply need physical contact. No strings attached.”
“You know that type of thinking is looked down upon in the homosexual lifestyle of today.”
“What can I say, I’ve always been a rebel to conformity.”
“Can I at least get your name first?” I grin.
Alto means Stop in Spanish.
“My name is Alto.”
“Really? Your real name is Alto?”
As if doing the action a million times over, he fishes out his I.D., and sure enough, it was Alto.
“How did your parents come across with…” I began.
“I don’t know. Perhaps that’s all my mother screamed out during child birth or perhaps during conception...”
I laughed, “Oh, and he has a sense of humor! I've oft said humor is a powerful aphrodisiac.”
“Let’s go.” He stated, slamming back the rest of his drink.
Outside the bar, the gusts became a full on dirt storm. Particles of grit and flotsam stung my cheek. Squinting, I glanced up and down the street, the near horizon lost in a shimmering tan haze.
“I don’t live far…but let’s get a taxi?” I stated, spitting grit off my tongue.
Alto and I wordlessly sat on either side of the back seat of a cab as the street lights displayed strange phantasmic shadows across the dusty windows. The fat driver hurled over every bump and pot-hole at fantastic speeds as ranchero blasted from the radio.
On the corner of Bolivia and Insurgentes, I pay the taxi and we silently stride to my house huddled in our coats in a vain attempt to thwart the dirt storm.
Inside, I light the gas heater as Alto cases the joint. Luckily, earlier that morning, I took time to clean the place a bit. After relieving his bladder in the restroom, Alto makes his way into my bedroom. I call from the kitchen, opening the refrigerator, “Want something?”
“Come here.” He says.
In the bedroom, we embrace, kiss, fumblingly remove our clothes. He guides me onto the bed, kissing my mouth with passion, up and down my neck. Our exposed erections pressed against one another. He breathes into my ear.
“Do you have any condoms?”
“No. I’m sorry. I’m out.”
“Then I’m not going to fuck you.”
I smile jokingly, “What are you? Catholic?”
He slides off me, leans on one elbow, one hand on my chest, “We can sixty-nine. I’ll tell you when I’m going to cum.”
Without any other verbal commands, he places me in position and we blow each other. Long, pleasurable minutes pass as he grabs my head and jerks it away. Hissing through clenched teeth, he squirts semen onto the gray comforter I had laundered just yesterday. His tongue probes my mouth as he jerks me off to a climax. Afterwards, we lay side by side sharing a cigarette. For some time, we lay there casually conversing in the muted night. He is a student of agriculture and economy at the local university. He has a two year old son from a girl he despises. His mother lives in Chihuahua City, hasn’t seen his father in decades. He wishes one day to relocate to Canada, maybe Europe. A mundane life.
We shower and I walk him to the corner to hail a cab. The winds have died down and the street is silent and lonely.
I shift from one leg to the other, hands in my coat, "Alto…you want to meet up again? Maybe for some coffee or something.”
“No. Not really.” He glances down the street, raises his lanky arm to hail an oncoming cab. “I thought I made it clear I just wanted physical contact tonight.”
I grin, “I understand. Logical.”
He hops into the taxi, “Goodbye.”
“Goodbye.” I turn and return to my home. Sitting at my desk, the cold inside getting colder, I flick on my laptop and write this out…
Thursday, February 19, 2015
“So yeah this one time,” I laughed as telling the same story I told a thousand times. Perhaps more. I thought for a second, was there a story I had never told anyone? The entirety of my life events have been conveyed in stories; they were all things I had disclosed to other people. Had any of these things actually happened? Or where they simply stories I remembered from telling other people? I wasn’t certain, I couldn’t think of anything. So when I returned home today I knew I needed to do something which I would never tell anyone about.
I sat down on the dusty, tiled floor near my desk in the living room. The air was cool. Long shadows were cut from yellow rays of sunlight slicing through the closed blinds. Dust danced in the dark. “This will be my little secret. This is my proof of my existence.” I leaned back against the desk chair and took a sip of a rapidly prepared martini from a dirty glass. “I will never reveal to anyone I drank a warm martini on the floor of my apartment in midafternoon. This will be my little secret. If no one knows, if I haven’t told anyone, then I know I exist.”
When I was done, I got up off the floor and brushed myself off. I placed the glass in the sink over-flowing with dirty plates and utensils. I glanced back on where I was sitting and for some reason it almost felt shameful. Still, if I didn’t tell anyone, then maybe, just maybe, I actually existed.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
I stopped looking out the window. I realize now that when I was young I would look out the window and notice all the details that pass by. I wouldn’t simply look at things, I would actually see things, and absorb them into my mind. Life seemed more vivid. Time seemed to move slower. Life went by and I could find the separation between what I did each day. Now I feel I am forever in a tumbling barrel of time. The world goes by so fast and I don’t have time to look at it hard enough. Time is forever pushing forward and I just want to push back. I can’t win this fight. No one can win this fight. I still don’t look out the window. My eyes glaze over. I see nothing. I feel nothing. Why does everyone seem to be more alive than I am? I can’t look out the window.
Monday, February 16, 2015
I am allowing myself two weeks to make my final decision. My time here in Juarez is done. It is a dead museum and I certainly do not desire to remain and become one of its corpses. So, after a year of deliberation, I have narrowed it down to three locales:
- Tijuana: To return to the mad, passion infused life which will certainly be an adventure. However, will it be new and exciting or a copy of a copy?
- Cambodia: To utilize the TEFL certificate I earned two years prior and perhaps to attain new fodder for writing with fresh and sparkling insights from a South East Asian slant. (no pun intended.)
- Santa Fe, NM: To retire. Buy a house and live out a sedate and solitary life as a gentleman of leisure spewing out a novel a year lifted from decades of accumulated memories.
So, there you have it. It will be certainly be one of those three. Only time will tell in which I will choose, all being tempting and appealing to me.