So, I get my pay every Thursday and for some reason the neighborhood mooches seem to sniff this out. Like, that teeny-bopper Jose banging on my door for a dollar at the wee hours of the morning or that drunk Elpidio on the corner who keeps grabbing his long and nasty and asks for ten pesos every time he sees me. Late that evening after signing my paycheck over to my various creditors and my impatient but understanding landlord, I was exiting my trap and I hadn’t even pulled the key out the lock when I hear, “Hola, mi amigo!”
God, how I cringe from those words down here. They are usually always followed by being hit up from cash. So, I whirl around with that Hollywood smile and there he is right on time: Lazo. Right on time being here on Thursday, the only day he seems to visit. Covered in dirt, I assume he had been working and try to veer away the topic that I have been paid today. But I can see it in his eyes. That it is on the tip of his tongue. He cheerily informs me that he indeed has been working today, up roofing some house.
After casual chatter, “Where are you going?” He asks. “Uh…El Paso.” I say in a quick attempt to ditch him. I’m not going to El Paso, I just was going for some burritos, take a walk, maybe cruise the Mercado. I mean, the boy is hot eye candy, got a killer body, shaved head and I love his tattoos, but dough I ain’t got and that’s what he wants, right?
“Well, I’ll walk you to the bridge.” Damn.
So, Lazo and I strolled down to Centro and talked of casual things mainly nothing me strongly banging in his head that I was broke, but since he is a friend and a fun lay when I do got some pesos, after I bought some smokes, we munched some burritos before returning back to my house.
I showed him the laptop and he was impressed, but the guy did get a dollar outta me for the bus. I mean, I ain’t no miser. Satisfied with that, Lazo took off. Bored, I returned to Burrito Row.
There is a really handsome guy that works that stall named Beto, hopelessly heterosexual and he is fucking hot. I have known him since I first moved to Juarez and today the strangest things came out of his mouth. I was hungry after a long afternoon of cruising the Old Mercado and decided to take a break from that and eat. When I sat down, Beto was making my burrito with small chit-chat, “So, guedo, do you have a wife or a girl friend?”
“No.” I said flatly. Blankly. Behind my Wonka glasses. Lucky Strike hanging off my lip.
He continued flipping the tortilla, “Really? No novia? Novio? Ha! Ha! Just kidding!”
I stared at him with cool insect calm. My face as blank as a poker dealers. He began to get nervous.
“I gotta black guy for a novio…si! And he’s gotta a beeg one!” He said laughing nervously.
“Thanks for the info!” I said sarcastically as Beto served me my food. As I ate, Beto said nothing, working…too embarrassed I guess to say anything. To break the ice, I started talking about going out to the clubs and he lit up. Then he mentioned he never has any money. He said he just works, goes home to his wife and baby daughter and watches television. He explained he was having trouble making ends meet. I joked that what he needed to find was a Sugar Daddy. He looked at me peculiar and said, “You mean fucking the jotos for money? I used to do that, guedo. Fifty dollars all night. Si…when I was younger, before I got married.”
When he was younger? He’s only twenty-four. Was this Beto’s way of coming out to me? In his cute little timid macho way?
He went all dreamy and looked at me; “I wouldn’t mind doing that again…I need the money.” Then a group of people came up and he got busy. I lit a cigarette, paid up, said goodbye and walked away.
Are you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?