Sonny's Bar is a crumbling adobe building nestled in the skaggy outskirts of downtown El Paso. Surrounded by vast stretches of dirty, trash strewn lots, gargantuan rusting warehouses and humming power cables.
It's also just a few blocks from my apartment.
I strolled into the dim joint and it was all you would expect - long ratty bar with a row of aluminum stools, a scattering of about four or five mismatched wooden tables and plastic chairs, walls adorn with Mexican soccer posters, neon lights and an over volumed jukebox. At that time there were perhaps six shoddy old drunks and a couple of illegal aliens lined along the bar. Their claim to fame was they sold one liter mugs of beer for a dollar all day. That was why I was there.
Wasn't sitting two minutes and as I took the first sip of my beer was being slapped with a booming, "Hey, man? Wazzup?!" from behind.
I turned to see Joe - if Uncle Fester was Mexican and flamboyantly gay, it would be him in a basketball jersey and shorts. I knew Joe from a week prior at a friends open house party and soon the what-ever-happened-to-so-and-so broke in.
He invited me out back to the patio he called it to drink and smoke. Patio...it was a crumbly dirty dusty lot with mismatched lawn chairs scattered about and an ancient, rusted table. But, it was in the shade from that horrible bright ass Texan sun, so I was relieved. And also, Jacob was sitting there. I had casually spoken to Jacob at the Opportunity Center waiting to see my shrink - okay, spoken as in he would always hit me up for change to buy single smokes. A twenty-two year old white guy from Illinois, goatee, tall, slim boxers physique and very handsome with short brown hair and blue eyes. I noticed that he was already plastered - I am sure this was through the help of Joe and his vain attempt at seducing the lad.
For, throughout the conversation with Jacob - he kept reiterating every three sentences, two things - how straight he was and how he would never be with a gay guy "Though, gays are cool as fuck" and his pink eye. Indeed, his left eye was inflamed with some type of affliction. However, Jacob knew how to work his drinks and he was funny when drunk. (Sober, as I recall, I found him wooden and uninteresting) He would go on about his boxing days, flex his well developed arms and even went as far as letting me feel his upper torso to the glaring jealous stares of Joe. My withered hand casually glided over his rock hard torso feeling with the blind fingers of a braille reader.
The drinks flowed as the sun swung around to the horizon and the chill set in. As we three were about to go inside - two cholos popped out of nowhere and flatly stated they were there to kick Jacobs ass. Apparently, earlier that morning, Jacob and some guy were walking down an alley to the store when the other guy threw a box of juice on this little kid. Why, I didn't get the details - but, the kid knew the Aztecas, so. Okay. These two - who, I was informed later, were part of the gang Aztecas, El Paso's biggest and powerful street thugs. Then again, every Mexican youth here claims they're part of that gang to install fear and respect - so, half the time I don't believe them.
Joe popped up and became the bleeding mediator and tried to diffuse the confrontation as Jacob stood tall, muscles tight and ready for battle, glaring with steel blue eyes. Okay, one blue eye - the other was pretty fucked up. The two gangsters eventually backed down - I knew they were bullshitting. Being from L.A. as I am - no real gangster would had done that.
So, we three entered the bar and what just occurred out back dragged out for the next hour or so as I sat quietly listening gulping mug after mug.
Then he walked in. Manuel. I had known him from my stay at the mish - tall, thin Mexican with black wavy hair, boyish good looks and a surprisingly adorable Colgate smile. I secretly had a crush on him. I recall at the mish the first day he was there, he was asleep in a chair in the dayroom, feet propped up on another chair, head against the grimy wall and a huge throbbing hardon in his dirty khakis - made a good first impression. He didn't know I was gay and back then hung out a few times joking and talking.
In the bar, he stood in front of me dressed in all hiphop clothes, wrinkled and all one size too big and carrying a clear trash bag filled with what looked like garbage. We shook hands and as he sat at the table, he related that he was just released from jail for domestic violence with his wife - who was apparently still locked up. Bought him a beer - he stated he needed one, I agreed. As Joe continued his vain seduction of Jacob - I sat and talked to Manuel about general crap.
The night progressed and everyone got lit. A marimba band showed up and played actually decent music. The beer started bringing out the gay in everyone. This old Cuban wouldn't leave me alone, Ruben - another ex-missionite - began getting grabby. Another drunk young cholo was getting belligerent, grabbing my side and ass and when I asked him to knock it off, he jabs me in the ribs and utters obscenities. Guys and girls and guys swirled and jumped and dipped with one another as the band played on like the Star Wars cantina band on crack.
We closed the bar - for RJ, the manager actually had to tell Joe, Manuel, Jacob and I to leave. Outside in the cold empty street, Joe actually got Jacob to go to his apartment 'just to sleep off the alcohol'. Said goodbye and started the few blocks to my place.
As I turned the corner, Manuel walked up behind me and flatly asked, "So, I'm staying at your place or what?"
I tottered and said. "I don't have a problem with - but, I believe you would."
"Why's that?" He grinned that grin that melts hearts.
"Dude, I told ya, I'm gay. I'd be trying to milk you like a cow."
He paused drunkenly and smiled again, "So?"
We entered my place in the dark quiet and I said something to the effect that he needed a shower he smelt like a prison. I gave him clean underwear and socks. As he showered I got into my PJ's. I was so wasted that I thought I really didn't want to do anything but sleep.
He walks out of the shower and I gawk at his smooth lithe frame and six pack - penis flopping around in those blue boxers so nasty.
He laid next to me and we both hunkered in under the gray comforter. After drunken conversation for what seemed forever I said goodnight. Manuel surprised the hell out of me when he snatched my hand under the covers and placed it on his erection. Damn. In one swoop, he kicks off his boxers and lays back with a "You still wanna?" Yeah, I wanna.
I slid his cock in my mouth and sucked like a champ, his hips slowly grinding, breathing through teeth, his hand stroking my back. He said he was in jail a month and didn't even jack off - I believed him, for when he came he pulled me away and squirted great globs onto his stomach, chest and shot into his eye! Laughing at his pain as he darted into the bathroom to wash the stinging matter out of his eye.
"That's not funny, dude!" He says from the bathroom sink. "This shit burns!"
I mumble, "Don't be such a pansy. Just war wounds."
He returns to the bed, snuggles under the blanket, "Damn. That was good - my nuts are still tingling."
But, before I could say anything the drunken fool fell into a much needed comfortable sleep.
Manuel woke me up the next morning face to face, "Morning, brother - what's for breakfast?"
As I prepared pancakes and coffee the now sober Miguel started and it was painful. Apart from the religious guilt he was feeling from the previous night (He stated that several times that it was a sin) he also began droning on and on about his locked up wife. All through breakfast, all through me getting prepared to walk down town, all through cigarettes and coffee. Enough! I thought. I explained that he needed to return to the mish and get his shit together so when his wife was released, he was ready for her. I gave him an old luggage bag so the 'garbage' in the plastic bag (Which were actually all his possessions in the world) would look like garbage.
He asked if he could stay in my place waiting the fifteen days until his wife was released. I explained that it would be best if he did this on his own and stayed at the mission.
We walked downtown together and shook hands on the corner as I wished him good luck.
Walking through the people in centro, I wondered how Joe fared with Jacob....