Stood outside Bar Ranchero in the shivering night - the Plaza was pregnant with the twilight people.
The bar adjacent to my frozen form thumped with laughter and merry making. Two old queens celebrated their cumpleaños. And, they graciously were flipping the bill for the posh and swanky fiesta. Complimentary booze and vittles guzzled by nameless, arrogant faces.
I went into the bar for a bit, danced a little – scrawny, attractive boy swirled with lithe movements to the disco beat - what was his name? Who cares? I drank with vague acquaintances - too many bodies that poured out into the street, so I stood outside in that chilled night and feigned interest with these faggoty-assed jerks.
By the entrance, Ivan - rentboy turned waiter, knew him for years – passed and sobbing that someone had stolen his money. I leaned against a lamp post, lit a cigarette, and watched Ivan go on and on with fellow hustlers about being ripped off.
How does it feel when it happens to you? I thought.
Big boobed hooker clopped up to me as I stood there watching Ivan’s scrawny frame tilt and droop in drugged-out grief.
“Whacha looking for?” She asked.
“You don’t got it - plus, I like men.” Puffed on that cigarette like a cock.
“I am a man.” She croaked and it was time to cut.
Before I walked away, Ivan faded in and invited me to his trap - why not?
When I had first met Ivan, he was simply one of the legions of rentboys that hustled the plaza. A young man of slight build, his copper-colored face was oval and almost oriental in appearance. He had high cheek-bones and almond shaped eyes. The thing that appealed to me more than his slim and well-toned physique was his jet-black wavy hair. I’ve always been a sucker for black, wavy hair.
In the dark streets that led up to his shabby hotel, phantoms lurked - offering me junk amid hushed hisses and probing fingers.
“Nope, I’m all right” I muttered, as Ivan copped a paper.
Up worn and wooden staircase, the small room had a bed and a squat bookshelf, dirty clothes wadded and crumpled on the shelves.
He took out a glass pipe and crushed the crystal into it, lit up, and smoked - billowing huge plumes of that gray, tinny smell. Handed me the charred pipe - I faltered, internally reassuring myself that I could quit at any time.
One toke, two, three - we passed it back and forth in junky silence like a religious ritual. Been so long and so much it really didn’t affect me - at first.
Ivan on the flip side, degenerated into a shaking, teeth-grinding wreck - face sunken in skull, eyes open, peeled, raw.
When it was gone, he stashed the blackened tube under his stained mattress, laid back and listened to Banda on his CD Walkman.
I sat on the edge of the bed and glanced around at the bare, dirty pink walls as the tweek set in more on Ivan than myself. That acrid, heavy-metal taste in my mouth the cigarette couldn’t erase.
I sat and studied Ivan in pity as he convulsed in mechanical jerks - he had already dragged the bookshelf (small, black cockroaches scattered) and barricaded the door from paranoiac Dream Police. Ivan retrieved his pipe again – expertly scraping the residue from the stem for another round.
Heavy boots and jingling keys passed the door and Ivan’s schizophrenic paranoia flared - we sat a moment in silence and waited for the stranger to pass. I declined the second dose and enough of this sad, hopeless Fallen Angel - he was once strong and virile but the mind was gone. At least the boy had retained his looks of strong, angular Aztec features. However, I realized, that soon would decay.
I stood - extinguished my cigarette on the filthy, warped, wooded floor.
“I gotta go.”
And, I left that wretch to his personal horror.
Walked the few blocks in that dark, cold night - eyeing for patrols on account my own paranoia was kicking in. I thought of my future and of my plans - I cannot allow those past demons to control me.
Reaching my room - I undressed and got into bed, unable to sleep as the drug took hold. Eventually, I drifted off - horrid nightmares abound. I woke up depressed and the urges of quitting festered in my mind.
I walked through the Plaza - Ivan sat on a stool at the entrance to Villa Garcia - in the flashbulb of paranoia his eyes lit up.
A whiff of meth drifted in the clear night, riding on the Banda music. An old hag muttered over her candles and altars in one corner. A dingy, white cat pulled at my pant leg and ran onto a concrete balcony. The moon ominously floated by.
“Ivan!” Rentboys glanced up from card games, coffee houses, and sullen hooked stances under metal light posts as the name whistled by and slowly faded away. “Ivan! Saul! Diego! Jose!” The rentboy cries echoed on the warm night.
“Need you to do me a favor,” I croaked, wiping away the more obvious signs of distaste with a stained paper napkin, saw the yellow of meth in Ivan’s face, “Don’t ever invite me to do that again.”
His body moved in little overanxious jerks as the junk channels lit up. “Okay - okay. Ya sure?”
“I know what I’m doing.” Breathing the residue of methamphetamine out of my already scarred lungs.
I walked alone down Avenida Revolucion to my room amid the carnival of blaring neon and pounding discos - everyone looked like a drug addict.
Stopped to sit on a metal bench in front of El Torito disco - wanted to sit alone and smoke a cigarette and think. Depression was rising again.
Moments passed and a handsome cholo pelon sat with me on the bench - smell of dirty linens and unwashed bodies - we don’t talk, but he cackled and grinned into his overused Styrofoam coffee cup - he laughed, black insane laughter as patrol after patrol roamed by eyeing us.
This was too tiresome and I drifted home - lost without purpose or meaning.
I lay in my bed, naked, on top of the covers smoking a cigarette, watching a black cockroach scale the faded, baby-blue wall of my room, feelers waving - national sponsored program in Spanish mumbled from the radio about catching crabs from prostitutes - and I thought, I need to quit this shit.