The dank smell of unwashed penis and bleach assailed my nostrils. Three seats over, a gray old queen sat tapping his foot – lined face an apprehensive mask of sadness fretting over his lost youth - watching in the gloom the ballet of sex throughout the adult theater. On screen, a drugged-out Italian bitch was sucking cock twelve feet long - so it seemed.
Alex, he said his name was, sat next to me motionless as statuary. Skinny, hawk like face with black goatee, red cap turned backwards - transfixed on the flickering images dubbed in Italian with Spanish subtitles. I glanced over to him: shadowy silhouette outlined against green wall streaked in black goo and splattered in other abstract liquids, now dried and flaking. Long moment of silence.
“Let’s get out of here.” He finally stated.
Out into the chilled night broken sidewalk under our feet apparently going nowhere in particular. He pulled his coat tighter around his lanky frame and I lit a cigarette standing on the corners of the world under that navy sky - dash across street dodging kamikaze taxis and waving away Indians with hands outstretched forever. No word passed both of us - I unpretentiously followed him.
He stopped under a rusted corrugated awning, white florescent light seared my eyes - pedestrian traffic bumped into us - Alex turned and mumbled, “You wanna coffee?”
Mambo be-bop jazz wailed from the speakers as we sat in the café observing the people dash outside. We talked of various subjects from science fiction to the fall of Communism - he was quite literary. Well read - knew of books I had never had the chance to read.
He took a long drag off of his cigarette; blew it into the air above his head, “So, tell me of this book of yours - what is it?”
“It’s a horror story.” I stated flatly.
“No, it’s a heart breaking romance.”
“Okay.” He smiled cynically.
“Actually, it’s a travel book.”
“Now, wait a minute –“
“It’s a medical report on dealing with schizophrenia and depression.”
He smiled, “How many fucking books is it?”
I sipped my coffee, “It’s a mess. Like me.”
We found ourselves strolling down Revu congested with hipsters in hip-hop rags and sad beat whores clomping in plastic see-through pumps and sad brown eyes looking up up up forever to Guadalupe - the Christmas Tree towered above us dwarfed only by the slash of the Millennium Arch.
Somewhere down in Coahuila the rattle of machine gun fire, screams, a siren wails - typical night. We turn a corner past the fag bar where they spill out onto the pavement screeching and shrilling as only fags can - Alex walks with hands in coat pocket. Me - I am here just for kicks. Down a dark street, lamp post out and furtive shadows lurk in the cracks. Alex cops some weed from ratty old fuck in coat dirty - shiny over the dirt - and we retire to Alex’s one room flat.
Sagging bed, dresser loaded with folded clothes, a small radio wailing fucking ranchero. We sat on the bed - our conversation animated and Alex was a good roller, though - fat he makes ‘em. Watched in lustful silence as his thin tongue glided over the paper. We lit up and both fell into laughing jags. Passed a beer battle back and forth, too.
Shaking cold hands, we said our goodbyes on the corner. A gray dog covered in soot and mange trotted past and Alex disappeared into the chilly fog laden night - his tall, lanky body dematerialized into mist. A pain stabbed my heart as it did every time I saw a guy I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world. I lit a cigarette and hailed a taxi - sitting in the back, yellow lights flashing across my face, I took a deep breath and thought, My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.