Young and handsome Sergio works the night shift as a trash collector in Lisbon, Portugal. He can't force himself to connect with his pretty female co-worker Fatima, who displays an avid interest in him, so instead Sergio roams the city with the trash company's pet dog. Eventually Sergio becomes fascinated with a sleek motorcycle, and then also its owner, João - a young man totally indifferent to Sergio. The frustrated trash collector's surfacing sexual desires unleash his darkest impulses, sending him down a dangerous path of violence, depravity and degradation.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Ten years ago on this day, this blog titled borrowed flesh was willed into existence. What began as an experiment to put down in an electronic journal of what was happening during those strange days of living in Tijuana, Mexico continued as a document of wayward traveling, loveless romance, and spiraling madness. I sincerely wish to thank from the bottom of my heart to all you readers who experienced these happy times and hardships with me during the past decade. Again...thank you!
Friday, September 26, 2014
I just spent forty-eight hours locked up in a federale jail in Juarez.
Three days ago, my neighbor woke me rapping at my door and asked if I could run across the border and fetch her three cartons of cigarettes. I didn't mind, it was an easy trip, I had nothing planned that morning, and plus she has innumerable times assisted me when the need arose. It was the same kind, elderly woman who had shown me the apartment in which I now reside. Why not?
I took the three-hundred pesos she handed me and made my way to the border only stopping to transfer the currency to dollars. Walked over the bridge to the duty free shop a couple of blocks away. Purchased the cigarettes - they were on sale, three cartons for $16.50 - and quickly made my way back to Juarez.
Crossing the Stanton Street bridge, the Mexican customs have an x-ray machine in which you place your bagged goods to be scanned. I have done this countless times and twice before with purchased cigarettes without incident. However, this time the female custom agent snatched my bag off the conveyor belt and asked if the bag was mine. I said yes. She ordered me to follow her to the customs shed, punched in some numbers on a computer screen and then demanded 1147.00 pesos ($120 American) for the entry tax.
I asked why and stated that I had done this several times before and was never asked for any tax. I added that I lived in Mexico and was the cigarettes were for personal use and not for sale. She didn't seem concerned and continued to badger me for the pesos. She asked for my passport and then was approached by her supervisor who then both went into a stream of how was I to pay for the tax. I explained that my bank card did not work outside the States (thanking God that I did have my bank enforce that after witnessing Tijuana cops drain a tourists bank account at an ATM) when the fact occurred that I had no way of paying, they escorted me to a truck and whisked me off to their main offices a few miles away.
There, I was processed and booked with embezzling contraband across the border. I was then taken to another truck, escorted by three, machine-gun toting para-military guards to lock up. Visions of being driven out into the desert, shot, and left for dead swam in my confused mind. Within two hours of crossing the bridge, I was behind bars.
My Spanish is limited. However, the more times I explained 'I didn't understand' the faster they spoke. In my cell, I was visited by several people who babbled quickly and had me sign reams of paperwork. I could had been signing a confession to murdering all those missing women over the years and I wouldn't had known.
As I lay on the cold concrete slab that served as a bed in the tiny cell, I stared out through the bars with only one thought burning in my brain: How long was my sentence? I received several convoluted replies from 48hrs, to three months, to being relocated to a prison in Veracruz for several years. Ok. I simply shrugged and accepted my fate with silent abandon. I had no one to call and the friends I did have in Juarez I did not know their cell numbers since everything was spoken through facebook.
I do have to admit concerning my own account: the federale officers were extremely cordial. Not the brutal, malicious overtly macho assholes seen in movies or told through American lore. One young one was actually a writer and we spoke often on the subject when he entered the cellblock to deliver food or to check up on me and the four other prisoners.
That evening, I was photographed and fingerprinted. Their fingerprinting was so archaic: the officer slavered my hands in black dye, printed everything, then smeared Vaseline all over them to remove the dye. It didn't work.
Again, I asked several times in my feeble Spanish how long was my sentence? blahblahblahblah, senor. Sigh. I did catch that I would be speaking with members of the American Consulate the following day and that raised my hopes a bit.
After a cold night of fitfull sleep on freezing concrete, I was awoken by my fellow writer/federale guard and escorted to a small room with bars separating me from a young woman. It was the representative of the American Consul. She explained that I would only be serving 48hrs or less. However, the fee for the "Municipal Police" will be between me and the judge. I asked how the police were involved and she stated that she did not know. Okay.
I was escorted back to my cell were I spent most of the time thinking or dozing in and out of stupor sleep.
The following day, my federale friend stated that I would be leaving that morning. "That's good news." I muttered. However, there was another ignorant American in another cell yelling obscenities and causing all sorts of problems. That was when I saw the federales become their stereotypes. I don't know what they did in that cell, but I heard a lot off muffled screaming and thumping. Later, the American (since now we were the only two left in the cell block) confided that he was caught on Mexican soil driving a stolen car into Mexico.
"The American Embassy will come and expedite me, right?" He asked, fear in his voice.
"I don't think so. You committed the crime here. So, you are pretty much at the whim of the Mexican judicial system."
He was silent after that. A while later, I was escorted out of my cell, signed paperwork, and led outside. Free! Free, at last! Nope. I was then taken across the street and locked into a barred room with piles of confiscated shoes. Yeah, don't ask...
This timid character comes to the door and introduces himself as my lawyer. He then explains that his fee is $500 American and I needed to cough that up, him going down the list of friends and family members I needed to contact to help pay the fee. I looked at him and said, "You obviously don't know my friends or family."
Since he obviously wasn't getting dime one, the judge showed up and said I was free to go - after more paper signing and finger printing.The judge escorted me outside and said, "I did a back ground check. Here in Mexico, you're record is clean. Up until now. It would be in your best interest if we do not meet again." With that, we shook hands and I was let out.
Does this wayward account of woe end there? Nope. Halfway down the street, my "lawyer" comes bounding up to me and asks how am I to pay his fee? I again stated I didn't have five hundred (I did, safe in my bank) but fearing this fucker was going to arrest me again, I commented that my neighbor might help. (After all, they were her cigarettes!) So, taking a city bus - not a car, a bus! - to my neighbors (he nor any other official know my exact house. I gave multiple addresses) My neighbor, after much crying and hugging - she really does care about me - told the lawyer basically to fuck off. And he did. He left after the fact I stated I get paid the following Friday in which he said he'd return.
I guess I'll be leaving Juarez next Thursday when my royalty check clears my bank. Ho-hum...
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Dark and well past midnight. A muted crimson from the cigarette illuminated his copper colored-skin in the half light. Quiet. We could hear each other breathe. In the near distance, down amid the obscure, long shadows off the empty street, the sound of four gunshots. Somewhere a dog barked. Under the blankets, we drew nearer, the warmth of his smooth skin, the softness of his hair, the pleasant smell of his torso. It stimulated me - smoothed me out.
I felt unreservedly calm as we entwined. Arm around my shoulder, head on his chest. I looked up, regarding the outline of his attractive features in the crimson glow of the cigarette’s cinders. Hooked nose, pouty lips, thick eyelashes, ebony hair hanging limply over forehead.
Outside the blankets, the room was ink black and cold with clothes thrown about the tiled floor. The smell of sweat and semen wafted in the stillness mixed with cigarette vapors - inside the blankets it was warm and still and serenísimo. Not a word exchanged, yet the feeling was there - a fellaheen feeling of togetherness as I had not felt since...
He put the cigarette out in the silver tray on the table next to the bed. He embraced tighter, drawing me near, placing a small kiss on my forehead. Slowly and surely, I heard his slight breathing as he fell asleep. I lay there and stared into blackness, out in the still night a lonesome train horn moaned - my hand gently slid up and down his thin side coinciding with his slow, steady breathing.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
He only smoked on Sundays, snaking through the crowded pew his mother swore to follow Christ upon and slipping out the thick oak doors into the unsoiled air as the choir sang We’re Marching to Zion. His grandmother used to tell him smoking was the devil’s habit; he preferred to breathe Old Gold’s scent while the church was still fresh with prayers. His prayers for her were frequent and forgotten. On her deathbed he ransacked heaven’s storehouses for an ounce of Samson’s strength but the devil is named Delilah. Her funeral was full of black suits and formality; he willed himself not to start a brushfire from the lighter in his pocket. When the preacher spoke about the fragility of man he imagined being a cliff diver, chasing pavement like a dog chases cars on a crowded street.
Friday, September 19, 2014
4:32am. Ciudad Juarez. The lonesome night train is whistling. Making its way to nowhere yet somewhere. It calls out through the night, touching the ears of all the lonely hearts. Beckoning for them to arrive at the station in the dead of night. Because it is there that souls are brought together. Looking for another to hold, looking for another to walk with. Looking for someone to take their hand and take the jump. Looking for something that is new. For something to remember. And it can see the smiles that are mischievous and the smiles that are nervous but the glint of excitement is there in their eyes…. It is the call of the lonesome night train and it calls for me.
Monday, September 15, 2014
I originally went to drink one beer. To calm my nerves from the very audacity of my obnoxious neighbors. Without warning, my pinche vecinos decided to throw an impromptu block party for their squealing brats. The straw that broke the camel's back was they flopped a huge-ass inflatable jumpy castle right outside my front door. Instead of bitterly tolerating these shenanigans, I dressed and walked over to that dive bar Buen Tiempo and sat it out the only way I could...by getting fucking plastered.
The bar was relatively empty for a late Sunday afternoon, so I at first sat in relative comfort sipping that bitter ale. Then HE walked in. All smiles and handshakes and hugs with the regulars and plopped on a stool right next to me. He stated his name was Alejandro and that he worked one of the shoe shine stands around the corner. Indeed, he did have black grime under his clipped nails.
He was charming to say the least. Introducing me to several of his workmates. Jokes and pleasantries. A couple games of billiards. Then the alcohol kicked in. One caguama turned into five each and we were both well on our way to hitting the floor. He confided that he was bisexual and somehow attained a wife and two kids. Meh, whatever was my response and the beer flowed...
Grabbing his impressive crotch, he blurted, "Let's go get a hotel!"
Why not? I mused and we found ourselves darting a block a way to a cheap fifty peso a night joint. I paid the stinkbomb at the reception and we strode down the long, gloomy halls reeking of mildew and unwashed vagina.
Once in the room - a mattress on the dusty floor and end table were the only furnishings - clothes were flung about and we found ourselves wrapped in several positions. Afterwards, catching our breathes, we lay in the gloom of the squalid room.
"You nice, guero...you seeing anyone?" He asked.
"No." I lit a cigarette. "I'm actually on my way to the West Coast in a few weeks. So. I'm not interested in finding anyone."
"Don't go." He snuggled closer, "I like you, though."
I flicked a cockroach off my big toe and said, "I like you, too, but plans have been made. I am definitely leaving."
After that it was anti-climatic. We parted on the corner with a shaking of hands. I have written a few times before, why is it when I am about to bail to somewhere else, my engines revving and raring to go - that I meet some schmuck who is actually attracted to me? Life is neither fare or compromising...so it goes...
Thursday, September 11, 2014
My smile drops. "So we’re only having coffee today?" We were supposed to fuck. See, ours is a motel relationship. Once a week, two months and counting.
"I thought I told you."
"No you didn’t. You said to meet at 5," I say. I have not seen him in two weeks. "I thought you just wanted to meet earlier."
"I thought you understood."
"Well, you weren't clear."
He frowns, remains quiet.
"What time do you have to leave?"
"Not now." He says it like a consolation. I want to clobber him. "The dinner’s at seven."
"But we just got here." It is already 6.
He takes a sip from the steaming mug of coffee next to him. He had been drinking with a friend until a couple of hours ago. His eyes are still dazed.
Silence grapples me as I try to wrap my head around a clear misunderstanding. There are barriers to tread in this "arrangement". Language, culture, age, preference. His English needs work. I’m new in Juarez. He’s ten years younger. I’m the first man he’s ever slept with.
He struggles. "Are you free on Monday morning?"
A compromise. But it reaches my ears as a begrudging favor. There is no remorse in his face.
We don’t fuck when we meet for breakfast. Which means it’s another worthless and painful time of being near him without being able to touch him, hold him, kiss.
See, ours is a motel relationship. He picks me up, we check in, we cum, we cuddle.
"You should've told me you could only meet for a little while," I say, trying to scrap 70% of blame from my tone. But considering the size of my frustration, there’s still enough accusation to catch.
We remain quiet for five minutes. It stretches like an age.
"Are you disappointed?"
Fuck you. "A little." I look at the street before me, behind him. It is rush hour. "I thought you had marked time for me." It is painful to say that.
"This is our time." He sounds angry. "I still met you."
I don’t back down. "You know that’s not what I mean when I say ‘time’. Don’t pretend that you don’t know."
Ours is a motel relationship. Without the fucking, there is no point.
"I’m sorry," he says. "This wasn’t my plan. I knew about the family dinner this morning only."
"Then you should’ve told me hours before. I would’ve understood. I would’ve still met you, but I would know what to expect. You knew I wanted to be with you."
"You mean sex?" he teases.
"Yes, sex." I try not to smile, despite the fucknut of a pain that is humping my chest.
I want to make him understand how this feels to me. But he’s drunk. He’s not going to remember this.
"Let’s just go."
"I’ll take you."
"I can walk." My house is five minutes away on foot, but two u-turns on his moto (no one uses the word motorcycle here). "Besides, you’re drunk. That means your motorbike is a coffin."
"Everyone drives drunk in J-town."
I laugh. "That’s fresh."
He smiles. The idiot thinks my laughter was genuine.
I let him drive me home anyway. He tries to cheer me up. "I’ll see you on Monday or Tuesday morning, okay?" he promises, starting with that shit again. It does not give me solace or reassurance. I feel desolate.
What does that mean anyway?
"You know, it’s okay if you don’t want to see me anymore." I roll my eyes at the nonchalant way I said it and the fact that I had just said that. In so many levels, I have become a douche. "Just tell me." Get it over with so I don’t have to mull over this bullshit.
"Don’t think that."
We reach my apartment. I don’t say goodbye or look back. He drives off.
What I hate is that he doesn’t care. My feelings mean nothing to him.
Ours is a motel relationship.
In my bedroom, I cry.
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
He was always eating small sugar cookies with a coffee at the cafe on Ave. Juarez at odd hours of the night. And he always seemed tired as hell — with smeared war paint for dark circles and a voice which sounded like a perpetual yawn when he placed his order.
At least once a week, he would be there, flipping through a black notebook in the corner of the cafe, his eyelids bobbing up and down sleepily. I thought sometimes about starting up a conversation with him, romanticizing the idea of two regulars developing a friendship, but it wasn’t as though Hopper had painted us into Nighthawks or anything.
Besides, the only thing I would have had to say to him would be to ask why he didn’t just go home and go to sleep.
Monday, September 08, 2014
I went in search for a ham sandwich. They call them lonches (pronounced launch-ez) down ol' Mexico way. Not really the same as ham sandwiches stateside, but they are tasty. After walking all over centro, never did locate one, so I settled for two burritos and a soda instead.
I made my way to Park Independencia - now called Park Benito Juarez, really...they should make up their fucking minds...to sit in the shade and enjoy my settled-for meal. As with all benches in this city, every one with any shade was taken up by the legion of loafers who are waiting. Waiting for jobs, permits, visas, money orders or simply passing time to return to their bitter, hateful wives.
Next to the monument of a long dead president, I lucked out and sat on one end of a concrete slab while the other end was occupied by a young, skinny lad reading the local paper. I mumbled buenes tardes, but he had headphones on and so I simply settled down to eat.
Halfway through my burrito, the young man uttered in perfect English, "Sure is hot today, huh?"
Slightly startled by his English - it is a habit of pride in Cuidad Juarez that if you speak English or not, Spanish is preferred - I stated it was indeed warm or something to that effect. This prompted the guy - Ivan, he said his name was - to go into a forty-five minute soliloquy concerning his personal woes and tragedies. He had been recently deported from El Paso. His ID and papers were stolen. He couldn't attain work (he purchased his meals with the money he made from washing cars) and he was shacked up with a jealous and vindictive "girlfriend". I sat patiently for the mooch card to be played, yet he never asked for money.
I looked him over as he spoke. Not bad looking, in a scruffy kind of way. I wanted to help this guy. Well, I always did mean to repaint my apartment but had been too lazy recently to do it myself, so I offered the job to Ivan with handsome pay. $100 to do the entire place. He lit up and agreed.
"Let's go to your place and I can check out what needs to be done." He stated.
So, we walked over the crumbling sidewalks and past the dusty, farting buses to my trap a few short blocks away. He scanned the place and mentioned that it could be repainted...and new tiles in the bathroom wouldn't hurt, either.
He flopped on the ragged couch, "Got any beer?"
"No. But, there is a market around the block, we can get some there and bring it back." I offered.
I bought three caguamas and we returned to my flat and drank in the stifling desert heat. I have a box fan, but it was useless. Feeling the alcohol, Ivan sprawled his lanky form the length of the couch and continued his woeful rant about his current life. I sat on the dusty floor with my back propped against the foot of the couch, smoking, listening.
Then the inevitable: "Hey, man...you think you can loan me six hundred pesos (roughly fifty dollars)? I am so backed up on rent...I haven't paid the landlady in two months and I think she's about to kick me out."
Damn, I thought. It had to come to this. I turned to him to reject the question, but he lay there rubbing his stomach with his hand. His nipple was exposed and I leaned over and began sucking and licking it.
"Woah, dude! What the fuck?!" He sat up. "What the hell are you doing?"
I chuckled sorry or some stupid thing and he lay back down with a look of shock on his face. "That was weird...you gay or something?"
I didn't answer. I simply smiled as I noticed his molested nipple was still poking up through his t-shirt. "Your nipple's still hard."
"I never had anyone do that. I mean, I sucked bitches tits before, but never mine done."
I lit a cigarette and returned to my previous sitting position on the tiled floor. "Sorry, man...I thought you needed the money."
There was a long, uncomfortable silence as we sat there and drank and smoked. I heard him shift positions when next he was kissing the back of my neck, "I kinda liked it." I van whispered.
Eventually, we found our way to my bed. Clothes were thrown around the room. He lay naked on top of my nude body kissing me passionately as we riddled each others necks and pecs with hickeys. Passion mounted. Both dripping sweat from the heat. I stroked his dick as it grew hard in my hand. Laying him back, I began kissing down his stomach until I reached Ivan's black, shiny pubic hair when I heard, "I don't like getting my dick sucked."
"What?" I asked as I held his throbbing organ inches from my face.
"Seriously, I...I don't like it."
"Oh?" I said. "You're the one."
"The one what?" He smiled.
"The only man on the planet that doesn't like getting his dick sucked."
I looked up at him and saw that he meant it. "Okay." I shrugged. I rolled off the bed and began to get dressed.
"Are you upset?" He asked, pulling on his briefs.
"No. Not at all." And I actually wasn't. If he don't like it, he don't like it. I wasn't going to force the issue.
He slid on his jeans and sneered, "You don't have to be a dick about it."
I stopped dressing and asked, "In what way am I being a dick about it?"
Seriously, what is with these people? I do not and never will force anyone to do what they don't want. And I sure as hell will not placate their already screwed up ego.
"Just forget it." He retorted.
"See?! There! You're being a dick, again."
"Maybe you should leave." I calmly stated.
He stood up, began walking to the door, "Can you still loan me those pesos?"
I glared at him, tight lipped, "Now I know you need to leave."
He muttered something derogatory in Spanish under his breath and exited with a slam of the screen door. I sat at my desk, logged onto my laptop and began editing my current novel. I paused and thought of how I loathe the fact that I am so alone. The current life I was leading in abstract boredom and the secrete desire I held for emotional contact. To have someone to love and love me back. Not these heartless skirmishes ending in empty orgasms, but a true respectful relationship. I began typing, thinking, One day...one day. Or maybe not...
Sunday, September 07, 2014
Sunday morning. 8:30am. Awoken by my neighbor to notify me that he will be shutting the buildings water off "for a while" as he is installing some new fixtures in his bathroom. The neighbor on the other side next to me is up also bright and early. She rents the tiny studio with her four kids. All children are 5yrs old and less. She spends the next hour screaming and slapping at them. I guess she isn't under the impression that every sound can penetrate these thin, adobe walls. My front door is open (I am waiting for the first mentioned neighbor to give me the okay on the water so I can shower or at least make coffee), the neighbor across the street, a fat gimp with a mauled hand is blasting his stereo. The same obnoxious, twangy ranchero musuc you hear at closing time at millions of cantinas throughout the city. With my door open, I am forced to hear this music. Oh, he just walked out his door holding a mug half-filled with beer...tossing garbage from his place out into the street.
My patience has ended with this place. The romanticism of living south of the border has died. I have seriously been scouting other cities to relocate to. El Paso? It's cheap, but holds too many distasteful memories. Tijuana? Same as current situation but maxxed up 100%. I've been looking over info online concerning Boulder, Colorado or Seattle, Washington. What do I want? A relatively peaceful place to call home while I write. That is all I really care for nowadays. Not like I was in earlier entries of this blog, I have mellowed out substantially.
I have been setting my eye on Tijuana, though. Seriously pondering it. Renting a place on the beach so as not to endure the 24hr madhouse of downtown. I do have some good friends who still reside there (and a couple who I do not wish to see), but overall, it sounds promising. Who knows? I'll make my decision at the end of this month. And whatever I do decide, it can't be any worse than the predicament I put myself into here. Or could it?