We drank caguamas beside a gutter that evening. The insidious reek of decay and piss saturated the black grime imbedded in the drains, the fragrance wafted up and punched me in the nostrils. The beers? Mine was Sol and his was burly, a dark swill called Indio. We set the cervezas on a blue fire hydrant caked in grime and soot, careful not to let the bottles fall. We drank with the brown paper bag still on because we didn’t want to get caught. He used a straw because he’s a sissy, he joked. It is a mark of derided feminism to drink any beverage from a bottle with a straw if you are a man down here. Stupid, if you ask me. But, you didn’t, did you?
We stood under a pamphlet plastered lamppost illuminating a certain street sign. Cars and the occasional taxi cruised by and some honked, probably mistaking us for hookers as it was 11pm. We could’ve settled at this swanky joint they call the Kentucky Bar & Grill but we chose to wander because it was packed with people like us wanting the same thing. Wanting a roasted or almond beer in a big-ass beer holder as people do in Ireland. He was adamant to visit Europe one day, he kept saying. Each time he stated this, I smirked. Impossible dreams crushed by poverty and laziness.
That evening, we wandered because of dismay. We wandered because there were no other places to drink cold beer on a Sunday night. We stopped by this joint and ate tortas bistek, mine was spicy and his was regular. I hated the man on the nearby corner singing off-key but I sympathized because he needed the money. He murdered Tom Jones’ What's New Pussycat, a favorite melody since I’d come of age. He hacked the lyrics to bits and left nothing for me, only the sordid woaah woaaahs which left a nasty taste in my mouth. We drank beers beside a gutter that evening because people are insatiable. My plan to simply sit on a dim corner with cheap beer at hand dissipated. All I desired was the joint’s darkness to swallow me only for a bit. That night was a bitch telling me if you’re late you better not come at all.