It is awfully bright. I roll over on the bed - sheets and blanket rumpled - gaze on my side out the window. The chipped wood frame has no screen as heat and dust wash over my sleepy, hungover face. Two floors below me, I see a panorama of The City in all its glory. Honking, choking autos sluggishly roll over shimmering concrete, filthy prostitutes of both sexes parade and lean and stare catatonic under the bleak sun as terrified and belligerent tourist paw over their diseased wares with lascivious finality. An old man sits in his own waste and stirs a putrid puddle in the sidewalk with a twig as filthy children play and frolic - dashing around obese mothers and between legs of hip-hop pushers of fine fine medicines. It is too much as I roll upon my back.
Flashbulb of images from the previous night assault my mind. Standing on darkened corner with friends under pale yellow light of lamp post, smoking and spitting and talking of sexual bravura. Entering dank bar with five local lads and one snooty American queer and chugging caguama in a booth by the blasting rockola - commenting on each song - across from the booth was the metal entrance to the mensroom. Smell of sour beer and piss and bleach. Saul and I snorting lines of meth off of toilet paper dispenser. Dancing with some doe eyed queen - awfully - to Mexican top 40. Almost fist fighting some macho hustler in denial, set him straight - so to speak - Saul and I did. Outside in the cool night, Saul and I repair to cheap hotel room and do things that would had made Caligula blush.
The squalid room is small. Mattress up on cinder blocks, old rickety chair with my clothes flung across, squeaky ceiling fan churning slowly stirring the musty funk of the room. My body - I am wearing just my boxers - is covered in a fine layer of grimy sweat. I reach down to the dusty black and white tiled floor for the near empty fifth of cheap tequila and take a swig. It burns going down. My mouth is foul and evil tasting.
Two knocks on the worn wooden door and Saul bursts in without notice. He smiles, "You still in bed? C'mon! Get dressed. Let's get something to eat."
I grunt, sit up, and painfully put on my clothes. They smell of sweat and cigarettes. I grab the huge plastic square attached to the small room key and mumble, "C'mon...let's go."
Clopping down well worn wooden stairs, I hand the key to the fat mamacita at reception and dart out into the bustling street.
Dodging groping hookers and grasping hands of dirty children, Saul and I syphon into a booth at a small cafe in Zona Norte. We sip horrid instant Nescafe and my eye catches a young Mexican queer sitting on a metal stool - glancing at me from the diner. Red and white striped polo shirt and tight blue jeans. He smiles. Handsome until he smiles - mouth a forest of rotted black teeth. I stare out the window - dead black flies line the sill.
After the waitress slams our plates of eggs and chorizo onto the formica table, Saul pleads, "Don't go, guero. Your life is here. Your friends are here."
I sit and listen down into myself. I jerk into focus, "I can't stand TJ anymore, man. I can't connect with anyone. Everyone - present company included - are all on the hustle. I am burned out with this town."
He smiles, "Tijuana is your home. That's why you keep coming back. And you know you can't live with out your friend." He glances down at his crotch.
"A big cock doesn't make a life complete." I smile.
As to answer his question, there is commotion outside across the one way street. Two hoggish police have cornered a pelon thug - he falters and starts fighting back. The crowd gathers. Two paramilitary trucks pull in. The soldiers swarm the thug and with club and boots and rifle butts beat him to a bloody pulp - dragging his unconscious blood splattered torso to a paddy wagon and fling him in. Hookers and transvestites scowl at the soldiers and mutter to themselves. We return to our cold tasteless breakfast.
I light a cigarette and blow smoke up to the high ceiling of the cafe - painted mint and dangling with dust bunnies.
"Look, Saul - I already bought my ticket to Tucson. It's too late to change my mind. And plus, I already promised Paco that I would sell my laptop to him. I meet him this afternoon."
Saul's face goes slack and ethereal - he says as if the words were transmitted from somewhere else, "You have to stop living like that. You will die if you continue."
I take another one more drag, "I'm hoping on it."