The climate became so insidiously hot - I awoke in a pool of sweat. Fan didn’t work - spins, but don’t work. I prepared a cup of joe and watched the morning news. Clicked on the laptop and pounded out more prose on another damned manuscript that no one will ever read.
The day passed and as the sun boiled below the horizon, Oscar asked, “You want to go to Pronaf? I was invited to meet some friends there at a club.”
“Pronaf?” I asked.
“It’s the high-end of Juárez, very nice.” He smiled.
“Juárez has a high-end?” I uttered.
First, we took a cab to Pockets - a swanky, billiards pub that reminded me of any straight poolhall Stateside. Hi-fives and back slapping amongst the boys and bored, twinkling smiles of their girls. Bad service from the sullen, arrogant waiters, so onward to a massive, barn-like dance club called Ole! Ole!
Ten peso caguamas and good music. Oscar and I sat in the VIP section and attempted to work off a bottle of whiskey that I had purchased.
However, it was too big for the both of us. Luckily, a few of Oscar’s friends began to filter in and the time spent was a drunken spree of laughs and dancing.
There were two, young Mexican men in t-shirts and plaid, summer shorts. They introduced themselves as Miguel and Peter. Obviously, their parents had money and I had no idea how they knew Oscar. Perhaps, they had bought dope from him or hired him for sexual favors – it remained a mystery.
With them were three girls – pretty in jeans and shirts that accented their curves. They introduced themselves, but I didn’t care to remember their names.
I tell you, with these Mexican nationals, the alcohol really brought out the fag in them. The two Abercrombie and Fitch clones, Miguel and Peter, began their moves on the only American in the joint as Oscar cruised the local ladies. More hotties began talking with me in the usual coy, macho way and I just thought how much I loved this country.
I broke away from this reverie to stumble into a corner to find Oscar surrounded by a small group of friends.
He held a forty ounce bottle of beer up to his mouth with three queens chanting, “Chug it! Chug it!”
When he finished the bottle off, they all laughed and patted him on the back.
“Damn!” I chuckled, “Let’s get that boy another!”
The group – headed by a squinty-eyed, nelly queer - regarded me like I was carrying the plague, turned to Oscar and continued their party.
A small, pretty girl sided up to Oscar and put her arm around his waist. I stood there in uncomfortable silence as they kissed like overheated monkeys.
“Want another, Oscar?” I blurted as I held up the empty bottle.
He ignored me and shuffled drunkenly off into the murk, accompanied by another girl and the pinch-faced fag. The others turned and disbanded. I returned to our table and sloshed more tequila into my glass.
As all good things, the joint closed and shit faced as all get out, Oscar and I hitched a ride with a chunky broad that he had met – we sped rapidly to his apartment in the dark barrios of the poor and underprivileged.
The car pulled up to a row house in a dark, shabby neighborhood. Oscar and I got out of the car. As I tittered on the side walk, my friend leaned into the window of the car.
“So, you wanna come in and party?” He slurred.
The girl just smiled big, said something like no and drove off into the darkness.
Oscar stood there, scowling, then uttered, “Pinche puta.”
Unlocking the door, we entered his small, dingy apartment. A large, sagging bed took up most of the room, dirty clothes flung about, cigarettes squashed on the dusty tile. There was no kitchen and the bathroom was outside - shared with the other tenants. I gazed up and the rotted, wooden rafters were exposed; covered in a botanical garden of black mold. The smell of mildew and dusty clothes wafted in the pink painted room.
Grabbing my hand, Oscar flung me to the bed and kissed with such passion that it hurt. Clothes were ripped off and tossed about, erections exposed and then Oscar passed out.
I lay next to that naked Adonis, as he snored ever so lightly, and myself wrapped in frustrated passion.
Ah, what the hell, I thought. I ain’t no lascivious creep.
I put my arm around him and dozed myself.
Around 5am, I was awoken by Oscar’s half-assed and sloppy attempt to make out. He quickly fell back in with Morpheus.
I was fully awaken by that fumble and couldn’t fall back asleep. I lay there in the darkness - pent up, angered in frustration - I dressed, and quietly left the building.
Stumbling home in the gray dawn of painful post-intoxication, I crawled into my own bed inhabited by lonesome ghosts and passed out.
That afternoon, I spent some time alone at The Yankee Bar - a convenient, straight dive around the corner from my place on the strip.
I sat and thought of Oscar and my blossoming affection for him. I truly did love him. A love that seemed unbearably one sided. It angered me more - I appeared to be wasting my time and money on a fruitless romance. Again.
I sat pensive at the bar, staring at the bottle of Indio beer, slowly peeling the label from the moist glass. Sourly ignoring the Mexican love ballad that crooned from the jukebox, the happy laughter from a group of locals that congregated in a corner booth.
I gazed out the dusty window, dead flies on the sill. What do you do in life when you have no goal - no direction? I am not speaking in a destructive kind of way - just in a free kind of way without malice.
I walked out of the bar and headed to the Cathedral.
Strolling around the congested masses, my name was called and I looked to see Oscar sitting on the steps. I walked over.
“Hi, Oscar.” I said flatly.
He smiled, “Hola, amigo. This is my friend, Zelma.”
Oscar motioned to a young girl who squatted in a catholic school uniform next to him on the gray, stone steps.
I shook her hand, “Hello.”
“Hola.” She beamed. “Mucho gusto.”
As I sat next to Oscar, he mumbled hesitantly, “You are not angry with me? I woke up and you were gone. I thought you were mad on account of the girls.”
He referred to his complete dismissal of me at the dance club as he chased skirt.
I smiled, “Nah, I’m not one of those bitter fags to hold a grudge - life is too short and fun for that shit.”
We three sat on the steps of the Cathedral, ate ice cream and joked and laughed. All the while, I received suspicious glances from Zelma when I would make an odd, gay remark. I simply ignored her and reveled in her discomfort.
“Hey.” Oscar started, “You want to take a walk through the market?”
Zelma stared blankly at me - I could see the unwanted look for my company in her eyes.
I sighed and looked off into the hustling masses, “No, Oscar - I gotta take a rain check. Anyways, I have some things to work on at home.”
I wanted to return home and write my depression away. Saying goodbye to Oscar and Zelma, I walked into the scorching afternoon sun to do what I had to do...and I did.