Showered - dressed, and liked the way I looked. Walked over to the corner; got a pack of smokes and bought a bite to eat at a hamburger stand employed by a handsome Indian named Ignacio, wondering what I could get from that? Cuter than shite, he was.
Strolled to the Plaza las Armas in front of the main cathedral to relax and think. However, there was a rip-roarin’, bible thumpin’ show going on, so God wouldn’t have it.
Sat there anyway and did the best I could. It was a nice, warm evening and the stars twinkled in a dark-navy, clear sky. The moon was big and orange, like a grapefruit hanging in that sky.
First goofball I ran into was my good bud Erik, he was making the rounds – going bar to bar – looking for his friends, but was out of luck.
“Hola, guero, been here long?” Erik asked jovially.
“Not really.” I said. “Trying to tolerate the Wrath of God over there.”
Erik glanced at the raucous church group and smirked. The devoted that they had acquired, clapped and sung along amid the tinny screeching of the bull-horn.
“Yes, they are here every weekend. You have a problem with God?” He asked.
“Not yet.” I stated as I lit another cigarette.
A group of young guys passed joking and laughing. Three skinny queens gesticulating and giggling.
“I’m looking for this one guy that I had met a couple of nights ago at Nebraska bar, but he seems not to be out drinking, yet.” Erik said, watching with lust as the boys passed.
“I’m sure he’ll show up.” I assured him.
Erik sighed and then looked at me smiling, “Hey, I’ll catch up with you later. I’m going to see if I can catch this guy.”
“Okay.” I said as I shook his hand. “I’ll be here.”
With that, Erik shot off across the bustling plaza.
Eventually, and thank God - the Holy Rollers with the bull horns left and the Plaza quieted down as I sat there sipping my manzana fresca when Saneen - a bespectacled, nervous and twitchy queen - walked up and said his howdy’s and gushed at how much he wanted to talk to me.
“Oh, I’m so glad I ran into you!” He chirped.
“Yeah?” I croaked, puffing on that smoke. “About what?”
“I understand that you are a writer?” He asked.
“Some people think so.” I joked.
“Well, I have written this essay about my trip to Paris and I…” His cellphone beeped.
I sat and watched a homeless man dig through the trash that cascaded over a bin as Saneen blabbered rapidly in Spanish. He eventually snapped the phone shut.
“Oh, guero, I have to zip over quick to ProNaf and meet a friend.” Saneen bleated with a high-pitched lisp. “Can we have coffee tomorrow at Café Central, say at nine?”
“Okay…sure.” I agreed as my cigarette dangled from my lips.
Shaking my hand, the fag swished off into the busy pedestrian night.
I sat there scoping the scene – a little, shabby dwarf of a woman dragged ratty luggage past (wheels long gone) begging for coins – old and ancient cowboy crooned (ivory colored, ten-gallon hat and a dusty scowl under white, bushy mustache) to a patient, yet appalled cholo (handsome and queer) a few benches down – police prowled, making random checks of identifications…
I decided to stroll over to Bar Nebraska to look for Erik and before I entered the door, someone called at me from the shadows.
“Guero! Hey, Luis!”
I squinted to see who it was. I had to look hard before I recognized him as Javier - a neighbor who would visit occasionally for beer and conversation. I hadn’t seen him in weeks.
He was painfully thin, face sunken in, eyes all pupils, clothes filthy – he had deteriorated into a full-fledged junky. My heart sank – this was the same Javier that not three months ago, I had to explain what crystal meth was.
I stood and stared at his ravaged visage, snarled, “Are you taking drugs? Look at your face!”
“No!” He said. “No, I’m not, man - I promise!”
Come on, who did he think he was kidding?
I didn’t say a word and entered Bar Nebraska to look for Erik. The small joint was crawling with Old Navy and Abercrombie and Fitch clones - Mexican style. My eyes scanned through the gloom, passing across forty faces of such plastic fakeness, all made the worst by the strobbing, red neon.
Someone tugged at my shirt sleeve – half expecting to see the grinning visage of Erik, I was instead met with the raw gaze of Javier, who obviously had followed me in.
“What has happened to your face?” I asked, glaring at him in the dim light.
“Nothing.” Javier pleaded. “Buy me a beer.”
“No.” Was my answer and I left him standing ragged in the middle of all that dazzling, faggy poshness. Goodbye, Javier.
Hit the streets depressed even more after that. Returned to the Plaza and sat and chain smoked Lucky Strike after Lucky Strike – non-filtered, you dig?
Erik appeared out of nowhere, took one look at me and grimaced.
“What’s the matter, man? You look sad.” He stated.
I paused – I was sad. Not because of the event before with Javier. My thoughts flowed with the memories about Oscar. Erik sat next to me on the concrete bench.
“It’s that obvious, huh?” I stated. “Oh, Erik – I got it bad. I have been seeing this boy named Oscar. I am so in love with him. I try and try to persuade this guy to feel the same about me. But, all he seems to see me as is a dollar bill with feet. I love him; however, I can’t stand him at the same time.”
“Where did you guys meet?” Erik asked.
I sighed. “In the street. I met him in the street.”
“He’s a hustler?”
“No. Yes. I don’t know. He likes women, though.” I said.
“Oh, honey!” Erik wailed dramatically. “There you have it. You can’t change that type of macho. He will always go with the women before he goes with a guy. You understand the word machismo?”
I nodded yes.
“He has his friends and family to think about.” Erik continued. “He has to save face – no way will he truly have a relationship with you. What you need to do is drop him and find you a nice gay boy.”
“But, it’s his masculinity that appeals to me. I can’t have a relationship with a fucking fairy!” I spat the word ‘fairy’ out like poison.
“That’s what you might need.” Erik said.
“What I need is a drink.” I stated as I stood up. “C’mon, let’s go.”
We walked around the corner to Bar Buen Tiempo: for me a cerveza Sol and him an agua mineral – Erik doesn’t drink, dig?
Depression was lifted somewhat when I was scoped out by two handsome guys and that’s what was needed to lift my spirits.
Erik and I drank in silence – I sat morosely pining over the thoughts on Oscar. I wanted him to be with me at that moment.
Erik sighed the word aborrito – boring for you stupid assholes that don’t speak Spanish – and we were out the door and off through the Old Market to Caletilla, that bar of bars.
As ever, the hole in the wall cantina was packed with bloated drag queens, bulldykes, junkies, pimps, homo-thieves, prostitutes, and whatever. I loved the place. Always kept it funky fresh.
Erik and I made our way toward the back where we met our friends and the beer began to flow.
Sitting by the mensroom entrance like a flamboyant, Aztec goddess, was my hairdresser friend, Isidro. With him was another short, squat fag also named Isidro. Since they had the same first name, they often were referred to as the twins - even though they looked nothing alike. Silly fags.
Isidro - the tall one - brought with him a scrawny, little twink that looked as if he was twelve years old – he claimed to be eighteen – named Manuel.
“Manuela!” Mexislang for masturbation, Erik whispered jokingly into my ear.
The kid clung to me like a wart. I, of course, assured my group of friends that I had no intention to do anything unsavory with the kid, he was too young. Gotta keep face with these bitches – know what I mean? Even though I would had thrown little Manuel on the floor and banged him doggy-style on the spot – he was that cute.
After the bar closed, my group of bitches and I walked over to Freegay to boogie down – I was relieved to hear that Manuel could not enter because he did not have an I.D. Made me all jittery having him around, you know – felt all kind of nasty the way he looked at me – I ain’t no child molester.
Fucking Lolita. I thought.
Isidro was nice enough to pay for all four of us to enter and we climbed the stairs of stained, red carpet and entered the disco. Finding a dark corner in this cavernous hall, we became pretty ripped. Danced – drank – hit on by flirtatious guys – ran into old friends.
They had hired a new waiter – his name being Manuel (There was a pattern brewing that night, I just knew it!) and as the waiter served us our drinks, he would make flirtatious remarks at me.
After the fifth or sixth round of alcohol, Manuel handed me my drink and caressed my fingers as he passed the bottle to me.
I was in stupid, drunk gringo mode at that time. I smiled and looked over his muscular frame that his waiter uniform was accenting. He had short, cropped hair, black and slicked back, a thick moustache and square jaw.
I slurred something to the effect, “Ya know, after ya get off work, you should come to my apartment for a night’s romp.”
He puffed up and flexed, all the while stating, “Sure. But, my going rate is sixty dollars. You gonna pay me, Americano?”
I laughed, “Get lost!”
Dancing was followed by a transvestite show, then a strip show. Out of literarily nowhere, that little waif Manuel that I’d met back at the previous bar popped up out of the gloom. As I gave him the cold shoulder, he was being cruised by every old, fat pedophile in the building – figures! Evil, old vampires.
Erik and I joined the never ending parade that continually looped the dance floor - a chance to check out the checkers.
“What’s your name? Muy nice!” One guy with a shaved head smiled, grabbing my sleeve as he passed. Wished I took him up on it.
Around two thirty, the disco closed, and we five drunkenly exited and stumbled to the corner hamburger stand and gobbled down a few.
I was approached by a rather good looking cowboy in a white hat, all legs and white jeans so tight you could see his circumcision.
“Hola.” I slurred, wobbling.
“Hola.” He smiled.
The cowboy moved closer to talk. That’s when I leaned over and threw up off the curb. Real classy, me. It didn’t impress the vaquero that much, either.
Saying adios to Manuel and the Isidios, Erik walked me to my house. I flipped a Lucky Strike to the cowboy and said I would see him later or some sloppish remark. He smiled and turned away.
On a side street near my apartment, took a piss next to a van to the gigglings of an old hag.
I glared at her, then smiled, saying in English, “What’s so fucking funny?”
As Erik and I walked up to my door, a car pulled over with two, young Mexican guys inside.
The passenger asked me, “Do you speak English?”
I blurredly focused on them as I leaned over the passenger window. I had to admit, they both weren’t bad looking.
“Fluently.” I slurred.
“We are kinda lost...which way back to El Paso?”
I leaned down to the passenger window, “Well, you drive that way two blocks and take a right on calle Ignacio Mejia, then a left at Avenida Juárez…”
“Quieres mamar? (Want a blowjob?)” The passenger blurted.
“No.” I said, not missing a beat. “You take Juárez Avenue to the bridge then to El Paso.”
“You don’t wanna fuck me?” He asked meekly.
“Look, yer drunk, I’m drunk...and I gotta go to work in three hours. Go home and get some sleep.”
The car pulled off. I said good night to Erik and crashed on my couch.