Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dead End in Every Face...

The dinner with Oscar was a fiasco. I should had used my better judgement instead of thinking with my passions of the past. He arrived late with wife in tow.
Oh, a chaperon. How appropriate. I thought.
He wasn't the positive youth that I remembered since he washed all that paint and grime off of him from his job earlier that day. Life had not been kind - his face was lined and carried a paranoid petulance. There was hatred in those eyes - hatred at the world. He smelled of stale liquor and confessed in lurid detail on how he spent the previous decade incarcerated in lieu of drug trafficking and transporting illegals cross the border. Outside, I smiled and nodded and repeated "No importa" a million fucking times while his squat hoggish wife devoured her weight in tacos at my expense. On the inside, I withered away into a blackness I know too well.
He saw in my weary eyes that I didn't really want to hear this shit yet continued on in a rapid fire con man dialog. I wanted to get up and walk out. I felt so bad...in the past every time I made the trip over to Juarez, I always kept an eye out for him. In vain. A true reminder that the past belongs in the past and should never resurface. Pleasant or otherwise. Which, being a writer, is a complete contradiction. We bloggers, as I have recanted a million times or more, we suffer from our nostalgia.
After an hour of miserable chit-chat, we shook hands at the corner and I shuffled depressingly to a bar and drank and thought and drank myself numb. This is is. I stare out the pane window with the passerby passing and see a dead end in every face.
I spent the next days working on that stupid book no one will read. A couple of times in a tequila induced fury, I was to delete the whole damn thing. However, I had concluded that this will be my swan song...so I better get the fucker done and done right. Below is an excerpt. It is a very rough draft and will be prone to many revisions. It hails from the first chapter entitled Tijuana Bebop:

Tijuana Bebop

Hurtling through the stratosphere like a sparkler spurting Flash Gordon rocket, I hadn’t time to finish my complimentary bag of nuts before the pinch-faced transvestite flight attendant snatched them off my table with withered, spindly fingers.
   “We are landing now, prepare!” She snarled in telepathic pictographs. Her silver quaff scrapped the ceiling of the cabin.
   Screeech, engines died to a whine. Hustle into the San Diego International Airport - that mighty monument to modern technology - grab my shoddy luggage and bolt out into The City. The beautiful people whisk by with expressionless, hate filled faces - no one talks only via cell phone. A ticket bought. A red train boarded. I head south towards the Tijuana border. March with the bustling throng through the clacking turnstiles, past the bored gaze of the potbellied Mexican customs agent – eyes bloodshot and sick. Crossed the International line amid honks and the haze of exhaust.
   Although Tijuana is adjacent to the Control Culture of the United States, it is a great feeling when you enter Mexico - this timeless free uplifting feeling from personal impairment once you cross over. In fact, the farther south you travel away from the border, the brighter it is - as though the oppressive influence of the United States looms at the frontier like opaque, suffocating clouds.
   Lug my bags over the line - Indian women in squalid gray rags, arms always out hands grasping or barking their wares of counterfeit jewelry which turn black in an hour or plaster statues of obscene materials - their plump, dirty children wallow naked in pools of dust at their feet. Past the taco vendors - smell of seared meat and wilted vegetables mixed with beer and piss. Effervescent sounds bombard your ears, a cacophony of Latino Banda and hip-hop music interspersed with car horns and grating primeval busses.
   “Want pussy girl? Titty women?”
   “See donkey show?”
   “Bull fight?”
   I elbowed through the throng of taxi drivers all on the hustle and opt the most handsome I could find within that teeming mass of yellow shirts.
   “Hotel Coliseo, rapido.” Snap fingers. Chop-chop.
   Roar through broken streets dodging busses, kamikaze taxis and mad dashing pedestrians. We pass Avenida Revolucion - el Revu to the locals - all is what you expect: petulant, flabby tourists shuffle in the beating sun ignoring the barking of pitchmen squinting under that bright blue Mexican sky. Young pacheco kids clad in funky hip-hop clothes amble past arm in arm around a tired whore clop-clopping in her cha-cha heels, brown eyes drooping and gazing forever up at Guadalupe. The shop venders selling gold, silver, leather, liquor, sex - they scream unrelentlessly into the deaf ear of the sweaty tourist. Overpriced restaurants, massive discos, and farmacias vending Viagra with enough potency to kill an elephant, lost among fading whorehouses crumbling into time reflected in the sad eyes of the weary Zonky.
   Blocks are splashed with the primary colors of restaurants and consumer store facades of any other Mexican metropolitan city - the dust rises, the trash burns, police patrol by with young, hostile cops suspended off the sides of white paddy wagons - black rifles glistening and the mothers sprinting across the traffic with young flailing and babies wailing. Cervezas and guacamole - no matter how diluted with sour cream - still bring in the Mexican culture of memory to the old and young. Culture is life. Life is change. Change is culture - and change is the beauty of Tijuana, no matter how desperate - no matter how congested and overflowing, omnipresent as a McDonald’s baño.
   Spitting heat upon pale skin. Dust swirls, thick and ominous like mountainous fog, yet there is little silence among this thumping surge of sprawling land and sea convergence. It’s bright and it’s hot, alighting the nonexistent patterns as people and their many motors crush upon humanity and culture - their culture. It is their land; their noise and debris, their rising dust - churn into eternal heat, the rapturous signals, the stoplights and padding feet across cracked pavement before the next race of exhaust pipes flood the streets. Young boys stand in a 1950’s truck bed and the workingmen folding leathery brown hands in deep cooling shadows. Coronas, Pacificos, Dos XX and Sol bottles crushed down dirt side-alleys. Pass peeling paints of white, green and orange. As I sat in the back of the taxi, heat and the accompanying dust drew into the interior through the open windows that sucked like a famished mule.
   A dangling faded CD flashed in my eyes, as Jesus and Mother Mary spun from the driver’s rear view mirror. Through the dirty window, I watched my beloved Mexico and its culture, passing high-walled penitentiaries and catching the drafts of burning trash and piles of rubber. I breathed in, deeper than the previous, and as rusted tin and red brick turned to unfinished concrete with spikes of rusting rebar, the city-center approached.
   The Central Zone of Tijuana proper is sprawled out in a bowl shaped valley of mosaic urban decay. Polychromatic buildings, some new, some old, others downright ancient, some never fully completed with rusted iron scaffolding jutting into the smog-choked sky spread across a simmering landscape. Chipped and graffitied buildings are dwarfed only by blaring billboards announcing everything from cheap tequila to the cure for herpes. Surrounding hillsides are blanketed with the residential colonias. Vast multihued neighborhoods range from elegant haciendas to cardboard shacks – and always an unattended fire blazing day or night in the poorer quarters so that a choking grey haze hangs over the city.
   Burnt paper and smoky chemicals infuse the sea air until the salt purified the wastes. Suddenly, it froze. A culture - historic in its patternless flow of work, family, tradition, rice, beans, corn tortillas and cerveza, with terrified mother dodging traffic as she interlinks her arms of her five children, and the federales rolling in their crisp white '06 GMC pickup trucks and Ford Mustangs, fat signs and stripped lands of acres of sweating asphalt surrounded by cheap simplicities of blue and white, and orange and white, swallowing its environment.
   Then the abominable. Things and their monsters. They let loose to dilute the beauty of this original style of living and culture. Gorging, the corporations find their way as Mexico expands with the born faces of Wal-Mart and Home Depot. My heart pinged. It skipped a beat. Nevertheless, I drew another gritty inhale, observed the life around and continued to witness an unburdened Mexico thrive. Dust tickled my nose. I sneezed. It reached my parched throat. I coughed. How unburdened can a culture remain? I was about to find out.
   Taxi screeched to a halt in front of Hotel Coliseo – a monument to the depravity of addicts both of chemicals and flesh. The putrefied building decomposing from the inside, defecating its vile antiquity onto the sidewalk. Old man sat on wood chair by the door focused on me with cataract eyes and junky stoop as I paid the driver and enter the crumbling whitewashed building. The smell of sewage and feces filled the cavernous lobby. An obese transvestite sat on an overstuffed green velvet couch sucking a silver tooth as I paid the front desk cien pesos and made my way up to the third floor - old well-worn wooden stairs creaking.
   My room was painted olive green, paint flaking. Bed sagged to one side with graffiti scratched above wooden headboard, the toilet ran and I had roaches for roommates.
   The distant moan of a whore earning her rent mixed with the muffled banda music wafting through the acerbic and sinister halls.
   I showered in tepid water, got dressed, and left my key with the front desk. Stepping sideways through a group of six Amazonian transvestite hookers who guarded the lobby door; avoiding catcalls and clutching at my crotch.
   I strode through the choking night air, the klaxon of car horns and high decimal banda, the cries of cigarette vendors, the smell of scorched meat and sewage, vicious cops patrol and give me a sour eye. Queers passed staring and giggling and pointing at every bulging crotch. Sickly dogs sifted through festering trash next to their catatonic masters.
   A few blocks from my hotel was park Teniente Guerrero - by day an idyllic spot for lounging families amid sounds of romping children among swaying palms and colorful flowers. You look around and see happy smiling faces, the absorbed cancerous faces of police officers, you hear cantina music from across the park of candy-colored balloons and popsicles and shoeshine stands. In the center of the park stands a gazebo for performances - generations of mariachi playing Mexican anthems to honor El Gobernador.
   By night, the park procures its well-deserved sluttish reputation - a notorious hotbed of male prostitution and drug pedaling with sexual acts being wrought in the midst of darkened bushes and shadowy corners. When the heat of the day boils away and the shoe shine stands close-up, the boys come out. Every bench is occupied - the trees lining the sidewalk accommodate some nameless youth leaning with hip hooked and hands in pockets. Silent shadows beckon and the smell of sex vibrates through the park integrated with the whispering lusty grunts and sighs under a baneful moon.
   As I was saying, I located the park and most importantly, I located Saul. He sprawled on the cold iron bench like a lounging cougar, awaiting prey. Dark, curly hair cropped short, smooth copper skin, and a pencil thin moustache lined full pouting lips. His lean body jumped up and ran to me all smiles.
   “Hey, cabron!” He beamed. “You back?”
   “Sure as shit.” I say. “You know I can’t stay away from this place.”
   Several old queens prowling nearby slowly raise their heads like animals sensing danger.
   Short chitchat between Saul and I and with the heat rising we faded out of the park and materialized in my hotel room.
   Tongues probed, fingers poked, and erections were exposed. Saul always was proud of his lengthy penis and had no reservations about using it. Clothes were thrown around the room. The bed banged and squeaked as Saul fucked me hard and extensive and afterwards we shared a Lucky Strike. Then, he fucked me again. Showered and went downstairs for dinner at a corner eatery - Café Mimi’s. Music blared as the scrumptious food was served by a plump laughing woman - who cooked it, too. The plastic chairs were packed with happy, chatty, animated locals - the small café was affluent with life. A life which had been suppressed in the United States and one which will never resurface again.
   After tacos and agua limón, Saul and I decided to cruise around el centro; I needed to go shopping for some hygiene articles.
   As we walked through the congested streets, I was approached by two Mexican hipsters and asked if I wanted to earn $800 dollars.
   Suspicious, I inquired, “What’s the angle?”
   “All you hafta do is drive cross the border.” The short one smiled coyly.
   “Nah.” I declared, “A coyote I ain’t.”
   Saul expressed he needed some mota. Why not, I felt like getting a little high myself. We strut down into the Old Mercado past the come-hither hookers and cop a bag of weed from some Aztecan tattooed kid and repair back to my room. Saul is one hella roller - fat he makes ‘em. We sit on the bed listening to reggeaton and toking some amazing blunt - it was tasty. Half a bottle of Cuervo - reefer by candle light.
   I rode Saul for nearly an hour. Hair is pulled; sweat is licked off writhing, thrusting bodies. Slap-slap-slap-slap went the sound of his brown hips smacking my ass. We fucked in the rickety wooden chair as he came up with the nastiest of positions. Saul grunts filthy words too me in Spanish as he degrades my soul. I am seeing stars as that boy rams it home. Squirt! Squirt! Squirt! Our racket echoes in the halls as we both moan out in mutual orgasm.
   “Oh shit! Aye caray!” We gasp out almost simultaneously.
   Beaten, bruised and covered in sweat and semen, bed sheets on the floor and soiled, Saul and I lay there entwined like two snakes.
   My digital clock read 4:36am. As he lay beside me sleeping, I stroked his black curly hair, sighed and looked out the window at the shimmering yellow moon.
   I am home.

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