I bolt out of the guesthouse dressed to the ninths (maybe even the tenths) and stroll down Revu towards Plaza Santa Cecilia. The sun had begun to set on this warm and moist Friday evening and I had decided after all that had transpired, I needed a shot of life. The avenue was teeming with petulant tourists and teenaged locals. Candy-colored neon lights spattered across my face and the beat of a million bandas wailed from jukebox of every beer joint or disco. Cars slowly cruised showing off their mods and vendors still called to pinch that last naïve rube.
I turned down Second Street, dodging mothers in rags sitting among their questing broods, a stout drunk lay in his own urine as I stepped over him. No one paid him no mind. A regular Tijuana night. I cut into the Plaza and it has not changed: families strolled under a thousand fluttering paper banners strung across the way, greens, reds, whites, dingy from the soot, fags of all shapes and sizes cackled and cooed at muscular workers returning home from a construction site, lurid hustlers lurked in shadows smoking cheap cigarettes patiently awaiting the aged and unattractive to purchase either cock and ass or to be robbed all together, typical hustler routine, and sitting at both The Boy’s Café and outside El Ranchero (now a goddamn restaurant? What the bloody fuck? Who would eat food prepared at that den of ill-repuke? Most like some ignorant queer from Idaho vainly attempting to impress the gaggle of thieves – I mean hotties – he’s accumulated) anyways, sitting in these cafes like lizards following the course of their prey, the dried up expat vampires who had lived in Tijuana since “the good old days” quivering and drooling tearing one another to shreds with over used and out of date snide gay double entadre and overtly judgmental gossip.
I stop in the dank doorway of Villa Garcia, hit by waves of nostalgia. Hasn’t changed much, except it now offers an upstairs with the obligatory strip/drag show – apparently for two dollars some oiled hunk will wave his thick, uncut ding-a-ling in your face – how things have changed. Found a stool at the bar near the corner and ordered a cold cerveza Sol. Thanks to fucking California and the bitches who think their way of life should dictate everyone on the planet, a large No Smoking sign glared menacingly at me from the opposite wall. Fuck you, America. Fuck you to hell. I noticed the bartender lit up and as soon as I pulled out my package – my cigarettes, silly – he placed an ash tray next to my bottle. Thank Jeebus, American Culture, your black tentacles haven’t ensnared everything down here…
So, I’m sitting there sipping my beer and staring at my ravaged countenance in the mirror opposite me in the bar when a finger sensually slid down my spine. I turned to see a somewhat unattractive guy smiling back. Chunky, you know, in tight shirt and jeans, thighs and knees pressed together. A large, simian face.
“Hello.” He said timidly in English.
“Hello.” I croaked back.
“One beer for me?”
“Can’t do, amigo. Waiting on someone. Should be here any minute.”
His fake-ass friendly smirk turned to a frown and then simply stormed out the bar. You frog-faced bitch, if I’m feeding your alcohol habit for the evening, you gotta be up to my standards. I mean, my bar is set pretty low as it is, can’t go any lower. Know what I mean? Know what I’m saying?
A couple hours pass and a few beers and I am definitely feeling it. Then he walked in. Jackpot. Short, masculine and tight body. He possessed a strong jaw line with a distinct Aztec nose. Smooth copper face and dark eyes. Black hair cropped short and slicked back. Our eyes met with that looking but looking past something else glance and he strut with a macho gait that heats me pants every time. He sat on the stool next to me and order a Tecate. Silence passed. A song changed on the jukebox. He took a tattered paper napkin out of his jeans pocket and blew and wiped his nose. In a pause in the song, I asked in Spanish, “Gotta cold?”
“A little one. Not too bad.”
He told me that his name was Raul or Cesar or something. I really didn’t catch that and mumbled mine which I think he didn’t get either. Other than that, we hit it off. The beer flowed and we laughed at stories of his family life, the small town he was raised in, his work. He sat in respectful silence as I went over my travels, my writing and so on.
The bar became obscenely crowded and we walked across the Plaza to the Patio Bar. Not really a fag joint, but ambiente as the locals would say. Took a booth and order caguamas of Sol and Tecate respectfully. The place was packed with youth and a smidgeon of adventurous American teens. Raul or Cesar or something was so plastered that during a Mexican love ballad he asked me to dance. At first I said no, which seemed to offend the little fucker, so yeah, okay, why not. Luckily the other two couple swaying to this sappy shit was an elderly straight couple and two pot-bellied men in sombreros sporting huge, black moustaches. So, no one really gave us a second look. We returned to our seats when I excused myself to the men’s room.
In the corner of that reeking shit hole were three college aged kids smoking weed. I pissed and as I washed my hands they offered me to join. It was some good sticky shit. Little harsh, but what did you expect in these trying times. Amid farting and shitting and pissing and flushing and billowing marijuana smoke, the group and I chatted. They were some type of Zapatista revolutionaries and kept badgering me on that Toupee’d Yam we have for a president and I stated harshly that I thought he was an incompetent asshat. They warmed up to me after that. One was a writer – Juan, I believe – and desired to become a published writer.
“It’s awesome,” I smiled. “But, it’s terrifying, too.”
I lost track of time with these intellectuals, perhaps it was the discussions or simply the weed, but when I returned back to the booth, Raul or Cesar or something was gone. Oh, well. Son cosa de la vida I always say. It was late anyhow and I was bleary from the pot and the beer and decided to call it a night.
I stumbled out of the bar into the Plaza still pregnant with chattering squawking queens. I checked my watch: 3:16am. I began the wavering controlled amble back to the guesthouse. A group of ragged boys aged five to ten surrounded me. Filthy street urchins holding brown paper sacks and sniffing paint thinner. One asked for change and I dropped some pesos into his tiny hands – shiny over the dirt. Another, the wily scamp – tried to lift my wallet from my back pocket. I grabbed his hand and said, “Hey, nothing for you here, nino.” As he attempted to squirm away, I reached into my shirt pocket and retrieved a joint given to me from the Bathroom Boys. “Here, if you’re going to do dope, do dope that won’t kill ya.” He snatched it and the group scampered laughing off into the night like a pack of baying hyenas.
As I was leaving the Plaza, Raul or Cesar or something wobbled up out of the shadows towards me. A wet splotch of urine from his crotch that spread down both inner legs stood out.
“What happened, man, you have an accident?” I asked.
“No. Es no importa.” He swiveled his intoxicated head. Even shit faced, he was extremely attractive. “Can I come home with you?”
“Well,” I began. “I don’t have a problem with it, but you most likely will.”
“Por que? (Why?)”
“I like men.” I stated dryly.
Several looks of confusion piled up on his smooth face all at once. He slurred, “Men…women…it’s not important. It’s just sex.”
With that, twenty minutes later, Raul or Cesar or something stepped out of my shower butt naked as the day he was born and plopped face down on my bed and fell straight to sleep. Great. I adjusted my snoring Adonis properly on the mattress, threw a blanket over him and lay down naked myself. I smoked a cigarette before I found myself passing out.
The following morning, I awoke moments before Raul or Cesar or something. He mumbled, “I’m sorry.”, concerned about passing out and not fulfilling his hustler duties.I said that it was okay. We held each other in silence in a vain attempt to wake up.
He rolled over and placed my hand on his firm erection. “To make up for last night.” So, we kissed while I stroked him off to a squirty climax. Getting dressed, I offered to buy some coffee, but he declined, stating some nonsense about getting back home and going to work. Outside on the corner, we shook hands and parted. I sat in the Praga café decided on how I was going to pull off this Cambodia debacle…