Damn in such a funk of late. So numb inside - avoiding contact with everyone. I am just waiting to leave - and even then I feel no surge of excitement over that. Yesterday, I lay sweating in my bed all day - only to pull myself out to walk to the corner bakery to buy some bread. I am so broke right now - I am surviving on bread and water. Returned to my room and lay there thinking about nothing in particular for hours on end. Around one a.m. or there abouts - walked back to the 24hr bakery and purchased some sweet bread and a small milk with my last 12 pesos. Why is it like this? How has all enjoyment of the fundamentals of life been crushed out of me? I want nothing. Nothing but to be left alone with my own thoughts. And they are even mired in bleak resentment of past events. I see my future - those filthy haggard old men pushing a shopping cart down the street, all sanity and lust of life gone out of them - I believe that will be me.
Friday, April 27, 2018
So I'm waiting, right...sitting in this café across the border in Mexico watching my cold coffee swirl with a thin skin of curdled cream languidly floating on top. My cigarette is burnt down to a nub, but I'm waiting. And I hate waiting. The dusty clock up on the wall crawls like the clock in the Machinery of Metropolis and just as painful. This old fart, winkled and the color of a brown paper bag sits starin' and a-starin' and I glare at him but he won't stop. What? He think I'm queer or sumpthin'? So I gulp the coffee and ask the obese and overworked underpaid masera fer another cup and she look at me like I just fuck her virgin daughter and slosh haffa cup full. (I make mental note to slam down two pesos and dramatically storm out. Cunt.)
Sigh. Stare out the big window and the world is cold and the wind is blowin' dust and the Mexican folk they walk briskly past huddled in their trappings to avoid the cold, but it's cold in here too and I sip my coffee and that shit is hot. I make a little yelp and the old coot giggles. Wyoncha go watch the toilet flush, Gramps? So, I'm waitin' and I got one Lucky Strike left and I got like twenty two pesos and he's late. They are always late. Goddamn, like there are two time zones, American and Mexican and Mexican is always outta whack.
Two Mexi-fags swish into the café and coyly scope out yours truly before sitting at the booth but I just watch the cockroach skitter across the diner bar. I flick it with my finger when it comes too close and catapults it into an eclair that some fat bitch rich and nasty eats later. Where the fuck is he? I can hear the ticking of the clock over the fucking chachacha music. I straighten the wrinkle in my black chinos and gaze over and watch two hoggish couple slurp and kiss each other inna booth. Revolting. Wonder what would happen if me an my boy started frenchin right here in the middle of the cafe? One of the Mexi-fags catches my eye contact and smiles. Flames and knives shoot outta mine in return.
Ding! The door...but naw, just some shoe shine boy who asks the gringo inna shop fulla customers but asks the gringo only if he wants his shoes shined. Nope. I says. Kinda cute. I give the kid ten pesos and tell him go buy him some marijuana - he laughs - then I follow with 'and come back inna few years to make some real money.' And watch the cutey leave the cafe.
Finally, with a blast of cold gritty air the glass door swings open and in all his hotness Javier comes in and he looks tall and fine in black leather coat, black sweater, black slacks and boots. "I hope you weren't waiting long, babe?" He asks and smiles that smile that melts hearts. He is so full of warmth and patience and kindness - emits it like radio waves. Fills the room.
"No, not long. Time was just flying by." I smile back. "I was finishing a cigarette. Ready to go to the movies?"
"Let's go." And we both hit the cold pavement. I walk next to him, laughing and thinking what a beautiful night.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Went home after eating some tacos and took a cold shower. The hotel did not have hot water. Javier arrived soon after and asked where I was all day. I told him I was at Cinema Latino. He, in his beautiful sensitive way, cautioned me and talked me into getting tested for AIDS and everything else the following day. I agreed. I don’t get him. He knows me. He understands how I am. Anyway, the Zone takes care of its own.
At that moment there was a series of knocks at the door. When I answered, a man in his late twenties stood there. Introduced himself as Xavier and asked if he could speak with Javier. It seemed Old Chuck told this Xavier character where to find him. I invited him in and after casual chitchat; I found out he was Javier’s older brother. He in fact resembled Javier, except for the thick macho moustache and thinning hair.
“You holding?” Javier asked with an increasing hunger in his eyes.
“Si, hermano.” Xavier nodded towards me. “It’s all right with your friend?”
“He don’t care. He’s cool.”
“You cool, gringo?” Xavier smirked.
“As ice.” I said.
Xavier hastily reached into the front of his dirty pants and pulled out a syringe, a foil of heroin, a blackened spoon, and a lighter. Javier sat on the bed like an immobile lizard and I calmly watched in fascinated wonderment at the ritual. I opened the drawer in the nightstand and retrieved a partially smoked joint.
With precision, Xavier cooked down the shot and, glancing in the dirty mirror on the dresser, jabbed the syringe deep into his neck. Hissing through clenched teeth, Xavier pushed down the plunger and the solution drained into anticipating veins.
Muscles gone slack and with a vacant look, he passed the needle over to his brother who did the same. Eyes rolling back and with a whispered sigh of junky orgasm, Javier lay back on the bed and dreamed of dark and troubling things.
I sat there, legs crossed, sucking on that reefer so nasty. Later that evening, Javier lay naked beside me in rumpled sheets. Cigarette smoke swirled up to a stained white-washed ceiling as lights from passing cars created moving patterns of phantoms. Phantoms who laughed at us.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
There was an American bar in the Red Light District of Zona Norte. I occasionally went there to watch American football and drink myself stupid in the company of overweight, old white men. In a lot of ways it was like being home, except I could smoke inside and all the girl hookers were Central or South American.
On some of those nights, I called a friend stateside because I knew he was watching the same game. Except I was always too drunk and when I awoke in the morning I had text messages asking me if I was okay and telling me to come home.
You’re scaring me, one of these read.
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Walking up from that cesspool of Coahuila - Zona Norte, (the Red Light District, ignorant asshole, keep focused) - I turned the corner into the Plaza and was accosted by screaming queers on all sides and I tell you were they out in force tonight - when a truckload of Tijuana fuzz gang fucks me.
Encircled by menacing, black uniformed stormtroopers, a pint-sized fat one asked where was I going and before I could answer, barks for my identification.
Tall, smooth cop explained in English - now get this: “We had a report of a white American who fits your description buying drugs here in the Plaza.”
“Si, senor, light hair, glasses, black clothes. May I have permission to search your person?”
Why not? You’re hot. So, up against the adobe wall and goosed - asked if I ever take drugs.
“We are just doing our job, senor - we are here to protect la turistas such as yourself.” Says hot cop, giving me his One Adam 12 production as he empties my pockets, placing my articles on the dirty concrete. Opens wallet fat with peso notes all the colors of the rainbow.
Can kiss that wad goodbye, I thought.
However, the troopers took nary centavo one and let me be with a cuidado and roared off in their Keystone Cops paddy wagon.
Casually lit a cigarette and walked into the darkness teeming with perverse and sexual predators, the thump thump of the queer bars rattling in my skull. Cute Aztec Indian lad smiled with dirty palm out for the soft touch. I dropped a fist full of coins into his calloused hand. Always been a sucker for a pretty face.
Stopped in a cantina and downed two quick beers - nasty hooker cooch eyes me and I give her the leave me the fuck alone glance back.
Old Mexican drunk with thick black mustache and deranged look in his bleary eyes snapped, “Leave! You don’t belong here!”
“Man, you don’t even know me. What did I do to you?”
“I just don’t like you.” The old drunk snarled and explodes into a mosaic of glitter and confetti. “Ugly American!” He screams before being sucked into the darkness of a toilet stall glory hole.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
It was a shitty night in a shitty section of Tijuana. On the slummy north end of Zona Norte where the tacky lit whorehouses give way to crumbling rotting homes, their sides shored up with baulks of timber, their windows patched with cardboard and their roofs with corrugated iron - a block of sordid wooden dwellings like chicken houses - the smell of musty clothes and clogged toilets. I love places like this.
There was nobody else on the street. The long colorless grey of the night was spotlighted at intervals by yellow street lamps. A black mongrel trotted by covered in mange and it's genitals a swollen red mass of lacerations and glistening pus. I quickly turned into a narrow side-street near one of the big bus stations. He was standing near a doorway in the wall, under a yellow streetlamp that gave hardly any light.
He possessed a young face of copper colored skin - high pointed cheekbones, long Indian nose, pencil thin moustache over thick lips. Wavy black hair was combed back, his clothes were well used and exaggerated a tall and slender body.
His large greenish eyes in thick black lashes scrutinized my shadowy ambling form like a predator hunting in deep, murky seas. As I passed, he asked for a cigarette and a Lucky Strike exchanged hands. He asked what I was looking for. I asked how much - he said twenty dollars.
I followed him through the melancholy doorway and across a grey, shadowy backyard into a basement kitchen, an odor compounded of dead bugs and dirty clothes and stale cooking grease. I faced him, kissing, rubbing stiffening cocks - he seizes me by the shoulders and whirls me around - we tear our pants down in convulsions of lust. He spits on his long skinny cock and works it up my ass in a corkscrew motion.
We grunt and wheeze with his arms under mine, wrapped around my chest constricting me. His gritted teeth and parted lips next to my ear, his breath hot as a rutting beast. I can feel his heart pound against my arched back. "Jeeeeeeeeesus!" Both ejaculate at once standing up. We move away from each other and pull up our pants.
I retrieve a twenty out of my wallet and he asks for five more. I slap the bills into his hand and step back out into the cold and somber night. I light a cigarette and head back to my room.
I still feel so empty and alone.
Sunday, April 15, 2018
If the world ever lost me, I’d doubt it would ever notice the difference. Like the name of a stranger you’d met once in passing, my demise would be as dramatic as an entrance and exit from a crowded bus, always wearing that same indifferent face that mirrors the cosmos’s thoughts of me - empty, nonexistent, and light years in between. Not much different than those who I once held close, deep within myself, like the very air in my lungs; I’ve been exhaled from memory long exhausted of use, as I am destined to be, from their minds. And yet, in the face of my inevitable disintegration, from reality to memory to a forgotten thought to a lost name in time, I try to hold onto these moments as they slip through my fingers; though these times may have forgotten me, I keep them alive within me, never more caring about being forgotten, but simply trying remember I once mattered to various people, at various times.
I meant something, sometime ago.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Walking through the crowded Plaza in front of the decayed Cathedral…the sun hot beating down on my pasty skin, anonymous eyes follow full of lusty tension; meet and elude contact. Everyday tolerate a little, it takes up time…jack off aficionados whisper hot into the ear…Fuck your way to freedom. The sun languidly creeps across the vast and cloudless sky. I stop for a cold drink…some fruity concoction. Attempt to locate a bit of shade, but all spots are occupied with bloated and wrinkled fucks gasping in the heat. A spectral junky sits grey and immobile with needle poised to the wordless communiqué of need and the old hustler palpitates the Mark with fingers of putrid ectoplasm…
A boy of eleven, thick black eyelashes and rosy cheeks sits in front of the trickling fountain admiring the sculpture of some damn sulky saint as an obese pedophile lurks nearby, bloodshot eyes burn behind black shades. The sweaty child fucker clutches his sad and tiny cock in sexual frustration as he unabashedly regards the object of his secret desires.
I discover a gap on the long concrete bench between two geriatrics and sit under a spreading palm tree and light up. Legs crossed, Wonka shades, black cotton button down summer shirt, black chinos, black Doc Martin chukkas; I am feeling it. I sit there puffing on a Lucky Strike with American Imperialism. Two young Mexican guys in their early twenties sit opposite me and size me up. I check them out through dark shades and they both are quite the lookers. Poorer class, shabby clothes, dirty shoes, but still hot…who am I to judge? The two purchase frozen fruit bars from a vendor and make a spectacle of sucking them so nasty.
The sun veers into mid afternoon and the boy parade hits full force. For the leisure of the knots of loud American turistas, the faux Aztecs have begun their daily extravaganza in front of the Cathedral, dancing amid the tribal thumping and drumming of native muse. As I sit waving away an army of shoeshine boys and candy vendors, this old humpback gash drops her bag between my feet and pulls out a small, plastic bottle of water. In Spanish, I tell her I don’t want any which then causes her to wave the bottle in my face. “Okay,” I sigh in Spanish, “How much?” In which she replies one dollar. I explain to her she must be outta her fuckin mind, because I can go into any shop and get a bottle of water for a quarter. She began looking around helplessly and bleating, “No intiendo!” (I don’t understand him!) a random cholo hottie glided from the churning mass of people to translate in which the price was negotiated to fifty cents and when I handed the old cunt a ten-peso piece of course the old gash didn’t have change. Withered old bitch. Cunt wobbled off cackling.
Fine. Got me for five pesos. Hope she sleeps better tonight. I crack open the bottle – it being so small – I finish it in three gulps. I retrieve a notebook and pen from my book satchel. My mind is awash with a million images and words splash across my eyes like a kaleidoscope of fireworks on a summer night. The only recourse is to write my way out of this insidious depression which I battle on a daily basis. I sit and I scribble notes on a new novel. No title as yet. It is still in its larval state. However, it will be gritty and raw and harsh. I will not hold back anything. I plan to puke it out onto a page and then smear that mess into some sort of coherent prose.
I pause from scribbling out three pages and stare out into that chaotic vista in front of me in deep contemplation. Am I living the dream or have I thrust myself into another fractured nightmare? I think the paranoia is I still hadn't adjusted to this change. Or it is the tidal wave of nostalgia from previous Tijuana episodes. Have I changed that much? Has my age finally caught up with me? Do I crave the tranquil stability which I had spat at for so many decades? Only last night, I lay in my room pondering the idea at the first of next month packing my shit and returning to El Paso. Why? Hell if I know. My true desire, as you may or may not know nor care, is my passion to venture to Asia. But, I have my doubts on that now when only three months prior, I was completely gung-ho for.
Charles Bukowski once wrote, “If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery - isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.”
Oh, how I envy writers who possess the ability to transform their misery into beautiful flowers. That is the goal I am attempting to reach with my writing. To expunge all the melancholy and despondency and letdowns and depression from my body and mind onto paper. But then again, there seems so much. A vast, dusty hall of memories piled to the high, dark roof in uncategorized, dirty, and soiled boxes echoing with the low hum of absolute solidarity. Unmistakably, it seems I have my work cut out for me.
Monday, April 09, 2018
Enrique gazed out the window, watching the dusty trees sway in the spring breeze, he couldn’t help but think of him. The years passed faster than he expected and if it hadn’t been for his college classes distracting him, he wouldn’t realized the four year mark had just passed.
Young Enrique drew his legs to his chest, straining to ignore the ache he felt when he thought of his death. Four years should had been enough time to grieve, yet still he could not stop. He hadn’t even known him for a year when it occurred but they had grown so close so fast it still felt as though he had lost a lifelong friend.
It was these emotions which made him so angry towards those who believed someone you only met and talked to on the internet was not a real friend. Enrique would look at them with a harsh look in his eyes and tell them sometimes internet friends were more real than offline ones. But though Enrique said that, he would recall he would never had met him if not for an offline friend.
“Ahh…” He sighed, “Sometimes I’m jealous of him. At least he got to meet him in person.”
And it was because of that friend’s connection with his sister, he found out about his coma and eventual death.
His thoughts drifted to more positive memories before once again recalling he had begun to love him. Something that had only been realized when his heart skipped a couple beats when he suggested Enrique visit Laredo for his birthday and they would actually meet. If only he’d gone.
Enrique often wondered if that niggling feeling was the reason he still was in partial denial over his death. As every year around this time he would lurk on the sites they both frequented, in the vain hope it was all some nasty joke.
He rubbed his eyes, thinking thoughts both depressing and exhausting. ‘What if’s’ did not change what had actually happened. The dark had gathered outside as he had stared blankly out into it, lost in thoughts as dark as the outside world had become. But at least, he thought, he had finally stopped crying.
I sat on my bed watching him, packing a bowl I’d smoke by myself. I’m okay with that, I hope you know. There’s a boy who I love, maybe just a little bit. I guess the strange part is I used to love him a whole lot more, but things change and I try to look at occurrences more realistically now. He never, and will never, love me but that’s okay right now. You know why? Because there are men in this world who are passionate even when they are not in love. I want to be one of them. There are people who write these beautiful, powerful prose about being in love with people they have yet to meet. They are able to because they have hope, because they are okay with being vulnerable. They are okay with believing they are worth love, and one day they will live in it. I love someone who doesn’t love me, so I will never again give him my heart. I refuse to numb myself any longer. I refuse to shut away something as beautiful as love, simply because I feel absolutely, horrifically vulnerable in loving. I figured out how to be happy on my own, not because a man put his hands around my heart or pulled the drawstrings at the corners of my mouth into a smile.
The restaurant boasted old wooden floors and large plate-glass mirrors behind the bar. It’s full, cordially so. We sat at the bar and I ask why we never sit in a booth. Javier says this is easier. He orders something spicy to drink and I ask for gin and vermouth. Why is there a baseball game on? I wanted to drop my face on the bar and let the blood slowly draw away from my nose, drip and pool to a puddle below my stool. Instead, I snatch the menu. Shake my head. Snails and gizzards and cracklings and why the fuck is it wrapped in bacon and stuffed with bleu cheese? Do you have ranch dressing? Of course not. Every place Javier wanted to go to is too good to have ranch dressing or salt n pepper and let’s talk about sex. Fuck me. From behind. I roll my eyes. He smiles at my embarrassment.
Our drinks come and his is manlier than mine. I try it and cough a little. He sips at mine. What is that? Martini? Yeah. I’m hungry. Why do you like me? Because you’re fucking weird. I like you. I know. Javier asks me to go to Mexico City with him and I stretch my lips across my face like a smile and say maybe. The bartender takes our food order and I get the only thing I recognize and he gets the chilaquiles in green sauce. I loathe green salsa. When it arrives, Javier asks me to try it. I say no. Please? No. This continues and I become frustrated. I want to leave. I want to drop my face on the bar and break my teeth, force them into my gums and pucker my nose in on itself, piercing my brain. Javier says if I don’t eat one then he’ll never be mine. I laugh and say we are now officially wasting each other’s time.
I catch myself in the plate-glass mirror, where two panes come together, and I look crooked, deformed, demonic, and utterly charming. Black leather jacket. Grey button-up cotton shirt. Black tie. Stubble. How could he not want me? He cuts the overly fried egg lying on top of the chilaquiles in half and says to try that much. I tell him splitting it apart doesn’t help. I think about leaving and I begin thinking about what I’m gonna say, ‘cause I have to say something. Or would it be better to simply walk out without saying anything? Not even a glance at him. Leave, man. Get up.
The old, bald man in the cowboy suit next to me leans in and mumbles something in Spanish about the game. I say something back to prove I am a man and I know sports and stuff. Then Javier and the bald man talk with me in the middle feeling suddenly awkward, but watching this scene in the mirror. Javier likes the bald man’s ambition and his gold watch and the fact he speaks four languages. I notice his black teeth, halitosis, and beady little eyes. Javier says he’s moving to Mexico City, the bald man asks when, Javier says the beginning of May, the bald man says he should be visiting down there then. I mumble we should get going. The old man extends a withered tentacle and massages Javier’s shoulder. He giggles. I finish my drink and don’t order another. I morosely glance at Javier, look at the bald man, the game, the condensation ring, the mirror, me. What the hell happened? Heavy sigh, noticeable. Javier leans to my ear, You gonna fuck me when we get home? If you want. You wanna go? Yeah.
I pay and in the backseat of the taxi, Javier asks if I want head as he massages my crotch. I smile no and ask the taxi driver to turn the radio up. I’m hard but we’re almost home. Up the stairs, to my room, push the blankets aside. I fuck Javier bent over and I pull and push into him, using his hips like handles. Fuck me ‘til you come. I tease then give it then take it then give it deeper, taking Javier to the furthest until I have to pull out and empty onto him, weakened as steam in cold night air. I like you. I know. But why, though?
The following morning, it was surprisingly easy not waking him. He lay there, curled up on the sagging, old bed with his head comfortably nested between the safety of his arms and shiny, ebony hair curtaining a calm face, slumbering. The room was still dark and reeked with the mixed, pungent bouquet of dust, musty clothes, and dried semen. I broke my lingering gaze from him and got out of bed. The young man remained unmoving, drawing deep breaths from the air around him, and I studied him again as I pulled on some of the few clothes which weren't packed down in my suitcase. I looked at him turning around in his sleep and reaching for a person who was no longer there. The emptiness of the vacant body didn’t stir him to wake — instead he withdrew his arm back towards his chest and hugged it with his other. It wasn’t like I didn't want to be there with him, quite the opposite, but I needed to go, and yet I didn’t want to pull away from the sight of him, didn’t want to turn around and leave him there. So vulnerable and so pure. Yet I felt I had to, so eventually I did, tearing my gaze away and unwillingly stepping out into the cold morning.
I walked over wet, cracked sidewalks to a corner café. Ordered a coffee Americano from a grimacing Indian woman behind the cluttered counter. The sky was as grey and bland as I felt that somber moment. I stared out onto the cobblestone plaza which stretched in front of the silent cathedral across the street. The smell of piss and wet dog hung in the air. Several city workers slowly made their way across the plaza with fire hoses attached to a tank on wheels washing away the filth from the previous night. They moved slowly as if in a dream.
I watched as I sipped my bitter coffee. The heat scorching my lower lip. I thought about him. Should I go back? Why am I so afraid to follow up on the pursuit of a relationship? Emotionally, I am so lonely, but the walls I have built around me are far too high and far too thick. I am truly lost.
I casually toss the styrofoam cup into a trash can cascading in putrid garbage and briskly walk back to my room. I am going to show him love, compassion, respect. Everything he asked for throughout the previous night. I stop. Light a cigarette, and return home…
Friday, April 06, 2018
Drop out of college. Refuse to work and move to a different city every time the world begins to catch up with you. Defer your loan payments and tell your parents to go fuck themselves. Show up out of the blue on your best friend’s New Orleans doorstep when things get rough. Cry to him in the living room about how you fucked everything up. Dance on bars in your underwear for money. Learn how to read Tarot cards and hold people’s hands when you give them a reading. Tell them everything will be okay even when you’re not sure. Go home with a boy you meet in a bookstore. Go to second base with him while listening to The Smiths like a teenager. Never talk to him again. Overdraw your bank account at a Bourbon Street ATM while drunk so you can buy a Lucky Dog with extra chili. Call your parents and ask them to send you money and pretend you don’t feel guilty about it. Remind yourself throughout your days you’re a wild horse amongst sheep to help cope with the idea of possibly being insane. Dance by yourself in the living room when everyone is at work and pretend you’re a pop star when you’re having a bad day. Leave the blinds open so the neighbors can see you. Ride the streetcar at night by yourself for no reason other than that’s what Tennessee Williams would have done. Go out to bars in the Bywater hoping to make new friends. Ignore the fact you don’t feel cool enough to talk to anyone who lives here.
Run to New York. Sleep on the floor of your other best friend’s studio apartment. Pull the comforter over your head and warm up to the dogs when the heat goes out at night. Drink cheap wine at Elaine’s and talk about how you wish you had been born in the fifties to get that true beat kick. Take an hour and fifteen minute subway ride from Manhattan to Brooklyn at eleven at night when a friend calls you about some warehouse party. Pretend to know certain people so you can get into certain clubs. Do cocaine with bored Upper East Side housewives in the bathroom of The Boom Boom Room. Do meth and wind up at a party in the East Harlem Projects when you were told the party was on the Upper East Side. Wake your best friend up by coming home too late. Apologize by cleaning the apartment and attempting to make him dinner. Apologize again for pretending to know how to cook and take him out to dinner. Share an innocent kiss with him on a stoop in the West Village while the sun’s going down. Stroll in Central Park when the leaves begin to change and pretend you’re in a Woody Allen movie. Land a new serving job every week because you’re always late and you always get fired. Lie on your resume. Go see The Rocky Horror Show by yourself and don’t tell anybody. Eat leftover Chinese food for breakfast and a five dollar footlong for dinner. Walk around Manhattan at night while listening to Miles Davis. Wonder about that boy you used to love and what he’s up to. Think about calling him and change your mind.
Hitchhike back to the West Coast. Make an obligatory visit to the town where you grew up to see your family. Run into old high school classmates at the coffee shop and try not to kill yourself. Make awkward small talk and find solace in the fact you haven’t gotten fat yet. Meet up with your childhood best friend and go out to the gay bars in Long Beach because you both said you would go together one day when you were old enough. Sit on his back porch the next day naked and hungover and let him paint you because he’s majoring in art at LBCC. Laugh when he shows you the painting because it’s only from the neck up and being naked was completely unnecessary. Drink his mother’s cheap wine and steal her expired Valium when you get bored. Sit in the living room with her and listen to old records while she shows you faded black and white photographs. Walk to your old high school later that night while you’re still drunk and swing. Get high and go into the ghettos of Compton because you’ve always thought it was beautiful and want to take pictures. Argue with your father. For the first time you tell him that you truly hate him. Take it as a sign that perhaps you won’t become him now. Scold yourself for always being so melodramatic.
Run to Hollywood. Don’t tell anyone you’re coming. Jump up and down and wrap your arms around old friends when you surprise them. Go to open mic nights and listen to people sing with amazing voices who will never be famous. Go to places where you still know the bartender so you can get free drinks. Drink lots of martinis. Do a keg stand at some girl’s stupid party. Sleep with that guy you used to fuck because he still lives there and was one of your favorites. Shrug it off when everyone calls you a whore. Convince your friends to eat at Cole’s on 5th with you because they still have the best French Dip sandwiches. Attend a house party in Orange County and try to ignore the pretentious music talk. Go to Hollywood and snap pictures with the drag queens. Smoke weed in Griffith Park late at night and get paranoid about getting caught. Walk up to the Observatory afterwards to get a better look at the moon. Sit down and ponder about how everything turned out so differently than how you thought it would. Try and keep your mind calm as you plot your next move. Think of all of the places you haven’t been yet.
Tell yourself you are still young.
Wednesday, April 04, 2018
My current stretch south of the border had taught me the long known fact that nothing was free. Nothing. Not even friendship. Everyone has a price or more correctly, “I don’t care what or how much you have; at least give me something.” Gets to be a bore and a strain on the old self-esteem.
Around 7:30am, I strolled to Café Praga, stopping at the Plaza in front of the Cathedral for a smoke and people watch. As I was about to continue for breakfast, my friend Javier approached me out of the throng of passerby. We chitchatted on trivial subjects; work, money, going out. I invited him to join me for breakfast. After a good meal of huevos rancheros con un taza de café, we walked over to my pad and wasted no time in getting down and dirty.
Several positions later, Javier and I took an afternoon siesta. Because, a good morning of humping can take the wind outta ya, know what I mean?
Woke up around 2pm, showered and bid our good-byes. Not before Javier hit me up for some dough. All I had on me was sixty pesos and was annoyed when Javier asked for more.
“You don’t have cien?”
“C’mon, Jav - don’t be like that.” I said.
I escorted him to the door, I mean really.
Later, I found myself standing out front of the Cathedral enjoying the sun and a fresca. A performance artist dressed as a cowboy and covered in silver paint was doing a robot routine, drawing quite a crowd, when a young, handsome guy stood next to me and began a conversation on the matter.
I glanced him over, not bad.
Above the racket, he confided, “I’m looking for my wife. Been waiting for a couple of hours. I know she is going to be here with her new boyfriend.”
I thought this angle was quite droll and laughed it off. Eventually, money was brought up on his part.
“Seriously, that bitch is draining me of all my cash. All she does is spend, spend, spend…I’m so fucking broke!”
I continued to watch the show, not looking at him, said flatly, “That’s too bad.”
We stood a moment in silence, then he chirped, “Well, I’m going into the Cathedral. Mass is going to start.”
With that, he was gone. Moments later, said mooch came out of the church and continued on how sad he was over his ailing grandmother.
“Shit. I need fifty dollars. My grandmother is so sick, you know?”
I asked, “Don’t you work?”
“Si!” He smiled. “I am a waiter at the Hotel Cesar on Revolucion.”
“That place is crawling with rich, American tourists.” I pointed out. “You must make a shit ton in tips.”
That shut him up for a bit. He then mumbled something about going to the International Bridge to get money from a friend. I wished him luck.
At that moment, Oscar walked up and said "Hola."
“Where are you going?” I asked, smiling.
He pointed at the Cathedral’s entrance, “La iglesia.” (To church)
Oscar shook hands and entered the church for Mass.
The previous guy, who I finally got his name as Antonio, started up on how he needed to get his son some new clothes.
I thought, C’mon! If you need some cash, out with it and cut the corny stories of woe!
Seeing this was going nowhere, Antonio asked, “What are you doing later tonight?”
I mumbled, “Drinking with friends.”
“Oh, I don’t know the name of the bar…I just know how to get there.”
He coyly smiled and asked, “It’s a gay bar, right?”
I looked at him with mocked shock, “What? Gay bar? Pfft! No…it’s…okay, yeah; it’s a fucking queer joint. I guess you got me – though I pegged you, too, when you first began talking to me.”
“I’m not queer, dude.” He smiled.
Of course - the old ‘I’ll blow you, I’ll fuck you, but I won’t kiss you, because I’m not queer’ line.
With that, he mumbled, “Look, man - I’ll meet you tonight at eight o’clock to party with you and your friends.”
We shook hands and Antonio took off for the International Border for his rendezvous with the mysterious, fifty-dollar friend.
I sat on the Cathedral steps smoking a Lucky and watching the people when Oscar approached me.
“Is everything okay between you and God?” I joked.
“I don’t have a problem with God. I think God has a problem with me.” Oscar smiled. “Let’s go to your house…did you get any new porno movies?”
I laughed, “Damn! You just came outta church and you wanna watch porn?” Pause. “Let’s go.”
“Vamanos.” Oscar agreed.
At my pad, as the porn on my laptop played, I gave Oscar some head on a cock so hard a cat couldn’t scratch it.
After that, I was hit up for one hundred pesos. Sigh, again, couldn’t we have sex just because it’s fun and not cheapen it into a financial negotiation? I mean, Oscar had a good job with a roof repair company (or so he claimed), why did he need money? Paid the little fucker anyway and we separated at the front door. Him mentioning going to his house.
I prepared a light lunch in the kitchen and sat watching Mexican novellas as I ate.
A couple of hours later, I found myself at a dive I liked very much - a small cantina in a rough neighborhood. The joint consisted of a bar which ran the length of the oblong room. Offering a bulky jukebox in the back next to the entrance of the foul restrooms, the purple-painted cantina could hold only about forty people. However, on crowded nights, it became so packed, the fags spilt out onto the crumbling sidewalk.
Not thirty seconds in the door, I was hit up for a beer by the local ‘Can you buy me anything’ mooch.
The first was a young man with a very athletic build – the types fairies coo over. Tall and handsome, he introduced himself as Alejandro. He wore a white tank-top with California Easy embroidered across the chest. He had on khaki summer shorts and wore flip-flops. Obviously one of those damn hustlers who preyed on Americans.
He slid next to me at the bar holding an empty glass, “Hey! Guero, how you doing?”
“Not bad. Yourself?” I poured the yellow liquid into my glass, squeezed in a lemon, sprinkled salt.
Alejandro tipped his empty glass at my bottle, "Hey! You mind if I can have some beer?”
Four caguamas later, and getting a pretty good buzz on, Alejandro’s cheery demeanor went south the moment I decided to cut his free beer off.
“That’s it, man.” I tottered. “I’m tapped out. You want to buy the next round?”
“What do mean you’re tapped out? Buy another beer for me.” He snarled.
I lit a cigarette, glanced at the bloated lesbian who tended the bar, and then turned to Alejandro, “C’mon, man…don’t be a fucking mooch. Buy, one - I’ve been flippin’ the bill all afternoon.”
“You know what, gringo - fuck you.”
I watched him storm out of the cantina. I ordered another beer. Then another.
With the sun gone, I stood outside the bar smoking a cigarette under the sheltering moon, waiting with the misguided hope a friend possibly stagger by.
Motley pedestrians stumbled past - shifty thieves, clomping transvestites, hookers sagging in tainted spandex, smelly tramps, mange infested dogs. Music of all types blasted out of the rows of neon flashing cantinas and dance halls. The smell of seared meat and rotting garbage mingled with belching bus fumes and untreated sewage.
Bored and alone, I finished my cigarette and returned into the bar. As soon as I plopped onto a stool and ordered another beer, a cute shorty came up and started on the mooch.
“I wonder if you can do me a favor?” He meekly asked.
I wisecracked, “Uh-oh. Those are dangerous words, handsome.”
“I’m thirsty and I’d like a beer.”
“Well, gee” I began, as I pointed at the bar counter with bottle in hand, “There’s a whole bar in front of you…why don’t you simply order one.”
“That’s the thing.” He smiled. “I haven’t any money.”
“Why would you come to a bar without any money? You are assuming a lot there, kiddo.”
“I understand.” He said, acting a little wounded. “Could you buy me a beer?”
With that, finally frustrated, an intoxicated tirade spilled out: “Look, man, I been buying people beer for two days straight now. Matter of fact, I have been living in your country for over fifteen years and once, just once, I’d like the tables turned and someone to buy me a drink…just once.” I accented this, holding a finger up to his blank, docile face. “But, doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen anytime soon, does it? Nope - 'cause as we all well know, Americans are so fucking rich - we got money blowing outta our asses and can buy any and everything, right? I mean, the way you mooches approach me fifty goddamn times a day, you’d think I got millions of dollars in the bank. Yeah...fucking rich…that’s why I live in a Mexican slum and not in a swanky penthouse Stateside.”
“So, can I have a beer?”
“Fuck off! Go bum someone else…or is it only Americans you bother with your financial woes?”
It must had hit home, because a few moments later, the little fucker was drinking with an old, tired American queen.
My buzz gone, I simply left.
Squeezing my way past groping hookers and stumbling drunks, I stopped for a hamburger at a corner stand.
Under garish neon, I sat on a stool in front of the stand, chomping on my burger, when a scrawny, lizard-like cholo slithered up behind me and put his hand on my back, smiling, “Hey, guero, could you buy me one hamburger?”
This was too tiresome and I drifted home - lost without purpose or meaning.
I lay in my bed, naked, on top of the covers smoking a cigarette, watching a black cockroach scale the faded, baby-blue wall of my room, feelers waving - national sponsored program in Spanish mumbled from the radio about catching crabs from prostitutes - and I thought, I need to quit this shit.