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.