I briskly walked down calle Insurgentes towards centro, a squat row of crumbling houses cast long and foreboding shadows across the shattered sidewalk. Dull yellow lamplight buzzed overhead as the crunching of my shoes on loose gravel was the only sound in this still slumbering town. My breath puffed out into frozen air as I made my way across Park Independencia – under dead and leafless trees, several concrete benches occupied by snoring immigrants waiting for their chance to cross the border. This city was depressing the hell out of me – I cannot connect with anyone. And for that matter, what was left to connect with? I am dead inside. As dead as the rotting houses which surround me. I bitterly glanced around. Why does this city attain the appearance of the aftermath of a bombed-out war zone? Ah, I forget…it is the aftermath of a bombed-out war zone. Who am I to judge?
Ding! I sling open the door to Café Central and took a seat at the long counter. Order coffee from the tired looking waitress in the grease splotched uniform and as I stired the sugar into my cracked mug, once again the question slaps me across the face: What the fuck am I doing here in Juárez?
I recall I stated that exact question the evening prior toward two intoxicated cohorts as we sat and drank caguamas at Bar Olympico. The statement fell on deaf ears, unfortunately. They did not care for my personal woes, they were more interested in the rentboy who slinked up at us slurping on his free beer.
“For a hundred pesos, he’ll let you suck his dick.” My friend confided. He pronounces it deek.
I eyed the hustler with obvious contempt. Oh. Of course. The solitary gringo in the joint and this doe-eyed waif decided I was an easy mark. Little did he realize I am one jaded homosexual and at that exact moment and time really wasn’t in the mood for any of his shit.
“Wait a minute.” I began, pointing toward the well-formed pecs hidden under the rentboys tight, flannel shirt. “You want me,” I point back at myself, “…me…to give you one hundred pesos so you can have an orgasm?”
“Yes.” He curtly nodded, with hip hooked in that universal stance of Hustlers of the World.
“And what about me? You gunna get me off? Suck me off? Anything?” I asked.
“No, man, I’m not no faggot. I don’t do that shit.”
“Don’t do that shit? What shit? What fucking shit don’t you do?” I barked. He glared at me in consternation, slowly realizing I was not the typical weak spirited tourist he usually employs. I leaned on my stool toward him, “Again, you expect me to pay you to come?”
“That’s the way it works, yeah.” He said morosely.
“Get the fuck out my face.” I retorted and slumped into my beer. The hustler casually shrugged and decided to lurk in the cantina's doorway and await more promising prey.
One of my two friends refilled my glass from my bottle, “Why were you so mean to him? He’s a nice boy.”
I paused. Lit a cigarette and watched the plume of carcinogens swirl up into the water damaged rafters, I said, “I think my time in Mexico has come to a close. My adventure here has grown stale. Nothing interests me. I have done it all. There is nothing else. It’s time I lay tracks toward a more civilized locale.”
My words, again, fell on deaf ears as yet another macho fuck sauntered across the dirty tile floor and distracted the two queens with a smile and a coy nod.
In the coffee shop, I sat bitterly. A lonesome Mexican ballad crooned over the speakers as I scrutinized my ravaged, tired face in the mirror attached to the wall across from the counter. Except for myself and the three servers, the only other occupant was a wrinkled old fuck slumped in a booth wearing shades. Probably asleep. The half-eaten fried eggs coagulating on a large plate in front of him. Gnawed chicken bones scattered about the formica. The thought of returning to my house, collecting my things and leaving screamed in my skull. And, I did.