UNDERGROUND VOICES: FICTION
The drive to Reynosa is a little over an hour from McAllen. But if you’ve been drinking, it’s a lot quicker than that. With the windows
At 10pm they light up the sign: “Club Lipstick”.
“It’s still early,” my friend tells me. We walk through the double glass doors. A purple neon sign lights the bar area. Floor lights lead you to the main stage. At the back of the room, upstairs, are three glass windows. The rooms are still dark, but you can faintly see furniture inside if you stare hard enough through your own reflection. It’s still early. We walk out of the club.
It had been raining all week. My “Chuck Taylors” push through mud. The brown curls and rolls over the sides of my shoes, adding extra weight to every step. “Lets try this one.” I follow my friend into another little building. There is no sign, just a door.
When you go to Boystown you will need a Spanish speaking Mexican, preferably one who has been there before. Otherwise, you will get rolled. Reynosa is a border town, a very poor border town. During the day you walk over a bridge, through the fenced entrance, across the poverty line. There is a patch of grass to the right with one cow, one donkey, and one shack. The bottom of the chainlink is blocked off by hard rubber as a deterrent against under-the-bridge beggars from raising their cans on sticks, bothering the tourists. All it takes is one. In America, over-reaction usually occurs when an upper-class cooze has been wronged, or her child has been hurt. “My son did Salvia once, and two years later he killed himself.” Then the government steps in and fences out the responsible drug users who are left under the bridge with their cans on sticks, begging for any individual right that the wealthy can spare.
“Ooh! A carton of cigarettes for fifteen dollars. Bottles of liquor for ten dollars.” That isn’t why we came, but we can smile at the other tourists in their jubilation. I bought a carton of cigarettes and hid it under the front seat of my car. While the tax on liquor is only a dollar, the tax on a carton of cigarettes is still ten. “That’s American prices,” one of the tourists shouted. “Why even buy them when I can get them for the same price in America?” The fat man had a point. Why even buy them in Mexico when you can get them in America for the same price? He still bought them, but he angrily bought them, vowing to never...
Dollar Coronas. I never enjoyed Corona until I tasted one that cost a dollar. Why drink them in America when they taste so much better in Mexico? Somehow we ended up sitting at the same Cantina as the angry fat man. His ill-fitted Hawaiian shirt crinkled around the shoulders and raised slightly on the lower back, pulling his undershirt up with it, exposing disgust. He laughed too heartily. “I can’t believe we can’t get these back in the states,” he said, puffing on his Cuban. I drank my dollar Corona and hated him for a little while longer. I couldn’t enjoy my beer with him outwardly expressing what I was hiding inside. “Clean your shoes? Five dollars?” An eight year old pushed a box at me and watched as I stared at my muddy feet. “No thank you,” I told him. There was no way I was going to be like that fat asshole, sitting in Mexico drinking dollar beer, having a child clean my shoes. “Of course he will,” my friend shouted, laughing hysterically. “Here’s ten. Make em’ shine.” I told Fernando to go fuck himself, and he said something in Spanish to the child. The kid lifted my foot and thrust it on his box. “Drink your beer Dave,” Fernando told me. “This is what Mexico is all about, ha, ha.” The mud quickly disappeared from my shoes. I sipped my beer and looked around, not making eye contact with anyone or anything, trying to exude an energy of disapproval, which is hard when you’re constantly taking quick sips from a bottle and not even looking at the laborer at your feet. “Fuck you man,” I muttered to Fernando without looking at him. He giggled again. “Looks like he’s done, Dave.” I looked down at my shoes. They looked nice, nicer than they had been since I bought them. I turned to Fernando, still ashamed. He looked at my face and grasped his mouth, trying desperately not to laughingly spit beer out onto the kid. That would’ve been so much worse. Having a kid clean your shoes while someone else spits beer on him and some fat guy in a Hawaiian shirt laughs and blows cigar smoke in his face might be a bit much for an eight year old to handle. I tipped him five extra dollars, which really wasn’t a tip. It was the cost of the cleaning. In all actuality Fernando tipped him ten dollars. Can’t get that in America.
It’s cheaper to stay in Mexico for the night, but it’s a lot safer to stay in McAllen. The hotel rooms opened from the outside so the guests could furtively partake in whatever transactions they needed to without fear of making the clerks at the front desk feel uncomfortable. Upon checking in the host gave us each two free drink tickets to use in their bar. I’ve never been to a chain hotel that had ever done that before. Independent establishments in shitholes provide an extra amount of care, because they truly appreciate your business. I ordered a Budweiser. This was before I quit smoking and got my tastebuds back and realized that Budweiser was a shitty beer.
No effort at all was put into lighting the bar. The sun peered in through the large glass side doors, illuminating the World War II veterans being unfolded into their chairs by their obese wives. They were ready to play bingo. It was an actual bar you could smoke inside. Change, like money, reach the shitholes last. A lot of times it’s a good thing, but for the most part, by the time anything of real importance reaches there, all of the validity and hopefulness that traveled down the channel has all but evaporated. Banning smoking in a shithole only serves to remind the poor that they don’t matter. They have no say. They have no choice. Sure Obama got elected and imbued us all with hope, but hope for someone else is meaningless. There is no change when the same mentality is passed down from generation to generation. The same way of living, get a wife; get a real job; get a family. Those “values” trap you in the system, and it has been quite established that systems don’t change. When you are poor all you have is a job, and all you can obtain is a wife and a family. And all of those “values” will keep you poor. You can try as hard as you can to vote for change, but change only ripples the water so much when you throw your prayers to the Gods who never listen. The telecommunications companies: pass. The men who torture: pass. The men responsible for the financial crisis: pass. “Call it in the air. Heads or tails? Wait, where’d it go?”
We walked inside. The floors were old planks painted grey, scuffed and kicked with dirt. The owner greeted us in Spanish, and we sat down. It was still early, even for this place. The owner walked around a corner and came back with a whore. She was fat, but she had confidence. Not in the same way fat American women have confidence where it is a masking of self shame and self esteem issues converted into over-aggressiveness and attitude. Her confidence came from her job. Someone will pay to fuck her. She doesn’t have to hang out with prettier prostitutes and hope that they can find her an extra guy just drunk enough. She doesn’t even have to smile. And she didn’t. She sat down at our table and stared at us. “Would you like to buy the lady a drink,” the owner asked me. I realized that Fernando had discussed in Spanish with the owner that this was supposed to be my treat. I agreed to buy her a drink. Her hair was an orange poof, yet stringy and scraggly on the sides and in the back. Her dress was a green flower pattern that was just pulled over her head. She looked bored. This made sense. No allure, no glorification, no nervous lead up to any ultimate moment, it was just a stare of derision and two Budweisers on a table. “Pass,” I said, nervously shaking my head. The owner told her something in Spanish, but promised us that if we stuck around he’d have some more girls arriving in about another hour. He said something else in Spanish and waved his hand at the woman. She got up, grabbed her drink, and walked back into the darkness without saying a word. This made sense. I bought this whore a ten dollar beer and she didn’t even say thank you.
We walked outside. My shoes sank and squished with every step. “Hey, you guys want girl?” A little Mexican man ran up behind us. “I get girl, ten dollar.” Fernando told him to fuck off. Inside of the store you meet and greet with the manager and look through his selection. But when the product is freelancing in the street, you don’t need an additional salesman.
There was a row of little doorways lining the street with whores standing outside. “Alright Dave,” Fernando said, “time for some fucking.” He pointed. “You take the one on the right. I got the one on the left.” His whore was a little hotter than mine, but that didn’t matter. The freelancers had all agreed on a set price list: $10 to fuck. $15 to fuck with all clothes off. $20 for blowjobs. $30 for all positions. “See you in five minutes Dave,” Fernando said and walked into his room.
My whore smiled and I walked inside. The door to the room was a bed sheet that hung on a clothesline. One bed, one table, one chair, one trash can was all that fit inside. On the table was a box of condoms, some lube, napkins, a lamp, pictures of people, and one of those green and red “clackers”. This in essence was her office. I was relieved to not have seen a “hang in there kitty” poster tacked to the wall, just a giant picture of some sad, frowning vagina swinging from a tree. “You fucking yet Dave,” Fernando shouted from his room, “because I am.” The walls that divide the rooms don’t extend all the way to the ceiling. There is about a two foot gap at the top, so if you were so inclined, you could discuss your favorite episode of “Lost” without having to pay attention to the woman beneath you.
The whores put the condoms on for you. They don’t want any mistakes when it comes to their livelihood. I took my shoe off, reached into my sock and pulled out ten dollars. The price to fuck is the price to drink. She put my condom on and pushed me on the bed. She slid me into her snatch and began bouncing up and down. “I’m almost done over here Dave,” Fernando shouted. The whore and I laughed. “You’re friend is crazy,” she said. She had no idea about the guns.
Fernando likes guns. He buys them, sells them. The hotel in McAllen had a glock in a backpack and bullets on a table. Bullets are scattered in his car. He loves guns. I’m not that big of a fan of guns so Fernando calls me a faggot. Whenever we would get shitty drunk we would drive around, a door would open, and his gun would go off. We are staying at a hotel in Odessa. Fernando comes running into my room. “Hey, Dave, I found an open room that’s nicer than ours. It’s got a fucking jacuzzi in there. I might sleep in there tonight.” I turn back to watching “The Price is Right” and say “cool, man”. The door slowly closes. Right before the click of the contact where door meets jam, I hear “faggot,” door closed. “Mr. Ed Bradley.” Call it before and after if you want, but a shitty pun is still a shitty pun. “The Great Escape.” I changed the channel. On ESPN they were re-running “The World’s Strongest Man” competition that took place in China. For some reason China was represented by a rather small strong man. He couldn’t throw the kegs over the wall. He couldn’t wheel the boulders as fast as the rest of the competitors. He couldn’t -knock at the door-. I answered it. Fernando walked inside and threw a blackened pillow on my bed. “What the fuck is this,” I asked. He looked at me, stunned. “I had a phone book on my bed,” he said, “to see how strong it was. And it is not strong at all. I put the pillow on it, and the bullet went through the pillow, through the phone book, even through the fucking bed. What a shitty phonebook.” I began to freak. “Holy shit,” I screamed, “Are you fucking kidding me. You shot a gun through the fucking thing!? Holy shit! What if it went through the floor? That bottom person’s ceiling? We gotta get the fuck outta here.” Fernando started laughing. “Calm the fuck down,” he said, “I checked. The bullet’s probably lodged in the floor or something. Chill the fuck out. I closed the door so nobody’ll even know we were in there.” He was right. No one would know. Unless of course they happened to notice the burn marks through the bed.
The whore on top of me looked at her watch, then at me. “Almost,” I assured her. I couldn’t cum. She was the one who wasn’t good at her job, yet she looked at me like I was the problem. I was trying to cum. I paid ten dollars to cum. I wasn’t paying to waste a whore’s time. She blew air out of her mouth in that pissed off way to signal that she was getting fed up. I fucked her angrily. That bitch. Had she already forgotten that moment we shared when we laughed about Fernando? She looked again at her watch, then down at me. I gave her a sarcastic look and she disgustedly huffed again. Now we were fucking out of spite. I tried concentrating on anything other than anger, but I couldn’t. She grinded me hard, too hard, the way a stripper does to intimidate your cock from growing in your pants. But my cock wasn’t in my pants. It was in a useless cunt, and no cooze was going to intimidate my dick. She looked at her watch again, and I pretended to look at mine. “I get it,” I said, “I get it.” She stopped moving. Her hands palmed my chest as she pressed her body off of me. She started silently dressing. I grumbled to myself and grabbed my shirt. “That’s ten more,” she said. I stared at her and bit the inside of my bottom lip. Ten more. Ten more fucking dollars because I took too long. Apparently I was costing her customers. My cock was bad for business. Well, her pussy was bad for my cock. I didn’t even cum. If we were in the store, I could’ve talked to her manager or the additional salesman. But there wasn’t any of that, just the freelancer. That’s the chance you take by purchasing product that’s freelancing in the street: no hierarchy, no fear of reprisal, no guarantees. I had to try and ratchet down my boner with my belt. I didn’t argue with her. I didn’t even throw the money. I just set it on the table. I don’t like confrontations. -faggot- Thirty dollars down and still a full sack, I slid the sheet on the line and walked out. Fernando’s whore was standing outside, smiling. She must’ve known. It felt as though everyone did. And for some reason, they all sided with the whore. Two holes away was an older woman, maybe in her mid-to late-thirties. She said hello and I followed her inside. Seven minutes later I walked back out, smiling. I joined Fernando across the street who was enjoying a coffee. “Alright Dave, fucking some whores in Mexico! Coffee?”
The coffee stand was a metal portable trailer that had the side ripped out of it. A wooden plank was nailed on to make a counter. The owner was white. An expatriate, living in Mexico, cooking carne guisada, serving coffee, providing sustenance to working men with drained ball bags. I bit into my taco. It wasn’t the best that I ever had, but it was good enough. Everything was just good enough. I would have preferred a flour tortilla, or to not be standing in mud, or even to have fucked for free back in the states. But it is not about preference. It is about enjoying whatever you can, as much as you can, during the now, and realizing that sometimes, in some instances, preference is a projected perception.
“Oh, Dave, I gotta fuck that chick!” Fernando understood the now perfectly. A whore stood outside of her doorway dressed in a Sailor Moon outfit. He ran inside. I walked around for a bit, looking inside some of the rooms. They all looked the same. Everything was the same. The whores were all the same. None of them tried to grab your attention, or seduce you. If you wanted to fuck, you fucked. I found my whore on the opposite side of the building. I would have preferred my older whore, but this one was cute, and there. I showed her a twenty and put it on the table. She didn’t speak English, and I didn’t speak Spanish. I mimed blowjob to her. She put on my condom and tightened her lips around my cock. I’ve never had a great blowjob, and it wasn’t until she started blowing me that I recalled that fact. I began to regret paying an extra ten dollars. I started looking around the room. She had a small radio on her table. I imagined what kind of music she listened to and laughed at the thought of her trying to set up an intimate mood for forty different guys in a row. “Concentrate you fuck,” I thought to myself. I didn’t want to have another experience like I had with the first whore. I didn’t want to get branded by the whores as the “guy who wastes your time.” Her head bobbed up and down. I stared at her hair. It was soft and brown. I palmed her head, and she stopped. Her hair wasn’t really all that soft. For some reason I felt a little disappointed. She looked up at me. We were getting nowhere. I mimed to her to use her hand to jerk me off while she sucked. She agreed. Now I was getting bored. As she sucked and jerked I tried thinking about the older whore to see if that would help me cum. Nothing. I closed my eyes and tried to force myself to enjoy it. I pretended in my mind that blowjobs were great and actually lived up to how they were portrayed in porn. But they didn’t. They were a waste of time and provided nothing short of aggravation. After another five minutes I stopped her and softly pushed her head away. I backed up and started jerking myself off. I angrily blew air out of my mouth and came. She needed to know that she was not going to have a repeat customer. I pulled my pants up, walked out side, and realized that I just paid a whore twenty dollars to watch me jerk off into a condom.
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