The bejeweled robes fell aside as soon as Pedro entered the antechamber. From the side, I could only gasp at the tumescent profile. Hot flashes ran up and down my body; thoughts of Mexico and sin filled my brain as synapses misfired with lusty abandon.

Pedro turned his dark-skinned form to face me and uttered those words I will never forget: "Evil One, shall we dance the forbidden tango? The one of which you spoke in those letters from oh, so long ago?"

Pedro and I had met as cabana boys in Puerto Vallarta back during the dark days of la Revolución. As young muchachos, we could only look and not touch, thinking that our desires were as natural as learning our left hand from our right. It was only experimental. But, oh, how we did look. Our eyes danced upon each other like laser pointing devices, leaving memory markers which could be filled in with connect-the-dots as adults.

And here we were: Adults. After years of corresponding since my move to the sinful shores of el Norte, Pedro had finally crossed the border and come to me, in my California. My desires could only be overshadowed by my feelings of inadequacy. Pedro had remained the bronze god of our childhood, only mucho más grande. I had fallen prey to the soft life of el Norte. Too many sweet drinks and crispy treats. I was a mess of West Coast flabulance. How could I offer to let my Pedro gaze upon the mess which had become the Evil One he remembered with youthful desire? I sulked in the darkness.

"My friend, mi corazón, can we turn down the lights and come together in the dark; symbolizing the dark days of la Revolución and the forbidden nature of our love?"

"No, Evil One! The lights must remain as bright as our desires. Now stand up and kiss me like you aren't sorry I came."

I hoisted my corpulent carcass from the futon and stood before the object of my desire. I threw off the pink, chiffon, monogrammed bathrobe with the poodle embroidery (on which I'd spent hours, with nothing but my tears and several Fuzzy Navels to keep me company). I exposed my inadequate, apolitical, American obesidad to the man from Mexico.

"Ai, caramba, mi corderito . We've got some work to do, eh? But come and let me hold you before I begin to mold you," Pedro said in that silky voice which melted me. My mariquita flashed that childhood grin I'd held in my mind all these years.

The bejeweled stars shone in the California sky as I readied myself for the future of our newfound NAFTA arrangement.


forward

The bejeweled shoreline of Malibu at midnight had turned rancid by dawn. A viscid glut of yesterday’s smog was smashed on Sloane’s horizon like a bruise on a hooker’s thigh. His eyes burned the way his dick had once in Cuernavaca, and the sun was still yawning, stretching from downtown to the beach. He hadn’t slept and the two Mexicans were still going at it.

“Hi Hon!” cooed some local talent, squirreling past on shiny new roller blades. Once he’d’ve nodded back, maybe even done a thing on her, but not today. His thoughts were askew, fractured, scattered across his mental landscape like joss sticks at a Krishna convention. Funny how things come round.

The old Mexican love song that Pedro used to torment them with back in the day ran round his brain as he tossed his warmup on a hook inside the door and stared at his face in the mirror. Dermabrasion-of-the-stars had been unable to level the deep pits of a bad case of teenage angst gone bad. He didn’t like the way his eyes looked any more and he was going grey.

Sloane crept through the cool dark house to Sondra, careless, asleep, one long smooth provocative leg exposed to his glance. Some old song about change and chances taken.

Sondra murmured an invitation back to bed. Sloane sat heavily, palming that curved and elegant calf. He felt her fine smooth ass, marveling in the difference between women and men. He reached for his stash on the nightstand; the shit Pedro had slipped him when he first hit town.

Sondra watched through sleepy eyes as Sloane laid out two fine lines of comfort. She curled her body around him. Sloane shuddered, metabolizing Pedro's gift as Sondra’s hands found him finally.

“Oh yes, Sloane,” she murmured. “The cabana boys kept me up all night. Your friend and the fat one. God!”

Sloane passed along Pedro’s snowy salutation.

“Yes,” said Sondra hungrily. “You’re my baby, Baby.”

________________

Scribe a crescent from Titicaca to Illampu. Call it a coincidence, but in those mountain forests, ten thousand feet up the east slope of the East Cordillera where the cola cola roam, Gordon Sloane had set the blender of life on liquify and let it roll.

________________

Fellini Profanianiotes, a person resembling no one so much as a surreal Western Avenue sleaze merchant, but one who functioned as Sloane’s agent, put it simply:

“Sloane,” he said, his fat rough tongue wagging in a fetid wreath of foul cigar smoke, “you like to spend money almost as much as you dig stroking class gash hot and salty off the beach. Trust me. Shoot this picture.”

More than once Sloane had wished he’d shot Fellini. Or maybe himself. But it’d do him no good to run through all the twists and turns of fate that led him here and now. Still, as he coaxed the Turbo Carrera to life, Sloane couldn’t help recalling the color of the sky above Illampu the morning Pedro tried to kill el gordo. It was to this noxious hue squatting over L.A. as Sondra’s clear wide-set eyes were to Fellini’s. Only a fool would give up one for the other.

Sloane gunned the Porsche up the California Incline and onto the 10 where it joined the other expensive rides strung out along the freeway like the bejeweled scales of a slow-to-wake anaconda. The rays of morning sunlight through his windshield ripped into his eyes like shards of shattered crystal.

Jeezus, Sloane thought:

Pedro and the barbilindo, together again, after all this time. In the house next door.

forward

Be*jew"el (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Bejeweled or Bejewelled (#); p. pr. & vb. n. Bejeweling or Bejewelling.]

To ornament with a jewel or with jewels; to spangle.

"Bejeweled hands."

Thackeray.

 

© Webster 1913.

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