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Category Archives: alcolholic

Gabriel (1998)

Anna missed a period the month of high school graduation. There was no mistaking what had happened; Hector had come from his home group to hers; both groups met in the morning after the night of the last final exam. Unlike Anna, Hector had never come close to disaster through his drinking. How he had navigated the double life of a teenage alcoholic and a young entrepreneur was anyone’s guess, and how he recognized that he could have been the next person in his family to come to a bad end through his drinking seemed like a minor miracle. In a display of judgment that belied his family’s predisposition to self-destruction, Hector had attended his first meeting before he had met Anna the previous year, before he knew about the boy at Lago Manuel Avila Camacho, before he ever heard of Roberto the taxista. Hector now had something worth more than money now that he had opened his own taller, and now that he had mechanics working for him who were older than his father. The captain of the Good Ship Hector stood high over the wheel.
So in a combination of boldness and carelessness – some would say recklessness – 
“How was your meeting?”
“We had some great drunks tell their stories, but there’s so damn much mediocrity out there – so much mediocrity! – that you can hardly tell the speakers apart, let alone the listeners. How about yours, Thor?”
The Norse god now knew the temperature of the water, and the direction of the prevailing winds.
“Just as you say. It sounds like we went to the same meeting, after all.”
“Did you tell them anything? They hardly know you, yes?”
“They were my first group, before I met you, remember?”
“How could I forget? You were so cool, the way you rescued me from the cura. I thought you were the Superhombre himself!”
It mattered little to Hector that Anna had misunderstood the question. Rather than correcting her, he puffed up his chest so that the ripples in his muscles protruded through his signature thin white T-shirt and performed a drum roll on his pectorals with his fists.  “Your turn,” he said to Anna, and emitted a deep laugh as he slid his hands from her bare shoulders down to her hands. He rolled her fingers into fists. Then he bent her elbows and, placing her fists on his chest, began to beat his muscles like a Tarzan until Anna took over the beating. 
She picked up the tempo and started playing song rhythms on Hector’s still-flexed pectorals.
“Batatup bup bup batatup bup ba, batatup bup bup batatup ba da ba, bum smack-smack!,” went her fists, opening up into slaps at Hector’s proletarian biceps. 
“Oh, no, they say you’ve got to go, go go Godzilla!” sang Hector.
“Very good!,” cooed Anna. “Try this one,” Rrrrrroooolllll, batum, dum, dum, dum, roll, push, and tapping, tapping tap, tap, 
“More than a feeling,” Hector and Anna grinned, hers a “double-dare-you-with-a-cherry-on-top” kind of leer, and his, a big WATCH THIS, as he hit the high notes, “That I’m feeling on Sundays (more than a feeling), my spirit’s reeling…”
“My spirit’s reeling,”
“When I see Mary-Anna walk away!” Hector changed the lyric ever so slightly, as he placed his hands under Anna’s arms and turned her gently away from him. 
“Try this one! Badada – Tras, tras, tras!” Hector slapped out “All Night Long” by Billy Squier on Anna’s trasero.
Anna gently pushed back. She had always admired the shape of her own hips. Now she had found a fellow admirer who she admired right back – someone who had access to that sensitive and private trasero by birthright. Hector found the threadbare places in Anna’s shorts that were en modo that year. Not finding a seam, Hector resisted the temptation to linger on Anna’s bare ass-flesh. He ran the tips of his fingers first around the curves under the pockets, then up the stem of the buttock between the pockets. He traced the pockets silently, feeling Anna flex her glutes under his fingers. At the waistline, he touched her in the small of the back, and plunged his finger into her shorts. Grabbing the tiny strip of fabric that he found there, he pulled up her thong, and emitted that baritone belly-laugh as she squirmed against the wedgie.
Hui, cabron!” Anna slapped back at Hector’s left shoulder.
“I let you go for a kiss,” Hector chuckled.
Anna turned around more slowly this time. Hector released the thong, and with his left hand under Anna’s turquoise tank, he guided her body in its gentle pirouette. His right hand met her face and, with a gentleness that belied his muscular mechanic’s paw, stroked her hair back over her left ear. She lifted her lips upward to their greatest height. He stroked her cheek, neck, and ear as he first kissed her with his chest, his chin, his belly, before leaning the much shorter Anna back in an arc and bringing his lips to hers. His right hand cradled her chin as their lips met and parted. 
Anna stroked Hector’s rigid thigh and hamstring with her right hand. As she arced backward, she clutched the very top of his hamstring and the bottom of his gluteus. Her left hand rolled the T-shirt halfway up his torso. She held herself up against this man-child who was twice her size by pressing herself to him from her ankles to her tongue. Now, she regretted her choice to wear a bra that morning.
A kiss is a moment in which two people share the sensations of their lips, and maybe their tongues, their teeth, their noses, their cheeks. In this moment out of time, Hector and Anna kissed with their full bodies, enabled by the arc of Anna’s back to be in contact from knees to thighs to hips to chest to lips. There was no question of fondling; that would wait for later. The bodies were locked, fully engaged though, not counting the hands squeezed under each other’s tops, fully clothed. 
Hector took a step forward. Anna drew her leg backward. This dance step moved them toward the sofa, where Anna took control. She turned their locked bodies to the sofa, and resting her right foot in its lace-up platform sandal on the pillows, slid her hand up to bare Hector’s chest. His left leg followed. Anna’s hands seemed to move without will as she relaxed into the sofa and lifted Hector’s shirt over his head. Freshly bared, Hector’s left nipple, then his right, met Anna’s lips. 
Hector could not remember the last time he was with a woman in this way. Maybe it was the year he quit high school. He had a vague memory of a face, of the hair, a garter – and waking up alone with a real hangover. Was that a girlfriend? A puta? A one-night-stand? As Anna was working his nipples with her lips and tongue, adding light nibbles while running her fingers atop the light hairs on his spine, Hector had flashes of one or two women that he thought he had made love to. Well, not “love,” more like fucking. Those evenings had been lost in a boozy haze; this afternoon, for two people who had spent much of the preceding two years drunk or high the passion unattenuated by chemical influence made the air crackle.  
As if on cue, sunlight from the partially covered window warmed their hips. Anna’s left hand had moved around Hector’s thigh to the front of his leg, stroking his sartorius and tying the jeans-covered thigh to the bare stomach. Compared to the mix of pleasure and slight pain coming from Anna’s kisses on his nipples, the barely-there touch on the tiny hair at the bottom of Hector’s abdomen shouldn’t have been noticeable; but instead, he trembled imperceptibly on the outside, but shuddered and pressed his cheek into Anna’s hair. Was that fragrance always there on that sweet scalp? Had she used a special shampoo? Or was it the moment? The next thing that Hector noticed, the snap on his jeans was undone. The zipper was down halfway, and the meetingplace of stomach, hips, and pubus met Anna’s eagerly exploring fingers.
Hector did not wear a thong. 
Anna drew Hector’s jeans partially down his thighs, somehow managing not to scrape his most delicate parts with the zipper. Now she deftly pivoted her hips outward, pressing him to the sofa back. 
“Ha! Try to get away now,“ she giggled. Hector’s jeans, now around his thighs, made this impossible.
Anna popped out of the sofa, and in a stroke, removed Hector’s boots and slipped his jeans off. She drew back, as if she were God and he were Adam, and she was admiring her handiwork, lying muscular and naked before her.


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Roberto (1994)

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There was an angel hovering over Anna – but she couldn’t see through the translucent haze of its wings. She felt a coarse, lined texture with the sole of her right foot. Stroking it, sensing the high friction of it, she began to be aware of sensations   Que raro, she thought to herself.   I feel something. I hear my own thoughts. Is this Heaven or Bedlam? She became aware of a dull sensation where her right wing should have been. She tried to move it. It was folded, half behind her, half under her. it started tingling. This isn’t how a wing is supposed to feel. She could not move that wing, but she could hear her voice inside her head as clearly as if she was standing over herself, preaching. She instinctively reached her left wing to the aid of the right, still anesthetized and immobile. Pick, pick, pick, she plucked at the skin of her right forearm. No sensation. 
Pick. Pick.
It occurred to her that her left arm moved too easily. There was no wing. Maybe this is Bedlam – or Hell?! She sat up with a snap – seated, but at rigid attention, she looked like a mitered joint waiting for a framer. She batted her eyelids – nothing. She lifted her functioning left arm to her eyes and rubbed – just a cloud. And an echo. She was not dead, and she was not loca. Somewhere between Heaven and Bedlam, between Bedlam and Hell.
“Chica,” a deep angelic voice parted the clouds on the horizon on her left. Maybe I’m dead after all.  She raised her left arm in the direction of the voice. “Como‘stas?” The angel’s swarthy Mestizo features parted the clouds and clarified the situation, at least a little bit. Anna was not dead. She sat with the toes of both feet pressed into a rough handrest of a rugged but accommodating sofa. She hadn’t said anything, not out loud at least, but her verbal centers were communicating with each other, not with her voice. Her eyes, at first sightless, opened wide, but as her already darkest chocolate irises, dilated to the size of swimming pools, began to focus, she glimpsed a living room interior. Behind the man hung harvest gold drapes on a bare white curtain rod and…
Oja! Oja!´ The neurons controlling her jaw more or less engaged, causing her jaw to fall shapelessly open while her verbal centers cried in pain and confusion. She noticed that she was wearing clothes, not wings, and that, other than being severely rumpled and with a bit of errant sputum here and there, she showed no sign of anything worse. She tried, but failed, to slap her now spinning head with her right hand, now throbbing as the blood began to force the small blood vessels open anew.
Calmate, chica,  no puedes hacer nada, que vale.” Settle down, girl. You can’t do anything anyway. The words could have been menacing, but the man wasn’t a menace. His voice still sounded like it was coming from the Cathedral of St. Mark’s in Venice, not from a sparsely furnished living room in a four-room bungalow in…
Gradually, scenes of B. B., Before Binge, cracked through the coconut milk that was Anna’s brain. She had left Puebla to take a summer course in business communications. The school, in Mexico City, was still just a classroom and a silhouette. But there were faces – giddy faces of girls, a boy, a bottle, beer. La cerveza!Oh, did it course in frothy rivulets through her memory!
“It’s Sunday afternoon. You’re in Netza, I brought you here when you couldn’t get out of the taxi.”
“Usted es taxista? Crei, que Usted fue un angelo.”
“No, no angel. Just a man who was put in the right place.  I’m Roberto.”
“Where did you find me?”
“You got in my taxi in front of ( detail ). I don’t usually work until closing time, because I’m just a soltero  and I don’t want to be thought of as a wolf. But you seemed lost, and not stoned. “
“I.. I… was alone?”
“Si.”
“I left with four girls and a muchacho.  Cute, but young, like me. Maybe fifteen. No, they served us, so he must have…”
Anna’s voice was overtaken by its echoes in her throbbing head.
“You were alone, and you looked lost. I don’t think you live in La Ciudad, do you, chica?”
“I come from Puebla. My father is…” Anna thought better of revealing her lineage; her mother had shamed her before for not living up to her father’s standards. As if she did. Jajaja..
“You are very young, to be in La Ciudad alone. Who is taking care of you here?”
“I am at (school ). I stay in the student dorms. At least until last night.” Anna was pleased that her mouth and brain seemed to belong to the same person; it was too bad that there was a razor splitting her head into its hemispheres so she could barely tell who that person was. That person just moaned like she was in labor.
“Vuelvo ahora mismecito.” Before his words stopped echoing in Anna’s wretched head, he was back with an ice pack. His workman’s hand stroked her bangs backward, and he laid the ice pack on the symptoms of Anna’s pain.
More images knitted themselves into memories under the coolness of the ice pack. A few bottles. A joint. The munchies. The muchacho had a fattened wallet from some good fortune or other, Anna could not think which. So it was dinner. Bistecca. Carne asada. Tamales con arroz. Y mas cerveza. Was it pitchers? Anna sucked her teeth. Bits of beef still bled their marinated juices from the gaps. So a night out? No, in her memory, the sun warmed the sidewalks underfoot. The beer started early that Saturday.
It must have been six or seven in the afternoon when the party began unraveling. First, Silvia and Ynez took leave. They had been wearing (soccer colors) futbol jerseys. They must have gone to the game – Guadalajara was in town. Busloads of Guadalajarans always made the trip – Guadalajara was like the Pittsburgh of futbol gringoso; their fans traveled well – and loudly. Anna liked watching futbolistas. But the muchacho – ja! Right, his name was Placido, like the opera singer. The Placido wanted to go sing karaoke. And he could buy the pitchers. And she could drink the pitchers. 
The Placido, Anna, and the two other girls. Anna remembered that much. The two girls – they looked like Flora and Magda – no, they couldn’t be!  Stop dreaming, he’s talking to you.  A voice tried to dispel the renewed fog between Anna’s ears. Instead, it was as if her receptive speech centers were vibrating crystalline molecules, and the rich baritone vibrations of her unlikely host Roberto just amped up the noise without clarifying the signal. Anna raised her right hand, still tingling, to her forehead and adjusted the ice pack.
That song. “Amor, Amor” by Jose Jose. Or by The Placido. Wow. It just flooded out everything else. Anna blinked, but in her mind all she could see was The Placido with the mic in hand and a dream in his eyes. She wanted him. As he found his rhythm with the house band, The Placido relaxed more and more into the song and the beat. With a broad forehead, a furrowed brow,  a squared jaw, and an aquiline nose, The Placido looked like the famous singer’s son. Anna wanted him.
“The others? Jose? No, not Jose Jose, Placido,” Anna stammered 
“Your are alone, in Netzahualcoyotl. I had to take you home with me.”
”Placido.”
“No, senorita, Roberto, el taxista.”
“Where was I?”
 “ I don’t know, but I found you outside La Casa Teddy. Not far from here. I was coming home.”
“Mande?!?!
“A terrible place. A real (    ). You look somehow like a muchacha I picked up around 8 last night.”
“I remember very badly. I cannot imagine it all. I think I remember going to the zoologico. My classmates were  – two of them – going to the futbol match. Magda – lo siento, lo siento – Marisol and Fatima. Marisol is from Guadalajara. “
“Yes, I remember. I picked you and this Placido and some others on Avenida 533. That wasn’t such a great bar either. You’re too young to drink, chica.”
“Legally, señor. Remember, Placido is older.”
“Who is this Placido, anyway? What kind of gorilla is he that leaves such a young girl alone? No offense, Señorita, but if I recognized him I would break his head for him and serve it to him for lunch.”
“No, Señor…señor…”
“Roberto.”
“I can’t remember. But I can’t find bad feelings anywhere in my heart for him. We must have left 533 to go to a karaoke bar. I don’t remember the trip. I think I remember something about you, though, señor Roberto.”
Si?
“Alarcon, was it? It was like the name of the zoo.”
“You said something about Jose Jose. Were you going to see him?
“No. The Placido loved his songs. Where you took us to – wasn’t that a karaoke bar? I remember singing “Amor Amor” with him.”
“You have a beautiful voice, Señorita?”
“No. terrible. I can’t sing well at all. The Placido sings very well, but he lied and told me I sang beautifully,” Anna sighed and paused. The sigh stuck on the roof of her parched mouth. “I am so thirsty. May I have something to drink, please?”
“Just the thing. I am coming back right now.”
Pressing the tender points on her temple and brow, Anna pulled herself up to sitting. She saw that her lace sandals sat in a neat pair near the armrest of the sofa – just on the side that her feet had been. It seemed, she thought, that the two of them might have been a pair of nosy neighbors from her vecindario in Puebla who, upon encountering her, were telling (“can-you-top-this”) stories about her scandalous night before. With a feeling of panic that occluded her hangover, Anna shot her hand up her right thigh. Gracias mi Dios, she thought through another sigh, this one so heartfelt that it forced its way out her desiccated throat. She heard herself cough, and then – nothing.