in Old School

Running Out of Days

“I am here for a reason, these moments run into pages, the seamy side of life.” – John Fante

San Jose Costa Rica – I was alone then. What the hell I said. I was turning 50. And I was running out of days.

Tonight my little friend has locked herself in the hotel bathroom. Sweet Alex, out of service, guts churning, making the horrible rumble of a diseased organ about to shut down. Serves you right girl. You’re a native. You should know better than to buy food from a Tico in the street.

Easy Cojito, you need to get out man. You need to experience something. No one wants to read a story entitled, “Alex and the burning ring piece.” Anyway, she told you to go. She said she’ll be fine. And with room service and a mini bar, what could go wrong?

Three years ago, on our first trip to San Jose things were different. We were inseparable then. After dinner we’d sit in Morazan park and kiss like young lovers. Back then, the 38 year old Alex had the appreciative demeanor of a wino with a fresh bottle.

Then one night we hit the Blue Marlin for drinks.

“Many women have their eyes on you” she said.

She was talking about the whores. Alex’s eyes darted about the room like a feral dog, worried the other animals would steal her meat.

“That’s their job.”

“No honey,” she said, “many women work as prostitute to feed family, and look for good man.”

Alex held me close that night. I remember thinking, here I was free falling, and maybe Alex was my last shot at slowing down. “I thank god every day for bringing you into my life,” she said. Well, what would your god say now? Now that I’ve left you behind to search for stories and whores.

It’s well after ten when I begin that climb from Barrio Amon. Hookers, and junkies ooze onto the San Jose streets like blood from an open wound. On the corner a ladyboy haggles with a tourist. I can smell her perfume in the cool night air.

I walk fast, feeling the power in my legs. I approach a disturbed man glowering from an alcove. He demands colones. Money? You fool – haven’t you heard? Cojito’s fucking merciless. He’s left his woman behind to die.

I harden my fists. I’m ready for this vile creature. He sinks back into his hole like a crab, damning me to hell.

Hell, that’s more like it. Keep moving Cojito. Hell’s around here somewhere.

Just six blocks down, and I’m in the Blue Marlin. I scan the room. Maybe 25 guys, and over a hundred girls: Nicaraguans, Colombians, Panamanians, Dominicans, Ticas. Not bad. Not even I could strike out here.

I climb onto a stool at the bar, and order a Pilson. The first one goes down easy. It’s cold, cheap.

A thin black girl with snake-like dreads squeezes in next to me. Right away, I can tell she’s different. She’s wearing a red track suit, and sneakers. All the other girls are in hooker-wear: short skirts, war paint, and spiky heels.

“Tu corriste?”

Her eyes sparkle.

“Poi que?” she says, playfully looking down at her ensemble.

Forget it Cojito, tell her to leave. She could break you with those thighs. She looks like a sprinter. Her body lean, her chest flat. I can see her nipples, hard like berries, under her top. I buy her a drink, then another.

“I no meet many gringos speakin Spanish” she says in a husky voice.

I’m not surprised. Virtually every gringo in here is old, fat, and rich. Why trifle with Spanish when you’ve got a bottle full of Viagra and a pocket full of cash. She tells me I can take her home for $100.

“No gracias,” I say.

“Poi que – you no like me?”

“No offense, but I had my eye on the lady working the corner.”

“Nooo, she man.”

“Hey, I just got here. How do I know you’re not a man.”

I throw her the Cojito smirk and her face changes. She’s beautiful when she realizes she’s being played with. She smiles. Damn, almost too beautiful.

We drink and talk. I pepper her with questions, listening to her story like el chupacabra suckles goats. Her name is Zifa, she’s 31, from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. She shows me a photo of her kid standing in front of the family bohio. He’s a handsome black skinned boy of 8. He has that same kinky hair and killer smile.

“He never know father” she says. ” I send money. Mi mama watch him. One day I go back.”

Sure, that’s what they all say. How come I never meet the hookers who spend all their money on crack, sex toys, and breast enlargements?

“It must be hard to be away from him.” I say.

Cojito, master of the trite remark.

“I envy you” I say. “I just found out my girlfriend can’t have kids.”

“I want another kid someday,” she says. Probably for my benefit.

Time passes. we suck down several more drinks, and soon we’re both pretty twisted. I stand, unsteady, ready to leave. Zifa jumps up. “Ven papi,” she says, grabbing me by the hand.

I tell her I’m tapped. “Nooo, ven,” she says, like a petulant child. She drags me out the side door, past the bouncer, and into the street. Maybe she figures I’ll change my mind, maybe she plans to rob me in a piss-stained ally, or maybe it’s like Alex says, and she’s just looking for a good man.

Cojito, un buen hombre. We talk and walk our way over to Morazon park. It’s empty. The clouds have fallen from the mountains. Zifa holds her hand up, motioning me to stop. I fall onto a worn bench, and watch as this wild girl slides quietly across the park, and disappears into the night.

Where’s she off to? I think. Warily, I look around. Overhead, the flowering trees give off a purplish glow. It’s 1 am easy. Surely something big and dangerous is lurking in this park. I just sit there, waiting for my karmic beat down.

Oh Cojito, you know you have this coming. I close my eyes and lie flat across the bench. Mist swirls around me. It feels like I’m being licked by dirty sheep. Finally, I get up to leave, just as a red figure is coughed up from the darkness.

Zifa beckons me with a swing of her arm. I pause for a moment. I can’t make up my mind. Is this good news or bad? Then my legs carry me down the street.

Parque National is only three blocks away. “No watchiman,” Zifa whispers, and we enter the park. Zifa selects a tree with a fat trunk, and squats in the lee of the wind. I look around. The park’s empty. Thunder rumbles in the distance.

“Jurakan” she says.

“Como?”

“God of thunda.”

She laughes, drags a joint from her pouch and holds it erect. Hmm, this is getting good. It’s not easy to burn in the cool damp air of San Jose. I watch her unblemished face in the dancing flame until bluish smoke climbs into the drooling sky. She laughs again, pleased with herself, her brilliant white teeth flashing in the darkness. I take a deep hit, then another.

I can feel it expand in my lungs. Her harsh Tico stash, probably smuggled in the ass of a Nicaraguan donkey, isn’t fresh, or tasty, but it does the trick. Almost immediately, I feel at home with her in this park. There’s nothing quite like getting stoned with a beautiful girl, you’re dialed in to each other, and the conversation flows.

I drop down next to her on the wet grass. And she kisses me. Her lips are like a strange fruit. I chew on her lower lip softly, and lean back, my heart beating. Jesus. She laughs softly in the darkness and takes another long hit. The cherry glows in her liquid black eyes.

It’s almost toast, and so am I. Grey smoke snakes around my index finger and thumb as I snub the roach into the bark of the old tree. The same tree that stood by and did nothing as the president of Costa Rica Francisco Morazan was shot down in 1842.

Were you lured here by a Dominican hooker too El Presidente? I try to imagine the president here, surrounded by the solemn forest, his blood draining into the wild grass, his grand dreams of free speech, and a unified Central America lost. Was it all worth it El Presidente?

And then I’m hit with a herb-fueled realization, that the jungle’s always out there, waiting to reclaim us, waiting for us to die, fall, or give up. And that none of this matters. All we can do is grab our machetes, our pens, or our penes, and keep hacking to the end.

Zifa takes my hand, and pulls me up.

“Vamo pue” she says.

“Donde”

“Mi cuarto”

I shoot her a questioning look.

“Esta cerca,” she says.

We kiss. I lean into her, the warmth of her body feels like a double shot of Abuelo. I pin her against the last living witness to a great man’s murder. Sorry El Presidente. You understand old man. Zifa turns away, rolls like a hungry croc, and exposes a perfect rump.

I chew softly on her neck. It tastes salty, and smells of musk. My fingers trail down her back, and into her wetness. Her lips are sticky, and glisten under the city lights as if smeared with vaz.

“Te gusta?”

Cojito, a nasty piece of work. Zifa arches her back and groans. “Vamo” she says. This time with real urgency. And I follow her, down the glistening streets of San Jose, and into the Stygian night.

– Cojito @ Panama After Dark

Find your own sexy latina here

Hot Tip – Don’t be like Cojito. Morazon park is very dangerous after dark. Take taxis at night.

Care to Comment?

Comment

39 Comments

  1. holy fucking shit! THAT was masterful… stop wasting your time on other stuff. you could be the henry miller of central america.

  2. If I had a dime for every gringo cocksucker who thinks he's Hemingway.

    Tighten, brighten and sharpen this piece up.

    Don't listen to these guys– they'll tell you anything if it gets them closer to rubbing one out.

    You need to develop the character arc. And add some type of closure. I feel like it ends and the ideas are unresolved, and not as a literary device.

    Regarding closure: Maybe something like stumbling back to the hotel room and laying down next to Alex, who mumbles something prophetic??? (Like, "I'm going to cut you when you fall asleep!" or "Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.") lol.

    I don't know. You're the writer… come up with something. Maybe like slipping a C-note into her purse, to help ease the pangs of guilt?

  3. lol raul – you know i love you bro, but "tighten?" this sucker's tighter than a cold nun.

    hmm character arc, closure … lol – i'm trying to keep it real. i'm trying to write short pieces of a larger whole. but how 'bout this?

    act 1 – hero needs story. hero's girlfriend is sick. hero needs to go. but girlfriend might crap herself to death. hero is trapped. hero feels guity. hero abandons girlfriend anyway. hero fails test ( just ask his girlfriend ).

    act 2 – hero hits the dangerous streets of san jose on a grail-like quest for a story good enough to please brother raul. hero's tested by thug demanding money. hero threatens thug. hero passes test. hero meets a mysterious woman in bar. woman wants hero's money. hero decides to get drunk instead. hero fails test.

    act 3 – woman gives hero a second chance. woman drags hero to morazan park. hero faces karma (and wet trousers) on a soggy bench. hero stays on quest. hero passes test. woman lures hero into parque national. woman offers hero drugs. hero takes drugs. hero fails test ( always say no to drugs kids ).

    hero gets life-lesson from a tree. hero decides to hook up with mysterious woman. hero bravely follows woman home. woman gives hero something to write about. hero passes test.

    denouement – hero gets syphilis. hero goes mad. hero is doomed to wander the streets of san jose alone.

  4. Cojito,

    Raul's right. This is some good writing, but it lacks closure. Following some lady into the "stygian night" after her pussy is worked into a lather? Please…..

    We need some "in-out, in-out", followed by some heart-wrenching pillow talk and firm declarations.

    OK?

  5. Take everything I say with a grain of salt, here. After all, I'm the guy who writes dog training books for a living. Hardly literature.

    I just think the piece is a little too cryptic and "try-hard" in in parts, a vain attempt to come across as witty and gonzo.

    For example, it wasn't clear to me that she was in the bathroom taking a shit. Upon a second read, I see that is what you said. But wouldn't, "She was in the bathroom with a bad case of the shits," have been clearer? Tyhe first time you read it, I thought you were saying she was vomiting sick and you left her in the room to go get your dick wet.

    I think it would have been a lot funnier if you'd written it more plain, matter of fact. And lose the stuff about needing to go out and find something to write about. Not really important, and it makes the narrator sound like he's not truly an adventurous guy, but rather some poor schmuck who's looking for something he can fabricate for his blog.

    Yeah, yeah… probably time to turn off the comments feature on the blog software, eh? ;)

    Nevertheless, you're a great writer.

  6. Patriccio – lol there's a reason i didn't finish it. i didn't want to post a sex story. you'll find closure in my upcoming book – "sloppy seconds."

    raul – lol besides moving to panama, and diddling whores in parks, i'm not really adventurous. so if that's what you got out of that, good. i wanted to show the foibles of a writer – me. truth is, i'm always looking for material for my blog/book. you seem to think i'm writing full-on fiction. sure i could make cojito bond-like, but i'm trying to cleave to the truth. oh, and if the charaacter eats bad food in the streets, and her guts are churning, it should be clear to the reader that she has food poisoning.

    marco – lol thanks. from now on, you're the only one allowed to comment.

  7. "there's 40 guys i don't know in ther fucking 40 girls they've never met and i'm gettin paid for it…is this a great country or what?!?! .. michael keaton, in night shift

  8. Cojito,

    A book called "sloppy seconds"? Holy shit.. why not just call it something attractive like "rectal tumors examined closely"? Or "plugging away at a snatch full of jizz"?

  9. Cojito,

    Ah Jeez. Did you really write "you'll find closure…"? Next you'll be yammering about "validation" and "self-actualization".

    I've seen this happen before…lol.

    Look, it's a nice story/vignette about some Costa Rican whore w/ a heart of gold, blah blah blah. I just think the whole thing fizzled out at the end like a popcorn fart.

  10. "girl, you got satin shoes…girl, you got chinese boots…girl you got cocaine eyes…can't you hear me knocking at your window?.. throw me down the key…" yeah Mick!

  11. I see absolutely nothing wrong with leaving something to the reader's imagination. Did he? Didn't he? If the reader is certain one way or the other, then that's closure. If the reader is left guessing, but has certain biases one way or the other, that's closure.

    No te preocupes, cojito. Siempre, siempre déjalos quieren más.

  12. ok let's settle this once and for all. i propose to throw a cojito party at my penthouse in la cresta the second week in may. i'll provide abuelo, stones, zztop,pink floyd,lynyrd skynrd, some salza and several pretty colombian and panamanian friends (and one hot gringa if vieja shows up). cojito will provide: his fat white ass, his beaytiful girlfriend, her gorgeous little sister and a night full of bullshit and lies.

    if you are interested in this email me from the contact link on my website http://www.zencamera.com after i screen you for the proper level of purile, adolescent depravity, you will be cleared. i hope this is enough notice for raul to get his ass over from costa rica.

  13. i edited your link marco. you had an extra period at the end of it. sounds like fun. it'll give me something to write about.

    "hack writer reveals shocking details of night spent pantless in la cresta penthouse."

    lakesdiver, thanks, couldn't agree more. and it sounds like you'd better get your ass down here. marco's planning to get us all pissed.

  14. cojito ,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your tale, please don't take any notice of anyone who attempts to critize your writing.

    I mean it is just absurd, you entitled your story " a hack writer tells of a wild night in the steets" for fucks sake stop with the comparisons to past or present writers. Cojito refers to himself as a hack writer, he doesn't take himself too serious why should his audience.

    Creative writing or any type of writing is not about comparing the writer to some one else, it is just about writing ! putting down what you feel and that is what you do in this blog, i don't understand why you stand in line to be critized, you are writing to entertain and for me you score big time, i often check in and read your latest update.

    It gives the us poor typical western males an insight into your someone what bizzare but extremely exciting lifestyle

    keep up the good work

  15. thanks luke – i know man, i don't know why they insist on comparing me to all the greats. but, good or bad, i do like to hear the feedback.

    lakesdiver – can you dive in the canyon after you've pissed in it?

  16. marco, if I am understanding your invitation correctly, there will be various males from this comments sections, (note: referred to as mentiras)an assortment of young latinas, lots of alcohol and rock music, and the host of this blog who suggests he may be pantless. And yet somehow an invitation to the old, fat, saggy gringa was included. Surely you would have more fun without that at a party.

  17. not true, vieja…we plan to make fun of you…:)

    NOT!

    i haven't seen any responses regarding my invitation, so you might be the only one there. proceed at your own risk!

    oh wait, cojito will be there because of the free rum.

  18. Ah, now this makes sense.

    Having been a target for this kind of abuse many times, it is something I understand. I can only wonder if the group could come up with some original one liners. Or… have I heard them all? You can forget the face lift jokes… haven't had one. My personal favorite…. used to lift my shirt to flash the men……. now I lift my skirt.

  19. vieja — you're HOT! i don't care what everybody else says about you…:)

    we'll have our own party…cojito will be passed outas usual…he won't see a thing.

    by the way — i'm no prize either — my dog closes his eyes when he humps my leg…:(

  20. lol what the hell is this – geezer talk?

    i wouldn't worry vieja, we're all flawed. we're really just a pack of sniveling punks who talk a lot of trash online. and i promise. i'll wear pants.

    at least for the first hour.

  21. wow cojito, you had me on the edge of my seat the whole time reading this. I for one had experienced the gulch of San Jose and what you had written was amazing. Everything was in perfect ordered and pictured every moment. Thank you..