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Maldito New York
by MBa
2014-08-11 11:03:29
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“Maldito Nueva Yorke” the cowboy said as I left him on my place in Brooklyn and went to meet up with my buddies. I went in the Restaurant and I heard it from each of them again. They all had blamed bad things that happened on my city but I knew better. The use, abuse, minds games and the years of laughs had come crashing on us like a bottle on the head of unsuspecting drunkard. My friend stated his facts; I took my part of the blame while still licking my wounds I start getting ready to go as memories of how it all had happened flooded my mind.

“Blame it on New York City” the stocky –built Camioncito and the tall Machacho said in unison. I shook my head. They were putting obstacles to my plan. My buddy Camioncito priority was watching world cup. Machacho was in one of his “let’s do something positive” periods, which changes as often as he changes shirts. Jarro, the most intimate of my male friends, had not even come. “Drinks and women at my place tonight” Jarro had texted. For my part I wanted to explore a microscope-view of a Manhattan neighborhood, its people and its sub-cultures and blogged about it with a tablet my ex wife had given me. She said she would be blogging me and texting me at some point and I made up my mind to keep that exchange with her away from starting a marital fight with me with tales of the fun I was going to have with the three stooges buddies of mine.

My friends and I let our three noses combined lead the way and trumped into a Mediterranean Israeli restaurant bar called local 92. I was amazed that, for once, we were all in sync about something; then I saw them getting cozy with some waitress they had clearly met before. We ordered food to go. The guys drunk Stella beer and kept flirting with the girls.

I thought back at how backward my life has been going since I quit my marriage, met these guys and quit my job some time after the twin towers got knocked down. Jarro, after his first visit to the US, had come back to be “ self-made-man by the time I am twenty one years old” he had said and so he did. Camioncito, the mischievous-good-boy-looking younger brother had started working as janitor and soon became supervisor. And Machacho, the eternal looser who could not follow through all his plans to get a life of his own, got a steady job, his own apartment and started discovering things apart from us. And yours truly, there I was living everyone else’s lives but my own.

“You are so eccentric Rastrerito.” Hearing Camioncito remarked at my drinking hot tea with a 90 degree summer day and thus waking me up from my reminiscing. They turned to take pictures with the waitress. I hurried them up to pay the bill and leave the flirting for after we were done exploring the bloke as we had said we would. “You’re just Jealous Rastrerito” they sang as they took turn pushing me all the way to the sidewalk. And there we were, in the least side of lower Manhattan. We were standing over downtrodden and littered terrain, surrounded by vintage- looking shops, innovative restaurants, artsy small business and small food vendor joints with a whole food market towering over us all. The ever-worrying Machacho asked where I was taking them. They will see.

I plowed ahead, skipping past with childlike gusto the same construction debris in the corner of Lafayette and Houston streets I heard them chastising. Bitten by the world cup fever and still bragging that the US now can play with the international football big boys, Camioncito lightened up upon seeing what I was starting the neighborhood tour with. We were in the soccer field and play ground dividing China town from the ABC part of the East Village. We plopped down on the grass, legs spread apart to devoured our food as a soccer match went on barely two steps away from us.

I turned on my tablet and made a blog entry out of our findings determined to make things lively and fun for my followers made up entirely by my ex-wife doling out negative reviews dubbed here as the ‘enemy’. “ ‘Chinese, African, Eastern European and Latin American’ my friends took to figuring out the players ethnicities or national origins.” My first blog entry read. We recognized Tim Howard, Neymar, Ronaldo Cristiano and YaYa Toure among many other soccer Gods whose names or pictures were printed in the players jerseys.

“Can you say S H A K S H U K A without your tongue trampling in the mouth?” I wrote in the blog. I had put the damn tablet down and got busy and dirty by eating my Mujadara (a brown and white small dish made of rice and lentil) then helping myself to some of my friend Eggs poached in a mildly spicy tomato sauce with chili peppers and onion, followed by the house-made mini loaf challah bread I stuffed my mouth with. Eating my friends’ food brought back memories of my trip to Jaffa in South Tel Aviv where the best shakshuka is made. I had a few sips of water to wash out the food and I was able to pronounce SHAKSHUKA no problem.

One hour later, with the match over and glowing over the sixteen world record saves of Tim Howard, crying over the also world record breaking trashing of Brazil to Belgium (of all teams) and then to Germany afterward, we crossed to 2nd Ave and Journeyed upward with the crossing streets numbers going up. Machacho started saying the street smelled wrong and Camioncito and he started debating what “smelled wrong” meant.

“These two guys are such restless souls, what do you think, enemy?” I told my ex by cell phone, putting an end to my blogging. She reply wondering whom these guys were. “Don’t you remember the two Dominican brothers, Jarro the darker, older one and his brother Camioncito the stocky white one and their childhood friend Machacho?”  Silence was her typical response when deeming something not interested. I could have added that Jarro is the owner of Oferta restaurant on the west and of the Black Bug on the East village but I tend to withhold details as such with arrogant creatures like her. I tried something else “ Remember the Vin Diesel-looking-muscular-dude who came stayed after we split? She then recalled. She also reminded me the experience with these guys I told her about in those years and what she thought they I was baby-sitting boys who had phony interest in me. I review what those years have been like for me as she spoke.

Jarro will pop up with family members, friends, acquaintances, two of them despising me for my influence on Jarro. Jarro will also get me involved with his girlfriends of turn and even some of his ‘personal trainings’ clients, you name it he brought them all up to my shoebox sized place in Soho. He would also call me up if he were scared when sleeping alone wherever he lived. At time he would call me awake so that I would go sleep with him. I once carried a mini-refrigerator to where he was renting a room all the way to Washington Height when he complained about not having one. One time I did something unexpected though.

One of the nights they have planned going to the church-turned-Avalon Club that not long before was called Limelight. I reluctantly got my naked body off from my sleeping bag, and I finished getting dressed as Jarro literally pushed me out of the apartment and was dragging me down the five stories. As they were stepping outside of 222 Lafayette narrow-metal doors I made up my mind. I dug my nails to the edge of the building door as I kicked Jarro off me saying my ass needed some sleep. I flew upstairs as I hear Camioncito insisting for his older brother to forget about me and do their thing. My ex wife screeching voice awoke me from my thoughts. She was not coming. So I turned to ask the guys what was next.

We met up with the two girls at Oferta Restaurant where Jarro had been drinking with some of his friends, a new girlfriend and one of the kitchen cook assistant, an Indigenes-Mexican cowboy. We followed Jarro to his apartment just one block away from the restaurant and cowboy came behind loaded with a crateful of nectars of the Gods to keep us intoxicated. Once in his penthouse, Jarro insisted for cowboy to stay. Cowboy was delighted. I smiled at hearing cowboy babbling away “I’m the only employees who have been with the boss, his friend and his gorgeous women like this.”  We played a game of dare or tell, where I showed off, no surprise there, telling people what they really were and really felt about one something or someone else in their lives.

 I would look sideway to where cowboy was knocking down drinks after drink, fantasies glittering in his eyes. I turned to Jarro, seated to my right and suggested that having an employee all drunk in his house wasn’t wise. Jarro put his right hand up, tracing a semi-circle while his mouth made an ‘eeehhhh” sound. Camioncito, laughed at his brother doing to me the same gesture I used to disregard any thing they say that I would deem irrelevant.

I turned the spot lift away from me by making people laugh at the expense of the arguments that Machacho and Camioncito had have in the Hare Krishna temple and at a Catholic church we have walked into earlier on. I ticked off my fingers as I repeated verbatim what they had argued about discussed in the Hare Krishna temple: “Not eating meat, not gambling and not using things like alcohol or caffeine, as well as restrictions on sex” I paused for sensation then said “No that neither of them needed to worry about the last one.” I got saved by the bell; the girls and the other couples started getting ready to go and Machacho, Camioncito had not choice but to leave it at that. 

“Rastrerito you stay my girl and I…err err, tie some loose ends upstairs. Jarro had said as I was looking at the door. “ You should go” my instinct told me. But I didn’t. Jarro clearly didn’t know what to do with cowboy all drunk in his place at way past midnight. So, as I do when I am comfortable in my own place, I stripped naked and I laid back on the twin size futon-bed, closed my eyes and started telling cowboy laying down on the sofa-bed near me, about the experience Machacho, Camioncito and I had at the Catholic church earlier in the day.

“This was a different Catholic Church…” I was saying, half asleep; to the cowboy laying down somewhere near when I sensed a pleasurable warm, rough sensation on my butt. My head went up slowly and turned 90 degree to find cowboy cuddling against my butt, as one of his hands and his “manhood piece” squeezed in between seeking to feel my smooth brown skin. I pushed cowboy off my ass, literally, as I leaped out of that damn futon. I told cowboy he was lucky I was a foreigner where we just laugh off shit like these rather than pretend to be puritan. With my best ‘Santa Claus really loves you’ understanding tone of voice I told him to “take care matters on your own hands” as I backed him up into the bathroom and slammed the door shut and laid down, shouting to the love birds that their giggling and fucking sounds were “causing an uprising down in Kansas”.

I was beginning to fall asleep again, with pillow between my legs squeezing my balls and me hugging onto another one, when a noise got me on my ‘four legs’ like a dog. Cowboy had started his way up the narrow metal stairs that lead up directly into the upstairs bedroom determined to “ a la mierda! I’m gonna get some pussy.” Jarro was telling cowboy to stay down to no avail so he did the next best thing.

“Rastrero take care of this problem once and for all” he commanded me. I dragged the fucker back down; he pushed me and that was all it took to get the irrational out of me. I fetched a wine bottle from his hands and broke it on cowboy’s head. The whole world seemed to come to stand still for an eternity. Then all was confusion.

Cowboy cried, his head bleeding. Jarro came down naked deranging me for taking such an extreme action. The girl was calling after Jarro. I stood there, telling my heart to stop racing, my blood to continue flowing and for me to remain rational and leave the emotions for later. “ I am an amigo to you, I always serve you good food at the restaurant why you hit me” cowboy was moaning as I felt my balls shrinking and my stomach tightening. “Neighbors will complaint about the noise, the carpet is tainted with wine and now I have an employee bleeding in my house, RastrerITO what have you done” Jarro went on and on. Jarro using ‘roo’ instead of the ‘ito’ in calling my name bore a bad omen to me and that really fucked me up. I pulled up my cell phone as I did the imperious hand gestures around his face. I told 911 what they needed to know, hang up and turned to both of these men. It was time to rein the wild horses in that place while the cavalry was on its way.

I commanded Jarro to passed me all of the towels in the house, as the head kept bleeding and bleeding. I kept cowboy talking, encouraging him to repeat his “ somos amigos porque me pegas con una botella” rosary. I wrapped cowboy’s head with the towels and kept a hand pressing down on the wound. I had Jarro passed me vinegar which I poured over the wine stained carpet.  Finally the EMS guys came. Cowboy would not cooperate with the guys. “ Rastrero they’re saying they would have to call the cops because they can not make cowboy to follow them, now what?”  I had enough with the gringo overt-passive way of reacting to the unexpected.

“Illiterate grandma from Yugoslavia to the Indigene Ecuadorian knows when to apply tough love, you guys shame the old days American “ I shouted as I pushed through the two EMS respondents and planted myself imperiously in front of cowboy. “Now you look at me and listen carefully to what I am going to say to you okay sir?” I told him, one hand resting caringly but firmly around his shoulders, our faces few inches apart, what was expected of him in order to take care of that wound and have him going home. Cowboy let the EMS respondents bundled him up on the stretcher, got carried down five stories down to the Ambulance and I leaped on board telling after telling Jarro I’d see him when the ordeal was over.

Couple of hours later I left the emergency room with my very own cowboy, left him in my place for a couple of days so that recovered before going to his brother house. I knew what was expected of me. I though back in a prophetic conversation I had with the teenage Jarro not long after we met. I had gotten very upset with Jarro miss-reading my kindness to him with something else and his childish attempts to paly with my mind. I told his ass to pack his shit and be hit the road warning him that “a friend like me you will not find, ever” He apologized sincerely. I accepted his apologized but I made a prediction he didn’t take seriously then. Jarro will achieve his business goal, then “we would part way but with grace.”  I put on some clothes and went to church while he went on his way. A decade later, it all came to happen.

 I had come to Jarro restaurant after taking care of the guy I hit with a bottle. Machacho and Camioncito were there. I looked at Camioncito but his eyes were downcast. Sensing that they were in the way, Camioncito left Bronx-Bound, Machacho went Queens-bound and Jarro…well, he lived and had his successful business in Manhattan so he was bound nowhere. It was my turn. I pulled out his apartment spare keys and put them on the table. I left and took a very different, lonely walk in the lower Manhattan. I walked for hours, telling the city that I was not blaming it for this dramatic close up.

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