A BRIGHTER SHADE OF BROWN, PART 3
Boys' Night Out!
LAST ISSUE (click here to read the last intallment), things were really starting to get complicated for our favorite boys. Frank confessed to Miguel that he was dating Javiers no-good ex-boyfriend, while Rafa announced to Javier and Mark that he was moving in with Carlos ex. And while Miguel longed to see his family in Mexico again, Carlos seemed to be growing tired of spending nights at home alone with his cat, Rufina. And thats where we pick up our story...
It was 9 p.m. on Saturday night, with a three-way phone call between Carlos, Rafa, and Javier.
Cabronas, its official, Carlos announced. My pathetic lonely nights with Rufina are over, he said as Rufina meowed in the background.
Sorry, Rufie, but daddy needs some action, he said to the cat.
time, mija. Where are we headed? Paris? Puerto Vallarta? Javier
Theres this party in Downey, Rafa offered. Im supposed to meet this guy Cesar there.
Okay, Carlos said. Wheres everybody at tonight?
Miguels working, Rafa replied.
Marks babysitting, Javier added.
And Frank is busy... Carlos started.
Girl, dont even say her name, Javier exclaimed. Shes dead to me.
Todavía con eso? Rafa tried to reason with Javier. True, Frank is with your ex-novio, but hes been trying to make it up to you. Youve been avoiding him for, like, three months. None of us have ever gone that long being mad at each other. Just call him and talk it out. Besides, mensa, that guy Julio was an asshole.
I know he was an asshole. Thats why I broke up with him, Javier answered sharply.
and Rafa both rolled their eyes. The truth was pretty close to the opposite,
but to correct Javier would be useless.
Right, girl. So can you just get over it again? It sucks not being able to hang out with you and Francis, Carlos pleaded. I dont know if you care, but theyve been having trouble lately.
Carlos was lying. Frank and Julio were as strong as ever. Julio was spending every other night at Franks apartment.
It makes no difference to me, Javier said. But he was lying, tooand to himself.
Lets just have a good time at this party, Carlos said.
The sound of a shattering glass was heard in the background. Ooops, guess Im already a little buzzed. Rafa, youre driving, right?
Two hours later all three were in Rafas Escalade heading south. Once buckled in, both passengers brought CDs out of their bagsJavier held up a Madonna CD, Carlos brought out the Mariah Carey.
Rafa was unimpressed. He pulled CDs from his visor and inserted them into his disc changer: Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Jay-Z, LL Cool J and Biggie Smalls. LLs classic Around the Way Girl came on the stereo. Its classic hip-hop. Rafa sank into his seat and rapped along: Perm in your hair or even a curly weave with your New Edition Bobby Brown button on your sleeve
Carlos fidgeted in the back seat, I feel like Im sitting on something.
Javier combed his immaculate goatee in the car mirror, I hope theres a little something for me tonight, too.
Youre picky, Rafa replied, Guys are always coming up to you, but you always find something wrong with them. Like that fine guy that drove the lowered Monte Carlo.
He was married. To a woman. He probably couldnt even spell Monte Carlo. Like I say, a man who spends more time on his car than on his inner self is bad news.
Javier thought about the chariot they were riding inits polished rims, metallic paint, and tinted windows. I didnt mean you, Rafa. You run a body shop so its totally different. Rafa shrugged.
I knew I was sitting on something. Carlos lifted his thigh and pulled out an empty tube of lubricant. I dont even wanna know what went on back here.
Big Papa was rapping softly in their ears as they pulled up to the party, Who they attracting with that line, whats-your-name whats-your-sign, soon as he buy that wine I just creep up from behind
This is it. 3109 Bonita Terrace, Javier announced.
them stepped out of the SUV and made pre-entrance adjustments. Rafa
pulled back his Raiders jersey so that it hung perfectly off his chest.
Carlos tucked his polo into his khakis, Javier plucked a stray hair
from his eyebrow.
Girl, Ill find him, Javier offered.
Rafas type was predictable. Javier searched for a shaved head, a white t-shirt, and Dickies. Thats him, right? Over there by the fireplace.
Youre good, loca.
Rafa made his way over to Cesar. Wusssup?
Its just you and me, Carla. Javier said, his arms crossed.
Hopefully not, Carlos replied, scanning the living room.
With four beers already in his system, Carlos was not feeling shy about finding what he needed. A minute later he made eye contact with a clean-cut Chicano standing near the punch bowl.
Thats my cue, Carlos mumbled, and made his way to serve himself a cup. Within minutes, Clean Cut Chicano was leading Carlos upstairs. Carlos turned to Javier to wave goodbye. He grabbed a half empty Tequila bottle left on the bottom stair and made his way up.
Javier stood alone for a few minutes, then smiled at a group of old friends he recognized from his clubbing days. They immediately wrapped around him like a rebozo.
Ninety minutes later, Javier had exchanged all the gossip he could, and used his craving for a good potato chip as an excuse to escape. On his way to the kitchen, he saw Rafa on the couch, nibbling on Cesars lips, one hand rubbing the fuzz on his shaved head. Carlos was busy too, barely visible out on the patio in the lap of some other morenito.
Javier found the Ruffles and dug in, careful not to let anyone notice his double-dipping in the sour cream. With his potato chip deep in dip, Javier was deep in thought. Was he really over Julio? Of course he was, he told himself, thinking back to what made Julio so irresistible. Maybe it was the way he went after whatever he wantedand usually got it. Of course, once he got what he wanted, he threw it away. And hed gotten Frank, now, a fierce career Chicano that lots of guys were after. Frank must have been attracted to Julios aggressiveness, and to that sexy tattoo on the back of his neck that read Por vida. Yep, must have been the tattoo.
He lifted his chip for a final crunch and noticed something very familiar staring at him from the corner of the kitchen. It was a cursive tattoo reading Por vida, and a guy that looked exactly like Julio wrapped tightly around someone who looked nothing like Frank.
Oh my God! Javier thought, then carefully deliberated his options. Its not every day that a dramatic queen is handed the perfect opportunity to be a dramatic queen.
Carlos snuck up behind Javier and hung his drunk arms over his shoulders like a preppy sweater. I think Im f**ked up, he said.
There were hickies on each side of Carlos neck, his shirt was untucked, and there were food and alcohol stains on his pants. He smelled like Corona with a hint of Coors. Seriously, I can hardly stand up straight.
Yes, I can see that, girl, Javier thought for a minute. Then he added, Hey, Carla. See that guy over there in the red shirt?
Javier pointed Carlos limp head in Julios direction. Bring him this beer.
Javier filled his beer glass to brim and searched for a plate of food, And this stuff right here.
Huh? I dont get it. Wait, isnt that Ju...
Girl, youre seeing thingsjust give it to him. Go on, mija.
Javier gave him a little nudge and Carlos, wobbling with each step, made his way to Julios corner of the kitchen. Hey, man, heres your food, Carlos said to Julio.
The motion of Julios turn toward him was all Carlos needed to lose grip of the plate and the glass of Tecate. The plate flew at Julios chest, landing right above the third button of his guayabera. The beer made its way to Julios face, splashing his cheek and dripping onto his collar.
Uh, Carlos spoke slowly, Sorry.
What the f**k!? Julio snapped, angry as a gorilla, digging his finger deep into Carlos chest. Carlos stumbled back into Javiers arms and passed out, finally done in by the night of booze and boys.
a crowd into the kitchen from the living room, stood at Javiers
side, So, I guess this means were leaving?
A kitchen full of escadalosas gasped. Those words were nothing new to Javierhe had heard them the entire year they were together. Long before that, those words had been thrown at him like rocks by every bully on the playground, tossed at him in the high school cafeteria like leftover pizza, and delivered like punches by his brothers and father until the day he was strong enough to fight back.
Julio, youre a... Javier stopped himself, youre, youre just a mess. Still.
Rafa slung Carlos over his shoulder and the three of them made their way out. Cesar stopped Rafa outside, long enough to stuff a napkin scribbled with his number in Carlos back pocket.
The Escalade slipped out of Bonita Terrace and onto the 605 Freeway. Carlos was snoring and drooling on the backseat. Madonna was now on the stereo.
pulled his cell phone out of the glove box. Rafa, youre
right, I think it is time I call Frank, and just talk it out.
this truck its not the baba stains I worry about.
BE CONTINUED NEXT ISSUE...