you have come to us in royal fashion, your slippers triumphantly slapping against gravel, your elegant fingers drumming against our windowpanes. you keep up a good pace, sir. you glide alongside our car and smile your patented, ringmaster smile. we watch you through one-way tinted glass and air-conditioned cabins. you are a curious specimen, a caged animal proudly loping the length of your alley.
at this point you would expect us to roll down our windows and expose our foreign skin, salivating mouths and lusting faces. you have girls for us, young ones whose virginities and sexual prowess you tout loudly, in broken phrases and sentences.
you know us; men who come through for innocent interludes and escapades. we want to feel flesh against ours and imagine the whispers of past loves. others will inhale deeply of the choking, snarling scent of lust, leaving inkdrops suspended in an ever-darkening pool of water.
you know how desperately we prefer to believe that these girls want us. we operate in fantasies. you provide them for us; you are the sultan of sex and the purveyor of pleasure. you feel powerful: the kick you get in offering the services of your women is unmatched by the wide-eyed grins of your customers. men now boys, they are pressing their faces against glass, drooling over shiny toys in storefront windows.
doggedly you chase after cars. or they run after you. your fingernails clack against the windowpanes and offer what you know your customers want, even if they don’t willingly realize it yet. you need us. you love us. you resent us.
you resent us because we come from outside and we take your women. you’ve seen how we use them like cheap change. but you too have participated.
you are not yourself. you grew up in a rusting city, its long, rambling corridors locking you in to your quarter-peso life. your life has never been easy. this is the only way you know how to survive in this rotting place. you know it too, but to see your girls as human is exquisitely painful. they hold a mirror to you and at the corners you can make out the crumbling images of your sister and your mother.
you pretend not to notice how the girls thicken after each session. quickly they become armored fortresses, silk buttresses over bronzed skin. it is too humid here; you cannot keep the patina from running down their shoulders.