TABOO SERIES: About My Business by Juan M. Letona


Dress Business Casual


            After a five hour flight Jesus Castillo, CEO of a cosmetic beauty line, INSTABeauty based in Pachuca, Mexico, is eager for his trip to begin. A short nap at the LAX terminal, welcoming at first, lost any comfort just after a minute rest on a hard bench. Jesus kept readjusting, moving and contorting his body, but with each change brought more discomfort. He worries. He hopes no business colleague recognizes him in his disheveled state. He rubs his neck. He worries if the knot on his neck developed in the crammed three hour ride from Pachuca to Mexico City.

            On the bus, Jesus felt unease when pictures and video were taken of him and other riders before pulling away from the bus parking lot. Bus depots deal with a large volume of travelers just as much as airports fly within the country. With the ever increasing violence in the rural areas, Jesus started to notice the security measure taken. He really didn’t think the “Big Brother” surveillance would help, if having a picture of a chiqui-narco, may track recent movements but the major narcos are in hiding in outfitted caves like Osama Bin Laden. Or they’ll just hide in plain sight at a Cancun beach who has football stars like legendary Hugo Sanchez as their neighbor. Or has four time World Cup Mexican captain soccer player as their drug money launderer. Feels like everyone in Mexico is washed in drug money. As the bus pulls out of the depot and begins its long windy drive to Mexico City, Jesus peers outside his window and sees the park where as a kid he ran circles among the life size dinosaurs. As a child they were alive to him, as the sun sets, for a brief moment he is a child climbing on top of the T Rex.

            Jesus decides to give up on the nap, and he notices a group of men huddled around a flat screen television watching a breaking news update. Jesus’ déjà vu is nauseating. When the attacks on the trade center in New York City occurred, people huddled. Hurricane Katrina, and the Boston Marathon, more huddles. Oddly, each occurrence he happened to be in an American airport. Yet when a mass grave of Central Americans was discovered people went along with their day. Some lives are more important than others, he thought as he swiped away on his smart phone. Jesus is tall. Tall for a Mexican, Americans and Western Europeans would say to him. Jesus came from a long line of tall men. His father, and other men in his family are tall. With light sandy skin and brown hair, he was often mistaken as a northeastern American or a British gentleman. Jesus always chose his outfits out of a Ralph Lauren catalog or tailored his suits in New York while on his business trips. The men who are Mexican but not from Mexico, he can tell the difference, are watching an international friendly between Mexico and Ecuador. The men are either ex-nationals or American born Mexicans. Chicanos, they called themselves. Jesus didn't think they were Mexican. These chicanos always spoke as if their Mexico as a diasporic nation. A nation betrayed by western European capitalists. Jesus did not see it that way. Football games are never friendly, especially playing any nation from Central and South America. They hate us, he thought.

"¿Cómo van?"

“Mexico is up one nil” someone responded from the group.

“Who scored? Where are they playing? And why are they wearing black jerseys?”

They answered nonchalantly, “Chicharito,” others addded “Chichadios, yes yes, Chichadios.” The Los Angeles Colosseum.

Now that’s a great way to name a stadium, Jesus thought.

With these questions, each men turned their heads for a brief second to acknowledge a Mexican who didn’t follow the Mexican National team and each gave Jesus a quizzical look. The Mexican National Team was of very little interest to Jesus, they have always failed to go past the second round of the World Cup since 1986. Since Hugo. Always disappointing.

            Halftime 1-0.

A special report about the growing humanitarian crisis of ISIS and their growing trail of scorched earth at 10 PM. The men who had earlier had been watching the game in unison turned away from the television and are now buried into their phones. Jesus remembers the same attitude his close friends had shown when a massacre and mass grave of Central American people were discovered in Tamaulipas in 2010. And then later in 2011. A friend from his adolescent years, who worked with higher politics of el PRI showed him cell phone videos recovered from victims and their killers on a sleek laptop. Carlos Rojas had all the videos on his laptop. Jesus simply inquired on his friend’s current mood which led to the laptop and videos.

Gang rapes.

Gladiator style combats between the men taken as prisoners, including one where they fight an African lion with a full mane and all. After viewing the death of a small child being split in two with a machete, Jesus felt nausea. The same feeling returned seeing the children handing out knives to the ISIS executors. Boko Haram. Al-Shabaa. Zetas. ISIS. Third world countries with their glorified, Hollywood gore.

            Without Jesus asking, the Doyer fan says his family is from Baja California, but that he was born in Los Angeles. Jesus knows how much a sports loving country the United States is, he once went to an Oakland Raiders game with American vendors. He was in town for a conference. He ended up covered in beer because the surrounding fans were celebrating a touchdown, which in that year rarely occurred for the Raiders, he was told. The Doyer fan kept chatting about how well Mexico is playing, the Chicharito goal was amazing. Jesus knew that Mexicans who are either Mexican born but live in the United States or Americans born of Mexican parents have a an undying love for the Mexican National Football Team. Soon after the game ends, the Doyer fan and his friends hop on a flight to Las Vegas. They will celebrate their friends’ engagement with strippers, the groom will regret his decision to sleep with a hooker that his groomsmen recorded which uploaded with his bride to be shared icloud account.

Jesus’s flight to San Francisco will soon start his boarding.

            Jesus stayed at the Hotel Des Arts on a previous trip to San Francisco. The hotel is located in the Financial District, or the FiDi, as the touristic map reads, the heart of the San Francisco business district. He is given a bright colored room with luchadores painted on each side wall of the room.  Earlier in the week, on Facebook, he saw the death of a luchador during a match. The man throws himself onto the ropes and lands awkwardly on his neck. There is no sign of life afterwards, even when his body is pushed onto the canvas and another man shakes his head, as if Simba was awaking Mufasa. The friend never wakes up. Jesus wonders why he was given this room, he realizes the assumption of the Asian hotel desk clerk. Or maybe it was a little bit of revenge for staring at her cleavage during the check-in.

            The mural outside the hotel is uniquely Mexican, Jesus thinks, maybe Saner or Curiot. He has seen similar works in Mexico City, his wife would know. He snaps a picture on his iPhone and sends it to his wife. He realizes he should have seen her before making the trip. She has lived with her mother for the past year as her mother struggles in the early stages of Alzheimers. The weather is crisp, even for San Francisco as a wind whips through the air. The walk is not far, and with no incidents.

            Jesus loved the kookiness of San Francisco, the poor lived among the city, pushing their carts filled off with recyclables and camping gear. He had attended the American Academy of Dermatology conference yearly since the start of his business. A venture, which at first his father did not approve of, but ultimately sided with his son as the successes quickly came with the company. They are now part owners. The conference this year takes place in San Francisco as the show rotates between other cities. Last year in Chicago, which he enjoyed but the conference felt to be in the outskirts of the city. The large conference halls and the hotels were all connected to each other. He didn’t explore Chicago.  Next year Washington DC, which seems a step down from San Francisco, will be his first time at the American capital. Jesus meets his vendors, places orders for the next few months, shops for newer products and replace the ones he can no longer procure at the efficiency and price he needs them to be for his rich clients in Mexico.

            An acquaintance suggests a few sit-down restaurants near the convention center, but Jesus explains he wants something quick and simple, not to ruin his appetite for the business dinner he was invited to at an Indian restaurant, Amber. Good Indian food is hard to find in Pachuca or Mexico City. The convention center food does little to whet his appetite, as he finds soggy Cuban sandwiches or salads riddled with whittled lettuce. A line that snakes around the corner is for crepes, but he would rather not wait, while all the women in line seems to be Brazilian, beautiful and contestants of Miss BumBum. Jesus heads up the escalators to the street level. On his morning walk from the hotel he noticed a small taqueria by the name of Chipotle, and he thought of his mother’s chipotle sauce. A small taste of the sauce would instantly make any type of food taste better, help clear your sinuses and extended your erection for an extra five minutes. He often joked with his mother that she found the secret to a happy marriage and she should sell it.

Up the escalators and outside to a San Francisco street, Jesus took his steps towards the Chipotle taqueria in hopes that their chipotle salsa was at least halfway decent. He knew it couldn’t be as good as the salsa borracha he makes. He passes a place that sells Vietnamese sandwiches which has a line out the door. When he steps through the glass doors of Chipotle he is not greeted by those wonderful smells that any taqueria in Mexico has. American music is blaring through the place. He picks up a menu and is slightly disappointed, the restaurant menu is a cheap taqueria that only offers a few meats. He shakes his head. No tripas. No cabeza. No lengua. No. No. No. While that Journey song plays on and on.

            Jesus orders the al pastor, not on the menu, but the first rule of customer service is to never say no to the client. They say no, gleefully. He orders the carnitas. No again, because of their sustainability standards they are short on supply of pork. He orders three carne asada tacos, but is disappointed with the cubed cut meats. As he is paying he is charged for the extra pico and guacamole, no matter, Jesus has not eaten since having a bite at the Parisian cafe. He pours himself a water, and reaches over a man who had suddenly appeared as if from the thin air itself. Jesus wanted to say excuse me, but he was only made of aware of his presence after he had reached over to grab napkins and utensils. The man who had been in a deep stare into nothingness turns to Jesus and in a booming voice asks if Jesus is too good to say excuse me. Knowing well the mistake he made, and the cultural responsibility of a foreigner trying to fit in, Jesus decides to apologize and move on.

            The man now yelling, “So you think you are better than me? Oh you too classy for me huh? You should be ashamed of yourself, you ain’t a real Mexican, you ain’t eating real Mexican food they could sell you green dog shit and you would still buy it, you should be embarrassed that you are eating here! You ain’t shit! Fucking idiots! All of you! This ain’t real Mexican food! Ha! Ha!”

            Jesus wasn't sure what to do next. He continued eating his tacos, which are subpar at best. The tortillas ripped apart. And the pico de gallo had a watered-down taste. The guacamole had a stinging metallic taste at first touch on his tongue. Did they use fake lemon juice, he thought. Did the onions go bad? Jesus just couldn’t take enough of the harassment, he quickly stands up and turns around but finds the manager escorting the man out. The threat of calling the police was enough for him to leave.

            Jesus leaves their fake Mexican food and their fake Aztec idols behind him.

            Later that night, Jesus ventures out to the Mission district on advice from acquaintances he met in San Francisco. After his dinner with clients at Amber, Jesus decides on oysters and visits the oyster bar that was featured on some CNN show. He tried each rare oyster. The massive erection he felt was at first welcoming but would lead Jesus to a string of bad choices which included a dyed blonde vixen. After buying her dinner, and some beers, he leaves the bar with her and never thought once of his wife.

            She takes him to a small dive bar and the live band was performing mariachi songs as a metal band and then metal songs as a mariachi group. Jesus immediately fell in love with the idea. A band made up of five men; all of them in tights, the trumpeter wearing a sombrero with spikes and matching shoulder pads, the guitar player wears a red mariachi jacket with ranchero boots, the lead singer is in a jeans vest and a red bandana, and he holds his long locks back, and the violinist is shirtless wearing a sombrero with Christmas LED lights. Jesus is pleasantly surprised. This is what it means to be chicano, he muses. The violinist goes on a solo and is playing out of his mind. With each note he gyrates as if an invisible woman stood in-front of him, then all of them start to perform. They play Volver, Volver, then Santeria and Immigrant song.

            The blonde with heavy lip liner and tattooed eyebrows, has her arms wrapped around Jesus. She whispers in his ears to go back to her place, it is just around the corner. She does look a bit like Selena, the Texan singer, Jesus thought. But Jesus has had too much to drink and his mind now wanders. The oyster, the beer and the music makes the moment hard to pass up. Her accent was broken English mixed in with broken Spanish. The oysters and the Anchor Steam was a great choice to wake up his libido but not great for his logic. He goes with her.

            Her room is filled with mirrors, and she admires herself naked in them. He has never seen a woman take off her clothes as with one or two simple gestures. She turned and ask Jesus what he was waiting for. There was no kissing, but she asked for oral sex. Does she really have lip liner on her vaginal lips, Jesus thought, as he caught the smell of aquanet. When he tried to be on top of her, she said to wait. She turned herself, on her knees facing away from Jesus but towards a mirror. On one of her ribs are the words of a Pablo Neruda poem sketched in old English.

“Cutting all the flowers but cannot keep Spring from coming”

            She asked what he was waiting for. Powered by all of those oysters, Jesus began to thrust inside her with all his might. His first thought was not of his infidelity, Jesus did not care, but was a scene from Game of Thrones, when the young girl is sold to a horse lord. He fucks her under the open moon in the tall grass. Jesus is overwhelmed by this and decides to look in the mirror and he sees his Daenerys quivering in pleasure or in pain underneath. Her ass jiggles with each thrust. He grabs her by the hips and continues in a fast rhythm for another ten minutes. She pleads to Jesus to hurry up. When he does finish, she runs into the restroom and flushes the toilet. Jesus, knowing how strong the ejaculation was, probably came an oyster. As he finishes, he muttered in her ear “Winter just came.” He then passes out on the bed.

            Jesus awakens to the breathing of a balding heavy-set man in his forties holding a bat over him. Not her father, but another lover. All covered in crazy tattoos that are reminiscent of scenes in bad Russian mafia movies. In what had to be fueled by the oysters still in his system, Jesus with one push, snatches the bat away from him and into the old ass cholo.

            Down the stairs out the door into the Mission. Nude. But it is San Francisco and no one cares. He runs and turns the block and finds himself on Mission Street and falls in front of an art gallery. Forgetting his vulnerability, he looks inside and sees the art of Curiot, the bright feathered colors of a masked man covered in fur juggling smaller men. The cholo who is now twenty yards away from him suddenly stops his chase. Jesus falls to his knees and begins to vomit bright colored small furry men, the first one landed on his feet and looked up at him, the others that followed kept flopping on the floor. Flopping like professional football players and they begin to gesticulate to one another. An officer appears and asks Jesus if he is a drunk nudist. What drugs are he on? He points towards the shirtless cholo. Jesus answers the officers questions as they piece the events together. Jesus can’t find the fur covered little men he gave birth to. “Do you want to press charges?” the officers ask.

“No, I only want my clothes and belongings back” Jesus responds.

The officer turns away, approaches the cholo, and with each step he laughs.