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The Best of 2013
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The Nice Guy
The Love Song of...
Its Been Going Around
Dancing with the Banshee
The Last Thing You ...
I’m a man, yes I am and I can’t help but love you
Escape had been easy for Marisol this time. She watched the silvery wing of the plane arc slowly over the sunburnt and lonely Baja landscape miles below. It was always the weightless feeling of herself, infinitesimally small against the sky she craved on these flights down. The weightless high passage above and through clouds and mist to another destination. Going was always easier than coming home, for travelers like her.
Settling back into a second Bloody Mary, she pushed the contents of the soggy, tasteless airplane fare aside and let her eyes close against the sun’s bright glare. Three more hours and she’d be there. Soon enough she’d be feeling that same huge golden sun beaming deep against her soul, soon enough she’d be drinking in the local color in long draughts, and summoning the Mariachis once again to croon their reveries around her languid seaside form.
She’d left a simple note for Thom, pinned under one of the sharp little points of the estrellita on the tiled counter.
I need to get warm again, was all it said.
Marisol pictured Thom in the white sterility of their immense kitchen finding that note, later under the jeweled lantern of the star. Warmth had always been in short supply around him, anyway. She pictured him shaking his head, crumpling her note in a balled fist, and sighing slowly into the thick fog bank that was cloaking their beach town even into July this year. She could almost see him now, gazing at the sky and trying to find the evening star through mist, cracking open a Guinness. Gone. Again, he’d think. It wasn’t as if it really mattered.
Mexico was home. Mexico was Frida, and serapes, and pale yellow heart-shaped mangoes that fell from the trees into her palms. Mexico was the danger of scorpions climbing crumbling villa walls, and geckoes, and rhythms intangible that beat drumlike in her blood and sang in warm tendrils along the surface of her skin. There, she was Girasol, not Marisol. Girasol, turning relentlessly under the sky, swept spinning into sea spray—face ever turned always following the sun.Girasol dancing slow under the little estrellas scattered like jewels thrown across the thick dark jungle night, to the beat of her heart.
So dry this year, so dry, she thought, shaking her head, as the plane screamed down into a landing. The thick stands of palms appeared blistered by the heat, curling themselves brownly against the relentlessness of it, and the bright whiteblue sky. A blast furnace of dense moist air greeted her lungs, pushed up against her skin, made the curved straw hat go limp around her upturned face as she breathed in the tangled scents of dust, and dung, and that something vaguely unnamable under the surface of it all—something dark and spiced and haunted by tamarind and vine and iguana.
Something scented like sex. She descended slowly, step by step into the bright gleam of her beloved Mexico.
The best part was that nobody knew she was coming. Yelapa always beckoned after a few days at the grand hotel she favored most. Yelapa and the quiet, and the absence of ugly Americans and turistos along the Malecon.
“Mismaloya, por favor,” she said softly to the cab driver. His battered car wove its way through the dense traffic along the boulevards, spilling music, curving down to the sea at last, past Conchas Chinas, past the villas hanging off the cliffsides, down into the deeper parts of the jungle, and out again into light; finally arriving at last in the tiny beautiful cove. The older part of the hotel rose whitely stacked against the sky, and the great ring of dark sea birds circled overhead, crying sharply. Just as they always did.
One breath, one deep breath, and peace descended over Marisol.
Home. I’m home...
She flung all the doors leading onto the balcony open and gazed down the long, pale curve of beach that seemed miles below. First, she’d need some clothes, but that was easy. That was for tomorrow, anyway.
Later she’d dine at Tonio’s ramada, down the strand, but for now, just sleep—dense, untroubled sleep, after a long-awaited shower in that splendid pink marble bathroom. A shower that would wash the States and LAX right out of her soul for good.
The familiar and comforting scents of the little shell-shaped soaps and shampoos caused her to smile and hum sing-songs as she floated blissfully in their sweet assorted foams. When she was finished she drifted over as if in a dream, descending nakedly wet onto the calm and crisp white sheets—letting the balmy afternoon air sweep over her skin, like so many lover’s kisses.
She’d wait to tell Maximillian she was down. He always had so many damn plans anyway, and none of them were ever what she wanted to do.
He was so like Thom, that way, always planning and needing to be in control of everything, she mused, as she slid finally into a light untroubled sleep, her limbs wrapping and tangling into the pearlwhite cotton, the trilling birdsong lilting in the air, the sea foamily crashing below...
God, it’s good to feel hungry again, she thought. Tonio’s "Soup of the Seven Seas" seemed to wink at her from the menu, crying: “Have me, eat me!” She sipped her coco slowly, watching the chiseled bodies of the men pull the fishing boats up to shore. Younger boys ran up and down the beach with seared shrimps on sticks, and slow-grilled chunks of red snapper, and tortillas hot from their mother’s palms. The vendors came round with all manner of blankets and sarongs and silver jewelry, and soon Marisol had plenty of things to wear, afterall.
“Girasol, we’ve missed you,” said Pepito, as he fastened several more silver objects quietly around her wrists and ankles. “Have you come to buscate un otro, mi amor?”
“Pepito!” Marisol laughed softly. “No!”
She had to admit though, it was nice to feel his large bronze hands moving sultrily along her calves and arms, now weighted down with so many of his silvery charms, as they were.
“I’m going down to Yelapa, Pepito. Soon. To write.”
Tonio’s Camarónes con queso had been divine, and the broth of the “Sopa de Siete Mares,” calming. A huge yellow moon was on the rise in the bright dusk as Marisol made her tinkling way back up the beach to the hotel; a pack of small crazy dogs trailing behind her, her arms filled with brightly colored items, masks and blankets...
A giant pool full of drunken American tourists were screaming and splashing in the water, as she climbed the steps through the big arches leading to her Sardinian-looking terrasse.
“Yeah dude, rad, let’s go to the Hard Rock later,” came floating at her on the breeze.
Fuck, she thought. I came down here to get away from you.
“Cocos Locos, Cocos Locos, Cocos Locos,” they chanted in unison, hoisting the giant green cocos full of rum above their heads and banging them down before the bartenders in attendance. Too many toppled coconuts to mention lined the swim-up bar of the largest pool.
Palm frond hats and souvenir T-shirts floated eerily all around them in the illuminated water. Obviously they’d been in there for hours.
Their pale rippling gringo flesh shook in the early moonlight, too grande for words.
No wonder they think of you as ugly Americans, Marisol thought.
Estúpidos. Gorditos. Pinche vatos..
Yelapa it is, manana.
Pepito appeared suddenly, and took her elbow in the quickening darkness. “Querida, no te preocupes...”
He knew how much she hated seeing his little village destroyed by them. How much she hated to see them try and bargain all the vendors down, as if their handicrafts meant nothing.
“Tomorrow they will be eaten alive anyway,” he grinned.
Girasol began to laugh, shaking her head back and forth, thinking of the giant welts that would appear all over their thick flabby bodies.
It was the no-see-ums, all right. Every time, especially this late in the season.
¡Vamos a mi fiesta!
Pepito could always be counted on for fun. Girasol deposited all her finds in the hotel room, changed into her new sarong with a giant picture of Frida Kahlo on it, and joined him—letting him lead the way up the dirt road into his village, just up the hill. The little wild perros trailed behind them all the way.
A big fiesta was already underway in the village. Roosters and chickens and little pigs rambled and tumbled through the dust, and the mariachis were tuning up. Everybody was starting to sway and dance under the moonlight, as the palms rustled overhead. Marisol began to loosen, swirling among them, dancing first with Pepito, and then Ramon, and then Rogelio, and Allesandro, his hermanos. Out came the Pacifica's con limón.
Women sat on their front steps, fanning themselves in the night air, and shy little girls tugged at Marisol’s hands, wanting to dance with la gringa simpatica. A gigantic iguana rumbled across the dusty road and Marisol laughed again. This was her tribe, not those others. Not those ugly gringos back at the big hotel just down the road.
Her wrists and ankles jingled with all the glimmery silver charms that now adorned them. Her bare feet sang a samba, and her hands reached to cup the moon in the sky, breasts dancing under her thin white camisole, as she embraced it. Thoughts of Thom, and Maximillian, and “duty” (whatever that was) were far, far away.
“You can have Tito’s little casita by the river, if you want, so you can write your poems,” Pepito whispered at her ear. “Tomorrow I’ll make the arrangements with Enrique.”
“Gracias, Pepe,” Marisol whispered, softly against his neck. “Gracias, compadre.”
The thought of going back to the brashness of the turistas was disturbing, but Marisol knew she had to. All she wanted now was to sleep, the way that Mexico always made her sleep. Tomorrow Yelapa beckoned, would become real. She’d press further south, deeper down the coast—to the bay of tortugas if she had to.
In the middle of the night, the harsh sounds of fucking on the hotel balcony next door awakened her. A woman was mumbling drunkenly, repeating “Cocos Locos, Cocos Locos,” and Marisol wandered out to see if she was all right. She recognized them at once from the pool.
Two men had the woman pinned to the chaise lounge, and one was pulling her bikini bottom down over her plump jiggling thighs. Her dirty blonde streaked hair hung limply across her sunburned face. She was grinning lewdly. The other man pulled at his stiffening cock while he held her wrists together, with one hand. Two other women watched giggling, half-undressed, at this fleshy spectacle, awaiting their turns, wearing the requisite matching caps that identified their kind.
Marisol rolled her eyes. It was obvious she wasn’t going to return to Mismaloya anytime soon. Thank god for Pepito. Tomorrow the taxi-boats would spirit her away.
Over a breakfast of thinly sliced mango, strawberry papaya, tiny pan dulces and spiced hot chocolate, Marisol glanced secretly over at her neighbor’s table. They looked positively green around the gills, after last night and that lurid pornographic tableaux they’d formed on the balcony. Red bites were starting to flare over their sunburned skin, and their bloodshot eyes tried to hide themselves away from the light of the glistening morning sun. The sea crashed blue-green against the yellow sand, and the little groups of perros roamed about snuffling the sand for scraps.
Marisol’s cell phone had started to chime, inside her packed bag. It would be Thom, she thought. By now he’d put two and two together, and figured she’d come down to see Maximillian. She didn’t anwser it.
Pepe’s open boat ran up on the beach. ¡Vamos Girasol! He cried, smiling.
The little casita she loved so very much would be waiting. The brilliant hammocks would be strung between the coconut palms and there would be the quiet surf breaks, the wild parrots, and Juanito’s shrimp cocktails under the palapas at dusk. And her horses. She’d find what she’d come looking for perhaps, once they were further south.
Maybe in his arms, she thought, as she walked towards him, smiling.
Pepito helped Marisol into the open taxi-boat. All the other passengers crowded on too, right behind them—some bringing animals, and food to tide them over till their next trips up to Vallarta. It was so crowded that Marisol couldn't stop laughing. She could never figure out how the drivers managed to speed these things through the water with so many passengers aboard. It took finesse and daring.
More people were going to be getting on at Boca, too, at the river's mouth.
Enrique’s casita was in Quimixto, just to the north of Yelapa. Pepe had family, friends, and connections there, in the hills above, so getting the place for Girasol had been easy. He’d known ‘Rique since childhood. They were best friends.
What a relief, she thought. I am so glad to be out of there.
She gave a last glance back at the hotel as the water taxi raced away down the coast.
¡Adiós mi La Jolla de Mismaloya! she sighed into the breeze.
Pepe’s chiseled bronze form leaned into her as the boat planed and smacked down hard curving against the strong currents. Sea spray swept over everyone in a fine cooling mist as they raced along, the dolphins in their wake leaping playfully.
Her sarong parted accidentally, exposing a pearly thigh. She hadn’t had a chance to really start tanning yet. Pepe’s eyes swept slowly over her bare almondine skin. His glance didn’t escape her. He put his arm around her, and let his hand rest casually at her hip, caressing it softly. Girasol didn’t flinch. He was so sexy that...
“Pepe, whatever happened to Santiago?”
“You mean that pinche mariachi you liked last year?”
“Two years, Pepito,” she sighed. “Two years.”
“He’s...” and Pepe swished his wrist back and forth. “Not un hombre, Girasol. He’s gone to Mexico City.”
Pepe threw back his head and started laughing and laughing.
“ ¡No es posible!”
“Qué lástima para ti, mi amor. You loved him, no?”
Fuck, thought Marisol. God, Santiago had been handsome. She’d been thinking of his face the whole time she’d been away—the way he crooned his songs, fingers moving over that guitar. And now, he was gay. Damn.
It’s always the best looking ones, she thought. Always. It had been so easy to imagine the mariachi Santiago making love to her; easy to imagine those flashing dark eyes boring holes into her while his thick member thrust itself inside; again and again, impaling her on the Mexican sand under moonlight. His eyes had been so endlessly, endlessly beautiful. His fingers could have strummed...
At least she was glad Pepe had told her the truth about him before it was too late, before her loco fantasies about that vato went any further. She burst out laughing too, mostly at her own foolishness.
“¡Pepe!” For a minute Marisol wanted to punch him.
The little battered boom box on the boat had been blaring old 70’s tunes from Chicago and Santana. She shifted in her seat, pulling the sarong together over her exposed thigh, and tucking it under herself.
This music was so very cool to hear deep down in the heart of coastal Mexico. She knew the casita would be stocked full of it, too. That crazy Enrique loved it. He even loved Disco, which made everyone laugh and laugh when he started dancing like a total surfing maddog around his longboard.
“Cocos Locos,” she laughed, leaning into Pepito. ¿Y pues?...
“I’m a man, yes I am...” he sang, right into her ear in a soft whisper like a tickle.
¿Y pues?...he smiled at her.
“Cocos Locos, you vato...,” she laughed, banging her shoulder against him, instead, and smiling.
They didn’t speak much on the rest of the way down, but Pepe’s thigh pressed warmly against the thin turquoise batik of her butterfly-covered sarong for the rest of the trip. Girasol couldn’t help but notice his heat. Or her own, building increasingly towards him, since last night’s fiesta. The way he had danced...it was...well, he was...suave.
You vato, Santiago. I’ll show you, she thought.
A long week of writing poems stretched ahead of her glimmering full of promise; and Pepe and Enrique would be surfing most of the time they were down there, anyway—just like they always did. Maybe Pepito and I...
Girasol could already feel the strong burn of the sun beginning to leach her bones of the cold she always felt in the States. She wanted to breathe that flaring sun right down inside herself, so that she would always remember Mexico lived there, in her, even in the coldest months at home.
She almost wanted to fuck the sun itself—feel him come in her.
Again she shifted, restlessly, against the hard wooden plank of her seat. Pepe’s fragranced skin was so close, next to her. He smelled of cloves and salt and ginger. Cosas tropical. She let her right breast come to rest against his arm—so naked, pale and full under her camisole, and listened to his sharp exhale. Their dance had begun. Pepe watched her nipples rise against the thin white cotton as she leaned into his skin, so cinnamon-bronze, so close. He buried his face in her tangled wind-whipped hair.
“Querida...,” he whispered.
"¿Qué?," she whispered, looking into his eyes.
She watched as his hard-on strained to lift against the tight confines of his surf trunks. It had been there last night when they danced, too. He’d pressed her so closely and tightly under the palms—dancing her up against the old crumbling wall of the Villa de la Luz and inclining himself firmly against her thigh, while he kissed her neck slowly. He’d made her wet.
Pepito had been so very hard against her, in the dark of the village, under the deep dense cover of the jungle night—as if he’d wanted to ask a question of her parted thighs. Marisol didn’t know it, but he had wanted her for a long, long time. He’d watched her with Santiago, and been jealous of the way she had been looking at that vato for the last few years, on her trips down. He’d have her for himself, he thought. This year. But there was no hurry...
Suddenly Quimixto came into view, around the last bend of coastline.
Horses stood drinking knee deep in the shallows of the river amidst clusters of snowy white egrets scattered the banks like sentinels. The boat bounced sharply against the sand, running ashore. Pepe’s hands grazed her hips as he helped her off, curving themselves along her flanks. Enrique’s casita lay just ahead a few hundred yards up the cove, right on the sand.
Marisol sighed. It was so beautiful, just as she remembered it.
“Ay, Pepe, gracias compadre,” she smiled at him, happy to be away from all the turistas at last.
"¡Vamos chica!," Pepe cried, laughing and slinging her traveling bags over his shoulder, grabbing her hand, and running them up the beach to the house. All the shutters were closed—it had been months since anyone had been down. They flung all the windows open at once, freeing the casita to the breeze.
“You rest aqui, Girasol,” he said, tumbling her into one of the big brightly colored Guatemalan hammocks, and swinging it. Marisol watched him navigate his way down the sand to the far palapas.
Paraiso, she thought.
He’d be going now to find some fish, papas, and tortillas down the beach for them. She sighed in the light wind blowing in offshore and watched the glittering sea stretch before her for vast uncharted miles. “Paraiso,” she whispered into the warm breeze, rocking slowly, pushing off the soft sand with one foot, to and fro, as the green coconut palm fronds shimmered high above her in the heat.
She fell out of a simple dream into the sensation of something creeping slowly up her bare thigh. A baby iguana. Pepito was laughing, as she shrieked for him to take it away. “¡Demonio!”
“Pepito,” she cried as he grabbed up one of her feet and began to suckle its arch, maddeningly.
“¡Diablo!” she kicked at him.
But soon his soft wet tongue began to trace its way down her leg, and she went speechless as his hands peeled her sarong aside and reached to undo the tiny strings of her suit.
“¡Que bonita!” he whispered.
He leaned over her and planted kisses all along her belly, all along her thigh, and then descended a finger against her heated sex.
“Pepe,” she exhaled softly, quivering at his touch. In another second he had stripped the rest of her clothes off, and his surf trunks.
Suddenly naked he lunged upon her pale curved form in the hammock, a cinnamon tigre growling. A thousand kisses later, it seemed, the two of them tumbled onto the sand, rolling against each other, over each other, their long hair tangling together.
“Vamos, bella,” he said quietly, leading her to the edge of the sea.
They dove in ensemble and came up for air in each other’s arms, as her legs wrapped around his hips in the warm, soft current.
“You can forget that pinche Santiago, now, Girasol. Y su esposo, también,” he whispered at her ear, before diving inside her; swift as a dolphin, thrusting himself hard, rocking her undulating waves, his hips arcing against her flesh as her head fell backwards and he devoured her throat in hard kisses like an animal hungry for its prey.
She was swallowed alive against his lips, and his tongue, and the way his mouth took her nipples, again and again as the warm little waves lapped against them. His fingers found her clitoris, found the rosebud of her ass, and took them, too, taking everything, and wiping all her sadness away in his fierce embrace.
“Forget them, Girasol,” he whispered sharply, as she came, stiffening suddenly and silently against him, her body jerking and thrashing in the water, her mouth silently screaming against the sky. He wrapped her tightly to him, still hard as rock inside her.
“Enrique and I will make you forget, mi amor.”
Girasol buried her face into his neck, as her arms locked around him and sighed deeply.
“We will make you forget all of them, no? The ones who have disappointed you como Santiago. But now I will feed you.”
A light mist had started rolling in over the dusky sea. They watched the fireball of the sun slip away inside it for another few minutes.
Purply, the dusk slowly descended around them. Girasol was lost in a reverie against him. So small they were, together in the sea, just holding each other...
“Pepe...” she whispered, as he wrapped her later in a fresh sarong and the bright cotton blankets and put on some old Santana music from their early days. There was something she wanted to express to him and yet; a cloud of old familiar music suddenly surrounding her in the casa stopped her.
“Abraxsis, Pepe!” she laughed softly, as he began to whip up a simple Ceviche for the two of them.
“I haven’t heard this in so long,” she sighed.
“Bailar, corazon, si te queires,” he said quietly, running his hands again over her full breasts before lighting all the little votive candles. Marisol danced against the flickering light, swaying back and forth over the cool polished tiles—his silver charms flashing against the tiny lights, tinkling against her skin.
Later that night, as he entered her again, and their limbs tangled together, he whispered about how Enrique would hold her, soon, as they fucked for hours. How he wanted Enrique to watch as his long hard penis curved up inside her parted thighs, pressing in and out, slickly.
How he wanted to kiss her as Enrique took her from behind, his own hands curling into hers, fingers tightly interlaced, as Abraxsis played softly in the background, and the waves crashed just outside—the night tide rolling in. Or at the waterfalls, the three of them sunning themselves like lizards, then crashing against each other, skin sweeping against skin. Tres colores.
We can make her forget them, he thought. She will write her poems about it.
Marisol was drifting off next to him as he told her these stories of the three of them.
She was tumbling into a deep dreamless sleep against him, arms curled around him—sleeping the deep lullaby that Mexico sang for her, always.
“No te preocupes, mi amor, the sea will wash them all away from you, these old lovers and pinche vatos como Santiago,” he whispered softly.
Yes, he thought to himself, This week, I have her.
La flor de Mismaloya. Girasol, la gringa simpatica.
While she slept, he stroked her long soft hair, that rippled in endless salt-laced sun-streaked tendrils across his chest.
Just thinking about it made him so hard again, it almost hurt.
Copyright © 1996 and on, Erotica Readers Association, Inc.
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