“What the hell is this shit?” Jose’ whispered snappily.
Apparently watching two dudes make out hardcore wasn’t something he was used to. This kind of took me by surprise considering he’d spent two years in the Federal Pen. Wasn’t that like day one shit? Dude’s making out? I fought back against my chuckles, stifling them as best I could. Just moments before during the stripper scene, I’d felt his hand inching up the inside of my thigh. The theater was light, not many people coming out to see “Exotica”. We certainly hadn’t intended to endure it either but everything else was sold out. I didn’t protest as his fingers crept closer to where they wanted to be, the whole situation a cliché’ turn on. Then the tides shifted and the male characters started getting extremely familiar, there might as well have been a bear trap between my legs after that.
“I didn’t pay for this gay shit.” He was getting louder now, restraint a fading priority.
“Shhh…” I pleaded. “Calm down. And I paid for this shit so…chill. O.k.?”
Jose’ pulled his black baseball cap lower over his intimidating glare. Those eyes, they were green or brown...something...some color. What I remember most is that they were formidable, always calculating, sizing up how he was going “get over”, how he’d win. His homophobic anger was clearly getting the best of him as he balled his fists, bopping them against the arm rests.
“Let’s go.” I started to grab my purse and stand but he pulled that “Mom move”, where they slam on the brakes, arm extending, blocking me back down.
“Nah…fuck that. Wait. I’m going to the bathroom.”
In a nanosecond, he’d sprung from his seat with dedicated purpose, gone up the aisle, leaving only the faint smell of Polo and midgrade leather from his 8-Ball jacket, standard issue for ghetto dickheads in the mid-nineties.
Jesus Christ. Was he going to choke out the projectionist? This was a legitimate concern going by our last date. It was low key in the Cobo Hall bar, sports on all the t.v.’s, being enjoyed by a mix of the Detroit populous. Middle class, business types, peppered with a few thugs like my escort. Guys from every walk of life seemed to dig watching amateur fighters beat the shit out of each other at the annual “Tough man Competition.” Jose’ was dragging his long tongue across my wrist, licking the salt before he downed the next tequila shot, so confident. Maybe the bartender did look at him wrong; I don’t know for sure, my eyes never left my arm molester’s, I was drowning. If he did, I’m certain he wasn’t expecting to have the “peeling of caps” and what not being threatened his way. I’d also venture a guess it was the first time in his fifty or so years alive that the clean cut barkeep had been called a “Trick ass bitch” which seemed to be quite a difficult experience for him.
He backed down. I liked it way more than a rational person should.
“What’d I miss?” Jose’ was practically whimsical as he plopped down beside me. “Did another fag show up and jam’em both in the ass with a fuckin’ golf club?”
The bill on his hat still sat low, only now it attempted to conceal a smile that was so large, it was splitting his face.
Then the coughing began.
It was sporadic at first, just here and there in the back but then it spread, washing over, enveloping, marching towards us. Every new victim incited a disturbing, muffled laugh from my companion which ultimately morphed into a howl when the young black girl in the next row got upset.
“What the fuck is happenin’?!! Are we in mutha-fuckin’ “Outbreak” or sumthin’?!!”
That’s when it hit me, what he’d done, my eyes were stinging, it was in my lungs now too as the involuntary hacking took over. The only other time I’d felt this way was a week prior at Jose’s when he decided to test the pepper spray he’d acquired on trade for a twenty sack. Merely a drop cleared the ten of us out his flat for over an hour. Going by the size of this place and how fucked up everyone was, he’d released quite a bit more this go around. The expression on his face as he coughed and laughed is not anything I can accurately describe. It was of that moment, existing only then and never again.
Through the burning hacks I was able to squeak out “You asshole…”
Then the lights came on.
“Ladies..(cough)...Gentleman... (cough), someone has released some sort of chemical in the air (cough), we think its pepper spray.” The young usher was majorly pissed. “Please stop by the ticket counter on your way out and we will refund your (cough) money. And to whoever did this- YOU are a terrible person.”
The frustrated high school kid was correct. Whoever did this was a terrible, crafty, devious human being and I’d decided that if he tried to have sex with me that night, I would totally comply.
“Y’all need to get your shit together” he chastised as we left the ticket booth, encouraging an uprising. “First I get some crazy ass macin’ me, then I gotta stand here forever waitin’ to get my money back. Fuck-ing- non-sense.”
He was completely delusional, fucked in the head and exactly the counterpart I’d been searching for over the last several months. Jose’ would surely apply the pressure to smash my self-destruct button all the way down and get this thing done once and for all. Those cats on the other side of Michigan Avenue still retained some sort of sanity, they were just training. This guy appeared to be a true connoisseur of self –annihilation and I knew that once we slept together, there would be no turning back.