At last the final installment detailing the trip that began my life as a traveler and storyteller. This is 100% True.
There was not much time between my return from her hotel and our scheduled farewell dinner that night. The other folks who had been part of the scuba trip not mentioned here in these stories now seemed to be all around me. I did not like any of them and did my best to steer clear of the stubby business guy, the used car salesman, and of course the snobby teens who had all been there for Scuba.
I had not been there for SCUBA, I was there for discovery of a much more telling variety. I was at the time a little sad I had not made friends with the main-streamers and over the course of the next 20+ years of travel I would learn why. I do not tick off boxes on a life agenda. I do not go where lines are long and patience is a requirement. I don’t obey traffic laws when the law is not applicable to good sense, and I have always known that what goes on in Mexico does NOT stay in Mexico, it lives within us the rest of our lives.
I wanted dinner to be over quickly. I had to get to the Scaramouche and meet her tonight. I was sure that it was just the unfamiliar nature of our hotel room that held her back that day and like any self-respecting hormonal teenage boy, I could not go home to the gang without a real conquest. Besides, I had the sack to lead her from the dance floor one night. I could surely do it again.
I had been at Scaramouche almost an hour. This time I was fueled on lime daiquiris and nervous hope that the sinking feeling in my stomach was not a harbinger of doom. I was growing tired of the music and I was alone. The crew was all still at the farewell dinner and Scaramouche was not on the evening’s agenda for the boys. They were planning to visit the beach disco Maya 2000 that night as it was purported to have a greater abundance of local flavor and in all honesty, cheaper drinks.
I paced back and forth looking like a caged animal waiting to pounce. I wanted to tell her I was sorry if I went too fast, hoping she would say no, you weren’t going fast enough. I was ready to say so much when I finally spotted her. Somehow she had made her way into the club and was already on the dance floor and she was dancing with “Tony Montana”. That sonofabitch! I could not believe it was him and I really could not believe he was wearing the same damned clothes. His hips were moving like they were on a swivel and my girl was smiling at him like she had just been given a new puppy.
Writing this right now I can feel my stomach turn with a sense of enormous loss and dreamlike disbelief at recalling this moment from over twenty years ago. I think it may be because I have experienced the feeling several times in my life since that night,and each time it cleaved a bit of fat from my soul.
I pushed down the remaining drops of my limey drink as I watched this dirty derelict steal my glory. I waited patiently and completely on edge till I saw her break for the restroom. I quickly followed and caught her near the front door.
Me: what the hell is going on with you?
Her: excuse me
Me: You told me to meet you here and I was waiting for an hour and now you are dancing with that thug
Her: you don’t own me, I can dance with who I want
Me: yeah, but we were supposed to hang out
Her: well things change
Me: what do you mean
Her: I mean, he gets it, he met me before I met you and I wasn’t sure until now, but he gets it
Me: really? this thug gets it? come talk to me outside
Me: so we can talk without this fucking music goddamnit
Her: oh, blasphemy now…its not worth it
Me: oh you are a good girl now…? come outside (taking her arm and getting as far as the stairs before she pulled away) I want you to come with me to the other club and I am sorry I was too forward
Her: I am not leaving with you
Suddenly like the fucking Myna bird from the 1930s cartoons I saw him from the corner of my eye smoking a cigarette along the sea wall. How did he get there I thought. I saw him motion to her and then puff out his chest like a bird on the Discovery Channel towards me. I was admittedly taken aback and I wished to God the donde boys had been there to deal him a death-blow.
She pulled away from me completely and began walking towards the creepy pirate. She looked over her shoulder after about 10 paces and in a partial whisper said, “I’m sorry”
As they met he took her hand and they began to stroll along the wall and I assumed to his place where he would lay claim to my loving cup.
I hollered out to whoever would be able to hear me, “Blasphemy? Really?” and then mumbled a curse under my breath and hailed a cab.
I arrived at the Maya 2000 with a heavy heart. The place was empty and the music was terrible. I was determined to return the Mojo that had been just stolen from me and I was going to do it in cavalier fashion. I ordered a rum and coke (a drink I despise to this day) and looked for a willing victim. At this point in the evening the club was sparsely dotted with aging douche bags and their leathery wives. I knew things were bumping back at Scaramouche but there was no way I was going back there. Besides, I knew my people would eventually arrive here.
After about 20 minutes of bad drink and awful music I made my way to the DJ booth to request a song. In the booth was a 5’5″ 250 pound snowball in white with a beard and mustache. He was the color of burned caramel and had hands like a hobbit. I asked him in broken Spanish if I could hear a song. He cupped his hand to his ear suggesting he could not hear me and so I repeated myself more loudly at which point he looked at me and said:
SB - El DJ está ahí (the DJ is there)
Me: ¿dónde? (here)
SB - que está allí (he’s over there)
Me: él? el baile tipo? (him? the guy dancing?)
SB - sí, que lo es
The DJ was a man of about 45, lean, with slick hair and dressed entirely in white. His shirt was perfectly pressed with embroidered patterns running along the center of the shirt and finished by crocheted buttons. It appeared like everyone knew him and he definitely seemed like he had no interest in returning to the DJ booth.
The Snowball looked at me again and motioned for me to come in the booth. He seemed edgy like he had someplace to be and quickly. He pointed to a stack of records in crates and suggested I choose my song from there.
The smell of the warm amplifiers and the whirl of lights on the equipment hit me like a shot of courage from the Korova Milk Bar. Was this fat little Mayan going to let me at the helm of the Club 2000?
Sure enough he pointed to the volume, fader, cross-fader, and the video controls as he watched me queue up my first pick Rock me Amadeus by Falco. In moments I was headset over one ear and working towards bleeding in a little Need you Tonight by INXS. The system was crystal clear and after my first two songs Snowball left me on my own. I watched the DJ as he held court with no less than a dozen gorgeous women on the floor. He periodically made gestures to the booth suggesting approval for the choices made by his fat little colleague (who was now back at the bar serving drinks).
After about 35 minutes of my spinning records the place was filling rapidly, and that is when I spotted the donde boys. They tore in the front door and crashed to the bar where Snowball served them tall drinks. I knew as I saw my father stroll into the club with BR and the rest of the guests, including the tee-totaling teens that my moment to shine was then. I knew I had once shot to show them why I didn’t SCUBA, why losing a girl would not bring me down, and why the real DJ must have been in fact an island angel in white.
I brought the lights down and left the disco ball and blue lights engaged. The place was honestly too dark to walk easily but the mood was sexy as hell. I faded out the beat and slowly brought up the opening of George Michael’s Father Figure and as I watched the dancers grow antsy over the slow pace I faded into the Beastie Boys:
” LET ME CLEAR MY THROAT” – belted the lyrics on a volume level I am sure the audio system at the Maya 2000 had never attained before or since. “kick it over here baby pop and let all the fly skimmies feel the beat…..ummmmm DROP! BOOM BOOM BOOM! went the bass as The lights flickered and the woofers lurched forward to the point of pulling at their housings and sounding like a Mexican cabbie grinding the rusty gears of an ancient taxi. The wind from the speakers blew up skirts and shorts on the dance floor as the Beasties screamed “coolin on a corner on a hot summer’s day”. Snowball ran from the bar and the DJ spun in complete horror as I, in one sweet moment of audio overload, was completely destroying the Disco Maya 2000.
Snowball got to me first as he pulled hard on the volume lever like a pilot of a Cessna trying to bring the plane out of a terminal dive. I was laughing with joy as I cross-faded into Erasure’s A Little Respect when the DJ met me in utter disbelief of my presence. However, soon he was all smiles because there were dancing bodies across the club cheering and smiling at thebpm onslaught.
Not only had I taken the bridge of a dead club just one hour before as a 17-year-old kid from Texas I had brought it to heights of success and jubilant celebration that I knew was not happening at the hated Scaramouche. Somewhere on the island Tony Montana was being introduced to American Blue-Balls but I was having the most triumphant moment of the most exciting week of my life.
When the DJ walked me down from the booth to meet my waiting father I could tell the two men must have recognized one another as there was a bit of an awkward pause before the DJ he asked my dad if I would be back tomorrow. My dad smiled and said that I was 17 and I had to get back to Texas and to school. However, I knew in my memories I would be back everyday of my life.
On the flight home the next day I could tell my father was ready to be home to his wife. I no longer knew what home was.
This is why I travel and how I almost became a Mexican DJ.