Outside the salsa bar the group said goodbye. We kissed and hugged and plans were made for other days, and they got into taxis and drove away. I was standing alone on the corner when I heard Oye and someone call my name. It was the young homosexual from the boarding house.

We greeted each other and talked of where we had been that night, the great concert at Las Canchas, and he explained he was now going to a gay club. Where was it, I inquired politely. In the south of Cali, he told me. But it is not for you, he said. No, I said, such a place would not be of interest to me. No, it is not for you, he repeated. But there was a hopefulness in his tone that I might yet decide to accompany him.

We were interrupted by two black prostitutes yelling at each other as they walked past.

The young homosexual watched after the prostitutes nervously. “I have fear here, parcero.”

“Do not have fear. I have trained as a boxer.”

He smiled uneasily. “Yes, parce, but I still have fear. It is my first time in Cali.”

I heard footsteps and a bazucero came running around the corner and seeing us he stopped. The homosexual stepped back behind me and I shifted up onto the balls of my feet. The bazucero's clothing was filthy and his face and skin darkened by dirt and sun. He stood just out of my range leering at us, wide-eyed and shaky, but I didn't yet put up my hands. I looked hard at him and began to curse him in English. He frowned and mumbled something, took a step to leave, looked again at me strangely, and then broke into a run down the street.

"What did you say, parcero?"

"It is too vile and I would not translate it to you if I could. It would damage you to know it."

The gay youth forced a smile. “Still, we must find a taxi, parce. I do not like it here. I have much fear here.” I could see he was shaken.

“We will walk to La Sexta,” I assured him. “It will be more easy to find a taxi there.”

It was past 4 am and we walked briskly through the dark, palm tree lined streets. There were some beggars asleep in the entrance of a building and I caught the eye of a thief checking us as he passed on the other side of the street. Then I saw two security guards with batons and I knew we were close.

“I am the cousin of Oriana,” explained the gay youth. She was the daughter of the couple who ran the boarding house. “She said that I should not talk to you because I am a homosexual. She did not wish for you to be disturbed.”

“Homosexuals do not disturb me. I know them in my country and there is even one who is my friend. In my country the homosexual is not so disturbing.”

Parce, you are the friend of a homosexual?” It impressed him.

“That is what I have said.”

“I am very excited to go to this gay club.”

“For that you should be.”

“It is said to be a very exciting gay club. But it is not a place for you, parce.”


“I am going there alone,” he said now with confidence.

“With luck you will not be alone for long.”

The gay youth laughed. “Si, marica. I hope so.” He was more relaxed now.

We arrived at La Sexta and the first taxi I waved for was empty and it stopped.

“I am going now to the gay club,” he declared. “Parcero, can you do me the favor to take my bag? I will receive it from you tomorrow.”

I took his bag and we shook hands and I wished him much luck and I shut the taxi door behind him. As the taxi pulled away I saw his face in the window looking back at me.

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