'Mundo Cruel'


By Luis Negron

Read the title story from Luis Negron's collection, 'Mundo Cruel'

Illustration by Pedro Covo

READ: Interview between Luis Negron and Bruce Benderson

Ever since early that morning José A. and Pachi, the most fabulous and spectacular boys in the bar, had an ominous foreboding. José A., indisputable leader of the duo, woke up startled. He had dreamed that he was in Boccaccio, a gay bar in Hato Rey with an outdated 1980s dance floor. According to Pachi, the only people who went there were living room hairdressers, male nurses, civil servants, and, horrors of horrors, bulldykes. He not only dreamed that he was there, but that in the nightmare he was wearing white jeans and his hair was slicked down with shiny hairspray. Poor José A. To make himself feel better he went into the bathroom and vomited. That always calmed his nerves and made him look slim.

Pachi, also a spectacular boy and one who always showed up with a here-I-am look that everyone immediately noticed, had an anxious moment the night before. He was suddenly awakened by the awful idea that they might have cut off his cell phone service and, although he could still make phone calls, he needed to make sure he could receive them. He didn’t think about it twice. He went downstairs to call from the public telephone. Without a minute to lose he quickly tried on six T-shirts and four different pants to see how they fit. He rubbed gel into his hair, shaved his legs a bit, and left thinking that if they had cut off his service it was because some envious queen who worked at the cell phone company was messing with him. But when he got to the public phone, he called his number and saw the lights on his Blackberry blink. “Hello,” he said to himself and when he heard his own voice answering him, he was concerned that he sounded so faggy. Well, at least it was activated -- imagine how embarrassing if it hadn’t been. Even so, however, as he walked along Ashford looking at his reflection in store windows, that foreboding stuck in his chest. It wasn’t going away. My God, what was it? he wondered anxiously.

Of course he wouldn’t mention a thing to José A. The word “foreboding” could reveal a past put away and buried; he had a spiritist aunt in Carolina -- not in fancy Isla Verde, but right smack in rundown “Country Club” territory. Carolina is like saying Loiza -- a negro shanty town -- and if that got around he’d be sunk forever.

Both met up at the gym in the morning and went at the weights so much that they came out almost stiff. During their breakfast of Gatorade with power bars they witnessed something which left them dumbfounded: Gabriel Sola Cohen, the head of Ambience Consultants, who owned the only lavender Audi in Puerto Rico and possessed such good genes that he had an almost made-to-order body, was eating no more and no less than fried eggs with white toast. They were so disappointed. If fabulous people put scratches like that on such a fabulous and spectacular soundtrack, if they had such habits, the world such as they knew it was about to end.

And so it was. The whole thing had been so unpleasant that José A. called his studio and asked his assistant to cancel all his appointments and engagements, as he was unwell: “I’m feeling awful,” he said. The dream of the white jeans and the smell of fried eggs spoiled his mood. He looked at his watch and saw that it was noon, exactly twelve more hours before going to the bar. Better to concentrate on what he was going to wear.

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