He got my attention and motioned me closer to him to hear what he had to say.
“What’s your price?”
“Excuse me?” I asked, sure that I heard what I had heard, hoping that I hadn’t.
“What’s your price?” He repeated.
His two friends said nothing, but they grew uncomfortable looking at how my face changed to anger.
“Don’t you fucking look at me, touch me, or talk to me again if you don’t want to get fucking punched in the face, you fucking asshole. Go suck your own dick.”
I turned around to the faces of my friends, confused about what just occurred. I can feel him behind me still looking.
“Do you want to go?” My friend Evangelista asked.
I tried to play it cool, like I cared only to tell him off, then when I did it was all okay.
“Whatever you guys want to do.” But I could see their eyes looking passed me at that sorry excuse of a human.
“Let’s just go,” She said, taking hold of my arm. I knew she could feel me trembling.
The second we got out into the filthy street, they all asked what happened.
They couldn’t believe it, just like I couldn’t the first time I heard it. Then a slew of comments:
“You don’t even look like that, what the fuck were they thinking?”
“He was drunk and just an asshole, don’t even listen to him.”
“Yeah, don’t let him get to you.”
My heart was racing.
And not even a minute into our walk, I saw Evangelista react to someone touching her ass as we walked by. She gave him the dirtiest look, then continued walking.
My insides were turning.
“Look at that place! It’s playing latino music! Maybe we should go there,” She suggested.
“Well, it can go one of two ways,” I told her. “It can either be amazing, and no one will talk to us or try to touch us, or it can be the complete opposite and the most sleazy place in town.”
So we took our chances. I bought myself a huge Corona with lime and salt to shake off the tension, then we danced the night away until our heals asked us to give our feet a break. By the time 2am rolled around, we were ready to head back. Evangelista’s idea to take our chanced at that cantina was the first great idea of the night.
We parted ways with some friends. Evangelista, Green Eyes and I all walked back down the street the way we came, trying to stay friendly to our feet as we continually sped up.
Two minutes later…
“Hey Mami! Get me some of that!” This huge black truck drives by slowly, so they could get a good look at the human beings they consider pieces of meat.
“Fuck off,” I said, along with the universal signal. But they weren’t giving up.
The other two girls sped up, not saying a word.
I realized they weren’t going to say anything, so something ridiculous and quiet hilarious took over me.
“You’re fucking ugly!” I shouted at them. They sped off embarrassed, while people around us laughed.
“My sister always did that to gross guys growing up. I was always embarrassed by it, but now I get it.” I spoke fast and confidently, trying to mask my nerves. “It’s empowering to embarrass them instead, especially when you have no other way to gain that power. My sister was right, it feels great!”
I had a false sense of hope that I could have some sort of control over such an uncomfortable situation.
Not even 5 minutes later, I witnessed this hideous gross excuse of a man smack Green Eyes’s ass. She turned and glared at him. I realized she wasn’t going to say a word to him, so I turned around and started walking towards him.
“Don’t! Just stop! It won’t do anything!” She yelled at me.
So I stopped. But my brains were screaming at me, and at him. My insides were still walking with all their might towards him, and my heart was so tense I swore it would tear itself into shreds. But my knees were completely weak.
“I can’t. I can’t do this anymore.”
I completely broke down.
All the feelings that I had been pushing deeper inside me were just spilling out onto the disgusting, grey concrete. My tears were non-stop.
“I’m strong, I know. But I’m not strong enough for this. Not anymore.”
Green Eyes took hold of my left arm, lifting it up in case my knees would give.
“Let’s just get a cab,” Evangelista said, “None of this is worth it at this point. You’ve completely broken down.”
Her second great idea of the night.
We all squeezed in the back seat of a small taxi, not wanting to be more than a few inches from each other. It was too uncomfortable to be apart.
My eyes were puffing, I could feel their weight. My nose began to run. My mouth ran too, repeating itself over and over, “I’m so angry. I mean look at us. How pathetic is this world that we have to catch a taxi to avoid being touched by disgusting men?”
The second the cab driver heard me crying he turned down the music. It was like he wanted to respect whatever mood we were in. After what I said, I could tell he was listening. It didn’t stop me.
“I hate men right now. I really do.”
“Something needs to change, something big,” Said Green Eyes.
“Yeah, and the fact that you’re so upset by it makes me rethink how I reacted,” said Evangelista. “You being upset tells me that it’s not okay. I’m just so numb to it.”
“But that isn’t okay! You can’t be numb to it. Half the problem is that fact that we let men do it.”
I didn’t mean to scold them. But I couldn’t stand my best friends being violated, then watching them brush it off because they feel helpless to the situation. We have more power than we think.
“But what were you going to do?” Asked Green Eyes, “You had no clue if he was dangerous. He could have hurt you if I had let you go up to him.”
I bit my tongue. I knew she was right but my boiling blood didn’t want her to be.
“So we’re fucked. No matter what we do we’re fucked. I feel so fucking trapped it hurts.”
We arrived to the apartment, handed the guy the fare and got out as quickly as possible. The second we entered the room we completely unwound.
“How funny it is that a place that isn’t yours suddenly feels like home in times like these,” Evangelista said, wiping up some smeared eyeliner from under her eyes.
That night I had the weirdest dream. I was in my kitchen cooking up some food, when I noticed the ugliest cockroach I had ever seen. It was huge, absolutely enormous. I wasn’t scared of it, but I set down newspaper over it to step on it so many times that my kitchen was covered in newsprint. And it still got away. I turned to the roach spray, but I missed every time.
Then I woke up to the sound of my Evangelista’s voice.
“I just had a dream about a cockroach,” I whined.
“Awww, you’re so cute,” Green Eyes said to me, making me feel like I was 10 just waking up from a nightmare.
But then I sat their as they got ready, and I began to pick at my own brain.
Men, or should I say boys, like that are vermin to me. They are the scum of the earth and I only hope that one day they will learn at any cost to them what it feels like to be looked at as inferior. But as vermin that creep around an infested kitchen, these sad excuses for men creep around our lives never to leave. Until we make them. Until other men help correct them.
“I’ve got a solution,” I told them.
“Wait what? For what?” They asked.
“For these sad excuses of men that continually demean women.” I said, softly and somewhat lost in thought. “I’m going to get one of those blow dart things. The solution on the end of the dart? I’m not sure, yet. But what I’m sure of is that it’s small enough to conceal it anywhere. The next time some fucking asshole grabs my ass I’m going to turn around and shoot him in his ass. Maybe he’ll pass out from it, I don’t know. I haven’t decided.”
“What the fuck? That’s hilarious!” The girls congratulated me on my plan.
It’s been two days ever since that night, and I’m still nauseous with anger.