This strange car drives up to my house at night, and the gabacho is driving, the one who’s staying over at Rudy’s place.
“Where’s Rudy?” I ask.
So my bud Rudy calls back, “Right here, bro. It’s the windows.” He’s sitting shotgun, but I can’t even see him.
But it’s the Okie gets out and shows me the back seat, and there’s the bats lying on the seat next to me. Oh shit, I’m thinking, They’re really going through with it. And I’m sitting in the back. I never sit in the back. But I do it. He’s Rudy’s friend; what the hell. I shake hands with Rudy over the seat.
“Why’s he driving, bro?” I say.
“He’s the one they’re supposed to see, not us, right?”
I still don’t like it. I don’t like this weird whiteboy driving the two of us around. He can’t be more than twenty at the most. Rudy puts his hand over the seat and punches my arm. “It’s okay, man, it’s gonna be fun.” So I don’t say anything else.
The Okie — his name is Keith, and he’s as snotty as any of those college kids — he’s driving us around in circles, “cruising.” Up Lohman, down Amador, up and down. Then we go around the Mall a couple times, then El Paseo, then back to Lohman. All this time, I don’t know it but the gabacho’s smiling at everybody. Like he’s trying to get them interested. Finally, I notice. I can’t believe how stupid he looks doing it. What the hell does Rudy see in this dude? Nobody else is buying it either, so I’m just about to say we oughta give up, and then our Okie winks at this Chicano, and he smiles back. So then they both park on some side street, Tornillo maybe, and get out of the cars. When our guy is out, I tell Rudy, “That guy is raza, man. Are we gonna beat up Chicanos?”
Rudy doesn’t say anything, but I know him better than I know anybody, and I know that he isn’t any more happy about it than I am. Meanwhile, Keith is dangling his cute little ass in front of our faggot bro, and the homey is buying. They agree on something and then they get back in the cars.
The Okie’s all excited. “We’re meeting him out by the dam.”
But I say, “No way. I don’t care if he is queer. You do this in Tulsa? Do you do the brown guys there, too?”
Keith wants to get the car started, but even he can tell that Rudy’s pretty pissed, too, so he cuts the engine and turns around to me. “We do them all, man. He’s not Hispanic, he’s a fag. It doesn’t matter, we do them all.” He starts up the engine again.
“The hell we do!” I say. “You better quit talking like that, man.”
I want to slap him but Rudy grabs my arm. “Keith,” he says, “find someone else.”
So we drive away in the other direction. After a long while, like a long while, the gabacho gets someone else to smile at him, like he even has to yell at the guy so he notices, and we go back to the porn-shop parking lot. Keith shakes his ass again, and oh yeah, his hair, too, like he always shakes his pretty, long hair. This time it’s a white guy, but I still don’t like it.
Rudy is reading my mind. He can do that. “Dude, you love fights. What’s the big deal? Keith says it’s nothing.”
“I don’t know,” I say. “I’ve never done this. We used to do it in a bar, dude. I mean the other guy knows it’s a fight, like it’s not a surprise. And I don’t like the way your Keith prances around like that. He’s just as queer as they are.”
Keith hears the last part as he’s getting into the car. “I am not! Just because I’m not fat and ugly doesn’t mean I’m queer.”
I’m just about to give it to him good, but Rudy slaps his face instead. Okay, I think, he’s hasn’t sold out completely.
Keith doesn’t even whine about getting slapped. He knows why. He says, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. But I’m not queer.”
Nice apology, I think, if he wants to keep his free room and board. Hell, he wouldn’t even have a job if Rudy hadn’t gotten it for him.
“Well, you sure can wiggle your ass,” I say.
“Well, anyway,” he says, “He wants to suck my dick.”
Now I’m the one who shuts up. The guy in the parking lot looked like a regular guy. I thought Keith was going to give him a piece of ass. So I don’t say anything, all the way out to the dam, but it still doesn’t feel right.
The dam is east of town. It doesn’t have any water in back of it. In fact, I’ve never seen any water in it, but who am I to say? We take the road to the dump and then turn off to the left and come down behind the dam. There’s nothing there, so we have to leave the headlights on.
“Showtime, Queerbait!” I say.
He wants to say something but he knows he better not, so he gets out and prances over to the other car. He leaves the door open, so we hear everything.
Keith says, “I’m gonna take a leak,” and goes past the other guy’s car. Maybe the other guy’s supposed to be so hot for Keith’s dick that he’s going to follow Keith and take a peek. But he doesn’t. He comes right over to our car — Keith’s car, I mean — just as Rudy is telling me to get the bats ready.
I try to shut Rudy up, but it’s too late. He hears us. He calls over to Keith, “Hey, I hope you’re not going to roll me.”
“Oh yeah, oh yeah,” Keith says, and he’s laughing.
Rudy figures he may as well get out then, so he does. Then Keith tells him that they both want blow jobs. I think, Is that right? Is this part of it?
But the guy says, “I don’t do that.”
So Rudy comes back to the car and asks for a bat and I give him one, and I take one and get out.
Now the dumb gabacho, Keith, he oughta know what to do. Like standing between the guy and his car. But he doesn’t. The guy goes back into his car. But he doesn’t try to get away, he gets out a gun, and comes back out. He’s standing there with the gun in one hand, resting it on the other wrist, like he knows what he’s doing. Oh, shit, I’m thinking. Oh, shit.
“Okay, guys,” he says, “I’m going to leave now. So why don’t you all step away from your car. Leave the bats there. Just step away, like that.” By now, of course, we’re just like trained dogs. I’ll step any way he says. He gets in the car and goes, and I’m dripping so much sweat I’m ready to slip on my ass.
Keith says something stupid now, and I can’t even hear what it is, because I’m so fucking pissed I want to kill him. If he wasn’t Rudy’s friend, I would. I’ve gotta do something, I’m still too shaky to just stand there.
I pick up one of the bats. I say, “Queerbait. You asshole! All you had to do was stand there. You couldn’t even do that!”
“Well, how was I supposed to know he had a gun? That never happened before.”
So I start moving in on him, and he turns to Rudy to protect him. I can see that Rudy isn’t sure. I say, “You know, Rudy, you always did like the güeras. You think they make you look any whiter, ese? Well, they don’t. In fact, they make you look even darker standing next to you. Like mayonnaise on a fried potato. So now it’s the güeros, too.”
“Quit, Tony,” he says. And usually I would quit right then, just because Rudy asked me. But this time I don’t. I’m still holding the bat, and I start tapping Keith with it, on the legs. Not to hurt him or anything, just so he can feel it. I can’t see his face, because he’s looking at Rudy.
Then I look at Rudy again and I know that he won’t let me really hurt the little shit. So I stop giving him the little love taps. Instead, I hold the bat straight up, and run the skinny part between his cheeks, up and down, up and down, real slow. I’m doing that with my right hand, and then I have my left hand on his shoulder.
“You like that, queerbait? You like it?”
He whispers — he’s almost crying — “Rudy?”