El Guapo in DC

I am El Guapo. The most Guapo man in all of DC. Mucho Amor

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mi corazon...Worst day ever

Today very well may be the worst day of mi vida. Some of ustedes may be thinking that El Guapo is being a little dramatic, but rest assured mis amigos, I am not being dramatic. Today very well may be the worst day of mi vida.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy. The sunlight on my face on a brisk winter morning makes me smile, seeing my mother and sisters dance in the kitchen makes me laugh out loud, seeing the first skirt of spring just makes me proud to be a Guatemalan male, having a nice piece of flan makes my day.

Flan. Oh glorious, glorioso flan. We’ve discussed my love for flan. Sometimes all I ever want after a hard day is flan. It is my culinary version of cocaine.

Today very well may be the worst day of my life. My entire life.

After a long day of work I came home thinking about the flan waiting for me in my refrigerator. There was no more homemade flan in the fridge, so I grabbed two of the next best thing: Goya Flan. I opened up the first package and satan himself was staring at me. It’s ok, satan has been known to tempt the Guatemalan people. I have another package of flan. I set Satan aside and open up the next package…Satan again. Satan has manifested himself in the form of mold in my flan.

Damn you Satan! Is nothing sacred? Why do you have to destroy my flan? If I had purchased a generic flan brand I would understand, but I bought Goya. Goya! Goya is who Latinos turn to when they ache for their distant tierras.

Mi corazon…mi pobre corazon.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Monday, February 27, 2006

Caucasian gossip

Although rare, sometimes it is not good to be a Guatemalan. Yes, I know, we pretty much are the chosen people, but being perfect sometimes has its price.

You see, not only are we the best looking people, we also were blessed with what some may call “gifts”. These “gifts” are many and vary from having the glossiest facial hair to being able to make the best flan. What could possibly be bad about making the best flan? Nothing. Flan is the dessert of kings, but I don’t really want to talk about flan right now. I want to talk about the extraordinary sense of hearing that Guatemalans have.

Come on El Guapo. That’s like Aquaman. Who gives a shit that you can hear well?

You’re right. Today, I curse this gift that Dios has bestowed upon my people. I say give it to a more deserving people because right now I do not want it. Do I like to be able to hear the police coming from 5 blocks away when I’m playing craps in the alley? Si! Do I like to hear the loaf of bread falling on the floor only to be served to my table? Si! Do I like to hear what the good looking group of women is saying across the room? No! No?

You heard right mis amigos. If you had spoken to me two days ago, I would have bragged about being able to zone in on a conversation and repeat it verbatim to my friends. Now, as I write this, I report that I no longer wish to have this ability. It very well may be my curse.

I was at a lounge called the Science Club tonight watching white people dance. I was sipping an over-priced Dutch beer when the word “Orgasm” trickled into my ears. You see, over the years I have trained my hearing ability to tune into the following words: orgasm, threesome, immigration, pupusa, and flan. So, the moment the “o” word was uttered I tuned in to a group of attractive 30-something women wearing high heels and leopard print purses:

“Are you serious? I’ve never heard of that happening.”

“Dead serious. My sister had the same thing when she gave birth to her second.”

“Were you on drugs?”

“No. Greg and I didn’t want to have any drugs involved.”

“Oh, of course the man doesn’t want drugs. Why the hell would he care? The man would probably complain about having a sore finger from taking so many pictures.”

“Greg was great. He was right there next to me the whole time and when I came I was looking in his eyes.”

“I don’t get it. You had an orgasm in the middle of child birth? Shit, I want to have kids then. I can’t even come the regular way.”

Ladies of the world, please. Please keep certain conversations to the insides of your Volkswagens and not fine establishments where El Guapo is frequenting. Orgasms during child birth? What kind of Caucasian invention is this?

I wonder to myself what will happen if this vicious rumor makes its way to my beloved Latino population. My Dios, we will be everywhere.

I stare off into space thinking about a United States where the most people have rhythm. Not so bad I guess. Then my eyes focus and realize that the angry woman is staring at me. She winks. I smile. She smiles. I leave.

She has orgasms on her mind and all I can think about is child birth. Too much pressure. Even for El Guapo.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Friday, February 24, 2006

Virginia: A little trip con Miguel

“El Guapo. El Guapo, wake up!”

I close my eyes tighter because for some reason I think he’ll go away. He doesn’t. He never does. Porque? I’ll tell you why. Miguel is what they call a bona fide dirty cabron. There he is in all of his unshaven glory to bother me with something that is sure to be a complete waste of my time.

What! Que quieres?

“I’m out of condoms.”

Have you ever stared at someone and realized, as you bit the sides of your mouth, that they will never fully understand anything you say to them? Si? God bless him.

I already gave you all my condoms you dirty, dirty son of a goat. I’m out. No tengo mas. What the hell are you doing over there? You’re like a machine. Go to CVS.

“No way. I’m not going back there anymore. Nunca mas. I can’t afford their prices anymore. I’m tired of this El Guapo. I’m spending almost $200 a month. Why are condoms so expensive? Everywhere I go I see the signs about being safe, and HIV, and unwanted pregnancy, and herpes, and this and that, it’s such a waste. If the government is so worried about all of these things, why don’t they just make it so that condoms are cheaper?”

Son of a bitch, Miguel just pretty much described a government subsidy for condoms. For a split segundo, and please trust me when I say that it was just a fleeting moment, I actually thought about telling Miguel about government subsidies. But you know what? This is just too much for him right now.

Miguel, I think it’s time that I take you to a place that sells condoms at a better price. Miguel, I’m going to introduce you to Costco.

We got on the blue line at McPherson Square and off we went to Pentagon City’s Costco. Miguel was full of questions, but I put my hat over my eyes and tried to grab a quick nap.

Once we got there, Miguel was looked at me in amazement. He took of his hat and said, “That’s a coffin.”

Si, they sell everything here.

“It has a Lady of Guadalupe on it. That’s a Latino coffin. This place sells coffins for Latinos.”

Si, they even sell coffins for Latinos.

“You knew about this place and you never told me?”

Miguel, let’s not worry about that right now. Let’s get you some condoms.

I don’t usually go to Costco very often because 1)It’s located outside of DC in Virginia; 2) I’m afraid of Virginia; 3)Virginians live there; 4)I don’t trust the blue and orange line crowd. They all have beady eyes.

I take him to the condom isle and he immediately grabbed a box in amazement.

This is my kind! Forty condoms for $9.69? Is this a broma?”

All of a sudden my man does a little salsa dance in the middle of the store while a Virginian mother with beady eyes held her children closer. Then I see Miguel starts to do some kind of calculation with his finger and simultaneously places two boxes at a time in the cart. He stops at 10 boxes, walks away, and then goes back for two more.

Miguel, that’s a lot of condoms. We can come back

He ignores me because he’s upset that I’ve never told him about Costco.

The cash register was interesting. He places all of the boxes in front of the cashier (I show her my membership card) and smiles with content. The cashier laughs along with a couple of other employees as they look over at my amigo’s purchase. The whole scene is comical and even I break a smile while looking away and rubbing my eyes.

“Yes. So what? I fuck a lot.”

You can’t take this chico anywhere…

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Rumors: Not Guatemalans!

There are evil rumors going around about El Guapo. I’m not sure who is responsible for these rumors, perhaps that cabron Miguel, but I can not pin this solely on him. Not yet anyway.

I’ve been receiving e-mails. Not the regular e-mails that I receive from you, my amigos, but e-mails offering particular types of services. Services, that although I appreciate the thought of it all, I don’t need.

Moments ago I received an e-mail that made me write this post. It was from a nice girl named Areli Farrington. I do not know this woman, but she seems to think that I would benefit from Viagra pills for $3.75 a pill.

Mi amor, perhaps you do not know about me, El Guapo. I am Guatemalan. Does this make you realize the error of your e-mail? Did you perhaps think that I was Argentinean? If so, please, do not let this error occur again. I beg of you.

As a Guatemalan male, I was blessed by whatever supreme power blessed all Guatemalans with virility. This is a widely known fact. If you go around giving the Viagra pill to Guatemalans I’m afraid that the entire female population in the United States would be overworked by our love making. The women would be too tired to work. Guatemalans do not want the US economy to falter because of our loins. After all, we need to send dinero home!

Argentineans, unfortunately, did not have this same blessing. Guatemalans were given the gift of amazing love making abilities and the Argentineans were given, well, they have nice hair. Their facial hair is lacking what we Guatemalans can offer, but they try. Bless their little hearts.

But El Guapo, surely the Argentineans are very good at something. They are good at soccer, no?

Yes. They are very good at soccer, but only number two, maybe three in Latin America. Argentina will forever be Brazil’s little bitch when it comes to soccer. When it comes to love making, they have much learning to do from the Guatemalans. Much learning. Having pretty hair will only get you so far in life. Perhaps Argentineans would be well served to contact Ms. Areli Farrington for some Viagra?

Ms. Farrington, lo siento that your e-mail will not garner you some business, but hopefully you will be able to focus your marketing skills towards the Latin population that needs help. I understand how you got Guatemala confused with Argentina. Those four syllable country names can confuse even the best of us.

Rule of thumb is this: Guatemala starts with “G” and we are GREAT. Argentina starts with “A” and they are Average. Easy no?

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Dia Glorioso!: For guns?

As veces things happen for reasons we can not explain. Today, for reasons known but to Dios, something was erroneously delivered to the El Guapo household.

Recebi, in the mail, a copy of Field & Stream magazine. Not just any Field and Stream. This, was The Gun Nut Issue! (exclamation point placed by the good people of Field & Stream).

I stood by the front of my door staring down at the floor after the cartero dropped off our mail through the slot. It was staring at me, in all of its glory and its blood red color. Si, this is not a joke of mine. The Gun Nut Issue! for Field & Stream magazine was in blood red.

The revista claimed to have the new and exciting results of a gun survey and I was lured into a world to which I had never been invited. Que dia glorioso! Oh happy day. I will learn so much.

Turns out that the Remington 700 (luckily you can buy it at Walmart) was voted the best all-around rifle by the good readers of this magazine. I may just be a simple Guatemalan, but the look of this rifle is very similar to the tricked out Escalades I see rolling around DC. Looks like a lot of chrome to me. Then again, I’m just a simple Guatemalan. Note to El Guapo: Do not tell local MS-13 gang about the rifle that will match their ride.

After leafing through the results of this survey, I quickly realized that I may not be welcome into this club of gun-toting mustached men. They may not appreciate the sexiness of my Guatemalan mustache. I believe one man has oatmeal stuck in his as he tenderly holds his gun. El Guapo would never have that. He is quoted as saying, and I promise you that I can’t make this up, I am a simple Guatemalan: “If possible, I would buy one gun per day, every day, and live on rural land to shoot them as often as I could.”

Please, amigos, take a moment and read that una vez mas.

Now, please look at this man:

He is most likely a very nice man who would enjoy having a simple Guatemalan like myself dating his daughter, but he still looks like the anti-social uncle that everyone has who sits at the back of the room with his socks showing. Now I know what that fucker is always thinking about. Note to El Guapo: Beware of men with Indiana Jones camouflaged hats, mustache, orange jacket, and who tenderly hold guns.

I was brave and read on. How about this quote: “The only thing that bothers me is guns today really have no personality.”

Look at this picture. Study it. Love it. Study the hair cut. Notice the “I don’t smile in pictures while holding a deer’s head in my hands” face. Por favor. Love this picture. Mi cabeza hurts right now from all the things that I want to say about this man. Note to El Guapo: When holding an animal carcass for a photo opportunity, do not smile. Not cool to smile. Not cool.

“You can’t get enough of them. If only my wife understood that.”

Your wife understands mi amigo. She cries herself to sleep into her pillow every night before the Ambien kicks in. She understands. Note to El Guapo: When hunting, be sure to wear an Indiana Jones hat to fit in. DO NOT wear the hat with the Guatemalan flag. No hunters in the magazine were wearing a Guatemala hat.

After reading this fine magazine I believe that I am ready to enter the wonderful world of hunting. Unfortunately, guns are illegal in the fine city of Washington DC, so I won’t be able to hold any carcasses up for pictures. Luckily, for the DC residents, several members of Congress have tried to make sure that the fine residents of DC are able to get their gun rights back! Estoy feliz! En serio, DC residents are so lucky that politicians from states like Kentucky, Texas, and Ohio care so much about the Washingtonians. I am just positive that these same politicians would also agree to let us vote.

Today was a good dia para El Guapo. I learned many valuable things about life and hunting. In fact, Miguel just ran over an opossum and we are going to take turns practicing our picture faces for when we are able to have guns once again just like our sister states Kentucky, Texas, and Indiana.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Please do yourselves a service and buy this issue. March 2006 Volume of Field & Stream magazine. It makes for a great coffee table magazine and for reading while eating pupusas with your local gang members.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Mi primo is an idiota

Mi primo was seething with excitement. I use the word “seething” only because my cousin, Omar, isn’t one to smile. Actually, I’ve never seen the man smile. I’ve only seen him seethe. So, today, as he showed what it was that was making seethe, I began to seethe myself.

Omar, mi querido primo Omar, bought a Vespa. It’s teal.

He violently pointed at his new Vespa (did I mention that it was teal?) with his palm and fingers closed in a vertical fashion.

“Mira-lo. It is going to save me dinero, time, and aggravation.”

My primo Omar bought a Vespa.

We walked around the Vespa like you would a Porsche or any other coche. I wasn’t really paying any attention to Omar since I could no longer take anything he said seriously. Ever. He, El Guapo’s primo, bought a teal power scooter. Shame will forever be present in the El Guapo casa.

I realize that it is not me who will have to be seen riding this Vespa through the pot-holed streets of DC, but it will be my cousin Omar. Did I mention that he has a matching teal helmet? Oh, si, he got a deal on the helmet. It's teal.

People in mi barrio know that Omar is my cousin. So, as he goes down 14th street violently honking the “horn”, people will say, “Mira, that’s El Guapo’s cousin riding the Vespa. Is it blue?”

“People think it’s blue, but it’s teal.”

Omar I hate you so much.

I don’t know who designed the Vespa. I could easily find out, but my dinero is on either the Italianos or the French. Someone envisioned riding this glorified bicycle with their Armani suit through the streets of either Paris or Milan. Quiza I’m being ignorante in blaming the French and the Italians, so I’ll actually look up who designed this.

Oh, look at that. Italianos. My apologies to the French. Lo siento. I still hate that you invented the beret, but I’ll give you a pass en este momento.

Yes, it gets good gas mileage. Yes, they’re easy to park. Yes, they’re cheaper than buying a car. But it’s a FUCKING Vespa!

Vespa, in Spanish (and probably in Italian) means Wasp. WASP, to El Guapo, means the guy who isn’t going to give me a job or let me date his daughter.

I can see the Armani-clad, sunglasses indoors Italian designer screaming “Mama-mia” and thinking he is a genius. I then see myself kicking him in the neck. Teal. What the hell color is that anyway?

My cousin Omar bought a Vespa. It’s teal. It’s fucking teal… Joder.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tie-Dyed Camisas and no Chips

Miguel was over and I was running out of potato chips.

“What if all the snow outside wasn’t snow, but cocaine? We could sell all that cocaine and buy stuff. You know? We could buy candles. I need some more candles. And shoes. I want alligator shoes. I saw an alligator at the zoo. They don’t look so tough. Kind of like a girl with bad teeth, you know? You’re afraid to look at her in the beginning then, oh, what’s this, she has a nice culo, you know? Do you have any tamales in the freezer?”

It’s been like this for the last hour.


Miguel hands me a card. Look, it’s a Valentine’s Day card. Great... I take it out of the envelope and see two African Americans on the cover. It’s an Ebony card. Inside Miguel writes:

Michelle, I like you. Eres muy hot. -Miguel

Miguel, this is an Ebony card.

“I know. They didn’t have any Snoopy ones, but I liked it. Look at the hat the woman is wearing. I like that hat. I wish more women wore hats like that. Mira, all the colors. I like colors El Guapo. En serio. I really like colors. The more colors the better. See this yellow shirt? I know it’s yellow and I like yellow, but if I could I would have one with a thousand colors. Because that’s what I am. I’m a mezcla, a mix of colors and that’s why I like colors, not just yellow, but I like yellow. I like saying it. YELLOW. It feels good when I say it. Not like rojo. I don’t like saying rojo. I like saying yellow. I hate tacos.”

He does. He’s never liked them. Not since I’ve known him. Me, I like them.

“So, Michelle. She’s the rubia from NYE.”

En serio? I didn’t know you were seeing her. Why didn’t you tell me.

“El Guapo, what you don’t know about me is a lot. Like, the ocean. You know, if the water were things you didn’t know about me it would be the ocean. No, not the ocean, because the ocean is grande. You know me more than that, but a lake. Like a medium sized lake. I don’t tell you everything. Like how I want to design shirts. Shirts, El Guapo. Camisas of all colors, but on one shirt. So people always felt colorful and happy. That’s what I want to do El Guapo. Then have something really cool on the shirt that says (he puts both hands out in el shapes) I don’t know yet, but something increible. That makes people think.

I really wanted to tell him about tie-dyed shirts, but who am I to stand in the way of his dream?

“Michelle is like a gringa I’ve never met before. I always think about her. Like when I’m in the shower, working, eating, watching TV. I’m always thinking about she’s going to say to me next.”

I still don’t get when he sees this Michelle since he’s always at my house eating my food.

“You know how I worry? When I’m with this gringa I forget. About todo. I get there, then I look at the clock and it’s cinco horas after. With her time stops. I have nunca gone out on Valentine’s Day, but I’m not even nervous. She smells so good El Guapo. She has all these different lotions. One for her feet, one for her manos, one for her face. She smells tan bueno. I’ve smelled many good things, but her smell is the best. It’s like if you put all the flores in one room and even if the smell is strong it doesn’t give you a headache, sabes? She doesn’t give me a headache. With her, my refrigerator is always full. Do you have any of those platano chips?”

No. You ate them all. That’s good Miguel. I’m happy for you.

“Si. Yo tambien.”

Miguel eventually passes out on the floor of my couch, but I’m happy for mi amigo. He deserves una mujer that makes him happy. He’s happy, so I’m happy. I just wish he didn’t eat all my chips.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Miguel is in a bad mood.

“Mira, I can’t.”

Que pasa hombre?

“You’re in a mood again. I’m not in the mood for your mood.”

I’m not in a mood. Estoy quiet.

“You’re not fucking quiet. You’re in a mood. Estas piensando about Mercedes. You’re in a mood. Maybe you should go speak with someone.”

Ave Maria encantada….Here we go. Every time you watch The Sopranos you think I should go talk with someone. I hate that Dr. Melfi character. It’s a generic window into his soul. That’s why The Sopranos started to suck. I blame Dr. Melfi.

“Lo que sea. Whatever. You’re in a mood. Let’s just go meet girls and dance El Guapo.”

Fine. You always scare off the girls with your stupid lines.

“The nieves like that stuff hombre. I’m the Latin of their dreams.”

You’re the gardener of their dreams. They don’t like your lines. They just go home with you to piss of their padres.

“Yeah, like Meadow Soprano in Season Tres. She dated that black guy. Soy como the black guy in season three.”

Except that he went to Columbia.

“I could go to Columbia.”

You flunked out of UDC.

“I wasn’t challenged.”


“If I didn’t need you as a wing man I would punch you in the face.”

You need to stop watching that show. En serio.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Friday, February 10, 2006

Echo de menos: What I miss...

Damn you St. Valentin. It seems that as this day for romance approaches, I am not in the best of moods.

The thing I realize the most about not having alguien special in my life is not what most would think about. When I long for my ex, it is not the passionate moments we spent in bed that pop into mi cabeza. When I am alone, I most think about the times I would fall asleep with my head on her lap. Interesante no?

She would gently run her fingers through my hair and scratch my scalp with her perfectly manicured fingernails. We would often do this while watching television, but my favorite times were when the TV was not on and she would softly sing songs to me. She didn’t have a very good singing voice, but that made it mejor. I knew that she felt uninhibited enough to sing to me in Spanish while she ran her fingers through my hair. Each time she hit a note that was off pitch, my entire body would smile. She was the only woman I have allowed to hold me.

No tengo a lap to lie in now and although I try to smile and forget, it is hard. She was the one who would make me feel safe. When I laid my head in her lap, nothing could go wrong except her getting up. I was happiest then. In her lap.

Even El Guapo longs for what he no longer has. Damn you Valentine’s Day.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Dos posts in a row that are depressing… Ave Maria… I’ll try to get into some trouble this weekend to stop the streak. Have faith. You have to understand that my Mercedes is dating a Brazilian and it bothers me more than I realized. Damn you Brazilians with your sexy accent and great hair! If I weren’t Guatemalan I’d seriously be worried about them taking over.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Protecting que?

Like almost every noche de mi vida, I was waiting for the bus with several of my bus-waiting colleagues. When you wait for the bus, you see the same faces on your stop and become friends with those in the mood to talk.

One of my amigos is a fifty-something year old man from El Salvador named Antonio. Antonio is the type of person who puts out his hand for a handshake several seconds before you reach him and gives you a genuine smile when you appear. Good people. Buena gente.

Today Antonio wasn’t too smiley and I asked him what was wrong. Que pasa mi amigo?

“Today is my son’s 7th birthday.”

I patted him on the back and congratulated him. Aren’t you a bit too old to have such a young child? I received a polite smile and a polite response.

“Ha, you know how it is.”

Under normal circumstances I would have joked about him having leftover cake at home, but I was all too familiar with the expression on his face. How long has it been?

“Cinco anos.”

Five years. This was a man who came to the United States when his youngest was 2 years old. His son knows his father only from pictures and his weekly telephone calls. Five years. Joder…

He went on to tell me that he would love to go back, but the dinero he was sending home was too good right now. All of his kids were in private school and getting good grades. Going back home is easy, but returning to DC, well, returning was another story.

It took him almost two months and two years of savings to have a “coyote” bring him across the border. He walked, bussed, hid, ran, starved, climbed and scraped to come to the US. He came to work. He came so that his family could have a better life…even if it was without him.

That’s why I don’t understand American politicians sometimes. He, like 95% of the Latino immigrants, is minding his business so that he can send money home. I promise you that if he could earn the same money, he would be back in El Salvador with his family.

Some idiota politicians go around the United States talking about “Protecting American Jobs”. I don’t think Antonio is taking a job away from anyone. Last time I checked, there wasn’t a shortage of restaurant dishwashing positions.

It seems they forget that the US was founded by people who wanted a better life. They had a dream. Those dreams now come from a people to the south, but it is the same dream.

Tonight, I drink to you mi amigo. To you and all my hermanos and hermanas who sacrificed everything so that their family could have more.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bienvenidos to mi barrio!

“Paul, I’m not going to live in this sketchy neighborhood!”

“It’s a great neighborhood, honey. You just need to be a little patient.”

“I don’t want to be fucking patient Paul! I don’t want to live in this god-damned neighborhood!”

In the last several years I have seen many couples make it into my lovely barrio of Columbia Heights. Yes, it is mine. Many have stayed and have come to love the “eccentricities” that come with life in the ghetto. El Guapo welcomes them.

I welcome their Burberry coats, grey Volvos, and Asian babies. Mi barrio is not so bad once you give it a chance.

That man laying on the grassy part of the sidewalk? That’s Paco. Don’t mind him. He’s just resting his eyes after a hard night of drinking. He will wake up in the morning and call you an expletive when you walk by. In time you will smile, shake your head and say: Oh, that crazy Paco. Where will he pass out next?

That tall woman who wears short skirts in the middle of the winter? That’s not a woman my Chanel wearing friend. That’s one of our local transvestites. They mean you no harm. If you’re lucky, she will comment about how she can handle your husband in ways he has only dreamed. In time you will say: Oh that crazy local transvestite. What will she say next?

Are you thirsty after a long day of house hunting in a city that has priced almost todo el mundo out of the trendy areas? Don’t worry my friends. In Columbia Heights there are two liquor stores on every block. You will soon find your palate adapting to the many varieties of malt liquor. Just don’t think you’ll be able to buy a single beer in our neighborhood. Our very own Adrian Fenty made sure of this. He felt it was better for alcoholics to buy 6 beers instead of just one. Gracias Adrian Fenty!

Are you curious about the “Fuck YU” that is spray painted on the wall and the sidewalk? No te preocupes con eso. That is just the way the neighborhood kids welcome you to their neighborhood. Your tax dollars will go towards funding the area schools. Who knows? With your help, in five years, that welcome message may just be spelled correctly.

Pupusas? What is a pupusa? The pupusa is a gourmet delight that is sure to make you forget that low carb diet that is constipating you. Remember Paco? Did you see his mustache? Do you think that his mustache would be so shiny if it weren’t for the $1 pupusas he eats daily? Claro que no! You can have a complete meal of delicious Central American cuisine for far less than you pay for that Starbucks in your hand.

No, that isn’t a cat silly gringo! That’s a rat! Yes, of course you can feed it. Just please don’t give them any soda. The 1968 riots are rumored to have been started by a couple of hyperactive rats. You’ll get used to them. Are you wondering why the rats in Dupont aren’t as big and shiny? Three syllable word. Rhymes with Mumusa. Give up? Si, these rats eat the leftover pupusas. The one you just saw knocking over a Geo Metro with its tail can do tricks for food.

That noise you hear? That’s called Reggaeton. In time, you will be able to fall asleep to the peaceful chants of Daddy Yankee, Orishas, and Don Omar. A ella le gusta la gasolina. Do not worry. We turn the boom boxes off around 3 AM.

El Guapo welcomes you to the neighborhood of Columbia Heights! Bienvenidos. If you have any questions regarding ghetto/barrio/favela living, please do not hesitate to e-mail me directly.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Friday, February 03, 2006

Gracias Norway!

Open letter to my new amiga, “D” from Norway.

Querida D,

Gracias for the picture you sent me this week. I very much appreciate the thought and am sure that the Norwegian founding fathers would be proud to see the Norwegian flag used in such a way. I’m glad that you took the picture indoors as I understand it to be cold in your country. Anyways, it is not necessary to send me such a picture in order for me to respond, but I do appreciate the gesture and have a newfound love for the country of Norway.

You were kind enough to list several questions for me and I will respond in the same order.

1. Thank you for the invitation, but at this time I am unable to go to Norway. Yes, from your letter I’m sure you could show a Latino how to stay warm.

2. No. Never. I’ve actually never met a Norwegian. I believe you.

3. No. I believe that to be illegal in DC.

4. Once.

5. 17.

6. That sounds interesante. I’m sure you can. But no.

7. Really? No, but I’m very impressed. Seriously, really? How is that possible?

8. Of course! I am Latino. That’s like asking Picasso if he can paint.

9. The best.

Thank you for your nine questions. In truth, I am actually a little bit scared right now. Numbers 3 and 7 made me question life as I know it, but who am I to judge what the Norwegians do in their spare time. Again, thank you very much for your picture.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

St. Antonio: Que clima frio!

Although the cherry blossoms are appearing a bit early this year, tonight was proof that winter still looms. Although the winter is good for showing off my large collection of flannel shirts, I do miss the days when a breath of air doesn’t result in my nasals burning and sticking together. Ah, how I wish it was el verano.

Today as I walked home, I tucked my chin into my chest and put mis manos in my pockets. The day started off warm enough, so I did not bring a hat, gloves, or a scarf. Many times I feel that my Guatamalanness will be sufficient for warmth and many times I am sadly mistaken.

Walking in the dark is never an issue. People in my neighborhood know me and nod when they see me coming. Some who prefer to wave do so, but I nod. It is too cold to remove my hands from my pockets.

Today was not like most nights. There was commotion on my walk home. About one block after I got off my stop I heard quick steps coming in my direction. Before I had an opportunity to turn around hands were on my back pushing me down and pulling at my neck. My gold chain.

I felt the chain break around mi cuello and create a blood blister before it gave way to my attacker. A nice kick to the back of the head was my reward for relinquishing my St. Antonio gold necklace and medallion that was given to me by one of my tias. The gentleman who forgot to give me his name ran off north on 13th street before making off on Kansas Ave.

Pobre attacker. This is not his day. I got up on all fours and peered from the top of my eyes as my soon to be friend made off with a smile on his face. I smiled. This is my first mugging. Now I can join the women who live in Logan Circle and tell stories.

Pobre attacker. This is not his day. He must not have realized he was jumping a Guatemalan named El Guapo. You see, in my day I was quite the runner and rust has yet to take over my body. For two seconds I stayed on all fours watching him run away. I decided to say the prayer of St. Antonio, who is the saint of lost things. After all, my medallion was lost.

I got to my feet and started running after my soon to be friend. He had slowed to a jog and was expecting me, like most of his victims, to stay down. I am not only Guatemalan, but guapo as well. I need to have my gold. After all, gold is the bar code of Latinos and Armenians since 1932. I wanted my baby back.

Running was not being done on the sidewalks, but on the street where the pavement makes less of a sound on my leather soles. A quick honk alerted him to my presence and he went a bit faster, but by this time I was 3 meters behind him. My new amigo was starting to yell things at me,

“I gotta gun dude. I gotta gun.”
No you don’t. No you don’t, amigo. You run too freely for someone who has a gun. No tienes nada mi amigo. No tienes nada.

He turns around and actually spits at me hitting me in the chest where my medallion would have protected me. Oh boy. This is not going to be fun, but I believe this is better than Yoga. At this point I could have tackled my new friend, but I had spit on my sweater. I was in no tackling mood. Instead, I swiped at his foot and his momentum put him to the ground chest then chin. He realized he bled when he wiped his red sleeve sticking out of his jacket on his face. I hovered around him like a wolf does prior to eating his prey. I smiled and showed my tongue while smiling. He was up against wall on the sidewalk leading to someone’s home. I leaned down, smiled, and said, “Hola amigo.”

“Fuck you!”

Yes. Fuck me. It has been a long time since I have been in any kind of physical altercation and I thought about ending my streak with this new friend of mine, but I changed my mind. His body showed the deterioration from which I have grown too accustomed in my neighborhood. I saw the beginning of tracks on his arms. My friend had allowed a greater being to take control of his life. I could not hurt him. He was already hurting.

That necklace was given to me by my aunt. I’d like it back please. It means much to me.

I looked at him in the eye as only another man can and he handed it to me trembling. The look of guilt was in his eyes for he had done this act in desperation. Without thinking, I reached into my pocket and gave him a $20. I know what this money will obtain, but I wish that it holds him over until he feels the urge to hurt another. Too many of my brothers have fallen with this ill.

He took my money and no thank you was needed. The look on one man’s face is all that is required in times like this. He walked north towards his treasure and looked back only once as I stood staring at him go away.

As I walked home holding my broken necklace I said a prayer to St. Anthony. I asked for my new friend’s soul to be found.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo