El Guapo in DC

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

Sunday, April 29, 2007


My evening was cut short by the sound that glass and metal make when brought against each other. Three cars. In this order. One white cab. One blue two-door that has seen better days. One brand new, black German car.

The sound caused an immediate whip of my neck to see the source of the sound. I immediately grabbed my cell phone to call the police when the import took off at a high speed with the blue junker following quickly after her. Was she trying to get away or were they getting out the intersection to talk? Probably the former.

“They don’t speak any English and the girl is lying in the grass.”

The latter.

I walked over because I figure the language they do speak is mine. I was right.

The blue car was now angled in front of the German import in a blocking manner. I looked at the damage and am surprised by the driver being able to conduct such a maneuver while driving on his rims. The back of his car was destroyed. Impressive driving. Then I realize that the driver of the imported car looked like she had spent the last few hours getting beaten by a bottle of tequila. The bottle had won.

I was the interpreter for the night.

The two back seat passengers didn’t want to go to the hospital because they didn’t have any insurance. One of them, a 17-year old woman, kept fainting. I convinced them to go the hospital explaining that they were hit from behind and would be covered if the woman had insurance. She did. They went to the hospital.

This was their only mode of transportation. It was how they got to and from work everyday. It was how they dropped off and picked up their 7-month infant to be watched by a family friend. The German import was fine.

Their car had to be towed to a lot in DC. They lived in Maryland. They would have to pay extra in order for their car to be taken to Maryland. They didn’t have any money.

The driver didn’t have his wallet with him containing his ID and insurance. I think you can get arrested for that. Great. No money for towing, no money for whatever fine he’s going to get. Here, give me your registration. What number is this? Oh, it’s your license number! Gracias a Dios! In Maryland, they put your license on the back of your registration. Que suerte hombre!

The driver of the import is arrested. At least she’ll have to spend the weekend in jail. No? $500 gets her out? That’s it? You can pretty much ruin someone’s livelihood, attempt to escape the scene of an accident, injure people and still be able to spend the night in your own bed? Interesante.

It makes me wonder. The poor will continue to be poor because the laws are made to help the rich. It’s times like these that I wish I had paid for attention to the Karl Marx quotes written under the juice caps. Then I’m sure I could quote some very intense line about the poor always being at the mercy of the rich. But I can’t. I am but a simple Guatemalan who just writes what he sees and what he feels without being able to very much to change the system. Joder.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tired at night

I used to love watching her drink red wine. She would sit at a wooden bar, legs crossed with papers under a penned hand. My presence would often remain hidden for as long as I could stand being without a kiss just so that I could see her green eyes swallow the words and her thin lips savor the grape.

Her high heels would dangle from her pedicured feet swaying like a ribbon tied to a fence. With each subtle movement her toned legs would send my eyes darting from the arch of her foot as far as her skirt would allow my eyes to go before my memory and imagination took over.

With each sip of the grape a contained pleasure that I believe only I can see as the wine is swallowed slowly enough to allow all of the taste buds a chance at glory. With each sip, her eyes widen and my gaze deepens until my presence is felt in a way that only lovers can feel each other.

I’m tired. And sometimes, I’m in no mood for feelings.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Stone Quirks

I threw a rock into the stream and watched the quick disruption that I caused. It isn’t often that I take a break from life when I actually go out of my way to sit by a stream exposing my thoughts to the nothingness it needs.

“You’re too American.”

It was a comment said to me this Friday that seemed to be bothering me more than I had originally let on. It was a comment that I would have given anything to hear when I was growing up, but now, bueno, it bothers me. Why? I am not sure.

The country that gave mi familia a better life didn’t always make me feel at home. Mi madre’s accent, the different food smells in my house and, of course, the color of my skin. Our skin. We weren’t white. We weren’t black. We were brown. We were the ones cleaning tables, cooking food, washing clothes, we were the dirty ones. There was a time when I was ashamed of my roots.

I wore the Nike shoes, I listened to shitty music and stopped speaking my Spanish. I wanted so much to be American with the American walk and the American talk, but, in the end, I realized that I was impossible to be like my blonde hair blue eyed friends. I was El Guapo, Guatemalan with a budding mustache.

When I became comfortable with myself I also became a happier person, which is what you see today.

“You think like an American.”

When for years a comment like that would have made me smile the smile of all smiles, today, today it bothered me. I side armed a perfect stone across the stream and watched it skip four times.

Then, as I relived that stone dashing across the water, I smiled. I am Guatemalan, but wait, I am what I call a Guatemalan-American. I have the skin, mustache and dancing that don’t lie, but it seems that I have what some of my recent-to-the-US Latino friends feel to be very American quirks.

But, during this very American-movie-like-throwing-stones-side-armed-into-a-stream moment, I smiled. I’m ok with that.

Because at the end of the day, it is all my quirks that makes me, me.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Left Behind

Throw me that blanket. It’s cold in here.

I’m making a visit to Miguel’s house. I saw a red blanket that was just out of my reach and asked my amigo for some help.

“That’s not a blanket?”

He barely looked up from the television, but I sensed a little bit of annoyance in his voice.

Miguel, come on. I’m cold. Give me the blanket.

“It’s not a blanket. It’s a sweater.”

I annoyingly got up to grab the red blanket that was soon make the cold go away when I realized that mi amigo was right. It was, indeed, a sweater. A red one. With a hoodie. I held it open and realized that it made up two of me.

Say Miguel, this is quite a sweater. A hoodie? Very cute. Why haven’t I ever seen you wearing this before?

“El Guapo, not now. Soccer is on. I had a special guest visit me last night. She left me a souvenir.”

Ah yes, I was familiar with the overnight guest souvenirs. For reason women of the world tend to “forget” items over at our houses when making a special guest visit. This is a phenomenon that continues to amaze me to this day. Earrings, hair clips, hair bands, sweaters, jackets, toys (don’t ask), bracelets, anklets, and sandals. Women, for some reason need to leave items behind.

The most difficult part, for me, in my newfound single life, has been to remember this strange phenomenon when I have special visitors. Why do you women leave behind items? Are you trying to mark your territory? Is it really so hard to sleep with your earrings on? Can’t you put the hair bands around your wrists? If it was cold when you got here, do you not need that hooded sweatshirt when you leave?

I have lost exactly one item of clothing in my teen years: a braided belt. I loved that belt. It had a buckle made of silver (probably fake) with an eagle holding onto some kind of green branch. I loved that belt. But did you see me go back to get the belt? Did you see me call to get the belt? Did you see me go up to one of her friends in an attempt to get the belt? No. I let it go. It was a great belt, but now, well now it was her belt.

Women, I’ve learned, are unable to do this. I say this because almost every time I’ve had something left behind they come calling wanting to get it back. I don’t understand. If they are your favorite earrings, why, why in the name of all that is holy would you leave them behind? Why would you take them off?

And God forbid your girlfriend finds a remnant of a visitor past… I have never cheated on a woman in my life. It’s not my thing. But because of these past special visitors, I have been accused of being a “whore,” “cheating bastard,” and a “typical Latin dickhead.” Earrings… Why must you take them off?

The phone rings. Miguel ignores it.

Who was that?

He looks and nods at the red sweater.

She wants it back?

“Si, but it is mine now.”

He grabs the sweater from my hands and puts in over his shoulders to protect himself from the cold. I look at his exposed left wrist and notice he is also wearing a yellow hair band…

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Tuesday, April 17, 2007




“Si. Falcon.”

You want to name your first child Falcon?

“Si. Falcon.”

Like the bird?

“The greatest of all flying creatures.”

But why do you want to name your child, your human child, after a flying bird?

“Because Falcon is easily the manliest of all names possible. I have been giving this much thought and it was between Falcon and Jaguar.”

Oh, claro, Jaguar. That is a manly name. Why did you settle on Falcon?

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but anything that can fly is tougher than something that can just climb trees.”

Mosquitos can fly. Why don’t you name him Mosquito?

“El Guapo, this is why your first born will never be feared on the playground. Falcon, bueno, Falcon will be feared on the playground while your Mosquito cowers under his wings.”


“Si. Falcon.”

What about the T-Rex or another dinosaur.

“You’re an idiota. You can’t name your child after an extinct creature. There are rules to these things.”

Of course not. Why would I even think that…

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Helmets and Peanut Butter

You know you had too much to drink the night before when you are laying in bed, wishing, just wishing you had an empty bottle by your bed. The thought process, the self-convincing thought process, that it would actually be a really good idea if I could just relieve myself into a bottle to avoid the headache that is sure to come. Last night, bueno, last night was a good night.

I just wish I remembered it…

This morning I walked into a kitchen that showed off why one shouldn’t mix Tecate beer with Johnny Walker Black.

Peanut butter, from what I am sure you know, is (for the most part) a staple item in the American household. I acquired a taste for this brown cream by visiting the homes of friends as a child. In a drunken rampage, it seems that peanut butter becomes one of the main ingredients of my hunger. Of course, there is a Guatemalan twist…

My kitchen is a mess. Just a mess. The extra large, extra chunky container was left open and I found pieces of dried papaya inside the container. It seems that dried papaya, in this Guatemalan household, replaces the American celery used as a dipping utensil. My face cringed when I saw what I was eating, but then I decided to try it. In truth, not bad. Not bad at all.

There were also flour tortillas lying on the counter. Please note that everything that I had seemed to be half eaten. In this instance, I decided that it would be a good idea to have tortilla, chunky peanut butter, honey and pieces of avocado. From the half-eaten state of this feast, I wasn’t sure if I should try it sober. Well, you only live once and I figured that nothing could hurt as badly as my head. Luckily, it was delicious. The tortilla is a genius item that I believe you can combine with anything. Combine avocado and peanut butter and you have what is possibly one of the greatest snacks known to man.

I will not claim to be the first to combine these items as a snack, but will only say that it is damn good. Not fresh flan good, but damn good.

I even thought about eating in a healthy manner yesterday. I found this out by the lonely red pepper left untouched on my counter. I have no idea what my thought process was, but I’m sure that it involved some peanut butter dipping.

Where was Miguel in all of this? When I woke up this afternoon, he was passed out underneath a table wearing a motorcycle helmet and a soccer ball in his arms. He was also wearing both of his socks as gloves because his hands get cold when he sleeps. Why the motorcycle helmet?

Sometimes, I just don’t ask.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Monday, April 09, 2007

Lost in Translation

Miguel had family friends visiting from Guatemala this weekend. They were studying English in California and came to DC to spend a few days at his madre’s house. There were three of them, ages 20-24, just like the demographic. They wore tight clothes liked people to look.

“They are my cousins. You are not allowed to look and you are not allowed to touch.”

I was not allowed to look or touch, but I was asked to go out with Miguel to show them a good time. Dancing was out of the question, according to Miguel, because that would require my touching them. You see, Miguel knows the powers of my hip, so he keeps his cousins away from me and the salsa.

Since Miguel would not allow any kind of dancing, we drank like the white man. Miguel was already in a bad, chaperone mood and the Coronas seemed to make it worse. The joking and the giggling of his primas was starting to get on his nerves. Every advance made by men at the bar resulted in Miguel giving them a death stare.

Finally, the ring-leader, Tina, told him off:

“Look, I know we aren’t from here! I know we don’t speak the language very well, but stop acting like you’re our dad. Let us have some fun. Stop being an ass!”

Miguel doesn’t react well to being called any names. He never has. Never. I thought, for only a quick moment, to walk away, but no, not ever have I walked away from seeing Miguel do something when angry.

“Ok. You are right. Have your fun. Do not call me an ass.”

“You are being an ass! Stop it!”


That was it? That was it? Mi amigo is getting old. For the next hour the ladies were ladies and I was even allowed to dance, but I danced poorly. I did not wish to make mi amigo angry with me.

“El Guapo, how do you say “bangs” in English,” Tina asked me while pointing to her bangs, the extra hair hanging on her forehead. I really couldn’t remember how to say it in English.

“Miguel, do you know?”



“Si. Cunt.”

“I need to cut my cunt? Es correcto?”

“Si. Muy correcto.”

Soon, they were all saying it. The C-Bomb was flying left and right. It was their new favorite word.

“Your cunt looks great.” “My cunt is too long.” “I wish my cunt looked like yours.”

At one point I wanted to tell them, but was quickly given the I will kill you look by Miguel and decided against it.

Never in my life have I had the pleasure of listening to grown women throw the word around with such laughter and joy in their voices. Never have I felt so guilty knowing that they were going to use this word in a classroom setting and make their teacher blush.

Look, don’t call Miguel and ass. It’s just not worth it.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A little peek

I shouldn’t have done it. I want you all to know that I felt bad before, during and after I did it. If I went to confession I would have potentially confessed to it. I’m not sure that it’s actually considered a sin, but priests like to hear these types of half-sins.

Dating is interesante. You get exposed to different types of people and sometimes, bueno, sometimes you want to get ahead of the game a little bit. You want to get some information that you aren’t getting while speaking to the person. I don’t call it cheating. I don’t really know what I call it, but I’m guilty of it. I’m guilty of looking through medicine cabinets.

I know. I know. It’s wrong. I feel bad about it. Trust me, I have a Catholic mother. I’m guilty enough.

So, this week, I was on a date. It was a “set up” by una de mis amigas. I was told that I dated too many Latinas, so I was set up with the gringa of all gringas. I believe this one was from Arkansas, the most confusing state to pronounce.

Anyway, I had to use the restroom, so I had a little peek. A little peek never hurt anyone, no? Si! It hurts me!

Porque? Because this is what I saw: Diclac. A box of pills with the words “BACK PAIN” written on the box with a black magic marker. Why the extra reminder for prescription medication? Oh, the girl from Arkansas had prescription pills from Brazil. Brazilian pain pills. Yes. This is my date.

I look through the drawer some more and find Advil, Aspirin and Ibuprofen. But wait, back pain. No big deal right? Right. The Brazilian pills were strange to have, but hey, pills, pain, we all have it sometimes. Next Item.

Tucks. Hemorrhoidal Pads with Witch Hazel. Medicated Pads. Soothes. Cools. Comforts. Safe for septic and sewer systems.

I have no idea what this looks like. I very much wanted to open this so that I could describe them to you, but I could not. Witch hazel? I was on a date with a gringa from Arkansas who had hemorrhoidal pads. Pads that soothe, cool and comfort. This was too much for me. Next item? Si, next item.

Hemorid. Hemorrhoidal creme. With Aloe. You see, for this gringa from Arkansas, the pads that soothe, cool and comfort aren’t enough. You see, aloe is also needed for the hemorrhoids. The soothing, cooling, comforting feeling isn’t enough. Aloe is also needed. I’m on a date with a girl from Arkansas that also needs aloe. Next item? Next item.

Dr. Scholl’s Deodorant Foot Powder. Contains Chlorophyll. Stops foot odor. Use daily for fit feet. Fit feet. My gringa date from Arkansas, with back pain and hemorrhoids also has foot odor. Foot odor. Foot odor. Hemorrhoids. I didn’t even know how to spell hemorrhoids until just moments ago. I didn’t need to know how to spell that word. I didn’t even know how pronounce Arkansas until a couple of days ago and I was very happy. Now, bueno, now I know how to pronounce Arkansas and spell hemorrhoids. It has two r’s. Two of them. Just one r doesn’t bring it home. It has to have two. It just has to.

As for the date, there was no date. Why? I wish I could tell you that it was because I was taken out of the mood, but it wasn’t. It was because the gringa from Arkansas with the soothed, cooling bottom with foot odor felt that I was invading her privacy and asked me to leave.

Now I’m the bad Guatemalan. I tried telling her that the hemorrhoids didn’t matter to me and she got very upset. She had one of those squeaky screams. She could really push though. She was a hard pusher. She pushed me out. Hard. It kind of hurt my back a little bit.

Good thing I kept some of the Brazilian back pain pills for myself. Addict...

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A New Leaf

“Sir, you should know that we also have appointments between 4-7PM for those customers who prefer the later times.”

This week, I did something that I never thought I’d do. Never. This week, I decided to pay for cable television.

“Yes sir, I apologize. We try to schedule appointments knowing that some will take longer than others. Our technician just got backed up today. Are you sure you don’t want to re-schedule for another time?”

As a resident of Washington, DC, it is my inalienable right to steal (borrow) cable television from my neighbors. Unfortunately, my neighbor of choice hasn’t been reliable in his ability to pay his utility bills and I was constantly having to suffer through having his/my cable cut off.

“I am going to give you a $20 credit. Again, please accept my apologies.”

Gol TV. That was the reason I decided to pay. I could have two channels dedicated to soccer if became a legal subscriber. It's hard for me to think of something better on TV.

“Sir, my apologies. I will give you a $20 credit for this tardiness.”

It’s almost 5 PM. You guys were supposed to be here between nine and twelve. You’re going to go bankrupt if you keep giving me $20 credits. I’m trying to pay you money for TV. I was getting it for free before.”

“Sir, you know that it’s illegal to steal cable television?”

What? Really? Well, I’m trying to turn a new leaf in mi vida. I want to pay for a service that keeps me waiting for 8 hours without any end in sight.

“Sir, again, I apologize for that. I see here that we have given you $60 in credits today. Is there anything else that I can do for you?”

I REALLY appreciate your giving me the $60 in credits. But what I really want is to have a slight idea of when to expect your technician.

“Sir, I suggest you reschedule for another day.”

Yes, I appreciate the suggestion, but see where I’m coming from. I’ve been sitting here for the entire day when I could have been doing things like playing craps in the alley, attending cock fights, or, I don’t know, going to work to earn money to pay for the not free cable television that you can’t seem to want to give me. So, I would reschedule, but I’m afraid that it will be another day of not being able to do anything. Can you guarantee that your technician will be here at an exact time?

“No sir.”

So you want me to take off of work again so that you may be able to come?

“Sir, I see that you are signed up for our Sports package. Would you be interested in receiving a free month of our adult oriented package due to this inconvenience?

Are you bribing me with porn?

Very smart Comcast. VERY smart.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo