Read Chapters 4-6 of Vampire Girl here.
Jackie and Sheila invited Mayra to accompany them to Tijuana over the weekend. She was lying in bed getting Triscuit shreds all over the sheets while she watched Downton Abbey, jealous of Lestatia and her LTR with Tobias. Mayra had considered showing up at his door like Adele in “Never Mind, I’ll Find Someone Like You,” except that due to the prolonged drought, there was no rain to stand in while she made her pathetic plea. Also, even though she might boast to him about her success at slaying men, he would only argue that the second time around, though the bite took, the spell was going to wear off eventually, and they would be an existential mismatch. She was quite sure that Lestatia had large breasts, a pouty mouth and probably lithe legs from tennis and hot yoga. Unlike Mayra, she didn’t carry a permanent extra three pounds around her waist. So she said yes to Jackie and Sheila and TJ. They’d already gotten a hotel room on Priceline. Their plan was to eat steak ordered from room service, drink to excess, possibly flash some men on the street from the balcony of their room, but otherwise stay in and watch porn. It occurred to Mayra that they could easily do all that at any Marriott in Los Angeles, with an $89 Groupon, and save themselves the driving. But she knew her friends wanted a road trip, and to believe in the folklore that the margaritas were better in TJ so you had to drive three hours to get one. When they got to the border, they were asked to fill out a new government form, called a “Mexit.”
You fill it out too, reader. Here is the info requested: Name. DOB. Passport #. Destination. Length of Stay. Ethnicity or Race. Sex. (If transgender, please just put Sexless.) Where will you be staying? With whom? Why? When did you conceive this plan? Who else knows about it? Were they involved in the actual plotting, or did they only give passive consent? Do you ever have negative feelings about the United States Government? How often? What is their exact nature? Are you merely disgruntled or do you have specific thoughts, methods and tactical equipment for acting on your plan? Name of psychiatrist or other mental health professional. How frequently have you seen him or her and how long have you been a patient? (If you possess written transcripts of your sessions, please attach them or provide URL of website on which they are posted. If they are on Reddit, never mind, we will see you at the mass shooting at your former workplace.) How do you feel when you hear the word Reich? Do you think of Wilhelm Reich and The Mass Psychology of Fascism, with its thesis about suppressed orgiastic longing, or do you think of the Third Reich? Names of fifteen close friends, with their phone numbers and Twitter accounts. Why are you really going to Mexico? Would you ever consider marrying a Mexican or are you just going to flash them from the balcony of your hotel room before you watch porn? When you speak to Mexicans, do you call them “you people” or “my people”? (Please select only one answer.) If we build a wall, will you help as a volunteer? Please list the names of fifteen Mexicans you have employed at any time in the past twenty years as a housekeeper, mechanic, dishwasher, gardener, roofer, or from whom you have bought a paleta or elote or a cup of fresh fruit from a stall in the street. Be sure to give both surnames in the proper order. If you are married to a Mexican, please provide the names and addresses of all his or her relatives who are currently residing illegally within the borders of our great nation. If you do not know the exact addresses, please name a general geographic area, as we have sophisticated tracking devices, which are surveying both them and you at this very moment.
Have you ever smoked weed with Chapo Guzmán, not counting marijuana legally obtained from an approved medical dispensary with a real doctor’s prescription, not those bullshit ones off the internet, for an actual condition and not because you’re the kind of neurotic hipster who also gets a large emotional support dog like a German Shepherd that takes up space in the overbooked plane and bothers your fellow passengers and eventually mauls an infant in the next seat over? Everybody knows German Shepherds are better suited as drug-sniffing police service animals, they are not lap dogs for bearded, emotionally retarded millennials.
If you make any mistakes in filling out this form with the stubby pencils without erasers we have provided, please start over. Be safe and have a nice trip.
While Jackie and Sheila lay together on one queen size bed, well into their third pitcher of margaritas, watching their favorite Red Tube videos and rating new ones on Jackie’s cell phone, Mayra lay alone on the other queen, too melancholy even to go out on the balcony and flash the locals and other tourists. Beyond the wooden shutters, a continuous low-grade clamor happened, as if peasants had gathered to bang pots and pans for New Year’s Eve. It made her head hurt. Mayra used to suffer from PMS, but now it was PVS, Post-Vampire Syndrome.
The symptoms were similar: irritability, free-floating sadness, unreasonable sudden nostalgia for things that hadn’t been that good in the first place, such as her relationship with Tobias, and a craving for cigarettes, though in her case it was a craving for human flesh. You had to talk yourself down, saying that you had quit several times and it was a matter of will power. Then of course you found yourself at the corner store, with a pack in your hand. She began to hope that the vampire thing would wear off again. Eternal life wasn’t worth the mood swings. Restive, she told her girlfriends she was going out to find a local, non-tourist bar. They looked at her with incredulity and said that could be dangerous, mixing with the locals. “Really? Not as dangerous as the two of you on Grindr pretending to be what you are not. I am the least likely of us three to be found beaten to death with a plank tomorrow morning.” They gave her a wounded glance and went back to their shared fake profile on Grindr.
Mayra showered, changed into a black bra, see-through blouse, short skirt, black stiletto heels and put dabs of La Vie et Belle perfume beneath her ears and in her peek of cleavage. Tonight she was going to shine like Catherine Deneuve in The Hunger, full of subtlety and knowing glances. In the street, Mexican flags were posted on every streetlamp and hung form iron balconies and cornices. White lights had been strung across wooden trellises. Café tables littered everywhere held singles, couples, and groups eating tacos and slaw and drinking premium mescal. Some of the clubs were so packed that people spilled out dancing on the sidewalks to reggaetón. One had a poster up for a group called Heart Blister. The main singer sported a retro Mohawk haircut. He snarl-sang, “I am anxious for a death from sharp obsidian! Our hearts want nothing but a war death!” Sinuously working her way into a crowd, she found a guy alone, with dreadlocks, nice slacks and an unbuttoned dress shirt, showing his shapely, hairless, probably Mayan chest. He gave her a playful glance and went back to his dancing. Staring at him with her sultry Catherine Deneuve gaze, she waited until he looked up again and motioned for her to join him. Together they danced reggaetón without speaking. You are here invited to make up a fake Grindr profile, which you may find convenient if later you want to go catfishing, get up someone’s hopes of hot, nasty sex, and then see the look on his or her face when your true nature is revealed. Please be advised that this activity could result in physical harm for you and be sure to take along pepper spray or a small caliber handgun.
Either this man was a total player or a naïve creature of guileless warmth, as he casually signaled a street vendor for a pack of cigarettes, paid, opened the pack, extracted a cig with his lips, lit it with the matches he’d also bought, and inserted it into her mouth, the tip still dry, and never stopped dancing the whole time. They found a quiet spot on the stoop of a condemned storefront a few blocks away and talked, him in highly lilted but grammatical English. His name was Cuauhtémoc. Cuauhtémoc took a drag off his cigarette and looked up at stars that had suddenly pushed through the smog and heavy ambient light, as if at his bidding. Part of the reason she wanted to be near him, besides his effortless charm and his deep probably Mayan chest and biceps, was that she had felt embarrassed when filling out the Mexit form, because she had not been able to name even five Mexicans whom she had used for menial labor, and couldn’t name a single one with a network of illegal relatives in the U.S. She had been peering at the forms of other people for clues. She wanted to ask Cuac, as he instructed her to call him, whether he had relatives squirrelled away in California or Arizona, but she was too shy, so instead she told him he had beautiful brown eyes. “You know my mother would be unhappy to see me here talking to you. She says the güeras only have one thing on their minds.” “And what’s that?” His brown eyes smiled. “To take me home and use me as an air conditioner repairman.” They laughed together. “You’re different from the rest, Mayra.” “What’s different about me?” “I can’t explain it exactly. But even on short acquaintance, you have an otherworldly quality. That’s how I’d put it. You’re like that sultry, quirky actress with the cool languor—.”
“No, the other one.” “Susan Sarandon.” “Yes, exactly. From that movie, I think it was called Famished. I feel like you’re hypnotizing me.” “Cuac, you’re the one who’s otherworldly. With all your Aztec gods and human sacrifices.” He let out a plume of smoke. “Ah, those were long ages ago. Before my time. I missed out on all the fun. There’s no mystery left.” A vein in his smooth neck pulsated. She wanted him badly. She wanted to rip that gorgeous throat, to initiate him into the cosmic mystery so that like Tobias and Lestatia, they could be in a vampire LTR. Mayra brought her lips closer and Cuac unconsciously rolled his head back, exposing his throat to her mouth. She grazed the skin and felt his breathing quicken. So easy to plunge in, her fangs already bared. But—she just couldn’t.
To her surprise, she found it wasn’t in her to despoil this pure creature. She didn’t want to be like those hard bitter women reading Henry Miller to try to get their souls back, while they purged each bad boyfriend by securing another bad boyfriend. Like Jackie and Sheila back in the hotel on Red Tube and Grindr forming an image of men as sheer creatures of perverse, unfiltered lust and then bitterly pranking on them by, of all things, catfishing, pretending to be another man. It came upon Mayra that, ironically, in spite of her job title, she didn’t know the first thing about human relations. Her inner resources truly were inhuman resources. Then she sank her fangs into Cuac’s neck. That is, she tried. But his arms were too quick and muscular, perhaps from wielding a machete in the cane fields, although admittedly, she hadn’t seen any cane fields in Tijuana. “Whoa, lady. Are you trying to give me a hickey?” “No, your cologne is simply irresistible. What’s it called?” “Axe.” “Well you’d better douse it less liberally next time. You’re liable to get attacked.” He reached over and took her hand in his. “You know, my forefathers the Aztecs had a verse for when the warriors felt estranged from their women and they’d go off to the sacred hunting grounds to be by themselves and clear their minds, man against beast, the thrill of the hunt, raw skill against animal muscle and speed.” “What was the verse?”
“None but the rain should cling to my bosom. None but the moon should hear my lonesome sigh.”
“That’s deep. They sang it together?”
“Nah, I’m just kidding about the Aztec thing. It’s a lyric of Townes Van Zandt. The Aztecs probably told each other dirty jokes. But it would have been cool, right?” Mayra snuggled closer to Cuac’s body, feeling safe in his arms. They slept until dew covered their bodies. The sun rose to plastic cups blowing down the deserted streets and the smell of fresh bread coming from the doorway of a single store with the light already on. Name five Aztec gods. You may not go on Wikipiedia for this or any other exercise. However, you may go on: http://www.crystalinks.com/aztecgods.html
Jackie and Sheila were asleep when Mayra slipped in the key card. Jackie sat up, bleary eyed and tried to look like a concerned big sister, but with her hair ratted she looked more like the girl who comes crawling out of the TV screen in The Ring.
“Where were you all night? We got worried.” “Is that so? Why didn’t you message me on What’s App then?” “Yeah good point. We hooked up with two drag queens on Grindr and the four of us spent all night playing canasta in the hotel lobby. I guess I forgot.” “No worries. I met an adorable Mexican guy who studies urban planning.” Sheila immediately shot up in bed and clapped her hands. As always, she feigned sleep to see what others might say about her when she wasn’t present. Mayra sometimes considered mauling her anxious friend just so Sheila could be present at her own funeral to overhear the uplifting and complimentary eulogies. “Oh my God, Mayra. Tell us all about him. I wish I’d gone with you.” “He helped design the Centro Cultural de Tijuana.” “Goodie!” shouted Sheila. “That’s so awesome they have culture now.” Mayra was about to launch into a long explanation about Mesoamerica, the Olmecs, Toltecs, Zapotecs, Cortés, Porfirio Díaz, Zapata, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and Octavio Paz, all of which she’d learned about in the past three hours from Cuac. Instead, she said, “Yeah, they finally got some.” “Hey, we gotta get back,” said Jackie. “I have to show a house in Los Feliz this afternoon. “I wonder why they gave Spanish names to everything in California?” wondered Sheila. “So we could pronounce them wrong,” answered Jackie, who occasionally showed sarcastic flashes that suggested she was in the know.
Mayra was too tired to share with Sheila her newfound geopolitical knowledge. She briefly considered announcing that she would stay here with Cuac and take a bus on her own later. But her job at Human Resources awaited and she had no personal days left. She’d once suggested to her boss they should have an allotment of impersonal days as well, days when you just didn’t give a shit about your job so you wouldn’t go in. He laughed, as he considered her a jokester, but she had been serious. So she sent a text to Cuac on What’s App thanking him for a lovely night and promising she’d be down again soon. Mayra did not invite him up to L.A. because she knew she wouldn’t be able to resist luring him to her apartment and killing him in a bout of rapturous intercourse, her face buried in his deep definitely Mayan chest. Part of her was curious whether he’d become super-undead, an avenging Aztec more powerful than any of the guys she knew. Or would her bite make him hyphenated, thinning out his blood, diminishing his natural power? For now, she would go on a blood fast, to see whether she could survive without it. Maybe she would age or become weak or even die, but it was worth trying if it meant she could be around Cuac without exposing him to peril. It was time to test another tenet of vampire lore, which might turn out to be false as well. Maybe blood was like quinoa or kale, where you constantly got told you needed it, so you began to actually mistake a lie for the truth. A person who dresses up as an Aztec god during ceremonies is called an ixiptlatli. Please draw your own paper doll/ixiptlati, as a cross between a vampire and one of the Aztec gods you looked up in the previous chapter. Have fun and don’t be constrained by reality. This is myth. You make them any color or colors you want, because gods strictly speaking don’t belong to any specific ethnic group. They are metaphysical beings who exist out of space and time. They don’t give a shit what color you are, because you are nothing to them and you all look more or less the same to their profound god eyes that could see to the end of the universe even if they had cataracts. They only assume human guises in order to give succor and hope to physical people, or to rape, trick, and punish them. Cut out your paper doll and find someone for him/her/it to play with.