First up I hope everyone kind of figured out by now that the story below is just that, a story. I did indeed go to Mexico to DJ and I did hang out with the lovely ladies at Hooters in Cancun (there’s three of them by the way, if that tells you anything about how gross and Americanized Cancun is) and almost everyone I mentioned is real. Nobody died though, in fact I’m friends with the Hooters girl on myspace! I don’t know if it was a good idea to use all real names, but I would never have come up with “Fernanda” on my own.
Some insight into the story. I was with my family in Cancun and was initially absolutely disgusted with the place. It seemed like the worst place I had ever been, aside from parts of Dallas. The Hooters was literally the only place in the hotel zone that was not some raging cheese fest of terrible techno and yard long drinks. All the stuff about being treated differently for speaking Spanish is true. At the Hooters a few of the girls really seemed curious about Austin and San Antonio and it’s all pretty much as I described it below. Fernanda was a flirt, but we never went on any dates. And if you thought that any of the romantic stuff I wrote seemed realistic, um, I don’t know what to tell you… All I can say is go back and read it again. You will see that it is actually not a tragedy at all, but a really poorly written comedy!! Gentle Mexican music coming in the window? Her last words on earth, to me, you are so nice? Come on, the whole romance and death part is ridiculous!! If you have ever been to Mexico you know there is no such thing as gentle Mexican music, it’s all shrinkingly loud trumpets and turbo bass cumbias. Some Mexican Hooters girl just invites me over to her apartment? I’m sorry if you bought it, and all I can say is don’t believe everything you read on the Internet, especially if it’s written by me!
I will add this: The element of death in the story is not without foundation, nothing in the story is. I was eating dinner with my parents in San Antonio a few weeks before the trip and my mom mentioned that about ten years ago her and my dad had seen a small boy killed by a car in Cancun. She was clearly still upset about it and briefly described the scene, with the boy’s mother holding the dead child, crying. It was very sad and I didn’t want to hear about it. It seemed too dark a topic for discussion at a lively downtown restaurant. Plus I hate seeing my mom upset.
What my parents had witnessed stuck with me, what a tragic thing, and while you are supposed to be on vacation… One evening in Cancun my mom, dad and my brother and I took a taxi into the downtown part of the city to find a more earthy place to eat. As we crossed a road my mom said that this was where they had seen the accident. Wow. At dinner my parents speculated that the boy would be 17 or 18 by now. We spent a few moments sadly reflecting on a person we never knew, and a mother’s enduring sadness at the loss of her son. I didn’t have the same urge to shush my mom from being morbid this time. I kind of felt part of it.
So that’s why I killed off Fernanda (perdon Fernanda si tu eres leyendo!). It took me forever to connect the horror that my mom had described and what I was writing. For a minute I thought I wasn’t going to finish the story at all, and that really bothered me. At first I thought about some Woody Allen-esqe comedy of errors, missed connections, poor communication, and unrequited love left behind in Mexico. That seemed too light weight for my sensibilities. Then I thought about having Fernanda turn out to be a transexual, as I had mentioned the number of high end tranny hookers hanging around Cancun in an earlier part of the story. Fernanda, Fernando, get it? My brother, upon consultation, was pushing for this ending, but hooking up with a transexual was also far from the tragic scene I was searching for. It would have been pointless, I wouldn’t have cared and we probably would have gone clubbing and exchanged emails. Again, not intense enough for the stories’ needs.
The first version of the epilogue was much more silly, with references to bullfighting and general stereotypes of a dangerous, bloody and wild Mexico. Then I came back to the car accident that my mom had described to me and I had it. As I read back I decided to strip the corny stuff and go for the gusto, although I still think there are way too many clues in there that it was a fictional description of my last night in Mexico. If that shit really happened to me I would be homeless, wandering the streets of Cancun in rags, drunk, insane, searching for the ghost of a beloved dead girl and generally annoying the tourists with my filth. That’s just how I am when it comes to love.
The other night my Uruguayan home girl Valaria from Hooters added me on myspace and I was thrilled. As I looked through her pictures everyone was there, Fernanda, Jorge the manager, all the pretty ladies from Hooters. It was actually really nice, sort of uplifting, because even though I laughed out loud at my own story many times, a certain part of my imagination had embraced what I wrote, allowing me to feel sort of sad about an event that never occurred. Does that happen to other writers? Because it happens to me a lot.
The truth is I had a great fucking time all over the Yucatan. It was an amazing trip and my initial disdain for Cancun subsided after a few tequila shots and it was really mellow with my folks. The worst thing that happened to me in Mexico was pretty much just dealing with getting in and then later out of bed.
So again I wanted to make that clear. Reality based creative writing is what I do. I dedicate the story to my friends at Hooters, especially Fernanda, and also to the nameless boy that actually did die in his mother’s arms after being hit by a car all those years ago. What the hell, I’ll go ahead and dedicate it to my mom too, she’s damn good for the morbidity, great inspiration!