Jim Marquez. Photo by Rick Mendoza.
by Jim Marquez
The silence of it all is the thing that first gets you. So fucking quiet at 2:37am on a Thursday or Friday or Saturday morning in Downtown Los Angeles.
The men wait at a corner, huddled in twos and threes and fours, the truly adventurous man waits alone. Dressed in white T-shirts with oil-stains, jeans, and trucking caps. Some are drunk, red eyes glisten under dull street lights; they waver in place, trying to remain upright, while others are wide awake, jittery, hands shoved in pockets, rocking back and forth on their heels, taking quick glances at their buddies, wordlessly asking each other in Spanish if they should leave or make their move.
It’s cold out this night, unusual for this time of year, but that does not deter them; they gather here on this corner and wait for the taxi dancers to come streaming out of their place of business on this and every other night and I know this because I’m the only drunk that bothers to look at them rather than push past as the amateurs do when they stumble out of a bar in their own groups of 17-30 deep, sloppy and loud and obnoxious, catching the ears of all the pigs that increasingly patrol the downtown streets now.
I’ve been to whorehouses and strip clubs and swingers clubs all over the world, but, I have never seen the inside of a taxi hall. Talk about old school. Buy tickets, pick a girl, actually slow dance, be close, pretend you’ve taken her out on a real, old fashioned date, then, if the friction is right, or not, retire to a back sofa, in the dark, and hope for a hand job or, for the truly adventurous woman, a blow job.
So I’ve been told.
But after is when the real money is made. When the real action takes place. And it’s all for the asking, apparently.
The women gather under the awning of their building. Wrapped in bad coats, holding big purses, teetering in cheap platform sandals, whispering in Spanish to each other about this guy or that guy that is standing across from them on the sidewalk. They don’t smile. They don’t wave or encourage. But they do await the first moves.
Christ, it’s like being at a junior high school dance.