** The following is an excerpt from a larger work that tells the many adventures I had with Miki, Abtean, and Alberto on our trip to Puerto Escondido, Mexico in the summer of 2004. With that said the only things that really need explaining are the Mexican/German entourage which was a group of Mexican and German students who were visiting Puerto Escondido at the same time that we were. The name Team Mexico is what the four of us dubbed ourselves for the trip. Hope you enjoy and please give me feedback, criticisms, comments, whatever, if you feel so inclined.
Fight Night at La Playa
       I remember the trouble starting around midnight while we were drinking Dos XX and eating spicy chili peanuts at a beach bar. It was a quaint little establishment in the middle of the beach complete with a handmade wooden bar, bar stools, and a thatched roof made of what seemed to be dead palm leaves. There were several more “huts” with the same handmade tables and stools under each, as well as a stage for local music acts. From a distance, the place resembled a small village, rather reminiscent of Gilligan’s Island.
       The night was starting to swirl a bit, as should be expected after several hours of heavy drinking and we were debating whether or not the latin folk singer on the stage was a man or a woman. After several minutes of friendly arguing, the Mexican/German entourage scuttled over like a group of drunken land crabs, declaring in a frenzy of Spanish and English that there was going to be a fight and our assistance was needed. We formed a quick huddle and debated whether or not getting into a drunken brawl in a completely foreign country with the frightening possibility of being thrown in jail with God knows what kind of degenerates and criminals was a good idea, but we were all feeling rather macho and adventurous, not to mention inebriated, so we quickly joined the already large force of fighters.
       Shirts were off, fists were clenched, teeth were grinding, and the air was electrified as Miki, Alberto, Abtean and myself strutted down the beach back towards the southern tip of the town with about a dozen-plus lip-licking blood-thirsty Mexican and German students. The full moon brilliantly lit a path to the “arena” and thousands of stars flickered in the sky like a celestial crowd anxiously awaiting a big money pay-per-view fight. The steady crashing of the waves added to the fight atmosphere, reminding me of war drums or maybe the chants of FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
       We were all shadowboxing, ducking and weaving, taking practice licks on each others shoulders as Marcos, the “gang” leader, explained the situation. Apparently a couple of the locals had “talked shit” about him and his “novia,” as he so eloquently put it. I guess that’s enough to trigger a street brawl down here in funky town. “We’re gonna kick their asses!” shouted one. “We’re gonna break their balls!” yelled another. “Pinche cabrones!” and “Pinche weones!” and other Spanish profanities emanated from our group. We were quickly advancing on the town and then the adrenaline started to kick in. My mind was racing a bit because none of us from Team Mexico had really been in a fight before. I mean sure I’d been in a few scuffles here and there throughout elementary, middle, and high school but nothing with the serious undertones of what we were currently undertaking. Abtean was a big guy who could probably take on two or more at once, and Miki and Alberto seemed like they could scrap if they had to, plus we were with a group of seasoned street fighters. I came to the conclusion that with a force like this, who wouldn’t want to throw down and bust some heads? Adding to my confidence was the fact that there were several girls accompanying the group to the scene of the fight and what better way to seduce a young latin girl than to kick some other guy’s ass?
       We marched up a sand covered ramp that led into the southern part of the town like we were taking Normandy Beach in WWII. The streets were made of cobblestone and the two story colonial-style buildings formed a small plaza that was connected to the main street which led into the main drag of the town. The main drag then led to the business and downtown area. As I scanned the area I spotted the enemy. To my dismay the supposed group of six had grown to about the same size as our group. According to Marcos, our group of about eighteen was going to obliterate their group of six, but I guess he didn’t count on them thinking along the same lines. WELL LADIES AND GENTS, DAMAS Y CABALLEROS, WE HAVE A GENUINE MEXICAN STREET BRAWL ON OUR HANDS. I was visualizing the Jets taking on the Sharks from Westside Story when Miki jerked me back to reality and instructed that, “As long as we watch each others’ backs we’ll be okay, bro.” The alcohol had really kicked in at this point and I felt like I could take them all on myself.
       An eerie silence fell over the scene with only the distant crashing of waves in the background being audible. Both sides faced opposite each other in fight stances exchanging menacing glares. The energy was intense and sweat beads were rolling down my face and back. SHOWDOWN IN FUNKY TOWN. FOR 50 PESOS COME WATCH THE GRINGOS AND ESTUDIANTES TAKE ON THE HOMETOWN CHICOS. EXPECT FISTS TO FLY AND EXPERIENCE THE BEST FIGHT SOUTH OF THE BORDER IN CINCUENTA AÑOS. A shout cut through the night, “LISTOS?!” HELL YEAH I’M READY LETS GOOOOOOOOOO. The charge ensued. 40 FEET, 35 FEET, 30 FEET, CLOSING IN, 25 FEET, 20 FEET, CLOSING IN, CLOSING IN, 15 FEET, SIRENS, SIRENS, 10 FEET, POLICIA, POLICIA, WHAT?! OH SHIT! POLICE! A few exchanges were made but a mad scramble breaks out. LETS GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!
       Now normally folks I’d calmly assess the situation, make sure my “hermanos” were okay, and take the best and easiest way out of the ruckus. But considering the circumstances my animal instincts kicked in and it was every man for himself. The first image that popped into my head was BEACH. I made a quick turn on my heels and scrammed for the ramp leading to the beach. NO TIME TO GO DOWN THAT THING. As I jumped down the 5 foot concrete wall. my foot managed to catch itself on some protruding rebar. Slightly dazed, I wormed my way out of the sand and headed towards darkness away from the town. My greatest fear was being apprehended by the Mexican police. This was the most southern tip of Mexico people. We’re not talking about your clean cut, put the cuffs on you, read you your rights, take you to jail, do things by the books, kind of pigs. NO-HO. These were your back-country yokels who have been on a two-night tequila binge, just salivating over a chance to whip up on some gringos. SOME REAL PUERCOS SUCIOS. The type that enjoy stripping you down, forcing you into the spread eagle, and delighting in probing every inch of your trembling body in hopes of finding some “mota,” “cocaina,” or other illegal drug. And after that giggling and guffawing as they scare the shit out of you by making menacing gestures with their AK-47s. No way in hell I was going to go through that.
       LEGS BURNING. HARD TO BREATHE. MUST KEEP GOING. As I was doing my best to sprint through the sand I noticed a figure running in close proximity. ALBERTO! THANK GOD FOR ALBERTO! “Where’s Miki and Abtean?!” I managed to ask as I gasped for breath. “I saw Abtean run towards town but I didn’t see where Miki went,” he returned. DAMN WE’RE FUCKED. CALMATE. KEEP CALM. We were working our way North along the side of the town when we came into some familiar territory. Like a couple of stealth ninjas we zig-zagged our way through some palm trees in a small park and headed for an alley that ran along the backside of the beach motels, hostels, and surf shops. LOOKS CLEAR. We managed to climb up a hill leading towards the busier downtown area and casually dissolved into the people walking the streets.
       “Man that was close,” whispered Alberto. “Fuck yeah, where the hell are Abtean and Miki?!” I said nervously. Our nerves were slowly subsiding and we felt confident that the police were elsewhere so we made our way back towards the beach. As we were crossing the street that connected the strip of motels and other buildings to the beach we saw a couple of dark figures. “Max! Alberto! Get the hell over here!” It was Abtean and Miki. “Man are you guys okay?” I asked. “Yeah dude we just got here but they’re arresting people back there,” gasped Abtean. “Shit man that was crazy,” added Miki. Abtean and Miki were still breathing hard. Apparently Abtean was able to lose himself in a crowd of people leaving a club on the drag. Miki on the other hand had run back to the beach bar area and worked his way past the drag on the other side of the town. There was a quick exchange of celebratory hand shakes and pats on the backs and we all decided it was best to get a taxi and head home to the bungalow.
       Back at base camp we dragged ourselves into the room like a group of ghosts and I collapsed on my bed. A sigh of relief, then DARKNESS.
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