La Cueva del Hombres

Los Angeles, 2020

Somewhere around 111th Street and Hawthorne Boulevard, I try to find a parking spot. It is impossible. On the curb, cars take up every square inch of legal parking. You can’t slip a piece of paper between the shiny bumpers. You get your cardio in this tough neighborhood by huffing it from your car to your Casa.

Ramon, a good friend from the hotel I used to work at, invited me to this Guadalajara shin-ding. After finding a parking spot, I hightail it down the sidewalk to Ramon’s house. At the front door, his charming wife directs me out back to the garage.

Walking into this Mexican version of the revered Midwestern man cave, brisk handshakes and ice-cold Coronas fill my hands. Looking around, I realize I am privledged to enter this holiest of sanctums. Religious artifacts from south of the border mingle with nostalgic Los Vegas drinking signs and revered old Hollywood glamor. The Godfather film poster I gave Ramon hangs reverently on the back door. From the corner, El Chapo looks over the party with approval.

Huge couches face a vast projection screen that stretches from the wood floor to the ceiling. Outback, a working urinal hangs on the exterior garage wall to cut down on time away from the party. I will share this incredible idea with some friends back home who haven’t left their garages since Coach Mike Ditka left the Chicago Bears in 1992. Finally rolling up on a miniature motorcycle, Daniel, another Bellman barges in with a case of fine IPA beers. He is as good as they come. Hoots and cheers welcome him. He downs the mandatory shot for entrance and the party begins.

The legendary fiesta roars on into the night. Smoke from the gas barbecue sitting under the eve begins filling the garage while emptying our stomachs. We eat rounds and rounds of spicy carnitas, bowls of beans, and plates of guacamole. Ramon grabs a handful of shot glasses from a cupboard under the bar. His brother-in-law grabs a bottle of tequila costing more than I earn in a week. Everybody downs a few shots of premium tequila. The warmth from the expensive liquor burning our stomachs fills our hearts. We are consecrated amigos for life.

We have a final toast for the for the ages, captured on the technology of today.

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