He said he and the older rich gay guy and some of his friends were drunk in Alajuela and he lost his shoes down some rocks and everybody was positive there was a lake down there, but it was actually just sewage, and he cut up his feet.
He said they were running down the beach to get back across the border and this customs official asked for a bribe and he gave the bribe.
I was 21 and I wanted to live a very romantic story. I flapped my hands at the taxi drivers and repeated, “No gracias, no gracias. I turned around and walked all the way back to the doors. He may have gotten lost on his way to the airport or written my flight down wrong? At last he strode up, golden hair messy and panting, tan and handsome. We found a hotel with a single light still lit, insects going bananas, and got a room. He flipped on the light and I looked around the room for cockroaches. We fell over on top of one another and took off the clothes that needed taking off and his dick had freckles.“I hate condoms,” he murmured to me, and, “The mosquito nets are hurting the cuts on my feet.”It wasn’t long. I turned on the bathroom light and looked for cockroaches. Maybe that was it, what I thought I liked about him, why I'd agreed to come here: that he didn't resemble anyone else I knew. So I go over to the bar and I show ‘em.”Richard grabbed a glass of water and a straw and caught some water in the straw with his finger and held it there in the air, saying, “I said, here’s my toilet without a vent,” and letting his finger go said, “and here it is with a vent.
“Come back and run this joint with me,” Richard repeated as we laughed and nodded and flip-flopped hand-in-hand down the muddy road.
He had a bandana and spoke about how much he loved this country, these people. A taxi driver agreed to take us all the way to Mal País. Richard lived in Costa Rica full-time now and complained about the country and its people a lot.“I’ll tell you somethin’ about them Ticos and construction,” Richard said, using the colloquial term for Costa Rican. He sold us boxes of cheap cigarettes called Derby Lights for a buck a pop.
“Just a great country, man, a great people,” the Midwestern guy said. He drove like he was paddling through white-water rapids, little car rising and falling, mud splattering, night falling, and all the while he hit the small television aside his steering wheel as its telenovela flickered. I sat on our two bags under an awning while he went to find us a hotel. He served us food off a menu his friend back in Vegas had designed.“Goddamn Ticos can’t cook either,” he snorted, laughing again. He couldn’t wait for his upcoming trip to Honduras for visa renewal, when he’d be staying at a resort with all-you-can-eat lobster. My date and I had sex once a day; no less, no more. And he sat at a little white table outside our door for an hour each morning, smoking Derby Lights and drinking coffee, and writing in his diary in a slow, loopy hand. As we flip-flopped through the mud back to our room, he accused me of ignoring him.
We were both waiting, I think, to see what would come of this, because if this did become something, what a story.
Back at the little white table my date told me stories about the time he’d spent so far in Costa Rica.