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stray men and dogs

The first one I saw I couldn't help but to stare. He was so young and beautiful, his lean and tight black body all sweaty, as if he had oiled himself for muscle display. His hair was wild, filthy, and he had a shy beard, something growing here and there, with a clear gouty that gave him a dignified look. The only piece of clothing he had on were his trousers, of which one leg was missing. He yelled at someone at my back, looking through me, making me transparent. It felt strange, because I was already getting used to a lot of attention, as one of the few whites - bakras - in town.
(Some people just look at me with an open curiosity. They stare at my white long-sleeved cotton blouse, my white trousers, my blond hair and red face - the picture of a colonialist, just like in the old books. Others ignore me the hard way, don't answer my questions, bump into me on empty sidewalks, bike me out of the streets into dangerously low gutters. But most men just want to make wild love to me, right
there in the middle of the crowd - or at least so they tell me, and they are not shy in the use of their words. The women laugh.)
The stray men are everywhere and there are many of them, mostly young and always mad, crossing the busy streets with an imposing dare, as if that what they've been through has made them royal and unbreakable. They roar at closed car windows, the people inside
refreshed in their air-conditioning comfort, nothing happening as they wait for the green light. The stray men also gesticulate broadly, in front of drugstores or bars, their mad words turning around, a dirty washing-machine of thoughts that can't be picked out for clarity. People drinking their colas don't seem to notice them, just like the many skinny dogs in town go unnoticed.
These very young mad men are the victims of a civil war that ended up in the drug traffic business, children with no education or other ambition but to show off their golden teeth and get high, higher, so high that one day they fell - toothless - in an
abandoned field under the shade of a majestic mango tree, its fruits their food, its leaves their roof.
They were used and discarded, as the story goes. Not as lucky as the ones living in palaces now, the other young men that survived their madness with good connections, and now have the power. But no mansion for the stray men: the public space is their domain, the people in it their creatures, and that's the price this town has to pay for its past.

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