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xmag.com : October 2006 : P.B.'n' AIDS!

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Maricon’s is the name of a gay strip club housed in a small Quonset hut with a thatched roof on the dusty outskirts of Tijuana. Out here among the bumpy sand dunes and rusted vehicles that scar the landscape, bronze-skinned young naked gay males have been dancing to the delight of pasty American and German sexindustry tourists for over three decades. Maricon’s is renowned for featuring the world’s first (and longest-running) all-male donkey show. One of Maricon’s most popular dancers is Pantero, famous for his ability to pop a steel cap off a beer bottle with his anus. Pantero commands top dollar for his fifteen-minute private dances involving a four-foot monitor lizard and his pet spider monkey. Tragically, he also recently became the only person known to medical science ever to have transmitted HIV through a peanut-butter sandwich. One steamy summer night a few months ago, as the club beat cranked like a hot oiled piston and the dancers’ jock straps were stuffed full of one-dollar bills from drunken Anglo sailors, Pantero surreptitiously snatched a couple nibbles from a halfeaten peanut-butter sandwich a coworker had left in the dressing room. Since he had been nursing a rather florid cold-sore scab on his lower lip, Pantero accidentally bled onto the sandwich and left it teeming with HIV. What’s worse, he infected the sandwich with Fast-Acting Full- Blown Mexican Brown HIV, an especially harsh strain of the dreaded killer virus. Within minutes, Pantero was back strutting his stuff under the floodlights while the sandwich’s owner, a 19- year-old with perfect abs whose stage name is ¡Esteban!, returned to finish his meal. “When he stuck that peanut-butter sandwich in his mouth, it might as well have been a loaded gun,” says Dr. Julio Cesar Chavez Cuernavaca, a state physician who monitors STDs among Baja California’s sex workers. ¡Esteban!—who until that point had tested clean for everything except genital warts, herpes, and syphilis—notched an astronomically high viral-load score for Mexican Brown AIDS during his next routine monthly HIV screening. The virus’s protein structure left a molecular footprint leading directly back to Pantero. Polygraph tests revealed that prior to sharing the sandwich, the dancers had never engaged in sex. “There’s no other possibility,” Cuernevaca insists. “The peanutbutter sandwich was the primary agent of infection.” Furious at initial rumors that the blood-borne pathogen had been transmitted through sodomy, a angry torch mob of notoriously homophobic Mexican peasant farmers threatened to burn down Maricon’s until a local clergyman intervened and explained that the viral transmission was unintentional. Realizing that since they, too, ate the occasional peanut-butter sandwich and were likewise at risk, the peasants calmed down and returned quietly to their humble village. “You get hungry being an exotic dancer,” Pantero explains. “The sandwich was lying there, and I made a decision, and something horrible happened. I got some blood on the peanut butter, he ate the peanut butter, and now he has AIDS. I feel awful about this. If I knew this was going to happen, I would have bought some Ring Dings from the vending machine and eaten them instead.” ¡Esteban!, whose coworkers have now taken to calling him El Cacahuete (which means “The Peanut” in English), tries to look on the bright side. Prior to eating the sandwich, his negative status was the only thing preventing him from having sex with Pantero. “Now that we’re both full-blown,” he says with a wink, “we’re making up for lost time.”




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