A journey back to NYC in the 90's
The evening began with Mandy, the fat, old, terrier mix that kept slyly slinking around the bed looking to lap at the oil that glistened on our bodies as the session unrolled to its anticlimactic, hard-yellow-cum-climax. Midway through the night there was a bar full of beautiful boys encased in thick slabs of Lucite, followed by a parade of souls taking off from the roaring runway of the black jeweled and garbage lit boulevard of Broadway, circa 2 a.m. on a hot August night. Closure came with a homeless man’s serenade underneath the Lincoln Center Mozart banners waving in the wind as he waved his change cup, his mouth covered with something brown. I sat outside a clip joint called The Saloon directly across from the jewel box of Lincoln Center. The waiter was entertaining and funny, his head shaved except for a tiny tuft atop his crown that made him look like a newborn black babe. “You’re not from Switzerland are you?” He asked. “If I get one more tourist tonight! They’re so cheap.” He brought me a second glass of wine. “It’s on me,” he said.
I watched the world pass. A cavalcade of Black Sabbath fans, tourisistas, bag ladies, sequined dolls wearing Jersey dos and more homeless wielding paper cups. Next to me sat a typical “New York tribe” talking deals, deals, deals. A fat woman waddles by. Here comes a hot Italian male with a voluptuous ass. He sees the need in my eyes and brushes away from it, smirking.
An hour before this, in a high-rise complex called Schwab, as in Q-tip, Mandy, a client’s dog, with one white eye and one brown eye, had been sulking and nosing around the bed upon which lay my client, Bill, his legs spread far part, buck naked, oohing and ahhing his way through the session. I echoed the sounds. Dick talk, dick talk, dick talk. “Do I get a refund if I’m not satisfied with the service?” Bill queenily spewed forth in a loud, petulant voice, shortly after my arrival from the kitchen while I undressed in the bedroom. “No” I said with a smirk, “All sales are final, no refund and no return.” I didn’t like Bill. He was an old, anal-retentive twerp, a gypsy-chorus boy gone grey and paunchy. His tasteless early American bedroom décor made me writhe with nausea; Mandy, however, was the topper. She had a throaty bark like a staccato car alarm and refused to shut-up no matter how many times Bill warned her with his girlish pleas of “Oh Mandy shush” over and over. But on and on she barked like a schizophrenic on amphetamines, right up to and beyond the moment of truth, when Bill and I settled business. “Business before pleasure” I chimed, my mug now beaming with a toothy grin, for receiving money always made me smile.
Where I sat now, writing of oil slicks and business dicks was the exact same spot I had sat years before with my date, a pretty girl named Elizabeth, on another August evening, worlds away from here. She was my lover of two months. We’d met in ballet class taught by Richard Thomas on the Upper Westside early one evening and fucked the same night. Elizabeth, who was half-Jewish, loved to dress up in her Long Island Mother’s hand-me-downs. Anything would look good on her with that Claudette Colbert face framed by honey-blond ringlets. That night, I recall she had on a classic 50’s sleeveless, brown circle dress with white polka dots, that billowed out from her slim, taunt waist. Her Mother’s tan stilettos were making it impossible for her to walk and after searching blocks for something to do on our date we decided to rest at this outdoor cafe, drink wine and discuss art and music, our favorite topics. We were still on the honeymoon then, before she began threatening me about giving up men; before her confessions about being a runaway teenage call girl, complete with black pimp, specializing in lesbian scenes for rich clientele at The Plaza. It was also before her cunt started to feel like it was hiding a dull knife that hurt like hell whenever I fucked her. To this day I think it was her I.U.D. and that she had inserted it too close to the entrance of her vagina to get back at me for being bi. I don’t recall noticing a Mozart banner back then, but I’m sure there was one.
“Ooww, ahh” the dick talk went on and on. I was over Bill, under Bill, feeling hot, feeling cock, feeling like a man, a whore, a slut, one who serves, one who is serviced, feeling pain-- “Ouch!” I yelled. Bill stabbed my cockhead with a sharp fingernail as he ground away on top of me. A few seconds later--in a stupor of passion, or indifference, he did it again! “Hey watch it with that nail!” I yelled. “Mm” said Bill, eyes closed, lost in the moment. Mandy meanwhile, had her eye on the bottle of smoky, cheap, Indian coconut oil I was using to lube up Bill’s pussy. A few moments later, while he was on his back, I silently and stealthily threw Mandy a left hook, managing to graze her little, foxlike head with my knuckle; she recoiled and in the next second I tried to bitch slap her, all the while not moving my body so as not to disturb Bill. Mandy jerked back and dodged the blow, then she seemed to stop and just stare at me. It was as if she were grinning; muzzle half-open, lips quivering, snarling back to reveal sharp, stinking, yellow, canine teeth.
Was this real? Was this annoying mutt really some sort of malevolent spirit? A demon? Bill’s familiar? Was Bill actually a Satanist, posing as a horny, old pansy? What if this whole thing was a set up? And I was actually some kind weird sacrifice or offering? Christ, no one even knew I was here! Any moment now, Bill would turn his head toward me, and I would freeze, powerless, just staring into his eyes. They would be amber and glowing with the tiniest thread of red running horizontally through the middle of each one, pupils fine as slits. “Fuck that fantasy” I said to myself silently, “session’s almost done!” Back to work. Dick talk, dick talk, dick talk. After a nauseating eternity, Bill’s soundtrack built up and reached a climax; or, a really a kind of anti-climax. Bill got up quickly and stumbled into the bathroom where he came in the sink. He probably didn’t want to muss his sheets. I studied his cum as I washed my hands. It was very dark, almost orange-brown. Not a good sign. “Goodnight Bill and goodnight Mandy” I said, smiling as I left, closing the door. I was free. Mandy’s piercing, schizoid, bark echoed down the hall, muffled but higher in pitch now, as I entered the elevator. The sound was lingering in my ears like the fluttering of bat wings; painful, like the haunting, far away echo of a siren or the whispered screams of a baby. I covered my ears with my hands as the elevator doors paused open. They stayed open, and they stayed. Moments passed as I pressed my hands and harder over my ears. I could still hear the fucking dog, barking, barking. Finally I jumped in just as the doors closed. I went down alone.
Later, I found myself standing against a wall feeling guilty and ugly and old at a bar called “The Works.” I lingered five or six feet from the entrance, invisibly as patron after patron trounced daintily on my feet, their eyes on auto-ignore as they passed. The giant screen on a wall to my left was showing scenes from the Olympics. Beautiful black female athletes galloped like deer and handsome white hunks flew, twisted, pumped, pummeled, jack-knifed, high-jumped, won and lost in a series of montages before thousands of excited, cheering, fanatical spectators. Here I stood, invisible in a fag bar, trying to guard my feet from the vicious, uncaring steps of strange, younger men. Was this my destiny? A middle-aged sex masseur who dreams of putting himself through Rolfing school? Or maybe this is hell, payback for knuckling Mandy when all she really wanted to do was lick the bottle containing the smoky, cheap, coconut oil, or lick any oily skin available, and quite possibly, even her master’s own shitty boy pussy during the hundred dollar session?
Suddenly the screen caught my eye as the image of a large container of liquid Lucite poured out like Star Trek laser beams forming the words “BY DUPONT.” We were all standing in cases of Lucite; living coffins formed by ego and society; frozen beauty needing protection from ourselves, from the Mandy’s, the hundred dollar bills, the thousands of cheering, jeering, fanatical spectators. “Don’t cry, baby. Don’t cry” I said, blowing a kiss to a giant, black woman crying her loser’s Lucite tears; then blowing another to all the boys who didn’t see me enter and wouldn’t bat an eyelash as I left.
A Latino with nice tetas and plucked eyebrows is watching me go. He would look so much better if he’d let his eyebrows grow. Should I start a conversation with him? I mean, he does look interested…dick talk, dick talk, dick talk. Now I’m walking out of the Lucite bar, onto the Lucite street, pass the Lucite town-house where the Lucite, bi-racial, beatific, corporate lawyer lives with the gorgeous, ultra moderne, bi-level, sunken living room and the in-fucking-credible-10-inches-if-it-was-a-foot-long-dick. He paid me for a hard-working, two hour session; finishing with a mutually explosive happy ending. The only truly gross part was his unexpectedly phony-sounding exclamations of “Oh my goodness” when he came. I almost laughed out loud. That was a week after (or before, I forget, there were so, so many) this Mandy thing which seems not real and oh too real.
Back at the outdoor café, I"m watching the runway strip, here comes Lady Diana, in all her black, trashy, he-she, lean, angular and finely chiseled elegance. She’s roaming or hoin’ down the street like it was the street of no return or the last catwalk, street-walk of her life. Weary drama Miss Thang, all 6’ 10” of you with your street cha-cha heels clickin’, as tall and black as a tree in a fairy tale forest night, flicking your cigarette, carrying your bags and rags and not caring that your three-day-growth of whiskers doesn’t match your dark brown rag-tag cut out of a monk’s robe-dress of transsexual, post-op, pre-op street saint-gone-bad-and-old-and-young-an-cold-bliss; clicking your Sleeping Beauty crack high heels. Click, click, click in the night as you flick, flick, flick your ashes away, you lovely, lost Miss Diana Thang. Oh Miss Thang take me with you, take me with you for I am your ashes falling, flick, flick flick. In the opposite direction, walks Black Sabbath moron, bald spot shining through his died-with-shoe-polish flat, black mullet. He’s carrying a rosary, talking to himself; he’s saving New York and killing fags in his dreams, then mounting Madonna in his prayers but she’s got a cock between her legs and spits in his face as he tries to fuck, fuck, fuck her. The cock turns into a knife and zooms up and inside his belly, releasing thousands of crab-flower creatures, running out and over him, fast, and hungry like immigrants running to the borders of Los Estados Unidos, then dying like fly flowers reborn and seeding like pigeon maggots under the streets; under the window ledges and hot, sticky tenement fire escapes where big, black flies are born and homeboy cats hunt and squirrels do nose dives through their safety nets flying down, down through a thousand weed tree whisps of dirty, plastic bag shreds. (Singing) “We’re All Connected!” Yeah, you and me and the drug dealer just outside who sells crack and coke. He’s a new kid on the block. He appears one day out of nowhere and you hate him. You complain to the police, to the neighbors, to your God and Higher Power of the Sweet Violet world and destiny and redemption for protection from all the drug dealers. You pray for them to all go away. “Please God, make them go away, make them go away…”
Because my brother’s doing time in an Illinois prison for selling drugs and he got 12 years on a first offense. Good God what IS this country coming to? Oh, that’s right, it was an election year, they had to make an example of someone! But now he writes me from Juliet State Pen that his “Colored girlfriend who can’t ever get enuf when the rainbow is gone” is on the stuff and living at the local hick-farm-town YMCA with her 3-year-old and I cry because I just know that three-year-old is receiving the worst of it. The worst of hundreds of years of abuse and slavery and hate. That tiny mocha child who should be singing of green lakes and blue skies and butterflies when the rainbow is enuf, has already heard the word “nigger” from her own Daddy, the same as I heard the words faggot, fruit and three-dollar-bill from my own Daddy and it scared me to death and made me hate myself. When will we ever learn? It hurt me and the hurt never ever goes away. Go away, go away, make them all go away…
Then one night it’s raining and your apartment’s leaking and you go out for a beer and ice cream and coming back you see the drug dealer. He’s on your front stoop, taking shelter from the rain. He’s selling, with a friend and you realize he too is trying to get by or get over a system that’s kicked him out on his ass just as it has you. And then, you love him. You want to embrace him, say something funny, welcome him to your turf, your home, the place where you whore. “Hey” you want to say “Come on in man! There’s always room for one more. Maybe some of my clients would like a little leche before we play. What did you say, man? Let’s make a deal.” But then you realize you don’t do drugs anymore, just sex and that’s only limited to those who pay and you’re white and he’s brown and he’s straight (well, he’s Latin so maybe…) so you just say; “Hey, how you doin’?” “Okay” he answers “shitty night. It’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow too.” “Oh yeah” I answer “ that sucks. Kinda nice though, it washes all the shit away.” Not meaning him or me, but everybody else and all the other lowlifes who live off prey or each other, doin’ their own particular duty that they do so well on this mad, mad island called MAAAAN---hattan… “Yeah, you’re right” he says, and smiles. And you see he’s young and Latino and hot with that long scar on this cheek melting into his smile as the ozone orange streetlights glow softly in his eyes and there’s just a shadow of sparkle and you could so fall in love with him.
Maybe we are looking for the same thing. A way out? An escape? Some peace? A fuck? Money? An island somewhere in the sun, way off and far away from this one…
Back in the outdoor café on B’way I’m tired, the voice is slowing, the magic fading to fatigue as across the street, the Mozart banner is waving over Lincoln Center, demarcating where the walls of money and elegance and culture too pure and Republican and money-driven to save or care about the three-year-olds living with their Mothers-on-crack somewhere in Anytown, U.S.A.; too hard to care about the Miss Diana Thangs wandering through the night with their bags and their cut-out brown monk robe-dresses…their cracked Sleeping Beauty High Heels and their 3-day 12 o’clock shadows that haven’t seen a home other than a doorway or a cardboard box over a warm air vent in years.
Oh sweet, sweet city life. And under the Mozart banner, blowing in the wind, a homeless monster lingers looking like he’s impaled on a parking sign. He’s eating something brown from his change cup as he toasts an insane moon and laughs and curses at invisible street demons passing him by. Mozart isn’t playing, in the windy city night. The “New York tribe” continues in New York-eeze, talking retirement now. The waiter yawns. I have to piss like a motherfucker. Let’s go home, purple pen, the night lives on and nobody will remember but you. The night is gone, like the gnat I just squished with a finger on the black marble sticky table. Goodnight Mandy, Mozart, Lucite, night. Nite, love you, see you in the morning.