Wednesday, June 3, 2020

BLUE SANCTUARY c. by Steven Orr (a 17 min audiobook short story of a dystopian view of a zombie plague ravaging New York--downtown.

That Nefarious Dingleberry c. by Steven Orr

That Nefarious Dingleberry c. by Steven Orr

            Here I sit, surrounded by hundreds of varieties of birds. They are feeding, flying and freedazzling in all sorts of voices; making songs and generally creating a cacophony in multitudinous, avian tongues. 

            I was taking a week off. God knows I couldn't afford it but I had to get away. I was at the cape on the South Shore of Boston at a friend’s house in Marshfield, Massachusetts. Linda, my landlady, was a quirky, slightly overweight, alcoholic (but a functional one) who drove a school bus by day, kicked back with Chardonnay-soaked-TV-watching at night and on weekends attended church regularly along with once a week bible-study-classes. Here, I could savor a morsel of freedom, fresh air, and get away from the Golem's Gyre of New York City, where everything is dirty, loud, rich, poor, or simply untouchable. Here I could experience how I imagined life must be for the vestiges of my tribe, that formerly great, but now waning, white American Middle class. We were so powerful in the 50’s. And now so many of us poor were just a step away from falling through the cracks in the post-Millenial age of an American society bloated with the the 1% super rich 99% Dollar-store poor to Middle-class.

            I picture the god of New York to be a tall, skinny, grey, and extremely impatient, old curmudgeon with a hunchback. He is be-speckled, with a hooked nose, and constantly saying no to whatever is asked of him; or else ignoring everyone unless they wave money under his nose. I call him Golem, and he is my master. The gyre is that huge mass of plastic detritus that floats endlessly about the Pacific ocean and is as large as Texas. Put them together and you have a large playground, wasteland, i.e., the Golem’s Gyre, or my home, New York City. I have served my master here since my arrival in 1975. I put up with the constant anxiety, the rudeness, the abrasive mindlessness, and the awful noise (which gets worse every year) because it's still a pretty fantastic fucking place to find men and an even better place to find men massage clients. But for now, I am taking a respite and the birds are my only eye candy.

            The sounds of birds are a joy, the sun is hot silk on my skin, and I breathe fresh, sea air. I felt slightly dopey from it. For a little while, I can stop hating and fighting and start to feel normal, like after a good massage.

            Through the years, I’ve worked on thousands of male bodies and seen them come and go. Scott, one such client, was what I call a legacy client, which means he paid well and was very loyal. For the legacy client, you can do no wrong. He is the reason you are in business through all the good times and bad times. When he calls you, there is the sound of bells ringing, you are suddenly lifted up, and "Yes of course I'm free right now" is the unwavering refrain to his always-friendly question  "I was wondering if you were free this afternoon?" 

During the last few years, Scott had begun to study Bikram yoga, in order to counteract the tightness and rigidity of his aging body. He was always lean, tall and handsome with a full head of fine, ash blond hair that tended to flop over one eye and bounce when he was getting fucked. Though he wasn’t toned, his body improved soon after he began doing Bikram. He had a youthful face, which, except for a small pile of flesh forming under his chin, never betrayed his age. It was a WASPY face, both manly, and boyish. Scott swore he wasn’t gay but his behavior—especially when he was being a bottom—had a tendency to prove otherwise. I don’t question the “down-low” clients. They tend to all act overly macho in the public eye, and many are married or claim be to “bi-curious.” However many once they get behind closed doors instantly transform into big passive girls. Though the LBGTQ community is integrated into society more and more every year, the typical American male is still one conflicted homo sapien. “The river Denial runs deep and long” in our puritanical, American culture.

The first time I met Scott, I rendezvoused with him and a gorgeous, red-haired actress friend of mine named Angie. Angie had a wicked sense of humor and the capacity to be both wild and irreverent as a hooker one moment and as reserved as a nun or a librarian the next. All three of us met up at a Mexican restaurant in the West Village after Angie’s off-off-off B'way show. At the bar, Scott set himself up as host, procuring as many margaritas as we both could drink. Men who bought me drinks were always a huge turn on, for it implied they had power, deep pockets and I could give up control and be taken care of. And better yet, we all seemed to be flirting with each other! Here was my first bisexual experience since college. I was relishing it. 

We ended up in my apartment in the East Village. Angie's sensual hand caressed the banister of the staircase as we floated up the stairs. Our clothes seemed to remove themselves by magic. Within minutes, Scott was fucking Angie like a jack-hammer. I glued my body to his back and butt feeling every thrust and muscle as I hugged his chest to mine. My cock wedged into the crevice of his toned, perfect ass, first upward and then straight forward and down as if I was fucking Scot while he fucked Angie. Everyone came hard in one, loud sensual earthquake. I prayed we didn’t wake the uptight Jewess next door. 

I don't recall too much afterward, except thinking, there, I’ve done it. I’m bi! No small feat, after myriads of flaming bisexual fantasies and crushes during my years of college and throughout my acting and dancing career in New York throughout the 80’s and 90’s. Strangely I don’t recall much of any thoughts of my two playmates! The next day I remember having the image of a snake shedding his skin. My sloughed off snake skin was a metaphor for how delicious and delightful the experience was–a kind of sexual coming of age. For years afterward, that night would remain a novelty, though from that moment on, reflecting on being bi brought little more to mind that image of the snake shedding its skin, and little else in terms of the memories of love.

Anyway by that time I was doing massage for a living.  It was the early 90's. After that initial experience, Scott soon began to see me for massage regularly. I had no idea he was also seeing Angie! He would come on the average of at least once a month and was very generous. He contacted me one summer in Provincetown, where I worked as a houseboy for two seasons. He even came to see me in Amsterdam one summer when I’d swapped apartments with an older, uptight, but very seductive, Dutch, Jewish-American- Princess. I never asked Scott about his personal life. Although through the years, I gleaned he had married a female doctor, fell out of love with her, and divorced her.

The last time I saw Scott, he offered to take me out to a Thai restaurant in China town. While there, he revealed for the first time that he was the Father of two little girls. Then, after about fifteen minutes of hanging with him in public, the pleasure began to wane. His rigid personality could be oppressive; I'd had glimpses of it before, but now he seemed subtly disapproving and contemptuous of me. It occurred to me that possibly I was too gay for his comfort in public. Always a great fan of horror, at one point, when we were finished eating, I shared how entertained and fascinated I was to have seen the film "The Human Centipede" a week  before. “How can you watch something so deplorable and disgusting?" He laid into me. His bombastic response was almost a tirade. "What a sick, twisted movie–and anyone who likes something like that has to be just as sick and twisted!" Whoa I thought to myself. A little abuse anyone?

Thinking back now, I should have called Scott's attention to one particular experience we’d shared. It was a massage he’d booked, more than a year before. During this session, as was often our custom toward the climax, (when I wasn’t simply topping him) we were doing sixty-nine. As we were working each other’s bodies, I became super-aware that he wasn’t clean. Ew. One gets a sense of these things after so many years of being a body worker. In the next instant, I felt a particle of something stuck halfway between the back of my tongue and in my throat and it was larger than a hair. In a beat, without him noticing, I put my fingers down my throat and extracted the mysterious “thing.” I quickly looked to see it was a small clump of feces, obviously not mine. I quickly (and silently) flicked it away and continued licking, and sucking on Scott as if nothing had happened, albeit with a tad less gusto. Nothing like a piece of shit in one's mouth, to take the wind out of one's sails while “headin' round the mountain” toward that oft-hallowed “happy-ending” all the comedians make fun of in their monologues about massage.

Afterward, as he was reaching for the door to leave, I stood firm,  held the door closed and quickly shared with Scott the mystery of the nefarious “dingleberry” that had I had extracted from my throat. My narrative was more clinical than angry; all in all merely a factual relating of the events; ending with a request  "–And that's why Scott, I would really appreciate it if you would make sure you are clean when you come to me, and take a shower before the massage." It’s amazing how some of the most hideous things become commonplace when one sells oneself. Poverty breeds a kind of desperation and indifference all its own. The judgmental rich will always hold themselves in high disdain to the struggles of a poor whore. We are meat to be used and consumed; our humanity disappearing in ratio to how our cocks are worshiped in business dealings with M4M massage clients. 

"Oh, I'm so sorry bro–", his eyebrows went up, feigning concern. “Bro” was Scott’s ultimate term of endearment toward me. How I hated it. It reeked of his fake affection, but I dared not let on. "God” he continued, “I had no idea! I definitely will." Then I remember him saying something I never really understood. He paused, looked at me, and said, "You're a good man." It was as if he were addressing a dog, “Good boy.” We never mentioned the experience again. A few years later he disappeared from my radar.

When a friend of mine told me about her taking Bikram yoga, it triggered all these memories. With Scott there was such closeness and distance too. What was I to him anyway? A space to play in? A laundry bag? A closet? Or merely an object like a sex toy. More thing than human.

All these loops of images, spiraling around in my head like that large mass of plastic detritus, the size of Texas floating round and round in the Pacific going nowhere. What do I do with them? They play over and over in brain, never dissolving as plastic never dissolves. And so the memory of this gyre affair plays on.

Later that afternoon, a pack of fourteen wild turkeys, led by a huge Tom Turkey with a very red head, paraded like a herd of dinosaurs outside into the back yard of  the house. Linda and I watched them preen, and grandly scratch for food like feathered dinosaurs in the grass and under the bird feeders. Occasionally, the big old Tom Turkey would puff up and plump his feathers, showing off and looking twice his normal size. The alpha male. I tapped on the window. "Don't disturb them" Linda said.  "I'm not disturbing them” I said “I'm communicating with them."