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Doris is afraid of pigeons. The rodent birds of New York City cause the bleached blonde hair of the seemingly fearless black woman to stand on end. How she works as a foot messenger in Manhattan is anyone’s guess; but she somehow manages to steer clear of them, often running to opposite sides of the street to avoid flocks that feed on crumbs scattered by lonely New Yorkers who adore these winged carriers.

“My mother made me watch that movie ‘The Birds’ when I was little. People don’t know that birds can fuck you up like that,” Doris explained one afternoon as we walked up Eighth Avenue on our way to Starbucks where I first introduced Doris to her first “expensive as hell” cup of frozen macchiato. “Let’s walk on this side. I hate those damned things.”

I giggled and tried to explain to Doris that the movie was mere fiction, but the glimmer of Doris’s door-knocker earrings caught my eye as a crumb may move the emotions of a hungry bird, and I followed her as if we were wild geese flying in V formation to our favorite resting place on Friday afternoons.

It seemed Doris was being melodramatic about the birds—she is after all gay friendly. She often uses those gay catch phrases like “honey child” to address me. I never told her I was gay, but I let her assume I’m a queen, even though I never once referred to her as “sista” nor have I told her those earrings are so ’80’s.

I was walking down that same stretch of Eighth Avenue early one morning and noticed that bleached blonde hair several blocks in front of me, even though it was still dark outside. I knew I could catch up with my friend; the crosswalk light had changed and Doris came to a halt alongside a group of other pedestrians. I noticed Doris’s hands flying way up in the air—a sign I know very well—Doris was either cussing someone out, or something had rattled her nerves.

It was then I noticed three pigeons flying above the heads of those waiting for the light to change. “Get the fuck away from me,” Doris screamed. A woman in business attire attempted to move away from Doris, assuming she may be mad, but I soon caught up to the crowd and put my arms around my friend and laughed. “They are not going to hurt you,” I reassured. “Oh, it’s you. Thank God!” she said.

I shared the story with the dispatcher at work. A group of messengers awaiting daily manifests overheard the tale. Most were not surprised at the story I had shared.
Later that afternoon, Doris injured her back on the job. While walking into a building with double glass doors, her backpack got hooked on the first door she had walked through, pulling her back and onto a hard marble floor. I ran into Doris on her way home that day. She explained what had happened. I couldn’t help but wonder if it wasn’t a pigeon that had grabbed onto that backpack as the light-skinned blonde simply tried to do her job in a town that is so overrun by those damned birds.

On chilly Halloweens long before Twitter sucked the lifeblood from on-line literature, groups of vampire-like writers gathered at the craigslist writer’s forum to toast the art of the craft and hang out and jack o lantern off to the art of the handwritten word and bob for compliments.

Goblins of the pre-selfee era gathered in Google fashion to write short stories in a collective theme. They hung work in orgy-like unison within the forum, usually on October 31st.

Cash was awarded to newly formed Anne Rices, time went by, and by 2014, what could easily mount atop a horse, were mounds of timeless tales, inspired by themes of a holiday celebrated by those of nearly all religious and cultural upbringings.

A celebrity judge, a former employee of Barbara Walters, judged the submissions.

Phuong Nuygen will be invited back again this year to oversee the stories that may one day appear on Broadway as a series of one act plays with music scored by Elton John.

Submissions must be based on scary, true- life events that are enhanced by fiction but end in simple, scary truth.

Post on the craigslist writer’s board; the original Twitter of wasting time on-line, a site that was around before angie tried to steal craig’s soul, and a great place for inspiring writers to get the hell shocked out of them when they realize their work was actually read.

Post on Halloween under the heading “Scary Halloween”

No cash will be awarded this year, but all work will be to judged by one who is well-studied in the craft– Phuong Nuygen.

The Buddy Booth scene, like the gay bath house craze of the 1970’s, has fallen ill to some sort of unseen illness. A type of mass depression has overridden these caves of sort; gay men, like cave men during the ice age, must move to warmer environments if the species is to survive.

It seemed the recession of 2009 was the cause of the emotional crisis of these underground sissy hot-spots, or perhaps the threat of being posted on social media, performing oral sex acts in a hole cut in plywood, was the cause of the loss of popularity within these New York City porn shops.

Whatever the cause of this exodus from a once hot gay Eden, the fact is, these places have been overridden by insatiable bottoms who now have become very territorial and will fight one another, tooth-and-nail, over any half masculine, straight- appearing dude who stumbles into these abysses, appearing to be the one who prefers to have his penis sucked upon.

One will find more action in Times Square with the seedy comic book characters who demand payment from tourists for posing in a photograph.

Bill Miller drank beer like a wide-mouthed bass when he fished in the Juniata River. Six-packs of Pabst Blue Ribbon were secured with trout and catfish on a stringer and kept cool in the creek. He tossed his catch back into the river, after retrieving each new beverage, as a woman laundering there, generations before, may have tossed a pair of overalls or a simple dress made from sackcloth. 

Gradually, the load decreased in weight due to consumed cans of beer and a lack of biting fish. The sun was hot. The river drained his hope, but the beer was good and one could still throw the empty cans in the weed patch behind a fallen maple tree. 

Bill Miller was raised along the murky waters of the Juniata. He knew every bend and rapid. His fisher- heart remembered what it was like during the Depression when, with this muddy creek, his family was fed like multitudes of Christ, nourished by a simple act of faith– praying with line and good bait. 

There was no sense praying for the fish bite now. Even if Jesus showed up along the crick and told Bill to “cast your line over there”, he probably would not, because fishing had now become a hobby. It seemed Jesus was dead in America anyway, and besides, Bill’s family got food stamps and kids back then did not eat fish from the Juniata River, despite what the good book had to say about miracles and bread. 

His own offspring did not like the catches he brought home. Bread was fifty-cents a loaf. Bluegill and sunfish were ignored as a type of pest, like insects. By the 1970, most of what Bill caught while drinking beer was fed to the dog– a Siberian Husky named Sam. His children said fish from the Juniata River were smelly. The three girls and four boys had only a taste for the eggs from bottom- scouring catfish. Bill rolled his catfish eggs in flour and fried them into crispy hash-brown pellets in his well-greased cast-iron skillet. Many of the catfish from the Juniata weighed over ten pounds. Such a waste of fish, but lots of cat fish eggs. He called the caviar ‘scrambled cat eggs’ just to kid the kids to consume them. They were good with ketchup! 

Bill cooked for his children mornings before school, frying everything in Crisco. It was hard cereal they preferred now– not like the perch with spiny fins that sustained Bill when he was a lad and school was still an option and fishing was the way that a boy learned to read, after milkin’ the cows. 

Food stamps now– Booberries and Cheerios. 

The seven children would not eat fish from the Junitata River if it came in a box with a prize inside. They smelled that river every day when they awoke, squeezed tight next to each other, tangled in layers of electric blankets and sheets over-perfumed in inexpensive laundry fabric softeners. They slept soundly, wrapped as worms on hooks in upstairs beds. Their blonde heads housing blue eyes tossed gently on shared pillows as the orange sun of yesterday came back over the ridges that surround Petersburg, seemingly warmer than ever– full of hope and promise every day. 

They rattled to life each day as hooting whistles of locomotive trains passed through town at precisely 6 a.m. 

The whistles were as much a part of life as the calls of bluejay birds that are abundant there. The trains were headed to large cities East– places where the work was. Those trains rolled by every day on tracks that Bill helped to lay when he was still young and working. Now the only industry in Petersburg was fishing in the river that the train tracks followed through Pennsylvania. 

The railroad industry was gone. Bill fished days between odd jobs laying brick. Work was rare. It was all he had to do to pass long summer days when hunting season had lapsed. He needed to fish to keep his head straight. He wanted to shoot bastards like Jimmy Carter who ruined the world economic system.They were sending all the work that men like Bill did to China and Japan. 

Bill thanked God for his fishing pole and for being born in a time and place where China was still something to eat off of. 

The beer came in convenient cans now, although one could not use food stamps to buy it. Bill fixed lawn mowers and rota-tillers and used the cash to purchase a lure for life– Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer– and the funny thing was, there were enough broken lawn mowers in Petersburg that one did not have to go to church to pray for more wine. 

Larry got fired last Friday. After learning Larry refused to work for the Amazon.com cardboard box section of our NYC based shipping company, Steve, the floor manager, told the six year veteran of the place to “Take a hike. We had an agreement and you shook on it! Get the fuck out of here. You are fired.” 

Larry showed up at the job on Friday to pick up his paycheck. The towering six-foot five inch or so tired- looking black dude with a shinny head, obviously shaved a dozen or so times with the same Bic razor, managed to crack a smile at me as he said good-bye, and this– 

“It’s in the Lord’s hands now…Hey, let me ass you this, don’t they hold back the first paycheck here?” 

“That was your last paycheck, Larry,” I explained, “We get paid every Friday for the work performed the week before. The check you just got was the check they held back when you first started here.” 

Larry thanked me and turned to walk out the door. I’ll never forget the day he tried to start a fight with me when I was new, just because I had stacked one of those awful Amazon cardboard boxes in the wrong sorting bin. Larry was so upset with me– almost like a floor manager or something, back when he was in his own mind, the Employee of the Month. 

As the counter to my blog turns the 100,000 mark, I reflect upon nearly a decade of serious writing and almost want to kill it all because what is popular among search engines are the journalistic articles I wrote regarding seedy gay sex. 

Although 100,000 seems trivial in an age when one goes viral overnight, the original counter to my blog once turned the quarter million mark before wordpress suddenly removed the counter and I was forced to start counting all over again. 

Just as I was about to delete all my work regarding seedy gay sex, I found myself unable to do so because of the comments other gays have left on my space, such as this one from Harold: 

“Excellent article. native new yorker here who remembers well the pre buddy booth scene. this author perfectly conveys the hate/love addictive nature of the anonymous gay sex scene and how it challenges one’s own self of individuality and self respect. hope to see this expanded into a book.” 

I decided not to commit suicide to my blog after realizing that on the bottom of page one in a google search for “buddy booth”, one still finds Charles George Taylor with his mouth wide open at the bottom of the page, waiting for readers and not big dicks. 

Search it for yourself, the article is called “Buddy Booth Review– Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn” 

https://www.google.com/#q=buddy+booth 

Our tender minds were rattled awake by the sound of pounding upon tin trash cans. Summer in South Carolina, 1986—the hottest Ft. Jackson had seen since World War II when the wooden, un-air conditioned barracks of Tank Hill were first constructed—the loud banging—sand everywhere, even in the white sheets that we kept so tightly tucked.

Tall fans seemed to suck hot air from a full moon above and blow it right into the wooden ovens in which we rarely slept and right down our throats as we all scrambled in brown t-shirts for a drink of water from a fountain that managed to cool off only the first few glasses of heavily chlorinated Carolina water that the government must have somehow recycled from a nearby, soupy hot Atlantic that pushed fierce thunderstorms ashore as we ran in long-sleeves in our Army camos.

Some called the lack of a desire for sex “Salt- Peter”, yet we were told there were no such psychological drugs being placed in our food by Uncle Sam. A war on Homosexuality seemed the case—why else keep a young man’s dick down—and what if that salt peter is why everyone who comes out of the service is fucked up in the head?

Maybe it was just too hot that summer in South Carolina for anyone to have even a wet dream upon those white sheets covered in green wool with crumbs from the salt-petered Atlantic all over our balls. There were hot, young men just like me all around and not once did I desire to suck anyone or all of them off!

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