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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!

“Everyone I see come out of that office on a Friday usually leaves here,” Michael Day proclaimed as I exited Steve’s office, holding my head high. 

Day is a veteran at Lasership. He has worked as a New York City messenger for most of his post-recovery life. I learned much about him one afternoon last summer while delivering my paychecks down in the Lower East Side. He pushed his cart through Grammercy Park and I walked by his side with a well-worn newspaper boy bag strapped over my shoulder, with just a few paychecks remaining inside. 

Other couriers pretended to be sorting through piles of boxes and stacks of paychecks when I walked out of Steve’s office. Day was the only man brave enough to cut right through the office drama to find out whether or not I had been canned. 

“Well it looks like I’ll be taking much of the 2-X route from you, Mike. Steve just ordered that I take over that route, and I know that you often do this work.” 

“That’s fine with me,” Day said, although I know the very reason why it was the 2-X route had been assigned to me. I did it during the snow storm and got every one of the snow-drenched boxes of books delivered. I don’t just leave post-it notes on people’s doors informing them that their shipment of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Backslidden” had an attempted delivery that day. I actually wait until a neighbor is entering the building and sneak in with them, pulling my handcart right onto the elevator and dropping the novels right in front of our customer’s doors. I have yet to leave little business cards advertising my own self-published novel. 

I was in no mood to share in warehouse office gossip, even if it was Mike Day fishing for dirt first thing in the morning. I told him to continue to do as many of the boxes as he wanted and to look at me as his back-up, even though if Steve had heard me, he would have used the opportunity to reduce Mike to the point of early retirement. 

I quickly left the warehouse with my newsbag filled with more checks. Day followed and tapped me on my shoulder just as I was carefully avoiding a patch of snow that some doorman along 29th Street had neglected to put salt on. 

“Where are your boxes?” I asked. 

“I’m on my way to my doctor. Don’t worry, I’ll be back before ten and will take all the 2 X’s.” 

“Oh, don’t worry, I’m not worried. I don’t know how you can put up with such shit, Mike. How can you work for such bastards for so long without hurting someone?” 

“That’s because I know what it feels like to be homeless,” Mike shared. I didn’t say a word. I just kept walking with my checks. 

“Yes, I was sleeping on the street with my dog before she died. I told that dog I’d never leave her, and I didn’t. But this nun ran into me one day and told me she could have my dog kept in a fancy grooming place until I pulled myself together. I was fortunate to have a brother who allowed me to live with he and his wife. I saved up my money and got my own place.” 

“Oh, please tell me you got to live with the dog in your new place before it died.” 

“Oh, yes I did,” Day shared. I noticed a little tear forming at the corner of his well-wrinkled eye. 

“Hey look, I gotta go this way,” Mike informed while turning left on Seventh Avenue. 

I immediately felt better about my morning and walked into the rays of a rising sun.

Juan Vargas nearly ran over my toe in the middle of Times Square on Friday afternoon. He was pushing a hand-truck filled with Barnes and Noble Cardboard boxes. It was the second time I bumped into my co-worker at that exact location on Friday afternoon. Several weeks ago when I first saw Juan there, he begged that I watch over his cart while he made a delivery to a business along Eighth Avenue. There is a porn store just up the street. I was relieved the poor, tan lad did not see me sneak into the hot buddy-booth spot. On Friday, Juan took a fifteen minute break just steps away from the glory holes, and spoke to me about the drama that unfolded in the office at work earlier that day— 

“I hear you are doing the 2 X’s now,” Juan said with just a slight hint of Mexican dialect rolling from his soft pink tongue. 

“I thought for sure I was going to get fired. Steve called me into his office to ask why I refused to go out on a second run with boxes on Thursday. I was fucking exhausted, Juan. The two snow storms this week were hard on us. My feet were wet and cold all week. I just couldn’t do it, so I told what’s his face?– the new dispatcher– that I had to go to my other job.” 

“What did Steve say?” Juan asked while smiling, appearing to believe that I just made up the part about being a part-time porter. 

“He asked what my other job was, so I told him. I’m a porter for the building in which I live, Juan, and I actually put that information on the application when applying for this awful job. Can you believe we have both been here for so long? I remember how you looked so much like a little Mexican boy then. This place has really hardened you—made you look so much older, and look at how skinny I got Juan—nearly the spittin’ image of you with just a little grey hair. I thought for sure I was going to get fired like nearly everyone else does at Tasership, but not only did I keep my job, but Steve gave me the 2 X route. I don’t think I can do it all Juan. Those 2-X’s are the Lower East Side and nobody but me is dumb enough to take on that route. Now I got boxes too? It’s only a matter of time before they get rid of me. I can feel it coming.” 

“You should just talk to Steve, Charles. Don’t just walk away from all you built here. Besides, you’re the only cool white guy at Tasership.” 

“That’s because I’m not a Jew Juan.” 

“Oh,” the lad said as he pulled his cart onto Eighth avenue and walked like a tumbleweed pulling books. 

Bitter winds seemed filled with sand particles as they slapped my bare hands. Working with mittens on is not easy; paychecks can easily slip from one’s wool covered hands and fall upon piles of dirty New York City snow-slush that covered everything, even the Upper East Side this week. We were delivering W-2′s, a ton of them, and I nearly broke my neck walking down the slippery sidewalks of the East Side in those two storms that struck the city like some angry stepfather beating the hell out of a kid whom he had nothing to do in creating. 

At work we wear black pants– ‘Dickies’–or something similar. By close of business each day, our pants were splattered on the backs– salt deposits formed where ice once was, and what was left was freckles on our legs. 

Eli had such freckles on his legs. I looked at them on Friday as I awaited in line behind him for the heavy stack of W-2′s being dispatched to both of us. He has those skinny messenger legs that I have too. The black, heavy cotton of his Dickies do little to hide the slender, sexy bodies that foot messengers in New York City have. Eli is so quiet. Rarely does he talk to anyone at the job. When he does speak, his voice is deep and his sentences pure; whereas he fills his dangling windpipe with very few syllables. 

I have Eli’s old route, down in the East Village. I sometimes share stories with him about the customers along the route. He just listens and looks at me with brown, chocolate eyes; and sometimes his heavy, caterpillar eyebrows tilt into an angle and I just melt and cannot shut up– 

“Hey Eli, Adriel at the Meatball Shop on Stanton Street made me a coffee on Wednesday. It was the best damn cup of coffee I ever had– I suppose it had something to do with the cold.” 

“Oh, those guys are cool dudes,” Eli replied. “They once gave me vegetarian pasta. Never had such a thing, but it was good.” 

Suddenly I realized that sexy little Adriel at the Meatball Shop is nice to all his messengers. Not just me. 

Lucy begged that I help her read a letter from the New Jersey Medicaid office this morning. “I don’t have my glasses,” I protested as I tried to pass by her door on my way into my own place. I was busy doing laundry and the last thing I wanted was to deal with the crazy Puerto Rican woman who one day told me that she was so lonely for a man that she considered “putting her pet turtles down there.” 

“Here, put my glasses on,” she insisted. “I think they are going to take away my food stamps.” 

Remembering that it has been a year since Juan, her husband died, I decided to help the old girl fill out the renewal application. 

“What were your sources of income last month?” I asked. 

“Ten one hundreds,” she said. 

“Do you mean one thousand?” I asked. 

“Si, Papi.” 

“Lucy, you should not guess at this. Don’t you have some sort of paperwork from last month showing the real dollars and cents amount of your SSI check.” 

“Yes I do. I remember now, it was $997.” 

“How much is your rent?” 

“Two-twenty five.” 

I cringed as I wrote down the amount, knowing my rent, for an apartment exactly the same size as hers is more than three times that amount.” 

“They probably are going to take away your food stamps,” I explained. That’s a lot of money to be collecting, considering your rent and the fact that on the news it was reported that Congress was cutting food stamp funding.” 

Lucy looked unconcerned and asked if I got the calendar she had wedged between my door knob and the wall last week. 

“Yes I saw it,” I said, but did not mention that I tossed it in the trash. It was a calendar of Latina women in swimwear. Lucy, who knows that I am gay and live with a man, is obviously up to her old tricks of trying to cast some sort of Latina spell on me. 

I nearly forgot to take off those cat eye glasses as I ran out the door before Lucy once again slapped my ass. 

“Your friend said he was going to give me some of that ham you two cooked on Christmas, but I’m still waiting.” 

“It’s all gone,” I said, although there is still plenty of it left. I did not care that the old Spanish chick will likely lose her food stamp money. I remembered the day she had her husband Juan arrested– just a few weeks before he went into the light. And there she was this morning living high on the hog off of Juan’s SSI check and those two pet turtles that eat better than me. 

Queerbait

Police were called to the warehouse where I work on Friday. Another messenger got fired and this one, like others who have been canned during the economic crisis, was ready to “bust someone’s ass”.

It’s rare that one lasts for more than a month at the job. It is amazing that I’m still there after a year. I dread the day that I mistakenly deliver or lose one of the paychecks that are entrusted to me every day.

Getting legible signatures for every delivery is not easy. Watching all the men go from the job has hardened my soul for the day that I am told, “Charles, you’re fired! How could you have lost a check?” I will be broke again, but I will not be sad because I will remember all the men who required a police escort to leave.

When I am asked to go, I’ll click my heels and simply tell them to “kiss my pussy” as I turn and shake my ass on the way out the door.

There is a sick twisted side of my professional self that desires to have an affair with one of the hardened, butch men who surround me every morning as I compare a manifest to the hundreds of paychecks that have been dispatched to me. I often try to guess who may have done jail time and which ones may have dabbled in gay sex during long, lonely periods of incarceration.

I haven’t seen Juan Valez, the sexy Mexican who delivers Barnes and Noble boxes in over two weeks. Juan is too young to be jail bait, but he is Mexican and this is his first real job. I fear he too may have been let go. Although we work in separate departments, I am fond of Juan. We started the job just weeks apart. Juan delivered paychecks for a while too but was mysteriously banished to the Barnes and Noble box section of the warehouse where many ex-convicts and recovering drug users squeeze out a living. Juan is just too pretty to deliver boxes. I felt it hurt the company when they took him off his paycheck route.

I continue to give John, a tall, dark-skinned Black guy, an American Spirit cigarette every morning. It must be obvious to John that I have a crush on him. The brothers at the job call him “Snoop Dog” because he looks somewhat like the rapper but in my view, is much more handsome, especially when he has his hair braided.
I gave John a brownie I baked one day.

“What’s this? A pot brownie?” He asked as he smiled, showing off near perfect teeth. I am at least ten years older than John but because he’s so tall, I feel like a little girl just standing there handing him expensive cigarettes and the things I bake.

Two days after giving John the brownie, I bumped into him along my route. He was taking a break and sitting on the steps of “The Church of the Incarnation”, an Episcopal establishment that is currently undergoing construction. The mesh of construction around the cathedral make a great place to hide. John was smoking what was either a joint or a hand rolled cigarette. John was shocked to see me.

“What’s up T?” he asked as I walked slowly by. “Say a prayer for me,” I insisted, wondering what it would be like to be high with him, and whether he would at least let me go down on him.

I fell in love with him several days after he started the job. He had not managed to deliver all his checks before 5 pm, so I was asked to meet him along his route, take most of what he had and get them delivered before the deadline of the end of another day. It was snowing that day. It was a wet snow which is really just rain to a messenger with paychecks that cannot get wet. John was inside a diner on 9th Avenue. I nearly melted when he looked into my eyes with relief. “It’s no big deal. This happens to almost all the new guys,” I reassured. “Here, you take these three and I’ll take these 20.”

I’ve had a special place inside John’s heart ever since that day and remain convinced that under the right conditions, could at least convince him he “owes me one”.

I never offered Juan one of my brownies, cookies or cigarettes. The pretty little thing does not smoke and it seems I never have any of my baked goods on me when he is around.

Although almost completely straight, there is a girlishness to the Mexican that really turns me off and makes me take my cookies elsewhere in the warehouse.

The week of Christmas, on-line shopping is upon the Barnes and Noble box section of the job. I have been asked to help out down there tomorrow. I just finished making a batch of my butterscotch cookies. John just loves them. If the police haven’t taken Juan away to the place where men drop soap on purpose, I’m going to offer him some just to see if John gets jealous like I did the day he didn’t offer me a hit of his joint.

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