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Archive for July, 2006

 

They are all gone now. Every last friend that I grew up with here in the Big Apple has either died or shipped out of here and settled down somewhere in the suburbs.

Thank God I have a lover or I would jump from the top of the World Trade Center just stop all this craziness.

“Where are you going guys? There’s still hope for
New York. Just wait until we get a new mayor. They’ll bring back the playgrounds. Don’t leave me here like this, I’m almost 40 and you are my only friends.”

My last two friends sat on their living room floor like vacationers heading home from a weekend in Fire Island today. I went to say good-bye and found them sprawled out on the floor of their empty apartment on Perry Street, just behind Sara Jessica Parker’s brownstone.

Mike and Cesar’s apartment has been emptied out. My fond memories of Thanksgivings and dinner parties faded as I walked back and forth in their empty place in disbelief. I still cannot believe those two are leaving the Big Apple.

“It’s hot as hell in here. What happened to the a/c? Where are you guys sleeping?”

“On the floor. We either sold it or gave it away on Craigslist. This is all that’s left.”

They smiled widely and their drunken eyes popped open for one brief moment in the sweltering July city heat as I unwrapped a big bottle of Yellow Tail merlot.

“You look good Charlie. Tell me, are you taking steroids?” 

I should have been pissed, but wasn’t. I took one look at their fat, overweight, rum filled asses and said, “No dear. This is what I looked like before I was pumped full of Lithium and Zyprexia, remember?”

They looked down at their dusty floor and I quickly changed the conversation.

“Hey Cesar, do you remember when you first started dating Mike and he brought you to my house for a bar-b-q?”

“Oh yes Charlie, those were the days. Your parties were something else.”

“It was so cute how straight and closeted you were. I remember when you didn’t know what zucchini was. Now look at you, so gay!”

“You fucking crazy bitch, shut up! I’m really glad you came to say good-bye to us before we head down to New Orleans.”

“I will always love the story of how the two of you met. It’s so romantic. I’m glad to see you are staying together, even though it’s been over ten years now.”

They met at work, at the James Beard Foundation, a non-profit cooking organization here in the city.

Mike was a secretary and Cesar worked in the kitchen.

Mike had so many of the Spanish guys who worked down in the basement, cutting up lettuce and carrots for the patrons of the charitable cooking school.

The Spanish guys didn’t make a lot of money, so Mike routinely hung out with them. They were friends for pay; easy Latin dudes who could be had for a few brews, a pack of smokes and subway fare home.

One day, Cesar decided to follow Mike home.

He was totally unaware of the financial friendships established by co-workers of the James Beard House.

Mike took out sixty before the fun even started with Cesar.

“What’s that for?”

“Oh, I thought you were hustling.”

“No, I’m not hustlin’. I like you,” Cesar explained.

They haven’t stopped being lovers since.

I’ll miss them, those two tramps. Perhaps it’s time for me to get one of those FEMA trailers down in New Orleans and start throwing dinner parties again.

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I was arrested by the police for shredding my lover’s clothing with a pair of scissors.

“Fuck around on me? I’ll show you,” I shouted while doing the deed on some expensive duds.

“Get out of my apartment,” my partner of five years shouted as he dialed 911.

The police came.

“But I pay all the rent, I ain’t going. I bought all the clothing that I shredded,” I said to the police.

“Just leave for the evening,” they pleaded.

“Fuck that, I ain’t leaving. Do you even know the situation here? We are lovers, we have sex together and we’ve done so for almost six years now. You can’t make me leave like that.

Make him leave, he’s the one having the affair,” I explained.

My lover Frank and the police stood there with their mouths wide open. They reminded me of a trio of blow up sex dolls.

lil kim

The police cuffed me and whisked my ass away to the precinct. A night in the pound changed me but revenge was sweet. The central booking station in downtown Manhattan is frightening. Drug dealers share space with crazy homeless individuals, businessmen who beat their wives and those who graffiti subway platforms with stickers promoting new music CDs.

I was frightened and couldn’t believe how my ass ended up there and now I was waiting to see a judge with the rest of bi-polar society.

Two cute Latino guys flashed a plastic bag with what appeared to be small white and yellow pills inside to capture my attention so I made my way over to the two thugs.

“Want one of these?” asked a ruggedly handsome man with a heavy Spanish accent.

“How much?”

“Sixty.”

I thought the pill would relax my nerves like a Vicadin. I rested somewhat peacefully in the cell between the arms of two new lovers. The three of us did not speak to one another.  I simply allowed the men to rub their hands all over me. It felt downright blissful.

The cell was crowded with at least sixty prisoners and space was a minimum. The three of us huddled under a cement bench towards the back of the  cell.

One of the thugs was obviously not into the sexual thrills of the drug, but the dude with a scar on his face and I certainly were.

The three of us had erections all night and made numerous trips to a water fountain next to a toilet without a stall within the corridors of central booking. We rubbed one another in bliss as the night passed so slowly for lonely spectators in the cell.

I didn’t even think of Frank, back home trying to piece together a pile of torn clothing.

The relationship between Frank and I came to an abrupt end. Our separation was made possible through the orders of a court judge. I was thankful that the judge ruled down hard on my ass by issuing a restraining order.

I couldn’t return to the apartment to claim my belongings or face a cheating lover. I could care less. I was left alone with only the things in my wallet and the clothing on my back.

But I was free inside a prison cell.

I resentfully went to my gym– Crunch Fitness on Christopher Street and worked out, took a shower and wondered were I would spend my first night after being released from prison and a played out ex-lover.

I stopped to eat dinner at a café on Christopher Street, a small little espresso bar called ‘The Original Espresso Bar”. At the time it was a place where one could still sit, sip coffee and puff away on a pack of Newports. I drank three bottles of Poland Spring water and two cups of coffee and didn’t like the sandwhich a Mexican behind the counter made for me.

I headed off to 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue where a porn shop played host to one of the most fabulous features of modern Gay America– the Buddy Booth. With the concept of the now extinct telephone booth, Buddy Booths are used for convenient conversations of sorts with those we lust. Plexiglass separates ‘private booths’ where with a dollar placed in a hungry slot, one has the power to lift the screens to the left and right. The most important feature of the booth does not work unless one’s buddy shoves a dollar bill into the hungry vending machine as well. Not only does the dollar grant one viewing rights, but ninety-nine stations of porn are available. It’s like having the Weather Channel on a Jet Blue flight.

Minute lovers each press a green button, the curtain rises and one has a few brief moments, a dollar’s worth, to advertise deviant sexual acts .

Seduction is not as easy as it may sound. A buddy may not really know who is next door.

Porn watchers sometimes take a chance by pressing a green button and it’s anyone’s guess of what will show up when the curtain rises.

If a buddy does not do enough to seduce his neighbor, the curtain may come slamming down with the simple press of a red button. Middle Eastern men who run the joint allow for a three inch slot at the base of the plexiglass where one can breathe if necessary.

I stood outside the booths being cruised up and down like a wedding gown waiting for purchase by a blushing bride.

“Which one of you has a nice apartment in Chelsea?” I asked as if standing in a candy store.

I needed a place to bed for the night. My lover had me arrested with restraining order and I had no home. I went into a booth and heard sissies fighting in the hallway as they rushed to grab the booths next to mine.

In went a dollar bill and I pushed both green buttons waiting for either neighbor to take the bait. Both shades rose immediately and simultaneously. I dropped my pants and had two offers for free bedding that evening.

In hushed tones, both buddy neighbors asked, “Hey dude, wanna come to myplace?”

Exhausted from a night of popping Ecstacy in prison, I reached down and grabbed the lure of a Black man with dread locks.

“Take me home, Daddy,” I whispered as the time ran out and the curtain came winding down in a Time Square porn shop.

 He followed me outside as I left the porn shop.

I have always hated having to act street just to fulfill the image of my masculine body with a phat round bootie. But in
New York City, where bottoms outnumber tops twenty to one, one cannot let loose and become a flaming faggot when trying to find a roof over one’s head and a nice stiff rod to cuddle up to.

All gay men like butch boys, very few are attracted to sissies like the ones found on Queer Eye For The Straight Guy.

“So, sup?” I asked in a deep masculine tone.

The Black man laughed hysterically.

“Sup wit you? I live in Harlem. Wanna come to my place and let me nail dat ass?”

I thought for a second and replied, “Aight!”

Then out of the blue, without intention, I claimed, “I’m hustlin’ man. I need a place to stay and $200.”

“But of course,” said the handsome Black man with a bright smile and twinkle in his eye.

The two of us didn’t speak on the subway ride to
Harlem. We both fantasized as both passion and potential danger lurked in the air. I never believed the Black man would give me $200 for sex while riding the train on the way to
Harlem to finish off what was started in a buddy booth.

“I’ll be lucky if he and a group of his friends don’t gang rape me,”I thought.

But we walked into his cozy apartment in Harlem without incident. Photography equipment was all over the place. Cameras and backdrops cluttered the apartment and empty bottles of Old English beer were in abundance.

The Black man handed me $200 from a wad of twenties lying carelessly on a coffee table. Shawn, the photographer drew me a bath.

I soaked my cares away. “God really does take care of fools,” I thought while scooping up a handful of bubbles while listening to Sade album on the stereo.

We drank coffee, smoked some bud and looked over a pile of black and white photographs. I forgot about the $200 and asked Shawn if he would mind shooting a few artistic nude shots.

“You have to pay for the film,” replied Shawn. “It’s $100 a roll.”

“I’ll buy two rolls worth,” I said  as I bent over to spread my pretty white ass cheeks.

“Capture this image. It will live forever.”

charlie taylor

Shawn the photographer put down his camera and reached out for the bundle of joy.

“Hands off! Let’s be professionals,” I insisted as the crack on my ass smiled gleefully for the camera as the shutter clicked almost nonstop until the sun came up in Harlem.

The sun came up and I felt horrible. I needed more coffee immediately. Then I remembered where I was– at the home of a buddy I bumped into in Times Square booth.

It all started to come back now– the nude photo shoot under the lense of a mysterious photographer Shawn, a stranger I met in a porn shop in Times Square.

During the sexual escapade at Shawn’s place in Harlem, the photographer took his clothes off too and handed the expensive camera to me to play ‘top’ for a while.

I started to snap out of my manic behavior while the shutter on the lens fluttered away. “You have no home bitch, what are you doing here?” I asked myself while taking close-ups of Shawn’s torso.

Shawn was absolutely gorgeous, especially while standing in front of a large sheet of heavy white paper — professional high quality back-drop paper, a cardboard like medium that rolls down like a buddy booth shade on 42nd Street.

Shawn had many high-tech photographry gadgets in addition to a professional back-drop. He used electronic devices similar to the ones stars from ‘Star Trek’ to communicate with me while posing on the big screen, in order to test for perfect light intensities. Strobe flashes added pizzaz to the love making and I felt just like a porn star while being photographed.

“What do you do for a living?” I asked while laying on my back and pulling my legs up over his head to expose what so many men had come to worship.

“I’m a photographer. I make my living through pornography, but I have dreams of becoming a real artist,” explained Shawn.

“Can you make me a star?” I asked.

“You are so much more than a porn star, sexy! But if that’s what you want. Go sit on the white sofa by the fireplace and show me what you got,” ordered the potential publisher.

It was the best sex I ever had– I realized that the next morning while looking down at the man sleeping in the bed next to me. Fuck Frank. He got a big dick, but it was nothing like Shawns! I can’t wait to see the proofs on those two rolls of film, I thought.

The photo shoot ended with a make-believe snap shot of me pretending I was Marilyn Monroe with the wind blowing my trench coat up. After hours of freeze framing, the two of us collapsed on the white paper and fell asleep exhausted. We woke up a few hours later and crawled over piles of clothing to a bedroom and rested for what seemed to be an eternity on a water bed.

Shawn was still sleeping, but awoke from the lust of my stare. His body was like that of an African warrior– slender, well toned and hung to the knees. He had a beautiful set of teeth, which I envied.

His long braided hair reached his shoulders. He looked a lot like a painting of an Afro-Centric Jesus.

The sex for sale game initiated on 42nd Street had blossomed into a full scale audition for Blue Boy magazine by the time the evening’s festivities ended. The night of playing make-believe sex games was intense.

I have always been an exhibitionist, but the sexual photo shoot, man- whore escapade with a total stranger took me to imaginary heights I never before fantasized about.

Eventually we ran out of film but we kept shooting the camera for the sheer joy of posing in a sexually alluring positions. I knew we didn’t use a condom but I wanted the photographer to see the image clearly and cum inside of me.

In the morning, when reality returns, it’s a hard reaction that one faces as the repercussions of deviant sexual acts are coupled with fantasy role playing. “Oh well, I probably had AIDS already from that prick Frank,” I thought while ignoring the possibility that I could easily have contracted HIV from a one night stand.

Shawn had come inside me on numerous occasions and bodily fluids were shared like weed that night.

“You know, I let you fuck me without a condom,” I said really pissed and still in need of coffee when Shawn opened his eyes.

“I’ll make us some Starbucks– Yukon Blend,” he promised while looking into my green eyes .

I jumped into the shower and prayed that I had washed all the potential germs away. “Oh well, at least it’s a roof over my head for now,” I sang in the shower while gliding a bar of Dove delicately up and down the crack of my hairy ass.

“Did I only imagine that wad of twenties on the coffee table last night?” I asked myself. “This guy is loaded. He must have a lot of connections in the industry. I’m keeping him,” I thought,

I walked back into the bedroom and asked Shawn to put it inside one more time, while I was still dripping wet, from a morning shower in Harlem. There is something about sex while wet, that is just like photography when greasing the body up with baby oil. It felt so damn good. I was over Frank so fast.

“What’s your story,” asked Shawn, somewhat genuine in his compassionate question, while I mounted the rock hard artist for the seventh time.

“Relationship issues, I’ve been put out,” I explained while reaching for my jeans, most certain that the stranger Shawn would ask me to leave based on my unfortunate, but all too common predicament.

“You can stay here if you want,” he offered.

“What do you do for a living?” the stranger asked as if shopping for a new lover.

“I’m a writer of sorts– odds and ends jobs, but a lot of writing. I hate writing. It’s a curse. It has always paid the bills, but it’s really a curse,” I explained while studying all the high tech photography equipment while pickup up pieces of my clothing scattered all over the apartment.

“My writing cost me my last relationship,” I said. “I’d rather be a porn star.”

“What do you mean?”

“Shut up and relax. It’s none of your business,” I demanded as I squeezed my ivorycheeks and used my secret muscles within to trap yet another husband.

“Damn boy, you are fine!” shouted Shawn still stunned by the sheer strength of my inner-self.

I didn’t believe him, so I started to put on my clothing and I let the $200 I had earned honestly lay on the coffee table. Shawn grabbed his appointment book and made a note while watching me round the corer of St. Nicholas Avenue and 145th Street in Harlem, out of his view.

“Met a cute white boy with personality and nice ass. Freckles on his back may expose well.  Use glossy paper when developing negatives. Claims his name is Charles George Orwell.”

shawn

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Lemon Love

vega 

My jeans get holes in them because I sometimes stand with my hands in my back pockets. The holes develop from the weight of my knuckles pulling the pockets from double-stitched seams.

The tears in my straightlegs come in handy when I feel like a slut and get that urge to pick up a stranger from the streets of Brooklyn.

I met Shawn, the man of my wet dreams, in my favorite pair of Levi’s.

He was washing his lime green motorcycle across the street. He used water trickling from a fire hydrant to make his sponge wet and squirted a little Palmolive on the shiny wheels of the fancy bike when he first saw me standing on my steps with a Newport in my right hand and my left placed strategically in my back pocket.

King Street gets very little traffic and the kids who live inside the projects were still in bed at 6:30 a.m. when I first got a glimpse at the biggest cock in the world. Thankfully, I was dressed in hooka- mode, and felt quite comfortable in my Levi’s when I decided to try and lure the man with the motorcycle into my bedroom.

I formed my lips tightly and blew a thin stream of smoke toward the sky as he took off his white T-shirt while scrubbing his hot rod.

The street bike was a perfect fit for a tough, rugged, handsome thug like Shawn. He took pride in every nut and bolt on his machine.

The screeching of a metal door being lifted to open the corner deli violated the silence of the morning and disturbed Shawn’s comfort being half- naked in my presence.

I knew it didn’t bother him that I was checking him out.

He is one of those men who is comfortable in his straightness.

I snuffed out the Newport and darted across the street.

I walked within inches of him and his bike on my way to the deli with both of my hands resting seductively in my rear pouches.

Of course I didn’t have underwear on, it was still early and I hadn’t even showered yet.

These lily white cheeks stick out like grass stains in those Levi’s.

I thought I heard him whisper “wassup” as I strutted by acting as butch as possible.

“Yo dude, pick me up some Brillo’s, aiight?” he request while pulling a ten from his jeans.

Without speaking to him I grabbed the money and felt that it was odd that he would ask a total stranger for such a big favor on the streets of Brooklyn. What the fuck? If the cops saw that they may think it was a drug trade.

The opportunity to look into his deep brown eyes thrilled me. I totally forgot what I decided to go to the deli for while in shock over how fine he was.

His hair was braided and formed a zig-zagging pattern across the top of his head. The braids were pulled to the back and covered with black and gold beads. He puffed on a blunt while washing his bike and his blood-shot eyes sunk deep into his head and face, covered with the darkest shade of skin I had ever seen up close.

He looked me up and down, stoned off his ass and gave me a glance that suggested, “I’ll rape that big round bootie, white boy”.

“Nice bike,”

“Thanks! She’s mine and she’s paid for.”

“Where do you go? Do you just putt around the hood or do you open her up on the highway?”

“I’m going to drive out to California one day.”

“You are not scared?” I asked.

“Scared of what?”

“All those white people between here and there.”

He laughed and asked, “You live here in the Stuy?”

“Yes I do.”

“That’s pretty brave don’t you think?”

“I suppose so, but hell, all white people don’t come from money.”

“I hear dat white-boy, thanks for the Brillos.” he said as I pulled a wad of his change from my faded denims.

“Oh shit, I forgot to get my cake mix. That’s why I was headed to the deli.”

“You making my birthday cake?” He asked.

“Today ain’t your birthday.”

“It sure as fuck is,” he said while pulling out his motorcycle driver’s license to prove it.

“I tell you what, I’ll give you a piece of it as a trade for a ride on that bike.”

“Naw, dog! Nobody drives it but me,” he said while grabbing his crotch like thugs often do.

“Nobody bakes like me! That’s alright. You can drive and I’ll ride on the back. I just want a ride on it. Got another helmet?”

“Alright dude, deal! But I drive fast.”

“I ain’t scared,” I said while walking back to my brownstone with my fingers resting peacefully inside my 501s.

“I’m a fast cook too. 14 King Street, Apt. #3. I’ll see you in a few. What’s your name so I can decorate it on the cake?”

“TK. They call me TK.”

As I closed the door behind me I looked through the peek hole just to see if Shawn was serious about my proposition of baking him a birthday cake.

He had already picked up his sponge, bucket, Palmolive and Brillo pads and was drying off the mean lime green machine.

“Damn baby, don’t rub that too hard,” I whispered from behind the door, watching as his big strong Black hands move a white terry cloth towel in circular motion, absorbing beads of water from the teardrop shaped gas tank where the tall street hustler likely rested his manhood while driving like Evil Knievel on the streets of Brooklyn.

His waist was not more than a 28 but his shoulders stretched for what seemed to be for miles and supported pectoral muscles with dark nipples that looked like the headlights on a hearse.

I noticed the bike was a ZRX1200S, which means absolutely nothing to me, but I memorized the type of bike it was in case our conversation over birthday cake went in that direction.

As I entered the second door, leading into my place, I quickly fluffed the pillows on the three sofas and turned on the light above the fish tank.

I dumped ashes from various trays throughout the apartment and sprayed some Fabreeze to freshen the place up a bit and decided that I was likely over reacting to what was merely a big tease.

“Oh damn!” I shouted to the fish in the tank. “I forgot the cake mix!”

I knew I’d look like a desperate cornball if I went back outside to pick up a box of Duncan Hines. My skills for seducing Black street thugs is unsurpassed and I knew from experience that if a man knows that you have the hots for him, he will leave you standing out in the cold, like a hitchhiker along a California freeway in the dead of night.

I looked around the kitchen to assess my options. There wasn’t much available to whip something together on such short notice. There were two lemons on the counter which were remnants from a weekend of cocktails and more cocktails.

Inside the refrigerator there were three brown eggs inside a cardboard carton which had started to deteriorate from the water which drips inside my ice box.

Way in the back of the cupboard was a box of Argo cornstarch that had to be at least three years old.

I scraped out the little black specks on the top of the white powdery starch and had an idea for TK’s birthday dessert.

There wasn’t enough time to pre-heat the oven before he rang the doorbell.

My hands were covered in flour so I wiped them on the ass of my jeans on the way to answer his calling.

He quickly rushed inside as if afraid someone may notice him paying me a visit.

“I see you are not a vampire,” I said while turning slowly and walking down the dimly lit hallway, showing off the white smudges on the back of my pants in a tempting way.

“Huh?”

“A vampire must always be invited in,” I explained while opening the door to my drafty old apartment.

“Oh, word? Are you making my cake already?” He asked while checking out my ass. “I want to suck your blood,” he chuckled with a deep, dark tone.

I rolled my eyes and wish I could say what I wanted.

If he only knew how often strangers ring my doorbell and run in and out, he would have been more at ease while sneaking in on the down- low.

My kitchen is like a café nestled at the end of a cobblestone street in a dark alleyway of Paris. Visitors stop by all the time when they are at wits end and need a friend who will listen to their woes and not drop of a ton of baggage with spoonfuls of sugar.

I have lots of experience in turning out straight trade after living in the Sty for more than five years. I understand, first hand, what men of color go through when sneaking out of closets.

It’s not as simple as deciding that one has a few scratches that need itching when a man of color wants to diddle with another dude.

One slip could cost a thug his reputation in the ghetto—a world where there are almost never second chances.

This one was different and I needed to work him very carefully.

It was not only the sexy motorcycle he drove, his baggy Dickies with the big bulge or his perfect teeth and big fat juicy lips that caused me to salivate.

It was his aura.

There was something about TK that I wanted to possess.

There he was in all his dark beauty standing inside my little love nest.

Stiff hard dicks are a dime a dozen in Bedford Stuyvesant, but men who stare at my ass like that send me over the top and are capable of making me write bad checks and bake for them whenever they need something warm in their stomachs.

“I hope you don’t mind, but I have a different plan for your birthday,” I explained.

“What’s that?”

“I’m making you my signature lemon meringue pie.”

“Isn’t that the stuff Patti Labelle sang about?”

“Yes it is.”

“Never had it, but knock yourself out Chaz.”

“How did you know my name,” I inquired somewhat paranoid.

“It’s on the mailbox. It reads ‘Charles’, but that’s too white for a boy wit flava like you. Chaz is your new street name,” he said jokingly while sitting down on my white sofa.

“You don’t mind if I light this up do you?” He asked.

I lit a Glade candle and placed it on the white marble coffee table and offered him the lighter.

“Nice space. I like how there are no walls in here– openness. Nice fish tank. Damn, this place is the joint, yo dude, you got a pool table!”

“Go check out the back yard I fixed up,” I said while scattering flour across my kitchen table. “There’s a vegetable garden back there.”

He looked over my shoulder on his way to the bedroom and garden and offered me a hit on the blunt.

“Maybe later,” I said while mixing flour and salt in a glass bowl.

He was alone in the backyard for almost five minutes. By the time he had returned I measured out a cup of Crisco and began blending it with two cups of flour and a teaspoon of salt.

Slowly I dribbled in a few table spoons of ice water and he watched closely with his sexy eyes as I slowly formed a ball of dough from the pea-like mixture and flattened it with my hands before reaching for my marble rolling pin.

“What are you making?”

“This is how fresh pie pastry is made,” I explained. “I hope you don’t mind, but I think you will like my pie better than a cake that comes in a box.

He pimp walked back to the sofa and put his feet and timberland boots up on the coffee table.

After fluting the edges of my pastry inside a pie pan and placing the naked shell in the oven, I carried the two lemons and a grater and sat down next to him on the sofa and began to carefully remove the yellow zest of the lemon.

“You got a bitch?”

“Naw, I’m laying low for a while,” I mumbled.

“I got plenty dawg. But I ain’t got one yet who can take dis rod night after night,” he said mesmerized at the powdered like pile of lemon I neatly scraped onto a black saucer.

“I hear that. Fuckin’ bitches,” I said in the most authentic rapper tone imaginable.

“I see you play chess.”

“Oh that. That’s not my chess board, it belonged to my roommate. I can play, but not like he did.”

“I’m da friggin’ master at chess, dawg, especially when I’m stoned.”

I returned to the kitchen and divided my eggs into yokes and whites and suggested that he not touch the chess board and its pieces.

“Why?”

“Did you ever hear of an Ouija Board?” I asked while pouring the yellow part of the eggs into a sauce pan with almost a cup of the salvaged cornstarch and a quarter cup of water. I stirred in the lemon zest and squeezed the stripped fruits above the pot and added their juices to the pudding- like concoction. I sweetened the meringue with a few handfuls of sugar.

“Ain’t a Ouija board some witches shit?”

“Yes it is,” I said while I stirred the brew on the stove and waited for it to thicken. “My roommate said those chess pieces were hand carved by a man who raped and murdered seven women and one man in Los Angeles. I’ve always been too spooked to play with that. When I touch it, I get really strange vibes.”

He held up a wooden horse and carried the board and all its pieces to the coffee table.

“The only vibe I am getting is the urge to play a good game,” he said. “Are you smart? Can you play?” He asked.

As I poured the lemon mixture into my baked shell I promised to take him up on his challenge, but I needed first to get the pie in the oven.

He walked over to my butcher block table and stared as I plugged in an electric mixer and began whipping the egg whites until still peaks formed. After a foamy substance appeared, I slowly added some sugar.

“You wanna be white or black,” he asked.

“Black,” I said while pouring the white meringue over the lemon mixture.

I placed the assembled masterpiece in the oven after carving “TK” on the waves of whipped egg whites that covered the meringue like puffy clouds in a warm June sky.

We faced off at the chess board. I sat on the floor and T.K. remained on the sofa. I could not believe the handsome man who I met on the street moments ago was now sitting inside my apartment.

It’s not true what they say about Blacks, they all don’t look the same. Even their hair is of different textures and shades, just as with white folks and most are far more intelligent that society recognizes.

It was obvious his perfect white teeth were not originals, but none the less, he had a damn good dentist. Mine are worn and tattered and barely strong enough to bite a forbidden fruit or an apple.

I get nervous around people with bright white teeth, especially men who smile like sunshine with dark skin to contrast the pearliness. Perhaps I am just jealous because of the gaps on my gum line and poor bonding.

I am not comfortable having strangers in my house, but because he had such a nice smile, I made an exception to my rules for inviting strangers in to play games, despite the fact the he was Black and I found him in Bedford Stuyvesant, the home of all the hard-core rappers.

I thought perhaps my teeth would turn him off so I smiled at him only with my lips.

Very few manage to squeeze a full-fledged smile out of me, no matter how funny they are, but I smiled inside when we started to play the game.

His eyelashes were long and black, like the legs of a spider. He blinked them rarely and looked from side to side, almost bashfully. Perhaps he wasn’t comfortable hooking up with a white guy.

He relit the blunt and handed it to me. I took a little puff but didn’t inhale.

“Hit dat shit right!”

I sucked hard and immediately felt myself relax.

Suddenly I didn’t care that my teeth were a mess.

He reached across the back of the sofa while taking several pulls and picked a boogie when he thought I wasn’t paying attention while setting up the pieces.

I knew he felt at home in my house.

“Honestly, I only know how the pieces move. I really don’t know how to play the game well,” I explained before the first move was made.

“It’s alright dawg, just go with your instincts.”

He lifted one of the little figures in the front row and slid it two spaces forward. I faced off that little bugger with the same exact move.

“Wait a minute, I’m Black and I go first,” I said.

“You do know how to play dis game, don’t you Chaz?”

“Better than you know T.K.”

He managed to put me in checkmate before I had a chance to move out my queen.

Although only 10 minutes had passed, I realized that the pie in the oven was probably done. Because one pre-bakes the pie shell and cooks the meringue in a saucepan, it is not necessary to cook it for very long. The egg whites which line the top of the dessert turn golden brown and if left in too long, the pie will be a dusty brown and unappetizing.

The carving of the initials “T.K.” in the white meringue worked perfectly. The pie looked far more exotic than a typical birthday cake.

“Happy Birthday I said as I pulled the gift from the oven.”

He jumped from the couch and came into the kitchen.

I believe he was touched, but downplayed the moment by saying, “You are a dude and I ain’t ever saw a pie like that. Even my grandma never made something like this on my birthday. What’s it taste like?” he asked.

“It has to cool off first, and it should be chilled a little. Re-match?” I requested.

As the second game started, I felt a strange vibe from touching the chess board pieces. I hadn’t gone near the haunted checkerboard and its hand carved characters since the day I was sitting alone in the living room, watching Martha Stewart Living and the bishops, knights, kings and queens started moving around on their own.

I wasn’t high when the aberration first occurred. But they certainly moved on their own. One piece at a time, back and forth they went, the black and white pieces until eventually one of the colors lost. It seemed as if two ghosts were matching wits over the game of strategy and luck.

It frightened me terribly and I remain convinced that the game, created by the hands of a mad man, was possessed by evil spirits.

The weed intensified the sensation I felt when making my moves while playing T.K. I picked- up my horse and slid it one space up and two spaces over and snatched his queen without consciously planning the take over.

I thought I heard a faint scream of a woman outside.

“Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“Never mind,” I said while realizing those voices from the board were returning and I may have to conduct another exorcism to clear out the negative energy in my apartment.

“What da hell? Damn, how did I miss that?” he asked.

I looked him in his eyes, smiled widely while rearing my ugly teeth.

He formed a fist and brushed it against my shoulder in a playful way, realizing he had met his match.

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