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Archive for December, 2006

Ivory Cheeks

ivorycheeks

Latinjock69 abandoned his AOL handle and logged out of the nycm4mnow chatroom forever. Most original AOL members have moved onto other service providers. AOL chatrooms are outdated like I-Pod shuffles. Many screen names died in the arms of the digital revolution. Some, although no longer active, live on, like spam. Screen names are an important part of American literature and represent who we once were as surfers, in an ocean of on-line communications.

I saw latinjock69 at the supermarket last evening, buying a can of Crisco and some chicken wings. I’m glad he’s still around and unplugged. When we first met, when on-line dating was new and revolutionary, chatrooms hosted a maximum of 23 members at any given moment. Like supermarkets, there were lines. We had to sometimes wait just to ‘chat’.

When insatiable tops with tempting names like latinjock69 secured one of the coveted spots in the popular online chatrooms of AOL, he stayed there almost 24 hours a day, hogging up space, or at least until he found a member with a bubble butt who wanted to give it up. He, like so many of my gay friends, had become on-line, hook-up, sex addicts– one night gang bangers. It all started when people first plugged their home computers into the phone jack and started communicating with the written word again.

As the cashier was sliding the tub of shortening across the scanner at the supermarket, latinjock69 asked, “Are you still on- line?”

“Nah. Not for a long time,” I said with a smile.

“You look good, Charlie. It’s good to see you,” he remarked while winking at me, yet nodding his head toward the guy he was with– obviously a new ‘profile’ my old friend is screwing.

“Thanks. I hope to see you around,” I winked back.

I paid for my jumbo shrimp, heavy cream, fresh parsley, linguine and vine ripened tomatoes while reminiscing of our affair.

We were never lovers, just good friends who knew how to make fast love– no strings attached whoopie. Every moment we spent together, we made love. He slept in my bed many nights after he came and collapsed upon my chest. We were never lovers, just pen pals. He often made love to me all night long. I’d awake to feel him on top of me, lifting my tired legs.

“You know– we gotta go to work in the morning.”

“I know. Who cares? I want to be inside of you again,” he said.

Those were the good ole days.

At the beginning of the internet era, when I was single, queer life in the big city was like a digital orgy– as if everyone had sniffed electronic poppers.

Modern technology beamed latinjock69, along with the rest of gay New York into a sexually charged, digital underworld with possibilities as endless as the world wide web itself. I could almost never get into that room, post my stats, and make my move on latinjock69 disguised as ‘ivorycheeks’. The room was always jammed packed. I was forced to use my handle and enter the whiteguysforblackguys chatroom and hope he would show up there.

AOL chatrooms were far more interesting than gay bars or bath houses when dial- up subscriptions connected closeted homosexuals to New York City’s out, short-circuited, over the top homosexual culture. Real conversation and effective writing was used by on-line poets seeking ‘hook-ups’ before there were phones with cameras. There were so many new men to be had. We chopped the English language into shreds along with many other tongues for that matter–

‘pic 4 swap’–

‘How big, papi’

‘10″, uncut dominican meat here”

‘aiight.’

“into poppers?”

“Yes”

“Neg?”

“Si”

Never again was it necessary to stand at a stinky bar waiting to make a pass at the regulars. Gay men were able to shop on line for what they really wanted– anonymous sex. Finally, we had the tools to get we needed. No longer was it necessary to wear colored handkerchiefs in our back pockets to advertise our preferences in the bedroom.

‘Straight married man looking to get serviced. Got a pic?” those instant message squares often popped up reading when ivorycheeks sat his ass down inside one of those rooms.

I had a digital photo of just my ass that worked like a charm when trying to lure in one night stands as ‘ivorycheeks’. A chatroom regular ‘chelseasnatch21’, a guy I met up with in one of the chatrooms, snapped a shot of my buttocks. He was a professional photographer and a tired lay who lived in Chelsea.

“Do you mind if I take a photo of your ass in black and white?” he requested as I was getting dressed and ready to leave his place.

“I need a photograph for my profile– sure, as long as you send me a copy,” I insisted. I know how talented, gay photographers can be. They can turn any bad side into a good side with the right lighting. They have a knack for that sort of thing.

He took a very artistic shot, developed it, scanned it and sent it to me.

“Thanks for a great night, Will. Here are the photographs. I think they are great. You really should consider professional modeling,” he wrote. I didn’t even bother changing the name of the file before I saved it. The image remained on my hard drive forever, saved under the file name ‘willass’.

I felt like such a whore– posing like that for a total stranger, but the pic was nice.

I should have answered his e-mail and thanked him.

I didn’t.

He had a little cock.

The infamous photo of my big, round, plump, white ass worked like a dream in those chatrooms. I couldn’t wait to use it on latinjock69. Afer I finally got into nycm4mnow one evening, Latinjock69 was there as always. I sent him a pic– the one that chelseasnatch21 took of my butt a few days prior.

‘Ready for a hard one now,’ I typed.

“That’s not your ass,” the instant message from LatinJock69 said. “I’ve fucked that ass already. That’s chelseasnatch21. Stop sending fake pics.”

I was so upset.

“But that is mine. I have the Adidas underwear to prove it.”

He ignored me for hours and would not answer my ims.

“I swear to you, this is my ass,” I typed at 3 a.m. on a work night when the room, although full, was very dead.

“When I screwed chelseasnatch21, I noticed that it really didn’t look like that pic. His as was too hairy. Is your ass hairy?”

“Si papi, but only around the hole. Not on the ivory cheeks themselves,” I quickly typed.

“Into shaving?”

“Hell No,” I wrote while almost too terrified at that point to meet up with him. Shaving? For heaven sakes, I would never trust a total stranger to shave my ass.

“Someone stole my pic,” I wrote. “Wanna see it in person?”

He signed off and rushed to my house in a cab.

The instant hook-up went well. It was one of those one night stands that felt different– not sleazy at all. At 3 a.m. we were both desperate and lonely, yet we made love. There was lots of kissing, tongues went way inside the mouths, shaking, quivering of the legs and arms. I had waited so long to meet him, perhaps I had fallen in love on-line.

“Do you know, this is really good,” he said in the middle of having sex, with sweat dripping from his gorgeously thick Dominican eyebrows. “You know, I’ve banged a lot of ass, papi– but do you know what? It hasn’t felt this way since I made love to my wife. It feels just like a wet pussy, papi.”

I wrapped my legs around his neck and smiled.

“You are married?” I asked casually, laying with my arm behind my head, as if in the middle of a wheat field, looking up at the clouds, not affected by his deep thrust at all– with the exception of the pure pleasure he was delivering to me inside.

Our love making and fantastic sex went on for a long time, almost every other night.

When I wasn’t with Shawn, screwing him on weekends, I was with my on-line buddy download more of the good stuff. Ours was only casual sex. I would never allow our on-line relationship to go further than that. I loved Shawn too much to emotionally attach myself to latinjock69, the man with the body of a god.

“Wassup?”

“Horny. You?”

“Horny here too. I just want to lay there for you again,” I sent while telling Shawn on the phone that I was going to bed and to call me tomorrow and to stop demanding that I spend every moment of my spare time with him.

“Stop trying to control me Shawn. I told you, I don’t want a monogamous relationship again.”

“I know. But I love you and I want to be with just you. Are you on-line?”

“No. Goodnight, Shawn.”

I had other needs.

***

“Yes. See you in about an hour?” I typed to latinjock69 while placing the phone in its cradle.

“Make it a half hour.”

“You got it.”

The clothes came off and we went to it. There was no need for casual conversation or small talk. We were fuck buddies. Our relationship served a real purpose.

Sex is like cooking. Sometimes we want something fast, greasy and easy– like fried chicken. On other nights, its better to serve a zesty linguine with white sauce. It’s all out there for sampling at cooking.com.

Seeing him this evening was nice. I know I still got it and he still craves me, like a spicy chicken wing. But I’m married now and have cooking to do.

Ivorycheeks has logged off for good and the name will be retired in literary history alongside names like Huckleberry Fin, but I sometimes pull out that old file– ‘willass’ and give it away for free.

willass

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bandana

 

I kept Tony Ingle’s number on a post-it note inside my address book for a long time before deciding to crumple it up and toss it in the trash. The lure of his deep, seductive tone called to me from that square piece of self-adhesive paper– like an imaginary voice in my head.

Tony wore a blue handkerchief on his head and ran up and down the hallways of the psychiatric ward like the place was his. He ruled the joint—his six foot two frame was covered with large muscles and others bowed down to him. I dropped to my knees when he asked me to.

“Don’t worry about it. You’ll get out of here eventually. I’ve been in and out of these places all my life.”

“Damn,” I said. “What caused me to see and hear those things?”

“I don’t know. It just comes and goes. I’ve learned to accept it and embrace it.”

His words of encouragement were the only thing that made me feel better inside that place. The medications made me rigid and nervous. I felt I owed him a favor. He was delicious and was at least 10”. It’s sad I can’t find a piece of trade like that in the civilized, sane world. After I blew him, he snuck inside the nurses station and stole me a cigarette. That was nice, I thought. I really needed one. We smoked it in his room and for one brief moment, it felt like I had a lover again. 

My first encounter with him was in the hallways. My restless legs would not allow me to lay down or sit. I wandered the hallways day and night to stop the side-effects of the meds, caused by a cocktail of Zyprexa and a host of anti-depressants. Tony had the medicine I needed.

He walked up to me grabbed his crotch and stated, “Damn I’m horny. I could sure use some pussy.” Initially I was puzzled. I didn’t catch the pass. I went to the far end of the facility to avoid his approach again. I wondered why he told me he needed some pussy. There was nothing I could do for him while on lock-down. Sex was the furthest thing from my mind—the drugs had forever taken away my desire to get it up and get off, so I ignored him.

Later that evening I walked into the dining room. In-patients were fighting over containers of vanilla ice cream. The small white Styrofoam containers with pull off paper lids hit the spot for those who couldn’t get enough comfort food while on the psychotropic pills.

“There he is– the queer,” proclaimed the man with the snot rag on his head. “He likes me. He thinks I’m hot. Tell them, you think I’m hot, don’t you?” he asked me in front of those in the loony bin. 

Even though I was tranquilized I was not crazy. The in-patients looked hopelessly into their plates of food, not know for sure if what Tony was shouting was real or just their imagination. They could have cared less. They were hungry and it was ice cream time.

“Yes, you are ruggedly handsome,” I said as I tried to remember how to hold a fork and feed myself again.”

The lunch room grew incredibly silent. Even the sane nurses didn’t know what to expect after I confessed to my sexuality.

I knew his type. I knew not to confront his repressed demons inside the dinning facility in front of our peers. I waited until later that evening, in his room, after he invited me in for some more ice cream. There were no pull off lids, no zippers, or no fighting to get the last Styrofoam bowl of the white stuff. He lifted his hospital gown and I helped myself and calmed his crazy ass down a little.

The man with the rag on his head was discharged a few days later. He never confronted me for sexual favors again, although he slipped me his telephone number on his way out of the gates of hell, written on a little post-it note, as if it were a prescription for my pain.

It was.

 

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Chill

 chill

I started writing Chill in prison. He was locked away in Attica, serving 15 years to life for murder with a stick at a pool hall in East New York. Fresh out of the Marines and back on the streets of
Brooklyn, the dishonorably discharged veteran took his frustrations out on a Latino from the neighborhood after a gang fight broke out in a local pub.
  Fists were flying everywhere that day, according to my pen pal.  “You know how those Puerto Ricans are,” he scribbled on a piece of paper and mailed to me at an APO address. I was in the Army at the time. I was thrilled he had written me back. I took a chance writing him first and wasn’t sure he would return the favor. He had no idea who I was or why I was writing him. I simply wrote down a few words, licked a stamp, and sent my letter, hoping to establish some sort of a relationship with the young man– the brother of my Army lover, Anthony.The poor unsuspecting soul received my hand written pen pal letter postmarked from
Nuremberg, West Germany
while sitting bored to tears in a cold, lonely cell. “Hi! You don’t know me, but…” was the introductory line I used.One does not simply pick up a piece of paper and a pen and start writing a murderer informing him that you are his new brother, but not in-law. It took time, lots of stamps and careful writing to draft my way into the Miller family and the heart of Chill. I should have come right out and wrote it, but I thought I had secretly encoded the message in those letters. He should have known when I wrote things like – “You look a lot like Anthony but have bigger muscles.”I wrote about the crabs I caught from a girl I banged, the horrible field training exercises in the woods of Bavaria, my sight-seeing ventures to the Dachau Concentration Camps and other happenings from my life in a different prison of sorts, but never once did I mention that I was in love with his brother, although it was difficult for me not to mention to him how cute he was even though he was a hardened criminal.   Chill wrote to me and explained his side of the story and how he wished he had a good lawyer at the time. “It’s really fucked up that I’m in here, but that’s just the way it goes for most Black men,” he transcribed. “It was self-defense. I can’t take this place anymore.” 

“Hang in there, Chill. You’ll get out soon. I can’t wait to get out of the Army either. I hate serving time for Uncle Sam!” I sent a photograph from the barracks in my tight brown t-shirt. He returned a Polaroid of himself with dreadlocks and a green uniform of his own. He also requested that I order him a few things from the prison approved catalog.  

“You are just like your brother,” I wrote after sending him a prison approved radio. “Jodi Watley is the bomb,” he wrote back. “I’d love to take a crack at that ass.”According to Chill, I was one of only a handful of writers to send letters during those 15 years he spent behind bars. Only three people visited him while at
Attica. His mother went to take him care packages several times over the years. Anthony and I went to see him in the Spring of 1992, but only after I insisted to Anthony that we make the six hour bus trip to the state prison.
 The bus was filled with wives of prisoners and girlfriends. Anthony and I were the only two men on the bus. The ghetto broads were hysterical, dressed in nightgowns and curlers in their hair, prepping themselves to look good after the long journey to upstate
New York. They called me Vanilla Ice and sang that song “Ice Ice Baby” because my hair was decorated in a flat-top style. When the bus pulled into the prison yard, curlers flew, hairspray was shot like guns and perfumes of every flavor filled the country air. Anthony and I clung to one another, not sure what to expect next.
 

The girl who initiated the ‘Ice Ice Baby’ singing on the bus was only the girlfriend of one of the
Attica prisoners and she had no idea the wife was also on the bus that day. Prison guards discovered the ‘joint’ visit and all hell broke out in the reception station. Anthony and I held each other tight. We were terrified.
 The prison was cold and frightening. My secret fantasy of being gang raped in a prison cell quickly vanished. Cement and steel covered every square inch of the place. Everything slammed shut hard and loud. Chill seemed not to mind. He was happy that we came to see him and the three of us spent the day discussing the details of the letters I wrote to him over the years. He had very little to say to his brother, who he called “Tata” as in “Mr. Potato Head”, because according to Chill, Anthony looks just like the plastic toy.  

Anthony harbored tons of guilt over his older brother’s incarceration. On the long bus ride, Anthony explained that the night Chill committed the accidental murder, he and his brother had a ‘falling out’. The ex-marine was living with my lover and his wife at their first home in
East New York. Anthony’s wife was pregnant with their first child and Chill came home one evening while Anthony was at work and ate the dinner his wife had prepared for him.
 “You are going to have to get the fuck out, Chill. You are not going to disrespect me in my own home,” Anthony threatened and he took back the spare set of keys.  Over the years, Anthony believed that if that argument had not taken place, the accidental murder at the pool hall may never have happened.Chill saved the letters I wrote him for years, he told me after he got released. He thought I was only his brother’s Army buddy who liked to write. Upon his discharge, he learned the truth as to why I started writing him in the first place.

 “Do you mean to tell me after all you wrote, after all those stories of the girls who you were banging, your letters were not true?” 

“No, they were true, Chill. I just couldn’t share everything with you.”Upon his release, he came to live with Anthony and I. Nobody else would have him. He seemed surprised that there was only one bed in the apartment. Anthony turned to him and explained, “Now Chill, you were away for a long time. Don’t tell me you remained a virgin all that time.”He grew silent and angry but didn’t kill us. He remembered my letters and they saved us from additional murders and Chill didn’t want to get put out of Anthony’s home again. “I couldn’t write you about everything either, Chaz. You know they read everything that comes in and out of that place—searching for drugs and what-not,” he explained.

***
When I was released from a psychiatric ward, years later, my pen pal paid me a visit at home with a new lover. I put Anthony out this time around.  He was one of only a handful of folks to visit me while still psychotic. He brought me a gift, a fancy ink pen and some paper and told me to come off those drugs and write down my feelings. He explained that he didn’t like what those drugs did to his friends in

Attica and felt that psychotropic medications were not the answer.
  “I knew ‘dis dude in ‘da slamma who was on those drugs. He hung himself, Chaz. Do you know after they found his body they didn’t even take it out of the cell on a stretcher? They pulled his lifeless body from his mattress by dragging it by the arms and kicked him down the stairs instead of carrying it out respectfully. Get off those drugs, Chaz. It’s all just part of the system dat da man has made to keep us brothers down!” So I did, and haven’t stopped writing since.

z

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Pussy Control

cat

Black sissies and heterosexual sistas have always envied my ability to seduce homeboys into long-term relationships. Even with my grey hairs, men don’t just have sex with me and rush out the door– leaving nothing but used condoms behind. They always come back for more.A few years ago, while enjoying my freedom as a single white male, I was in a gay, Black night club in
Brooklyn
. A Black bottom stepped to me and lisped– “What do they see in you? You are white!”I looked the bitch right in his face and replied, “I got flava and you act just like a girl. Don’t you think if those hot thugs wanted a woman they would get themselves one? Stop acting like a bitch,” I suggested. The queen stepped away in his tight rocker dude jeans with his mouth hanging wide open. Little did he know, I was giving away trade secrets.

Being feminine is implanted in our gay genes. It’s hard to butchen-up and shed our desire to swish around—especially in night clubs. There are enough bitches in the world. The reason a lot of men are gay is because the world is filled with bitches. Even women, once referred to as ‘ladies’, have become bitches too. The last thing the world needs is men who want to be bitches too. So, just stop being so gay and bitchy. 

Society lost its true feminine side—the part of our community that takes care of the home. We are all in control now, running things and “in-charge”. It’s no longer fashionable to be a bitch and play the feminine role, either as a man or a woman, yet we are all a bunch of bitches.The advice I was offering to the Black sissy at the bar was the truth. I know because I was a sissy too. Only when I decided to butchen- up and take control did things change in the bedroom for me.

Men in 2006 can only relate to other men—they are sick of all the bitches and bitching that goes on in the world. This is our opportunity to take what is rightfully ours, queers. Let’s knock those broads out of the way and make the home a place for the heart again.

Don’t swish around. Step to him like a man and tell him what you want and what you are willing to do to get it. Believe me, no matter how straight they are, it will feel like a breath of fresh air to them. Men are no longer spoiled and pampered by their lovers, nor are they the bread winners. They are just men with sperm who answer to women who want nothing but to be in-charge and in control.

“Wow! Nobody has ever done it that way to me,” is what I say right after the sex, when it’s good and when I want to keep him.

“Word?”

“Si, Papi! Can I give you a backrub and make you breakfast before you leave?”

It works every time. They never leave and they always come back for more. Too bad more bitches are not like me. The world would be a much better place.

dog

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Racing Thoughts

shawn smith nyc

Photo by: Shawn L. Smith (1996)

Emerald City Photography

I wandered the streets of New York City in agony. The pain was unfathomable– not like a jab with a knife in the gut–far worse. The sadness within was unimaginable. There were no external wounds, but the pain was there– stabbing at every nerve in my body. It may have been depression. I think it was a demon.

Hopelessness and despair filled every inch of my soul. I searched for a means to end the mental torment– the racing thoughts were consuming me. One idea lead to another, and another until eventually I was thinking about everything all at once.
“Repent!” I screamed to people on the sidewalks with their brief cases and pocketbooks – heading off to work. How can they think about going to work today? The world is going to end very soon. “Stop! Don’t you see it coming! I do. I see it coming for you too. Trust me, you don’t want any of this. I can’t hold it all for much longer. Watch out, it’s coming for you too!” They just looked at me with curious, saddened eyes and went on about their business.

I saw it all very clearly with my own two eyes, despite the tears that were in them. It was the end of times, the beginning of sorrows. Suicide never crossed my mind– there were too many to be saved before it was too late. I didn’t have the ability to blow off my worries any longer. My concerns had grown out of control. One little worry turned into a billion small problems, leading to bigger catastrophes. Worrying was my destiny until I stopped it with my faith.

I was trapped in hell– confusion. There seemed to be no way to stop those thoughts from coming at me like they were. There was only one way to stop them. I prayed. Why wouldn’t it stop? Just stop thinking, God damn it! Stop thinking so fucking much. I believed I would remain trapped in that crazy maze of worry for all of eternity.

I grew tired and weary from the July heat and my curbside preaching in Time Square. All that yelling was making my throat sore. I needed to rest. I was so tired, but the urgency of the matter at hand– those worries wouldn’t let me rest. I hadn’t slept in nearly three days, or maybe it was six by now.

There are only seven days in a week. God rested on the seventh day. Maybe the thoughts will stop rushing through my mind by tomorrow. I think tomorrow is the seventh day since I last slept. That’s what this was all about. All these thoughts. God was trying to show me how important it is to rest on the seventh day like he does. I swear, if he lets me rest again, I’ll never ever again forget the Sabbath.

I sought out shade in Sheridan Square Park. The burning sensation in the heels of my feet subsided. Someone was trying to crucify me too, I thought. It felt like spikes were driven through my feet. Why was I walking around with no shoes on? What made me take off my shoes? Oh– Jesus! What was I thinking? My feet were bleeding. I needed to sit down for a while in Sheridan Square Park.

 Shawn L. Smith

I sat on a bench until nightfall. I could make a break for it and try to get home before those with the thought control devices saw me and made me start to think too much again. I was too terrified to leave the boundaries of the park. There were too many cell phones with those mysterious green lights all around me. Who were those people with those phones and what were they trying to do to God with them?

It would be best if I slept there. For the first time in days, I felt peace in that park and was able to sit still for more than ten minutes. The homeless people in there with their tattered clothing made me feel at peace. They didn’t have those cell phones. That’s what was causing it– those God damned phones– too powerful for me to block them out now. I needed to sleep there.

I thought I knew the man sleeping on the bench across the park. His face was strangely familiar; a lot like the face of my lover who had recently died. Wait a minute– that’s what I came out here for today. All that thinking made me forget about him for a while.  Shawn was calling me to him. He was looking for me. There he was, inside that homeless man’s body, there in Sheridan Square Park, sleeping on  a bench.

I watched him sleep for nearly two hours. Voices in my head were fading away. It seemed as though the sleeping man somehow chased them away. I thought he was an angel or maybe Shawn back from the dead. The man seemed to be glowing in the darkness. He didn’t have a shopping cart full of belongings. All he had with him were the clothes on his tall muscular body. I crawled slowly across the red bricks which paved the ground within in the park and nestled under the bench where the handsome homeless man lay sleeping.

The stranger cast an aura of pure peace over me and I allowed my energy to merge with him. I felt at peace again, sleeping there under him. He didn’t smell bad and he made me feel safe again. The man’s hand dangled from the edge of the bench. I lifted my head and allowed his dark hand to touch me. I felt a surge of energy pass through me and noticed a golden ring in my imagination as the man’s hand touched the top of my head. Something left me and went into him or vise- versa.

The stranger jumped from his sleep and from the park bench and screamed, “Yo! What the fuck!” and shook his hand as if it had been burned by something hot. He had an erection and it was very noticeable through the tight, filthy jeans he was wearing.

I remained motionless, hoping the man did not notice me under there. But realizing that energy had been taken from him, he peaked under the park bench to investigate.

Please check out my book, based on my racing thoughts–

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Come On Aileen

 

My virginity was taken by Aileen Querry. She asked me to ask her to our high school Christmas dance. All my friends had dates to the annual gala. I wanted to go to the dance too. I loved music and dancing. The thought of dancing somewhere other than in my bedroom thrilled me. I couldn’t wait to show my peers my Mick Jagger imitation to the song “Just Another Night”.

I knew Aileen from marching band. She seemed harmless– I didn’t have to worry about being rejected. Aileen made it known that she had the hots for me and wanted to go to the dance.

“You have beautiful lips, Charlie Taylor. Regina, look at his lips. Don’t you wish your lips were big like his?”

“Charlie, you do have beautiful lips,” Regina giggled. “You shouldn’t feel bad about them. Look how thin mine are. Aileen has big lips too. I bet the two of you are great kissers.”

The dance seemed like the right thing to do. Only nerds didn’t have dates to the dance. I was willing to kiss Aileen if it came to that– if we went that far. What harm was there in a kiss, even though I wasn’t sexually attracted to her, or any other girls for that matter?

“Aileen, I’m officially asking you to the Christmas dance.”

“I’ll have to think about it. Am I blushing?”

“Don’t think too long, Aileen. I may just ask Dana Scott if she wants to go.”

“You don’t have to be so touchy. Do you think Dana is prettier than me, Charlie?”

“Dana is very pretty, Aileen. The two of you have different personalities. Dana is born-gain. You are not. I could never compare the two of you. Both of you are my friends and sinners.”

“Are we officially going steady now, Charlie?”

“I guess so. What does that mean exactly–‘going steady’?”

Aileen scared me as she started planning our coordinated outfits for the dance stage. I’m surprised we didn’t have to wear our matching band uniforms.

“Just you wait until you see me in my dress, Charlie. Do you have a tan suit?”

“I don’t own a suit.”

“It’s formal, Charlie. You will need a suit. Tell your mom you need a tan suit.”

I could only imagine what she had in mind. Aileen was always the center of attention– a true Borderline Personality type A. Madonna had nothing on her. As a matter of fact, Aileen looked a lot like Madonna in the 11th grade. But Aileen had a brain and really big boobs to go along with her naughty-girl reputation.

My Christmas dance date, the full-figured, tall, sandy-brown haired girl with big lips and tits was seen hanging out down in Mt. Union with her friend Regina the previous summer. Rumors were that both Aileen and Regina were _ _ _ _ _ _– lovers and that perhaps they had even slept with Black men. Most of the boys in school, although secretly lusting for Aileen, called her a whore behind her back and in her face sometimes. 

When news hit the halls of Southern Huntingdon High School that Aileen and I were going to the dance together, my Christian friends gave me that look.

She had a reputation in the 10th grade. Aileen had been around, or so they say. People knew that about her. She was just a friend to me when she was a sophomore and I, just a freshman. She was one of those fun girls that blossoming gay guys like to hang with. I didn’t care what she was doing on her summer vacation down in Mt. Union. She was witty and never dull– the real fag-hag type. She was ‘gifted’ too. We both had to attend those dreadful classes on Friday afternoons with Mrs. Robinson. Aileen said that if she and I were to breed, our children would be gorgeous and smart. I never looked at Aileen in a sexual way and certainly wasn’t thinking about marriage and kids in the 11th grade.

The tenth grade was a long time ago. She was a senior already and I a junior and we were headed to my first high school dance. Aileen had attended them since the 8th grade. And she could dance well– that was cool. That was real cool. I like to dance too…

 ***

I told my mother I wanted to go to the high school dance with Aileen Querry. Mom knew who Aileen was– that chunky girl from Hill Valley Road who had a crush on my brother Bill in elementary school.

“Aileen wants to go to the dance with you?” my mother asked while snickering.

“Do you think Frank will let me go, mom?” I asked. My step-father had rules for the boys he was paying for and raising on behalf of my real father. He said if we ever got a girl knocked-up he was damn sure not going to pay to raise the child or for an abortion. His rule was– no dating girls or school dances. If we were ever caught having premarital sex, he said he would kill us.

Thankfully my older straight brother Bill had fought the establishment and the rules changed by the time I reached my junior year in high school. It didn’t come easy having that rule changed. Bill moved out of our home for almost a year in protest of my step-father’s strict rules and moral values.

“I don’t think he will say anything about it. Sure you can go,” my mother said. She realized that Frank’s step-father rules, established early in our childhood, may have been the cause of my blossoming homosexuality. Perhaps my mother believed that Aileen would save me from such an unrighteous life.

“Aileen wants me to get a tan suit, mom.”

“She does. What color is Aileen wearing?”

“I think she said white lace. Why?”

“I was just wondering. We’re going to have to get you a suit anyway. Your graduation is next year. You’ll need a suit for other school functions.”

I put everything in the hands of my mother. She was really going out of her way to make this date with Aileen a success. She even offered me her car, which I thought was strange. But I took her up on the offer along with the full tank of gas.

I drove down to Hill Valley and picked her up around 7 p.m. Her mother took a few Polaroid snapshots of us and had tears in her eyes. Aileen was so pretty in that dress. The puffy shoulders and a square neckline, all made of white lace, made me forget about Aileen’s bad reputation. She wore her mom’s necklace– a beautiful fake cubic zirconia crucifix. I was proud to be Aileen’s date for the Christmas dance.

Aileen’s mom, Sally said I looked real handsome in tan and pinned a white carnation on my jacket while stealing a kiss from my cheek.

“Thank you Mrs. Queery. I’ll have her home before 1 a.m.”

“Oh, take your time,” her mom said. “I’m going out tonight. You’ll have the place all to yourself if you want.”

I was getting very nervous. Especially after Aileen grabbed my ass while her mom was standing in the kitchen fanning the photographs, trying to make the image appear faster.

***

 The ride to the school dance in mom’s station wagon was nerve wracking. I prayed that Aileen would not want to have sex. I was prepared to use my Christianity to keep her at bay, if necessary. I even cleaned out the car and ran the vacuum for the occasion. That was mom’s idea. She didn’t want Aileen’s dress to get dirty.

“Do I look fat in this dress?”

“You don’t look fat. But what did you do to your hair. Why did you get it cut?”

“I cut it myself. It’s going to be alright once it grows in a little, don’t you think?”

Aileen’s hair extended well beyond her shoulders prior to the night of the Christmas dance. “Let me guess– you didn’t want the hair to cover up the dress?”

“Well, sort of. Have you seen Belinda Carlisle from the Go-Go’s lately. She’s got a bob too. This is the new look, Charlie. It’s the new fashion. Long hair is out now.”

“I admit, it looks nice on you Aileen,” I said while admiring the lace headband she had in her now short, bobbed hair. It was obvious the scissors she used to cut with were not that sharp but Aileen had a way of fixing things up that were a mess. The headband worked perfectly, it pulled attention away from all those uneven strands that I noticed later that night while slow dancing to Lionel Richie’s “Say You, Say Me”.

Dana Scott went to the dance with Randy Queery. Dana and Randy were two of my best friends. We were all in band, Aileen, Randy, Dana and I. Mark Fish went to the dance too, but he was the only brave enough to show up without a date. Mark took turns dancing with Dana and Aileen– it was the least Randy and I could do for our nerdy friend.

Seeing my classmates so dressed up and out of the formal setting of regular school hours was liberating. Everyone was trying so hard to be cool at the dance. The rocker-dudes stood along the side of the decorated school gymnasium and waiting for songs by Ratt and Twisted Sister to be played. Even then they didn’t go out onto the floor and dance like Aileen and I. They only bobbed their heads to the beat, and they were way off rhythm.

Very few of the guys danced, only the ones from the band– the ones in our crew. Aileen lead the pack– we danced the night away as if we were on the football field at half-time, stopping only for drinks of soda and to take our formal Christmas Dance photographs. Soon I would be able to share my dance photographs with my classmates– giving copies only to those people who I considered close friends.

Dana and Randy spent the evening clinging to Aileen and I– never dancing unless the two of us, the brave and cool ones walked onto the dance floor when songs like “Footloose” were played.

“Aileen, you look so pretty tonight. Look at how everyone is watching us.”

“They are watching us because we are the only ones dancing.”

“That’s true Aileen. But at least they are watching us,” I said, while dropping to the polyurethane floor to do spin like a break dancer. I never wanted the music to end. I didn’t want to have to face taking her home and that ‘first kiss’ on our ‘first date’ that was looming over us like basketball hoops.

***

I didn’t say a word while driving her home, down Hill Valley Road. I watched her put on a fresh coat of lipstick and wanted to ask her why she was doing that, but I knew why. Her mom wasn’t at home, just as she had promised she wouldn’t be.

“You are coming in for a while, aren’t you?”

“I can’t stay out too long, Aileen. Mom will get worried.”

We went into the livingroom of the big farm house. Aileen was acting shy. That threw me for a loop.

“That’s a nice Christmas tree.”

“Oh, thanks. I hate Christmas. My dad died at Christmas.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Oh, don’t be sorry. We can’t bring him back. It was all meant to be, I think. The day he died I saw a bird crash into the kitchen window out there. That’s a sign, you know– when a bird flies into a closed window, it means someone is going to die in the house.”

I looked at the window in the kitchen then into her eyes and suddenly felt flushed and sad.

“Well, are you going to kiss me?” She asked.

I was terrified of being gay. When I masturbated, I thought about guys, never girls. I didn’t know how far she would want to take it. It wasn’t prepared, nor capable, or at least I thought. But I kissed her anyway.

She had to make it deep and sloppy. I was still a man and wanted to at least play the part. Dancing is one thing, but kissing is another. There is no two-stepping when it comes to giving a good kiss, and even though I wasn’t sexually attracted to her, I wanted the kiss to be a good one– besides, if it wasn’t she would tell everyone in the band that I was a bad kisser, or perhaps, even hint to others that she thought I may be gay.

Her jaw popped as she opened her mouth wider.

“What was that?”

“What was what?”

“I heard a popping sound.”

“My jaw is double jointed. Listen. Hear that? That’s my jaw. It’s double joined.”

She pulled me onto her mouth again. I was terrified. I thought about those guys from Mt. Union who may have gotten to her first. My mind raced for something to relate to. I found the mental image I needed and continued the kiss as she moved my hands upon her breasts. That part I liked. It was different. Something I never thought about. I should not have allowed her to put my hand there because her other one was headed to where it shouldn’t have.

Thankfully I had an erection. I don’t know why, I just did. I felt for a moment like the attraction I had for men was just a passing fad, like a Belinda Carlisle hair bob.

“Aileen. I don’t want to go any further than this.”

“You don’t have to,” she said. “Just relax.”

So I did, and I came on Aileen and lost my virginity under a Christmas tree.

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Crow’s Foot

crows foot

An evergreen mountain laurel known as ‘crow’s foot’ by many grows in the forest behind my childhood home. I used it to decorate the support beams of the front porch at Christmas. My mother loved it–such a gay child I was– all that interior-design, creative ability bursting at my seams. I couldn’t help myself. It was so pretty, especially when I braided strings of lights into the crow’s foot before wrapping it around those black poles, like a candy cane stripe.

“For God’s sake Charlie. You should have been a girl,” my brothers said. “Come play football with us.”

“Sorry Bill. I hate football and you know that. Barron can walk now. Play with him,” I said as I ignored my brothers for the sake of Christmas spirit.

Mom wouldn’t let me touch the good lights. They were for the tree. There were lots of tangled up Christmas lights in the garage. I was permitted to use those. I unwound them all and decorated the black metal porch support poles with crow’s foot and blinking lights. The place looked like a gingerbread house when I was done.

The scene was breathtaking.

No one in the family applauded, screamed in delight, nor did they shout, “Good job, gay boy,” although they wanted to.

The family just stood there with their mouths wide open when I plugged my design in. Even Bill and Barron put down the football for a moment to come worship before my craft.

In the distance, at the next door neighbor’s house, a nativity scene glowed in the snow. Years of re-use had made their Christmas decorations look shabby and honestly, they were simply tacky compared to my crow’s foot decorations.

“Charlie. Come play ‘smear the queer’ with us,” my big brother begged.

“I will if you tell me my decorations are nice.”

“You know they are nice. Charlie, why don’t you join the football team? Coach Nipaper thinks you can be just as good as me. He’ll probably put you on first-string.”

“I have crow’s foot,” I explained, but spent the next hour tossing a ball just to keep Bill happy during the holidays.

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