Addie was the third wheel in my relationship with Shawn. The tall, slender Black man from Guiana wasn’t particularly attracted to white men, but he did fool around with us almost every Saturday afternoon when Shawn broke out his cameras and lighting equipment to practice his picture taking techniques. The weekend photo-shoots were my idea, and I was the one who invited Addie in front of the lens next to my nude body. Shawn didn’t want him there. It wasn’t my fault that our casual poses ended in full-fledged pornography by the time we made it to the last two-rolls of film. The two Black dudes should have known that our lewdness would not have remained underexposed. Shawn promised never to have them published, but I never said such a thing. Creating those images was hard work. I invested a lot of time, and my time is valuable. Addie never really liked me that much anyway.Addie didn’t come to the emergency room when Shawn was passing into the light. I was the one who had to wipe the dried blood from around his chapped lips on that hospital bed. That’s why I refused to hand over those rolls of film soon after Shawn was put into a dark room for good. Addie came to the house looking for them. I told him that Shawn must have thrown them out before he died and I asked Addie to leave the house.“Addie is too needy,” Shawn explained. “He’s at my place all the fucking time. I’m not into him sexy, I love you. Let me shoot just you again.”
“But the two of you have fooled around long before I came along, right?”
“Yes we have, but it has only ever been sex. He likes to fuck too, and you know Charles, I don’t like getting fucked.”
“Well, his skin tone looks nice next to my white body. You want to shoot body parts, right? I say you invite Addie over again. It’s hot and exhausting in front of those lights all alone. He makes it fun. Come on Shawn, tell Addie to come over. I want to fuck with his head again.”
He did whatever I asked him to do and Addie did what ever Shawn asked him to do, so I was the one running those sessions that produced some of the most dramatic black and white images ever to be developed from a negative. I was the one who convinced Shawn to get back into his love and hobby of photography. I was just trying to be inspirational to the guy who appeared to be just a little too sad in my view.
“If you left Los Angeles in 1999, where did you go first if you didn’t come to New York until 2001?” I asked.
“Arizona. I went to Arizona to take photographs of the desert.”
“Why did you stop being a photographer?” I asked.
“I don’t know. New York is so busy. There’s so much going on here. I guess I stopped because of all the bootie in this town,” Shawn explained.
“I want you to get back into it Shawn. Look at all this stuff you got in your apartment, hell you even got the machine to develop black and whites. That’s hot. I want to learn how that’s done.”
Shawn just looked at me and smiled as I flexed my muscles. I was proud of the hard work that I had done in the gym for five years straight, and I wanted to preserve the image of my body that was showing more than just a six pack.“I showed you the photographs that were taken of me years ago by Karen Kolberg, the German photographer, the woman who has done covers for those fashion magazines. Your work is as good as hers. Will you take some photographs of me? My body is in much better shape now.”That’s how we got started in our little three-way porn game. Addie just happened to be at Shawn’s place again that day he broke out the lights and pulled down the heavy backdrop paper. That is how these images came to light.
“I want to thank you for encouraging me to get back into my photography,” were his last words to me on that fatal day before I left for work. It was the last time I would ever hear his deep, soft voice. I’m not sure what he meant by them. Perhaps he did take all the Tylenol for a reason. Maybe it wasn’t just an accident or a bad headache. In any case, the photos are still around, and I’m still into three-ways.
If Addie happens to see himself in my blog, well, that’s just the way a love triangle works sometimes.