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Archive for September, 2007

Vampire Glory Holes

He was not my type anyway– mid twenties, Caucasian, well dressed and pretty; surely not what I’m into. He followed me to the back and waited as I received change for a twenty.

Too old for this. No time to stand around playing hard to get.

Oh what a surprise. The cute pretty ones still chase after me like I’m the last man on Earth. Probably another bottom. Tired of being a butch top.

Didn’t give him a chance. On my knees first.

What do you know? Yummy!

What’s with the wedding ring? What a joke– queens wearing wedding bands in 2007.

How rude– smelling poppers and not sharing. Didn’t want to inhale anyway. Makes me freaky.

Now that freaks me out. What’s with those fucking poppers? Felt slight tingling on the tooth in the back with a filling– like chewing on a tiny ball of aluminum foil– that little shock. Only happens when they do poppers– creepy sensation. Someone should study this.

Please don’t talk to me though that little hole, please, just put it back through and shut the fuck up.

Shouldn’t have put it in my mouth– those little tiny rough spots around the foreskin. Such a shame– probably fucking without condoms.

“You suck better than my wife.”

Sorry. I laughed and got the fuck out of there. Too old for this life.

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Granny Smith taught me that pumpkin blossoms are edible. The notion of eating a big yellow flower seemed ridiculous to me at the age of nine, especially since there were so many bees that flew in and out of the flowers on the vines. The pumpkin patch was my section of the family garden. My step-father told me I could plant whatever I wanted on a patch of land that was not used in our garden. “It’s too soggy for anything good to grow here. I don’t care. Go ahead and plant those seeds there,” he said one June evening in 1977.I planted a handful of pumpkin seeds that were given to us by an old farmer- Mike Holden, who was almost 100 years old. Mike cultivated mammoth pumpkins. Years and years of picking all but one fruit from pumpkin vines resulted in an offspring of crop that often produced pumpkins that were more than 100 pounds. The seeds were in our garage for years, inside a glass mason jar. I was determined to see if I could grow a pumpkin as large as the ones Mike Holden was known for. Granny Smith came over to our house one afternoon while I was outside pulling the weeds from around my pumpkins. I showed her how long the vines had grown and neither of us could get over how many yellow flowers there were on those few pumpkin vines.“You know you can eat them.” “For real?”

“Yes, pick them in the morning before the bees come,” she said. “That’s when the flowers are fully open and when they taste best. Make them for breakfast,” she suggested.

I was as tall as she was at nine. How could eleven children—my aunts and uncles, come from such a small woman? She wasn’t my real grandmother. If she was, I probably would have been short too. She was just an extra grandma to me, similar to a piece of land that needed things planted on it. She came from my mother’s second marriage, but she taught me as much about life as my real grandparents.

“Dip them in scrambled eggs, roll them in crumbed saltine crackers and fry them in butter,” she suggested as if sharing a secret family recipe with a granddaughter.

I fried a few, following her secret country recipe. As a budding gay child, I loved the kitchen and cooking. Mom did not like it when I made a mess on the counter and stove, but she never told me that I was not permitted to cook.

“Just clean up your damn mess,” she’d say. Before my ‘inventions’ had the time to finish simmering or baking, Mom would scream—“Jesus Christ boy, you should have been a girl.” I’d brush off her comments, like removing the edges from burnt toast and continue with my cooking.

“Here mom, taste one.”

“Hey, that’s pretty good. It tastes like chicken. Show me how you made them.”

I refused to give away the tip and I kept Granny Smith’s secret recipe, until now. 

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Monster Trees

Mom turned a ceiling light on in our bedroom. She didn’t use the small covered wagon lamp next to the bunk bed that she normally switched on when it was time to get up for school. I knew something was wrong. I always know when my mother is in despair. Bill started to cry from above me. He took my parent’s problems personal. He was oldest, perhaps it was instinctive that he expose his emotions in the form of red cheeks and watery eyes. That bright light would make anyone cry if exposed to it while in a deep slumber. Not me. I held large plastic garbage bags while she emptied out almost all of our clothing from the dresser.

“We are getting out of here.”

“I don’t want to go to school.”

“It’s not time to get up for school yet. We are going to Pap Pap’s house.”

She didn’t try to keep our clothes neatly folded. No matter how helpful I tried to be, it was not enough to make things better for her. She started to cry as she tossed our Toughskins, underwear and school shirts into what was our only luggage.

I must have crawled back in the bed and drifted back to sleep as mom finished getting everything together. She carried me to the car but I do not remember her doing so. I woke up cold, dressed only in a one piece pair of pajamas with my toes sticking out from torn plastic stockings which were attached to the legs of a space man sleeping suit that I got dressed in after taking my bath. Mom was really mad at Dad this time. She said she had enough of his shit this time around. He was being bad again at the bars. That’s what made her so angry at him. Although I had yet to learn of the birds and the bees, I knew what a cheating bastard was.

The trees of the woodland that lined the narrow road down the mountain seemed angry at us for running away in the dark of night. When Dad drove, the trees did not appear to be monstrous and alive. Mom rushed past stop signs with high beams on, lighting up the night like the moon often does. The forest appeared endless and I hoped that I would never have to walk in the woods at night.

Pap Pap carried me from the car. I felt his whiskers brush against my slobbering sleepy face. He stroked my head and used his mason worker hands that never washed completely clean to push my cheeks against his strong shoulders. He carried me inside. I often remember the night he stopped the trees from chasing after us. He made everything better for us, always.

He put me down on my Uncle Francis’ bed. I didn’t want to go to bed yet, I wanted to see my grandmother.

“Go to bed now, Charlie.”

“Where is Mal Mal?”

“I’m down here, Charlie. Come downstairs I want to see you.”

Mom was crying as she told grandma about Dad. She held me on her lap and we listened to her. Pap pap was downstairs, putting wood in the fire. The smell of the furnace was what made that old house so warm. I stood on the heating vent, still dressed in my p.j.’s and warmed up my toes. As soon as the burning pain of the cold of night had ended in my piggies, mom felt better too.

She was better now and so was I. I walked all by myself upstairs in the dark and put myself in bed. I had become a man, like my Pap Pap.

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Cornelius Cornelius was not like other Johns from Stellas bar. He was a listener. Prostitution never felt sinful when I was with him. The $500 I made each time was a drop in the bucket. I sensed true friendship from him. My experiment wasn’t working out like I thought it would– turning tricks for cash. In all honesty, I lost my faith and God and for at a time in my life, didn’t believe He truly exists, so I put it to the test– that thing called ‘sin’. Robbing a bank was not an option, besides, almost everyone takes things that do not belong to them passing through life. Was it true that thou shalt not tempt the lord thy God? The sex trade wasn’t my way of tempting Him, I just wanted to see if He is really here because in all honesty, the world didn’t seem that way. Life got terribly boring for me in my ‘30s. There was nothing to write about– no plot, no excitement– just my day- to- day job at which I made a decent salary considering that I only have a high school education. The gym kept me going. Went there almost every day for an hour or so. My body felt free again. People seemed to treat me so much nicer when I got muscular and in-shape, compared to when I was 245 pounds.

Down to 165. It changed my world. That’s why I did it– all that new found love and attention. Why now God? What now? I decided to be a male whore as a test of faith.

“Would you like to join me for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants?” The stranger asked after our first encounter. “Have you eaten yet?”

“No.”

“Why not join me for the best T-bone steak on the Upper East Side?”

“Do they serve real mashed potatoes?”

“As a matter of fact they do.”

He knew so much patience with me. The stranger stole my heart and filled my pockets.

“How old are you?” He asked while passing me a laminated menu with just a few items to select from– the steak, Alaskan King Crab legs, a rack of lamb, some things for the vegetarians and a simple dessert menu.

I told him the truth– “Thirty-two.”

“Unbelievable. You look so young. That’s strange,” he said.

“What?”

“I typically like guys much younger than you. I can’t believe I have such attraction to you. That felt incredible, Will. Thank you for that.”

I took the compliment in stride and asked a waitress chick, obviously a college girl, for diet Pepsi to go with my medium-rare order.

“Will is not my name. It’s Charles, and here is your money back. Honestly, this was just an experiment for me. In all reality, I didn’t do this for the cash.”

“Oh neither did I young man, neither did I? Will you spend the night with me tonight for two grand.”

“I can’t. Honestly, no. I can’t. It’s wrong.”

“What do you mean?”
“Oh look, the food is here. Because, Cornelius, someone hurt me in my past. I didn’t always look like this you know.

He smiled as I was being honest about what was causing a ‘glow’ all around me, especially in the bedroom. I could make men like him cum by just looking at them the right way. I felt his lonliness.

My teenage lover, a guy I met in the Army left me because I got fat. I’ll never trust another man in my bed at night.”

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It was nearly impossible for me not to fall in love with the skinny bastard. Despite his charm, I kept our relationship on the level of ‘fuck buddies’ and nothing more. I used him for as long as I could. He was an attorney and I seem to always need one in my corner. I met him at a dance club in midtown Manhattan in 2001. Nathan was his first name, and for the life of me, I cannot recall his last, despite all the time we shared together. It may come to me as I write a little more about him…

He invited me to a ceremony in Washington, D.C. when he was sworn into the bar there.

“Where are your friends and family?” I asked as we sat down in the front row of the courthouse.

“This is really not a big deal. It is just a ceremony. My mother came to my graduation,” he explained. “I am so into you, Charles, you just don’t understand.”

I understood perfectly. I know his type—the role reversal kind—successful black men who are into rough-looking, bad, whiteboys. There were so many of his kind in my life at the time– ‘successful black men’. And to think he was so much younger than me with so much going for him, yet, he wanted a relationship with a simple guy, like me. Why was he so strung out like that when he was so handsome? He seemed so sad, so very sad he was with that little cock of his.

I was there by his side though. I shined up like a new penny when in the suit he loaned me on the day of his swearing-in. The suit was a surprisingly perfect fit, despite the length of the pin stripped pants. The thought of entering a new relationship excited me—even though he wasn’t hung to the knees. He was a little too clean-cut for my taste in men. Yes he was Black, but he was high-yellow, as they say. It may have worked for us, but he had the smallest cock I ever let up my ass.

He was moving from D.C. at the time and needed someone to help him move his things into a U-Haul and drive his car north to New York City. I had a driver’s licenses and because we were trying to develop a more serious relationship, I agreed to give him a hand in moving to New York.

I decided that I would never ‘marry’ him on the way back to New York. We stopped to get gas along a stretch of interstate highway. I wanted to get a cup of Starbuck’s coffee from a store next to the gas station. “We don’t have the time, Charles. I want to beat rush hour traffic in New York.”

After we carried his bed, sofa and other furniture up three flights of stairs inside his new apartment, I gave him the keys to his car and told him that I needed some time away. He persisted, so I told my favorite lover I was leaving my other boyfriend for good.

“He’s not a good man like you, Shawn. He’s a user and besides, I’m bored with his sex.” I said to my lover with a huge dick one evening just after he busted his second nut.

*** 
Shawn threatened him. That’s how our relationship ended. Shawn told him he would slit his fucking throat if he ever caught him leaving my house in Harlem again. I’m sure Nathan believed him. Shawn showed up at my Harlem brownstone unannounced one September morning. I thought the cat fight was fabulous—those two gorgeous Black men fighting over me as if I were the bus they wanted to ride on the front of. Nathan didn’t even threaten to sue Shawn.

***

Williams was his last name. Now I remember– yes, it was Williams– Nathan Hale Williams, Esq. is the name. I pulled that information from the Harlem United: Community AIDS Center website. I worked there in the early ‘90’s and referred my prominent, polished Black fuck-buddy to my friend and former co-worker, Patrick J. McGovern, who currently is the Executive Director of the uptown AIDS charity.
Harlem United has struggled for years to build a board of directors with people other than community organizers and social workers. Harlem United needed wealthy Blacks who could help to secure more private and public dollars for the fight against HIV, not just another Al Sharpton.

Nathan was friends with people like Aaliya the singer and actress who died tragically in a plane crash. He cried when he learned of Aaliya’s death. They ran in the same circles.

If he wasn’t such a big sissy and so self-centered, I may have chosen Nathan as my next man. He was a switch hitter– a top and bottom. They are always the best in bed, despite the fact that when they are not acting like butch, straight men and slappin’ dat ass just right, they dress in colors like pink and purple and twitch around just like real women. What a turn off that can be! It’s hard for me to digest flamboyant behavior in a lover even if he’s rich. I can’t turn on and off my emotions like that. It’s like trying to learn to bat left handed. One minute he was a man and the next he was singing Barbara Streisand songs in the shower.

Patrick was my landlord when I introduced him to Nathan. Nathan was leaving my first floor apartment early one morning for his job at an entertainment law firm. Patrick saw him trying to sneak out. To be polite, I introduced them.

Nathan’s head was still spinning from the ‘tight ass’ I had thrown at him the night before. He loved how I could control my orgasm and cum at the very moment when he shot his tiny loads. That’s what made him so hot for me. I laughed inside when I came gallons on Nathan.

“You’re ass is so fuckin’ good. It’s so tight,” he often screamed.

“Just lick that off your lips!”

Now how can it be that my ass is tight? I mean really. Consider my past before Nathan.

For years, while having sex with guys, I subconsciously tightened my sphincter muscles to make it feel tighter for my exploits. When I saw him naked, I laughed and thought it would be useless to even try, so I didn’t bother pretending that I have a tight ass and only have had sex with a guy ‘down there’ a few other times in life. I was sick of the games of playing male virgin–
“Yo dude? You got a girl?” Strangers on the subway have asked.

“Yes, I got a girl.”

“Damn, I’d like to nail dat ass.”

“I do not usually do this. I’m not gay you know… My girl’s away on business. You wanna hang?”

The down low life was killing me. Nathan was from a different generation. He grew up in comfort, understanding his sexuality. I mistakenly believed for a while in my life that I wanted a man like him.

Why bother making it tight? I asked myself as bounced up and down hard upon him, as he lay on his back with his hands behind his shaved head. He seemed to like it when I was loose. That was the trick I learned from making love to him– it feels much better for the top if you just let it be loose. It’s more like the real thing.

Patrick was outside picking up his subscription to “The New York Times” when I made the introduction. He didn’t immediately go back inside his house. He stood outside, pretending that he was having trouble removing the paper from the blue bag it was delivered in. I knew he was curious as to who my new lover was this week–

“Good morning, Patrick. I want to introduce you to someone who I believe will be perfect for Harlem United’s board.”

The two gave friendly hellos, and I went on to suggest that the two should have lunch one day.

“Nathan wants to marry me, Patrick. He loves my cooking and thinks that I’ll be a wonderful life partner. He even wants to adopt children.”

It was all true– those were the things Nathan promised me. He was dead serious. I may be silly for not latching onto him when I had the opportunity. If I had, I would be writing this from the Upper West Side and not Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

I couldn’t fall in love with Nathan aftering noticed his lawlessness on the day he refused to see beyond his own needs at the gas station. I was tired of driving and was falling asleep at the wheel. The coffee would have worked to keep me awake during the drive, but he was in such a rush, just like most lawyers are. He could not see that I wanted a cup of coffee for my own safety.

I said nothing to him the night before when we were out in D.C. I wanted to go home, but I waited patiently as he made his ‘connection’ outside of a gay bar. At least my addictions are to legal substances.

***

I knew Patrick when he was still a Catholic priest trying to leave the priesthood because of his homosexual tendencies. I’m not sure why I thought Nathan would be good for the board of directors at the AIDS charity. Perhaps I was just making small talk, but obviously, after all these years of Nathan remaining on that board, my matchmaking skills paid off in a good way.

I begged Patrick for an apartment in the new brownstone he purchased on 121st Street years after we worked together. It had been a long time since we struggled at Harlem United together as co-workers. We remained friends, often meeting for cocktails at places like “Splash Bar” in Chelsea to talk about how miserable we were with our current lovers and how desperately we wanted to be single, slutty gay whores. Patrick hardly ever brought up Harlem United when we went drinking. He knew not to. In my opinion, Patrick stole his job from my former boss and dear friend who died from AIDS– Willis Green, Jr. The two of them had a falling out. Patrick left Harlem United for a job at another AIDS charity, housing works, where he ‘talked shit’ about Willis, the man who first hired him in the not-for-profit sector.

“You have got to rent to me when you buy that beautiful brownstone. I’m still working for charity and make very little money Patrick. Promise me you’ll rent me an affordable apartment, dear friend.”

“I promise, the place is yours if the closing goes through.” I was relieved when he offered me the place. I didn’t want to have to enter a new relationship just so that I could have a roof over my head. I wanted to remain single in life.
I met Patrick at Bailey House when he came there seeking a job as “Pastoral Care Coordinator” I worked there as an office manager when Patrick came for an interview. It was a hospice for the sick who were at that time, prior to the new drugs, almost certainly close to the end– death– what better job could there be for a former gay priest? I thought.

Patrick never got the job at Bailey House. He was hired by Harlem United instead, under the direction of Willis Green, Jr., the former Deputy Director of Bailey House.

Willis offered me a job as his Special Assistant when he learned of a new job offer in the Black community of Harlem. Patrick was still being interviewed for a job at Bailey House when Willis noticed his talents and stole him from Bailey House.

I’m surprised Nathan is still on the board of directors and working with Patrick. It pleases me to know that he’s with Patrick at the agency that was built from nothing, by Willis Green, Jr. and me. We were the ones who put that place on the map with the press releases we wrote to get attention of government funders. People like Patrick and Nathan are not leaders, they are just users.

I have no desire to call Patrick or Nathan. They are like effeminate bottom feeders to me.


 

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Advair Causes Pneumonia

Bradley was angry at me for going home to Pennsylvania without taking him. We hardly spoke upon my return. To make matters worse, the hard cover copy of ‘Backslidden’ arrived in the mail while I was away. He read the last chapter.

“Why the fuck am I not in it?” He asked as he slammed the book down on our white marble coffee table as I quietly shut the front door upon my arrival back in Brooklyn.

“You didn’t read the entire book. You are missing its point.”

“I don’t need to read the whole damn thing. I see what it’s about.”

“Think about it, ‘B’, the book is called ‘Backslidden’. Why would I write about you in such a book? I have written far more than those 116 pages, most of which is about you. It simply hasn’t been published yet. I’m not done with your story.”

I was angry at myself and understood his point. I should never have shown him the finished product by scheduling the delivery of the hardcover while I was away in Three Springs. He has never opened up my mail, but I told him it was going to arrive any day now.

“My book should be here today or tomorrow, ‘B’. Please keep an eye out for it. The mailman will not be able to fit it in the mailbox. Bring it inside if it arrives,” I instructed while giving my lover $50 in spending cash while I was away. I figured the money would keep him honest.

I smiled as a screamed at me. I quickly picked up the gorgeous manuscript and looked inside to test the quality of the paper it was printed on. It’s the good stuff– off-white with a nice textured feel to it. The paper is so fine that it could be used for wedding invitations.

“Fuck you, Charles. I do not deserve this. You must really miss Shawn to have written so much about him. I sat here watching you write for five years. Your mind was on someone else, not me.”

I was in no position to argue with him. I didn’t mention him in the book, but only because I was superstitious while writing it. I wanted it to be a story that Shawn would love to read.

I wrote from a fictional angle yet told the truth from an exaggerated position while recovering from Schizophrenia. I fantasied that on the other side, in the light, in heaven, Shawn has viewing rights to the book. I wrote it with him in mind, even though it seems at times he is gone from reality for good. I didn’t want to scratch in my love for ‘B’ over the soft, velvety pages of my first novel. It simply wouldn’t have worked out the way I had envisioned from the start.

Every word was almost perfectly crafted from my soul. Despite the numerous typos, misspellings and improper use of commas, those pages have my heart hidden within them and I wanted the story to be something that Shawn would love to read if given the opportunity.

“How many copies did you sell?”

“Twenty-one.”

“Jesus Christ!” Bradley shouted as if we were on the best seller list.

“It’s mostly family, ‘B’. It’s not like I’m in Barnes and Noble or anything.”

“What if it were to take-off like a Jay-Z bootleg CD? People would not even know that I existed in your life.

He was right.

“I’m sorry, but if you would only read my other writings you would see how I feel about you.”

“I don’t need to read anything of yours. How dare you! He treated you like shit, Charles. He never loved you or he would not have put your life at risk like he did. Fuck you Charles. Trust me, I know niggas, and Shawn did not love you like I love you.”

I said nothing. There was nothing to say. It was all there on the coffee table in black and white, just as ‘B’ has pointed out.

He was so upset, he caught a terrible cold. Two days later, he went to the emergency room. They kept him last night. It was a bad case of pneumonia. Thank heavens it is not associated with AIDS or HIV. I could not go through that fire again. It was only pneumonia.

According to the physicians at Long Island University hospital, the infection was likely caused by an Advair inhaler he breathes from once in a while. The potent medication is a steroid prescribed for severe asthma. According to the doctors, his level of asthma does not warrant such heavy medications.

I didn’t go to work today. I went to pick him up in the hospital. I expected the worse, but he’s better now. He’s back in our bed sleeping. He said they kept waking him up last night to take blood. He could not rest properly, like he does next to me .He’s sleeping now. God does answer prayers.

I got the urge to write again and start a new book. This one is called “Gold Tooth”.

I’m going to take a nap first, but beware, I’ll awake soon.

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Hand Me Downs

Twenty years can be an eternity. It had been that long since I last saw her. There was a lot to catch up on, but I remained mostly silent during the visit. It was more important to me to simply be in her presence. Aileen had her own missed needs and wanted to share thoughts with our old high school music teacher. Just being there with her was all that I really wanted. I permitted Aileen to do most of the talking. Sometimes words ruin the warming sensation of visiting a beloved acquaintance from our past. I wanted to take in every moment of the reunion, absorb the harmony of missed love, and not interfere with the soothing sensation of seeing her. Babbling melodies of the stories of my life for the past two decades would only take away from the sheer joy of being in her presence again.

Bonnie’s son Nin followed in her footsteps. He is a music teacher at a local area high school as well. He teaches at Huntingdon High School– a much larger school district than Southern.

Huntingdon now produces high school musicals as professional as the ones that Southern has put on for the last thirty years or so. Nin is doing for Huntingdon what Bonnie had created down at Southern in the mid-seventies. According to Bonnie, Nin is considering offering a lead role this year in Huntingdon’s high school musical to one of just a few Blacks who go to public school there.

“Nin wants to offer a black student the lead role . He’s got a very strong, melodic voice infused with soul. He wants to take that chance and cast him as the main character. The part is perfect for the boy.”

I asked about the antique shop that my mother told me about. The Hiles family opened one in Orbisonia, soon after Bonnie retired from her career as a school music teacher.

“It is doing quite well. Thanks for asking. I have always loved nice furnishings, Charles,” she said to me. I saw a different side to her just then. The profile of a well- preserved soul. One that has harness the power of grace and longevity. Her eyes lit up when she spoke of the antique furniture shop. The business is a new life adventure for her and her husband. I could see the happiness in their lives as clearly as the rings on a trunk of a tree that show the weather– wet periods and dry spells, over the centuries.

She was just as enthusiastic about antiques as she was teaching school children to sing– “Imagine the sound coming out of the space between your eyes, Charlie. Use the diaphragm.”

During the summer, Bonnie offered private singing lessons in a local church basement. For $4 an hour, I was granted one- on- one coaching by the trained Irish teacher. I paid for the lessons myself, from my paper route job. My love for music blossomed under the guiding wings of the woman who ran a little shop of ancient melodies, years ago, at Southern High.

My first partner Anthony was an interior design master. I’ve learned all about the secrets to making a house feel alive with couches from the past– those stuffed with springs. Many pieces of old furniture, made of both wood and upholstery, were carved from single pieces of wood– sacrificial trunks of trees were carved down for the purpose of creating frames that are one piece and not molded and glued together. Anthony loved furniture like that. I learned all about the pleasures of embroidered fabrics, flowing linen curtains and hand tailored napkins of the past. Anthony taught me everything there is to know about fabulous decorating and furnishings. I had developed my own love for such pleasures in life. Bonnie had that same fire that Anthony had. I asked more about her collection and the things that were in her house including a wooden chest like the ones seen in pirate movies and on treasure maps.

“We just bought a Victorian Mansion down the street. Nin and his brother are living there now. We’re going to make it into a guest house. Would you like to see it?” Bonnie asked.

“It’s not too late? Will little Nin mind?” I asked.

“Of course he will not mind,” Aileen insisted.

Big Nin agreed. “They will not mind,” the man of the house insisted. I realized that Nin, Jr. still lived at home during the twenty years that passed by when I went away to the Army and other adventures. I never could have lived at home that long. I was happy to be out at 18. One must feel incredibly pressured when living at home as a grown adult. I assessed that Nin would be tickled pink in his new home, living as a roommate with his brother and running a guest house on the side– away from the peering eyes of mom and dad.

“I’ve been trying to bring my partner home for several years now. He does not want to stay at my parents place. I don’t blame him. But the closest hotel is in Huntingdon and that’s almost an hour away. I would love to stay in your guest house on my next trip home. How soon will it be before you open?”

“We already have a guest booked for October 4th. We’ll give you the friends and family rate,” Bonnie promised as we jumped in our cars to drive less than two blocks down the street. If it were New York, we would have walked it, but we were in Orbisonia, the town of just a few traffic lights, where finding a parking space is never really a problem.

Nin, Jr. answered the door with a hardcover Rembrandt book in his hands.

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