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Archive for October, 2007

Anthony Owens invited me to go trick-or-treating with him in Harlem. We headed just a few blocks East from our apartment on 121st Street to the Mt. Morris bathhouse. There was no need to put on costumes. Everyone is naked in a gay bath house.It was the year of the World Trade Center attacks. Just a few months prior, we watched on television what appeared to be the world coming to an end in our own backyard. We were depressed and wanted to celebrate the holiday.

“Girl, if you think the Rambles in Central Park has cock to die for; you need to come with me to Mt. Morris. They’ll go nuts over that big white bootie of yours there. Here, take one of these and we’ll leave in an hour.”

We waited at least forty-five minutes to be checked in. Mt. Morris Baths reminded me of the home of my neighbor, Cathy Smith on Halloween night. Kids lined up outside her door just to get one of her treats. She gave away money instead of candy to children who went trick-or-treating in Three Springs. Kids returned numerous times throughout the night to make more money, but Cathy was smart. She made the kids take off their masks so she could see their faces in order to avoid duplicate payments.

A Middle-Eastern clerk insisted that we turn in a form of identification and at least a $5 deposit which he sealed, airtight, inside a plastic bag. He asked us to initial the bag with a magic marker. Anthony assured me that we would get the deposit bag back when we checked-out and turned in our room keys. He advised me to keep my wallet at the front desk inside the sealed bag because “fags can be ruthless thieves”. The hairy clerk handed me several condoms and two tiny tubes of lubricant.

“Trick-or-treat,” I said to the man behind the counter as he buzzed me into the main floor of Harlem’s best kept secret. We could have entered the facility much sooner if we had settled for a ‘walk-in room’; a closet- like space at the back of the underground steam facility. I chose to wait. Walk-in rooms do not have beds. I reminded Anthony that I like to lay- out while having sex and doing it while standing up was primitive. “If I want to screw a dozen men standing up, I’ll go to Central Park. No thanks, Anthony. I want a room with a bed. You are a top. You could not possibly understand.”Anthony vanished into the crowds of men roaming the carpeted hallways before I could ask him his room number. The tiny pill that he had given me to take earlier in the evening was kicking in and taking hold of my sanity. I felt absolutely flawless. My skin was sparkling and my muscles were still pumped from working out at the gym earlier that morning.

The rooms of Mount Morris Baths are like hen houses. Chicken wire lines the ceiling and only a thin strip of plywood separates each room. It’s quite easy hearing what goes on next door. Above the wire is a dark empty space that seems to reach deep into the heavens. The ceiling area is filled with lots of cobwebs which obviously do not capture insects, but rather the moans of men. I shut the thin door to my room and crawled onto the bed which was not really for sleeping. It was a wooden box filled with a padded foam mattress that was more like a huge tampon than a Seely Posturepedic.I kept the door shut and was saving myself— for what exactly, I do not know. How did I let my roommate talk me into coming here? Oh it was the pill he gave me. It made me feel less self-conscious. I was feeling fuzzy and sexy. I looked out the door. I turned on the light in my room by pulling a chain of metal beads connected to a 40 watt light bulb. The men roaming outside could not get a good look at me. Tons of  insatiable bottoms paced nervously up and down the carpeted hallway, cock blocking my territory. A stranger stood outside for at least 10 minutes. We were in Harlem and Black men are often embarrassed being seen slipping in and out of rooms occupied by white bottoms. Eventually he made the move inside my room and quickly shut the door so that he would not be seen with me. My legs were resting comfortably on a set of two-by-fours that ran down the plywood walls of the tiny room. The energy from the drug I was on was very intense. I could feel my heart pound under my tight pectoral muscles. I wetted my thumbs with saliva and rubbed my nipples while the stranger continued to seduce me at the foot of the bed.He was about six foot tall with a full head of dreadlocks that touched his broad shoulders. A Latino bottom in the room next door could hear me begin to seduce the stranger. I could hear him sucking his teeth on the other side of the thin wall.

The tall, dark stranger unwrapped a white towel, his only mask, revealing a monster. I could not believe it. In all of my days of roaming dark alleys, busy public parks, truck stops and public restrooms, I had never seen one so large. The circumference was like that of my wrist and the length was substantial; long enough to hang from the bottom of a pair of boxer shorts. I realized that he was deformed and although most men would appreciate having such a prized treasure, he rarely found anyone, man or woman, who could accommodate his needs.

“You scare me with that thing.” I said.
The Latin guy next door laughed at my lie.

The stranger looked at me with sad, sexy eyes and started to turn to leave. I thought of the Spanish bottom in the room next to us and knew I had to act fast.
“Wait, I’m just pulling your leg.” I said before bending over. He spit in me after just five hard, deep thrusts.
His cries will never leave my mind. The way he moaned sent chills down my back. Years later, as I recall that Halloween night in Harlem, I wish he had fallen in love with me, but it was a bath house, and men go there to be someone they are not.  What a perfect way to spend Halloween night.

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It has been referenced in my writings on numerous occasions that my seventh lover Bradley is a licensed funeral director. He is certified by the state of New York to preserve the dead. Most children have dreams of growing up to become firefighters, policemen or writers. Not Bradley. He has had an academic interest in corpses since the fifth grade. Shortly before settling down with me, he left the funeral directing business with no real reason as to why he abandoned his childhood dreams. He claims that he didn’t like the people he worked for, but I know that is not the real reason he turned in the keys to the black hearse that he once drove around Brooklyn, picking up his clients, for a final trip to the beauty parlor.

“You could make so much more money if you only returned to your profession. I wish you would leave that job at Starbucks. Why not try working for a different funeral home? They can’t all be bad businesses. We could really use the money B.”

“You don’t get it. I’m tired. It was exhausting adding double shots of embalming fluids to those bodies. I was on call 24 hours a day. They never appreciated my talents anyway. I’m famous in Brooklyn. Embalming is an art, Charles. There is more to being a mortician than making our clientele look good. I know how to make a corpse look alive again, unlike others in my profession. They have no faith in resurrection like I do. The job requires so much more than preservation. Loved ones cried in my arms almost every day. That was a lot of stress. Those days are over. I like working the frother at Starbucks. It sure beats trying to inject just the right amounts of fluids through veins and arteries. You know how the people on Park Avenue look forward to seeing me at my coffee machine during morning rush hour. Life was dead before you and my new job. Working alone in a basement with nobody to talk to was horrible. In a strange creepy way, they thought I could bring them back to life. I can take only so much. I’m not a plastic surgeon.”

“What do you mean they thought you could bring them back to life? Oh, never mind,” I said, realizing that he talked to dead people while working as a mortician. I changed the conversation. “Well then, you need to market your artistic skills. Why not freelance and make your own hours. There can’t be a surplus of talented funeral directors in a city of 9 million. I’ll design a brochure for you and you can drop it off at funeral homes here in the hood. We can even send mass mailings to the elderly, guaranteeing slow decomposition. Why are there so many funeral homes in Brooklyn anyway? There is one on almost every corner. You could make us a fortune and charge by the hour. Do not settle for being just an employee of a funeral home. Be your own boss. You can name your own hours and price and work on just a few bodies a month, if that is what you prefer.”

“Freelancing never works out that easy. They’ll have too many last minute requests anyway. I remember what life was like when I pickled bodies for a living—driving to the hospitals, loading up the bags, draining them and doing everything I could to put them back to their original state. I always asked the next of kin for a recent photograph. You would be surprised how the corpses shined- up after I performed my magic on them, and I didn’t have to use heavy make-up to do it.”

“If I die first, please do not pickle me, B. Just have me thrown into the ocean somewhere, like in Puerto Rico. I’d rather be eaten by sharks than embalmed.”

“I could never let you die before me. What would I do without your love, Charles? If you think I’m hard to live with now, you should have known me before when I was working at DeKalb Funeral Home! I’d watch Jerry Springer in the morning, get stoned off my ass, laugh my head off, and jump in that hearse. That ride was the shit! I’d put Notorious B.I.G. in the tape deck on my way the grave yard. Biggie was my lover then. I’d send my rides out in a good way. I was like a DJ on the road to heaven. That job lasted 24 hours a day. There was never time to sit down for a home cooked meal like the ones you make for me. If I go back to the field, it’s the end of us. You don’t want that do you? You changed me, sexy. I don’t want to go back there.”
I thought about the winter months ahead and our outrageous heating bills which will start to pile up in the mailbox a few weeks from now. I wish that whatever has made him angry at funeral directing would go away. I pay more than my fair share of the bills in this relationship. It has been that way for six years now. At least he steals Starbucks coffee for us and we have more collectible mugs than a coffin has air. I’ve always assumed we would both get better paying jobs, but like a body without caffeine flowing through its veins, there has been no real change in our lives or relationship without a much needed increase in our annual incomes. If he only made the salary of a funeral director, my life would be almost perfect.

“You need to make more money, or else!” I shouted at him recently.

“Or else what? What the fuck, man? Where would you be without me? You were practically dead when I found you walking around the streets of Brooklyn that day. You were zoned out man. You sure looked dead to me. You looked like a zombie, Charles. Where were you going that day I found you stumbling down Nostrand Avenue?”

I never told him where I was headed, walking around in the hood in a confused state of mind. I barely made it down Nostrand Avenue in the summer heat. I wasn’t drunk or stoned then. I had been turned into a Zombie. Thank heavens he saw me. I could have easily ended up in the Hudson River that day.

“What up, Harlem?” He shouted as I walked past the John Wesley United Methodist Church between Hancock and Jefferson Streets.

I kept walking, not remembering who he was right away. I figured he was just another black thug from the streets, looking to stir up conversation, perhaps just to bum a cigarette. He followed me to the subway station where I went downstairs to catch the A train into Manhattan. I was still slightly paranoid from Schizophrenia and my recent hospitalization for psychotic delusions. I didn’t connect the sound of his voice with the sex I had with him. I only knew Bradley as a fuck buddy at the time. He’s a down low thug and our conversations over the years had only taken place in a bedroom. We never talked on the streets– even on the day we met. Conversation was short and sweet during our initial hook-up.

“That’s a juicy ass for a white boy,” he whispered the night I first met him while walking out of the subway on 125 th Street on my way home from a club.

“Want some of this sweet ass?” I asked while rounding the corner of St. Nicholas Avenue and 125 th Street. He didn’t answer. He just followed me to my basement apartment in a brownstone on 121st Street, just around the corner from the Lenox Lounge. Little was spoken. He came to my place unannounced over the next two years and rang my bell on bootie calls whenever he grew tired of pretending to be a heterosexual. We hardly ever talked. Perhaps that is why we got along so well as sex partners. I didn’t want to pressure him in anyway or make him feel uncomfortable for making love with another man. We went straight to my bedroom and got into the doggie style position.

I lost touch with him after I moved from Harlem to Bed-Stuy to be with Shawn. I thought of him often, but never believed I would ever see him again. I didn’t have his phone number so there was no way for me to call to say good-bye. Shawn and I had plans to move to Los Angeles anyway. I was prepared to leave all of my New York lovers behind and start fresh on the West Coast where I would be a new, unused face again.

“Yo man, I came to your crib in Harlem and you wuz gone. The place was empty. The curtains were gone and so wuz you. Damn baby, I thought I lost you forever.”

“I didn’t have your phone number, so I couldn’t tell you that I was moving.”

“It’s so good to see you. I thought I lost you.”

To my schizophrenic mind, he sounded just like Shawn.

“I just got out of the hospital. Do you want to hang out with me today? I’m going to a movie,” I offered.

“Hell yes. Today is my birthday, Charles.”

“For real? Can I take you to a movie and to dinner for your birthday?”

“That would be cool.”

I found it odd that he didn’t ask why I was in the hospital. He was obviously just happy to see me again.

He left the friends he was chillin’ with on the street behind. He didn’t return to tell them that he was leaving them. He followed me down the cement stairway to the A train at the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Fulton Street.

I immediately felt better and my sight returned when we got out of the sun and down in the subway. The psychotropic drugs were still controlling me. It was hard to even smile at my old friend.

We boarded the A train, the same subway line on which we had met. The air conditioned silver car felt wonderful. It is a ten block walk from Kosciuosko Street to the A train station on Nostrand. The air outside felt like melted butter. It had to have been at least 90. I was drenched in sweat, a side-effect from the anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers that an Asian psychiatrist from Trinitas Hospital in New Jersey had men and women in white coats watch me take.

“Let’s see under your tongue, Charles.”

“Why not shove your little dick in there while it’s open?”

“Were going to strap you down, Charles.”

“Oh, pretty please!”

I was so happy to be released from that place, but I knew that the drugs they had forced upon me still held me psychologically captive and I believed I may never feel normal and free again.

They invisibly tore out my frontal lobe, leaving me emotionless with no sensation remaining in my soul. I had no desire to live on after learning of my illness. I never believed there could be a disease more heartbreaking that HIV. They told me it would take a while for the drugs to work properly, but back then, I couldn’t remember how to tie my shoes. I decided to stop taking the pills the minute I walked out of Trinitas Hospital. What good is life without the ability to dream? Those drugs erase our dreams. They are as torturous as electroshock therapy. We grind down our teeth to mere stubs during the little sleep we manage to catch. Sure we look better to the outside world– no longer foaming at the mouth or spinning our heads in a 360 degree circle.

With B now next to my side, I started to allow myself to reflect upon my inpatient stay in a psychiatric ward, although I didn’t want to tell him about my little problem. As the train pulled into the Hoyt Street Station, I remembered the screams of a woman in the hospital room next to mine. The subway car screeched to a stop. The metal wheels of the A train sounded just like the woman. They pumped her full of the torturous drugs too. B kept smiling at me while holding onto a metal strap. He had no idea what I was thinking of at that moment. He was thinking about my ass, I’m sure. I kept hearing that poor Black woman scream in my mind. It occurred to me that B didn’t hear those faint screams like I did. Perhaps I was just imagining things again.

Sparks lit up the dark subway tunnel. I felt protected with my gold-toothed lover next to me. The voices were fading. I didn’t tell him about the hospitalization or the fact that I was crazy now. I saw the lust in his eyes and was glad that I was with someone that wanted me, for something other than my mind.

The screeching sound from the subway car started again. I almost held my ears.

“It’s okay, Charles. Just stop thinking about that place. You are not going back there. You are with B now. Remember how you loved making love with him.” I whispered to myself as the train stopped at Canal Street. “That screaming woman is gone now. You can relax,” I said to myself. Is it any wonder I could not get any sleep inside of Trinitas hospital with all those screaming lunatics. I wanted to pop one of my pills on the train, but I didn’t want B to see me. I didn’t throw away all the pills. I kept the bottle with filled with the tiny yellow tablets and carried a few in the pockets of my faded jeans, just in case the voices started to return.

It felt good to be riding the train. I was back in society. I was proud of myself for escaping that place with my charm and wit—

“Yes, I’m feeling better today, Dr. Chin. Yes I understand my illness now. Yes, I’ll take the pills. They are making me feel better already. If I could only get some sleep, I think I would be much better . I can’t stop walking the floors of the hospital. I just can’t sit still. Help me, please. I’ve lost my soul.”

“I got something to help you with that, Mr. Taylor,” she offered while smiling, although knowing that addictive sedatives are not always the best thing to prescribe to homosexual Schizophrenics. “I think you can leave here in a day or two. I’ll be sure to give you a prescription to take home with you. The Xanax pills were the only medication I did not throw away when I got home from the hospital. They were and still are my favorite candy.

B and I exited the subway at the Union Square station. A thunderstorm was roaring above lower Manhattan. We grabbed our movie tickets and waited outside. The show was still thirty minutes away and it was pouring outside. We sat on two plastic milk crates against the Ciniplex Odeon Theater and were protected from the downpour by a roof that had extended slightly beyond the walls of the skyscraper. We watched the rain. He lit up a joint and we smoked it as the harsh winds secretly carried off our possible guilt, long before anyone nearby had the opportunity to make contact.

There were no police nearby. I really didn’t care anyway. It felt good to be stoned while still pumped full of anti-depressants. I don’t remember the movie we saw. I only remember holding his hand in the dark theater soon after we both popped a Xanax with our popcorn and washed it down big cup of Mountain Dew.

“What did you say that pill was?”

“I don’t know. They gave it to me while I was in the hospital. I’m crazy, B.”

“I am too, Charles. Who isn’t?”

He insisted on going back to his room that evening.

“I have a roommate. We can go to my place if you want,” I offered

“No, I got my own room. We’re going there.”

The sedating effects of the marijuana and Xanax were of no help when we got back on the subway. My anxiety kicked in again. I wasn’t sure I wanted to have sex just yet, but B was in no condition to be told no.

My entire body trembled when he touched me after we made it back to his room in Brooklyn.

“What’s the matter? You don’t find me attractive anymore?”

“No, it’s not that. I keep hearing these voices and one of them is the sound a friend of mine who died recently.”

“Oh, I know how to shut up the dead, I’m a mortician.”

“You are?”

“Yes, here, smoke some of this.”

The delusions started again, but this time I allowed myself to relax and I let those voices say everything they wanted to say to me. I felt myself floating across the cosmos. The universe was silent for a moment. I became God again. I don’t recall the physical love making that night. It was all a blur, but it felt good. I only remember seeing B’s gold tooth above me as he smiled and came numerous times within me.

Morning came and the voices were gone. No longer was I missing Shawn so much.

“Wow, what was in that joint?”

“Don’t tell anyone. It was dipped in embalming fluid. See, you are not the only crazy person in the world, Charles. Welcome back to this place called reality.”

B was right. I had no right to insist that he leave his job at Starbucks to go back in the funeral directing business and besides, we still have at least two gallons of his secret embalming fluid potion that removes the curse of the zombie in just one or two hits. He saved my trapped soul. I had no right to threaten to leave him because he works at Starbucks. I just wish he had not given away his Voodoo secrets to his bosses at that popular coffee chain. Now everyone is on this stuff. We could have been rich.

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Black Tie

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Caroline hosted a birthday party for Theodore Rogish at her Beverly Hills estate on July 21, 1996. The catered affair was initially planned for just a few close friends of the corporate attorney. Caroline invited Shawn and asked that he bring a few friends along.

“I think he is the one. I can’t wait until you meet him. He’s so sweet and he is not a chatterbox. You know how I can’t stand men who think they are intelligent and talk too much.”

Shawn laughed as he heated a small saucepan filled with lobster bisque on his gas stove. “You don’t got me fooled. An attorney? I though you said that money does not mean a thing to you. What’s the matter, is daddy cutting you off now because of your substance abuse issue?”

“Fuck you bitch. How am I suppose to go to work every day with my lung condition?” Caroline jokingly remarked while taking a hit from a bong while still holding her cordless phone.

“I’ve been seeing a clairvoyant down in Hollywood. She told me that I will find the man of my dreams before I die. I hope it’s soon, Caroline. Who knows how long I’ve got left to live with this honky virus in me.”

“Nonsense. There will be a cure soon, Shawn. You’ll see. You’re going to find your man just like I have and I hope he’s as sweet as Theodore.”

“Caroline– his name is fucked-up. Theodore? Ha! Ha! Ha! I suppose he’s white.”

“Color never means a thing to me and you of all people should know that. Yes he’s white, but he’s a sweetheart. Just wait until you meet him.”

“I want to bring Oscar and Miguel to your party but I don’t know.”

“The Mexican boys?”

“Yes– I’m strung out on them. They got me whipped. It must be in the beans those mother-fucker’s eat, but let me tell you, they got some good pussy.”

“You and those damn Mexican men, Shawn. I wish you would stop with that fetish.”

“I can’t help it. You know how I love feet. Do you need me to bring anything to the party?”

“Yes, of course. Enough for about fifty people.”

“As long as you order lots of lobster bisque soup for the party so I can bring the leftovers home.”

“You sure love that stuff. Alright.”

Do you even know fifty people, Caroline? Besides Paige, I’ve never met any of your friends.”

“They are his friends– people from his job. I haven’t met any of them, but I called his office and spoke to his secretary and he is handling all the details of the surprise invitation. Theodore thinks we are going to a baseball game. He’ll be here at seven to pick me up, so be here before then so you can scream surprise to him. I can’t wait until you meet Theo.”

“I can’t wait until you meet Oscar and Miguel. I’ll see you Sunday.”

 

 

 

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Nude Apartment Cleaning

Jerri Capolla still lives on King Street. I walked past her West Village rent controlled apartment this morning. I haven’t been down that block in almost seven years. I made a promise to myself to stay off that street for a while. So much went on during the summer of 2000 when I rented her place while she was away in Canada for the summer, taking photographs.A famous friend of mine suggested that I contact the struggling artist/ photographer for a place to live.  “I don’t want you sleeping on my sofa. Call this woman, ha ha ha!” He chuckled in his trademark laugh while handing me a little piece of paper. 

My lover Frank had a restraining order put on me for shredding his clothing after I caught him fucking a woman in my bed. The court order prohibited me from returning to my own house to obtain my things, and I certainly was not permitted to live there. Thankfully, Jerri had not yet advertised her sublet and the $800 per month rental unit in the heart of Manhattan’s most charming neighborhoods was mine for the taking.“I have a cat, is that alright?” I asked on the phone.

“Well, I suppose so. I was going to bring that up to you. I have a cat too and whoever gets the place must agree to take care of Tom for the summer. I’m sure the cats will get along,” Jerri explained. “Bette is very friendly,” I said to her, although I knew very well that my orange and white tabby did not get along with other cats. My eighteen pound feline almost killed my neighbor’s kitten when I lived in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The poor little fur ball was in my backyard trying to drink from a birdbath when Bette charged out the kitchen window in a territorial kind of way. Hisses could be heard all the way to Bay ridge that summer morning.

I went to Jerri’s apartment and met her face to face for an informal interview. She asked very few questions and showed me the place. She didn’t even require a security deposit. “Just mail me the rent each month at this address and forward all my mail to me. You know Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade, so I’m sure I can trust you.”

I arrived on May 1st to pick up my keys. Jerri was leaving for Canada that day. She was driving north with a guy she had just met.

“Where’s your cat?”

“Oh, I intended to call and tell you. He died last week, so Bette and you will have the place to yourself.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“Tom was 20 years old. It was his time. You’re going to love this place. Help yourself to my books if you’d like. This place is so quiet. You can get lost in a book here. I’ll see you in October, Charlie.”

Finally, I had my own place again. Jerri had very little furniture in her studio but the small apartment had several bookcases full of literature relating to witchcraft.  I chose not to read that summer.

For months I had moved from house to house, staying with friends, and carrying everything I owned in bags. The skulls of horse and cow heads that Jerri had hanging all over her apartment didn’t frighten me at all. It felt good to have a home again. I had an idea to make some quick cash. I logged onto the AOL chatroom NYCM4M and posted this message


“Nude Apartment Cleaning. Will do windows. $300”

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My Name Is Luka

Police rang my doorbell last evening. I quickly hid a few things and answered the door.

“Does Becky Brown live here?”

“No, I think she’s on the third floor,” I said with bloodshot eyes.

Bradley was in the shower when they rang the bell.

“Who was that?”

“The police– they went up to the third floor.”

Bradley knew what was going on—domestic violence. Ever since our gay landlord Lenox invited straight people to live here at 18 Kosciuosko Street the place has gone to Hell. Tyler is known to be abusive to poor little Becky. They are very loud when they stumble in early in the morning—nothing like the mice-like lesbians that lived on the third floor before the kids moved upstairs.

Becky’s got a wicked tongue on her. It’s not surprising to me that he slaps her from time to time. If I talked to my man like that, he’d whip my ass and not give me any for a month.

There was once a hole in the wall in our stairwell on the first floor—the same wall where my sofa rests. Tyler punched a hole through it a week after he moved in. I was sitting on the couch in my living room watching Ellen and nearly had a heart attack when he slammed the wall. He punched right through it; angry at Becky for something. I clutched my chest as if I were wearing pearls.

Tyler, an art student from Pratt University, quickly covered the hole with Plaster of Paris, but only after my lover threatened to kick his ass.

“Let me tell you something white boy. You are in Bed-Stuy now and we don’t play dat shit here. You scared the hell out of my bitch.” I stood behind the man I cannot marry and tried hard not to laugh at our new skateboard dude neighbor from upstairs as he trembled in the presence of my masculine man.

“Sorry guys. I’m really sorry. I’ll fix it.”

He did, he fixed it that day. I was afraid last night that he had fixed Becky’s face for good.

Tyler was at the mailboxes this morning as I was leaving the house.

“Is everything alright?”

“What do you mean?”

“The police were here last night.”

“It must have been from the second floor.”

“And my name is Luka I said while heading off to work, humming a familiar tune.”

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“B” followed me onto the A train. The air conditioned silver car felt wonderful. It is a ten block walk from Kosciuosko Street to the A train station on Nostrand. The July temperatures of Bed-Stuy felt like melted butter. It had to have been at least 90. I was drenched in sweat, a side-effect from the anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers that an Asian psychiatrist from Trinitas Hospital in New Jersey had men and women in white coats watch me take.

“Let’s see under your tongue, Charles.”

“Why not shove your little dick in there while it’s open, mother fucker!”

“Were going to strap you down, Charles.”

“Oh, pretty please!”

They invisibly tore out my frontal lobe, leaving me like a zombie with no sensation remaining in my soul. I had no desire to go on. They told me it would take a while for the drugs to work properly, but at that moment, I couldn’t remember how to tie my shoes. I decided to stop taking them the minute I walked out of that gods forsaken place. What good is life without the ability to dream? Those drugs erase our dreams. They are as torturous as electroshock therapy. We grind down our teeth to mere stubs during the little sleep we manage to catch. Sure we look better to the outside world– no longer foaming at the mouth or spinning our heads in a 360. The place they send the mad is a hell filled with zombies. I know because I was king of that place.

How horrible it was to wake up, alive, fresh out of hell, only to be informed that I have Schizophrenia. That was the good news! I could have sworn that I was a prophet. I swallowed all the pills on my own free will, remembering my brother was once hospitalized for the very same thing, and he made it back to reality. They didn’t have to force the drugs into me via injection like they had done to other patients in Trinitas.

I remembered the screams of a woman in the room next to mine as the subway car screeched through tunnels under the Hudson river. The metal wheels of the underground railroad sounded just like she did when they pumped her full of the torturous drugs. B stood next to me holding onto a metal strap and he just smiled as if he were truly happy to see me again. He didn’t know what was really going on in the world like I did…all those stolen babies.. They released demons on September 11th. ‘B’ didn’t seem to realize that. He was just there with me, going on with life. Why were we going to see a movie and out to dinner? Oh– it was his birthday, that’s right. The world was going to end any moment now. I felt so much love from him. He was the only thing I could trust at that moment. Paranoia still consumed my soul despite all those pills. I was happy that I found my old friend on the day I went out of the house to jump from the Brooklyn Bridge where I intended to run wild like the wind.

Sparks lit up the dark tunnel. It felt good that my old fuck buddy wanted to hang out with me on his birthday. Hell, what did I have to lose? I could jump later. I wanted to feel him make love hard to me again. I had nothing to lose by hanging out with him that night.

I didn’t tell him about the hospitalization or the fact that I was crazy now. I saw the lust in his eyes and was glad that I was with someone that I had remembered prior to the possession.

The screeching sound from the subway car started again. I almost held my ears. “No Charles, stop thinking about that place. You are not going back there. You are with B now– remember him– remember how you loved making love with him.” I whispered to myself as the train stopped at Canal Street.

A girl with a delusion of being impregnated with a devil child did not want to take psychotropic pills at Trinitas. They were aborting her baby with a big needle. She cried from the room next to mine.”Get the fuck away from me. You tried to O.D me last night! Get the fuck off me!” There was nothing I could do to help her. Besides, they had aborted my baby too.

Is it any wonder I could not get any sleep inside that place despite the Zanax pills that I squeezed from Dr. Chin.

“Yes, I’m feeling better today, Dr. Chin. Yes I understand my illness now. Yes, I’ll take the pills. They are making me feel better. If I could only sleep, I think I would be much better. I can’t stop walking the floors of the hospital. I just can’t sit still. Help me, please.”

“I got something to help you with that, Mr. Taylor,” she said while smiling, although knowing that addictive sedatives are not always the best thing to prescribe to homosexual Schizophrenics.

She was such a nice lady. She gave me the pills and they cured me. Finally, after more than a month, I was able to sleep again. Two days later, after the miracle of sleep, I was released from that place.

I was pleased to comply with anything that would possibly rid those demons from my soul. That’s why they didn’t have to fight with me at pill taking time. I was first in line to get my little cup. Art class was fabulous. I was never good at drawing, but now, with those pills, my hands were creating images, just as my eyes had seen. I was never able to sketch like that. The antidepressants were doing their thing. My soul was returning to my body. I was no longer a zombie. I was a man again and a gay one at that!

We left the subway station at Union Square. A thunderstorm was roaring above lower Manhattan. We grabbed our tickets. The show was still thirty minutes away and it was pouring outside. We sat on two plastic milk crates against the Ciniplex Odeon and were protected from the downpour by a roof that had extended slightly beyond the walls of the skyscraper. We watched the rain. “B” lit up a joint and we smoked it as the harsh winds secretly carried off our possible guilt, long before anyone nearby had the opportunity to make contact. There were no police nearby. I really didn’t care. It felt good to be high while on those anti-depressants. I don’t remember the movie we saw. I only remember holding his hand in the dark theater soon after we both popped a Zanax with our popcorn and big cup of Mountain Dew.

He came home with me that night after we had dinner at Mantus in the West Village and got me pregnant again…

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Genesis 19

Lot woke his two little girls from their beds and paraded them before the men of the tribe. His wife cried inside a dark room at the back of their house.

“Take a look for yourselves. My daughters have not yet been touched. I’ll give them to you, but please, leave these men for me to know, alone.”

Esther’s little body was free of hair, yet the men of town were not interested in her. They shoved the children to the side as they entered, slapping their tiny faces hard, lost in lust. In delusional rants and chaotic psychotic states, the men began rubbing themselves as they approached Ammi and Moab who were together naked in Lot’s bed.

Despite their true desire to know all the men, the two felt sympathy for Esther and her sister, Grace.

“We’re sorry guys. We belong to Lot. We’re his bitch, but only because he knew the secrets of the gods of Egypt and invited us into his house. With him we must stay now, but give him time, perhaps he will learn to share us with you,” Moab moaned while lifting his leg from behind. He pulled it all the way up to the back of his head, covered in shimmering golden strands.

 

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