We departed Brooklyn from JFK International Airport on April 18th. It was Shawn’s birthday. Due to severe thunderstorms, we missed a connecting flight in Atlanta and spent the night in the land of cotton. Delta Airlines offered complimentary hotel rooms for those not wishing to waste hours in the sprawling airport, waiting for the next available connection. Shawn opted for the room voucher. He needed to smoke some pot. It had been more then seven hours since he last had a hit. The soothing effects of his home-grown, hydroponically infused marijuana had worn away. He was tense and already, experiencing withdrawal symptoms. In 2001, traveling on airplanes was like riding trains. Inspectors didn’t look closely for narcotics. Shawn had his strapped around his dick in a plastic bag, secured with a cock ring. A distressed look cut across his cunning face. His big brown eyes appeared somewhat crossed. I wasn’t sure if the cause of his uncomfortable appearance was due to withdrawal or lack of blood flow through his lower extremities.
“Come on. We’ll take a cab there,” I said. “Look at you. Poor thing. You don’t even remember what life was like without being stoned all the time. You are an old stoner, dear.”
“It’s my birthday. I can’t turn 40 like this. Hurry up, let’s get out of this place.”
I was exhausted and agreed that even if we didn’t have enough time to actually go to bed, that accepting the free room was worth the cab fare into downtown Atlanta. I had only seen the city once– during a conference on AIDS prevention which was held at the Omni Hotel. At least I would be able to shower and wash away the impatience from my jet lagged body. I could use a hit too. Smoking Shawn’s home-grown greens sure beat waiting in an airport. We were on vacation and it was party time.
“We can’t let ourselves go to sleep in the hotel, Big Daddy Kane. I’m so fucking tired. I’ll never wake up in time to catch the flight if I lay down on a soft hotel bed and let you fuck me.” (My pet name for Shawn was ‘Big Daddy Kane’; for reasons other than references to the popular rap artist.)
“You can sleep sexy. I’ll watch over you. Trust me, we ain’t gonna miss the flight. I can’t wait to go swimming in the gulf stream waters.”
An older gentleman was working as the concierge when we arrived at the fabulous hotel. He took an immediate liking to Shawn and me after I flashed a smile at him while handing over the room voucher.
“Are the two of you traveling together? Will you be in the same room?”
“Yes. It’s Shawn’s birthday today and he’s superstitious about getting fucked on it,” I shamelessly announced.
The hotel employee laughed and made special arrangements in his computer and offered us a suite on the top floor.
“Well! It appears the rooms on the second floor are all taken,” the concierge replied while smiling flirtatiously at me. I purposely brushed the palm of his hand with my fingers as I grabbed our credit card key; subliminally thanking him for the favor. I winked at him devilishly; throwing a glance as if to say I’d invite you to our room to watch us make out; if only you were not working. Gay older men always melt at my stare. If I look them in the eye and smile, I can milk them dry. He told us to take the elevator all the way to the top. I smiled and thanked him again. Shawn was somewhat jealous. I explained to him while riding all the way to the top floor in a glass paneled elevator that flirting with a older white gay men was harmless.
“Oh stop. You know I love your big, black dick. Just because we got this fierce room does not mean I have to fuck him. I’m not a whore, Big Daddy Kane.”
There were at least a dozen, plush, white, fluffy towels in the bathroom. I purposely used them all– throwing two to the floor so that I could jump out of the shower and not get my feet cold. They also offered VIP guests terrycloth robes, a fully stocked bar and big bars of Dove soap.
Shawn brought his pipe along– a wooden one with a lid that rotated. When closed, the small wooden cap caused the burning embers of marijuana to release powerful globs of intoxicating smoke. The pipe was like a harmonica to Shawn; a melodic instrument that enabled him ingest songs of consciousness. He never left home without it. I was glad to play a few songs of my own. It was his favorite pipe, one that he bought while still living in Los Angeles.
“This is the only thing I have from my life in LA. When I was still a vagrant, before meeting you, I moved from city to city, town to town, and carried just two pair of jeans, four t-shirts, several pairs of socks, the shoes on my feet, my identification, and this pipe. Remember the story in the Bible when Jesus sent his disciples away? He always told them to carry very little with them on their journey. I live my life just like that, Sexy. I love this pipe. It’s spiritual to me. The Good Lord has taught me that we need so little to find contentment.” He told me the story about his godly pipe on the night we met, after I got stoned for the first time in my life at the age of 33. Not only did we have incredible sex that first time, but he also taught me how to properly hold smoke in my lungs before blowing melodies through my nostrils. He’d shove that pipe in my mouth from over my shoulders, lighting his lighter, drilling me deep, ordering me to not smoke it like a cigarette, but hold the fumes in my lungs.
I lost myself and let it all go. Told him to fuck me as hard as he could. He wouldn’t let me cum. Just kept shoving more of that pipe in my mouth. I think I passed out several times– waking up only to find he was still drilling me out, still. After a while, it starts to feel really good. Stops feeling less like an ass hole and more like you know what. His Mary Jane sent me there.
“I leave all my trivial personal belongings behind when I decide it’s time to get out of a town; furniture, pots and pans and dishes can be replaced easily. It’s never necessary to rent a U-Haul and carry all your old baggage along when starting over. It’s best to begin life fresh in a new town and take with us the things that are a necessity– like a good pipe.”
“It’s nice. Do you know what kind of wood it is?” I asked.
“I don’t have a clue, but it burns nice, word?” He coughed.
I felt myself sink into oblivion atop the king size hotel bed soon after taking a deep hit. He was massaging my toes and legs. I knew he wanted sex and that his birthday was just hours away, but I was too tired to have more of it. He sensed that I was sore and didn’t want make love that very instant. It wasn’t like New York at the top of that Atlanta skyscraper hotel. Not a creature was stirring, it seemed, with the exception of Shawn who discovered how the blinds opened and closed with a convenience similar to the lid on his pot pipe.
He was licking my ass when I awoke from what was merely a cat nap.
“Check this out, Sexy.”
I rubbed my eyes and noticed that we had a bird’s eye view of the lights of Atlanta. The city is charming at night. I didn’t bother putting on one of the warm robes even though the room was severely air conditioned. I wanted to stand nude before the jewel of the south, in front of the lands that once held the vast cotton fields in which slaves, Shawns’ ancestors, picked white, fluffy fibers from thorny bushes. We were up incredibly high. The cotton fields were long gone; replaced by the city lights of the twentieth century. Nothing but balls of light from office space and houses below. I realized then that we all are and work as slaves now. Nothing has really changed. Just the masters. We were on vacation. It was time to rest and not think about work.
Standing there ass naked, I knew the little people could not see us, unless of course they had a telescope or binoculars to look outside of their tiny little homes below. A brass rail stretched the entire length of the large glass windows. I felt and urge to stretch like a ballet dancer above the city that was dancing softly below.
He took of a photograph of me there, in front of Atlanta, from behind the glow of a full moon moments before he came to the window to offer me another hit from both of his pipes.