Daffodils sprout along the sidewalks of King Street in February. I walk the block after strolling the Brooklyn Bridge to reassure myself that the segment of life lived there was in fact reality. The flowers are still there– yes it is true. Buildings do not rise more than five stories high on King, but much goes on inside these quaint city dwellings.
Budding bulbs wave in the cold breeze like green fingers pointing at sinners.
King Street separates Greenwich Village from the expense of Soho. The budding daffodils were in full-bloom when I rented a small studio in the building marked thirty-seven in April, 2000.
Twin tower skyscrapers glowed like giant toothbrushes over the smile of King Street. The path I stumbled home upon was always brightly lit thanks to the lights of the World Trade Center nearby. No matter the hour of early twilight, there was always light when searching for the appropriate key.
I’d rush inside, take a quick birdbath, and gargle with a mouthful of cinnamon mouthwash. Despite a seemingly inexhaustible state of mind, I’d attempt to capture at least an hour of rest before going to work the next day.
I considered quitting my nine to five.
When one was caught with morning breath, without having gone to bed, having a place in the heart of Sodom was a luxury. I was grateful, rushing down this block with a ton of cash in my jeans, that the apartment was always in walking distance from the cheap hotels in Time Square that I was often lured into by wealthy Wall Street types who solicited my writing services at nearby Stella’s bar.
I never felt comfortable having more than $500 in faded Levis walking the streets of New York, but I never spent my hard earned money foolishly by taking expensive cab rides home when I could simply walk towards the twin towers.
I never turned my back on tricks for cash while living on King Street– I wanted something to write about– and this was where I outlined my masterpiece.
The flower pots are well weeded and the trash bins meticulously maintained on King Street. This pristine swept street is no indication of the filth that went on here. I ruled King Street and this was my palace. It was a town in economic bloom and I was merely a pretty flower in a wife-beater. It seemed one could find cash growing from the crack of one’s ass. I certainly did.
Living alone for the first time in my life– free from the burdens of a lover at home and the monotony of monogamy, I was prepared to unleash my inner-royalty while staying in the tiny sublet. The studio was merely where I kept my belongings. Even the bed I fuck on belonged to someone else. I had more lube than ketchup. I was waiting to move into a new apartment in Harlem in early Fall, yet as I waited, I lived as briefly and colorfully as a city daffodil in New York. I was determined to raise enough cash to fully furnish my new apartment in Harlem, for my former lover had taken the good furniture following a hostile gay separation.
In and out that door I went– changing t-shirts after each trick I turned– some out of lust, others for the sheer joy of Pier One Imports.
My sexual rampage of loosening the beatings of chains from the same tired cock year after year began with the subtle strapping by a Mexican bar-back that I picked up at the Original Espresso Bar on Christopher Street .
I met Julio Ruiz my first morning living on King and if it were not for the lack of a lease, I’d probably still be on this block walking all over him and the love he had for me. He was an illegal alien, of course, but openly gay and still manly. He flirted with me at the place of his occupation while filling a porcelain container with natural and artificial sweeteners.
“Refill?” He asked.
“Just a little. Thanks,” I said, not making eye contact with the help.
“Some dessert?” He asked, pointing to a carousel of gayly decorated cupcakes and overly chocolate cheesecakes. I had given up all carbohydrates while following my own enhanced version of the South Beach Diet– one bag of salted peanuts was all I ate each day, but as much coffee with milk as my revengeful, lustful heart desired. My body dropped forty pounds from 200 in less than two months following my divorce and I was horny as hell.
“No thanks,” I said, reaching for a blue bag of Cher advertised Equal sweetener.
“You arms is big, strong. Me likes. Like mine, no?” He asked, pretending to speak in simple English while making a muscle with his short, Mexican arm. Julio grabbed his crotch covered by a heavily starched white apron as I tore open the Equal.
“I live right down Seventh Avenue on King Street. Number 37. Ring bell three. I’ll buzz you in the lobby. The door to apartment three is on the first floor. It will be open. Just walk in and rape me,” I tempted.
He smiled, quickly moving away to wipe off a table near the front entrance to the coffee bar, pretending in front of his boss, not to have been talking to me as she reappeared behind the counter after clearing empty cups from a garden at the rear of the establishment.
“Thirty-seven King Street, number three,” I reminded as he watched me leave the café.
As sure as there are pigeons in Sheridan Square Park, that Mexican came to King Street although the fantasy was far from the pounding I had imagined. He spent the afternoon as a migrant worker of sorts, only tasting the fruit spread out before him, refusing to enter me as I had begged– only insisting that I use my cupped feet to masturbate his corn cob in a sick, twisted maze of buttery ejaculation that made me question my own nuts.
“That’s enough. You gotta go.”
“I give you ten dollars. Do it again, please. I love you,” he said.
So I did. Like a ballerina working as an indentured servant for Lincoln Center, I earned my first thirty dollars as a male foot whore with a Mexican with a fetish for white arches. From that moment on, my feet couldn’t remain still.