Like almost everyone of middle class status living in New York City, we could not afford a car. Parking on the street was no easy cruise; often we had to move the car in the early hours of the morning in order to find a parking space on nights when the trash truck came up 46th Street. Monthly rent for our two bedroom duplex apartment, furnished with a laundry room and dishwasher was more than a thousand dollars.
There was not enough income in our childless household for luxuries like a car. Weekend trips to the ritzy sands of Long Island were not common to the class status that Anthony and I were in, but due to the friends whom we entertained with lavish meals in our vegetable garden, we found the favors returned, and ended up in all the best vacation places in New England. As a pair, one black, one white, both from the Army, we were celebrated by lawyers to be who all went to Columbia, as tokens to the new gay lifestyle that seemed trendy and on the rise in the city at the time. Straight people who could afford vacation homes in places like Sag Harbor called us ‘very entertaining’. However, it felt empowering to me that we were visiting a rich friend that I had made, and not one of Anthony’s uppity, highly educated, and often condescending Jewish friends. They all had cars and looked down on me for not being one of them, even though I was well hung and circumcised. .
My boss, Claude Winfield who was making this weekend journey to the Fire Island Pines had offered to send a limousine to Sunset Park to take bring us to his cottage. “Darling,” Claude explained, “I never do that god damned train. Tilly and I travel only by water taxi from the Hudson or a limousine with a fully-stocked bar.”
Anthony, with a jaded sort of New York attitude, refused Claude’s generosity and insisted that we take the Long Island Railroad there, if indeed it was mandatory that we spend a weekend with one of my “God-awful old friends. Does he really think he is going to take you from me?” Anthony asked. “His an old spent black queen who thinks he’s fierce! You should be honest with him. Tell him you can never leave this,” Anthony taunted, grabbing his crotch and waving his manhood like a stick at me after ripping to shreds the business card for the limousine service that Claude had handed me before I left the office on Friday, on my way to have ‘cordials at Julius’s’.
The subway system proved to be the most logical method to travel to our jobs in midtown. It was not a big deal for me to take the train there. The seats on the Long Island Railroad were luxurious compared to what we were used to. The soft seats had padded head rests, unlike the graffiti designed plastic chairs found in subway cars. The subway operated at all hours, but at night and early hours of the morning, the N train ran through Sunset Park as infrequently as a white woman jogging in that neighborhood at night. We stood on hot subway platforms ready to scream at anyone just to relive the New York pressure building up inside us. We waited for that train for more than an hour at times when we came home from the city after midnight.
Drunk and crazy, we tossed down cocktails in a race against the clock during the funniest happy hour we had ever spent. My gay cousin Stephen, who we met every Friday after work for ‘cordials at Julius’s’, fell off of one of the wooden barrels and ‘sprung his wrist’, yet we ordered another round for ‘medicinal purposes’.
The evening spent at Julius’s turned into an entire night. The old queens who hogged the bar stools were as funny as any standup drag queen performer, but they bought young people like us more drinks when our glasses neared empty. We waited for what seemed hours upon the subway platform, cranberry and vodka mix coming back to haunt me. I wished then we had a car, but even if we did, we would not have been able to drive.
I wondered if we would be able to get up early Saturday morning to catch the first train out of Penn Station. Sweat tainted with a twist of lime rushed down my fat cheeks, and still, no sight of a light in the tunnel. In a sway, I wished secretly for a change. I wished we had rented one of the young hustlers from Julius’s. Sick of Anthony’s sweaty black ass in my face, I wanted to adopt one for the night and pet him with Anthony for just one night, like a couple would treat a stray cat in their back yard. A straight one named Jesse was always standing on the saw dust covered wooden floors of the bar, offering to act as a waiter, and bring us our red drinks. His jeans, revealing both something on the front and back that would make either a top or bottom turn, and beg to get fucked. There was something in his service that made us all want to order another round, even though the two drink special had ended at nine. Anthony flirted shamelessly with him, right in front of me; never once did he take into account my true feelings on the issue of gay infidelity– why not a threesome?
No, Anthony was not the type to share his lover with anyone, even if just for recreational purposes. He would rather run with straight Jewish friends and leave me to suffer in my imagination on a subway platform for hours with nothing to do but wait for him to mount me, again. That was not like Anthony– to bring home a hustler.
We entered the Freeport Station of the Long Island Railroad. Fire Island was at least an hour away. I wanted to take a nap to ease my aching head. I felt a draining sensation in my legs, so I moved the blueberry pie from my lap and placed it on the empty seat next to me. John and Anthony were sitting across from me, talking office gossip again, and draining me. Oh, how they bored me. At least when John’s girlfriend Linda was with us on weekend excursions, the world did not seem to revolve around just them. I hoped I would have a chance to be away from Anthony while on Fire Island and search for, if not a hustler, at least some old, white queen with a ten- inch cock. There was a good chance I could on Fire Island; John was with us, and Linda was back in Brooklyn. Perhaps, I thought, John will finally come out to him. Anthony’s insatiable eyes would ease their control of me and focused more, perhaps, on his straight, best friend.