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Archive for September, 2011

Although I had reached out for companionship in a church run by a Baptist missionary and his wife, I found myself incredibly bored on the weekends and needed to make a friend my own age. Lisa, who cursed like a sailor, made me smile, and unlike male friends, there was no pressure to chase women around her. Lisa’s mouth, although quite foul, was a joy to listen to; unlike Rev. Davenport’s lengthy sermons that took place in an apartment in downtown Ansbach.

I started smoking those evenings while chatting with Lisa in her room—

“Can I have one of those?” I asked, as I watched her gracefully hold a cigarette in her lips while she ironed her uniform. Her hair, cut short so that it would not fall upon her Army uniform, was greased back. I took off my BDU’s and rested upon her bed while she starting ironing my uniform for the next day–

–“May you have one of these,” she corrected.

“Yes, may I have one? My mother would kill me if she saw me smoking, but who cares? Right? I mean, she is halfway around the world.”

Lisa rested the iron before she responded—“You can’t be serious. Think about it dude, you are in the Army now. You may be able to fool others with that innocent face, but not me, you only break my heart.” Lisa laughed and opened a third can of American beer and sprayed a can of spray starch over the cargo pants she was ironing. “You are making me sick with these Christian ways. There is nothing sinful about smoking.”

“What do you mean, Christian ways?” I asked.

“Oh, don’t get me wrong. I find you so charming, but in this man’s Army, it’s a waste of time to go to church on your free weekends. We are in Europe. Don’t you want to see the world, Chals? Will you convert to Catholicism for me? ”

“That’s crazy,” I replied.

“Crazy my ass,” she rebuffed, “From my mouth to God’s ears, I swear, this shy boy routine of yours drives me mad. Look at those fucking lips. MMMMwa!” Lisa blew a kiss my way and continued, “My mother would fucking die if she knew what I was chasing a born-again white boy from bum-fuck Pennsylvania.”

I didn’t like when Lisa pressed the boyfriend and girlfriend issue with me, especially since I knew that I had no desire, whatsoever, to have sex with a woman. I hid behind the church for as long as possible. Lisa looked too much like a little man anyway. Spending time with her helped to ease my fear of being labeled as gay while in the Army. I think she knew that. Lisa told everyone she thought I was hot. In our platoon, it was assumed that the two of us were a couple. Her company was never boring and at least with her, unlike in church, I laughed, almost nonstop.

A Puerto Rican family who attended the Baptist Church had invited me to their home for dinner, one cold Saturday in early January. I asked Lisa to come with me. She said she did not feel safe hanging out with non-Catholics, especially Puerto Ricans, because in New York, where Lisa was from, Puerto Ricans were “Sneaky mother fuckers.”

Master Sergeant Jose Rodriguez insisted that I spend the night at their home following a Bible study on the crucifixion that Saturday night. We ate a heavy meal of rice, beans and an unusually spicy piece of pork. “Get out of the barracks more and spend your free time with your family in God,” he offered. “You can stay overnight every Saturday and come to church with us on Sunday mornings. Come stay with us, my family likes you. I will not have to pick you up at the barracks. I don’t like going into the barracks. I do inspections of barracks. That’s my job. Commanders hate to see my name on a sign-in roster. Just come over on Fridays when you get off of work.”

Lisa and I had plans to go to the Liberty Bell that Saturday night. There was no way for me to call her, so I spent the evening with the Rodriguez family and learned about the Master Sergeant’s job with the inspector general’s office. Rodriguez had been stationed at an undisclosed duty station, somewhere in southern Arizona before arriving in Germany to help fight communist Russia. While in the desert, Rodriguez worked closely with members of the air force in a program that he explained was top secret, and thus, he was unable to share more details about it with me over coffee following a reading of the book of John. I couldn’t wait to get back to the barracks. I didn’t want to be rude and just leave. I missed Lisa. The Rodriguez family, although hospitable, were somewhat annoying. The two young children wanted to play with Playdough all evening while the wife remained intent on teaching me Spanish words.

Lisa was very angry when she learned that the Master Sergeant held me hostage on Saturday night—

“You need to learn to tell people ‘no’,” Lisa insisted, “I’m hurt that you didn’t at least tell me you were going to be busy in church. You are my friend and I like to dance with you. Don’t worry, I’m not going to rape you. I missed you at the Liberty Bell, Chals. Those mother fuckers were all over me, wanting to rub their nuts up against me without you there.”

I avoided the Master Sergeant every Saturday evening for the next month. Like clockwork, the powerful and mysterious inspector general showed up at Barton Barracks to invite me to his place, and to church on Sunday. I came up with numerous excuses, but never flat-out told him I was no longer interested in the church or UFO’s for that matter.

Often, I hid in Lisa’s room when I knew it was time for him to come by on Saturday night. Rodriguez was working on saving another soul in Charlie Company—PFC David Davitch who lived across the hall from me, so his trips to pick me up were not a total waste of time.

There was a guy at the Liberty Bell bar who had been dancing with Lisa and I on Saturday nights, and I desperately needed to see him again. I wanted to get back to the Liberty Bell to flirt with him again. The stranger was also a service member; it was obvious due to his short haircut. The man had grinded on my ass on several occasions—starting out with a little accidental bump and ending in full thrusts to my buttocks. Lisa danced in front of me, and for a while, I didn’t think she noticed what was happening behind my back. We all three smiled and danced like fools, pretending none of us knew what was happening, yet Lisa seemed to get a kick out of my enormous erection, and used the stranger as much as he thought he was using her. We bought more beers with little grains of rice at the bottom and drank until the music caused my hips to move in a circular motion to Cher melodies.

It was so exciting. The stranger was all I could think about. I lost faith in God.

We watched the sun rise in Ansbach that Sunday morning as we walked up a cobblestone road on the way to our home to in Barton barracks. The stranger was left stranded when the lights came on in the bar. Lisa quickly snatched our coats and we ran outside. We had not been to bed. Church was certainly out of the question and Lisa seemed intent on finally having sex with me.

“You want to go with him?” She asked.

“Who?”

“There you go again, playing innocent little white boy.”

I said good-bye to Lisa and left her at the door to her room on the first floor. I headed up two flights to my own bed. I was too intoxicated to object to Lisa sneaking into my room, shortly after 8 a.m. that morning. She made it past a guard on the first floor and cuddled with me under a green Army blanket. We had done this often, but never did we have sex.

“What the hell!” Someone yelled. Lisa jumped in my Arms. We tossed back the wool blanket and sheets to find our section sergeant standing above my bed—“Get downstairs now!” He yelled at Lisa. She quickly ran out of the room, her black nappy hair matted to her neck. “There was an E-8 here in your room while you were sleeping,” the sergeant yelled. “He said he came to get you for church. He had an I.G. tag. Do you know what that means? Do you know you can be put out of the Army for having sex in the barracks, especially if the Inspector General finds out? He is very pissed, Taylor. He said you are to call him this evening, otherwise, he said he will call our commander and have charges brought up on you.”

I called Master Sergeant Rodriguez that evening. He came by my room and demanded an explanation.

“We were not having sex,” I insisted. “We were only holding each other. We are friends. I don’t like her like that.”

“Do you really expect me to believe that?” He asked.

“Yes, I do. That’s the God’s honest truth.”

“I don’t believe you. I’m a man. You’re a man. I know what you were doing. This is so hard for me. It’s my job to report this…”

“It’s not your job to save souls,” I shouted at Rodriguez. “We’re already saved. He gave his life on the cross. Now forgive me like you are supposed to.”

Rodriguez looked at me in disbelief, as if a demon had entered me and there was not hope to restore the innocence that Lisa had taken from me.

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Dreams of Viki

Dr. Nina McGowin of St. Vincent Hospital’s outpatient psychiatric center offered one last bit of professional advice before I resigned from her care—

“Pay attention to your sleeping habits. If you are unable to sleep or find yourself awake for several days and you feel like you still don’t need any sleep, come back to us. This is a sign that indicates your schizophrenia is returning.”

A decade has passed since I last looked Dr. McGowin in her deadpan face. “I quit taking these pills more than three months ago,” I explained as I returned a prescription for lithium to her cold hand. “I haven’t even taken the anti-anxiety pills you gave me three months ago. I stopped taking those delicious pills because you threatened not to renew a prescription for them, insisting you were holding out for my own good. I stopped everything, three months ago today. I tried to tell you what I experienced was a Spiritual Crisis. Look up that diagnosis. It’s in your DSMV-IV manual.” I stood up, bowed to her in respect, and turned to walk out of her office with my head held high. I didn’t shut the door, which was my custom when leaving her ten- minute sessions. I simply lifted my feet, one and a time, and shook off the dust as a testimony against her.

I sleep like an angel now. Sometimes, like last night, when the temperature outside is cool, causing me to wrap-up in a blanket, I can sleep for almost twelve hours straight. I long for this type of sleep. I have the best dreams during these long hibernations. I remember being awake for more than a week in 2002, and how desperately I wanted to fall into slumber, but simply couldn’t. That’s how I ended up in a psychiatric ward for nearly a month. It took me that long to come out of that waking dream.

Sometime between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. this morning, I dreamed of my co-worker, Viki Rosman again. I find it odd that I have had several dreams of the redhead therapist since leaving my job as office manager of the Youth Counseling League three years ago. Viki was not my favorite co-worker from the job, in fact, I hardly knew her. Never have I had any dreams about my best friends there—Lauren Agazarian, Francis Pacheco, Wendy Stern or Joan Daily. The Jewess with pretty freckles and the most beautiful teeth of anyone at the League rarely came into my office overlooking Park Avenue to chat, as did most of the other females who worked there. Besides the fat gay shrink, I was the only man there. In my dream, Viki invited me to a party at her sister-in-law’s in New Jersey.

I arrived early at the party, walking all the way from Brooklyn somehow, stopping at a supermarket so that I would not arrive empty handed. I purchased ten pounds of jumbo shrimp and two area rugs because the supermarket did not sell vodka.

I was the first to arrive at the party. No other guests were there. Viki’s sister-in-law, a stunning brunette with a ponytail answered a door downstairs of the sprawling mansion where she lived. At first, I thought Viki’s sister-in-law operated a beauty parlor in her basement, like so many of the women do in the little town in Pennsylvania where I come from. There was a sign on the door announcing the place was open, so I walked right in. Viki’s husband answered the door and immediately grabbed the area rugs from my hand and tossed one around his neck like a scarf. “This is fierce,” he said. “Veronica will be right with you.”

Veronica appeared and asked if my tooth was hurting me. I ran my tongue across my teeth and noticed one was cracked. I then realized that Veronica was running a dental clinic in her basement. “I have a cracked tooth,” I explained.

“Let me see,” she insisted.

“I don’t want you looking inside my mouth,” I insisted. “I came here for a party. Do I have the correct address?”

Veronica’s cell phone rang. It was Viki. Although I could not hear the conversation, I knew, because it was my dream, what they were talking about. Viki explained to her sister that although she invited me to the party, she neglected to call to inform me of the cancellation.

“What are we to do with so much shrimp?” I asked after Veronica ended her call.

“Oh, dear. These are lovely,” Veronica said, dumping the jumbo shrimp into a pink sink in her dental office. I noticed the sink was the type used inside beauty parlors because it was designed with an indentation where women placed their necks when having their hair washed.

Veronica giggled. “Oh, dear, look at this!” She removed a huge oyster shell from the pile of shrimp.

“No wonder they were so expensive,” I shared. “That fucking thing must be heavy. Give it to me. Viki must be suffering from acute forgetfulness,” I shared. “She was never the same since that incident that happened on the job.”

“What incident was that?” Veronica asked.

“She didn’t tell you about the boy with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?”

“No, do tell. Would you like a glass of wine?” She asked.

“I cannot drink wine with this tooth, nor can I tell you what happened to Viki at the League. It breaks patient confidentiality rules.”

“Well change the child’s name and tell me, for God’s sake,” Veronica insisted, drinking heavily from a fancy wine glass with at least a twelve inch stem.

“I don’t have to give you a name at all, in that case,” I explained “some teenage boy flashed his dick at Viki one day while they were in session. As was usual at the Youth Counseling League on Friday, the place was dead. Most therapists were out on three- hour lunch breaks and the psychiatrist, Dr. Udarbe, was busy meeting with representatives from the drug company in his office. Viki rushed into my office, and was crying. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“He just showed me his dick, Charles.”

“Who?”

“One of my clients?”

“Oh dear. Are you alright?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I think so. I’ve studied this in school, but never have I witnessed it first hand. It’s called transference in our profession.”

“He’s just a teenage boy. Don’t take it personal.” I replied.

“I asked him how he was coping and all he said while talking it out was ‘What the fuck am I supposed to do with this?’”

Veronica giggled and escorted me to her door, pleased it seemed to learn of what was causing her sister to act like a blonde. “Can I give you some Vicodin for that tooth?”

“No thanks,” I said. “I sleep very good now. No need for anything to relax me.”

I awoke to a room filled with sunlight and quickly rubbed my tongue across my teeth.

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I didn’t buy enough ground beef for an entire lasagna, according to my lover. He sent me to Shop Rite at 9 a.m. this morning to get more. “Get another block of mozzarella too,” B, my boyfriend ordered, while handing me $20. “Why did you buy these sheets of Reynold’s Wrap? It’s not the same as what comes on a roll.”

“Don’t worry. I’m going to buy an aluminum lasagna pan that comes with a lid,” I explained, pulling out a long-sleeve Ambercrombe and Fitch cotton shirt to wear. My nipples were still sore from fantasy roll play with B last night. The olive green shirt trimmed in dandelion yellow around the cuffs makes me look like a teenager with a few gray hairs.

It was a little chilly in Union City this morning. The fifteen or so block walk I make every day to the supermarket made my legs quiver when the humidity outside rubbed against my pores. The sun had yet to make its way over the skyscrapers of New York City to the east. As I made my way in rubber Crocks over a portion of major highway that leads to the Lincoln Tunnel, the ancient ball of fire in the sky sucked every little bit of good will I had for men, straight from my soul. I hoped to make it back home before the warm sun started to strike my back. I was hung over and ready to cuss out anyone who crossed my path the wrong way. It was only 9 and already, I needed a glass of wine.

 

It has been years since I’ve been able to shop inside a sprawling, American-size supermarket. In Brooklyn, there are no large food stores where one can browse floral sections, where five dollar prickly cactuses tempt even the most conservative of gay men who love to play house. Up and down every aisle my rubber Crocks marched, smelling the expensive glade candles and not bothering to put plastic lids back on. The air conditioning inside the shiny store sooths my very soul. We haven’t had air conditioning all summer. It’s been one hell of an August in Union City, but I love the supermarket in Floral Park.

“Hey there, what’s up,” someone yelled in deep baritone from just beyond a refrigerated center portion of an aisle filled with every possible chicken part.

Being new to Union City caused me not to address the shout. Again, a manly voice called, “Hey there, you, what’s up?”

The voice was that of an Italian man who works at a 24 hour convenience store, just down the block from my new apartment. I go to that store only to buy American Spirit menthol cigarettes. I had a conversation with the man, at 10:50 on Friday night. As I handed him a ten for my pack of smokes, he just shook his head at me.

“I cannot help it,” I shared, “I started smoking in the Army and I cannot stop.”

The Italian man, at least twice my age, smiled and held up a can of chewing tobacco. “Have you ever tried this?” He asked.

 

I smiled—“Yes when I was a kid. We chewed it all the time. It does help one to stop smoking, but I never like to do anything that would ruin these pretty red lips.” Sure I was drunk, and perhaps played too much with the man as I got my pack of American Spirits, but here he was, in Shop Rite, greeting me like a neighbor.

I waved and made my way down the dairy aisle where I found mozzarella on sale for $2.99. The checkout lines were short today. I even found garlic bread on sale of $1,29.

As I made may way all around the sidewalk of the sprawling strip mall, past both Old Navy and Staples, I saw the old man again, sitting at a bus stop along the busy stretch of highway where it sometimes seems unsafe for pedestrians to be walking with yellow shopping bags.

“Where are you walking to,” he asked.

“24th Street,” I replied without really stopping with my heavy bags.

“I’ll join you,” he offered.

We crossed the dangerous highway. The crosswalk signals were out. For a moment I believed we had mistakenly assessed the changing of the traffic light, but next to the old man, who was much taller than myself, I felt blocked to threats of treacherous drivers that are so common here in this part of Jersey, where they turn corners in such an arrogant an ignorant manner, their tweeting devices and cell phones demanding all of their attention.

 

The Italian man talked my ear off, but I got a kick out of him ignoring the old New York superstition that claims it is unlucky to cross a light pole—meaning two people go on opposite sides of such structures. In New York, I’ve learned, such an act will cause bad luck. I’ve always hated that superstition, one that mostly black people follow. I enjoyed walking with the man who really didn’t seem to care about bad luck.

“This is old Genovese territory,” He explained, as if we have been friends for a long time, or perhaps in a pervious life. “Men who poured concrete for the city settled here in the late 1960’s. It was only after the Puerto Ricans were chased out of Hoboken to Union City changed to this. I’ve been here all my life. It’s so hard to get away from it. Money is so tight.”

“Genovese?” I asked inquisitively. “As in the crime family?”

“Crime family, my ass!” The man explained. “Back then, men like you and I ruled these streets. Yes of course, we were all apart of organized crime, but nothing like what’s going on in the world today. Things have changed so much, young man. Take for instance, our mayor, Brian Stackhouse. Now that fucker was almost put out of office, you know? It was only after Chris Christy came into office that the prosecutors eased up on him.”

“I know nothing of that life,” I explained, glancing over at him, flexing my triceps that I knew were very noticeable in my olive green Ambercrombe shirt.

 

“New York was so much different in the 1970’s. Do you know, I still go down to Christopher Street and hang out at the pier, “ He said. It was then I realized, the old dude was making a play at me—flirting, in an old world Italian sort of way. He wasn’t that bad looking, and probably hung to the knees I thought as he continued his story—“It’s really nice how they fixed it up, but the old bars are gone, you know? There’s not much over here in Union City—there is a bar near the PathMark supermarket. Have you checked that out yet, you and those pretty lips?”

“No I haven’t, but thanks for mentioning it. Look,” I said, “I need to run over to the dry cleaners. I’ll see you around.”

“Alright, nice tawkin’ to ya.” The man said, turning away from me quickly and rushing down the block as if he didn’t want to be spotted with me by one of the neighbors.

As I turned and headed up the hill towards home, I felt sexy in my old green shirt. If B. knew an Italian, Mafia man with salt and pepper hair was flirting with me, he would be jealous, because I make the best lasagna in Union City.

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It was easy to fall out of love with Willis Williams, Esq. Despite his charm, I kept our relationship on the level of sexual partners 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. We last looked one another in the eyes on September 11, 2001.

He invited me to a ceremony in Washington, D.C. when he was officially made an attorney. We had sex only four or five times before the invitation was offered, but I sensed he liked me. He was sworn into the District of Columbia Bar at a ceremony inside the United States Supreme Court. Willis’s mother could not make the ceremony. She lived in Chicago and was a busy psychologist, Willis explained.

“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-ass, whiteboys such as myself. There were so many of his kind in my life before September 11– ‘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 and could have won over anyone with his pretty red lips and perfect white teeth? He seemed so sad, so very sad he was with that little cock of his. All the black sissies must have made fun of his little dick, so Willis decided a white boy would be most appropriate lover for himself.

I was there by his side when he graduated. I shined up like a new penny when in the suit he loaned me on the day of his swearing-in. The suit was surprisingly a perfect fit, despite the length of the pants. The thought of entering a new relationship excited me, especially since he had so many nice clothes that fit me almost perfectly. Willis wasn’t hung to the knees.

Willis was a little too clean-cut for my taste in men. Yes, he was Black, and I’ve never gone back, but he was high-yellow, as they say. It may have worked for someone else into such things, but he had the smallest cock I ever let up my ass.

He was moving from D.C. the day after his graduation and needed someone to help him move his large wardrobe and cheap college kid furniture into a U-Haul. I drove his car, following the orange and white truck all the way to New York City in heavy rush hour traffic. 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.

He promised me an E pill when we got home.
I decided that I would never ‘marry’ him as I drove his car all 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.

Several weeks later, on the morning of September 11, 2001, Willis showed up at my apartment at 7:30 a.m., demanding a pink dress shirt he had left behind at my place on a hot Friday night in July.

I had the shirt professionally dry cleaned, intending to keep it for myself.

Willis noted, “It was so nice of you to have it cleaned for me.”

“I was going to keep it,” I explained, showing him out the door. The sky in Harlem was pefect, pastel blue. I watched as the queen marched down 121st Street with her tail between her legs.

The day seemed so perfect.

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The spirit of Thomas Barbour is watching over me. The Church of the Transfiguration offered me a telephone interview for an office manager job last week. While researching the church, I came across a link to  “The Episcopal Actor’s Guild”, a non-profit organization that I was already familiar with, due to my affiliation with Thomas Barbour, the character actor who played the role of Arthur’s father in the movie “Arthur”.

Tom Barbour’s photo appeared on the site. I started to laugh and wondered if the ghost of old Tom Barbour had something to do with the interview.

When Tom died, there was a ceremony at the Church of the Transfiguration in mid-town Manhattan. I did not remember the name of the church. Tom left a large portion of his estate to the Episcopal Actor’s Guild. It was only when I received a call regarding the job did I recall what Tom had told me about his favorite charity, one that was affiliated with the Church of the Transfiguration, a church that is famous because it buried dead actors in a time when actors were considered scum of the earth. Tom explained that before Hollywood was where everyone wanted to be, very few houses of God opened their doors to put to rest the souls of those who were what society deemed professional liars. As Tom’s personal secretary, I filled out many checks endorsed for the Episcopal Actor’s Guild on behalf of a blind Tom Barbour.

During my phone interview with Elizabeth Carr, Treasurer of the Church of the Transfiguration, I mentioned that I was a friend with the late Thomas Barbour.

“I’m a volunteer at the church,” Ms. Carr explained, “I’m not sure who he was.”

“He left a large portion of a $25 Million estate to the Episcopal Actor’s Guild,” I shared, wanting to go on about seeing Tom’s ghost while researching for my interview, but instead noted to the church treasurer that I had been interviewed by another church several months ago. I asked what it was in my resume that had attracted so many churches to my credentials.

“What church was it?” Ms. Carr asked.

My mind froze. Like an idiot, I could not remember the name of the church, and instead shared with the interviewer that the name of the church had escaped me, but I do remember that it was the oldest Protestant Church in North America.

I received an e-mail two days later, explaining that Bishop Andrew had filled the position. I thought it was rude that the church did not call, especially considering the ghost of dead actors I know.

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Another terrorist threat caused the New York City police department to close 8th Avenue in front of Port Authority early this morning. Several army soldiers were standing in the middle of traffic chaos with machine guns pointed up in the air. Pedestrians were prohibited from walking along the two- block stretch of sidewalk in front of the New York Times building. I casually strutted within the lines of pedestrians filing out of the busy bus depot, going against the flow of traffic, determined not to walk an entire city block just to make it to 40th Street. One of the soldiers holding a gun spotted me as I entered the sea of commuters. He waved his hand at me, as if to scold me and instruct me to turn around, but I simply waved at him, pretending to be confused and lost.

Living in Jersey among so many Spanish people, I find myself longing for Manhattan. I want to be among individuals with my skin color, and blacks and Asians as well. There was no real cause for my journey through the Lincoln Tunnel during rush hour today, other than the fact that I feel so different than everyone who lives around me. I was terrified to see traffic at a standstill. I wondered if I would be able to make it back home.

Rather than waste time waiting for another false terrorist alert to be reviled, I dashed into one of the many porn stores in that neighborhood. I made my way to the “private” viewing booths in the rear of the store, hoping to take advantage of the glory hole action that is so common in these types of businesses. In the early 1990’s, porn stores were packed on Friday mornings. There was dick for days back then and often we fought for space inside the coveted booths. Due to the recession, the porn store along 8th Avenue was almost empty. Sadness swept over me and my dick went limp. The old Times Square is dead. I even missed the female prostitutes and junkies who were once so common along this famous stretch of road.

A Latino man, at least ten years younger than I, followed me to the peep show booths. I didn’t bother putting a dollar into the machine. I waited to see how big it was, and like everyone else in New York, I’m fucking cheap, and planned on just a quickie.

The middle-eastern man who supervises the place and offers change to patrons pounded on the door of my buddy booth–

“What wrong? No money? Put in check,” he said, “Put in check,” he said again, yelling at me as if I were a child.

“What did you just say? Put in check? I don’t have a check, you dumb fuck. If you want to do business in America, at least learn our language,” I screamed back, as I quickly made my way towards the front door and onto a bus, and back to Jersey where I do not speak the language.

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