Gillie Wells the Third did not look like a gifted artist and cartoon illustrator. Infantry men are not known for using the left sides of their brains. The Gillie Wells I served with wore military- issue, ‘birth control’ glasses that were as thick as a slice of bread; with vision so poor, he risked military discharge for being visually handicapped, yet despite his visual impairment, he could draw better than anyone I ever knew.
Gillie Wells wasn’t wearing glasses in the gay club in Frankfurt on the night I met him. Inside the club, under the neon lights and disco balls, the green contact lenses he was wearing seemed a bit extreme– so gay, I thought. Few black men have green eyes like mine, but his were sparkling like emeralds.
We spent the early hours of the morning together in a hotel on a military post at Division Headquarters in downtown Frankfurt, Germany after leaving the club. With the dollar losing its purchasing power, it was expensive to rent a room in a guesthouse in Germany. As gay service men that no one knew were gay, we were entitled to a huge discount at a four- star hotel that dignitaries and generals slept in. For only $20 a night, guests with military identification cards were permitted to relaxed in the comforts of plush white cotton comforters.
There were at least a dozen other gay Army men in the sprawling hotel room. Gillie made love to me in a room filled with them. They all slept, or pretended to be sleeping. Our encounter under the heavy blankets lasted for nearly an hour. Gillie, after kissing me hard, insisted that I follow him into the bathroom.
Inside the brightly lit room with white tiles running from floor to ceiling, Gillie asked that I straddle in the toilet, facing the opposite direction that one normally assumes when using a latrine. I did as he asked. Moments later, he held a small bottle under my nose and instructed me to inhale. I did as he asked. It was at this exact moment that I lost my anal virginity—with not a care in the world and my mind spinning down what felt like a tunnel, for the first time in life and after numerous failed attempts at taking a man, it seemed that Gillie Wells III could not do it hard enough.
“That’s some good boy-pussy,” he yelled.
I froze briefly, aghast at how he referred to my ass, but after another whiff of the small brown bottle I realized what it was that God had given me. All my life I felt like a man trapped in a woman’s body, but that night, surrounded by nothing but mirrors and white tile, I felt that finally I had made love to a real man, the right way.
“I’m taking a taxi back to base. I wish you would come with me,” he casually asked as he packed his things inside an overnight travel bag. I had things to do. Our barracks was due for an inspection on Monday morning and my room was filthy, but I took him up on the offer. No one had ever made me feel such release. I had enough cash to take a taxi back to my own duty station and didn’t feel like riding the Germany trains. At least I wouldn’t have to try to figure out the train maps back to Hanau.
He introduced me to two white service men who shared his barracks room as we walked to a far wall near a window where his bunk was located. He pulled a Canson Esquisse sketchpad from under the mattress of his bed and showed me his drawings. I was floored. The details of his sketches were intense. They were cartoon strips, as one may see in a newspaper, but done in exquisite detail– science fiction at its best—what Picasso would have done if he had ever drawn cartoons. Without reading the captions he had written, the story had been told. The drawings spoke for themselves. The superhero captured in the detailed images looked strikingly like me.
I felt guilty for assuming he was a grunt with no artistic merit. When he told me he was infantry I thought I had a dumb stupid straight-like guy who I could easily mold. But Gillie was incredibly gifted, in more ways than one.
“I love to sketch. This is a story about a superhero with the power of mind control,” he explained. I carefully peeled each piece of linen-like paper and adored the mediaeval theme which graced the pages.
“I like to take photographs too. There is a dark room here on base that I use. Here are my cameras,” he said while pulling a large black bag from his wall locker.
I wanted to tell him about me, about my writing, but it didn’t seem important at the time. He was so far out of my league. It wouldn’t have mattered what foolish words stumbled out of my red, worn out lips. Why was he showing me so much about himself, I wondered at first, but moments later realized that he was perfect and incredibly sexy out of his contact lenses. I wanted to kiss him again, right there, in front of the men who shared his barracks room. Finally I could see his golden brown eyes through the magnification of his Army glasses. As the morning sun streaming in the small window of his room, I almost melted. The eyes are windows to the soul and he sees everything through a cloud, I thought.
I felt a glow all around me and the moment seemed as if it were predestined. Had I met this man in a previous life? The stories he had created– his art– it was shocking. I looked just like the character of a knight that was sketched within his art.
He realized I saw the connection. I felt like he was God who spoke the name of Adam in the Garden of Eden and I was Eve with sore ribs.
I remained silent and didn’t say much. My ass seemed to be throbbing. I just took it all in. To be in the presence of such a master. My head was still spinning from the little bottle, yet somehow, I felt more free than I had ever in my life. There was no misinterpreting what was in his sketches though– the detail on the lips of the character in the drawings was impeccable. Tiny bits of hair could be seen under the lower lip of the superhero, just as with my own mug. The gap in the teeth that existed behind the perfectly drawn lips; the ones that could be seen only when the character smiled, were a perfect image of my own.
“I want to be with you again,” he said, as if we had done something sinisterly evil, yet worth doing again just to test God. I sensed his fear that he may never see me again, so I agreed to pose for a photograph on his Army bunk. I somehow knew that I would never pose for a real drawing by the master, yet it felt good to be captured by him on film.
I never did pose for him, yet we spent every free moment we had together, somehow sensing that there was not enough time in life to paint what is real.