A twelve point buck walked near the beach, just a few yards from our blanket. There was still felt on the massive antlers. The creature seemed more like a moose or a reindeer than a white-tail. It occurred to me that the animal picked up the scent of the food we were eating and wanted some. Since it was Fire Island where everyone is gay, the animal was not at all threatened by our presence or by the presence of the many dogs that were being walked at sunset on a beach that faces east.
B had been feeding a seagull all afternoon. The winged creature, upon discovering that all our bread had been eaten, seemed to scream in pure terror near the edge of the hand-knitted blanket upon which we sat. “Please don’t feed that deer,” I ordered, “you have already angered the locals. They hate deer out here. They call them rodents.”
“How long do you want to stay?” B asked.
“Let’s wait and be the last ones to leave the sand. You do have another hand-rolled cigarette don’t you? I think the Long Island Railroad runs at least until midnight. You’re eyes are red as hell. Just sit here and marinate,” I suggested.
B hadn’t left our blanket all afternoon. He managed to finish the entire pint of vodka we brought with us, and he had yet to walk to the water to take a piss like I had done several times throughout the day.
“Let’s walk to the Grove,” he suggested. The Fire Island Grove is considered the poorer neighborhood on Fire Island. Unlike the Pines where wealthy homosexuals rent summer homes for nearly a quarter of a million dollars, the Grove is much cheaper and is infested with Lesbians. B, a butch street thug himself, gets a kick out of lesbians who he calls “professional wrestlers”.
We walked the narrow boardwalk that leads from the beach and extends the entire length of the Pines neighborhood. B, who wore sneakers with socks to the beach, fussed as we tip-toed along the wooden planks. It seemed inevitable that we would get splinters, yet we marched on and came upon a wooden trash receptacle, upon which my lover could sit to brush off his feet and put on his shoes.
A trio of gay men with highlights in their hair saw us tip toeing down the boardwalk—“Oh look, they are being so quiet. Shhh!” one of the men exclaimed. The others chuckled as they passed by. “We don’t want to get splinters,” I confessed. It occurred to me that we had smoked too much and were not being quiet but were actually paranoid and somehow, the queens knew it and were poking fun of the two common stoners who had made their summer homes a playground for the day.
We walked as far as the boardwalk would take us before entering a wooded area that leads to the Grove. I stopped at the tip of the runway and showed B where my old boss, Claude Winfield and his friend, Tilly Davis once owned a home. Reeds and bamboo had grown so high it was no longer possible to see the heated swimming pool built upon stilts which along with the cozy house with a fire place, rested like a bird in a nest upon the green swamp.
“When was the last time you saw him?” B asked.
“It has been a very long time. He’s probably in heaven now,” I confessed. “I heard ‘from him’ years ago, on one of those 900 gay hotlines. I was so shocked when I called that number and was scanning through the voice messages when I heard that fake British accent of my old black boss, Claude. It was December and it was cold as a lesbian’s tit outside. Claude left a message inviting anyone to come on out here to Fire Island. That’s when I knew for sure it was him. He was seeking some sort of play with toys. I never would have guessed he was the type. He even offered to pay for a limo in his message. Claude was such a generous guy. I wish to God he still lived here and was still alive—we could drop by and have one of Tilly’s famous mimosas—she made them with freshly squeezed orange juice that she squeezed with her bare hands.”
We entered the wooded area near Claude’s old home. The area is called the “meat rack” because of the heavy cruising that once went on there. Unfortunately, the area is now flooded and a swamp covers the area where men were once strapped like blow up dolls in the trees.
Claude liked to share stories about the meat rack. He was one of the few gay men to survive the 1970’s Fire Island. According to Claude, who was a twin himself, with a sister named Claudette, nonetheless, there were two identical male twins who were “twice as hot as Rock Hudson” who once ruled the meat rack.
According to Claude, they were the best gay sex any homosexual man would ever encounter. The brothers, while in trios, often had sex with one another. According to Claude, they were strikingly beautiful, and watching them was like watching the beautiful bucks that are so plentiful out here.