[ Free Me From This Bond: Chapter 16 ]
I must confess to you, August Reader, that the phone call from Arwyn as told in Chapter 13, never really did happen. I’m sure this surprise revelation of my lie, causes you to question the veracity of every other tale told in that elegant opus. “Whut? Iz dat Zeke fugginwiddus again?” you may very well ask. To that, I can only say:
“The truth is in the telling, and not in the accuracy of each tasty episode. Though I assure my fans that a large part of these adventures occurred exactly as told.”
Other lies (for example) are these:
- In that same chapter: I never was dosed with horse tranquilizer, terrorized, and my unconscious body dumped in a hilltop reservoir. Nor did Arwyn stay by me for more than 8 months, while I was in coma. (There was no drugging, therefore no coma.) Nor did Arwyn and I get married in 2008, or any other year, for that matter.
- Much of the dialogue with Arwyn and other real-life characters is definitely not verbatim, but restructured from memory, and somewhat condensed in order to achieve an effective prose.
- I did not really have hot sex in a large cardboard box with some homeless dude, as declared in Chapter 9. Ha ha, he isn’t homeless, but resides in a welfare hotel on 16th and Guerrero Streets. Okay, even that’s not the complete truth: we never did have sex, because it was too late at night to allow any guests (house rules). But I do have his name and address, and will eventually get back to him (bottle of vodka and diet coke in hand), the Darling Maverick of longish brown hair, sparkly hazel eyes, and tightly-chiseled face like a top notch, soft porn celebrity.
- Arwyn and I are not really lovers, but good friends (albeit sporadic). My fantasies about us being amorous is just that: a will-o’-the-wisp. Not that he doesn’t love me with all his heart, nor that he doesn’t miss my company. Our sweet association is purely platonic, but in a most intense and awesome way. Thus, in that gracious novel, I’ve allowed my flights of fancy to roam unbidden, and let them take me where they will. Therefore, my dream of Arwyn as lover is part of the tale I wove.
- I am not really the chief leader of the 7 Celtic Nations as claimed in Addendum 1. Except perhaps in some sort of mystical, parallel-dimension sort of way. The implication here, is for my followers to deduce that I am speaking prophecy in a rather metaphorical manner. Which meanings you must figure out for yourself, Darling Reader.
- I do not mess around with speed or any other hard drugs, as implied in Chapter 9. That was just for humorous effect. A little alcohol, a little pot; that’s what really hits my spot!
- I did not blow a handsome radio host in a bar on Folsom Street back in 1986 (as described in Chapter 1)…though I sure wish I did!
As far as I know, those lies are just what I claim: falsehoods. However, I do entertain the possibility that they really are partly restored recollections of a drug-damaged memory. For these fantastic episodes were all born of intense visions…which perhaps did not merely arise from vivid imagination. Which would explain Arwyn’s uniquely sweet (and mischievous) behavior towards yours truly (in a panoramic span of more than 5 or 6 years), which strongly hints of such adventures being true. In which case, I really was drugged and left for dead, I really was in a deep coma for many months, my precious soul hanging by a frayed string…and Arwyn did stand by my comatose side at the ICU, in utter regard and prayer for his belov-ed sidekick. And we were married in 2008; and Arwyn did phone me the eve of Easter Sunday, with conversation exactly as I dictated.
So there you have it: the truth of my novel’s quasi-veracity laid bare. But what is so astonishing, is that only last week (Thursday, June 7th), my first telephone conversation with Arwyn actually did occur…much to my surprised delight. And chagrin, as this real-life vignette unfolded, to reveal itself as more of a humiliating faux pas than any sort of glorious epiphany. So now, sit back with your favorite drink (hot chocolate perhaps, or something more inebriating; why, a few hits of the ganja is most enthusiastically recommended). And allow me to tell you my curious tale of The Real Phone Call:
The story begins with my pot dealer, Marmaduke Quark (great name, eh?), who frequents various gay bars in order to sell medicinal marijuana to whomever has legal rights to purchase, as established by California’s Compassionate Use Act. (These days, since my pre-inheritance money ran out four months ago, I really can’t afford any pot; though Marmaduke is kind enough to donate a small amount to me, now and then…or invite me to a bar or other locale, to partake from a pipe.)
Now, one of the gay bars he frequents, is Pilsner Inn on Church Street, near Market. The night before this epic phone call, Marmaduke invites me there, to enjoy some puffs, and receive a little bud for later. When I arrive, I find him seated at a picnic table on the open patio, where they allow smoking (marijuana and tobacco).
Marmaduke is a short-statured, 52-year-old dude with a full head of yellow-brown hair densely peppered with gray. He hails from Hawaii and looks mostly Caucasian, and is heavily freckled. Usually decked out in a sports coat, long-sleeve dress shirt, Levis and sandals with socks. A rather handsome little chap, in the right light.
“What’s in the package,” he inquires and points at the mossy-green plastic bag hanging from my left hand. (I found that bag on the steps of a Victorian house on Duboce Street. It is tougher and far more attractive than those more common, crinkly white sacks that strangle the living daylights out of our endangered ocean brethren. The green bag has a black title and logo of a local clothing boutique (“Sarah’s Closet” or something equally retarded.)
I pull the contents from the bag, to show him a shiny folder tied in a flatly-rolled black bandana with skull designs: three large feathers (each a different color) are bound to the folder by that bandana.
“It’s my latest gift to Arwyn: contains some printed-out chapters of my novel, in which he plays the hero,” I proudly declare. “Also, there is a political comic book about the U.S. War Machine and its evil ways, two of my book-promotion business cards in a small envelope, and my original papers from when I interviewed Nam Vets at the VAMC in D.C., regarding medical abuse. That was back in 1985.” (Kind Reader: you may view this gift and all its contents in Chapter 5 of my novel.)
Marmaduke is a bit perplexed: “Okay, but why did you bring it here?”
“Because this is one of the bars Arwyn sometimes visits to play pool,” I explain. “I’ve been trying to get this package to him for almost five weeks now. Perhaps he will show up tonight, while we’re still here.”
Well, Arwyn never does show up for the hour or so we hang out together, getting nicely stoned off primo bud. So it’s back home for the night, my latest gift to my Darling Guardian Dragon still in hand. But the next night is a totally different outcome, with the release of my lingering love tokens unto Arwyn’s gracious soul.
The next day, Thursday eve, Marmaduke phones me around 9pm: “Zeke, I’m back at the Pilsner, and playing pool with your boyfriend, Arwyn!”
“C’mon, you’re kidding me,” I respond in disbelief.
“Nope, he’s right here,” insists Marmaduke. “Wanna talk to him?”
I demand: “Of course I want to talk to him. Put him on!”
“Hey there, Zeke!” speaks a very familiar voice; a voice sweeter than fair-trade agave nectar to my ears.
“Hello, Arwyn! How ya doin’, sweetheart?”
“Great! And yourself, Zeke?”
“Oh, really good, too. Except I miss you. And I love you so much. You’re a wonderful man, Arwyn.”
“I love you too, Zeke.”
“Say, this is our first phone call, isn’t it?” I state with no little astonishment.
(Silence. Arwyn does not respond.)
So I continue: “I’d love to hang out with you at the Pilsner, but I’m afraid other obligations keep me at home for the night. But maybe I can change these plans; in a half hour, perhaps.”
“I hope you can, Zeke. You should come down here and play pool with me.”
(Unusual request, I think. We’ve hardly ever played pool together since we first met six years ago. Maybe twice. Three times at most.)
“Oh, I don’t think I can do that. The government just cut $200 from my social security check this month. Can’t even afford to treat myself to coffee every day.”
“Well, okay then, never mind.”
“You have fun, sweetheart. I’ll try to make it there if I can, just to say hi, and give you some hugs.”
“Great! See you then if you can. I’m gonna hand the phone back to your friend, now. Bye, gorgeous. See ya soon, if not tonight.”
Marmaduke’s voice: “See, Zeke? I didn’t make this up.”
“Did you hear what he told me over the phone?”
“Yes, he really does love you. So, you coming over now?”
I sigh: “Afraid not. I’m waiting on a homeless friend to return from 7/11, so he can make some phone calls.”
“Well, try to get here if you can.”
“Thanks again, Marmaduke. I really appreciate what you just did for me.”
“Okay, bye now.”
I’m totally thrilled. Finally, the game-playing is over, and we’re takin’ it to the next level. But where’s Chatty? Said he’d be back in 20 minutes, and it’s been almost an hour!
Ten more minutes pass, and I get antsy. This is ridiculous, I gotta see Arwyn tonight. This is such a breakthrough, I’ll just have to put Chatty on the back burner.
So I grab my coat, hat, and gift bag, and march on down to Pilsner Inn. But the moment I shut the front gate behind me, there’s Chatty just several yards ahead, on his way back.
“Chatty, I’m really sorry, but I gotta see Arwyn. He just called from the Pilsner, and invited me to play some pool.”
He gives me a big hug and says, “Oh, that’s great. You’ve done so many good things for me already, I can’t keep you from your detective boyfriend. You have a great night, Zeke.” And off he wanders towards Castro Street.
Chatty is, BTW, this dredlocked, short-statured caucasian (cute like a troll doll or cabbage patch kid) who suddenly showed up in my life a few weeks ago. He’s a totally hetero dude with a drug problem he’s trying to kick. Very gay friendly, too. He knows about Arwyn because I’ve read some chapters to him…which he enjoys immensely. A lovely girlfriend up in Marin County just perked up his life, and he’s so much happier since we first met. Showed up yesterday afternoon, really bummed ’cause he lost Lauren’s phone number, and he doesn’t want her to wonder why he hasn’t called yesterday or today. After some worry and deliberation (and my outrageous jokes to cheer the sweet dude up), it occurred to me I can restore her phone number by loading up my OneSuite WWW account and viewing “history”. Lovebirds reunited!
My heart takes wing and I am transported to Pilsner Inn. Arwyn’s by the pool table (of course, that’s his element, like water to a fish). I approach him with my gift, and raise it before him.
Arwyn turns to me and declares: “Oh, that Zeke!”
I get into the play of things: “What do you mean, that Zeke? What other Zeke is there?”
He says not a word, but tilts his head in amusement…and some other emotion which isn’t clear to me.
My package is still hovering before him. “Will it be a burden to accept this gift now? I can try another day.” Always the stoic soldier, is my motto.
“Hmm. Okay, give it to me.”
He then holds out his right hand, as if for a high-five. I attempt to return the gesture with my free hand, but he pulls his arm away.
“I said, give it to me!”
So I attempt to high-five him again, but once more he pulls his hand back. What a joker, I think.
Then Arwyn declares once more, with much vigor: “I SAID I’LL TAKE IT, ZEKE. GIVE ME THE PACKAGE!”
So I eagerly hand him the gift, and walk over to Marmaduke, who’s sitting at the bar.
“Again, thank you so much, Marmaduke!”
“Glad you could make it,” he replies. “Arwyn is unbelievably nice, just like you said. Quite a powerful spirit, so full of life!”
Then Marmaduke leaves his seat to play another round of billiards. Defeated Arwyn disappears into the back, to smoke another Marlboro, no doubt. But I wonder:
Does he want me to follow him back there? Well, I’m sure if he does, he’ll come get me.
So I bounce that thought around, kind of confused whether or not he wants to talk to me. In a little while, sure enough, he returns up front to summon me. So I follow him to the open-air patio, where he solemnly declares:
“Zeke, you need to listen. Please let me do the talking, and don’t say a word.”
I shrug my shoulders in an “okay” gesture.
“I want to apologize to you. The ‘Zeke’ I thought I was talking to over your friend’s cell phone is not you, but my boyfriend whose name is also Zeke, and we’re on the same baseball team.”
Of course I am thunderstruck, but recoup my forces admirably:
“Oh, Arwyn, I’ve been through so much already, this really matters little to me. It’s okay.”
To which he responds: “I am truly sorry.”
Oh I see, I figure to myself. The bar is noisy, and the cell phone reception is less than perfect, so he couldn’t distinguish my voice from that other Zeke. Fuk me with a duck! I am so screwed.
I wave my hands below my waist, as if to vanquish in one instant, the demons that threaten to demolish me.
“NO! No, Arwyn, don’t you feel guilty in the least. This is the sweetest crucifixion I’ve ever had, thank you very much!”
Arwyn chuckles, and I resume: “I just want to be a good friend to you. My feelings towards you may be very intense, but they are purely platonic. I’m so glad you have a boyfriend now, who obviously makes you quite happy. You look really good these days; your Zeke must be doing something right.”
A grin crosses Arwyn’s face, then morphs glum. He taps an accusatory finger at my sternum: “Maybe you checked out the baseball roster, saw his name, and set me up.”
I then look directly into Arwyn’s eyes, and see only a bright spark of light, as if peering down a long, dark tunnel.
“Arwyn,” I state forthrightly and with much heart, “You should know me well enough by now, that I would never pull such a stunt! I respect you too much.” Then I add:
“But here we are, face to face. Destiny’s hand keeps bringing us together. Your Zeke is not here, nor anyone else, but this Zeke is. There must be a really good reason for that.” I pause, to think of anything else I should say, to make things right, then add:
“Hey Arwyn, just think: you have a boyfriend that makes you incredibly happy, and his name is Zeke. Just doesn’t get any better than that!”
Again, a smile, then Arwyn cross-examines further: “So, how does Marmaduke know about me…I mean, us?”
“I’ve read some of my stories to him, where you’re the star,” I honestly reply. “Pilsner Inn is one of the places Marmaduke visits to sell medical marijuana, and he invites me here sometimes, to smoke some bud.” I stop to consider my next words, then speak:
“I came here yesterday by his invite, and brought my latest present in case you showed up. Marmaduke asked me about the package, so I explained. I guess then, when he played pool with you and discovered your name, everything clicked into place, so he called me up to tell me you’re here.”
“Well,” he replies, “Now that we’ve had this talk, I want you to go back to the bar. Again, I am very sorry.”
“Okay,” I finish, and return to the front room, and sit once more, by Marmaduke. And inform him:
“Arwyn says the Zeke he thought he was talking to, was his lover by the same name.”
“OMFG, really?” exclaims Marmaduke.
“Well, you do realize Arwyn is very psychic; in fact, he’s an angel, my guardian angel. He set up this entire scenario.”
“It’s all in your head,” he declares. “He’s not your one-and-only. Zeke, you’re dreaming.”
“I don’t think so,” I defend my own possible (maybe even probable) delusion. “He accepted my gift right away, you saw that. Besides, do you really think it’s a coincidence that we were here yesterday, and Arwyn shows up today, as if he could read my mind? Think about it: he’s a master of Life’s Plot. He telepathically inspired you to come back the next day.”
Another reason suddenly dawns on this jaded soldier’s shell-shocked mind:
“Marmaduke, he also knows I’ve been trying to deliver my latest gift for quite a spell now…so decided I’ve struggled enough, and arranged this bizarre scenario in order to finally accept it. He never does anything without his own brand of wackadoodle panache.”
Marmaduke conjectures: “Hmm, you might have something there. He is quite an extraordinary person!”
I excuse myself to take a leak, and head for the restroom. Right when I whip it out over the porcelain urinal, Arwyn suddenly shows up and asks:
“Do you have four quarters?”
(Kind Reader: again, I fail in my wit to respond with a snappy comeback, such as: “Wow, you really lowered your rate drastically!” *sigh*)
So, with my fly open and wanger hanging out, I search my pockets. No change, just my wallet. Which I open, to show him a solitary bill:
“No, but I have five dollars.”
“Never mind,” he replies, and exits the lavatory.
Now, what was that all about? I wonder, then return to my bar stool, and request the bartender to break my bill, with four quarters in change, and the same number of GW’s. Which quarters I hand over to My Belov-ed Warrior, who inserts them into the pool table slot.
It is then time for Marmaduke to play another round with Arwyn. His behavior turns obnoxious after one drink too many, and he bumps up against Arwyn several times, telling him what a kewl dude he is. Arwyn pushes him away: “Back off buddy, you’re getting a little too fresh for me!”
I feel really ashamed at Marmaduke’s insufferable behavior…for the last thing I ever want to be to Arwyn, is cause for unhappiness or anger of any sort. Marmaduke does have this repulsive side that grates most people the wrong way. In fact, it took more than two years before I could really stomach the guy. Now, we have a much friendlier relationship, but I can’t expect Arwyn or anyone else, to take to him in such a short time. The game over (Marmaduke wins), Arwyn recedes to the back section again. Probably to get away from Marmaduke, I conclude.
Some minutes pass: Marmaduke loses this round and sits once more, beside me. “You’re a bit too drunk,” I gently advise. “Maybe you should go home now.”
Marmaduke’s head is lowered towards his lap, but he raises it: “You know, I think you’re right; I’ll call you tomorrow, Zeke.”
And so he leaves. I remain at the bar, sipping my club soda and wondering where Arwyn is. He finally returns from the deck, approaches me with a somewhat nervous demeanor, and wags a finger.
“You need to get rid of your friend,” he declares.
I calmly look up at him and retort: “I already drove him away five minutes ago.” And take another sip from my glass.
Arwyn looks around, then up front towards the entrance. “Oh. Very good,” he declares, and returns to the pool table ’cause his turn is up once more.
Watching him play is always a pleasant respite in my world. Soon, he ambles to the other side of the table to observe his opponent’s move, and backs up right into me…so close I could hug him with both hands joined (and room to spare; he’s a skinny wag of bodacious glory). He is wearing a floppy, acrylic overshirt with short sleeves. It looks and feels like silk, and displays a tropical motif. Instead, I place the flat of my hand upon his right shoulder blade. At which move he suddenly jumps (but doesn’t pull away.)
“No touching,” he admonishes. And I respond:
“But you were leaning right into me.” Arwyn doesn’t reply.
Never mind that. It’s just a thrill having My Darling so close that he’s between my splayed thighs; touching or no.
Then he returns to the billiard table’s far side to make his next shot.
I decide time to leave, just because I’m still suffering the humiliation of learning that his love over the phone line was actually meant for another, not for this poor trampled soul. I need to go home and lick my suppurating wound of love’s deflection.
So I disengage my butt from the stool, bend and stretch my leg with the arthritic knee several times (to prepare myself for the three-block journey home that has now become a sort of Via Dolorosa), pluck my jacket from the seat, and wave goodbye to Arwyn.
But it’s not over. Arwyn summons me once more, to approach his Divine Visage. He leans into my ear, and declares:
“I may not take your gift. I just might leave it here at the bar.”
Not desiring to appear the least bit of a selfish arse, I counter with:
“Well, I’ll just have to live with that.”
And so I depart, once more a forlorned object of cosmic ridicule and social rejection.
Once home, I sit at my desk with the computer still on–the LCD screen the only light in the entire room–and cross my arms upon the dusty, scratched-up old desk. Well, there’s nothing more to do tonight, I think. Arwyn doesn’t really think of me very often any more. He may think of Zeke each and every waking moment, with infinite delight in his heart…but I’m not that Zeke. I plop my weary head into my folded arms, and weep like a baby.
Hours later, the morning sun peeks bright rays through my dollar-store curtain, and I awake, raise my face to view a screen advertising Viagra.
Great, I muse, just what I don’t need: a hard-on for someone who isn’t there for me, nor ever will be, I suppose.
I check my email, then prepare my usual breakfast of rolled oats with dates, honey, cinammon, flax seed and freshly ground almond powder. As I digest and think upon last night’s bizarre outcome, this new realization dawns on my pre-coffee mind:
I already have Arwyn’s love, and he surely does miss me. Otherwise, long ago he would’ve refused my gifts, and not rub up against me whenever we’re at the same bar, as if an inadvertent brush with a complete stranger. I further conjecture:
His love may be platonic, but it’s remained strong and persistant over these many years, like a promise of future happiness beyond all measure, for which is required no more than my steadfast patience and faith. Then I ponder some details of last night’s affair, that are clearly signs, and not my overwrought imagination:
Arwyn rubbed up against me, and leaned upon my legs for some time. He told me “no touching”…which now I realize is his reminder that no one in public should be made aware that we are actually an item. As a detective on a dangerous case, we cannot be seen together except in this scenario of seeming strangers who happen to be physically close by mere coincidence…and only sporadically at that. If he doesn’t really love me, why would he still bless me with his bodily warmth? I also consider:
So why did he tease me about leaving the gift behind? Like a final twist of the knife in my back, I wonder. No, he is reminding me of the many months I left him similar gifts where he once worked at a taqueria. Never really knowing whether or not he read them, or threw them away. It was all an act of faith on my part. Arwyn has yet to tell me whether or not he’s read any of the printed material contained therein…all of which had to do with my great love and admiration for the man. I grow even more perceptive:
Wait a minute. He suggested that I might have set him up for this Zeke mockery. But he already knows I’d never pull such a dirty trick on him, so what’s really going on? Then it finally dawns on me:
Why, that sneaky little dragon. Arwyn was giving me a clue that he set this all up. It was a prank! Joy now lifts my spirit, and blows away the last of my dallying sorrow.
He set the whole thing up, right down to our very first telecommunication. Chapter 13 of my novel, “The Phone Call,” was my wishful telling of what our first telephone conversation would be like: terribly romantic and sweet. So he finally spoke words of love to me over the phone–this time for real–then pulled the rug from under my feet when I engaged with him at the Pilsner Inn patio.
Arwyn’s a tough dude, and he wants to make me tough, too. He doesn’t want some namby-pamby boyfriend in his life. If I can’t take a joke, then I’m not the one for him. There is no other Zeke in his life (what are the odds)…but if there is, he manipulated the situation in order to prank me.
He gave me the words of his love that I’ve been yearning to hear for nigh unto six years. Then snatched them right back, just to see how nobly I would react.
I think I handled the sham faux pas commendably; I’m sure he was most impressed. Too bad though, I wasn’t quick enough in my wit, to suggest right then, that it was most likely himself who set up this trickster plot. I even surmise that perhaps Marmaduke was complicit in assisting Arwyn’s scheme.
Satisfied with my newfound conclusion as to what really came down last night, I strip my clothes off to take a refreshing shower. Once more, life is good, and my pursuit of Arwyn continues. Stay tuned, Belov-ed Reader.
Oh, and one more thing: When I first entered the Pilsner that landmark night, I caught Marmaduke asking Arwyn how he became such an outstanding piece of work? Arwyn’s reply: “Just how the good Lord made me.”
So now I know: my Beloved Dragon is a Christian. Possibly. If only all Christians were as gracious and spirited as he, there would surely be heaven on earth by now.
Sweet Reader: this isn’t the first time Arwyn has punked me. To read two other prankish episodes by Larkish Arwyn, click here and here. He’s truly the Jester Par Excellence! So good at punking, I never catch on till well after the event, silly fall guy that I am. And hopelessly in love.
Two Thursdays later (June 21st), I see Arwyn once more, at Pilsner Inn. I’ll tell you right now: a most bless-ed outcome ensued. But let’s rewind first, to a couple hours before that auspicious meeting. My very newest street friend, John Bucko (a.k.a. “Bucko”) had already arranged to treat me to a drink or two, at my preferred location…which I decided would be Pilsner, in hopes of seeing Arwyn once more.
Plus, Pilsner Inn is the best gay bar in The Castro, AFAIC. Because unlike all the other straight-laced, conservative bars in the infamous “gay ‘hood”, it is more down-to-earth and thus amenable to our low-income queers (such as moi) who remain barely hanging from their nails to reside in SF. (Well, another possible exception is The Mix, located on 18th near Castro…most likely because this bar also has a pool table and open-air patio.) The onslaught of wealthy LGBT’s in the 90’s and 2000’s has contributed mightily to the outrageous increase in housing prices here in the Bay Area.
There is even a program in the works for gay senior affordable housing. “Affordable” being a euphemism for the lower-tier wealthy in our community…screw the truly poor and homeless! Gay senior housing my arse…just a bunch of wealthy old fags scratching each other’s gold-plated kok rings. Not to mention septuagenarian dykes on motorized $11,000 trikes, disposable colostomy bag holders swinging under the seat like cow’s udder.
John Bucko BTW, is an ex-con out of Washington State who, in spite of his rotten luck, has contributed greatly to society’s betterment, not the least of which is illustrating a prison cookbook. A charity project for which he and author(s) received no monetary compensation…though it certainly makes for an impressive resume. Especially when you consider book sales of more than $50,000 which kept a children’s museum in Washington State from shutting down. Bucko has also assisted various small businesses in making greater profits through his entrepreneurial skills.
Approx’ly 48 years old, Bucko is a sexy, 5-foot-six bald-headed hunk of a dude with silver-blue eyes and a passionate, fun-loving nature. He is not actually living on the streets per se: but resides at various shelters throughout the city, as well as attends workshops and other services that assist folks down on their financial luck. IOW: Bucko is a real go-getter, a dynamo of energy with success written all over that dapper mug.
Here’s a quick sketch he did for This Humble Blogger. The drawing BTW, was inspired by reading him my “Peanuts copyright fiasco” (John H., you remember that silly adventure):
Before Bucko arrives for our date, I am suffering terribly from lower back pain (which I had acquired from Derrick, whose sleep disorder caused him to kick me in the hips most violently one recent night. Thus exacerbating my arthritic grief already present in that area, which had only begun presenting any real difficulties earlier this year.)
Until then, his jerky spasms were actually a healing force of rubbing those buff soccer legs against my own thighs in a sort of deep-tissue physical therapy, that went on sometimes for hours of blissful groping. *Sigh*.
Sadly, after that incident I had no choice but to never again allow him to sleep with me…thus, no more overnight trysts. (Derrick BTW, is profoundly sorry for any misery he has caused; and remains a beloved and most darling friend. Certainly not his fault my love life has always been so cursed. I first knew him as “J.J.” for several months, before he told me his real name; click here to read a piece I wrote about him.) Pain so bad in fact, I had to cry and plead to Goddess for some relief.
Though it isn’t just the physical agony that breaks my spirit, but also the stress of taking onto my weary shoulders, more homeless buddies with incredibly difficult, tragic lives, and deepest need for true friendship. What with my severely limited funds, and crummy, claustrophobic SRO that offers minimal comfort and privacy to stray dragons.
I weep for Randolph. I weep for Arwyn. I weep for all my street friends whose struggles to survive and even thrive under most difficult odds, are truly heroic, and an inspiration to my restless soul. I’m a quivering bag of misfit nerves. Pleading to Arwyn in my heart:
“Please, buddy, I am hurting way too much at this point, for all these crosses dumped unceremoniously upon my weary back. I beg of you: please show some real compassion, even if it’s just another outrageous prank. Punk me all you want; I love that, and have no complaints. But I truly need a break from this terrible stress.
I love you so much, Arwyn, and now’s a really good time to love me back in a big way. I’m really hurting right now, my dear friend…for all the kindness I’ve bestowed upon my long-suffering street pals, with little compassion in return. Not the least of which is you.”
Tears still stream down my face (though the back pain is beginning to subside), by the time Bucko shows up.
“Hey Zeke, you hurtin’?” he stops at my door to inquire, then holds me in his arms.
“No, no, I’ll be alright in a little,” I remark, so glad to feel his knuckles running up and down my aching spine. “It’s the arthritis. Plus a lot of memories, PTSD, whatever. Thanks. I’m glad you showed up.”
Already feeling much better, thanks to Bucko’s sweet concern, another buddy shows up minutes later: Carl. Yet one more gorgeous dude and new street friend. At this point, I’m smiling and so grateful for their kind presence.
Carl is but five-foot-two, though physically buff with a gorgeous chest and nips I could lick for days, and a most noble, handsome face. Truly, a sweet, delightful specimen of manly orgasm. Sleeping with him and being in each other’s arms is a magnificent, nocturnal fantasy come true. He has a remarkably gorgeous profile to gaze upon in my bed, by the light of streetlamp through my shaded window.
Really, I can’t get enough of him. Until quite recently, he’s been a “professional” shoplifter, and offered to bring me several items for my health that I could no longer afford (thanks to gov’t cutbacks on my disability stipend)…such as aloe vera gel and vitamins. But just two days ago when he last drops over, declares:
“My shoplifting days are over. I got caught yesterday, but they let me go. I take that as a warning.”
So much for black market windfall. I think. Just glad to have Carl in my life, and that he wasn’t carted off to prison.
So Carl takes a hot shower and departs (after much hugging and smooching), whence Bucko and myself hike on down to Pilsner.
Sure enough, Arwyn is in the midst of billiards when we arrive. But he immediately lays down the cue stick and approaches:
“Do you have some more stories to give me?” To which I reply:
“I’d love to hand you more tales, but I’m too damned broke to afford printer ink.”
Having said that, I accept a vodka tonic from Bucko, whence we two retire to the patio for a smoke. Arwyn joins us after playing another round, and stands to the left of my seated self, facing me. Plants a foot on the bench and gazes silently upon my lone visage, with much affection. I grow blush, look up at those fiery eyes and remark:
“Oh, Arwyn. You know I love you very much,” then take a long puff on my Pall Mall. “That will never change.”
My Darling Dragon remains quiet, and I squirm a bit under his loving aura.
Arwyn invites me to be his partner in a round of pool with Bucko and another player (whose name, and even appearance, I forget). Despite my lousy skills at billiards, I’m in a state of ecstasy. Just to be interacting with Lover Dragon is a great joy.
Well, after that round (don’t remember who won), Bucko and myself step back out to the patio for another smoke. Arwyn joins us. Marty also sits with us, who I believe is a good friend of Arwyn’s, perhaps a paramour. I decide this is an opportune moment to display my selfless magnanimity, so stand up close to Arwyn, and declare:
“Arwyn, I am so glad you have a boyfriend who makes you so happy. Even if his name is also Zeke.” To which he declares:
“I don’t have a boyfriend named Zeke.”
So I take this in stride, and sit down once more. To enjoy the cool air, Arwyn’s presence, and the beautiful evening overall. (Note to my Dear Readers: would that I were quick-witted enough to have replied: “I wish you did have a boyfriend named Zeke.” Oh, well, I’m not the sharpest tac in the box.)
A little time later, I find myself seated beside Marty on a bench in the patio, my right arm about his narrow shoulders. Marty is a handsome and very skinny long-haired blond of approx’ly 40 years old. Don’t know why I’m so captivated by him. Perhaps it is because he is so much a part of Arwyn’s spirit (and even, perhaps, Arwyn’s lover). And I tell him:
“Marty, so nice to see you again, after all these years.” I squeeze him with great fondness. “How ya doin’ these days, girlfriend?” To which he replies in wistful tones:
Don’t remember what else we discussed, but I gave him much affection for the remaining time, before Bucko and I finally departed for the night. Hopefully, Arwyn will be at Pilsner the following Thursday, when I plan to show up by my lone some. Wish me luck, Benevolent Readers!
Next Thursday finally arrives, so around 10pm I hike two blocks up Market Street to my bank’s ATM. Thinking, of course, that I have a dollar or two over 20 remaining, until my next Social Security deposit on the third. So I could purchase a club soda at Pilsner’s ($2.25 plus 75-cent tip), see Arwyn (hopefully), and have $17 left for food money. Or $16 if I play a round of pool.
Stick my debit card in the ATM slot, key in my PIN, and tap the “Account Statement” button…only to discover a total $19.81 to my name. Curses.
Nothing left to do then but return home and plot the overthrow of this miserly nation. Such is my life story: a comedy of errors.
And good night to you, Kind Reader. ZZZzzzzzz.