[ Free Me From This Bond: Chapter 14 ]
Once upon a time, there was a Brave Little Dragon named Zeke or Gene (he couldn’t really make up his mind) who cared so much about his homeless and otherwise disenfranchised gay brothers, that he didn’t know when (or even how) to back off when danger came his way, or when he walked into shit flying full force in a gale.
It was Year 2005 when his tender spirit broke in Great Sorrow from his dear buddy Johnnie. Who had gone back to shooting up heroin after 29 days on a detox program. Johnnie turned on Gene with vile words and false accusations, after almost an entire year of a remarkably sweet friendship. (In fact, it was Zeke’s affections that encouraged Johnnie to get off smack in the first place.) Johnnie would even give Gene a hug each and every morn before departing for the day, topped off with a tender kiss on the forehead.
Not for many moons did Zeke know why this wicked turn in their friendship; he only thought it was an effect of chasing the dragon. As it turns out, it was more than that…for Gene finally discovered the true source of Johnnie’s bitterness. His father had died. His dad was only 55, same age as Zeke.
Just two weeks before this tragic downfall, Johnnie had told Gene: “My father is the very best friend in my life, Zeke. There is no one that even comes close to him in my heart, except for one person. And that’s you.”
Gene was so touched by Johnnie’s loving words, his heart sang every single day, and every night as he dreamt. Until…(as you just learned) the Demons of Despair came swiftly to sever this Golden Cord of Brotherly Regard. With great and unjustified hostility, Johnnie exited from Zeke’s life, forever (or so it seemed). Now, Zeke was also bitter; so he began spitting all over the floor and in other ways allowed his once-elegant SRO to become an absolute dump.
[ Do not despair, Kind Reader, for in so suffering, Gene shared Johnnie’s bitterness which, in due time, shall bring them back together w/Johnnie clean of drugs, and their friendship elevated to a Heavenly State of Affairs. ]
He sought some kind of refuge, where he might start licking his Wounds of Defeat. Heard that a gay bar called “Hole in the Wall Saloon” was a great place to kick back and listen to really good, and LOUD, rock ‘n’ roll. (Hole in the Wall never plays disco crap.) So there he went, and sat in the darkest corner, and kept to himself.
And of course, that is also where Zeke and Arwyn were brought together for the first time, in what will eventually turn out to be a most astounding gay bromance. But it didn’t start out that way.
For (unbeknownst to Gene at the time) Arwyn was an undercover detective embedded at The Hole in order to bust a group of Hell’s Angels running drugs through all the gay bars South of Market, plus two bars here in the Castro. (One of these two, “The Detour,” has since shut down.)
But Zeke had already fallen head over tail for Arwyn, so refused to leave the saloon when Arwyn had confronted his new-found buddy:
“Gene, it is very dangerous for you to hang out here, especially when you’re a friend to me.” He lowered his noble orange-haired head and looked at Zeke directly in the eyes: “So, will you please go now?”
With that, Arwyn returned to his billiards, leaving Gene in a gloomy space, and never spoke to him again…at least, not for five sad years (actually, three, but memory loss made it seem longer). Zeke refused to leave the Hole; he loved Arwyn that much, and at least was rather delighted to watch from afar, Arwyn’s antics around the pool table, and listen to rock ‘n’ roll pounding through hyper-amped speakers, and let thoughts of His Johnnie sink into the Moors of Forgetfulness.
Though be assured that, should anyone ever threaten Gene at The Hole (or later, the Eagle), Arwyn would abruptly drive them out with great anger. Which eventually cost him dearly, as he was instructed (by South-of-Market drug lords) to never defend Zeke, or there’d be Hades to pay. And so he did: his room was burnt down, and Gene was dosed with intent to drive him insane.
In a little more time, without either speaking a word to the other (as Arwyn would not allow), Zeke figured out the situation (that Arwyn is an undercover sleuth), and cleverly became Arwyn’s sidekick. He played the lure, the fall guy, and decoy. Which made the Orange County Detective’s work far easier, by bringing these drug-dealing murderous skanks out of the woodwork. Eventually, though, Gene was driven out of The Hole for good, by a violent threat of a sharp blade to his gut, should he ever show up there again. Of course, Arwyn was not present at the time, and the bartender on duty chose to look the other way; thus Zeke had no choice but to leave the Hole for good.
So Gene started hanging out at the Eagle Tavern a few blocks away (12th & Harrison), for he knew that Arwyn enjoyed frequenting that space, too. Sometimes, when he could afford it (a rare occasion), he’d buy Arwyn a drink. Though only via the barkeep’s hand, as Zeke still could not speak to Arwyn, or even get within ten feet of him. About a year later, Gene discovered Arwyn working at a taqueria right next door to his now-verboten hangout, the Hole in the Wall.
So every Wednesday, Zeke would order a small meal and enjoy watching Arwyn at work: a 6-foot-4 handsome giant who towered above the several diminutive Mexican workers. An absolutely sweet and sometimes hilarious scenario…of which Arwyn was quite aware, and made the most of. Still, Gene was not allowed to speak to him, except to place an order. But Zeke did find endearing ways to compliment him from time to time, without exposing their sweet relationship. Such as (after placing his order which was always chile rellenos) remarking: “Not only is the food here quite good, but the view is outstanding.” By “the view” of course, he meant Arwyn’s Glorious Mug, for there was nothing impressive to see out the picture window: just a busy intersection surrounded by drab buildings and the occasional wino and bums with shopping carts rattling on by.
Gene sought additional (non-vocal) ways to express his love for this Orange County Gumshoe, by writing one blog every two or three weeks, about Arwyn and how simply being in his presence makes Zeke so ridiculously happy. He’d slip a printout of each episode (secured in a decorated plastic folder), beneath an old newspaper. Since Arwyn also cleared tables, he’d be the first to find it. This lasted almost a year, before Gene decided to cease his weekly visits, in order to make clear he was no stalker. Two months later, the restaurant closed. Those blog entries BTW, now compose his online novel called “The Arwyn Chronicles”…29 chapters in all!
When the Taqueria Phase ended, Arwyn made sure Zeke could see him within every two or three weeks, by showing up nearby. Say, walking in opposite direction along the sidewalk, and passing by as if neither knew the other. Or some months later, showing up out of the blue, now employed at a local bar (“The Metro,” which has since shut down) right across the street from Gene’s apartment building.
[ Darling Reader: may I remind you that Arwyn’s keen telepathy certainly helped the process along. ]
Zeke could now look right out the hallway window and see Arwyn at work, or smoking a ciggie on the wraparound deck; the bar was on the second floor, as was Gene’s SRO. So he’d sometimes visit, buy a drink and enjoy Arwyn’s presence once more, from a respectful distance.
Some days, Zeke would even stand kitty corner across the street, and hold his hat to his heart while looking up at Arwyn who took frequent cigarette breaks on the sundeck. This way, Gene could send his love from a very safe distance, with no one the wiser. (It was a large, busy 5-corner intersection at Market, 16th, and Noe.) Arwyn would just puff on a Marlboro with vigor while looking directly at his Beloved Sidekick, for as long as he could before returning to work. An element of humor in these little scenarios was not lost on Zeke; surely Arwyn’s playful spirit was a great balm.
Around this time (of “The Metro”) the funding for this assignment from Orange County dried up, and busting the Hell’s Angels drug runners became a cold case. Arwyn was therefore required to return to Southern California, or lose his career. In a heartbeat, he chose the latter. No way was he going to leave his Beloved Amigo vulnerable to these cult fanatics, for Gene would likely be severely crippled (or even murdered) as a result.
So in losing his noble job, he also lost his health benefits, and thus began the rotting and loss of his gorgeous pearly whites. Small sacrifice to pay in his mind, in order to protect the soul of one so dear.
Arwyn turned to hustling men in their 70’s mostly, at select gay bars in The Castro…not for sex of course, but for nightly companionship. Fully clothed or in pajamas, he’d hold these lonely (though affluent) elder gentlemen in his gangly arms, and make them feel very much loved and appreciated. Mornings, Arwyn would usually fix them coffee and breakfast in his underwear, and tell many cheerful jokes and compliments.
If there’s one thing Arwyn excels at, it’s bringing joy to the hearts of aging (or severely disabled) men who otherwise would have no purpose in their lonely lives, or any reason to get out of bed each day. Some suffered major health issues, such as cancer, AIDS and even dementia. Arwyn loved ’em all, to the point where they found life exceedingly wonderful again (or perhaps even for the first time). He graced them with his beauty, friendship and humor…and in exchange received $100 to $500 a nightly pop.
He could’ve gotten so much more because of his startling good looks and talent…but he intentionally sought more needful clientele. For Arwyn is truly a lover to his brothers in great need…he uses his Dragon-Given Beauty for all the right reasons. And this is why Gene harbors such golden affection for this Most Courageous and Compassionate Detective: the first man ever to make him forget his other great love, Randolph Louis Taylor.
So now we are caught up to the present time, and the completion of this episode (Chapter 13). Arwyn is so close to busting these scoundrels, he can taste it like stale tobacco from an overnight tryst. And Zeke will soon have this novel published and become wealthy beyond anyone’s comprehension (and of course, outrageously, impossibly, scintillatingly famous as well). Their teeth will be repaired by the best oral surgeons and dental technicians money can buy (or simply healed in a flash by Dragonly White Magic). And Gene will open his first home for severely disabled gay veterans, employing his buddies off the streets to be their companions, maintain the building and grounds, and handle the books.
Truly, a Happily Ever After Gay Real Life Fairytale!
Arwyn and I have to live apart a while longer, until Arwyn’s calling is complete; that is: the bust and arrest of these Disciples of the Zodiac Killer a.k.a. “Hell’s Angels drug runners”. For it is still too dangerous for us two Love Dragons to be seen together; but this will soon end in a few weeks, or a few months (but no more). Then, we’ll rush off to the Outer Hebrides for our belated honeymoon.
(But not before I am first honored at the Gay Pride Festival, and declare secession of Northern California from these Disunited States, and establish the Queerest Nation on the Planet.)
[ FYI: I am also the Chief Leader of the Seven Celtic Nations…which shall soon secede from the European Union and declare its own nationhood. So you see, Astute Reader, the motive to celebrate my marriage somewhere in Scotland, is not without ulterior intent! ]
Be assured that both Arwyn and myself will do everything possible to bring these criminals to justice; but we won’t stop there. Under the inspiration of the Buddha’s tenet that “we have no enemies, only teachers” (or Jesus’s command to “love thine enemy”), we’ll fight to redeem their lost souls, and direct them towards a much better and ethical life. I’d like to employ at least some of them as companions for the home I soon plan to open, for severely disabled lesbian and gay veterans.
BTW, if you likewise take to heart the perspective that we have no enemies, only teachers: you will have a much easier go of it when dealing with your own life crises, no matter how insurmountable they presently seem. It will turn all your difficulties into a beautiful game, and eventually, all your trials into blessings. For further details into this matter, please read the following essay I wrote back in Y2K:
[ Kind Reader: I want Hell’s Angels busted not because of the hard drugs per se, but because they are all heterosexual. The Gay Community has its own criminal underbelly, and deserves to run the show. After all, didn’t we already go through Hetero Overlords controlling our bars via the Mafia, back in the day? Furthermore: why it was necessary to send a detective all the way south from Orange County (more than 600 miles), in order to bust a local drug ring, is still a mystery to me. But I’m sure glad it came down that way! ]
Why is Arwyn far more telepathic than myself? Because he is my Guardian Dragon, sent from Avalon to guide and protect this wretched little soul. He has to be more psychic in order to perform his Goddess-given duties to free me from this earthly bond. (No, doesn’t mean I’m gonna die; just means I’ll have a New Life in this present world that will soon transform into a garden paradise.)
“Chasing the dragon”: a term used metaphorically to mean inhaling heroin fumes. However, in my tale of Arwyn’s love and courage as a dragon from Avalon, I transform the term into something rarified and divine. Such is the noble goal of alchemy. Speaking of which:
In the Hebrew mystical teachings of the Kabala, it is said that, should a person search for truth with all his heart and all his courage, he will eventually find it, and be as much regarded and loved by the angels as Our Creator Herself. With this Golden Apple that I have won through such dedication towards Queer Equality, I get to play “Queen for a Day” so to speak. Though this “day” will last for months, perhaps years. Even Jesus Himself will step aside, that I may be the world’s savior for a time. This is truly a remarkable blessing beyond anything I could ever conceive. Believe me, dear reader, when I say I often fall to the ground in awestruck wonder!
[ Well, Seraphic Reader, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But I do sometimes suffer anxiety attacks, wobble at the knees and suffer body shakes whenever I’m aware of Such A Great Blessing that has come to this shattered soul. ]
Of course, being a spiritual guardian to me, also means Arwyn is a tough task master. Whatever he knows I need to go through, no matter how seemingly harsh, he won’t hesitate to begin the process…for the sooner it starts, the sooner it will end. His cold shoulder, the silence of not speaking with me (or acknowledging my very existance) was not just a necessary form of protection from violent criminals, but served this other purpose:
In so treating me this way, it sharpened my telepathic abilities as well as my writing skills. For in such powerful desire to communicate to him my love, and my struggles for us both, I had no outlet but to write it all down, then print it out and deliver my tales to him. (Arwyn doesn’t mess around with computers or the Internet, so I couldn’t just hope he’d go online every week or so, to be updated.) It was quite a Herculean Challenge to say the least, but I trust his Wise Affections to never lead me astray, no matter how impossible may seem the obstacle he places before me.
In short: I’m a VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY lucky man! (And you are too, once you learn to listen to your own Guardian Dragon.)
PS: I was bored this morning, so I googled the word “draco” to find this incredible article dated January 2011:
Good riddance AIDS et al (and hello Age of Aquarius)…blessings on us all!