Ultimatum

March 14, 2013

[ Free Me From This Bond (the sequel): Chapter 1 ]

{{ Kind Reader: the following letter was snail-mailed to Phillip McKay, c/o the Twin Peaks Tavern, where he hangs out several times per week. }}


March 14, 2013

My Dear Phillip:

I do not understand why you now tell me you don’t want to use your real name in my book…when you’ve had so many opportunities previous to this, to say so. There is one possibility that has occurred to me:

You said some weeks back that you don’t read. I could be wrong, but my hunch is that you can’t read or write very well. So perhaps you can’t even write your signature…though I find this strange, because most people who can’t write have at least learned to compose their signature.

But if my hunch is correct, I think you are afraid that I’ll discover this about you. And I understand perfectly the humiliation often experienced towards such good folks; thus they do their best to hide this from the world. But you should know:

Even if you can’t write or read (except with much difficulty), you are still my hero. For this shortcoming simply shows me that you’ve achieved great success in your life in spite of the many odds against you. And surely, being illiterate (or having dyslexia, which is also a possibility I consider) is a most painful challenge to overcome.

I loved another man who couldn’t read or write well, yet he carved out an excellent life living in his van with a little Dingo pup, and earned his living by reselling furniture and other items at flea markets. He’d spruce up these items to make them look almost new again. I also helped him sign any checks he received, so he could cash them. Unfortunately, in spite of my friendship and trust, he couldn’t handle my knowing this secret about him, and left me for good. Last time I saw his handsome face was way back in 1990.

I would hate to lose you over something like this. But I assure you: whether or not our friendship resumes, I will never blab this secret to anyone. You have my utter respect, and always will.

Do you realize that any kind of scrawl on paper by a dyslexic or illiterate person is the legal equivalent to a signature? Nonetheless, you could practice signing your own name until you get it right. It should take no more than a few days, 20 minutes practice each day. Otherwise, even an illegible scrawl is quite acceptable.

I could be wrong about this (writing/reading issues), in which case I apologize for jumping to conclusions. You are a great man to me, yet I am saddened by your suddenly avoiding me, as if you’re not glad to see me any more. After all, you’ve been so sweet for several months, starting some time in October straight through to late January.

Here’s why I believe it’s very important to use your real name:

You deserve full credit for over half the stories in my novel, seeing as it is you who created such marvelous adventures that I’ve been so inspired to write down. And I know full well, they could only happen from a lovely and compassionate friendship towards me. I’m simply your recording secretary. And I have every intention of giving you 51% of my profits from this book, assuming it becomes a bestseller. I will provide you with that money in any way that suits you. This I promise, whether or not you ever want to see me again.

But I think you already know this about me. Yet I find it disturbing that all of a sudden you give me a cold shoulder. I’ve certainly proven to you over these 6-plus years that I love you, trust you, and appreciate so much your many kindnesses. I’ve always been here for you, even for those three or so years you’ve avoided me, walked by me as if we were strangers, or I was some kind of pest. A treatment which I’m quite used to since coming to San Francisco in 1973.

God only knows why I have to go through the backstabbing and loneliness that has occurred for most of my life. But I have faith that it serves some kind of purpose that has to do with strengthening my soul. For you see, Phillip, that I too am a success against many odds. Yet I believe you already know all this, and am thus very sad and perplexed at your resuming avoidance of me.

If you really don’t want to use your real name, here is one I’ve chosen: “Arwyn Miles.” However, if you’d prefer some other name, just let me know. The only problem is:

Without permission to use your real name, I’d also have to change your description, the names of the bars and places to fictitious ones…and change anything else in my book that could even remotely reveal your true identity to any reader. As a result, my entire novel will unravel, and deny the bars and people I’ve written about any recognition or credit for their kind contribution my stories. The main purpose of my book is not to just benefit myself, but others as well, including Hole in the Wall Saloon, the Eagle Tavern, and so forth.

Turning the book from a true story into a work of fiction would also deny you any lucrative opportunities to earn good money. I think you’d be a fantastic professional party mixer for gay events. That’s just an idea I have, but with the success of my book (assuming I can use your real name), you will have many other options to pursue a vocation that is both rewarding and financially generous.

Perhaps you haven’t actually read any of these chapters. But if so (whether on your own or via a friend who read them aloud to you), then you already know: I speak well of you throughout, as I do everyone else. There is no bad thing I’ve said about anyone (even if perhaps they deserve it).

If you’ve read the chapter called “Angus Mac Og’s Bounty,” then you already know my hopes if the novel becomes successful. In case you didn’t, here’s the relevant passage:

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.

I’m sorry this letter is so long, but you give me no other choice, seeing as you are now avoiding me. This is not the first time you’ve put me through a most difficult challenge. I hope that the reason for this, is you’ve intentionally tossed this challenge at my feet, to see how I handle it. And in so doing, gain greater strength and wisdom.

Yet, don’t you think you’ve required of me more than my fair share of sacrifices on your behalf? Isn’t it time after so many years, for you to cease such difficulties you put me through?

For I’ve done way more than my share to prove to you my friendship, including the fact that you can trust me beyond anyone else you’ve ever met. But if you deem fit to continue placing such obstacles before me, I’ll refuse to accept them as challenges to overcome. Which of course (and sadly) means I will have to say “goodbye” to you. Not that I’ll ever stop loving you but, good grief, enough is enough.

In case you prefer to never see me again, I will assume just that, and never talk or associate with you for the rest of my pathetic life. Assuming that’s the case (as I really am tired of running through one gauntlet after another, just to prove my great love and respect for you, after so many years):

This is goodbye, Phillip. Don’t know why you’ve done this to me, after so many times you’ve been so compassionate towards me (between those times you ignore and shun me), but:

NO MORE! I GIVE UP! IT IS NOT RIGHT FOR YOU TO TEST ME IN SUCH A COLD MANNER!

I’ve already suffered way too many years over my Randolph, and other men I’ve befriended. If it must be, I will live out the rest of my life alone, probably move to Portland where the rent is affordable. I can get a really nice studio apartment for the price I now pay for my crummy room.

Goodbye, Phillip. I truly love you, but I can’t be treated like an unwanted nuisance any more by you. The ball’s entirely in your court. If you still want to see me, please cease the cold shoulder and reach out. I would be the happiest man in the world if you do that. But as you see: I’m not holding my breath.

All my love (though with reservation),

– Zeke

PS: I hate to think you’re just a mean muthuh fukkuh, after all; but there is now that consideration in my heart. I’m most sorry to tell you this.


Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2013 22:57:24
Subject:
So I’ve decided…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

…not to make a big deal over Phillip not wanting to use his real name. Next time I see the darlin’ man, I’ll ask him if he likes “Arwyn Miles” for a fictitious name. Tell him he has several weeks to decide on any name he wants, so long as it’s dignified.

I just want so much to tell the world what a magnificent man he is. But I guess my ego got in the way, and I have no right to use his real name, if he doesn’t want.

Of course, El, I realize that Phillip loves to present me with one challenge after another. Let’s just say (as my brother did in our latest phone call) he’s a “ball-buster.”

So be it. I’ve busted my balls over him for almost 8 years now. So what’s another ball-bust, but another challenge to move ahead and present to the world, one of the most amazing and true love stories ever told?

Then again, at the last moment he might decide after all, that I should use his real name. I am prepared for that.

Love ya,

Zeke


Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2013 10:56:00
Subject:
With a little hindsight now…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

…this is all so fukkin funny. Phillip sure knows how to weave a story
in real life! I’m simply his recording secretary.


Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2013 11:17:13
Subject:
Re: With a little hindsight now…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ That’s right! He’s adding a rich layer to your story! }}

Book 2.


Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2013 11:41:08
Subject:
Ha ha, I came up w/a better name than “Cory Quinn”!
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Belvedere Dewlap.


Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2013 12:02:01
Subject:
Re: Ha ha, I came up w/a better name than “Cory Quinn”!
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ I love the word “dewlap.” Conjures hummingbirds and St. Bernards at the same time. }}

That’s just the Prozac talking. 0_o


Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2013 12:14:31
Subject:
Re: Ha ha, I came up w/a better name than “Cory Quinn”!
From: Eleanor
To: Zeke

With forked tongue.


Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 19:35:25
Subject:
So I sent the letter…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

…that you just read, to Phillip McKay, c/o Twin Peaks Tavern. Included in that envelope is a SASE to my agent at Twosome Press, along with the form that he can sign, giving me permission to use his real name. Since I don’t know his present address, this seems to me the best solution.

Come hell or high water. I will move to Portland in a month or two, assuming he rejects my request.

– Zeke


Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 19:36:16
Subject:
And of course…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

…assuming Phillip’s rejection, the book will not be published.


Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 22:00:04
Subject:
Re: And of course…
From: Eleanor
To: Zeke

Truly, I think all you need to do is use a fictitious name for Phillip. You don’t have to change anything else. You call it a “novel,” which means fiction, no matter how true to life it is. Plenty of novels use
actual places and names of places.
Didn’t you ask him if he’d be okay with a changed name??


Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 22:22:29
Subject:
Re: And of course…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ Zeke, you can’t not publish the book just because of Phillip. }}

The book’s about Phillip. Be that as it is, I am in emotional turmoil at the moment.

I hope to sort this all out, in a few days. Thanks much for your kind concern.

It will be a major headache to rewrite everything, and in so doing I will lose the heart of my message.

– Zeke


Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 22:27:46
Subject:
Re: So I sent the letter…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ Didn’t you ask him if he’d be okay with a changed name?? }}

He won’t give me that chance. He’s a muthuh fukkuh.

If I use a fictitious name, he can still sue me, because it will be very easy for readers here in SF to figure out who “Arwyn Miles” really is. Thus I need to change everything else. Which will defeat the entire purpose of my book.

Let’s just keep our fingers crossed, that Phillip will answer my heartfelt appeal.

Meanwhile, I live in hell. Not to be a drama queen, but this current situation is the most painful time I’ve ever known. I feel like saying “fuk you” to the entire world.

– Zeke


Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 22:35:18
Subject:
Let’s just say…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

…I am devastated. Phillip’s sudden cold shoulder is terribly mean. I
have no idea how to deal with this.

I can only trust Time’s healing of this wound.

But for the moment, I am utterly and profoundly lost. The book can not be published w/o his real name. Of that, I am certain.

– Zeke


Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 22:53:34
Subject:
Re: So I sent the letter…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ Truly, I think all you need to do is use a fictitious name for Phillip. }}

Most likely, Twosome Press will require more than that, if they are professional in their regard. For changing a real character’s name also requires that I alter whatever details that would allow the reader to figure out his real identity.

And doing so require that I also change the locales, etc., in order to protect me from any lawsuit.

So I doubt Twosome would go for a simple name change. In spite of my signing a contract that my publication frees them of any legal indemnity.

What a quandary. If only my first book were pure fiction. Oh, well.

Of course, I will send them my revised manuscript w/Phillip McKay’s name changed to “Arwyn Miles.” (I’ve decided that surname “Quinn” will evoke an Eskimo image in the reader’s mind.)

I’m now gonna drown my sorrows in Neil Young. Have a great night. Somehow, some way, I believe Phillip will pull through for me. Though right now, I’m swimming in a sea of feces.

– Zeke


Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 23:10:29
Subject:
It is possible…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

…that Phillip wants to see if I have the guts to tell him to fuk off. Whether or not that’s true, I certainly will!

I’m just extremely tired of all this testing, with no reward except a handful of dirt. This has got to stop.

– Zeke


Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 23:10:29
Subject:
Re: It is possible…
From: Eleanor
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ Zeke, I know you don’t believe me that a disclaimer and a name change are all you need, so let me consult some people I know in the professional publishing world. Okay? Really, you’re despairing too soon, and unnecessarily, I think. It’s true that Phillip is behaving like a donkey turd, but that shouldn’t scuttle the whole project, nor your hopes. Stand by. }}

My agent didn’t say anything about changing character description and locales…just names. But all that I’ve read about copyright issues, indicates I have to. Not that I don’t believe you. Thanks much for your help. I am eager for your report.

– Zeke


Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 23:54:43
Subject:
And the bartender at Twin Peaks Tavern…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

…will probably approach Phillip a few days from now, and say:

“Phillip! There’s a letter for you!’

He’ll accept it begrudgingly, for he’s already figured who’s it from:

Of course: Zeke! He’s sent me several letters once before, at the old
Hole in the Wall Saloon.

Then he’ll fold the letter twice w/o opening it, and tuck it in his left hip pocket.

Some days later we’ll cross paths, probably right by Twin Peaks–in front of which I’ll be crossing the street in hopes he’ll notice me–and he’ll come running out to stop me, and holler:

“ZEKE!!!”

At which moment I’ll turn around and stare at him icily (behind my dollar-store sunglasses) and respond:

“Yeah, whaddya want now?” And he retorts:

“Zeke, don’t start sending me letters at a bar, again!” So I reply:

“Who are you? Do I know you? Do I look very much like a friend who’s long-gone, but you miss dearly?”

To which Phillip will respond according to script:

“Okay muthuh fukkuh, you got me figured out. I give up, I’ll be totally honest.”

And then he holds me in his arms, never to let go again.

With great love and hope,

– Zeke


Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 23:54:43
Subject:
Re: And the bartender at Twin Peaks Tavern…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ You’re a fine fiction writer…. }}

I astound myself with such an incredible gift. Reading stuff I wrote years ago blows me away. I’ve always been a top notch author. And poet, if I do say so myself.

I think my email chapters are a contemporary form of belles lettres.

Luv ya,

Zeke


Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2013 14:38:43
Subject:
On the back of the envelope…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

…addressed to Phillip c/o the Twin Peaks Tavern I put these two stickers: (see attachment).

I have also conjectured that Phillip’s reading problem may be due to bad eyes. I’ve seen him in the last year or so, pull out a pair of reading glasses now and then, to peruse a page or label.

Just so you know: I am pretty much recovered from my anxiety attacks over this latest conundrum. I feel pretty much at peace w/the situation. Phillip has for the most part, been such a kind friend.

Plus, there are many people now watching our backs. Who I’m sure will approach Phillip and convince him to give me permission to use his real name.

I think the whole purpose of his latest stunt is to add to the intrigue over getting the novel published. Blood, sweat and tears make for a great tale.

Nonetheless, I’ll make myself scarce from the Castro for considerable weeks if not months. It is time now for him to stop the testing and sacrifices. If he loves me (and of course he does), he’ll come through w/flying crullers. If not, well, Portland here I come! A new life, a new adventure.

It’s just that I feel in my heart that Phillip couldn’t bear even the thought of my disappearing from his life for good. Guess it’s time to turn the tables and put him on the spot.

I’m such a sucker for him. Even through the difficult cycles, he fills my spirit w/incredible hope and inspiration. LOVE CONQUERS ALL.

– Zeke


Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2013 17:53:33
Subject:
Re: On the back of the envelope…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ Hmmm. If he has reading glasses, he probably reads….. }}

Phillip’s a man of many mysteries.

{{ Okay. Well. Let me see what I can find out. But if he doesn’t give you permission to use his real name, and you can use the pseudonym without fear of consequences, and I’ll try to find out if that’s so, then I urge you to go ahead with your book. You can’t let this foul things up!!!!!!! You’ve worked too hard, it’s too good!! This is one writer to another. }}

I will indeed upload my final manuscript to Twosome Press, in hopes they will accept a simple name change vs. changing all the other details. This will be in about a week.

– Zeke


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 12:11:27
Subject:
Is this feasible?
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

You mentioned the disclaimer, stating something like: “All characters are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people is strictly coincidental.” And that Capote did just that. But didn’t he also change the descriptions as well as names, of these characters? Or did he describe them exactly as they really look?

I would think that if this were legal, there’d be a whole industry of exposé novels using that tactic…yet I’m not aware of that. Also:

There are some characters that gave me permission to use their real name, such as yourself, Susan Crummit and Gary Clayton (bartender at Hole in the Wall).

I was thinking of a disclaimer like so:

The tales told in this novel are all based on actual and extraordinary events, embellished with my own Gonzo-style flights of fancy. Therefore it is both fiction and nonfiction. Or as some would call it: a “pseudo-autobiography.” Some character names and descriptions are fictitious, others are not. Any resemblance to real people of these fictitious characters is strictly coincidental.

Though I don’t see how I could get away with that, as it would be quite easy in a court of law for Phillip to prove that he is the main character. That I did not change his description in the least. Furthermore: I seriously doubt that Twosome Press would go along.

Which of Capote’s novels is this? I’d like to see for myself how he went about it.

At any rate, guess I can change Phillip’s description as well as name…though his being so tall plays a vital function in the tale. Plus Hole in the Wall Saloon to something else, San Francisco to a fictitious town, etc. etc. But I’ll have to keep the dragon that hangs from the ceiling of the place…a real giveaway for any local denizen that frequents that bar. Or maybe change the dragon sculpture into a wall mural.

But my whole point for publishing this book is it’s a true story…all the tales are precisely how they came down, to the best of my recollection. In short, I’d rather trash the novel, than claim it’s fiction.

“Free Me From This Bond:” the title is far more appropriate than even I, the author, imagined!

And it’s still on the web in its complete form. Perhaps my destiny is to become celebrated as an underground author, and the mainstream audience can just go screw themselves.

I trust Phillip’s wisdom, as odd as this may sound, and as odd (yet wonderful) a man he is.

In my faith that Destiny shall weave an ultimately successful result through this book…I have the noble obligation of washing out any anger or sadness this amazing twist in fate has caused me in the immediate shock.

What a story, eh? And this one, too, is true!!!

Love,

Zeke


Date: 18 Mar 2013 13:45:47
Subject:
Re: Is this feasible?
From: Eleanor
To: Zeke

It’s technically “fiction” if, as you say, you “embellished” the events with “Gonzo-style flights of fancy.” You shouldn’t worry too much about the classification. You call it a “novel,” which definitely implies fiction. Good fiction is always rooted in truth, and laced with truth. That’s what makes it great. So don’t worry so much. An editor at Harper Collins answered my question, and here’s what she said:

Hi, Eleanor, You’re right that a standard fiction disclaimer (he can find one in most novels out there, or check out a roman a clef such as “The Devil Wears Prada”) should be perfectly sufficient.

Capote’s novel that famously got him into trouble–but not legal trouble, he was merely shunned by his rich “friends”–was called “Answered Prayers.”


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 17:52:27
Subject:
Re: Is this feasible?
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ It’s technically “fiction” if, as you say, you “embellished” the events with “Gonzo-style flights of fancy.” }}

Gotcha. So I could call it a work of fiction based on real events. And keep the real names of characters who gave me permission.

{{ You shouldn’t worry too much about the classification. You call it a “novel,” which definitely implies fiction. }}

“‘Scuse my ignorance. I call it a “novel” even though it’s a pseudo-autobiography…while not realizing that word “novel” implies a fictional work.

{{ Good fiction is always rooted in truth, and laced with truth. That’s what makes it great. So don’t worry so much. }}

Love is irrational. And that’s the way it should be, I suppose. I am irrationaly infatuated with the most wonderful, beautiful, sweet,
witty and brilliant man on the planet. And he’s such an ovary buster!

{{ An editor at Harper Collins answered my question, and here’s what she said: }}

I have no idea what “a roman a clef” is, thus don’t grasp her point. Sorry!

{{ Capote’s novel that famously got him into trouble–but not legal trouble, he was merely shunned by his rich “friends”–was called “Answered Prayers.” }}

Thanks! I’ll find a copy at the library or bookstore. My book does not expose any corruption…it speaks only well of all the characters. So I don’t think I’ll really have any problems w/lawsuits or even hatred. My main concern is over Twosome Press’s requirements re. fictitious names if my description of Phillip remains accurate enough so that he can be easily identified.

–How does this sound:

The tales told in this novel are all based on actual and extraordinary events, embellished with my own Gonzo-style flights of fancy. Therefore it is both fiction and nonfiction. Or as some would call it: a “pseudo-autobiography.” Some character names, descriptions and locales are fictitious, others are not. Any resemblance of fictitious characters to real people is strictly coincidental…likewise, locales.

–end

Or would you recommend some other kind of declaration? This is quite an education for me. I guess I have Phillip to thank for this.

Thank you so much, I’m just a fluttering bag of lovesick nerves I’ve thrown up already twice. I don’t want to lose Phillip over this, or over anything else for that matter.

– Zeke


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 18:11:52
Subject:
“Answered Prayers” was an unfinished novel…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

…which led to Capote’s suicide! You didn’t mention that, El. Certainly, not a fate I envy. 0_o

See:

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2012/12/truman-capote-answered-prayers


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 20:57:19
Subject:
Re: “Answered Prayers” was an unfinished novel…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ Capote was Capote. You’re Zeke. Point is, the pissed-off people couldn’t sue him, only shun him. }}

Yay!


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 21:19:28
Subject:
I also told Phillip…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

….that it’s a difficult thing to trust another w/one’s real name, for a book that might become a bestseller. And I respect him for that,
no matter his decision.

This I said to him, while he tried to brush me away. He makes things so very difficult, yet I believe he provides a real–and righteous–challenge in the scheme of gay things.

In his own convoluted way, he has given me great hope and kindness for my attentions to him. Hmmm, I can’t wait till I receive his letter.

Meanwhile, I shall be sucking the kok of a gorgeous young man in a few moments from now. “If you can”t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

I take that saying to heart…or to crotch, if you so wish.

– Zeke


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 18:00:53
Subject:
Roman a clef
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Okay, I found out what this means:

“A novel that depicts (usually famous) real people and events under the guise of fiction.”

Found the definition here:

http://wordsmith.org/words/roman_a_clef.html

– Zeke, the Wandering Fool


Mon, 18 Mar 2013 20:59:46
Subject:
Re: Roman a clef
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ Eggs-ackley. }}

My eggs are all in one basket: Phillip’s. Ha ha. Hopefully, that handsome boy Ely will show up tonight. It’s a few minutes past 9 PM. Of course, I’ll think of Phillip while I shag the bejebus outta him!

– Zeke

PS: Can’t believe how wildly in love I am w/Phillip. And: he’s just given me great hope for our continued friendship.


Mon, 18 Mar 2013 21:10:06
Subject:
Re: Roman a clef
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ It’s definitely an improvement over recent treatment….. }}

Yes, he has pretty much returned his love in equal measure. Yet I don’t understand his brushing me off tongiht. Nonetheless, I am ecstatic.

– Zeke


Mon, 18 Mar 2013 21:22:55
Subject:
Re: Roman a clef
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ That’s why I advise being cool. As in calm, un-needy. }}

Advice well heeded, I look very much forward to Phillip’s overture. But if his letter should be some sort of rejection, I’ll let him know: while my heart breaks tremedously, I’ll always be grateful for the friendship we had for awhile.

Then I’ll go drown my sorrows in vodka and cigarettes. And pot. Always the pot.

– Zeke


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 21:42:37
Subject:
So I go to Hole in the Wall Saloon…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

…tomorrow, on Tuesday, when Gary Clayton is the barkeep on shift. Yet last time I was there, someone who has always been nice to me (and myself, nice to him) suddenly decided to accuse me of the most horrific menace, which was:

“Zeke, you threatened to kill me, beat me up. I don’t want you to ever talk with me again.”

Gerard was there and heard everything; he was shocked. So I replied:

“That’s a very sick thing to say. I hope you don’t spread such gossip to others, as there are now many folks South of Market, who love me and would never put up with such slander.”

Then I left them to sit in the front part of the Eagle Tavern. A few moments later, Gerard came up to me and said:

“I’m so sorry Willow talked to you like that. But he is my friend.” (Please note I’m not sure of his real name. He’s a native Siberian, Mongol I think.) So I replied:

“That is why you haven’t seen me in either the Hole or the Eagle, for several years: too many idiots badmouthed me, and w/o any allies, I had no choice but to leave. You need to talk with your “˜friend’.”

Though I don’t trust Gerard to defend me. If opportunity provides, I will tell Phillip about this, for he is my protector and beloved ally.

I will return to Hole in the Wall tomorrow (Tuesday) and see whether or not I can continue to have a nice time there, or be kicked out once more, simply because one who slanders me has excess dollars to spend.

Should I lose this battle, I will be kicked out once more from both the Hole and the Eagle. Yet somehow I think that Phillip will avenge me, in one way or another.

– Zeke


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 20:58:40
Subject:
Re: So I saw Phillip tonight…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

…at the Pilsner Inn on Church Street. Bought a vodka tonic, and sat down.

So you know: I just purchased Truman’s “Answered Prayers” at Aardvark Bookstore, which is right next to Pilsner Inn. Something told me to go to Pilsner and order a drink. Lo and behold, there was Phillip a few moments later, two seats before me. I told him:

“Didn’t expect you to be here. Something just told me to step in, after buying a book next door. Can I buy you a Tall Boy?” (his
preferred brew these days. Ha ha, I just realized why it’s his drink of preference: he’s a pretty damned tall boy himself).

He said: “You’re too late. Next time.”

So I replied, “Okay, will do.”

Then he said: “I got your letter at Twin Peaks. I signed the form, and will compose a letter back to you.” I responded:

“Thank you so much. That is awfully nice of you.” To which he replied:

“Didn’t say I signed permission; I still gotta think about it.”

So I sat in the patio for some minutes, whereby Phillip came back and chatted w/someone else, and didn’t give me the time of day.

Later I moved up front and ordered a second drink, watched Phillip play pool. Eventually–since he didn’t come up and talk with me–I moved back to the patio.

He returned to the patio, yet again hanged w/some others w/o even acknowledging me.

I then realized I didn’t have enough money to buy a third drink for myself. So I walked out of the bar, where Phillip was playing pool with a new opponent. Declared to him:

“I’ll be back in 10 minutes,” and then marched to the local Walgreens a block away, to get $20 in cash. I also purchased an expensive ($7) Scooby-Doo Easter card. It was a felt rendering of Scooby-Doo, with a lovely Easter greeting plugged into the back slit.

Then I rushed back to sign the card: “I will always love you, Phillip, no matter what. Happy Easter. Zeke.”

I signed the card while Phillip was seated across from me, in the patio. Then approached him w/this card and dropped it on his lap, said:

“Take it! Happy Easter!” And returned to my bench across the patio. He took the card and stuffed it into an inside pocket of his jacket.

A while later, Phillip stepped to the front, to play another round of pool. I followed shortly after, in hopes he’d pause a while to talk to me. Yet, he never did. So I returned once more to the patio.

He came back a few minutes later, but hanged w/someone in another spot, as if I didn’t exist. This other person left a few moments later. So I came up to him and said:

“Phillip, I want you to know that I trust your wisdom, even if you decide you don’t want to use your real name. I made a mistake, by only putting one stamp of the SASE addressed to my agent. She lives in Canada, so you need to add two more stamps to the envelope.” He replied (with his long right arm extended, fingers splayed) :

“I don’t want to talk to you right now, leave me be. Return to your seat!” I retorted:

“No I won’t. If you don’t want to see me again, I will oblige, though it breaks my heart.” He replied:

“I didn’t say that. I just don’t want to talk with you right now.” So I remarked:

“No, I won’t go away. It’s not right that I hardly get to talk with you about important things. I won’t send another letter to you c/o Twin Peaks. I just had no other choice, ’cause what I had to say was very important.” He replied:

“Please don’t do that again.” I answered:

“I promise I won’t. But why can’t I talk to you now?”

He gave no reply, but got up and left. I gulped down my third drink in hopes of tracking him down, and talk with him further. Yet as fast as I ran outside Pilsner’s door, I never found him.

I finally arrived home, expecting a very handsome young man (Ely) to soon come over after 8 PM. Yet, nothing on the answering machine indicated he’d dropped by. He may soon contact me. Yet I would sacrifice hot sex w/this gorgeous fellow, in exchange for just 15 minutes’ conversation w/Phillip, over a hot cup of tea, coffee or chocolate.

Oh well, guess I just gotta accept sperm release w/a darling and handsome fellow tonight, instead of the company of he who I love most in all the world.

Life sucks. But sometimes it sucks you in the right place.

All my love, and I am so happy,

Zeke


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 20:58:40
Subject:
Re: So I saw Phillip tonight…
From: Eleanor
To: Zeke

Hmmm. At least it was “Answered Prayers” and not “Gone with the Wind”…. Wonder what he meant when he said he “signed” it, but didn’t “give permission.”

My advice: Be cool next time you see him. Let him come to you.


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 21:01:22
Subject:
Re: So I saw Phillip tonight…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ My advice: Be cool next time you see him. Let him come to you. }}

Agreed. Can’t wait to receive his letter…the first he’s ever sent me!

– Zeke


Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 06:16:18
Subject:
Re: So I saw Phillip tonight…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ Hmmm. At least it was “Answered Prayers” and not “Gone with the Wind”…. }}

Oh, I get it now. Certainly, that’s a most hopeful observation. It’s now 6:19 AM, woke up suddenly, though I normally sleep till 9 AM or so (get to bed quite late, usually). Here’s what I think is going on…and has been for years, since we first got together:

Phillip relies on others w/$$$ in the gay community, to keep a roof over his head, and to enjoy his life playing pool, bowling and softball. He’s the center of a lot of attention, no matter where he goes.

But these same “others” hate me. I suspect they told him they’ll drop any and all of their help if they ever see him with me again. Which also explains his sudden ceasing of his hugs and kind words after the holidays.

– Zeke


Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 10:07:57
Subject:
Re: So I saw Phillip tonight…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ You’re right. He’s looking out for his livelihood. He’s compromised. But then, most of us are, one way or another, so your compassion is not misplaced. }}

Well, all he has to do is explain this. Don’t know if he’s really gonna send me a letter like he said last night. Once, he said he’ll call me…weeks went by, then months w/o a single call. Other clues as to his being “kept” in order to survive:

– Only at Hole in the Wall did we have fun together. At least, for almost a year before it all stopped, and he no longer spoke w/me. But he’d always protect me there, should anyone give me a hard time. In fact, he’d chase “˜em out.

– Then came 3+ years of our paths crossing now and then…he’d rush to the other side of a street, or duck into a shop.

– During those three months leading up to Xmas, he resumed his hugs and sweet kindnesses. His “keepers” were probably away on vacation.

– Whenever our paths cross in the day time, he’ll ignore me. But once the sun falls, he’s friendly once more. In the night, less prying eyes can see us.

– His schedule (what bars he visits, and his pool/softball/bowling interludes) are all strictly planned out. He never walks away from this beaten path. Were I truly a stalker, I could easily figure out his pattern.

Anywayz, this is why I’ve always been here for him, with such persistence and faith. Because I figured it out over 4 years ago. And
I’m sure he knows all this, and has no reason to hide this situation from me. In fact, if he actually read “The Phillip Chronicles,” I described the likelihood of his being kept, and explained why I thought this.

Whether I see him or not, our “affair” is becoming more and more the main topic of gossip here in the Castro. Just like the old days in SOMA. There is some sort of energy around us that is also beyond us, that is hatching this scheme.

Many people who played my enemy back then, are now very kind to me. So the resolution is well under way. All I really need do is try to relax and bide my time. I strongly doubt Phillip will want to be w/o me for long. I mean:

He shows up at Pilsner last night, just a minute after I arrive. One moment he’s not there, the next he appears as if out of thin air. I tell you, El, this dude can read my mind. It’s like he knows wherever I am, whenever!

As far as I knew, he only goes to Pilsner on Thurs. eves. After purchasing Capote’s novel I decided to have a drink at the bar, ’cause it’s right next door. With NO expectation of seeing Phillip.

Though I think his being kept is more out of kindness and protection, than anything sinister. And I don’t think his wealthy keepers hate me at all. What does seem to be the case, is they are very protective of him (and I’m most glad they are)…and I’m sorta being put through test after test to prove to them beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am truly a good friend to him. Then what happens?

They welcome me into this secret society that I’ve stumbled upon, and they’re a big part of “Free Me From This Bond”…especially Chapter 9.”

It is a most sweet thing I had walked into Pilsner with a book titled “Answered Prayers.” I wouldv’e missed that factoid had you not made the observation in your last email. Certainly, I never planned it that way.

And that’s just the kind of inspiration and magic that always plays around us. And why I think this man is an angel. Not metaphorically, but literally.

Yet most people do not care to grasp what I’m trying to tell them. They just think I’m deluding myself ’cause love is blind. Apparently, this sort of “magic” is not meant for all but a few enlightened eyes to witness.

Yet it’s growing ever more radiant and powerful, till it’s soon gonna wrap up the entire Castro–then the city, then the world–and I guess in time, the whole cosmos!

Good thing he’s the most beautiful creature in the universe. I would never settle for anyone less.

– Zeke


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 23:32:36
Subject:
I also asked him…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

…if the letter he plans to send me, is a nice letter, or not-so-nice. He didn’t say.

Love sucks.

– Zeke


Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 15:37:27
Subject:
Re: I also asked him…
From: Eleanor
To: Zeke

I’d take it further: Love is an opportunistic infection.


Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 17:00:19
Subject:
Re: I also asked him…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Actually, it’s worse than that. It’s a plague.


Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 09:11:55
Subject:
Re: I also asked him…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ Highly contagious, 100% fatal, and antibiotic-resistant. }}

Egads, I’m a lost cause. Well, he also said “God bless you Zeke,” several times that night. Obviously, something’s up and I doubt any unhappy result.

Had an excellent time at the Hole in the Wall, and the Eagle. Talked w/numerous folks…the idiot who slandered me was not at either place.


Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013
Subject:
Re: I also asked him…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Also: he did read the letter, wasn’t the least bit upset. Told me he’ll write a letter back…which perhaps is his way of showing me he can write? (“˜Cause he said so rather emphatically: “I WILL WRITE YOU A LETTER!” And even with a sense of humor.)

That’s how he is, El: he loves to do and show rather than speak. He plays the game of life better than anyone I’ve met before.

He also made it very clear he does not want me out of his life. So, weighing all the pros and cons of our recent adventure, I’ll put up w/the occasional cold shoulder and try not to let my lovesickness wipe me out w/emotional tidal waves.

And of course through the tales in my novel, you know how much he loves to prank me.

What do you think his letter will say? It’s fun to conjecture. Oh, I guess our latest email exchanges are the start of Book 2.

Sinqueerly yours,

Zeke

PS: Remember how we first met…or perhaps I should say “e-met”? Sweet memories.


Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 11:49:30
Subject:
Re: I also asked him…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ Dying to know what’s in the letter! }}

Oh don’t do that, it’s just a letter…

or is it?


Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 15:51:24
Subject:
More Phillip Reveries
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Were I so incredibly good looking, guess I’d put my potential mate through certain tests before putting total trust in him. Being super handsome is a lot like being super rich: almost impossible to know who your true friends are; or to even find a true friend. It would therefore seem to me, that Phillip wanted to see how I’d react if he said “no” w/o any explanation, regarding my request for his signature.

Would I be angry, spiteful, act like a snotty brat? Or would I choose the compassionate route no matter the pain caused. Of course I chose the latter, as I always do (especially for his sake). I am sure that he’s been through more than one failed lover, who likely behaved possessive, jealous and vindictive, etc. Also, I understand through a reliable source, that some years ago when he was in his late 20″²s/early 30″²s, he had a great lover in an older man (mid-50″²s or so). But his lover came down with a virulent form of cancer. Phillip stayed with him till the very end. This was in San Diego. After his true love passed on, he came up here to SF homeless, and eventually hooked up with some decent members of the gay community, with wealth.

Over the years, Phillip has presented me with many difficult challenges, as well as many incredible and awe-inspiring adventures. I don’t think I’d ever know happiness again, w/o him in my silly life.

But if that should happen (Goddess forbid), I’ll never stop thinking about him or cease praise for such a remarkable human being. And I shall always compare him to any other potential lover, who I’m certain will never pass muster. Though I’m sure I’d find another wonderful soul who’d love me dearly. Yet in the dark of night as we cling to each other, I’ll always pretend I’m with Phillip.

Though of course he’d never know. That just wouldn’t be fair.

I feel so relieved to have finally passed through the worst of this recent (and most painful) challenge. The good fortune that has brought us together in the first place, will no doubt continue to weave a most remarkable love story that shall continue, novel after novel.

Your lovestruck amigo,

Zeke

PS: In remembering how we first “e-met,” I’ll never forget how you said my piece, “Gay Marriage by any Other Name,” impressed you so much, that you’d love to marry me. That is such a sweet kindness, you deserve my renewed gratitude. You are truly my muse, as even our email exhanges keep leading to great tales and inspiration.


Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 17:26:07
Subject:
My Disclaimer
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Okay, El, let me know if you think this is a good compromise:

The tales told in this novel are all based on actual and extraordinary events, embellished with my own Gonzo-style flights of
fancy. Therefore it is both fiction and nonfiction. Or as some would call it: a “pseudo-autobiography.”
DISCLAIMER: Some characters and locales appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance of fictitious characters/locales to real persons/places, living or dead/existing or now defunct, is purely coincidental.

Now, what you haven’t yet told me, is in Capote’s “Answered Prayers,” whether or not the author maintained accurate descriptions of the characters’ appearance, while using fictitious names.

Unfortunately, the version of this book I purchased, does not include his disclaimer. So I’m still somewhat in the dark.

– Zeke


Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 18:48:20
Subject:
Re: My disclaimer
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ The disclaimer looks good to me–but natch, it’ll have to sound good to Twosome. }}

For sure. Even when self publishing, certain restrictions remain. Unless, of course, one sets up one’s own publishing company. Which I understand, some authors have done. But this is way beyond my own meager stipend.

{{ Apparently the characters were all highly recognizable in Capote’s book. Maybe he didn’t use a disclaimer at all–but still, they’d have had a hard time suing him, because it was published as fiction. That’s what counted. }}

Seeing as Capote was already established as a superb author, and he probably was quite rich…it seems to me he had far more leeway than any unknown author, such as myself.

{{ Interesting that his breakout book, “In Cold Blood,” was published as nonfiction, but turned out to be laced with major doses of fiction….. }}

I didn’t know that. Simple-minded me.

{{ Harper Lee, his good friend, who accompanied him to Kansas when he started work on ICB, would know the real story behind all of that. And she’s alive and well! }}

Wow! Are you suggesting I contact her?

Seems I’m suddenly entering a much bigger world than I’ve ever known. I think my renown may precede my first publication. Maybe next time I masturbate, instead of fantasizing cumming all over some hot dude, I should imagine my semen spurting all over the planet, and coating it in my super-fine sperm!

Which is that paint company that shows white paint coating the globe? Whoever they are, they have nothing over me!

– Zeke


Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 19:24:38
Subject:
Re: My disclaimer
From: Eleanor
To: Zeke

Zeke wrote:

{{ Seeing as Capote was already established as a superb author, and he probably was quite rich…it seems to me he had far more leeway than any unknown author, such as myself. }}

He was pretty broke, apparently…enough so that when his rich pals cut him off, it hurt.

{{ {{ Interesting that his breakout book, “In Cold Blood,” was published as nonfiction, but turned out to be laced with major doses of fiction….. }} }}

{{ I didn’t know that. Simple-minded me. }}

{{ {{ Harper Lee, his good friend, who accompanied him to Kansas when he started work on ICB, would know the real story behind all of that. And she’s alive and well! }} }}

{{ Wow! Are you suggesting I contact her? }}

Why not try?

{{ Which is that paint company that shows white paint coating the globe? Whoever they are, they have nothing over me! }}

Spermwin-Williams!


Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 19:49:22
Subject:
Re: My disclaimer
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ He was pretty broke, apparently…enough so that when his rich pals cut him off, it hurt. }}

Oh, I didn’t realize. Yet, like Brian Epstein, I think it was a foolish move to commit suicide. Capote had great clout, and could have risen above the ashes, like a Phoenix. What is it about gay people that believe they must take their life, because certain people that matter to them, turn against them? Am I being too simplistic?

{{ {{ Wow! Are you suggesting I contact her? }} }}

{{ Why not try? }}

I will do just that. Give me some time to compose my letter to her. Amazing!

{{ {{ Which is that paint company that shows white paint coating the globe? }} }}

{{ Spermwin-Williams! }}

Ha ha ha.

– Zeke



Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 20:04:22
Subject:
It’s over, El.
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Just saw Phillip as he entered Twin Peaks Tavern. As he opened the door to enter, he asked: “Are you feeling better today?” So I retorted:

“No. The question should be: “˜Are you feeling better?'”

Then he entered, shutting the door behind him. So I waited outside, and a few minutes later he stepped out. So I confronted him:

“Why are you treating me so bad? You were so nice to me for some months, than all of a sudden you treat me like a nobody. You need to talk with me. I’m your friend Phillip. I don’t know why you’re acting like this.”

So he said “Get outta my face!” And I replied:

“No, I won’t. You were so nice to me for a few months, then suddenly you ignore me. Are you just yanking my chain? Being really sweet for awhile, then dumping me? I’m your friend, Phillip. Are you really gonna send me a letter?” He said:

“No, I changed my mind.” So I replied:

“I never really believed you’d send me a letter. Just like you said you’d call me, but never did.” He replied:

“I never said I’d call you.” So I countered:

“Yes you did. You either forgot, or you’re lying to me. You can be as much of an asshole as you want, but I’ll always love you.” And he said:

“Quit yelling at me. Why are you yelling at me?” I responded:

“I’m not yelling at you, that’s a false accusation. You did so many nice things for me, I am grateful beyond measure. Yet recently, you’re treating me like shit. Please talk to me.” He replied:

“Get outta my face, you’re stalking me!” To which I countermanded:

“Again, a false accusation. I’ve never stalked you, nor ever will. Telling your friends I’m your stalker is unkind, and could put me in harm’s way.” He retorted:

“Well, what are you doing now?” And I replied:

“I’m trying to be your friend. Your were nasty to me recently, after months of being nice. Please tell me what’s going on.”

Then he shoved me hard, and I almost fell over. So I said:

“That does it, Phillip. You will never see me again. That you showed violence against me ends it. I feel very sorry for you.”

“Good,” he said, “You’re outta my life.”

“I needed to know if I should ever bother with you again,” I told him as he walked before me, to reenter Twin Peaks. And I continued, hollering from 10 yards away before he shut the door behind him:

“I made a mistake. Wasted 7 years of my life reaching out to you. I will always love you. but this puts an end to it. Goodbye, Phillip. You will never see me again.”

So I returned to my SRO, not looking back. Don’t know what he hollered at me, I was too disturbed and broken hearted.

Thus, it ends. And he shall become a fictitious character in my book. I must change his real appearance, so he’ll have no way to sue me.

I really have no idea how I shall go on with my life, but can only have faith that the gods will show me mercy.

– Zeke


Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 19:24:38
Subject:
Re: It’s over, El.
From: Eleanor
To: Zeke

God, Zeke, that’s awful. I’m really sorry. Like trap door opening in the floor beneath you. So painful! As for the book: Change his name, change his physical appearance just a little–eye color, hair color, but retain his /essence/. You’re a skillful writer, you can do it. When my mother’s first novel was published, she changed the eye color of her ex-husband from blue to black–not because she was worried about being sued, but because it was an efficient way to darken his character. You now know more about Phillip than you did when you wrote the book. So change him accordingly. You, the author, are in control. And you know what? I think you’ll end up with an even better story!!!


Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 20:34:23
Subject:
Re: It’s over, El.
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ God, Zeke, that’s awful. I’m really sorry. Like trap door opening in the floor beneath you. So painful! }}

No kidding.

{{ So change him accordingly. You, the author, are in control. And you know what? I think you’ll end up with an even better story!!! }}

I know, I can do a great job or of revising what needs to be changed. But to have my soul crushed over this, is awful. My book shall be published, though washed in tears.

And I am sure those gays in SF will know exactly who I am talking about. He will be reviled for the rest of his life. And I certainly never wanted this to happen. Phillip has shown me so many kindnesses over the years, none of this makes sense.

– Zeke


Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 21:49:14
Subject:
Phillip McKay is now Arwyn Miles
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Seeing as I told Phillip that his fictitious name will be “Cory Quinn,” I’ve decided to change him from an Irish to a Welsh man, named “Arwyn Miles.”

Only because obviously, I am in the middle of a war that has suddenly erupted in my face.

I do not wish for Phillip to go through any more hell, for I know his life hasn’t been easy (to say the least)…but because of his recent crude behavior towards me, I have no choice but to step aside and let the Angel of Justice meter her sentence.

There may come a time, perhaps, when Phillip will weep on my shoulder, and ask forgiveness. I will be here for him. I just do not relish the sorrow that is mine to bear for a while longer…after bearing so much already, not the least of which is Randolph Louis Taylor, the brave and suffering Nam Vet.

And to think that Phillip would heal my balms over Randolph, only to rip open that wound, and make it deeper than before, and rub in a shitload of salt.

I have no idea how long it will take for me to ever consider anyone else in my life a friend. Moving to Portland and keeping to myself forever, sounds like bliss at this point.

– Zeke


Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 22:50:15
Subject:
Re: Phillip McKay is now Arwyn Miles
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ The move would probably be good. Do you know anyone up there? }}

Not sure what you mean by “anyone up there”. Sorry.

{{ But you must do the book……. }}

Yes, the book will be done…and most likely will become a bestseller. I just rebel against the likelihood, that the price of publication will come with many years of copious tears.

It’s just not right. I want so much for Phillip to right his wrongs, but I will nonetheless not have any wish to be with him again. This is most painful.

– Zeke


Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2013 00:57:54
Subject:
Re: Phillip McKay is now Arwyn Miles
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ The move would probably be good. Do you know anyone up there? }}

No, not a soul. As I said before, I am pretty much alone in this world. The gay “community” here has been extremely vicious towards me. And my book was a heartfelt attempt to forgive them.

Unfortunately, that fell through. I will take the money, but doubt I will ever speak well of gay people again.

Should I move to Portland, there will be no attempt on my part, to meet any other “gay” people. My good works, including my street activism, are over for good.

– Zeke


Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:07:03
Subject:
Re: Phillip McKay is now Arwyn Miles
From: Eleanor
To: Zeke

{{ Not sure what you mean by “anyone up there”. Sorry. }}

I meant: Do you know anyone in Portland?

{{ {{ But you must do the book……. }} }}

{{ Yes, the book will be done…and most likely will become a bestseller. }}

The book will totally change your life.


Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:24:26
Subject:
Re: Phillip McKay is now Arwyn Miles
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ I meant: Do you know anyone in Portland? }}

I finally realized that and posted you back.

{{ The book will totally change your life. }}

Indeed! As I hope it will for many others.

I feel so much better since confronting My Hero. I realize now how important it was to tell him what I did yesterday (including how nice these people are who help him keep a roof over his head). But the only way I could do it is by forcing his hand. I am pretty sure his lack of reading/writing skills is our very own Berlin Wall.

Only wish I were sharp and quick-witted enough when he flipped me the bird before reentering Twin Peaks, to retort:

“That finger should be shoved up my tight anus, not flapping about in the breeze like a dumb goose flying north for winter!”

(Ah, such regret.)

So I put him through big changes, but did it all with kindness. And I take pride in that. I really doubt he’ll want to do w/o me, but we’ll see. I have no real option but to avoid him at this point. He has at least one friend who really likes me. And he’s living with him. Ha ha.

Can’t wait till my illustrator completes all her work. The book will be fabulous!

Meanwhile, two elderly gay lovers from the Tenderloin admire my writing, and have invited me out for coffee next week. Actually, we got together yesterday afternoon, and they asked me to read a chapter from the novel. They were enthralled.

Strangely, the very handsome employee at the coffeehouse asked if I’m Zeke. I said yeah, how do you know?

Turns out he was a long term friend of Carl Betza, who lived in my building and died in Oct. 2010. He used to be my friend too, but for the last several years when he turned nasty and made my life a living hell at 2306.

Employee’s name is Sal. He asked me to find out which day Carl passed on, where he’s buried, etc., etc.. He wants to print an article about him, including his premature death due to his being poor, and thus denied the decent health care that would have enabled him to happily live for a bunch more years.

Said I’ll contact the building mgr. and “dig up” what I can. He was very grateful.

And I’m quite horny, so maybe I’ll get to boink him atop the grave. 0_o

– Zeke


Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2013 00:57:54
Subject:
Well, it’s a new day…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

…and it was actually rather easy to change Phillip’s appearance as well as his name. He now has copper-penny hair instead of brown, and a large dragon tattoo whose head appears on the left side of the neck, and wraps around to cover the shoulder blade on that same side.

Phillip has never behaved this way before, nor have I ever seen him treat anyone else like that. He’s always watched my back, even when he didn’t want to talk. Wouldn’t let anyone threaten or hurt me. But I guess I sensed something troubling was up with him. And started when I asked for his signature. My hunch:

I think he is very upset he can’t read or write well, and I’m quite the opposite. He is intimidated by my talent, in spite of the fact he’s actually way more talented than myself, and probably a lot smarter. His shove was very controlled, so that I wouldn’t fall. Yet that is no way to treat a friend, and I was forced to assert myself.

No excuse for his recent and unkind behavior…which led to this confrontation. There is nothing for me to do now, except love him from a distance, and move on with my life. If we ever resume friendly association, it would first require a damned sincere apology, and put an end to playing me like a nuisance. There is one other possibility I consider re. this turn for the worst:

He was in on my being dosed and mugged back in 2007 (at the Hole in the Wall)…or knew exactly who the culprits were. (I believe one or more bartenders use this homeless dude to dose and rob his victims, then shares the booty w/them.) Yet offered me no kindness or help in having justice served. Yet I realize it is my destiny to get to the bottom of this. If this be the case, I can surely understand why he’s so upset at this time. Guess he never dreamt how persistant this little pitbull can be!

For in pursuing him for friendship, I also pursue the truth. And realized all along he might be complicit.

How bizarre the timing of all this: my book in which he’s the hero is soon to be released, he’s moved barely a block away from me, and the 2nd bar around which our early adventures took place has reopened against all odds.

So I’m back at the Hole, and back at the Eagle once again…this time w/o Phillip. Though it is quite likely he’ll start showing up at the Eagle. His contacts there already know I plan to drop in every Tuesday afternoon. And there is also this to consider:

Phillip may be acting stupid so as to protect me from further harm. If certain skunks don’t want us together, or they’ll injure me, our public show of mutual distaste will appease their ghoulish desire. I just really don’t want to live through any sort of replay as in 2007. I JUST WANT A NICE FRIENDSHIP FER CHRISSAKE!

Funny thing, El, I feel really good all of a sudden. Obviously my honest challenge to him has been a catharsis for my restless little
butterfly soul. So at least one prayer has been answered: “Dear Goddess end my grief and anxiety attacks that have been going on constantly now for almost three months.” And She did.

I look very much forward to when the curtain raises on the next act of my life, back at SOMA.

Let the play begin!

– Zeke


Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:36:56
Subject:
Re: Well it’s a new day…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Eleanor wrote:

{{ Whew! Good! }}

I’ll say. Enough is enough. It’s very chaotic and sometimes painful to have such a sensitive people-barometer. Randolph was a real doozy! But that’s to be expected, Nam Vet and all.

I placed the mention of a tattoo in the chapter “Cheerz, Muthuh Fukkuh“:

I want so badly to enfold him in my arms, bless him with infinite
kisses. And lick that gorgeous dragon tattoo wrapped about his neck
and shoulder blades. The dragon’s flame sears his left collarbone.

In case my answer to you about Portland did not arrive in your mailbox: no, I don’t know a blessed soul there. While I can afford the rent, I don’t know how I’ll be able to avoid becoming homeless when I first arrive. Camp out? Maybe.

I really do not plan to move there…talking about it was an escape valve.

– Zeke


Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2013 16:08:16
Subject:
Answering Machine
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Forgot to mention that:

While in the midst of confrontation when I accuse him of not calling me like he said he would–Phillip draws out his cell and begins to dial. I speak:

“Oh, calling 911 are we?”

“Yep,” he stifles a chuckle.

“Wasting the PD’s valuable time does not make you look very good in their world. Besides,” I muse, “you just dialed too many numbers for 911.” He then stares right into my eyes with those smoky-orange orbs that I love to fall into:

“I’m calling you right now, to leave a message.” Then with a wry grin while diddling those lanky fingers across a tiny keyboard, inquires: “That’s what you want, isn’t it?”

I cross my arms in defiant exasperation. “Right. I’m standing here right before you now, and it is then you decide to call me.” And a quick afterthought: “So I can’t be home to pick up. Wow, I am so not impressed.”

Didn’t hear what he spoke to me over the phone, I was that flustered.

Upon returning hovel, I press the playback button to hear: “Hello Zeke! You’re a really nice man and have always been good to me. Just don’t do it again.”

This “just don’t do it again” blurb is a reference to the time he punked me years ago (Book 1, Chapter 4: Cheerz, Muthuh Fukkuh).

Stupid me, in my anger I quickly erase the message: his very first phone call to me, ever. Not until the next day do I realize I shoulda recorded his voice to computer, to place it in a blog.

I’ve been kicking myself ever since.

End of Chapter 1: “Ultimatum” (the sequel to FMFTB).

– Zeke


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