Letter to Zachary

June 2, 2014

Dear Preston,

I will use the pseudonym “Zachary” instead of your real name, in the published version (which will appear in Book 3). Though I’ll gladly change it back, if that pleases you. In which case I’ll require your signed permission. This tale is now online at:

http://tinyurl.com/letter-zachary

Let this printout be my thank-you gift for keeping a good man sheltered.

Enclosed you will find a printout of Larkin’s signed permission to use his real name in Book 2…proof of our friendly association in spite of his gossip against me. He signed it many months after he shoved me, knowing full well that Book 2 describes his ongoing hostility.

I asked him if he minds presenting him in that way, considering that I use his true name and description, and that he may garner public enmity as a consequence. His response? “That’s life! You have my permission.” It was an extraordinary night BTW, standing just outside Twin Peaks, sharing lots of silly badinage. In fact, you may read that episode (“Larkin’s Deadline”) here:

http://tinyurl.com/larkins-deadline

It’s part of a bigger piece, so jump down to section entitled: “See? I told you he loves me!” About halfway down the web page.

Feel free to show the enclosed tale to Larkin, if you’d both enjoy. In fact, I’m sure Our Wily Dragon already figured I’d present to you my latest episode, and looks forward your sharing it with him. And see whether or not I include mention of my “wattle,” which you sarcastically implied.

Thank you again for being such a good friend to Larkin, and keeping a decent roof over his glorious mane.

Your new friend,

Zeke

PS: If you go online you might also want to read the blog entry before this one, entitled “Stepping Into Dark Waters.” It’s about what occurred between myself and Larkin just four days before you and I had the pleasure to finally meet:

http://tinyurl.com/dark-h2o


[ Splendid Reader: the incident I’m about to describe took place on Friday, May 30th of 2014: ]

Of course the tragic saga continues and I still hold great sorrow in my heart over Larkin’s ongoing betrayal…what with his slandering me and other mean actions. He has never even thanked me for composing a novel about our friendship, nor for those delightful illustrations…especially the Scooby-Doo parody that welcomes the reader into My Larkinish World. For he loves Scooby-Doo so much I wanted to delight him soon as he opened the book. Yet as I’ve described in previous accounts, he’s also showered me with tremendous affection here and there since his wicked turn. And thus given me hints that this is more a game than a bad outcome.

His most recent kindness occurred last Monday, and which I’ve already posted to my blog. “Our friendship, our being brought together is an incredible godsend!” were the words that began the healing of my wounded soul. Yet I still tremble over the very thought, the possibility still, that he is drifting from my life and may one day soon, totally disappear.

He seemed to have vanished for good from Twin Peaks Tavern, as my almost daily walk by that bar has been lacking his presence for a considerable time now…say, one month. Yet today, shortly before 5 PM, there he is, framed by the plate glass window, brandishing my postcard like a Fourth-of-July flag! And since his recent kind words buoyed my aching soul, I do not frown, I do not give him the finger, I do not lower my head in grief. Instead, I chuckle back at him then wait to cross Castro Street, my face turned away. (Case in point: were Larkin truly upset, believing I’m his stalker, he would never react in such playful fashion.)

But instead of departing I turn round, walk by him again without glancing at his rugged countenance, and stop to lean against the green trash bin on the other side of Jane Warner Plaza. There, I light a Fortuna and pretend to stare toward the hills and the fog rolling in. Yet angled such that I can see him rendering the postcard into shreds from the corner of my eye. He comes out then, walking towards me and flaunting the pieces of my tattered love in one hand, calling: “Here’s your postcard Zeke!”

I decide to play it cool, so turn about and stride towards the other corner to cross Market and walk home. He continues to beckon (and of course I delight in his attention): “Your card, Zeke, your card!” Then: “Aargh!” And two times more “Aargh!” With a boisterous echo that conveys only joy. “You did the right thing, Zeke, by standing up to me,” seems to be the voice filtered through my skull between aarghs. Yet I do not turn around, just wait for the light to change into a green AOL pixie. When it does, I face My Bodacious Basilisk to see him returning to the tavern. So I holler as he meanders back inside:

“No one bullies me, Larkin! But I still love you. God bless you Larkin!” I am very good at projecting my voice, so it boldly reverberates throughout the intersection, drowning out traffic noise and any other sound that threatens to censor my declaration. I feel really good to express my affections once more, while at the same moment asserting my dignity…and that he has returned to Twin Peaks Tavern where I may enjoy gazing upon His Goofy Self once more.

Then I retreat to cross Market, where I pause awhile by the lamppost to see Larkin return outside. He looks back at me from a distance, and grins with sheer compassion. I smile back, and we remain for some time sharing grins, like two Cheshire cats in rapture. Then he reenters the bar and I’m compelled to return to my trash-bin vigil for further possible mischief. Just then, Mikey walks by and I summon him; at the same moment Max appears on my right. (Max is the newest street friend in my world. But that’s a story to be told in another blog post. Sufficient right now to say that he’s a true beauty with a sweet nature: all of six feet tall with a ruddy head of short-cut golden-gray hair and scintillating silver-green eyes, a skinny drink of aqua vitae, 32 years of darling manhood.)

So I give Mikey a hug then turn to greet Max, who politely hesitates to interrupt my embrace of that other handsome buck. Who spent a glorious six weeks with me until the time came for him to depart…frankly, because I live in a humble SRO and risked eviction for having a visitor over more than three nights per week. And because of hostility by neighbors against the homeless. Not to mention the burden of treating him to beer, cigarettes and meals that wiped out my bank account to the point where I could no longer afford his gracious and sexy company. Also, the stress of sharing a single room with another began to weigh on my good temper. None of this Mikey’s fault but, still, he had to go. Though to his credit he was most respectful of my situation, and we maintain our sweet affiliation on the streets.

I want my two buddies to see who Larkin is, and for Larkin to see them. But Mikey had vanished when I turned my attention to Max. So it was only Max who witnessed Larkin, and vice versa…good enough I suppose. Max decides then to wander about, hoping for a dollar or two from a passerby. I tell him I’ll be here for awhile, seeing as Larkin remains at the Tavern and I desire further communique with the prick. And I do get my wish:

He is gesturing to his sidekick “Skinny Jake” (my handle for him since I don’t know his real name…but I will in a few moments, you’ll see). As if he is persuading Jake to approach me and have a talk. Interesting, because I’ve had repeated visions of him doing just that, over the past several months. Then finally someone allied with Larkin would hear my side of the story. Sure enough, Jake proceeds outside and saunters hesitatingly in my direction. As he comes within ten feet of my hopeful presence, I smile and nod to indicate a wish for friendly gab. He then utters: “Hello, Zeke. Zeke, can I talk with you about…”

“Larkin? Of course, I was hoping to meet you for quite some time.” I interrupt to shake hands. “Um, you know my name, but what’s yours?”

“Zachary. I’m the one who lives with Larkin.” Hmm (I think), not the same Zachary that hanged with Larkin at the old Hole in the Wall, and met again some years later at Pilsner Inn…he looks totally different. Though perhaps he has AIDS, or the hooch is taking its toll. Though I do think it’s a different Zachary.

“Okay, well,” I unknot my hand from our grasp, “so glad to finally meet you. And thank you for keeping a roof over Larkin’s head.”

He is taken aback for a moment, at my magnanimous compliment. (No wonder, considering the muddy brushstrokes Larkin’s painted about me to anyone who’d listen.) “Er, thanks!” his face lights up.

The rest of our conversation revolved around his accusing me of being lost in fantasy, and that Larkin truly wants nothing more to do with me…in spite of what a good friendship we had, that ended…

“…almost a year and a half, since January 2012…and you’re still stalking him?” Zachary winces. (Actually it was 2013, but I was too preocuppied at the moment to catch the error.)

“I’ve never stalked him,” I patiently reply. “The reason you see me here now-&-then is to give Larkin a chance to speak with me, and make things up. He has been a really good friend for more than eight years, until he betrayed me. You were there the night I confronted him, and he shoved me so hard I almost fell to the sidewalk.” (Though Zachary had already left minutes before that happened, so he only has my word on this.)

“Larkin says you follow him everywhere, so now he has to run away and hide from you!” His trembling index finger points in judgment.

“That’s just not true, Zachary. I try to speak with him whenever our paths cross. He did wrong. I don’t let anyone bully me no matter how much I love him. He has defamed my character by telling everyone at the bars I’m his stalker. I’ve been kicked out of every one thanks to his gossip.”

Zachary remains silent while soaking all this in. So I continue: “If so much good hadn’t flowed beneath our bridge for many years before he reviled me, I’d have nothing more to do with Larkin. But you should know that even during this cycle of his backstabbing, he does or says something really nice every now and then. His way of showing me this is just a game, that I should continue reaching out, standing up to him…which he appreciates immensely.”

“You’re deluded, Zeke! He doesn’t like you any more.” he retorts in smug certitude.

“Let me give you some examples,” I take a deep breath to keep from exploding all over the plaza from the injustice of it all. “Two months ago some crackhead dumped an empty soda bottle and a sandwich wrapper near my feet while I was standing outside Twin Peaks. Larkin quickly stepped out to clean up the mess, and gently persuaded the offender to walk away. Larkin doesn’t like anyone to drop trash around me.

“Another time–about three weeks before that–I strolled past the tavern on my way to the tobacco shop. Wondering if Larkin would step out to speak with me. He did not. But as I walked back in the opposite direction, Larkin ran out to move a drunken bum’s legs whose dozing body blocked the sidewalk. He did that while bent on one knee, gazing up with so much love in his eyes my heart could’ve burst. But I was so infuriated at his mean behavior for months on end, I said nothing and marched on home. Wasn’t till the next day I realized he was clearing my path, as a gesture of respect. Another clue that he’s playing some sort of game.

“And finally, just last Monday he approached me a block up Market Street, and spoke praise: ‘Our friendship, our being brought together is an incredible godsend!’

“He said that, really?” Zachary doubted each of my examples. And I can’t blame him, seeing as Larkin put me in this humiliating state of existence: convincing his friends I’m a total flake.

“Look, Zachary, nothing I say can win you over, I know that. Larkin has done a good job of slandering my reputation.”

“So why can’t you just move on, leave him alone?” As he speaks those words, he motions with hands that say “shoo!” Of course my heart breaks once more over this Kafkaesque nightmare of doomed romance. Yet again, I’m on the defense and Larkin is Mr. Perfect. But I persist:

“If you had a friend of many years who you loved dearly, but has suddenly turned wicked…would you just give up, or would you fight to redeem that love, no matter how long it takes, no matter how badly it hurts?”

Zachary glares at me, but not with total scorn.

“Look, I was afraid he had Alzheimer’s or a brain tumor; I tried to convince him to see a doctor.”

His disconsolate eyeballs roll: “Zeke, he doesn’t have a tumor, or Alzheimer’s. And I assure you, he certainly is not a drug dealer.” (Of course he’d say that, he’s read the postcard.)

“Listen, Zachary. You have a good friend of eight years then he suddenly stabs you in the back and expels you from all the bars…wouldn’t you suspect he just might have turned dealer?”

Zachary pauses to shrug; perhaps I’m having the desired impact, which is: there’s something wrong with Larkin and I need your help!

“C’mon back here, Zachary, you’ve talked long enough!” Larkin calls from outside the tavern. But Zachary remains in place, as he desires to hear more. So I tell him that I don’t expect any of Larkin’s friends to believe me, but I do appreciate his taking the time to communicate…and that it’s alright anyway, as I realize Larkin is creating a puzzle difficult to explain, let alone solve.

[ Penultimate Reader, Zachary did not give me the chance to explain precisely what I mean by “game,” because he is majorly biased against me…and because Larkin finally stepped between us and blocked my wish to expound. But further heartbreak ensued before Larkin’s approach, that is: Zachary stated that Larkin hardly ever reads. That many of my letters remain unopen, and some he threw away. Can you imagine how this struck me? Larkin providing me with a mailbox address in order to deflect my letters from reaching his roommate’s hand…and worse (much, much worse) probably not reading a single one of my kind letters I’ve been posting him these past few months? All a waste of my deepest regard for a man I so admire in spite of his betrayal. What a tragic end game, so tragic it makes Romeo & Juliet look like a romp in the park on a sunny April morn! ]

Ah, but there’s the kicker…and the hope that springs eternal! Larkin is the true author of these tales I write, and we are now into the end part of Book 3 of a most remarkable trilogy! Larkin is creating a tearjerker par excellence, starting with Chapter 1 of Book 2, and continues into Book 3…perhaps all the way till the final chapter is reached. Imagine what a bestseller this will be! Better yet: Larkin at long last is introducing me to his friends, (in his own disturbingly unique way) commencing with Zachary…thus providing me with my mournful wish to finally set the record straight by telling them my side of this convoluted tale of My Agony and My Ecstasy. But most of all: LOVE. With a capital “L”. And “O”. And “V”. And (last but not least) “E”.

For Larkin has created a tragic scenario (albeit false), that I may rise to the occasion to become his hero this time around. Numerous times I have been publicly humiliated, bullied and left out in the cold…by Larkin’s own hand. Yet such meanness has been the lot in my life as a gay activist among my own people, no matter how good I behave, no matter how much sacrifice I make to further the struggle for liberation, and no matter how dedicated I am to potential friends and lovers, and even acquaintances. For my story is a gay parallel to the Book of Job…I even suffered terrible boils on my face for several years, and consequent severe scarring that lasted many more. Now, the Second Great Love of My Life turns on me too, in apparent evil to match those of previous disasters.

But he is doing that precisely because he knows I want to be The Very Best Activist Of Them All. It is in my heart to seek The Ultimate Challenge, that I may reach for the highest star. I want the absolute best for myself, the absolute best for all my gay brothers and sisters…and the absolute, fabulously impossible and sweetest man ever for my BFF. (And Larkin fits that description to a “T”.) Surely, one cannot become the best soldier without going through the toughest boot camp trials! I am The Navy Seal of the LGBT maritime forces…arf, arf! ]

Larkin is creating a gossipy scenario, that controversy may fly off the handle and my trilogy become a bestseller. Thank you, Zachary, for speaking with me…you are a very nice man. Just don’t believe everything Larkin tells you, especially when it comes to yours truly. Larkin frequently sets me up with seemingly impossible challenges. My trying to explain to you what’s really going on simply being the latest. He nudged you on out of Twin Peaks to speak with me, not to right a perceived wrong against him…but simply because he’s proud of me and wants his friends to finally get to know his beloved “stalker.”

Larkin said right there in your presence: “I should punch your teeth out!” (As he suddenly thrust a powerful fist at my face, and I leapt back.) This latest incident of bullying will go into my police report. That threat alone was enough justification to call the cops. I am not afraid to use pepper spray on anyone who acts violent in my presence, no matter how much I love them. No court of law, no jury, would lack even a smidgeon of utmost sympathy for my plight instigated by Larkin. Though this bully move serves a compassionate purpose as far as I can tell, and which I’ll explain later.

I noticed you appeared distraught as I stood close to the picture window and waved goodbye to Larkin. Then flipped him the bird as he returned the favor while screwing one nostril with a finger and grimacing back. Which gesture I duplicated while you, Dear Zachary (seated right beside the dufus), waved your arms in dismay. “On no, don’t do that!” your motions declared. Isn’t it obvious to you yet, that Larkin does not despise me in the least…that we’re playing a game at the expense of the entire neighborhood? It’s a game that he started, knowing I’d finally catch on and jump right into the fray with gusto!

Larkin is telepathic, which examples I’ve already presented in Book 1. Because of this paranormal gift, Larkin doesn’t need to literally read my tales…he already knows their content. I presented evidence of his gift in Chapter 2 of Book 1 (“Moby’s Dick“) and Chapter 5 (“Latest Gift“) which epidsodes I know you’ve read some months back. And in Chapter 16 of Book 2 (“Please Don’t Eat the Daisies”), which you may view here (choose last chapter on that page):

http://gay-bible.org/free2/

Actually, Zachary, that’s quite an amazing tale I know will delight you.

The man is supremely clever and gifted, so much so that I could never hope to best him at this game. But I must try with every fiber of my being, for in doing so I make him eternally proud for my willingness to play an utter fool before all to witness, for the sake of his undying friendship. And also because he deserves such devotion for whatever tragedies brought him to this high place of wisdom, that I do not yet know…and may indeed never fathom even once I learn.

But let’s detract here a bit. I have to deal with Larkin’s difficult behavior on two levels: the spiritual and the mundane. So strip away anything about me that you deem “delusional.” What then do we have? The case of a very good friend who has suddenly turned on me. Abrupt personality change can be indicative of a serious malady such as a brain tumor or Alzheimer’s. His threat that you witnessed may indicate further deterioration. As may be his alternating good/bad treatment of me. I’ve been desperate to speak with one of his friends for many months now, in hopes of convincing Larkin to seek medical help.

Your scorning because I’m not a doctor does not make matters any better. That is why I want him to see a doctor; but if he hasn’t read my letter begging him to do just that, I am at a loss since he always cuts me off whenever I try to voice my concern. Speculation over his mental health is covered in Chapter 14 of Book 2 (“Tumor is the Rumor”) which you can read here (scroll down and you’ll find it):

http://gay-bible.org/free2/

I am greatly troubled by Larkin’s sudden turn against me for no justified or good reason. I am also a good man, thus it grieves me that he maligns me to anyone who will listen. I believe by standing up to him, he may be afraid to face the truth: he needs to see a doctor. I absolutely dread losing him, or seeing his beautiful mind descend into insanity. But his acquaintances have all been poisoned against me, and it has been one long hell for me, trying to get him some help. I am therefore so glad to have finally spoken with you about my concern over whom I regard as one of the finest men on the planet.

I would lay my life down for Larkin, if need be…even if my injury or death comes by his own hand (God forbid, but it does seem a possibility). In fact, I am immensely proud to fight for his happiness and well being, to fight for the best friend I have ever known, and ever will know. I have loved other men in the past, with serious problems such as AIDS dementia and PTSD (from the Vietnam war). I’ve seen them corrode to the point of turning on me as if I were their worst enemy. One of them attempted suicide, survived it, then went on to die seven years later. That was Randolph Taylor, who you learned about in my novel. I don’t know why God put upon me so many tragic friendships, except that he honors me with great expectations.

I am terrified at the idea of losing Larkin. He is so important to me, and to the world. Yet all his friends and acquaintances seem totally absorbed in material pleasures and partying, they can’t pay attention to my call for help. Their desire to participate in backstabbing seems to be a pastime they enjoy, and Larkin (in his delusions, not mine) certainly takes advantage of that! He is a very beautiful man who therefore inspires much jealousy against anyone who seems to be a friend or potential lover. (And I wonder: maybe his “buddies” are aware of this personality change, but would rather see Larkin perish than allow him happiness with a genuine friend. I wonder, too, if so many AIDS deaths were due to lack of compassion by our own community, than lack of medical knowledge. For those HIV patients who thrive the best these days are wealthy queers, not the poor and homeless.) But I assure you, Zachary, you are not a doctor either, so how can you be sure he doesn’t need to see one?

Of course, should I be wrong about his having a mind-altering trauma, his behavior does suggest another notion: that perhaps he has become a drug dealer since moving to the Castro. (Or maybe he was long before then, and it just didn’t cross my mind.) Which explains perfectly why he’s gossiping against me and successfully driven me out of all the bars in the Castro. I assure you, Zachary, Larkin is highly intelligent and cunning…totally capable of concealing anything he prefers to keep unknown even to his friends and anyone he may live with, as well as convincing people to believe whatever he claims. Dealing hard drugs no exception. His intense charisma gives him such power, especially when combined with extraordinary good looks and intelligence.

It’s also important for you to realize that his defaming my character in an ongoing barrage since early 2013, causes enmity against me by God knows how many people in my own neighborhood…and could put my life in danger.

A Bit More About Book 2 (the sequel)

Had I known what tragedies would ensue once the publication process for Book 1 commenced, I doubt I would have ever bothered. So this becomes a prominent theme in Book 2, along with my Larkin adventures. While My Guardian Basilisk conveyed approval of using his real name in Book 1 for many months, once the publisher finally required his signed permission, he totally objected. Well, I figured he has every right to decide against his true moniker appearing in print…but he waited until the very last moment to turn tail. Thus January 2013 marked my descent into betrayal by one whom I regard as a hero. Shortly after his rejection, he shoved me, then later he tossed a lit cigarette onto my shirt and began spreading gossip throughout all the Castro bars. Which as you already know, resulted in my being 86’d from each and every one. And to this day, Larkin perpetuates the slander.

I hired an illustrator that same month, expected her to complete those 16 lovely images within 4-6 weeks. But then her father died, whom she loved very much and who taught her the secrets of becoming a true artist. So she flew back to Pennsylvania to be with him in his brief days remaining here on earth. This unexpected tragedy (for she was 29 and her father barely touching his mid-50’s) caused a three-month delay in getting the book out there. In fact, I feared she may not be able to follow through, even though I put complete faith in her work by paying her the total sum in advance. But as you see, the illustrations did get done, finally…but only at the very last minute when I was about to roll the presses minus any art to embellish my cherished novel.

Some of her heartfelt email exchanges are included in Book 2, during her grief. While I suffered my own broken spirit through it all, thanks to Larkin. And just to rub salt in the wound, once my novel was out in online stores across the globe and I presented Larkin with a copy…he came to me a week later by Jane Warner Plaza and said:

“A friend of mine is reading it right now, and he’s intrigued. But I wish you had used my real name.”

He knows very well he fukked me over; it was a setup he planned all along, starting with his refusal, to when the book was finally published…so he approached me that day to rub it in my face. I’m sure that friend is you, BTW, and I’m sure that Larkin has concealed from yourself and all his other friends, the many injustices he’s dumped on my trusting soul. I was planning to promote my novel throughout all these bars, especially since I had already established several friendships in some. Seeing as word of mouth remains far more effective for self promotion, in spite of our New Age social media’s preposterous claims otherwise. Larkin could have used his popularity to further promote my tales, and until his vile attacks began, he seemed most appreciative of my honoring him, and eager to support my goals. He’s like the cuckoo bird that invades other nests and usurps the chicks already there, to take over and receive all the attention from the duped parents. But in his case, these “duped parents” are friends and bartenders.

The money that enabled me to publish came from a small inheritance that my now-deceased parents left behind. My hope is to achieve bestseller status, which wealth would allow me to finally move out of my crummy little room and have a decent apartment with a real kitchen and bathroom…and a space to welcome guests. I also plan to use this windfall to restore Larkin’s rotting teeth (as well as mine), and promote him as a top notch social mixer for gay parties and events. Or whatever suits him for a career. Further, I’d like to open a home for severely disabled LGBT veterans, and employ my street buddies to run the place. Larkin, however, trashed my dreams in a ruthless manner for no good reason that I can see. And you wonder, Zachary, why I worry that he may have a brain tumor or Alzheimer’s, or that he’s a cynical drug dealer? You need to think this through, seriously! Just what kind of person really is inhabiting your domain?

Now let’s step away from this dark consideration and get back to my “delusions.” In that he is actually putting me through my spiritual paces by creating a scary scenario that allows me to play his hero. (As my “guardian dragon” which I call him throughout Book 1.) All his actions since January 2013 fit in more perfectly as a real possibility…more so than morbid speculation. You witnessed: he did not deny my accusation about his tossing a lit cigarette onto my lap (at Pilsner Inn), nor did he deny my claim that he was present when he approached me about a discussion he was having at the table right beside me (again at Pilsner Inn) over his parents’ death via car accident.

Nor did he deny my recollection back in 2006 at the Hole in the Wall Saloon (where we first met and hanged out). It sparked my memory when he pointed out the “wattle” forming beneath my chin (he loves to press my buttons BTW, haven’t you noticed). One night in 2006 he bought me a drink and we sat together. There were many candles suddenly lit, like we were seated within a vast chandelier. We toasted to our friendship and while chatting back and forth he placed the top of his hand against my throat and caressed it just below the chin. Some minutes later he drooped an arm across my shoulders and startled tickling the spot between my blades. “Does this bother you?” he questioned. Of course I said no, in fact I was thrilled.

He prodded: “Do you think I’ll ever bother you?” To which I honestly declared: “Maybe now and then, but never so much that I’d give up on you.” That was also the night he told me he once owned “a Scooby-Doo kind of dog,” and I started to laugh. “What’s so funny?” he demanded. “And you’re a Scooby-Doo kind of guy!” I blurted. Larkin remembers that night, for on Christmas Eve of 2012 I handed him my gift outside Twin Peaks Tavern. He graciously accepted, turned it around in his large hands, shook it a bit then queried: “Is there anything Scooby-Doo in it?” I lowered my head in shame: “No, not this time around, I’m afraid.” He sighed and stretched out his gangly arms in disappointment: “Well, you do know I’m a Scooby-Doo kinda guy!” (FYI: Larkin remembers everything we’ve shared and discussed no matter how far back in time.)

So that night in 2006 is when I came to learn how much he enjoys Scooby-Doo cartoons. And explains why I’ve been giving him the occasional “Scooby-Doo kind of gift” ever since.

You got upset over my claim that “I do not care” if you think Larkin wants nothing more to do with me because “I know what he’s doing.” For what he’s doing is setting me up in a whirlpool of controversy, that my book may become a bestseller. And that he will surprise everyone in the Castro that we really are good friends. But in playing out our adventure in this startling manner, he discovers who my enemies really are, and will give them a piece of his mind in due time. For in this devastating trial of apparent betrayal that Larkin instigated in a most calculated manner, I can now prove my devotion to his happiness by standing my ground. Even if I appear the town fool, the village idiot, the Looney Tunes, before all to witness (and for a while longer). And that, My Newest Friend, is exactly how much I value Larkin’s friendship…to infinity and beyond. It all hearkens back to that night in 2006 when he asked me: “Will I ever bother you?” It is a tremendous honor and indeed a godsend to have this amazing opportunity to prove my affections before his eyes, and before that of all others. And it is Larkin himself who created this scenario that places me on center stage. Clever, wonderful Larkin.

I know that his threat to knock out my teeth was not genuine. In fact, I don’t believe he is upset with me in the least. That act was to humble himself before me by coming off as somewhat disturbed…that his friends may begin to understand I truly am his devoted amigo (and certainly not a stalker). In other words: he is ending the persecution, the trials he put me through as my guardian, and now opens the door to freely speaking with his friends, starting with you. To show that I am every bit as good a man as Larkin. He is simply having fun with you, with us, for he loves to play The Game of Life in his own inimitable way. Which is one of the amazing gifts of his that I so admire. He is a very smart and loving man…and also playful. You do not know him as I did, in the rough-and-tumble bars South Of Market…a more suitable environment for his rambunctious nature than the Castro, where he must tone it down.

You do realize he was permanently 86’d from Hole in the Wall, but do you also realize he was banned from Pilsner Inn for almost three years? Neither of which had anything to do with me. I’m sure he was kicked out of other bars, too, over the years since he arrived in San Francisco. His scapegoating me for his antics (which I actually enjoy immensely) is just a game he plays, to see how I deal with it…especially in regards to how much or how little I value his friendship. He’s put me to the challenge, and I am proud to say I’ll never give up on Larkin. Besides, if I did, it will break his heart…that is one thing I know for certain.

But Larkin also challenges me in another, most blessed way: to become the best author possible. By manifesting these amazing (often difficult) scenarios in real life, I am compelled to write them down and share with the world. (Or I’d go insane, to be honest, as I’m forced to experience these adventures without any witness or someone to lend me a kind ear.) The complexity of these scenarios are most exhausting and tedious to draw out on paper, in ways that others may clearly comprehend…and enjoy reading in the process. This letter I am presently writing and will soon bring to your welcoming hand is no exception, I hope you realize.

His declaration last Monday (May 26th) that our friendship is a godsend marked the shift towards a renewed, and better, friendship. When I realized that (a day later, with hindsight), I became far less upset thank God. Larkin is My Guardian Dragon who doesn’t hesitate to shower me with grief, should that be a necessary process for my spirit to grow. Yet he has scattered kind gestures and words to encourage me through this awful trial. Therefore:

The only thing that upsets me at this point in my travails is that I am once more coerced to struggle over the composition of my latest episode. Lumbering over the excruciating process of trying to explain to you our relationship as best I can. While Larkin and friends go on their merry way to enjoy yet one more evening of hilarity. Yet I remain home, alone, in my dark cell of social isolation. I’M EXHAUSTED! But I realize that all those who played (and may still play) my enemy, by vilifying me, causing me loneliness, frustration and grief, are likewise members of this underground cabal. For I take to heart Buddha’s proclamation: “We have no enemies, only teachers.” And in so abiding by that Precious Pearl of Wisdom, I perceive these so-called enemies as my tough taskmasters (or “drill sergeants” if you will) who work diligently that I may become the most strong-willed and effective gay activist of all time.

And thank you so much for reading “Free Me From This Bond,” and for telling me what a beautiful piece of writing it is! I am greatly encouraged by your kind words which have rekindled my prayers and wishes for our common friend, Larkin. Not to mention hope, joy and fulfillment. If you’re not a member of the Gay Pagan Motorcycle Club (or whatever the fuk it’s called) I’ll eat my jockstrap. (But first I gotta step out and buy one.) Please realize though that Larkin is my inspiration, and such awesome inspiration is definitely not a one-way street.

Assuming you are a conscious participant in Larkin’s clever ruse upon my own, pathetic queer soul (and I’m willing to stake my entire month’s SSD check on this) all I can say is: “Ha ha ha, Zachary…well done my lad, well done!”

This letter has finally come to an end (whew!), so let me leave you with a link to the very first piece of writing I composed about Larkin, and which (to my surprise) led to This Great Odyssey Of Many Tales About Me And My Seismosaurian Shadow that has entered its ninth year:

http://tinyurl.com/larkin-treasure

Most truly yours (in ways I can’t even conceive, I suppose),

Ezekiel J. Krahlin

PS: If Larkin didn’t love me so much, he wouldn’t keep presenting his butt to me! You gotta learn to read between the lines, buddy…or should I say “cracks?”

[ Astounded Reader: at first I titled this piece “More Hurt & Some Joy,” but upon completion, I realized it should be called “Letter to Zachary.” For that is who I’m going to hand it to, in lieu of mailing it to Larkin. What fun! Blessed be to you all, for I am a Truly Lucky Fellow. ]

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