Heaven is Just Across the Street

[ Free Me From This Bond (sequel to the sequel): Chapter 15 ]

To: All My Reptilian Redeemers
Date: June 24, 2014

Well whaddya know, Divine Salamanders, I’m sitting quietly in my room around midnight, swyping away on my tablet (a blog entry I’m writing called “Benevolent Kingship”)…when guess whose voice I hear through my window? Larkin’s! So I looked out to see him across the street, lecturing a homeless newcomer to improve his grubby appearance by going to the Salvation Army. He was waving those gangly arms while vociferating: a booming voice that can be heard blocks away, especially when it’s dark and the air is chill (like tonight). And which voice (I must admit) is music to my ears. Like knowing his love and devotion will always be here for This Adoring Soul…a hidden communique just for me, riding the broadband of his larynx.

But first let me get this homeless twit outta the way, before I go on. She showed up in the Castro approx’ly five weeks ago, and is a noxious variety of urban weed. His effeminacy wouldn’t be a concern, if she weren’t such a backstabbing queen stereotype. Always scowling with a pinched-up face that is rubbery and mounted with a long swath of brown hair curled up in a big, fat knot on top. Clothed in a ratty and thick overcoat that reaches to her ankles and mostly hid those filthy blue jeans. Feet dirty and bare, fingernails way long and icky with grunge underneath.

I shall call her (or it) “Ms. Flaky.” She can usually be spotted seated or lying down on the rustic bench that lines the front of Cafe Flore, and is intended for customers only. One would think this is bad for business, especially when you realize this eatery has become such a ritzy-titzy joint in the last 15 years. If a place chases you out for ordering just a cup of coffee and maybe a slice of pie (’cause that’s one less table gushing moolah like a slot machine), it would seem they’d also chase away scummy vagrants. Even so, their lack of propriety in this matter does not reflect much concern for the neighborhood that provides them with a beautiful corner location. Their obsession with El Diablo de Dolares has overtaken their neighborly senses.

Now this is hilarious: my new next-door neighbor, Gabe, joked with me as we exited our apartment building. (FYI: no one living in my edifice has ever befriended me for well onto twenty years, so this is good.) He pointed at Ms. Flaky from across Noe Street, who was seated in her usual spot by Cafe Flore.

“There’s your new friend, Zeke!” he chortled.

At first I didn’t know who the fuk he meant, but then I realized, and said: “Oh god no, he’s not a friend! I haven’t even talked with him, and I hope I never will.” I was a tad disgusted that my new neighbor (who is quite the hottie in a late-fiftyish sorta way, and we’ve already kissed) would seriously think I’d hook up with absolute losers.

Then he told me he spoke with Ms. Flaky just the day before, and asked if he knew Zeke. Her response?

“Oh he’s an awful man, he pissed on me while I was sleeping on the bench.”

Now that certainly isn’t true, and I reminded Gabe about the many jerkwads who gossip to keep me from making new friends. I’m still not sure whether Gabe really spoke with the knotty-haired bitch (or if he did whether or not she claimed I pissed on him), but that’s neither here nor there. For he was yanking my leg…and I hope some day soon, he’ll be yanking another appendage to make up for it. I’ve already stuck this letter in an envelope to his door:

June 18, 2014

Dearest Neighbor Gabe,

Just checking up on you, hope you’re doing very well. I find you to be a marvelously eccentric, sweet and handsome fellow. So if you’d like to rescue me from one more lonesome night, I’m sure game! We can even keep our clothes on: I’m really big into affection.

Thank you again for gifting me with some high-grade edibles. Just what the doctor ordered!

Please know that you can knock on my door any time of day or night…something which I rarely grant anyone. Whenever you need a shoulder to lean on, someone to cheer you up, I’m your man! (Or your boy, however you wanna play the game.)

Your newest friend,

Zeke

Well I ended our discussion about Ms. Flaky with the conclusion that she’s probably just another one of these guardian dragons spreading mischief to test my mettle. (Taking to heart as I do, Buddha’s tenet, “We have no enemies, only teachers.”) But also her anti-Zeke gossip is a handy way to root out those who wouldn’t really make good friends. Seeing as anyone who is so gullible as to play into the hands of scurrilous misfits, is not someone I’d really care to know. But since Gabe readily admitted he doesn’t believe what Ms. Flaky said about me, he passed that little test with flying crullers. Thus a sterling friendship is likely to unfold. (FYI: as a shamanic pagan, I prefer to use the word “dragon” instead of “angel,” but it comes down to the same thing.)

[ A bit more about Gabe, Engorged Reader, then I’ll get back to Larkin. I first noticed Gabe while standing outside the laundromat waiting for my clothes to dry. He was dressed in a tie-dye shirt of rainbow hues, a pair of green, baggy slacks and cheap thongs. But that face, that gloriously seraphic face, graced in a halo of shaggy, silver-gray hair: who could not notice such a face? He flashed me a bright smile in passing, and my widdle heart melted. I turned as he sauntered towards Market Street, and saw that he carried a smallish backpack, also rainbow colored. He’s about 6-foot-1, skinny but well shaped. Next time I saw him, about a week later, he was picking up debris at Duboce Park, all by his lone some, moving to a tune only he could hear through those ear buds.

The N Judah was just pulling up, but I hesitated in my desire to embrace the little stud muffin right then and there. (This was also the first time I saw him in shorts: loose-fitting and below the knees, yet revealing enough to show off a spectacular pair of gams…Gabe’s calves are something to die for, let me tell you! Of course I chickened out and hopped onto the light rail. So I sacrificed my passion once more, opting out instead for the mundane errand of grocery shopping at Parks Farmers Market. *sigh * )

Less than two weeks later I made my first move: he released those ear buds as I gestured and smiled at him. Then I spoke:

“I like the colorful duds you wear!”

“Thanks,” he replied, “I’m just getting into the swing of Gay Pride.”

“Oh, how nice,” I said, “So tell me, do you help clean up Duboce Park with a group or on your own?”

“On my own.”

“Cool, so now I know who’s responsible for keeping that park so neat!”

That was the sum total of our first conversation. Wasn’t till several more days had passed till I discovered (much to my lascivious delight) that Gabe resides in the same apartment building as yours truly! It was a balmy dusk, and I was standing outside by the trash bin, having a smoke and wishing for Larkin to stroll by. Here came Gabe instead (he didn’t see me) stopping at the front gate of 2306 to insert a key.

“Well,” I grinned to myself, “How very copacetic! I wonder which floor he lives on.”

Figuring though he already has a boyfriend and is probably monogamous– and in light of my history of doomed friendships and amours–I allowed myself the fantasy as a consolation prize. During the following weeks we met several more times and exchanged kind greetings. I handed him my business card in hopes he’d check out my novel. (Which later I learned he did, as well as some of my recent blog entries…whoopee!)

Now, just barely two weeks ago, as I climbed the steps to my hovel, I espied Gabe inserting a key into the door of apartment 206. WE’RE NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS!!! Since that awesome turn of events, Darling Gabe has presented me with a baggie of THC-laced breakfast cereal…knowing by now that medicinal pot is beyond my meager financial reach. That is when we embraced and gave each other a warm peck on the cheek. But first he pressed his lips upon mine, and it was quite electric. Don’t know why on Dragon’s green orb I instantly shifted my mouth to his jaw, except that perhaps on an instinctive level, I thought it best to play the shy virgin. (Yeah that’s me alright: the innocent little boy who’d rather plunge his hand down a good man’s pants than any old cookie jar. o_0 )

He hasn’t been around for five or six days now; the stuffed penguin is still taped to his door, awaiting Gabe’s return and (hopefully) his joyful surprise. Though perhaps my silly overtures have scared him away, and I must once more live in awkward suspense as a result of my latest love’s foible, and the proximity of our abodes. Though I am certainly open to a sweet friendship… platonic all the way. (Or as we gays like to call it: “girlfriends.”) He did mention a couple of times a desire to visit his family down in SoCal, soon. But has mixed feelings thanks to a brother who used to punch him out brutally when Gabe was just a little squirt. I told him:

“Gabe, I’d feel the same way too. Just be sure that if you do show up, you won’t fly into a rage and smash his skull with a ball peen hammer.” (That cracked him up. So nice to put a smile on such a “cumly” mug.)

Gabe appears to be the eccentric type (like myself and Larkin in our own ways). Which attracts me even more than those super-good-looking dudes who are duller than a warmed-over omelette. Sometimes I see him standing about on this or that corner of the Castro, boogying to his mp3’s and waving his arms like he’s sprinkling fairy dust upon The Yellow Brick Road. He has also commented in regards to my visionary gift:

“Zeke, maybe that’s why I moved next door to you. Maybe I’m one of your guardian dragons to join you in our fight for liberation.”

“Oh I’m sure you are, Gabe,” I immediately replied, though in wonder.

“And maybe I’m also here to spread the good news about your book!”

Again I agreed with enthusiasm, for here was acknowledgment of my gay prophetic visions, standing right before me in glorious human form. I should have hugged Gabe that very moment, and wept tears of gratitude onto his shoulder. Gabriel The Archangel. (But I did not; don’t know what’s wrong with me. Write it off to a lifelong history of sorrows, and residual PTSD.) Then he gifted me with yet one more affirmation, I suppose to eradicate any remaining self-doubt that I might just be crazy, and nothing more:

“Wow, I’m so excited I can feel the wings sprouting from my shoulder blades!”

So, Gabe My Compassionate Archangel, you’ve made it into Book 3 of the trilogy “Free Me From This Bond!” Congratulations. (Right under the wire, but still, congratulations.) You will appear in the last, or second-to-last, chapter. Larkin saw to it that the happy ending wouldn’t enter the picture until well into the end play. IOW, Larkin (the true author, as if you didn’t know) wanted me to pen the most incredible cliffhanger/tearjerker romance of all time! Can you imagine what he put me through, to accomplish this? I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy…though maybe perhaps on Ms. Flaky. You are The Joy He Sent Me, and for that I am infinitely in your heart.

When you step out to celebrate (or stay home for cozy-time), what will you do? I for one will be really really PISSED if I’m not on all three courses of your Wedgwood platter! For we should be celebrating finding each other! And not each in his own way, in his own time and place…that’s ridiculous. Together! Together! Two birds of a feather!

It is truly an understatement when I say I await Gabe’s return with great fondness. Now, back to Dragon Squarepants: ]

Seems like when one sidewalk creep disappears from our streets (much to my relief, as they often threaten me whether it’s homophobia or jonesing from their last hit of crystal or smack), two more take his place. I even confronted Larkin one night on Market Street:

“You’re a big guy and telepathic, so why don’t you drive these homophobes outta here so I can do my street work?”

I was referring of course to my frequent clashes with anti-gay puds who want to turn the Castro into Hillbilly Haven for all the hetero rednecks that decide to mooch off LGBT generosity, but still think it’s fun to insult and harass us on our own turf. They’re constantly ogling attractive lesbians, coming onto them like the breeder perverts they are with all sorts of vulgar phrases. As for the gay men, well, we’re just a bunch of silly, sex-crazed geese who Jehovah shall soon banish from this earth, that The Righteous Heteros may be “Lords of Where We’re Permitted to Insert Our Priks at Risk of Extermination.”

A winning advantage of Larkin’s psychic talent is that I never need speak about my troubles, for he already knows. Think this through and you’ll realize he must also know which sacks of mierda are my antagonists. This man is out to avenge me as so clearly revealed by the illustration that begins Chapter 8 of Free Me From This Bond (book 1). For Larkin is my Guardian Dragon, and that illustration depicts a dragon toppling over the Transamerica Pyramid.

Therefore, he also knows I’ve been pining to see him again, ever since he shoved me for a second time just last week. My level of anxiety attacks were getting a bit out of hand starting yesterday, thanks to the painful challenges he presents me… along with all other trials in my life that have naught to do with him. So I guess he heard my woeful plea for some respite, after my wandering This Gay Ghetto all afternoon, seeking him out. For some assurance that he is taunting me, pressing my buttons for a compassionate purpose…that I may become his hero this time around. And that’s precisely what occurred:

At first I thought Larkin was sitting down in a shop doorway, but I thought: “That’s not his style, I’ve never seen him sit on the sidewalk or curb, or even on a chair at Jane Warner Plaza. Heck, he doesn’t even perch himself on the concrete buttress where he often stands outside of Twin Peaks to smoke.”

[ Other things I’ve observed, Crafty Reader, that are not his style: he never sports a backpack, briefcase, portfolio or whatever (in fact I’ve never seen him carry anything in his hand except a plastic bag occasionally or a cell phone), doesn’t drive a car or motorcycle or even ride a bicycle (like me he seems to be a dedicated pedestrian), he doesn’t wear any jewelry or piercings, nor does it look like he’s inked or scarified anywhere on his warlockian body. But he does have a glorious head of sepia hair which style he frequently changes (one month it’s a sexy buzz cut with chevrons, another month it’s dyed a rich orange that’s bodaciously hot, yet another season it’s a thick mane that frames his face like a knight’s portrait. He is indeed the handsomest dude I have ever met; even just thinking of him takes my breath away. ]

The reason I first thought he was seated on the ground was a combination of my 2nd-story elevation, the darkness of night, my own nearsightedness, and the fact that whoever he was reprimanding stood between my view and Larkin (such that I only saw his spindly arms waving about). The first thing that I hollered when I realized it was My Bodacious Basilisk:

“Larkin, stop lecturing people like you always have the answer!”

Just a friendly taunt, though once I realized he was confronting Ms. Flaky, I listened more closely… and actually appreciated his dressing-down of the miscreant. I know Larkin heard me, but he was totally immersed in his little lecture to pay me any mind. Some two or so minutes later, Ms. Flaky meandered off (to her squatter’s bench I suppose). Not wanting to lose this golden moment to call to Larkin from My Juliet’s Balcony– or perhaps Rapunzel’s–I hollered once more.

“That piece of monkey vomit showed up in the Castro about a month ago!”

My words were such a strident echo I know I woke up the neighbors. (Just wish Gabe were around, as I’m sure he’d absolutely savor being witness to my latest Larkin Escapade. He might have even joined in!) Then Larkin tilted his Celtic ruddy head to stare straight up at This Intrusive But Lovable Queer. And growled:

“Aargh! Now I gotta deal with you!”

As he marched in my direction and across Market I yelled:

“Go see a doctor, ya got a brain tumor, asswipe!”

He stopped in the middle and stood on the cobbled island decked with lackluster palm trees.

“C’mon, step up to my window, I got some water balloons to drop on you!” I announced. He looked up at me with a sort of woeful plea:

“You need to stop sending…”

I knew the rest of the sentence would be “my mail to the bars,” but I cut him off:

“Blah blah blah blah blah!” Which effectively drowned him out.

He sighed, smiled at me and stretched his arms in a broad air-hug. We both remained silent for some moments as I drank up his projected endearment. Then he dropped his arms, turned about and crossed back to the opposite side. I called out as he vanished into the dark:

“You are so lucky I didn’t carry pepper spray that night you shoved me a second time! Soooo lucky!”

At that point I could no longer see His Beloved Self, but knew he heard my parting shot:

“JULY FIRST!”

This unexpected banter lifted my spirits like Tinkerbell appearing at my window. So I mused on what just occurred:

I wanted to see him badly, so he shows up. Set himself in position right across Market Street in clear view of my window, knowing his sweet voice would pull me away from the desk. Put on a little show just for yours truly. But more than that: confronted a street punk who spoke ill of me.

[ Restless Reader: you may be wondering why I’m certain Ms. Flaky badmouthed me when earlier I said that perhaps Gabe made that up, as a tease. Here is my conclusion: since Larkin is telepathically gifted, he knows immediately who’s done me foul. Were Ms. Flaky not guilty, he wouldn’t have confronted her… at least not in my vicinity. He would’ve devised some other script to cheer me up. In effect, he was killing two birds with one stone. The second bird then, served to assure This Beleaguered Budgie that he most certainly will avenge my honor…and Ms. Flaky is just the beginning. ]

I ponder further:

Was he watching me from across Market before Ms. Flaky showed up? My curtain is open, anyone can see me from that distance and position, as I am in direct line of the window, my desk brightly lit as I swype away. Has Larkin been pausing across from my building every now and then, unbeknownst to me? And if so, how long has he been doing that? Don’t think I’m upset, even for a nanosecond; in fact I am heartily pleased at the thought. For My Guardian Dragon watches over me in loving regard. And I’m sure it’s his greatest honor to do so.

So here I am, suddenly dropping the article I planned to complete in a day or two, taking up instead another blog entry about my latest encounter with Serpent Breath. Once more, he usurps my focus on whatever I’m presently doing, and demands my full attention. Which I gladly give, always. I have a sneaking suspicion that was his intent tonight, all along. To pull me out of my morose funk since he shoved me last week. For Larkin is One Smart Cookie Firedrake!

He also gave me another story to write.


SECOND LETTER TO Gabe

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