Wise & Young

Friday, December 21, 2007

The first short story

Okay I keep my word, I need feedback....have a happy holiday season.
Its 10 now, we not are going to grab something to eat, I know Darryl’s going to g the Bachelor’s Mill. Had it been anyone else I would have just turned around and went back to Baltimore. Lately I’ve become a hermit of sorts, staying in &, keeping to myself. Not the outgoing person I used to because being in the gay scene is too taxing so I just stopped. No more religious devotion to the gym, abs, were the reward for a zealous commitment to perfection, now are covered by a chocolate jello layer. Jaw line once chiseled now, soft creating an illusion of a happy visage . I knew when Darryl called with an invitation to dinner with his new beau that dinner was never going to happen. But I bought this pretense because with his move to Atlanta, it’s rare we get to see each other. As well as to meet his beau Carl, from the information I was told, I cautioned Darryl against his involvement with Carl. A man who is in his mid forties, finically secure, and who had a lover of 15 years that he is allegedly “divorcing”. I guess Carl decided that going to a sex party would help hasten the process, & that’s where he met Darryl. The more I learned about this Carl, or rather his actions the more I became suspicious. Men, gay or straight, don’t just buy phones, take dates on trips around US, buy jewelry yet never have you over to their house or visit the city they reside in during the same time frame. Anytime I raised a point of concern to Darryl he would say,
“Len, you just don’t understand bruh”, right I didn’t understand how a rationally thinking person who was quick to dole out advice could not see that he had unwittingly confused trinkets, meant to pacify and null the senses, for love and intimacy. But I can’t judge, for more times than not I’ve confused, traded, give, and got sex in place of love.
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10:30
This is why I don’t fuck with NW DC! Looking for parking has taken me from Hotel Rouge on 16th st NW to 24th and P st NW. All of a sudden the phone rings and its Darryl, I know he’s going to ask where the hell am I.
“Hey”
“Hey how you doing?”
“I’m still looking for fucking parking I’m all the way down 24th and P”
“Oh Lord, bamas I tell ya, come back to the hotel I got a spot for you”
“Aight”
While driving it hits me, this is the first time I’m going out in a year. I don’t even know the spots anymore or how to find out. Part of the reason was because I told myself when then Mayor Williams and the new DC residents decided that DC needed a wholesome All-American baseball, and a stadium to play in, eyed SW DC. The Black gay night life up to that point was pretty predictable, and regimented, attributable to the bureaucratic nature of the queens who like things to be routine, and easy. If they had more than one option they would be paralyzed by the idea that if they decided on the wrong venue that night that they would not be noticed. .
Back then, the night life started on Thursday the Bachelors Mill, near the Navy Yard, also known as the retirement home, had card playing, house music with a touch of Hip-Hop. Here you could find queens in their fifties with Fubu and Enyce outfits complete with one pant leg rolled up, trying to emulate “trade” circa 1994. Friday was reserved for the Edge a one story warehouse building that had more people preening, and posturing than actually dancing or enjoying themselves. Saturday, was the Delta Elite, also known as the death trap, oppressively hot, insanely crowded; and one of the few spots where those under 21 were allowed admittance. Here you could find the young queens mostly college age, recently or in the process of coming out, booty popping to every song and the older hawks who preyed on them trying to get one alone and take them home. This was the first gay club I ever went to, where it was astonishing to see the sheer number of queens in one spot, it seemed then that the whole Black gay population came out for my coronation or ascendency to queendom. Sunday, was for the fireplace, like the Delta was an extremely crowded spot, or at least on Sundays, but only one the second floor. The Fireplace had this unwritten rule, like much of DC gay life, Black and White queens don’t hold court together. Like a segregated church out of the south, Whites stayed at the bottom, and us coloreds mingled, congregated, and fellowshipped upstairs. Chocolate Tuesdays at the Wet was the stop to go to, or so they said. The few times I went it never was impressive The dancers, none were particularly attractive, but they all had big dicks. In this lifestyle, in this city, a lot is overlooked if you have an eye catching, or pleasure providing appendage, and the dancers knew this, and used the thirsty bottoms to their advantage. The dancers and tippers had come to an agreement, dancers let those tipping grope, play, and occasionally lick their manhood in direct proportion to the size of the tip; while the tippers did not ask the strippers to dance, act amused, or give them the slightest illusion that there was anything more than a business transactions, exacting money from a human ATM, quick, calculated, and thoughtless.
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But I knew that Darryl, will go to the the Mill. I would too even though I really wanted to go home, but Darryl is one of my closest friends. Plus, I’m somewhat curious to see this Carl character. Upon parking and walking out towards the hotel I see Darryl outside, we hug and he asks me the envitable question.
“Yo, are you hungry?” Thinking no, but I’m tired like shit, so I shake my head no.
“Oh my boy and I were thinking about going to the Mill, you down” It was almost a rhetorical question there was no way I was turning back to Baltimore after a meet and greet.
“Yea I’m down”
“Aight, bet let me introduce you to my boy Carl”
“Hey, nice to meet you” I said extending my hand out to be shook
“Same here” Carl said, shaking my hand firmly. Carl was light brown, in-shape, who looked indescribable otherwise, for any description of him was to describe half of the queens of his generation, educated, well-off, someone who understood the need to take care of yourself and preserve your appearance without going under the knife or the MAC counter. On our ride to the retirement village, I made small talk with Darryl, making sure to include Carl as well, the type of safe conversation that no one really remembers, but still amiable.
When we arrived at the Bachelors Mill, Carl paid our entry fee and since there wasn’t a line, it was only 11, the bar was relatively empty. On the first floor there were two dance floors both accompanied by bars. The larger of the dance floors was guarded by a woman who sat hunched over, grabbing men by the wrists and offered to help them put on their wristbands. She never smiled, as if smiling would magnify her thick mustache that rivaled many of the patrons, including mine.
This dance floor played only house music, the type of house music that followed disco and what so many of the children became intimately aware of growing up. These songs became the battle cries of their youth that now echo and fill their senses with memories of lovers lost, friends, and the end of an era when they were the up-and-coming ones. Naturally Carl decided to display his age and relegate himself there, while Darryl and I made our way to the smaller hip-hop dance floor.
Since it was so early barely anyone was on this side. This smaller side was ruled by the younger queens under 30 like me, the ones that would someday listen to these same songs and be able to recall a memory of a man, moment, or an emotion long forgotten and buried under years of routine living and aging. But for now this small space was where we marked our territory, wrote and re-wrote the roles of engagement, codified how best to attract the men we think we want. The DJ decided to play a watered down set filled with one hit wonders, long forgotten artists, and remixes that should never have been made. While Darryl stayed downstairs nursing his drink like a suckling newborn on a tit.
I wondered if the owner, who some say is a black queen others say a snow queen and a few say a black butch, redecorated the space. Opening up the door, I see that whomever they are left the space alone. Like last time I was here there were card games going on, and bustling pool tables all circulated around an island bar. Walking through the crowd it was hard to shake the feeling that I was walking among survivors. The war started with a bliezting attack called gay cancer or gay pneumonia at the time, leaving many friends, foes, former lovers devoured in its wake riddled with Karpi Scaroma, and with an unrelenting intensity that never played fair-even to this day. Some survived but bore the sunken in cheeks, bloated bellies, and former Adonis forms morphed into bastardized versions of their former selves. But in their eyes they are proud, proud to be able to enjoy tonight fellowship with commodores and regale each other about the good times before the Great War.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------There were other survivors here; there were those had survived a solitary war. Where the enemy had used positions of power and authority and promised to love them, only to hurt them maliciously, vigorously used their pre-pubescent bodies for acts unspeakable only whispered about, afterwards sealing their lips shut with shame. So it was not until years later when the warriors wondered why they had turned to define themselves by the tests of how much pleasure they could incite in others that they realized what the enemy had done and the ramifications. But in places like this, the warriors of this silent war knew the look of each other, for we all bore the same look a silent pain screaming from behind our eyes. Some uses this place and places like it looking for solace, some for love but many simply want a reprieve from their shell shock.

But staying upstairs too long is not in the cards tonight, because the smell of an toilet wafted through the air. As the fumes of funk bum rushed my nose I make a hurried retreat back into the Hip-Hop dance floor. With the crowd now a nice size the DJ decided to play music more palatable and I make my approval known by the signature side to side step that those of my generation make, a slight nodding of the head and equally stylized bounce from left to right expelling enough energy to be in sync with the music, not enough to break a sweat. Tonight was not a night to sweat but a night to commune. As the songs change, and the beat quickens it seems to reach and grab every queen in the vicinity, wave upon wave of royalty stormed the small room each with a face that portrayed a confusement as to why they had been drawn there but few left. I left, a nice crowd is one thing but too many bodies stifle movement and defeat my ability to have fun of any variety.

Making my way to the large dance room it too has become filled, not packed but an ever thickening crowd. Over by the bar I see Carl who seemed to be in his element, chatting with what looked to be some friends. Out of nowhere appears Darryl by Carl’s side, and Carl’s demeanor seems to lighten, Carl’s embrace, holding Darryl by his waist bodies turned toward each other. This was both strategic, and endearing. In the life, there are certain moves you make to assert power, dominance, submission, and hierarchy some subtle others blatant. Each was marking their mate by this display of affection rarely seen in an environment like this, but this was for all of those queens watching, and they were watching, that they were taken. On the dance floor the queens looking for a one night stand were using blatant displays of flesh to find the man that would soothe their carnal urges for at least tonight. One queen, who looked good for his age 55, wore the tightest jeans displaying his semi-hard dick print, accented by his cock ring. His ass was on display as well, perfectly round, high, and seeming tight from decades of Pilates and yoga. His devotion paid off, the queens took notice, some with envy others with lust, most with a mixture of both. As the night wore on, my nomadic tendencies waned and I found a seat to people watch. The packs of queens came and went there were a few whose faces I had known before tonight, the New Yorkers without a penny to their name but managed to craft their way to LA, Atlanta, and Puerto Rico every pride season. The gym bunnies of Bally are who lied to themselves that there are on the DL. Faces upon face that I have seen before as extras in clubs and bars, on nights like tonight. Each one of us has found our way here tonight, some via habit, others by chance. But we are all here, hundreds packed into this two story bar from different walks of life here, what drove us here. What keeps us here, so many have a longing in their eyes that betrays the illusion that their voices portray. Is this a place of refuge from the harsh world that awaits us every time we leave this safe place, or does the Mill and the its kind serve up love and damnation in a 1:8 ratio? Have queens, like me come to swallow the harshness because of we hold so preciously onto iota of love that we will do anything for it?

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Mid-thought I get the signal from Darryl that they are ready to go. Darryl now not drunk but in his niceness state is very chatty, its something about liquor that turns even the most stoic of personalities into chatterboxes. As we drive back to the hotel, I have to admit it’s nice to see Darryl happy with someone who takes him for him, and who he equally admires. It’s not my place to understand what money has to do in their relationship, it may be the impetuses or a type of foreplay. One thing I have learned is that we all have to create our own laws, our own rules and be fluid enough to change when its advantageous to do so. For some they too quickly compromise everything including the very core of who they are for the sake of love, but then they quickly resent the person they have become and the man how they changed for. Others refuse to change or compromise telling themselves that someone must be able to take all of them but refuse to take all of someone else. The balancing act of love, gay, straight, or otherwise is hard, its not too often that people get it right, but we can try to get close.

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4 Comments:

  • Ahhh...the Mill and the Edge/Wet. Southeast's pre-Washington Nationals hay day.

    By Blogger Mr. Jones, at 11:19 AM  

  • OMG I hadn't entertained the thought of Bachelor Mill in quite sometime, reflecting that far back certainly reminds me of my age, and being a survivor of all that was mentioned. The same friends i danced with years ago on that same dance floor have since pasted on, relationships gone sour, and youth perished. I had to laugh out loud when I read that it is often refered to as: The Retirement Home. Thanks for the memories, you are certainly young and wise.

    By Blogger Chet, at 8:59 PM  

  • wow...i fully enjod that man..an extremely entertaining and realistic story. It portreys life so plainly but accurately...keep it up and holla at me so i can read next time u write....

    By Blogger SpecialK261, at 2:02 AM  

  • I was able to visualized everything that you talked about (except for Wet) being that I have been there.

    Your description of the Bachelor's Mill and The Fireplace were so on point! I especially was moved by your description of the "survivors", generational differences/similarities, and the division of races.

    Keep the stories coming.

    By Anonymous kennyking78, at 3:44 PM  

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