Private Magazine

Tag: travel

Abducted in Poughkeepsie

SLUT7

“Gibson Mcaskill and Crosby, LLP,” I recite the law firm name painted on a brick wall behind me, in the tone of voice an anchor girl would use before removing her top.

“You’re beautiful,” shouts a man from parts unknown.

“Cut,” says Pete.  He lowers the camcorder. “That was really good.”

“Now what?” Randy says.

Randy is slouched in the background, but I’ve failed to notice.   Other than being Pete’s drug connection (whom we called upon for a mid-date favor), his role in tonight’s activities is uncertain.  He’s got a “Less than Zero” persona but told me he’s a lawyer, and I have no reason not to believe him.   But then again, I have no reason to believe him either.

We just wrapped up at Tudor Lounge karaoke, where Pete sang Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” and I did “Interstate Love Song” by Stone Temple Pilots, and Randy, well, I forgot he was even there.  And now it’s 3:30 a.m. and we’re at The Pink, the only place we can potentially blend in and belong.

We’ve consumed enough drinks to mellow our dispositions, and I’ve forgotten where they are coming from. These drinks are being mysteriously procured and paid for by somebody unknown, not by me, even though both Pete and Randy are certified drifters on the fringe.

Something I’ve noticed about derelict guys: they love to party and aren’t afraid to beg.

It’s last call at The Pink, at the time and place reserved for zombies looking to score – sex, drugs, and who knows what else?   Lightning zaps the sky, straight to the celestial vein. We pile into Pete’s car. Inside, it smells strongly of cigs and b.o.  I’m riding shotgun with my head out the window, uncertain whether to even bother smoking weed.

I decide to just let the pinot grigio soak in.

SLUT4

We are a ghoulish, ghastly trio cutting sharp edges against the fog.  We sit beneath a tree in Day’s Park,  at the same spot where somebody I know may or may not have, as a cry for help, sliced into his wrists with a box cutter.

“This place has the most picturesque litter,” I say. “Where’s the category for that in Buffalo Spree?”

“Melvin Toadsdale, don’t you remember Melvin?” Pete says to either Randy, or to me, or to no one in particular. We’re gathered under the tree smoking herb in the dark.  Pete hasn’t stopped talking for even one minute, not to take a breath, not for anything.

“He died,” says Randy.  Tires screech from somewhere far away.

“Melvin’s dead,” he continues. “Drug overdose. Three years ago.”

Pete pauses for what feels like an eternity, lowers his head, then starts to cry.

“Fuck,” he says.

A group of bros drift by on the sidewalk.

“I remember he was such an awesome kid,” Pete’s words are muffled by his snotty sleeve.   “I wish there was something I could have done, something I could have done to help him before he got back on the drugs that poisoned his mind.” Pete’s glasses fog up, then we’re all silent for a while.

I put my shaking hand on his arm. And then without warning, a new day begins.

SLUT6

The sound of Pete’s screeching tires eventually fades away.  The unforgiving sun has emerged from behind gray clouds, which hang tackily over the North Buffalo Denny’s like a hooker’s panties on a clothesline.  There’s no place I loathe more than Denny’s.   My brain is a lava lamp.

“Randy, will you give me a ride?” I say.

We drive away in Randy’s car, its floor littered with cut straws and credit cards.  Randy himself is missing a side tooth, and in profile looks like a skeleton. Behind us, the sun rises over Hertel Avenue with considerably more hesitation than usual.

SLUT5

It’s Memorial Day weekend.  Time to take off.  Au revoir, fuckboys!

I’ve got an AirBnb booked down in Cold Spring, New York, near the Hudson Valley and an hour’s train ride from Manhattan.  It’s a “meditative retreat” according to the married lady hosts, who live in the woods near a pond!  My bedroom looks straight from the Free People catalog, and did I mention there’s an ELLE-approved spa in town?

*The one caveat to this hideaway is that there’s no non-vegan food, alcoholic bevs, or drugs allowed on the premises.  But I can abide by this.  I have respect, pshaw.

I’m not vegan mind you, never was.  To quote Anthony Bourdain’s 1999 article in the Times, “Even more despised than the Brunch People are the vegetarians.  Serious cooks regard these members of the dining public – and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans – as enemies of everything that’s good and decent in the human spirit.”

I steer my Pontiac coupe up the rocky driveway.  Soon enough a dreadlocked blonde in a dip-dyed ensemble emerges onto the porch.

“I’m Shelley,” she says with a mystical air.

She shows me around the house, through the kitchen where there’s “all the granola you can eat,” and a sink spewing unadulterated well water.  There’s a sun-drenched meditation nook with incense burning slowly, ever so slowly, and in the yoga studio Shelly describes the guru they stream.

“At 8 a.m, every morning, we will be in here should you decide to join us,” she says with unfailing eye contact, which makes me self-conscious, like, I probably should have removed my black boots with the spurs and leather jacket, I mean, it’s so colorful in here, so… open. So honest.

“Well, I’m going to go mosey into town,” I tell Shelley a half-hour later. She’s reading a book in the meditation nook.  “I’ll be back a little later.”

On my way out, I meet the other host, Shelley’s wife, who is really skinny and tattooed with piercing eyes like nails.

“I’m Talyia,” she says.

I don’t know what either Shelley or Talyia do for a living, but it must be something really dope, as their spacious enclave in a rather bourgois neck of the woods leads one to believe.  Rich hippies…I think as my car crushes whatever foliage and insects dare to obstruct its path. Could be kinda neat. I roll my window down and as soon as I roll into Cold Spring proper,  locate my weed stash.

SLUT1

Later that night in Beacon, a town 10-minutes away: I’m told by the garçon at the French bistro that this town is pretty hip. Turns out, Beacon has a distinct Brooklyn-meets-East Aurora flair. Pretty soon, I’m tucked inside an air-conditioned hotel bar amid a cougar crowd. I watch a Hall-and-Oates cover band, one half of whom is from Buffalo, according to his wife at the bar –

“Oh, really, Buffalo,” she turns towards me and leans closer, “We met there about thirty years ago…”

After striking out with the sweaty rockabilly bartender, I walk up and down the street, as the stars emerge, and chat with a cute young music producer from LA.  He’s in town for a wedding, and tells me the pitfalls of no one ever knowing your name.

But I pull an Irish goodbye after asking him to meet me outside for a cig.  He probably won’t even come, he probably thinks of me as a dirty, smelly smoker now, and it’s not like I’ll ever see him again…

I walk up and down the street some more while replying to certain texts I’ve ignored.

“I want to apologize in person,” Randy says via a long-winded text from two days ago. “For how rude and disgusting my behavior was, and I want an opportunity to make it up to you.”

I hung out with Randy a few times; but every time we got together, it was apparent that Randy is a legitimate cocaine addict and full-blown alcoholic barely gripping the edge of life. I ran away from him the last time I saw him, literally, ran away after saying I had to return some videotapes. Despite knowing him only a week, I agreed to celebrate his birthday with him.  But when I got to his house (aka, his mom’s unfinished upstairs rental), Randy was all alone and hungover, chain-smoking on a folding chair.

“Um, it’s okay,” I type out. “I’m out of town anyway. Near Poughkeepsie.”

“I could go to Poughkeepsie,” Randy replies, with a wink face emoji.

“Lol,” I send back. “Yeah right.”

“No, really, I could take the train. Pete can drive me to the station.”

“I am staying at a vegan and sober airBnb,” I say. “Okay…”

When I return to the commune, Shelley and Talyia are in their hippie love nest with the door half open.  I say “Um, goodnight” and tip-toe into my tie-dye bedroom.

SLUT2

The next morning, with caged hens clucking beneath my window, I shake myself awake and realize – Randy might actually be on his way. To Poughkeepsie Station. But really, would this dude actually hop a train in the middle of the night?

I slink into the kitchen, and it’s about 8:40.  Yoga is over.

“Good morning,” I say, pouring dark coffee into a mug. “Say, um, is it okay if this guy I know stops by later? I didn’t invite him, per se, he just decided to show up at Poughkeepsie Station…”

“Oh, but you know him?” Shelley looks concerned. “He’s not stalking you?”

“Well, I guess,” I hike up my sateen pajamas. “I don’t know him that well, and he may be a bit stalker-ish. It should be okay though.”

I drive to Poughkeepsie and spend the morning walking across the Henry Hudson Bridge, which is majestic and scary and proof that it’s actually really difficult to jump off a bridge, and definitely not for pussys. Finally, Randy calls and says he’s at the station, so I leave to meet him on the platform.

I love NY train conductor accents … Silver fox train conductors down here have them… I’m thinking as I wait in the hot sun.  Finally, Randy walks towards me, and as I get closer I inhale a strong smell – the B.O stench of a homeless cannibal mixed with regurgitated booze simmering on asphalt. He gets even closer to me and hugs me, and what I breathe in is the bubbling spoon of rancid filth spewing from his pores.  He’s wearing a filthy sport coat made of tweed, even though it’s over 90 degrees down here. His complexion in daylight is like that of a caved-in corpse – pale, gray, and rubbery at best, with teeth melting out of his skull.

“Bleh,” I recoil in disgust. “You totally reek.  I should have known better than to meet you here!”

“What?” Randy schleps towards me, dragging his feet. “I’m here!”

“You can’t stay at my Bnb.”

I’m power-walking way ahead of Randy now, heading towards my car but walking across the parking lot in a daze with Randy lumbering behind me like a sasquatch, half-drunk, and me totally not realizing that obviously this is exactly what would happen, and how did I ever think it wouldn’t?

“I thought it could be cool,”  I shout back at Randy. “But now I know this was a bad idea and my whole solo, mediative getaway has all gone to shit, you don’t have anywhere to stay and you are expecting to stay with me at the Bnb, and I’m telling you IT IS NOT going to happen. Okay?”

We’re alone at my car in a vacant lot; Poughkeepsie Station, and not a soul around. Somehow, I didn’t actually think Randy would come.  I really didn’t invite him and I never said anything to give him the impression he could crash at my Bnb.  Not to mention, Randy is, needless to say, persona non grata anywhere near the hippie commune.

“Just keep away from me.  I need to get sushi and figure shit out,” I say, breathing deep, and remembering that this is just another day-in-the-life.

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Randy and I are at the waterfall/swimming hole in Garrison, right near the Bnb and where I figure, no doubt, at least Randy can rinse off his stench. I just need to get him to another motel for the night, or to head back to Buffalo, anything but just stay the hell away from Shelley and Talyia, please don’t get me kicked out.  I’m a bad girl trying so hard to be good.

But, am I really trying?

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On the way to the waterfall, we stopped at a liquor store, which I already knew existed but hadn’t entered out of respect for Shelley and Talyia.

“I want you,” Randy says, slurping from a rum bottle. There’s a few younger couples around, plus a lot of moss. “You don’t understand.  I would do landscaping tomorrow if it meant I could come inside you again and again -”

“SHUT UP!” I stand up on a rock. “I am just not into you! Get it through your skull!”

(I had previously told Randy that if he would apply himself and his law degree, join a firm, get malpractice insurance, and pay your dues to the Bar Association, or at least get some kind of decent job like every other fortysomething dude, maybe I would consider dating him. It was obvious, however, that Randy’s ever-present, bloody coke straw is his one true passion and that he will only succeed in ruining my life).

Now it’s 6:00 p.m.  The sun is beginning to fade.  I check my phone and see a message from Talyia:

“We went out and will be back around 9:00,” it says.

“Great,” I exhale a sigh of relief. “We can go back to the Bnb and I can shower and we can figure our shit out.  You need to call a motel and then maybe I’ll go find the strip club in Newburgh…”

“We locked the door,” is Talyia’s eventual response, right as Randy and I arrive at my car; we are both dirty and sweaty, and hungry to boot. “We couldn’t leave it open, obviously.”

What the fuck!”  My voice echoes; somewhere far away, a bird flies out of a tree. “Noooooooo!”

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Randy and I go to Beacon to kill some time.  Despite the extensive “nighttime” looks I packed, I’m stuck going out in Victoria’s Secret slides and a muddy skort, with Randy, this year’s worst accessory, to boot.

The Stockholm Syndrome sets in at the air-conditioned hotel bar.  I toss away my cares and worries simply because I have absolutely no control over the situation, never did. I succumb.  No matter how hard I try, Randy doesn’t listen to a word I say. I’m locked out with him stuck to my side.  We are both homeless derelicts, so what’s a girl to do? Enjoy a pinot grigio, even a cig, and Metallica’s “Sad but True” emanating from the jukebox.  I stop drinking to keep in driving shape, and when we stagger into the Bnb, it’s close to 10:00.

Inside, It’s deathly quiet. Shelley, Talyia, and a new kid with glasses are all sitting in the  mediation nook.

“Well, this is Randy,” I look at Talyia with pleading (but probably bloodshot) eyes.  Everyone is silent.

Randy and I creep closer to the crew, until Randy is right up next to Talyia and she looks up at him in horror.  I’ve probably grown used to his noxious stench, and can’t smell much of anything anymore.

“Ok I think I’m speaking for the group here when I say Randy needs to leave,” Talyia says.

“Thank you,” I quickly throw Randy under the bus. “I’ve been trying to dump him all day!”

Shelley and Talyia gather around us and the room starts to close in.  I worry that my tainted mental state is obvious.

“Have you guys been drinking?” Talyia says.

“No, no, not me,” I say.  “Randy, I’ll pay for your Lyft back to the station, and therefore pay you to stay out of my life forever!”

The new skinny kid with glasses comes outside with Randy and I, and he waits with him at the curb. I go back inside.

“Thank God he’s finally gone,” I look to Talyia and Shelley for sympathy, or something, but Talyia shrieks at me like a banshee.

“I think it’s best if you just went to bed!”

And that’s precisely what I do. But it’s only 10:30 p.m.  Damn.

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The next morning, over dark coffee, I am asked to leave.  It’s okay with me though; I do not fit in here.   I start to cry because of the lack of control I seem to have over my own life.

“I wish there was more we could have done to help you,” Shelley says.

Like not lock me out.

“I had no idea it would get so bad,” I say. “I thought I could handle it on my own.”

“We wish you peace,” Talyia says.

“Namaste,” says Shelley.

I pack up my room – contraband salami sandwich, leather clothes – and take off down the hill.  It reeks of Randy’s booze in my car, and sure enough, I find a cigarette butt in the console.   I clean and freshen the shit out of the interior then leave my car at the train station. It’s a fresh and foggy morning, and while waiting for the train into the City, I share my story with a South Carolinan family here for West Point graduation.  The train squeaks to a stop.  Soon, I’m smushed up against cute guys in Yankees gear heading to a game.

I walk from Grand Central to Soho in my boots with the spurs. “Coffee?” says a man with a shaved head near Washington Square Park.  “On my way back,” I say.  I’m comfortable in the NY crowd, where you’re totally alone and totally not at the same time. There’s peace when nobody knows your name, when you are just a face in the crowd with nothing but endless pavement, noises, doorways.

The Slut Diaries: Part I

Melrose

There’s playing with fire and getting burned, and then there’s dousing yourself in lighter fluid and going full-on Richard Pryor. Ever since the emotionally-abusive cycle with Billy ended, after he spazzed off on me in a jealous rage and things went totally caput, I’ve propelled myself into a Sluttylicious Spree of epic proportions, with party favors included.

March 10:

Kurt’s on my list of guys to bone.  Actually, he’s on the list of guys I have boned. But is he in the friend zone, or is it possible to re-light a match?

We had our blink-of-an-eye fling, sure.  But it wasn’t my fault it ended.  Kurt suddenly got a girlfriend and banished me from his apartment downstairs.  I wasn’t allowed to hang with his roommates or homeboys, not when he was there anyway.  Honestly, I like Kurt – we go back, way back.  We’re in the friend zone.

This drunken date of ours was slated to happen for, I don’t know, months. Kurt just bought a house in our old college town, a spacious relic on a winding road. So we went on a date to the Italian joint. I drove down; it was a snowy afternoon and the town was empty. Where did everybody go?

Kurt’s truck rumbled up his driveway. “Come on,” he said. “We’re going to the liquor store.”

“What are you, some kind of raging alcoholic?” I said.

“We used to live in the same house,” Kurt said with a grin. “You know I’m a raging alcoholic.”

Yeah, true. We did almost burn the place down once or twice.

Kurt handed me his debit card and I ran across the wine mart parking lot.  Back at the house, we situated ourselves inside Kurt’s rustic den.  I put on John Denver and rolled a joint. The place had been owned by an “old man”  who had been a “hoarder,” according to Kurt, and one with an obvious affection for the wilderness. He left behind in the den two giant walls of books. Their musty jackets loomed over Kurt and I.  Kurt gave me one he said reminded him of me.

“Here, this is it,” he said.  “Mistress to an Age.”

Schnapps

Kurt swilled Evan Williams and I downed wine.  The homespun haze put us in a daze, completely under its spell, until we remembered the Italian joint closed at eight. So we caroused our way downtown, and succumbed to total drunkenness at the Italian joint. It was there I felt the psilocybin kick in. Maybe I shouldn’t have mixed alcohol with a mushroom in the den. My ravioli became something of a muse. We discussed our common Libertarian ideals and emotional instability.  Kurt ordered an excessively-huge carafe of cabernet.  Back at the house, my face was numb but I pressed it against Kurt’s anyway and we started making out in the kitchen.

MARCH 11:

Kurt inexplicably woke up at 6:00 a.m. today, even though it’s Sunday, by turning on his light and saying casually that he “had to go to work.”

“Are you for real,” I turned over. Embarrassingly enough, bootleg big booby smut still emanated on mute from his TV. Kurt put it on as we were making out after dinner.

“I have my period, sorry,” I said. “Goodnight.” And I turned over.

“Oh come on,” Kurt said.

“I can see now that I’m not your type,” I said. “I’m not a big booby uggo downloaded from LimeWire.”

“I don’t have a type!”

Yeah, of course I know men don’t have types…How else do you explain Tiger Woods?

“Shhh,” I said. “I need to get some shut eye.”

At some point thereafter, we both passed out. Dead, and still in the friend zone thanks to that carafe of wine. Either way, in the morning light, I kept repeating to Kurt that I needed shut eye, until he shouted “Shut up!!!!” and clomped outside in his work boots. I heard his truck back down the gravel driveway.

I slept for a couple more hours, smoked some weed, folded Kurt’s laundry, and then began to plot our next adventure  – for some time, Kurt and I have discussed joining the swingers club in town, and going there as a “couple,” actually…

March 23:

Let’s see, “Scotty” from The Third Hole re-emerged, in the strangest of ways. Turns out, he broke up with his fiancé. We made plans to go out to dinner, after I wound up at The Third Hole last Saturday and Scotty and I made plans while in a drunken, coked-out stupor. But nonetheless, we made plans to go out to dinner in the Falls.

But I guess he has a child and was to have custody of him for the evening or something like that? How do these things work? Anyway, a few days before, Scotty said we’d have to postpone. So I asked Mick if he wanted to go out instead. He’s always down to go out to dinner, even at the last minute.

“Let’s go to Mother’s,” I said, and I figured I would just guzzle pinot grigio to make the night more enjoyable.  Since when have I ever needed an excuse to get drunk? Mick is like 50 years old. But right before, while I was getting ready to go, Scotty texted me and said his son went to the movies with friends, and he was headed to The Third Hole after all!

Great. Now I’m stuck going to dinner with Mick, when I could be having a much more stimulating night with Scotty. Hmmmm.

Mick picked me up at 6:00, which is MAD EARLY, and especially bizarre since we were going to Mother’s and they serve dinner until 2:00 a.m.

“Why are we going out so early?” I put my sunglasses on.  “It’s still light out.”

I turned the radio dial to the pop station.

“Oh sure, change the channel,” Mick said sarcastically as “It Ain’t Me” by Selena Gomez emanated from the speaker. “Who’s going to walk you through the dark side of the morning…” I said, not nearly stoned enough. “La la la, it ain’t meeeeee.”

“Oh my God, please, can we just have a quiet evening,” Mick droned.

“Sheesh” I said while trying to take a selfie. “The lighting is really bad in here.”

“Complain, complain, complain,” Mick said monotonously, and I knew right then it would be an annoying evening.

Or would it?

When we got to Mother’s, it was totally empty.  We sat in the far dark corner by the bathroom.

“It’s so early I’m not even hungry yet,” I said, thinking maybe I shouldn’t have popped an Adderall and 15-day herbal cleanse that I had lying around from Feel Rite, but so what? I was only trying to have a pleasant evening.

“Cannot believe we have a prune mixed with a banana for a president – I mean what the serious fuck?” I said, looking at Mick but he has the personality of a dial tone, and his face didn’t even move. “This scandal with Facebook using our information and pandering to the GOP? Of course they did, and he knew how stupid everybody really is and how to manipulate them emotionally.  We impeached Clinton for getting a BJ – but we are going to allow our civil liberties to get ass raped?

I watched Mick pour steak sauce all over a bloody piece of meat until I felt about ready to puke.

“I stand up for sex workers!” I grabbed a knife. “And freedom of speech! Does the Cheeto with Easter grass for hair, does he really know how to even read the Constitution?”

Mick sat there, detached.

“Who are you talking about?” he said.

“Ugh!” I said. “Do you want to go to the Goth store after this? There’s a party at nine.”

“No, I do not want to go to the garth store,” Mick said. “What is so great about the garth store? If you want to live that lifestyle -”

“Yes, I DO want to live that lifestyle,” I stood up and tossed my cloth napkin aside. “You are insulting my community. Just meet me at Q.”

I walked down the block to Q., and after Mick paid the bill and everything he came in after me. I wonder if he realized it’s a gay bar, with all the subtle rainbow accents? Mick is totally square nowadays.

“Look,” he said, sitting down. “I think after this we should both part ways, you should just go back with Billy, both of you don’t care about anybody but yourselves -”

“Wow, really?” I got upset and walked outside again. That was a low blow, even from Mick. I dialed Scotty’s number not sure if he would be available, but he answered on the first ring.

“If I took an Uber to The Falls,” I said while walking towards Delaware Ave. “Could you drive me home later, or like, tomorrow?”

“Yeah sure,” he said. I could hear The Third Hole background noise. And that’s exactly what I did. I rolled down the car window as we approached the saloon, and smelled smoke in the air. A house fire was just being extinguished.

Harbor Inn

MARCH 31:

I’ve wanted to do nothing all day except day drink and listen to Danity Kane. Why the fuck is it still snowing? Luckily, Troy*, my platonic homebody from the past, re-emerged. We met up at a sushi joint right after my hair appointment, so I looked pretty bossed-up if you know what I’m sayin’.

But I wasn’t trying to seduce or flirt with Troy. I wasn’t sure what was going on in his love life.

We were day drinking in the Hertel jurisdiction, D-District, where it all began, back when I lived in a minuscule attic studio more suitable for three blind mice and Troy was still legally married.

But wait – is Troy still legally married? Who knows, who cares.  Either way, we watched a drunken Camilla Parker Bowles-look alike chug Michelob after Michelob at MT Pockets. We started gyrating to “Boys” by Britney Spears at Gecko’s.  Somewhere along the line, I thought maybe Troy and I were going to make out.

Little did I realize, we would soon be making out in a full-blown PDA episode inside Gecko’s! And afterwards, we staggered into the Video Liquidators theater. Apparently I’m a regular, but they really do have the best selection of slutty lingerie. Anyway, no one else was there, which was weird since it was a Saturday and we found ourselves alone. First I peed in the ladies room, which is painted a dusty rose hue.

We wandered to the back of the store.

SHoes

What happens in the Video Liquidators theatre stays in the VIdeo Liquidators theatre, if you know what I mean.

But we emerged from its dark, sticky depths still in the friend zone for the most part.

APRIL 1:

“Do you want to become a mouthpiece of your generation?” I say to Pete, in front of the giant window of Just Vino that looks out upon Main St.  I’ve found myself on an actual date with someone I know, but not very well.

“I like your blog,” he says. “I had no idea you were so talented.”

Sure, you say that now… But what about after one is about you???

“It would be okay, actually,” Pete said. “That would be cool. Just change my name. Or don’t.”

APRIL 13:

I’m driving home from work, a.k.a smoking a jay and circling the block, wondering about how I’ll ever feel normal in relationships again.  But did I ever? I’m not exactly “normal.”

I’m chasing the dragon of actually caring. I feel numb to the earth. I’m waiting for The Feeling to sneak up on me again, like heroin probably does, but I’ve never done heroin.

Wait – who’s that? Chasing the dragon, right, that is until I see the guy taking out his trash – t-shirt, beard, tattoos – he looks to be moving old carpets and junk.  It looks like maybe he’s moving in…and just on the next block over too…Hmmm…

 

Cupid, Cuckolds, and the Cherry on Top

Cupid2

A Valentine’s Special

It’s a cold winter Saturday, the time of night when fog creeps into this part of downtown and hangs over the cobblestone streets. It seems haunted, eerie, like something from the days of Jack the Ripper.  Smoke clouds emanate from a factory on the horizon.   I’m wandering the casino with Louis and my Cousin Phil.  Rows of slot machines glitter into the distance.

I’m sitting at the Playboy machine with Louis, who’s just put in $20.00  I look into his eyes. They’re blue, like mine.  A cherry pops up in one, then a dollar sign in the other. I’ve hit the jackpot as far as online dates are concerned.  Who knew finding a boyfriend would be this easy? We’ve been seeing each other for about a month now.

 

Cupid3

For our first date, Louis and I met up at an art show.  As he came through the door, I admired his beard and chubby physique. Via message, Louis confided that he has a foot fetish – but what’s so weird about that, compared to all the other stuff out there? What’s a simple, normal foot fetish, in the grand scheme?

We sat down at the little bar area in Revolution Gallery. He bought drink after drink. Throughout the night, he held my hand.  Louis’s body is encapsulated in tattoos, yet he has a sad puppy-dog face.   At the end of the night, while walking down the street, Louis revealed he bought me the painting I liked while I was in the bathroom.

“Louis!” I was shocked, because I knew it was $300, but Louis had the receipt and everything to prove it wasn’t stolen. “You really didn’t have to, though. It was expensive.”

“You don’t like it then?”

“I do,”  I said. “Of course I do. Thank you, Louis.”

From that night on, I’ve spent every weekend with Louis.  He lives 45 minutes away, in a small rusty town.

Tonight, I thought I would introduce Louis to my Cousin Phil, who is up from Tampa and already tipsy, because he has been here at the casino drinking way before we even arrived. We are all going to see Dave Attell at Helium together, and I just know the two of them will get along.

“Lou,” Cousin Phil puts his arm across his shoulders. “You know, I like you already. What do you do, anyway?”

“I do signage, commercial signage.” Louis pulls out his phone to show Phil some pictures. “I carve stuff out of wood. And metal, sheet metal mostly -”

“Excuse me, sir,” says a security guard coming towards us. “You’ll have to check that knife.”  I look at Louis’s crotch, and notice the folded-up blade against his hip.  This security guard is a petite lady, and she doesn’t seem pissed or anything.

“Sir?”

Louis looks up from the musty carpet.

“Oh, my knife?”  he says. “Sorry.” He walks off with her towards the security desk.

“That’s hot, right?” I say to Cousin Phil. “The fact he has to go check his knife?” Cousin Phil leaves to buy some drinks.

“You’re manly,” I say to Louis upon his return.  He stares at me with an unflinching stare.

“Um, sorry” I say, leaning into him. “Daddy,” I whisper.

Last week, Louis said that he doesn’t want me to call him “Louis” anymore, I am to call him “Daddy” and nothing else, and frequently too. Louis sucks on his lithium-powered vape, and exhales strawberry-flavored smoke.

“What do you want to drink, Doll?” he says.

Cupid5

Louis owns many knives and guns, as well as a Harley.  He seems  like the kind of guy who could kill a bear with his own hands.  In fact, he can make and shoot bow-and-arrows, which seems like a totally romantic thing to do, very Cupid-esque.

But I’m noticing that behind closed doors, Louis is rather intense.

“Fuck,” Louis gets up from his couch and heads towards the kitchen,  naked as a shucked clam, which is customary because Louis is a self-proclaimed nudist. “His numbers are still good.” He’s talking about the Donald Trump “news” on TV  that he found after 10 minutes of trying to find news on Hulu. “They’re still good, fuck what they say.”

The elephant in the room. Louis stomps off with the empty pizza box.

“Get the fuck out of here, dog,” Louis yells at his dog, Bruce, who’s sitting straight up and staring at the wall.  Louis rescued Bruce from a shelter, but I feel really bad for Bruce’s current situation, because Louis keeps him cooped up in his stupid apartment all day and yells at him all the time.

“Aw,” I hug Bruce. “He’s not doing anything.”

—-

BRB8

“You know what would be hot to do while I’m out of town, Doll?” Louis texts.

“What, Daddy?” I reply.

“Send me some photos of you fucking another dude,” he says.

Yikes! Why is Louis so into this idea? Honestly he’s brought it up before, but I’ve been stalling for time by saying that I will eventually, later on, after we date a while.  After I figure out if he’s worth it.  Because honestly, this whole time, I’ve been fantasizing about having sex once again with my ex,  “S.,” but I’m scared about releasing S. into my current dating situation.

Comparing Louis and S. below the waist is to compare an acorn with a log, respectively – a log any beaver would thirst for.  Sex with Louis sucks.  He seems depressed about his own manhood. It’s true what they say, that men with small packages compensate with cocky personas.  Louis struts around like a cockatiel, whereas S. is quiet and shy.

The more Louis pushes this idea on me, the more I have sexual fantasies about S. Since I’m sexually frustrated and about to blow,  I decide to send him an email.

In the subject line, I type the word “Orgy.”

“I suppose this letter may come as a surprise, I write.  “I have a new boyfriend. He’s soooo romantic. Plus, turns out, he is very open about wanting to watch me have sex with another man. Someone to be a “sex slave,” so to speak… 

You came to my mind as a potential sex slave for this orgy because you wanted sex without any emotional involvement or attachment, said you never want a relationship, ever, and seem okay with a straight up friends with benefits scenario.”

What the hell am I doing? Talk about a can of worms.  I hit Send and do not expect any response at all.

___

Cupid4

“I just want you to be happy, so I’ll do that for you,” S. says over the phone a mere five minutes later. “Just tell me one thing.”

“What?”

You can tell S. is driving because I hear the whoosh of the open window since he’s probably smoking a cigarette with me on speakerphone.

“How’s the sex?”

What?”

“The sex,” S. exhales. “ I mean, I’m asking because clearly there must be a reason you thought of me.”

I’m not telling S. that sex with Louis sucks.  That would only feed his ego, and have me eating from the palm of his hand. No, this time I’m going to be the one in control.  

Cupid

“The last girl I dated didn’t work,” Louis tells me over brisket at his town’s BBQ pit.  “I took care of her.”

“Oh, really?” I say.  Louis insisted on paying for this meal, and these drinks, again, even though I was the only one carrying cash. He never lets me pay for anything. That’s why   I decided to buy him a gift, some Viktor & Rolf SpiceBomb cologne, to show my appreciation.  The bottle is shaped like a grenade, perfect for Louis’s heavily-armored self.  I hope he likes it.

“If we ever lived together,” Louis says, staring at the bar TV screen with a diamond ad projecting from it, “I would want to pick out what you wear when you’re at home.”

“Um, really?”  I haven’t touched my Bloody Mary. “I am very particular about my wardrobe.”

Louis stares at me with his penetrating stare.

“I have something I want to give you,” I say, to change the topic as Louis pays the bill.

“What is it?”

“Just something small,” I hand Louis a tiny gift bag with the cologne inside.  “What’s wrong?”

“I really wish you wouldn’t have,” Louis stands up and puts his hands in his pockets, starts walking towards the door to the back parking lot. “I won’t accept it.”

“What? Why?” I walk faster to catch up with Louis, who’s standing in the shadow of his giant truck. “I wanted to show my appreciation.”

“The way to show your appreciation for me is to call me daddy, and let me play with your feet, “ he says. “For future reference, I don’t like surprises and never accept gifts.”

I climb into the passenger side of the truck, and don’t bother saying “Sorry, Daddy” this time.

After all, what did I really know about this dude?

 

Inside the Boulevard Motel

A couple years ago, a Motel 6 on the outskirts of town – or maybe it was a Super 8 – found itself under investigation. The shabby motel housed an intricate prostitution ring, and plenty of drugs.

The week of the bust, a girl’s dead body was found in one of the rooms. It appeared to be a drug overdose.

This is a peek between the scratchy sheets of one Buffalo motel…one that we decided to investigate on a cold, snowy night.

Boulevard

It’s just after midnight. Maurice and I are driving in search of a seedy motel. We will be conducting undercover research. I’m holding onto a paper bag of take-out tacos, unable to wait much longer before consuming them.

“Look, there! That place looks sketch,” I say, pointing my finger at a bright red, trailer park-esque building on the left.  We pull into the lot, with a single red Camaro parked in it.  There’s a room at the forefront, illuminated against the darkness – the check-in desk. It is outlined with window boxes full of dead flowers, and faces the outside, enclosed behind glass.

Maurice approaches. A man is scuttling around the motel office like a hamster, clad in wrinkled chinos. He asks Maurice to surrender his ID.

“Why do you need to keep my ID?” asks Maurice.

“Oh you know, just in case you end up murdering me in the motel room. Standard practice,” I say, wandering off, swinging the tacos to and fro.

Maurice turns the key in the doorknob of room 103. We are jet-lagged from our journey down Niagara Falls Blvd.  An offer of “Jacuzzi hot tubs” glowed in phosphorescent yellow, but when we enter room 103 it’s clear we’ll enjoy no such luxury.

Narcotics

The room is freezing and dark. Maurice turns on the heater, which rests in the window frame behind wispy curtains. Dust particles stream out of the vent, but the room is toasty in no time. I discard the hideous pumpkin orange and yellow floral comforter that I had wrapped myself in. There’s burn holes in it, leftovers of a former inhabitant’s nocturnal nicotine lust.

Maurice and I are on the run from the law. Earlier this evening, we were making out inside Maurice’s car, which was parked behind the art gallery. Suddenly, bright headlights came streaming into the driver’s side door.

“Police…” Maurice whispered.

“Dammit!” My hands flew up towards my face, pressed against my cheeks. “No!”

“Roll down your window for me, bud?” I could hear the voice of a young cop, coming from inside his police car. “Park’s closed, bud. You can go down the street.”

So we went on an expedition. First, we got tacos. Then, we were on a quest for the motel in which the prostitute was found dead. We didn’t quite make it there, but rather washed up on the shore of this Boulevard Inn. This is step one of our review of Buffalo motels – an undercover inquiry into what could become a tidal wave of sketchy scenes and socially aberrant behavior, if we should be so lucky.

I hang my jacket up on a hanger which can’t be removed from the rod.

“You can’t take the hangers off,” I say. “Probably so we can’t murder each other with them.”

It’s time to inspect the bathroom. I turn on the light. The bathroom is terrifying. Not grimy or dirty, per se, just…stuck in a 1970’s puke green time warp. There’s definitely no Jacuzzi tub…no bathtub at all. The shower is one of the stand alone locker room varieties, with a circular bar of soap lying on the shower floor. It’s so creepy; the showerhead looks like it will emit poison gas. The walls are lined in tiles the color of split pea soup/stomach acid. The bathroom as a whole is narrow and it feels like the walls are closing in. Toilet paper hangs sideways from its holder. Cue Psycho music! Wait…somebody stole the shower curtain.

nude

I emerge from the bathroom, and throw myself on the bed next to Maurice.  I wrap myself in the charred comforter, the horrendous floral pattern like something you’d find in the basement of That 70’s Show. We tear into the tacos, and soon the bed is littered with paper wrappers from Elmwood Taco & Subs. I lean over Maurice to grab our giant fountain beverage. “I’m a filthy whore,” I say. “Filthy!”

The stars are glimmering in the Boulevard sky. I peek between the blinds, and see that a few other cars have parked at the motel. Oh, the horny love birds. The illicit affairs. The closet homosexuals. The girls turning tricks on Backpage.com.  We fall asleep.  Everything is silent at the Hotel Motel Boulevard Inn.

The next morning, I search the internet for reviews of the Boulevard Inn. Besides the horrible bathroom design scheme and weird recluse of a night manager, I don’t really know what else can be said about it.

After a perusal of Trip Advisor.com, I realize that Maurice and I have been very, very lucky. “Cigarette burns in bed linen, moth eaten curtains,” wrote one reviewer. Ok, no surprise there. It grows worse as I scroll down. “Cob webs and bugs on the floor,” “Room reeked of cat urine,” “RUN AWAY,” wrote others. “Dirty, worn sheets,” said somebody who previously stayed, “The kind of place where you sleep with your clothes on.” I take another shower, then resume my internet search. The best one came last, accompanied by gruesome photographic evidence. “There was a crude smell in our overpriced room,” quoth a former guest from a year ago. “There was a blood stain on the comforter and splattered on the doorknob.”

Purse

Blood stains and crude smells? It looks as though our motel room investigations are just heating up.