Open Letter To All Single Gay Men

Hey guys,

As one of those terminally single dudes out there, I must say the practice of seeking a mate or sexual partner is hard and often wears down the old self-esteem, but there are times when I see the humor of it as well. My most favorite thing is the observation that so many of you ‘good looking’ guys out there who live at the gym and ‘take care of your bodies’ are still yourselves single. Your profiles paint a portrait of an intelligent, active go-getter anyone would be proud to date/bed down; but here you are. With me. On Scruff. of Grindr or whatever site or app you use.

I especially love when  you fine fellows complain about the low quality of men (mostly in LA which leads me to think it’s the men in this city particular) and how you will just lose your $#it if you meet another, as you call them, loser. Maybe it’s in the kind of guys you are looking at. Ever think of that? If you shop among douchebags all the time, douchebags are all you’re ever going to find. If you’re just looking for a gym bunny for a quick fix, fine. Go for it. I get it. Douchebags are odd because I don’t think there’s another kind of guy that is so equally hot and revolting at the same time. I want to run them down with my car as much as I want to take them to bed. If you are really earnest about finding a quality guy to date and start that open relationship we all dream about, then maybe you should read on.

Identify who you want. That’s first and foremost. Like shopping at the store, you need a list to shop for a man. What kind of man? A few tips on what is and is not a good sign.

  • Gym Selfie. If the guy you’re looking to talk to has a gym selfie as a profile picture there’s only one thing to do. Run. Just run. This is a guy who lives at the gym and if you don’t worship at the weight rack like he does, it’ll never work out. I also hate how these guys take full credit for their hot bodies, when in reality it’s probably their body type that is the biggest influence in their workouts and when they hit that magic age, it will all go away like magic.
  • Marathon Selfie. Kind of the same thing as above. This guy isn’t a gym rat so much as a lifestyle convert.He’s probably aggressively Vegan and will try to push you over to the green side every chance he gets, even resorting to food shaming. The only thing these guys love is crossing the finishing line.
  • Backwards baseball caps. If your target sports his ball cap backwards then take a few steps back. This is the universal sign of douchebag. Bonus warning if he’s wearing sunglasses AND the baseball cap. That’s just stupid people. That needs to be weeded out right here and now.
  • Faceless profile picture. This barely needs to be mentioned,  but I will say it. Anyone who fails to have a clear face picture on their profile is not a handsome yet discreet man waiting for the right one to come along. There’s no point in discretion on these apps because everyone is in the same boat. If someone from the office sees you on Growlr, then you have as much on him as he does on you.
  • Excessive slang. If the guy’s profile reads like a Rap song, complete with misspellings, keep walking. Remember, this guy composed this profile to read just like that. That’s either how he thinks the world really communicates or that’s really how HE communicates and however down you may be with the thug life, it can wear pretty fast.
  • Open relationship. Not likely that you’re going to reply to someone in an open relationship with the idea it could be more than a hook-up, but just in case here’s a tip. The profiles that go on and on about how great their man is and how happy they are with him is odd. If they’re so happy and in love, what are they doing online looking for a side piece? Keep in mind you are just extra to these guys and are completely disposable to them. They don’t care if they have to cancel or put you off. You aren’t a priority to them. If you don’t mind putting up with that, go for it.
  • Vacation slides. Some guys  put their vacation photos on their profiles and won’t shut up about how they love to travel whenever they can. Must be nice to have that kind of money and flexibility. Most of us in the real world have to work for a living. These are the guys who are all about where they’ve been and will constantly insist they know about something better than anything else. Constantly referencing their past adventures in order to show they are so much more traveled and cultured than you. They’ll ask you why you don’t travel more and be warned; there is no right answer to this. To them there is  no excuse not to travel. Makes me wonder if they are so much happier someplace else, why don’t they live there instead?

If you’re still bitching about all the terrible guys you’re  meeting, try and think about all the guys you reject. There are so many guys out there who I share so many things in common with yet I  never  hear from them when I reach out and that’s because despite our compatible personalities, I don’t look like a porn star. I know. We all want a porn star. Some muscular, handsome specimen who’s always clean down there and ready to go with a ten inch tool (at least) but the reality is beauty fades and we all become average at some point. You might have better luck finding a good man if you open your eyes to what’s inside as well as what’s on the outside. I’m not saying to settle for anyone. Attraction is of course an important component, but try and expand your vision of what is and is  not attractive. Maybe it’s not in the cards for you to have a boyfriend with rock  hard abs, but what good are those abs when you’re sick and you need someone to pamper you to health? Where’s your gym bf going to be when you need him to pick you up from the doctor? I think the best advice to be given would be to give people a break and open yourself up. You have no idea what a person could be to you until you let them be it. You may also want to start actually READING the profiles instead of only judging on the picture.

I hope you got something out of this, but I’m sure this has all fallen on deaf ears. In any case, be safe and have fun out there, boys!

Pride 2015

Hey there

So, I wound up going to LA Pride this year and I did have a good time. It was the first year I actually had the opportunity to drink, and I have to admit, dealing with the crowds and heat, you really need a few in you. All in all, it was a great day with friends and there was a lot of eye candy to enjoy as well.

Now, that I have said all that, I do have some issues. First, Pride itself feels a little off course. To me, It appears to be more of an excuse for hot guys to strut around all day in G-strings and show off their goods. Secondly, it’s turning into a huge corporate event. I remember the days when there were booths and vendors from local businesses for as far as the eye can see. I guess I’m just disappointed in it because so much of the event is about nearly naked men, and that offends me because it’s like they’re saying that’s all gay men care about. I can’t speak for others, but that’s not what I’m all about. Of course I like to see some nice faces and bodies, but there’s more to me than that. You can’t wave a nice ass and some awesome pecs in front of me and keep me satisfied for long. I heard that Channing Tatum and Matt Bomer rode upon a float in the parade and some of my friends were disappointed they missed it. I am not. Big deal. They showed  up to plug their upcoming Magic Mike movie. It wasn’t out of community support or pride. It was about money and pushing your man candy onto the largest grouping of gay men you can find. Again, I find that offensive. The first Magic Mike movie was terrible. Some nice eye candy, but everything else about it was horrible and I can confidently say I will not be seeing the 2nd film, but I digress.

My point is that this event has become more about money than anything else and there was a day it meant more and was more. Now it’s just becoming a giant commercial and of course there’s plenty of liquor to be had to keep the masses off center and susceptible to their suggestions.

Gay Parents In Risque Occupations

Hello
I recently read an article that tackled the issue of gay men and couples who would like to have kids and they are in, what the article describes as, risqué professions. Now let’s lay our cards on the table here. I’m gay myself, and I am by no means pure as the driven snow, so I’m not passing any kind of criticism of these peoples’ lives. I just had a little problem with the article. More accurately due to how shallow and incomplete it was.
First, the main references in this article were Michael Lucas, of porn fame. The ‘writer’, director, performer and producer of what some could argue are the toppest tier gay porn in the industry today and some bodybuilder by the name of something Melvin. I don’t know. I guess he’s some big deal or something, but he didn’t look like no bodybuilder to me. He was lean and he had a great body and handsome as the day is long, but bodybuilder? Eh. Anyway, I don’t know much about him. I guess he had some nude pics leaked, and now he’s leaking them himself, loud and proud.
The article compared these men wanting to have kids to Playboy models and strippers wanting the same thing. My first issue with the article. How can you make that comparison? Playboy models just pose nude. They don’t actually have sex with anyone on camera and strippers just take their clothes off. Maybe some are porn stars and do have sex on camera, but I hold the same reservation about straight porn stars having kids as gay porn stars. And it’s not about the sex. If I may proceed.
I have orbited around the porn industry here in the good old San Fernando Valley for a long time. I’m not saying that drugs are the rule, but they certainly aren’t the exception. I met people who say that they had directed scenes with a performer who was bombed out on drugs and some who actually performed doped up real good. I have seen some of the porn stars party, both first hand and from eyewitness accounts, and it is as hardcore there as it is on the video screen. No one in the porn industry can look you in the eye and tell you they haven’t had encounters with at least a few types of drugs with a straight face. It’s just part of the culture and industry. Not everyone is an addict and I’m sure there are many who may slip into the exception column and haven’t touched so much as a joint, but I haven’t heard of any yet. In this party culture, it’s hard to compartmentalize your life and keep some aspects from spilling over into others. If it’s just you or you and your partner, you can deal with any drama, but if you have a kid in the mix? No. I can’t sign off on that. Maybe you can put those walls up and keep them safe, but in the case of raising kids, I fail on the side of caution and I seriously consider any cracks in the walls. Especially the cracks in Michael Lucas’ walls. He’s a big player and to get to that position in the industry, you have to play the game well and thoroughly.
Another point in the article these guys made was they wouldn’t raise their kids to be ashamed of their bodies and to be more sex positive. Okay. Fine. Of course, when you’re built like these guys, how could you possibly be ashamed of your body? Look like me and not be ashamed an then we can talk. ANYway, my point is I’m all for being open and honest about sex, at an appropriate age, but from the world of porn? No. Porn isn’t sex. It’s a twisted perversion of the act. It’s a plastic wrapped, choreographed fantasy that doesn’t exist in the real world, no matter how much we wish it did. There have been many studies that have found that porn can actually have a negative effect on ones outlook on sex.
If these guys really want kids, they would have to get out of the porn biz and separate themselves far enough from it so that their children wouldn’t be sucked into it. Children shouldn’t be exposed to a world where people just shed their clothes if they’re left alone for five minutes or just bored. They shouldn’t be in a home where dollars are rolled up into straws routinely. And as I said, these reservations I have are equal to hetero porn performers or any sex workers. Posing nude? Not thrilled, but it’s easy to block that out and keep your kids out of its path. Also, consider stalkers. People can become fixated on porn stars and I’m sure many of them have stalker stories. What if you had a kid and some psycho was lurking outside your home? The child shouldn’t be put in that position in the first place.
The bottom line is if you’re going to have a child and you work in the sex industry, such as it is, you really need to think of the best interests of the child. That’s really true in any situation, but more so here. If you really want that family, I see it as a choice between this career of yours and your child. If you have trouble making that choice, you’re not ready.

A Couple Things

This post may seem a bit rushed and disjointed, but a couple things dawned on me as I was having a conversation with a friend of mine the other night. A little explanation first. I gather a lot of stories through my Facebook feed and while most are run of the mill stories there are a few that stand out. Two in particular this past week. First, I read about a pastor in the south, I don’t know his name and frankly, I don’t feel like finding it and giving him a plug, went on record saying that we could have an AIDS free world by Christmas if we ‘kill all the homos’. This man of the cloth passionately advocates the murder of LGBTQ people because he believes that will cure AIDS. Let that sink in for a moment. Now, when I read this I was naturally outraged and angry. This man is a disgrace to not only his faith, but the human race in general. He is uneducated, hateful and probably gay himself. Let’s get past that because this is the big idea I got. If these people believe in the Bible as they say they do, I’d like someone to explain how they can champion the idea of murdering people when the book they claim to be where all their laws come from actually states, without question, that killing is a sin. Hello! Ten commandments? Thou shalt not kill? I have to believe to laws brought forth by God himself would overrule anything else after it. If God says not to kill, you don’t kill, yet people like this pastor seem to think they get a pass because some other passage of the Bible, written by a mortal man, states that these people in particular must be put to death and the whole thou shalt not kill thing just get set aside. Convenient. I’d love to meet a Christian who believes in the Bible and manages to live with no contradictions. If that exists, please let me know. Just keep in mind, if you believe one group of people should die and others should not, you are a hypocrite and you are not a Christian.
The second thing that’s lit a fire under me is a story about how a group of African-American pastors went out of their way to derail some legislation that would help protect LGBT people from discrimination because they felt gay people have not suffered as they and their ancestors had suffered. First, I doubt these pastors had suffered as their ancestors had either. They had not been slaves themselves. They had never been forced to use special drinking fountains. It was those before them who suffered those injustices and fought and won freedom. They won freedom not only for their children and their children’s children, but for every minority who found themselves marginalized by society. This battle for civil rights isn’t some pissing contest where we have to reach some level of suffering before we get to claim our human dignity. Those great men fought hard and suffered greatly so that this country would become a better place to live for everyone and for these men to come against a group fighting for laws that would ensure they can’t be fired for being who they are is a tremendous insult to everything their heroes had fought and sacrificed for. Yes, the struggle for LGBT people may not have been equally as hard, but that’s thanks to the battles that came before. The civil rights movement has evolved and changed over the decades. The warriors change, but the fight is just the same. No one is seeking special treatment. They are only seeking fair treatment. Equal treatment under the law. After so many years, we should be at a place where this kind of fighting is obsolete. Have we not learned the lesson yet? Black Christians fought against gay marriage, yet not too long ago it was illegal for blacks to marry whites. It was illegal for Latinos to marry non-Latinos. They fought and won the right for their marriages to be recognized legally. Why do you suddenly change course and join those you once fought in order to marginalize a new group seeking the exact same rights you fought so hard for yourself? Because you don’t approve of their lifestyle? Because it goes against your beliefs? Guess what? Their marriage has nothing to do with you! Do you really want a world where your rights are determined by what other people believe? God! Why are people still like this? Are humans just incapable of learning from history now? It would be so much easier if we could just agree to treat each other equally across the board, no exceptions. Your life is your life, my life is mine. Seems so simple. So basic. Yet, there are millions of people out there who just don’t get it and sadly I think they never will. If they haven’t learned by now,

Ticked

Okay, so I’m in a pretty poor mood tonight, so this post could come off as more venting than anything else.
I’m not going to go into what’s bugging me, but suffice it to say that it’s just a general feeling of frustration over the obstinate inertia of my writing career. Same old, same old.
The particular issue I have right now may seem small but it’s a thorn in my brain nonetheless. I was just on my social media site and I saw a story about a major league umpire that has come out as gay. Great! Good for this guy for having the courage to do this. He’s the first openly gay umpire in major league history. Cool. What’s not cool is I found this story through a news site I subscribe to and my local channel 4 affiliate site. Not from The Advocate or Instinct magazine; and I’m pretty sure I know why. The man who came out isn’t pretty. He looks like a regular, everyday kind of guy. A little older. He’s the kind of guy who you’d find on the cover of a sports and leisure magazine. Of course, over in Instinct, they have a whole article about how Dave Franco shows his bare ass in his upcoming movie. Now that’s news, right? An actual historic event or some young hot guy baring all in a movie. Which do we run with? Hmmmm.
It sickens me because this is why so many narrow minded people think gay men are obsessed with sex. Because if you went by our media, that’s exactly how it looks. Some hot guy flashes some flesh and we tear out the front page and drool over it for years. Cute boys in some new TV show, have to cover every inch of whatever flesh they expose too. It’s like some kind of constant eye, stalking the young and hot and reporting for even the slightest titillation. If we were all teenage boys, I’d get it. Hormones and all, but grow the Hell up, please! Some guy’s ass is not news! Everyone’s got an ass. And how sure are we that it’s his in the movie? Heard of a body double? You could be drooling over the wrong guy. (enter sarcastic gasp here) I mean, it’s the ass that’s the thing right? Not the talent of the actor. It’s what they look like.
There are just some days I’m a little over the gay media. I appreciate a handsome guy just like anyone else, but I put my antennae down once in a while. I’m much more interested in acts of bravery, such as the umpire coming out, over eye candy.
I just have grown weary of feeling like a freak just because I don’t stop the minute I see some bare flesh and I’m getting really tired of a media network that seems to only care about a story so long as a hot guy is attached. There are newsmakers out there that aren’t exactly cover model material. That doesn’t mean you should just sweep them aside. I keep hearing a lot of noise about how everyone is beautiful. How about the media follows through with that? Celebrate people even if you don’t want to sleep with them. I realize men, gay or straight, are hardwired for sex, but it looks as though the breeders have got a hold on it and know when and when not to lose their shit over a pretty face and/or a hot body.
I actually think it’s kind of unhealthy. People focus on these celebrities so much, they actually compare real people to them. They get so fixated on this fantasy, they lose sight of what’s real in their lives. They create this unreachable standard of perfection that no one, not even their celebrity crush, could live up to or satisfy. I think it would be nice if we could start appreciating each other for who we are for real rather than falling in love with these fantasies.

Pride? Maybe Not So Much.

Ah, the first weekend of June. You may know what that means. If you don’t, allow me to enlighten you. This weekend kicks off a three day pride celebration in Los Angeles. Three days for the LGBTQ community to come together and celebrate unity and experience the many shades of our community. Well, at least that’s the idea.

I have been a participant of the pride celebration for many  years now, but I’m sitting this one out. I’m not all that proud this year, and if you take a good hard look at the gay community, I don’t think many of them should be either. The intent of the affair was noble, and still is, however the execution today leaves me a bit hollow. For starters, the price to get into the festival. $20? Really? Maybe back in the day it was a good price because it was such a large set up with lots of booths and things to see. Now it’s been slimmed down considerably and many of the small businesses are missing booths, replaced by larger corporate sponsors. And let’s not forget the major corporate sponsors who make it all possible. You’d think for all the money getting raked in, they could cut the price of admission down five or ten bucks. Perhaps the steep price tag is a better way to ensure an affluent audience for all the advertising found within.

And what about that little financial schism? This whole deal is to celebrate our community as a whole, but there are so many private parties and VIP perks that divide and exclude. What kind of message is that? Within our own tribe, there are still barriers and large groups within who feel simply because they have the money, they deserve a better standard than the rest of us. This day should be the equalizer. Where all of our community can stand together as equals.

And of course there is the drinking. It seems there can’t be a gay event without massive amounts of liquor on hand. Like that’s the only way to have fun. So many groups at the event advocate responsible drinking, ending drug abuse and safe sex practices, but so many of the people who come drink too much, experiment with drugs and I’m sure there are more than a few who steal away for a quickie sans condom. That kind of behavior doesn’t fill me with much pride. Why is it so many feel the best way to celebrate pride is to come together, get wasted and act like unchained animals?f

I’m not saying it’s all bad, but based on my observances over these past many years, I have seen a steep decline in the quality of these pride celebrations. It’s been overtaken by greed and profiteering. It’s become more of a reason for people to get drunk and party than to really connect with their community. I feel like the whole thing should be rethought as a gay and lesbian RESPECT celebration. A time for us to show a little respect to each other as well as ourselves. I’d pay to see that.

Alone

This posting is a little vent. Apologies, but something stuck into my brain today and I feel the need to express.

As I was passing through the crowds today, I looked at them all and I felt as I usually do. I felt as though I didn’t understand them or their way of life. I couldn’t see myself the same way as them. It’s always felt to me as though I’m on some other wavelength away from the rest of the world. It’s like I wake up every day and step into this alien world that I struggle to survive, but have no hope of thriving in. They check all the boxes off their lists and find a life. Maybe not a perfect one, but one that works. They have careers and families and friends. I feel as though I’m simply stumbling through the days faking however I can to pass as one of these people, at least on the surface. I’m a subconscious alien dwelling within a human construct, and once in a while, this consciousness reaches out into the world surrounding me in hopes of finding some relief, or at least another soul that echoes my own hopelessness. Usually only to be rebuffed or eventually rejected because the basic disconnect between me and  the rest of the human race is still there.

I was out at The Abbey tonight with some friends, and that experience seemed to echo this concept, but only more clearly. I looked upon the sea of hot guys. They were happy and seemed to have everything together. They didn’t have jobs, they had careers. There seemed to be no social hurdle in their way. I stood among them, feeling as though I were invisible. I glimpsed this world that I’ve never truly experienced and I ached for it. I just don’t know what in my mind has blocked me from being like them. What In my subconscious won’t allow me this level of existence. I observed the younger ones. They were enjoying themselves, clearing living their lives, trying new things and forging what will be their checkered past, but as I watched them, I realized I never had that time of my life. It either never came or I chose not to live it. And if that were the case, I must say I regret that choice now. It felt as though there was a whole world that  drifted away without me seeing it. Now I can’t even imagine interacting with those people. I can’t see them understanding me, or me understanding them. It’s as though the gap that I inadvertently created has only grown over the years, and it will grow larger and the hope of bridging it will grow dimmer.

I guess this then feeds my feelings about being single. I’m going to say it, I hate being single. I know it’s not cool to say, but I want someone special in my life to share it with. Yes, there was a lot of eye candy at the bar tonight, but I don’t want the trappings of the ‘west hollywood’ lifestyle. At the end of everything, all I really want is a hand to hold. I don’t need, nor want, the Hollywood ideal, but someone I like, who likes me and wants to become a part of my life, as well as make me a part of his. Has this become such an impossible goal? With all the open relationships and what not, it seems like it. I believe in monogamy, I don’t care if there are those who say it isn’t natural, I still believe in it for me. It’s an issue of trust and care and the sacrifice one needs to make for the one they love. No, this isn’t a match.com profile, nor is it a personal ad of any kind. This is just some mental junk that’s been rattling in my brain for far too long. Just had to unburden myself.

Thank you.

Link

Something’s Always Wrong Chapter 5

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006LFPWCY

Chapter 5

Lounges & Latinos

 

Ken had been doing some cleaning around his apartment for no other reason than sheer boredom. He had pulled out every drawer he could find. The amount of lost treasures he found was becoming quite significant. He had uncovered a pod of porn magazines he hadn’t seen in over three years. Some old souvenirs from the weekend he went up to San Diego. Old movie ticket stubs and a small metal tag he had received as a ticket the last time he had gone to the museum. The cleaning came to an abrupt end when Ken discovered an old pack of photographs he hadn’t laid eyes on in months. Forgetting himself, he opened it up and pulled out the slick papers. His heart sank as he looked down upon the two smiling people looking back up at him. They had smiles on their faces that seemed to tell a story. They were two people who seemed as though they had the rest of their lives together to look forward to. He saw promise and hope. He saw Greg and himself during happier times. The picture was no more than a month old. He and Greg had been together long enough that Ken was secure that Greg wouldn’t just change his mind and leave without a word. He was comfortable enough to take pictures. He was sure that he would not live to regret it. He was sure that Greg would not leave behind a field of emotional land mines that he would later have to tip toe across in his wandering mind. He thought that at least. Ken threw the pictures into the nearest garbage can he could find, but thinking better about it, he went back and fished them out. He turned them over so he wouldn’t see the pictures and carefully folded them back into their envelope. He strategically placed them back in his closet way in the back of everything. He hoped enough time would pass before he endeavored to clean again that he would have gotten past the pain of Greg’s betrayal or better yet, found someone better, and he’d be able to look at the pictures again and not feel tremendous loss.

Ken continued burrowing through his papers and drawers. He found more packs of pictures but he didn’t bother opening them. He was just about finished with the last drawer in his computer desk. He was sifting through some old papers that he wasn’t sure he needed or not and he wasn’t really in the mood to read anything so he just assumed he’d need them and pushed them back into his desk. Just as he was about to shut the drawer, he noticed a corner of a small business card. He reached in and pulled it out. It was laminated and brightly colored. There was a colorful drawing of a lovely little resort surrounded by palm trees on it. He read the little text that was printed on the back of the card and realized it was indeed a pass for the Los Gatos Inn that Jason had received from Ben, and Jason then passed on to Ken. Ken had taken it and giggled a bit when he found out what the resort was all about. There were times he would find the card mingled amongst old magazines and old junk mail and thought of tossing it along with them. He never did though. He thought it was an interesting little item to hold onto, if for only the novelty of ever actually going, which Ken would never have considered. Not usually anyway. Ken sat there, holding the card in his hand. He began thinking. He knew he wasn’t in the best shape of his life and since it was a clothing optional establishment, he felt that could be an issue. He also knew the reputation of the Inn was that of a higher class bath house that catered to the beautiful and cosmetically adjusted elite of West Hollywood. Ken knew he would not fit in. He knew he’d be an outsider. He also knew he didn’t care at that point. He needed to escape. Any escape.

It took Ken two days of hard concentration to work up the nerve to even step out the door and begin his journey. He decided a plain, casual ensemble would be best; something that didn’t call attention to his slightly growing midsection. He settled on a baggy t-shirt with white cargo shorts and some beaten up tennis shoes with ankle socks. His hair was the only part of his body he wasn’t ashamed of, but still felt the need to cover it up with a small baseball cap.

Ken drove over the hill and found parking on a small residential street off of Laurel Canyon. It was at least six blocks to his destination. His heart beat louder with every step. He went through a panorama of feelings as he made his way down the street. He was ashamed because he just knew people walking and driving by knew where he was going. They knew what dirty business he had on his mind. He tried to think clean thoughts, but it didn’t matter. They already knew. He knew it. He also felt awkward because there were a few very cute guys who strolled up past him obviously leaving from where he intended to go. He could have sworn a few shot him little glances as if he were an alien. As if he were some grotesque monster who had no business being anywhere near their general air space. Before long, he reached his destination. He stood before the Los Gatos Inn. It looked like a large two story house and blended in along the row of homes and apartment buildings that surrounded it. There were large Ivy bushes growing up the front of the house making it impossible to sneak any peek of what was going on beyond that. Ken had imagined there would be naked men running around on the roof or loud music playing. Instead it looked more like a house with Ivy grown over it with a small sign out front with the name Los Gatos Inn in red neon letters. Ken took one final breath and walked through the front door. It began to seem like any other bathhouse that he had ever been to. Behind a glass window was a young man with an angelic face.

“Hello,” The young man said happily through the window. “Can I help you?” Ken was frozen in place. He walked up and fumbled for the pass. He found it and passed it under the glass. The young man took it and read it. He looked back up at Ken with a smile on his lips but a questioning stare in his eyes. “Of course. Come on in.” Ken heard a buzz and he opened a large door to his left. He walked on into the main lobby of the inn. There was another man, Latin he seemed, who came up to Ken and handed him a towel.

“The pool is right out that door there. Feel free to enjoy our facilities for the day, sir.” The Latin man said more enthusiastically than the front guy said. Ken nodded and proceeded to the pool area.

The sun was sparkling off the surface of the sapphire pool. There were lounge chairs lined up along all sides of the area. Ken walked out into the warm sun and saw a few men already camped by the pool and two men wading in the pool itself. One, a solidly built older man with salt and pepper hair, was wearing a very small Speedo that seemed to be stretched to its limit against the force of his crotch. The other, a very stunning Asian boy with jet-black hair and a tight, muscular body, was totally naked. They were swimming around until they met in the center at which point the older man scooped up his Asian lover in his large arms and they began to kiss. None of the others outside seemed to even care as most of them were laying down on some of the large chaise lounges that were lined up around the pool. They were all laying face down so Ken couldn’t tell if they were cute, but he could tell they were all in exceptional shape. They all had slender waists and curvy, muscular backs that glistened in the sun. Ken also went unnoticed as no one looked up as he walked out and the two lovers in the pool remained locked in their passionate embrace. Ken simply strolled around the area towards a bunch of chairs clustered in a shady corner that were empty. He laid down on one of them and settled in his place. He opened his bag and pulled out his CD player and a book. He didn’t even bother to take his shirt off. He just laid there in the sun, listening to Coldplay and reading another one of his trashy gay novels. Time passed and the world around him suddenly faded from his notice.

Ken was on chapter twenty of his book when he finally put it down and looked about. The sunbathers had turned over and he could see their chests. Ken looked around and noticed the older man and his younger, Asian lover had gotten out of the pool and were quietly fucking in the shade. The Asian boy was laid face down as his larger, muscular lover was gently pushing into him. Every now and then the Asian guy would lift his head and Ken could see what looked like pain melt into ecstasy. Every now and then one of the sunbathers would turn his head over to see the show, but they didn’t stare for long. Ken looked down at his watch and it had only been two hours since he had laid down.

“Enjoying yourself?” A voice came from behind as Ken’s glare was locked on the fucking couple as the Asian guy flipped over onto his back, begging for his lover’s cock. Ken looked around, startled. It was the Latin guy from inside. He was even cuter in the sunlight. His hair was dark and fluttering in the breeze. His eyes were deep. He had a small moustache running along his upper lip and he had some sort of boyish quality in his face that qualified him for the adjective ‘adorable’.

“Yes. I am. Thanks.” Ken said nervously.

“I only ask because many of our patrons take at least their shirts off. To relax. That is the point here. To relax. Leave the outside world behind and just be yourself. No judgment.”

“No judgment?” Ken questioned. “Are you nuts? These are gay men here. They do nothing but judge! I think we invented that.”

“Oh, well, maybe some. I don’t.”

“Well, these guys out here I’m sure do. The shirt stays on.” Ken said and went back to his book. He expected to hear the Latin guy walk off, but instead he sat down on the lounge next to Ken.

“Don’t you have to work?” Ken asked as he looked over at the Latin guy.

“I’m on my break.” He said. “Good book?”

“Not really. A friend suggested I read it, but this thing is just like all the other gay novels out there. All the main characters are young, good looking and rich. What the hell problems could they possibly have?” Ken then slammed the book shut and tossed it into his bag.

“Are you okay?”

“I don’t know. I just wanted to get away and I guess this wasn’t a very good choice of escape plan.” Ken said, trying not to stare as the Asian guy started to go down on his boyfriend.

“I’m Julio.” The Latin guy said as he offered Ken his hand.

“I’m Ken. Nice to meet you, Julio.” Ken’s lips curled into a slight smirk.

“What?”

“Nothing. It’s just Julio.”

“Yes? It’s my name.”

“I know, but it just sounds like one of those exotic Latin names that no one actually has. I’ve never met a Julio before.”

“Well, I never met a Ken before. Until now I thought only plastic dolls got that name.”

“Touché.” Ken then saw a glint in Julio’s eyes.

“Well, if you’re not taking your shirt off, I am.” Julio stretched up and pulled his uniform shirt off. The skin on his body was just as dark and brown as the skin on his face. His body was smooth and muscular. He had very lickable nipples, Ken thought, as Julio laid back down, shirtless. Julio kept his stare on Ken.

“Wow.”

“Thanks.” Julio said broadening his smile to expose his bright, white teeth. Ken was beginning to feel light headed.

“I better go.”

“Wait, don’t go. Don’t you feel okay?” Julio asked as he turned to Ken.

“Just a little light headed.”

“Come with me.” Julio said as he took Ken’s hand and led him away. Julio took him inside and back through a door that said employees only. They walked up a small stairway and Julio took Ken to a small room with a cot all set up.

“Some of the guys who work late sleep in here. Just lay down here a minute. It could be the sun. You were out there for awhile.”

“Yeah.” Ken said as the words Julio was speaking began to make sense. Ken lied down on the cot and Julio kneeled next to him and began stroking Ken’s chest. “What are you doing?”

“Just relaxing you,” Julio said with a daring smirk. “Feel good?”

“Yeah. It does.” Julio suddenly hooked his thumb under the bottom of Ken’s shirt and pulled it up over his head. Ken pushed his shirt back down.

“Not bad.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Look, Ken, I see guys coming in and out of here all day. Most of them are hot. Extremely hot and in my earlier days, I’ve had my share of them. I’m older now though and the physical aspects aren’t so hard and fast with me. I don’t dig ripped muscle heads. I like a little meat on the bones. A little imperfection. Wabi Sabi.”

“Huh?”

“The beauty of the imperfect. I believe in that.”

“You think I’m beautiful?”

“If I said yes, would you go out with me?” Ken had to try clearing his ear to make sure he heard correctly. Julio, a man that could have given Antonio Banderas a run for his money, was sitting before him, shirtless, and was asking him, also shirtless, for a date.

“Sure. I would even if you had said ‘no’.” Julio’s face lit up and he pulled out a small piece of paper from his pocket along with a pen. He scribbled down something and handed it to Ken.

“Here.”

“You were prepared, now weren’t you?” Ken said.

“Have to be prepared. Call me. I should get back to work now. Break’s over.” Julio then leaned in and kissed Ken’s lips before bolting up and running out the door.

An hour later, Ken collected his things and came down to the lobby and started towards the exit. The young man behind the glass called out to Ken, as he was about to leave.

“Excuse me! You still have use of the Inn for the rest of the day, sir.”

“That’s okay.” Ken said as he skipped out the door.

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Something’s Always Wrong Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

Dates & Calls

 

Jason was settled in his room watching television. He was nervously flipping through the channels trying to find something good to watch, but due to the lack of cable, he found that task near impossible. He began playing with the idea of popping a DVD in but he couldn’t settle on what to watch. He was debating between collecting his TV show box sets to recreate a night of prime time programming from a time when it was actually worth watching, or something from his overly large movie collection. His head was about to split when the phone suddenly rang.

“Hello?” Jason asked.

“Hey there.” Matt purred on the other end.

“I wasn’t expecting to hear from you,” Jason said with some surprise. “I thought you said you were going to catch up on work all this week.”

“I was, but I can’t concentrate on it tonight. I was wondering if you were up for a movie or something.”

“You want to go out?”

“Yeah. How about it? Can you take a break from movie making?”

“Uh, I think so. What do you want to see?”

“I don’t know. How about we just meet at the theater and decide there.”

“You know I hate going in without a plan. We should really decide now.”

“Ah, come on! Live a little.”

“You call that living?”

“Jason.”

“Fine. When and where?”

Matt had instructed Jason to meet him at the largest theater that was geographically between them. It was a large twenty-one screen multiplex in Northridge that had always struck Jason as more of a fortress than a mere theater. The front of the theater was bathed in so much artificial light; it felt like it was the middle of the day as Jason walked up to the illuminated box office. He stood a few paces behind the lines and stared up at the red electronic board inside that displayed all the shows and times. He had trouble reading the numbers without squinting. He saw that most of the movies’ next showings were but a few minutes away and he looked around and saw no sign of Matt.

Jason looked down at his watch and then back around anxiously for Matt. He then felt a sudden heat rising up from his neck. Sweat was forming on his forehead. He had always hated meeting people in large crowds, even if they were friends. He was prone to slight panic attacks in such circumstances. If he had arrived there intent on seeing a movie by himself, it would not have been a problem, but somehow in Jason’s mind he knew that everyone there knew he was supposed to be there with someone. They also knew that he was being stood up. He didn’t know how they knew, but they knew. He could tell in the quick glances he caught from people passing by. As if someone standing around alone was suspicious. Jason realized that Matt was only five minutes late, but he was starting to consider leaving. Just then he felt a slight pressure on his shoulder. He spun around. Matt was standing before him wearing a bright, gleaming smile underneath a slight growth of facial hair over his square jaw.

“You’re late,” Jason said he gently stroked Matt’s cheek. “Soft.”

“Thanks, and sorry. I was hitting all the reds over here. So, what do you want to see?”

“I don’t know. There’s really nothing out now. We’re in that lull between movie seasons.”

“Well, I’m desperate. How about we see the next movie playing. No matter what it is?”

“Oooh. Cinema Roulette. You like to play dangerous. All right.” Matt looked over at the show listings. He leaned forward and squinted.

“Okay. The winner is,” Matt began but suddenly stopped. His face went sour. Jason squinted and saw what Matt saw. A smile stretched across his mouth.

“Your rules.”

“I know. I know.”

After they got their tickets to the show, Matt and Jason walked into the lobby of the theater. The cool air and thick scent of popcorn hit them both like a train. The lobby was over run with teenagers. Large cardboard displays of future releases lined either side of the large foyer. They walked over and gave their tickets to the ticket takers. Jason slipped his stub in his back pocket for safekeeping. Matt started toward the theater on his left, while Jason started toward the concession stand on the right.

“Where are you going?”

“Popcorn.” Jason said shortly and continued toward the concession stand.

“Wait,” Matt grabbed Jason by the arm. “The movie starts in less than five minutes.”

“Popcorn.”

“The line is a mile long!”

“Popcorn.” Matt rolled his eyes.

“Fine.” They then both took their place in line.

Matt and Jason stepped into the auditorium just as the lights were coming down. There weren’t any other people, so it was easy for them to find good seats.

“Twenty damn movies playing and the earliest one was a Disney film.” Matt lamented under his breath as they took their seats.

“Oh, come on. You loved ‘Princess Diaries’.”

“I never saw that.”

“Don’t try that. I saw your secret stash under your bed. You’ve got the first and second movies on DVD! Well watched too by the looks of them.”

“Shut up,” Matt then grabbed a fistful of buttered popcorn. “But ‘Corn Princess’?”

“It could be good. The girl trying to be the winner at a county fair beauty contest as well as trying to save her father’s corn farm by winning a dance contest and, in the process, winning the heart of the boy of her dreams,” Matt looked at him strangely. “I read a review in Entertainment Weekly.”

Suddenly, Jason’s cell phone started to ring. He stood up and grabbed it out of his pocket. He flipped it open and saw it was from Mike.

“Go ahead,” Matt said anticipating Jason’s question. “It’s not like you’re going to disturb anyone.”

“Hello?”

“Hello!” Mike squealed. “Guess where I am!”

“I’m at the movies with Matt. Let’s just cut to the chase and you tell me!”

“Fine. Right now, I’m just about over Syracuse.”

“Syracuse? As in New York?”

“Yes! I’m on my way to London!” Mike said with growing excitement.

“I thought you weren’t leaving until Wednesday.”

“I thought so too, but when I went to see Ivan this afternoon, he surprised me! Cool, huh?”

“Yeah. Great.” Jason said, trying to hide a slight tinge of jealousy. He didn’t want to give Mike the satisfaction.

“Well, it’s not all great. Ivan wants me to meet his mother when we go to France.”

“What’s the matter with that?”

“I don’t do ‘in-laws’ okay? I’ve never really gotten along with the parents of any of my boyfriends, and from what he’s told me, she’s rich, old, very traditional and very French.”

“I’m sure she’ll love you. She’s okay with Ivan being with you, isn’t she?”

“That’s kind of the catch that makes me nervous. He hasn’t told her about me.”

“Does she know he’s gay?”

“I don’t know. Everytime I ask him he deflects.”

“Well, just remember, it doesn’t matter what she thinks. He loves you.”

“He’s a momma’s boy. When you deal with a momma’s boy, the mother’s gotta love you or it’s over.” Mike said matter of factly. Jason was about to open his mouth but then the phone went dead. Jason looked down at the display on his phone and it said that it had lost the signal. With a shrug of his shoulders, he tucked his phone away into his pocket and sat back down with Matt. He saw that the movie had not yet begun and a trailer for some new computer animated movie was on the screen.

“What was that all about?”

“Mike and Ivan left for Europe early and Mike’s nervous about meeting Ivan’s mother.”

“Ah.”

Jason and Matt emerged from the auditorium an hour and a half later. Matt was subtly wiping his fingers below his eyes. Jason looked over and tried to stifle a laugh.

“Hey!” Matt said defensively as he caught Jason looking. “I think some salt from the popcorn got in my eye.”

“Sure. Whatever,” Jason said. “This was nice. Just the two of us.” Matt wrapped his arm around him.

“Yeah. I just wish we could do it more often.”

“Well, wish granted.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, my lunch today didn’t go as planned. I ran into Bill.”

“Bill? You’re kidding. What did he want?”

“He wants to direct my movie.”

“And you said?”

Jason turned and looked at Matt with an almost surprised look on his face.

“What do you think? I said yes!”

“Oh, no.”

“Why not?”

“You think you can really trust him? How many years did he string you along with his promises and then you wound up writing porno!”

“Look, I know how Bill can be, but it’s different this time. He’s working for me now. I hold the cards. I told him no tricks, no changes.”

“And you believe that.”

“I have to. I was in over my head. I can’t make a movie! I’m a writer, not a producer. I don’t have the know-how or the connections. Bill does. This way, I just hand over the reigns to him and let him deal with all the headaches. He can get the cast. He can get the cameras and lights. I think I’m doing the right thing. It means I’m going to have more time to spend with you. Isn’t that a good thing?”

“Yeah, it is. Sure.” Matt said with some trepidation.

“Isn’t it?”

“Yes. Of course it is. I’m just thinking of your movie. I know how badly you want it made and I’m just worried Bill might pull one of his tricks on you again.”

“Let me worry about that.” Jason gently kissed Matt on his mouth. He then heard a stifled gasp. They both looked around and saw a small, dumpy woman staring at them with horror on her face with her hand tightly pressed over her child’s eyes. “Grow up.”

Jason and Matt arrived at Matt’s house. They walked in and without a word between the two; they began kissing and ripping each other’s clothes off. Just as Matt was about to pick Jason up and carry him off to the bedroom, he noticed a red blinking light next to his phone.

“What’s that?”

“Who cares?”

“No, I have a message.” Matt peeled away from Jason.

“So? You can listen to it later.”

“It could be about work.”

“This late? It’s probably Ken or something. It can wait.”

“I have to listen to it. I’m sorry.” Matt walked over and pushed down on the red blinking light. An electronic voice came on informing Matt that he had one new message. After a short, high-pitched beep, the message played.

“Hey, Matt! It’s Stew! I know it’s been a long time, but I just moved back out here and thought I’d look you up. How are tricks? Call me back at 818-567-8236. Later.”

“Stew? Who’s Stew?”

“Stewart Heed. He was my best bud in the academy and we worked together on the force for a couple years. He moved back to New Jersey after that. I can’t believe he’s come back.” Matt said as he picked up the receiver to the phone.

“Excuse me, but what are you doing?”

“Calling him back.”

“Now? I believe we were in the middle of something.”

“I haven’t seen him in over twenty years! Just let me try. I bet he’s asleep anyway. I’ll just leave a quick message,” A few moments passed. “Hey, Stew. It’s Matt. Just got your message. Hmm? Oh! Hi, Stew. I didn’t think you’d be up. Yeah. How’d you get my number? Oh, right. I forgot about that.” Matt said happily as he looked over at Jason whose arms were crossed tightly and tapping his foot. “Uh, look, I have to go, but how about we get together? Tomorrow? Sure. You have the address? Yeah, I figured. Great. So, tomorrow at noon? Great. Bye.” Matt looked over at Jason who looked fit to be tied, but not in the way Matt liked.

“Are you ready now?”

“I’m sorry. You know how it is with old friends.”

“I guess. You never mentioned Stew before. How good a friend was he?”

“We were tight back in the day. We’d sneak out after hours to some local strip joints.”

“Strip joints?”

“That was before I came out,” Matt said. “We were kind of the resident partners in crime back then. I think he was more an influence on me than I realized. Things changed after we graduated and started working on the force. We got stuck with different partners and we’d just see each other passing in the halls. We’d go drinking and partying and hung out sometimes. He was the first guy I ever came out to. That was pretty intense. I always felt like there was a change between us after that. That was the last time I saw him.”

“That was when he moved back to New Jersey?”

“Yeah. I was a little crushed because I was so used to him being in my life. We tried to stay in touch for a while, but eventually we drifted. Happens all the time, I know. I never thought I’d hear from him again though.”

“Anything happen between you? You know?”

“What? No. No. He’s straight.”

“Well, some guys switch sides and it sounds like you two had a pretty intense thing going on.” Jason said with an edge.

“Oh. I see.”

“What?”

“You’re jealous.”

“I am not!”

“Oh, come on. It’s cute,” Matt said as he pulled Jason in tightly. “Let me take care of that.” Matt said as he started gently nibbling on Jason’s neck. Jason intended to stop him in order to set the record straight in reference of his supposed jealousy, but suddenly found his power failing him as he melted into Matt’s embrace.

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Chapter 5

Okay. Last one you get for free. If you’ve been liking, just click the link and get your own copy.

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Chapter 5

Waiters & Stars

 

SATURDAY, JANUARY 18, 2003

VAN NUYS, CA 2:45 P.M.

Jason got home from his lunch with Bill. The apartment was empty, just the way he liked it. He went into his room and checked his machine, no messages, as usual. He saw his laptop on his bed and since he didn’t notice Cynthia’s car in the garage, he decided maybe it was time to check his E-mail. He logged on. His mailbox was full. He scrolled down the message list. The usual junk mail. He deleted it all and signed off. He sat down on his bed then remembered the waiter’s number. He turned to the cordless phone on the floor which began to ring just as he picked it up.

“Hello?”

“Well, hello there yourself! Where the Hell were you last night?” It was Ken Jenkins, one of Jason’s closest friends. His family.

“Sorry. I got home late and I wasn’t in any shape to do the bar. I just had a few drinks here with Cynthia.”

“Oh, well. At least you drank for a change. We missed you, though.”

“How was the crowd?”

“It was dead, as usual. Mike, Matt, and Elliot left before one.”

“Yikes. That is dead.” Jason said as he tried to fish the waiter’s number out from his front pocket.

“I trust we’ll be seeing you there tonight? Saturdays are always better anyway.”

“I don’t know. I actually might have a date.”

“A date? You remember what that even is?”

“Look, I don’t know for sure yet. I have to call this guy and see if this is for real.”

“Where did you meet him?”

“Actually, I met him at The Garden during my lunch with Bill. He was the most gorgeous thing on Earth, or at least in that general vicinity. He kissed me before I left and he slipped me his number.”

“Gorgeous, huh?” Ken asked with a distinct tone.

“What? Can’t I get a gorgeous guy?”

“Well, aren’t you the one who’s complaining that men are so vain and superficial? Here you are talking about how gorgeous and perfect this guy you met is, and you don’t even know his name.”

“That’s not true.”

“Then what is it?”

“Okay, fine. I don’t know it. I’m not made of stone. A hot guy is a hot guy. Besides, I never finished the paperwork on my sainthood.”

“Translation: You’re ditching us again.”

“I’m not ditching anyone. I’m just living my damn life! Okay? Maybe you guys should try it once in a while!” Jason exploded. He heard only silence on the other end. Then Ken spoke up.

“Sorry.”

“No, I’m sorry. I’m just a little frustrated. Between my personal and professional life, there seems to be no peace. I hate my job; my writing career is nowhere and so far the best relationship I’ve been in is with a woman. I have a life on the zero scale. If this guy goes out with me, it will be my first date in a little over a year, and pretty much the highlight of my life to date. A year! Can you believe that? There are people who’ve gone insane over less stress than that!”

“You put way too much importance on dating. You neglect your friends. You need to learn to balance better. You’ve got to learn that your friends are all you’ve really got. We’re the ones who pick you up when those you date drop you.”

“Excuse me, but when Chris and I broke up, I don’t recall anyone picking me up, but only because I was not dropped. I didn’t need counseling, besides, I’m my best therapist. Always have been. Although, I remember a few times I’ve had to talk you down from the ledge.”

“You and that damn memory.”

“Look, I’ll call you later to let you know what’s up. If I’m not there tonight, we can all get together tomorrow for lunch, okay?”

“Okay. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Later. Bye.” Jason clicked off the phone. He finally discovered the crumpled up paper in his pocket and dialed. There were a few rings and then a familiar voice purred on the line.

“Hello?” Jason was shell shocked. He had little experience in talking to people on the phone. He usually got the voice mail. He soon remembered the first rule of phone etiquette: Respond.

“Hi! I don’t know if you remember me, but I was at The Garden earlier today, you kissed me before I left.” Silence on the other end. Apparently being kissed by the waiter didn’t get you membership in an exclusive club with him.

“Okay, before you get too scared, I do remember you. I’m just messing with you.” The waiter said. A feeling of relief washed over Jason. “My name is Clark.”

“Nice to have met you Clark. I’m Jason.” He said with relief. “This is kind of weird. I’ve never done anything like this before.”

“Talk on the phone?”

“No. I mean take a number from someone I just met by chance. Especially someone as hot as you. I have to admit, I couldn’t take my eyes off you.”

“Yeah, I noticed.” Clark said with a little laugh.

“So, your little note mentioned dinner. How about tonight?” Jason began wringing his sheets waiting for the response. Clark finally broke the silence.

“Sounds good. I’m free,” Jason could see the parade in his mind. Trumpets blaring, confetti flying down from the heavens. A date! A date! He had finally managed to get a date. “I don’t have a car though, so maybe you could come over here? I know some nice places to eat. We could catch a movie or something after.”

“Yes. Absolutely. What’s your address?”

“I’m at 766 Hitchcock Avenue, number 13.”

“Okay, I’ll be there about eight?”

“Perfect. I’ll see you tonight.”

Jason spent the remainder of the afternoon going through his closet trying to find something to wear. He poured through shirt after shirt after shirt. He pulled out all sorts of colors, styles, and fabrics. He was stuck over what kind of mood he wanted to encourage. He finally decided on a black over shirt and a red shirt beneath with black pants. He never went by the labels, just colors. By the time he had come to this conclusion, it was already six. He jumped in the shower and washed all over. Just in case. He got out, dried and combed himself. Once he put on his ensemble, he cologned himself. He had a very musky scent complete with pheromones that would make him irresistible, or so the perfume girl had promised him.

 

A few minutes after eight, Jason finally rolled onto Hitchcock, a little side street not too far from the heart of Hollywood. The neighborhood looked a little on the questionable side. The usual homeless and odd balls were strolling along the streets. Run down houses were accented with overgrown lawns and fading paint. There was one apartment building that looked somewhat new at 766. He parked as close as he could to the building. He stepped out and heard sirens in the distance. He didn’t see anything moving, but he could swear there was something skulking around the shadows near the trees. He sprinted to the front door of the apartment building and buzzed number thirteen. He anxiously waited for an answer, for more reasons than just to see Clark. Jason looked over at a list of names taped over the buzzer. Across from unit number 13 was the name Clark Mikels. Suddenly, Clark’s voice came on from the speaker.

“Hello?”

“It’s me”

“Okay, hold on.” The buzzer rang and Jason lunged for the door. He relaxed as it shut and locked behind him. Although the main thought on Jason’s mind at that moment was what would happen on the way back out. Jason walked down the first hall he came to down to number thirteen. He knocked on the door but heard no activity within. He waited a few moments more. Suddenly there was a loud rumble and the door swung open violently. A pretty woman with dark hair stood before Jason. She seemed to be in a bad mood. Her eyes were seething and her mouth was turned down in an almost angry way. He could hear the sound of a baby crying further inside the apartment.

“Come in.” She said sternly. Jason stepped in. She shut the door behind him and retreated into the kitchen. “Clark!”

“What!?” He responded from a room in the back. He even had a beautiful voice when he yelled, Jason thought.

“Your date’s here!”

Jason sat down on the couch in the living room. He looked around. The apartment was pretty well kept. The carpet looked clean. Ugly, but clean. There were a few piles of books on the floor. The TV was set upon a cheap looking little entertainment center that looked like a reject from Ikea. Jason was nearly comfortable when Clark burst out into the room wearing only a towel around his waist. A small towel.

“Hey, sorry, man! I’m running a little late. I just got out of the shower. I’ll just be a few more minutes. You met Nicole?” He said pointing to the woman in the kitchen.

“Uh, yeah. Briefly.”

“My sister,” The baby’s crying continued. “The baby is hers too. Nicky! Could you do something about the kid?” He asked.

“Keep your pants on. Oh, never mind.” She said as she walked through the living room into one of the back bedrooms. Clark followed her. A few moments later the crying stopped and Nicole returned to the kitchen.

“You met Clark at the restaurant?” Her question startled Jason.

“Oh, yeah. Yeah, today after lunch.”

“So, you just like guys?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t know if Clark told you yet, but he’s Bi.”

“Well, I don’t really know him well enough for it to matter that much just yet.”

“Where are you going to go?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it. I guess we’re going to get something to eat first.”

“You could eat here. I’m cooking some pasta. There’s plenty to go around.” Jason turned around in his seat and saw her at the stove stirring a large pot.

“Uh, thanks, but I think it’d be better if we just went out. I don’t want to bother you.”

“It’s no bother. In fact you’d be doing me a favor. I hate leftovers.” Jason looked down, thinking of a polite way to say no. Clark emerged back into the room before Jason could think of anything.

“You ready?” He asked Jason. Nicole stepped out of the kitchen.

“I was talking to Jason about you guys eating here. What do you think?”

“No. We are not eating here. We’re going out. I don’t think Jason wants to sit in this little kitchen eating your skunky Linguini. And even if he does, I don’t.”

“Skunky? What the hell would you know about my cooking? You hardly ever eat here as it is!” Jason was growing more uncomfortable. He wasn’t normally religious, but he found himself praying for something, anything, to save him from the ensuing domestic tragedy. A meteor; a mutant invasion; nuclear winter. Anything.

“Look, we are going out. I’ll be home later. Maybe.” Clark looked over to Jason. “Come on.” He said gently. Jason bolted up and followed him out of the apartment as fast as he could.

“It was nice meeting you, Jason.” She said pleasantly. “Burn in hell, Clark!” The loud sound of the door slamming echoed around them as they walked down the hall.

They stepped out of the building. Jason kept an eagle eye out for any suspicious activity. He felt a little safer being with Clark. A native of the land. He would know how to guide them safely.

“I hope that didn’t freak you out or anything. With Nicky, I mean.” Jason had been totally freaked out.

“No. It was fine. I’m fine.” Jason said. “Where do you want to go to eat?”

“Let’s see. There’s that fifties style diner on Highland.”

“Mel’s. Yeah. Works for me.” Jason agreed and they packed into his car and sped off into the night.

At Mel’s Diner on Highland, Jason and Clark sat down for dinner at a booth way in the back.

“I’ve never been here before.” Clark said. “I’ve always wanted to though. I’m totally into the retro thing.”

“Yeah. It’s nice. There’s another one close to where I live in the valley.” Jason said as he picked up his menu and began studying it. The strains of The Supremes singing ‘Stop In The Name Of Love’ mingled with the loud conversations of the other tables. “How long have you lived with Nicole?”

“A few years now. I’m not sure. I don’t really keep track of that kind of stuff,” He said. “But she and Jared should be moving out by the end of the month. Jared was the noisy baby.”

“That’s too bad. At least you come home to a full house though. I like my privacy, but sometimes I think it’s nice to have people around. I can even stand the company of babies every now and then.”

“Yeah, it’s nice having them with me, sometimes. Although there are times I want to cram her down the garbage disposal. It makes dating harder. I think sometimes she tries to scare my dates off on purpose, but she’s family. She got knocked up by some son of a bitch when she moved out here. He just ran out on her when he found out. I was all she had and I wasn’t going to let her end up on the streets with a kid.” Jason put down his menu.

“How about you? Tell me about your life.”

“Oh, okay.” Clark said. “I’m from Boston originally. I came out here for school, but I flunked out. By then though, I couldn’t leave. I loved it here too much. I started doing odd jobs to make ends meet, then one night I was offered a job dancing. I loved it and I started doing it full time. I worked most of the bars and clubs all around Hollywood. I even tended bar a little. I do that mostly at The Garden now. I’m getting kind of sick of dancing now though, besides, the tips are better behind the bar. I’m also trying to get an acting career off the ground right now. How about you?”

“Fair enough. I have a boring day job at a valley newspaper in the pre-press department and I write on the side.”

“Really? Cool.” Clark seemed oddly impressed with Jason’s account of his life.

“Cool? Did you hear me?”

“Yes. I’ve had a few boring jobs back in the day. It’s cool. What do you write?”

“Screenplays mostly. I haven’t sold anything yet, but I know some people in the biz and I’m optimistic.”

“That’s cool.” At that point, conversation ran dry. They sat in a void of silence. Jason looked around, searching through his brain for something to say or ask. Anything to break the silence. Just as Jason was about to say something, the waitress came up to their table. She had a head of black hair with streaks of purple on the sides. Her name tag on her chest had the name ‘Jinx’ on it.

“Hi guys. What can I get for you?” She asked in a peppy tone.

“Double cheeseburger and a vanilla Coke.” Clark said. Jason looked up at the waitress.

“I’ll have the chef salad and an iced tea.”  Jinx happily jotted down their orders and skipped away with a smile. They waited in silence for their food. It seemed to take forever. As hard as he tried, Jason simply couldn’t find anything to say. Clark began playing around with the napkins. Suddenly, Jinx returned with a tray full of food and set down their dinners in front of them. They ate quickly and silently. Jason had the feeling of being a passenger on the Titanic. He couldn’t think of a date that went any worse, even the ones that ended in gun fire. There was just nothing to talk about. As hard as he scanned his brain for a new topic, nothing registered.

After dinner, Jason and Clark walked out to the parking lot and stopped at the car to plot their next move.

“So, what do you want to do now?” Clark asked. Jason looked over and saw the shopping center at Hollywood and Highland. Just as he was about to suggest going, Clark chimed in with an idea of his own. “I know a place. I nearly forgot. It’s a great little place called The Nook. How about it?” Jason thought for a moment. He didn’t feel comfortable saying no, so he agreed. He figured perhaps going somewhere Clark wanted to go would loosen up the mood.

They got in Jason’s car and drove over to Sunset. Clark directed Jason to drive down a dark side street for a little while. He suddenly asked him to turn right at an even darker, smaller street. Jason wasn’t able to see the name on the street sign as they passed. He cruised down the street until they came to a small building with a blue neon sign outside that read ‘The Nook’. After an hour of circling the block for a parking spot, Jason finally found one a few blocks down from the club. It was a tight squeeze between a black and red Miata. They walked down the dark street closely together.

“So what’s this place like?”

“You’ve never been here?” Clark asked, looking at Jason as though he were some kind of alien.

“No. I’ve never even heard of it.”

“It’s great! Great music. Great drinks. Hot boys!”

As they got closer, Jason could hear music coming from within the building. It was pulsating and energized. As soon as the blue sign above the door was visible, they saw a large crowd of people waiting out front. There were a lot of beautiful people with pierced parts and tight clothes anxiously waiting to be let in. They were all standing around smoking and discussing the famous and powerful people they all know or work for. They all seemed a bit low energy, but the sounds inside seemed to indicate a high energy atmosphere. Jason and Clark took their places in the back. After a while of waiting, Clark finally turned to Jason and asked him a question.

“You live alone?” Jason wasn’t impressed by the originality of the question but relieved there was a new topic to fill the time.

“No, I have a roommate.”

“Is he gay too?”

“No. He’s bi, actually, but he leans more towards gay. It’s what he’s famous for.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Well, my roommate is Ben Kollins.” Clark lit up like the Sun.

“You are fuckin’ shitting me! Ben Kollins? The porn star!?”

“I shit you not. The one and only.” Since the day Jason moved in with Ben, He found his social status had elevated in certain circles. Jason had harbored a crush on Ben long before they moved in and most everyone thought it was a strange match up that was destined for disaster, but surprisingly the two proved to be rather suited to each other, as far as roommates went, and Jason’s crush evolved into an honest friendship.

“I’ve got all his videos! I even met him once at Rage. I think he was dancing. God, he’s hot!” Clark went on. From that point on, everything Clark said had to do with Ben. He summarized all of Ben’s videos for Jason, as Jason had never seen any himself.

By the time Clark was finishing describing the final orgy scene of ‘A Knight’s Tail’ they had reached the front of the line. The door man was a large wall of a man with a yard wide neck and thick meaty arms. A chill ran down Jason’s spine. Of course, most people had that effect on him at first. He began to worry if there was a cover charge. Suddenly Clark walked up to the doorman, climbed up his arm and whispered something into his ear. The doorman’s thick face contorted into something of a smile and he allowed them both in.

They walked in past the scary doorman who gave Jason a slight wink and out onto the main floor. Jason was amazed by the size of the club. It seemed to go on forever. An endless sea of men, mostly shirtless, dancing and bumping into each other. Bright, multicolored lights were flashing and strobing all around, and behind the bar were more shirtless men serving drinks. The special of the house seemed to be a pill and a glass of water as that seemed to be all people could get at the bar. Jason had hoped The Nook would have been a good place for him and Clark to sit and talk quietly, but since Clark’s new favorite subject was Ben Kollins, Jason found it better to limit Clark’s opportunities to speak. He looked over at Clark and saw that talking would not be an issue as he was already shifting into club mode. He had thrown off his shirt, displaying his flawless torso and was flirting and talking with everyone in sight. It appeared Clark was a very popular regular there. The music playing was unknown to Jason but Clark was digging it big time. In fact, nothing looked, or felt, familiar to Jason. It was the first time he actually missed Coconutz, but Clark was right at home, dancing and drinking as if he were being shipped off to Iraq the next day.

Jason was settled at the bar sipping a glass of water, wondering if the problem was his. Everyone was happy, the music was high energy, but despite it all, Jason just didn’t feel what everyone else was feeling. He couldn’t relax enough to enjoy himself, but really saw nothing to enjoy. The men were too hot and snobby for him to approach, besides, he was on a date. Jason believed whole heartily it was impolite to flirt with other men while on a date. Suddenly Clark came out of the crowd and sat next to Jason. His chest shiny with sweat.

“Having fun?” Clark obviously was. Before Jason could say anything, a familiar voice rang out over the music. Jason looked over. It was Ben. He came striding through the crowd; the men seemed to move out of the way to clear a path for him.

“Hey, baby!” Ben said. He was tall and handsome, as most gay porn stars were. A smooth tan body, long, dark hair and wearing only the smallest of thong underwear. He wrapped his arm around Jason and kissed him on the cheek. “What are you doing here?”

“Well, I’m here with..” Jason started but before he could even finish his sentence, Clark jumped up from his stool and presented himself like an eager puppy trying to get adopted on gas day at the pound.

“Hi! I’m Clark Mikels!” He announced. Ben looked him up and down carefully.

“Hello there.” Ben said, obviously impressed with Clark.

“Ben? Clark here is my date. Clark, I believe you know who this is.”

“Yeah! I’ve got all your movies! I think you are like the hottest guy on the scene!”

Ben had Clark’s attention for the next hour. Jason had only to sit and watch the two of them act out a clumsy and tasteless mating ritual. Jason checked his watch. It was a little after eleven. He saw Ben and Clark deep in a discussion about body oils so he just got up and left. As Jason walked down the street back to the car, he half expected to hear Clark running up to him to apologize. He made it to his car with no interruptions.