"Darling! You're here!" Terry Boncoeur tended to speak in exclamation points. "Come on in! Let me take your wrap!"
I handed him my leather jacket. I was wearing what I thought of as my hustler drag: tight, faded jeans, white tee shirt, Converse Chuck Taylors, and leather jacket. It scared me how comfortable I felt in those clothes after all those years wearing my chinos-and-tweed-jacket professor drag. "Thanks. Nice place you got here."
Terry and his partner James lived in a house just off Clifton Boulevard in the heart of the Lakewood upscale gay ghetto. It was only a few miles from my parents' neighborhood, but a world away in attitude. The basic structure of the two houses wasn't all that different -- two story, pre-war, with a porch, a detached garage at the back, and a postage stamp square of lawn in front. But unlike my parents' Sears-inspired decor, the Wolfson-Boncoeur homestead was packed with expensive furniture and enough consumer electronics to fill a Best Buy.
"Well!" said Terry, taking me in. "You look delicious! Have you been working out?"
"Not really. I haven't found a gym here yet."
"You should have asked me!" Terry scolded. "I know all the good gyms in town. Do you want a serious gym or a fun gym?"
"What's the difference?" As if I had to ask.
"A serious gym means you get a workout," Terry said, squeezing my arm. "And a fun gym means you get a REAL workout -- in the steam room!" He laughed and squeezed my arm again.
"I think I need the serious gym," I said. "I have no trouble getting the other kind of workout."
"I bet you don't, honey!" said Terry, pulling me towards the stairs. These guys didn't believe in preliminaries, like a cocktail or conversation. "Jimmy! Are you indecent? Our guest is here!"
I heard an ominous crash and some muffled thumps. "Goddamn it!" came a voice. "Give me a fucking minute up here!"
"He doesn't sound like he wants visitors," I said, nervously. I had no idea what these guys were into and I was starting to be afraid to find out. "Maybe we should leave this for another time?"
"Oh, no! Jimmy had a hard day at work," Terry confided. "He had to fire one of the bartenders at Gizmo's and that always puts him in a bad mood. But you'll cheer him up, won't you, baby?"
"Sure," I said. "I guess. I'll do my best."
"Good boy!" Terry patted my arm. "Honey! We're coming up!" he called to his partner.
I took a deep breath and followed the trick up the stairs.
As it turned out, Terry and James weren't into anything too dismal. Jimmy was in the bedroom decked out in some leather straps, a pile of rubber toys on the bed table. Terry immediately stripped off and they began some light bondage play while I stood back and mainly watched.
That's what they really wanted -- an audience. While they did their thing, I took off my clothes and sat in a chair and watched them, occasionally stroking myself. Although they were both positive, they played it safe with each other and I was never even really in the mix -- James ordered me to come over and put my hand here or there, or hold up a leg, but that was the extent of it.
They both came noisily and happily -- James was asleep and snoring within minutes after he shot his load, while Terry put on a short, fur-trimmed robe and, after I hurriedly dressed, ushered me to the door.
"You were fabulous, darling!" said Terry. "Some boys don't appreciate a truly committed relationship like Jimmy and I have! But you were perfect! And such a lovely body, too! I so enjoyed looking at it."
"Thanks," I said, wondering if that was all.
"We'd like you to come over again next week. Do you mind wearing something special? Do you have a leather jockstrap?"
"No," I admitted. "I don't."
"I'd offer you one of mine, but most guys don't like to wear someone else's underthings."
"I can get one," I said, quickly. The thought of putting on Terry's old leather jockstrap made my stomach turn.
"You're such a dear!" Terry gushed. "I'll call you at the beginning of next week. And I have the address of a good place for leather goods. They'll fix you right up. And I'll give you the names of those gyms, too."
"That's great," I said.
Terry was already shuffling me to the door. "Ta ta, darling! Until then!"
I was on the porch, the door shut tightly behind me. It was exactly 11:00.
It was Friday night and the last place I wanted to go was home. I considered calling Rich and heading over there, but showing up at his door at midnight would mean I'd have to sleep with him and I wasn't ready for that at all.
I drove down Clifton, turned down a side street, then got onto Detroit. The upscale gay clubs, cafes, and restaurants were on Clifton, but the bars were on Detroit, on both sides of the Cleveland-Lakewood line. That's where I headed.
I hadn't been to a gay bar in ages. Aaron hated them and we only went if there was a party for someone or another event, like an AIDS fundraiser or Pride, where he felt he had to make an appearance. I really hadn't been by myself since college. During my junior year at NYU, Aaron was on a fellowship at the University of Waterlands in Norfolk, England, and we were apart for much of the year. Before he left we both agreed that we wouldn't ask questions about what we'd been up to. I can't exactly say I spent my time sluttishly, but I did hit the bars and clubs and had my share of hook-ups, as I assume Aaron did. But when he came back we were both relieved to be together again and made a real commitment to be monogamous. At least I thought we did. Now I'm not so certain about Aaron. I'm not certain about anything.
James Wolfson owned one of the bars on Detroit, Gizmo's. I'd passed it many times, like I'd passed the other bars, making note of it, but nothing more. Tonight James and Terry wouldn't be stopping in -- James was home and snoring and I doubted Terry would venture out without him -- so I wouldn't see anyone I knew. Gizmo's wasn't the kind of place where members of The Club would hang out. In fact, it was a total dive.
I found a spot on the street to park and went inside.
It was busy but not crowded. At this time on a Friday a lot of guys would have already gone over to one of the clubs -- The Cage, Club Out, The Grid, or the new hot place, Twist -- for the rest of the night. But that was okay -- I didn't want to be smashed up against a bunch of guys I didn't know while I nursed my single beer.
I ordered a bottle of Rolling Rock. The bartender, a ripped, shaved-headed guy in a black tank top, looked me up and down as he flipped the cap off the bottle. "No charge," he said.
Okay! "Is this a come on?" I asked. He was cute, but not at all my type.
"It's Ladies' Night, Twinkle," he said, pointing to a sign behind the bar.
I took out a five dollar bill and slapped it on the bar. "Fuck you," I said. "And fuck Ladies' Night!"
Gizmo's was pretty low tech -- an old fashioned juke box blasting '80's music, a pool table, a couple of television screens high on the walls. There was no dancing and most of the guys seemed to know each other already. But I knew from experience that if you want to make a friend, you'll find one soon enough.
He was in his early thirties, dirty blond hair, jeans, an Indians tee shirt -- you can't avoid the Indians shirts in Cleveland, especially in the summer.
"Can I buy you a beer?"
I held up the bottle. "Got one. And I paid for mine."
He grinned. "Don't you like Ladies' Night?"
I took a swig from the bottle. "Not when I have a dick."
"I can see that you do." His eyes were blue and they traveled down my body to rest at my crotch. His finger trailed idly along the outer seam of my jeans, but then it moved slowly across my fly. This guy wasn't wasting any time.
"Then what are we waiting for?" I finished the bottle and followed him out the door.
After the men of The Club, this guy was a welcome change. His apartment was in an old, shabby building only a few blocks from the bar on the Cleveland side. His furniture was minimal and his decor non-existent. A grey cat came out and meowed at us when we walked in, then retreated to the kitchen. He turned on WMMS -- cliché classic hard rock -- stripped off his clothes, stripped off mine, and tossed me on his unmade bed. His technique was a basic suck and fuck, but I didn't mind. After watching James and Terry play their games for two hours I just wanted to get laid, purely and simply. I didn't want to talk. I didn't want to think.
I didn't want to know the guy's name.
And he didn't want to know mine.
"Take that!" he moaned. "Take my big cock!"
It wasn't that big, but I didn't argue. "Fuck me with that big cock!" I said. "Yeah! Like that!"
Bad dialogue, I agree, but it did the job. Not everyone is ready with deathless prose when they only want to get fucked and fucked hard.
He slobbered on my face a little before and after he came, then he turned over and went to sleep.
I got up to take a piss. The cat followed me into the kitchen, meowing again. There was a box of cat food on top of the fridge, so I poured some into the cat bowl. I helped myself to a bottle of water and went back to the bedroom, turning off WMMS in the middle of 'Baba O'Reilly.' What the hell? I got back in bed and drank the water. The cat strolled in and jumped up, washing his paws. I turned off the light and closed my eyes.
"Hey! Wake up!"
For a moment I didn't know where I was. Then I remembered. Gizmo's. The cat.
I rubbed my eyes. "Sorry. I fell asleep."
"It's okay. But I gotta go to work. You want to get breakfast?"
"Sure. Can I take a shower first?"
"Yeah, but I have to get dressed," he said, apologetically. "I'd like to get into that tight ass again, but I don't have time."
I nodded and rolled out of bed. The shower was leaky and the water pressure low, but he put a folded clean towel on the toilet seat, like a good host. I brushed my teeth with my finger and didn't feel too bad.
He was tucking in his shirt as I came out of the bathroom. Tucking in the shirt of his uniform. He was a fucking cop!
"Oh," I said, reaching for my pants. Even after all these years, cops still made me skittish.
"I'm on duty in an hour, so let's move."
I followed him down the road to the Big Egg, a 24-hour diner that had been a fixture on Detroit since the Fifties. It was infamous as a cop hangout -- I think it was even owned by a policeman -- so it was packed with men in blue, ordering large greasy breakfasts off egg-shaped menus. We sat at the counter and had the works -- eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns. I was starving.
"Ever fucked a cop before?" he asked as he shoved a forkful of food into his mouth.
"Um..." I wondered if blow jobs on the fly in alleys counted. I decided they didn't. "Not that I know of."
"Some guys are into it," he shrugged. "Others... not so much. It freaks them out. You should have seen your face when you saw me."
"It just surprised me, that's all. I'm a law-abiding citizen." But as I said the words I realized it was a lie. I wasn't a law-abiding citizen at all. I was a whore. A high-class whore, but a whore nevertheless. And like a good whore, I'd just given a cop a freebie.
He wiped his mouth and paid for both of us. "See you around," he said, climbing off the stool. And he walked out without a backward glance.
I asked for a refill on my coffee and sat there for a long time, staring into the cup before I headed home.