He had a hard time accepting an irksome flaw in the Jehovah’s Witness mentality when it came to the idea that members shouldn’t try new things or experiment with boundaries. We do not need to touch a burning stove in order to know it’s hot. This is in direct conflict with the wiring running through the mind of an adventurous artist. He wanted to travel and experience other cultures without the heavy condescending umbrella his religion wanted him to decorate as humility. He wanted to meet everyone in the world in every social class and connect with them on their level without feeling the heartbreak of knowing they were all going to die on the Last Day. If all of this history, the evolution of civil mankind as we know it, is all going to be destroyed at Armageddon, he wanted to see everything he could before it was wiped ‘clean’, as so much of it is philosophically important in the building the of world as he knew it today. As of now, feeling as a child new to the world, no… he did not know that ‘the stove was hot’. He was told the stove was hot, he was shown pictures of people with hands on fire, and he was told stories of how the demons force people to put their hands on stoves for doubting the fallibility of the Governing Body, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, or buying something at a thrift shop… but no, he himself had not ever experienced the ‘hot stove’ of the wicked world.
And the illustration didn’t make sense to him. There are many ways to test to see if a stove is hot besides just placing a hand on it. One could place a pot of water and see if it boils, throw paper in the general direction and see if it bursts into flames, or get a thermometer and take a scientific reading of the stove to find out its exact temperature in comparison with the ambient tepidness of the room. The concept that thirteen men who he had never met sat in Brooklyn, New York and deemed that the world’s stove is hot was an absurdity to him. And so far, nothing he felt was “scalding” in the least bit. In fact, he was learning an incredible amount about civics and social engineering, people and their psychological dynamic and how to apply it in his personal life to be more socially conscious.
The world as he was told is divided into two parts: The dangerous evil ruled by Satan and Jehovah’s Organization. There is no exception, even when it comes to cultural history and humankind before the bible was written or in other parts of the planet where the bible is not the primary book of faith. Art, literature, music, theater, and everything associated with them were all created under the watchful eye of Satan. Anything created from inside the organization came with purposeful instruction from Jehovah God.
James felt differently, now more than before. He noticed that most of life’s situations falls into one of five major categories:
Unengaging (boring) – This seems like the most unhealthy… it is complacent and unnecessary… the “path of least resistance”.
Safe and pleasant – This would be dinner with the twins and working at the assembly hall.
Adventuresome with minimal risk – This includes bungee jumping, sex with strangers you meet in person, nudity in artwork, and rated “R” movies. Jehovah’s Witnesses stay away from everything in this section.
Dangerous and iffy – Obviously working at Feathers is stationed here… hooking up online, going clubbing, and hanging out with the girls at the Gold Room, and navigating through the sexual tension of people like Billy and having no boundaries with someone like Derrick.
Absurdity – Showing up to a crack orgy for a guy he just met.
Each category has an infinite number of sub-categories based off the people present, state of mind, time of day, level of desperation, upbringing, moral code, life experience, and/or the consumption of drugs and alcohol. There was nothing particularly disturbing to him so far, and wherever he went he unknowingly commanded a measure of respect and protection. After a few well-witted wisecracks, everyone wanted to be his friend. No one thought he was faking or disingenuous because outside the religion, he wasn’t. It was honesty on all levels at all times. It is the exact opposite from all the congregations he attended where people thought of him as either a golden boy or hiding a legion of demons. In the world he just… is. It is an entire community of people who categorized situations and personalities into more than just the two classes of “Satan” and “Jehovah”, giving them gradient levels beyond the limited ends of the spectrum.
The night brought James closing up shop while Derrick arrives to head over to the party, freshly showered, smelling of eager anticipation at the possible grand he will be making in one night. Arriving at the two-story town home beamed in paradox as the streets within the gated community were quiet and damp, glowing with the soft yellow of various lights to give it a deceptive peacefulness. The cool, night air of spring smelled clean. The boys drove separately since James was just going to deliver Derrick, see Ollie, and go home.
The entrance is at the garage level, a wood and glass door. “Come in” was screamed from a pantheon of various voiced commotions. The door was unlocked and opened into a foyer big enough for a small sofa and occasional chair, a hallway with laundry room and powder room, and a garage at the end. Immediately facing the boys was a long staircase leading up to the second story where vacillating waves of moans and groans seemed to be trickling down the carpeted steps.
Derrick and James look at each other, half smiling at the bizarre bazaar they have yet to see, and try to achieve some sort of confidence for which to ascend the stairs since everything they are about to see will be the first for both young men. And reaching the top, the sight does not disappoint.
The living room is on one side and is simple in it’s large-prints-of-original-paintings-in-bulky-antique-gold-frame decoration with two long sofas and two swing chairs sitting with the coffee table banished to the far corner of an unfurnished area leaving open space dominated by a large ottoman. There is an armoire in the corner playing porn from the VCR, and a series of tapes scattered about the floor. On the other side is the formal dining room cramped into a narrow space, the ornate but veneer wood table covered with various drug paraphernalia and substances he could not yet identify. The kitchen is behind a wall with two doors, and down the hall sits a bathroom and a second bedroom. At the very end with the open door was the master bedroom, only the overstuffed puffy blue of the comforter can be seen.
On the ottoman, ass facing the stair, knelt Jack comically trying to be fucked by a young guy with a disproportionally large penis that cannot seem to stay erect, quite possibly due to the drugs on the dining room table. Three men are on one couch closest to the television pointlessly playing with each other, half in a daze. Two others were on the other sofa, a muscular guy who is obstructed from view and in direct eyeshot was Ollie, naked. He looked… much better with his clothes off. James smiles.
Ollie jumps up and pulls his shorts on and rushes across the living room causing Jack to look. Can you get a cucumber from… JAMES!! You made it. What did you bring me??
James stares at Ollie, smelling his metallic breath and lube that somehow makes him much more naughty. He nudges Derrick and although he isn’t looking in that direction, he can feel the muscled teenager give James an eyeroll as he unbuttons his jeans and drops them.
And that, gentlemen, is a cock. Can you keep it hard?
Derrick has more swagger in his voice than James had ever heard. All night if you want. Just keep all that shit away from me or I’ll be useless.
Deal, Jack said while lighting his pipe, inhaling, and blowing it respectfully in the opposite direction. Derrick steps out of his jeans and walks over, pausing for a second to look back at James. Are you…?
No. No. You go ahead, I’m just the delivery boy. I will… James doesn’t finish as a faint scent of Irish Spring comes across.
Yeah, I figured, is the response with a cocky smile.
In a moment of southern hospitality, Jack says, James, no offense but this doesn’t really seem like your scene, but please feel free to try whatever, this is a safe zone. And there’s tons of alcohol in the kitchen if you’re into that sort of thing.
Ollie steps in closer, Can I get you a drink?
Ollie, don’t wander too far, we are going to have to restock soon. Oh my god, this thing is growing.
Okay, he says putting on a t-shirt from nowhere. He pushes James through the swinging door of the kitchen.
You didn’t have to put your clothes back on just for me.
I put them on in case you wanted to tear them off.
James giggles at the exchange. He has never found himself so sexually empowered and vulnerable at the same time. He was trying to be suave and confident, but he feels it’s coming out like a toddler trying to play poker with grown up professionals. It didn’t really matter how it is coming out, the object of his affection was responding well to it. In the kitchen they kissed as if one of them was a soldier who returned home from war.
They kissed until, out of the corner of the eye there was movement. They stop and look. There is a shirtless guy, no more than 20 years old, tanned and will be good-looking in about five years, standing in the breakfast nook staring at the collection of alcoholic drinks and mixers that cover the yellow kitchen island. The two kissers relinquish their embrace and look at each other in question before looking back at the cute space cadet on his unknown voyage.
Are you okay? Can I get you anything? Ollie asked.
Did you see what I did with my drink?
Scanning the kitchen for loose drinks, James says I’m pretty sure you don’t have one yet.
Oh. That’s right. I came in here because I wanted something.
James couldn’t help himself, You know, there is a lot to choose from, alcoholic and non-alcoholic… sodas and juices, whatever you want.
And there’s ice in the cooler there by your feet.
Wow. So many choices. I don’t know what I want.
James had to keep going. You could, now try an keep up here, combine two or more of them together and make… a mixture of sorts.
The boy’s head is officially blown. Ollie nudges James with the biggest ‘you’re such a douche’ grin while again keeping the hint of pride aspect generating.
The two guys move closer to the shirtless twink to help. I tell you what, why don’t we just get you some water?
Yeah, water. From… the faucet?
Ollie!! Someone is at the door!
James just remembered, I locked the door behind me. I’m sorry. Habit.
I got to get that.
I know. He gives Ollie another kiss.
Come with me so you don’t traumatize him anymore.
You never let me have any fun, James pouts with a smile.
The two giggled and exited the kitchen and he stopped to absorb the scene while Ollie tended to the new arrival. The three guys on the far couch were joined by the one who was left alone from Ollie’s exit… now trying to blow someone hard, anyone… it doesn’t matter who at this point. One thing he has always realized early in the friendship, Derrick could fuck a lamp post and it would be sexy. Jack’s face was in heaven and he gives a nod of “thank you” over in James’ direction.
James nods back.
Ollie appears at the top of the stairs with a tall, skinny, tattooed and scruffy presumably trailer-park recruit taking in the scene with heterosexual cautiousness.
This is Ben.
Hello, Ben. Is this the straight guy? Jack asks.
Yeah. He has a big dick, Ollie looks over in James’s direction and said softer, almost sheepishly serious, I’ve heard.
The silent response is overwhelming in James. There is appreciation for the effort, but heartbreak from the idea that there is this concept that the two guys from two very different backgrounds on two rigidly perpendicular roads of life were structured in class so that Ollie feels the need to hide and almost apologize for who he has fucked. He understand it is respectful to not thrust someone with – as seen as he drops his shorts – a noticeably larger penis in front of the guy he has been making out with in his mind all day, but the default to apologize for who he is made James fill with a staggering desire to just hug him until he realizes It’s okay, I am not any better than you. And in his mind he thinks, Never apologize for who you are. I’m the one who should be apologetic, for where I come from… and will be supporting for the rest of my life… is a place that condemns you to Satan and everlasting death. At least you have the balls to live.
Outwardly he smiles and shakes his head with his eyes closed before opening them, giving the eyebrows a quick rise. The blonde notices. He blushes. He smiles.
At that point, James knew… I got him. To make someone like Ollie blush is an incredible achievement, he felt. He cannot wait to tear those clothes off. Two people who knew what they are doing are about to do it, and are about to do it well.
While Ben is escorted to the central ass-fucking alter, James scopes out the rest of the place quietly. He isn’t sure what the crack-orgy etiquette is if you only want to fuck one of the participants. He hasn’t ever been a person drawn to orgies, mainly because there is a lot of energy to work around. Right now, being on the outskirts of the scenario and having all his clothes on seems like a child’s safety blanket about now. I guess we could do it in the bathroom, maybe? That seems rude. Hey Jack, thanks for all the drugs and alcohol. I know it’s your birthday but there is nothing on my person that you will be able to sexually enjoy tonight, so if you don’t mind, I’m going to just take your escort for the night, and drug dealer, and fuck him in a… cleaner atmosphere… like on the on the toilet in the powder room.
Just thinking it he realized how patronizing that sounded. This energy is probably why Ollie felt the need to be shameful about who he’s been fucked by. There is a room full of people higher than Jesus and three hard penises… and one of them was still in it’s clothes. It basically comes down to how bad do I want Ollie? (Sigh.)
Jack stands up, Okay, you two… come with me, and he heads into the bedroom. Once passing James at the dining room he stops and turns around. Hold on everyone. Wait here.
He disappears and returns with a wad of cash. He stands in front of the table with James and counts out one thousand dollars and hands it to James. This is for your friend. He counts out two hundred dollars more. This is because he so fucking thick and good. He counts out one thousand, one hundred dollars and puts it on the table. This is for the straight guy. He counts out five hundred dollars and hands it to James. This is for the great find. Thank you. James flashes Derrick his money and points as he puts it in the left front pocket. Derrick gives a nod. James puts his own money in his wallet. Jack counts out another five hundred dollars and looks around. Ollie? Ollie appears beside James. I am moving this to the bedroom and we’re going to need some more rock.
Can I borrow your car?
Hell no! You can’t have a Jag riding through the Third Ward!
Ollie gives a slight back hand to James’s stomach. Can you take me?
Sure, James said before realizing what he had been asked.
That is very brave of you. Jack said. I’ll give you another hundred.
It all sinks in to James’s brain. No, wait. How much are you going to get?
I don’t know, what do you think, Ollie? $500?
Yeah, that should be enough.
So you want me to drive to the Third Ward to pick up $500 of crack while carrying $1,700 in cash?
Jack gives a bent forward head stare while slightly smiling. Fine. $200.
I’m in my mom’s car!!
You’re in your mother’s car? Oh my god, you are ridiculous. Here. $300. You two get out of here. I need to tend to these gentlemen before they go soft. James and Ollie begin to bounce off before Jack calls out and gives a remarkably firm, adult sentence. James, drive carefully. Do what Ollie says, he knows what he’s doing.
Ollie gets his shoes and the two bounce down the stairs as the orgy is now divided into two parts… the lackluster living room lounge action and the hard-pounding sex machines of the master bedroom. At the bottom the two find themselves standing in the foyer staring at a VERY pregnant woman about the same age as James with sticky blonde hair and blue eyeshadow reading a magazine. The two males look at each other, then back at the woman.
Hey guys. Everyone having fun up there?
Yeah. I thought you were just…
Oh, if you don’t mind… in my condition… I would just rather wait here, if that’s okay.
Yeah, that’s fine. Can I get you something to drink or anything?
I just need to know if there is a bathroom on this floor. I have to pee every ten minutes it seems.
There’s a half-bath there at the first door.
So, is Ben your boyfriend? James had to confirm some connection to what he is seeing.
Ollie added, She drove him, but I didn’t know…
Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t want to ruin anything, but the car doesn’t have a lot of gas and we really need the money.
I can see. How far along are you?
Goodness. Well we’ll be back.
Okay. I hope everyone is enjoying his dick.
James responded the best he could, I personally haven’t experienced it, but it seems like Jack is getting his money’s worth. And apparently Ben seeds well. He points at her stomach.
(Laughing) Oh this isn’t his! But I tell you, in times when the hormones go crazy his dick can get up in there…
We need to get, Ollie interrupted.
Yeah, we will check on you on the way back.
Thanks. You guys are so sweet. Are you two ….
No, no. (Nervous laughter.)
Well you two look cute together.
James felt embolden, Thank you, and he leans in and gives Ollie cute kiss on the lips.
Oh gross!! She laughs and jerks the magazine in front of her face to block the view. I’m so sorry, I’m not homophobic it’s just weird to see.
I know you’re not homophobic. And it’s amazingly generous for you to share your husband. Thank you very much for that.
James, we need to go.
Thank you guys. You two drive safe.
In the car, Ollie gives instructions to the Days Inn on the Southwest Freeway, almost a direct shot from the River Oaks area and on the way to the Third Ward. They drove under the raised building standing guard on the complex and he is told to park in the main parking lot. Let me try here first, maybe we can avoid going to the Third Ward.
While James turns off the car, Ollie digs in his pockets and finds sixty dollars. Look, I know we’ve just met but… could you lend me…
It’s okay, how much?
Of course, he says and fishes $40 out of his wallet.
Thank you… so fucking much. Ollie gives him a peck on the cheek and jets out of the car and disappears out of the far corner of the building.
Ten minutes pass.
Ten more minutes pass.
He finally appears out of the corner of James’s eye and enters the car smelling more metallic than before.
Yeah, he didn’t have enough of what Jack wants, so we’re going to have to go into the Third Ward.
Okay, he said without fear. It’s difficult to fear something one doesn’t know anything about.
Driving instructions were given again.
The Third Ward in Houston is predominately black in demographic, but the area they were entering couldn’t constitute the description of “black” in the artistic sense. It was more a vacuum of light. The street lights had been shot silent, the houses were ghosts, and the street seemed to disappear five feet in front of the car. There is an absence of existence and nothing to see, no matter where the headlights pointed. The energy of the area is currently calm but it is impossible to ignore the ease in which it could all turn to chaos.
Let me off here. Go up to the corner and take a left. Take another left at the first street and pick me up. If I’m not there… drive all the way back to the highway and come back around.
So circle the block and if you’re not there… circle the block again?
Exactly. Whatever you do, don’t stop for anyone and don’t drive too fast cuz you might hit someone, and don’t drive so slow that someone can come up and carjack you.. If I’m not on the other side of the block in three passes, head back to the party.
Are you fucking kidding?
No. This is a lot of cash. So it may take some conversation. Just trust me.
James slows the car and Ollie jumps out, slamming the door.
He felt the emotion he didn’t usually feel with someone he just met… protectiveness. If anything were to happen to his new friend he would honestly want to park the car and retrace the steps like a madman. But that didn’t mean he should. It would probably end up in getting them both killed.
He does as instructed, don’t drive to fast, don’t drive too slow… and Ollie was not around on the first pass. He drove to the highway waited a minute, and tried it again.
Nothing. He goes and parks the car. He waits five minutes.
Third time. Driving slower in the anti-light vastness of nothing. He makes a turn.
He makes another turn.
Ollie appears from the distance. He didn’t even know how he saw him. He stops, and Ollie jumps in the car. Drive. Drive now.
This place makes me nervous.
Uhhh…. me too.
Take a left up here on the other side of 59.
He does as instructed. A left. A right. What is this?
The apartment complex is simple as a fading blue block nestled between a standard low-income apartment complex and a flickering 7-Eleven.
He moved the car next to the dumpster on the left front of the building. The two get out of the car and enter the screened door opening that enters the crumbling edifice.
Inside there is a long, narrow hallway with at-one-point off-white (?) walls and three 60-watt light bulbs spaced so as to “light” the hallway, the slight flickers making it feel more like an institution from a horror movie rather than an apartment complex where people lived. Stairs were at the immediate left, Ollie’s apartment was at the immediately right. He locks the door behind them after entering, turns on the light, and immediately draws the blanket-for-curtain drapery across the window.
Make yourself comfortable. Do you want some?
No I’m fine. Thanks though, he says as he heads over and sits on the disheveled mattress sitting on the far corner of the efficiency with a faint hint of was once baby blue walls. There is an old laminate kitchen table and chairs from three decades ago, a kitchenette area along the hall wall, and a bathroom straight from one of the elementary schools he had attended over the years. James straightens the blankets and watches.
Ollie opens the closet and digs through a pile of clothes on the floor until he finds a shoe. He reaches into the opening and pulls out a small cloth, towel maybe. He unrolls it and finds two baggies. He removes the contents of his pocket and takes out a few rocks and places it into one of his own baggies.
This is so much fucking rock it’s insane.
He seals the baggies before rolling them back up and replacing them in the shoe from where they came. The shoe then disappeared into the clothing quagmire. He turns around and tosses the larger baggie to James. Have you ever seen that much crack before?
I have not. He decides not to tell the young guy it is because up until this point, he had never seen crack before… at all. It was light, rock-like, unassuming. Ollie takes the bag and places it on the kitchen table. He comes up to James and straddles him on the mattress, laying him back and penning him to the bed. The blue eyes smile with a remarkable menace of sexuality.
What? James says, smiling.
I’ve been waiting for this all day.
James P. Perez © 2013