This is Part 1 of Chapter 24 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Drama Queen II - Part 2", the previous chapter.
The narrator is Brian Kinney, and features Ron Rosenblum, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: April 2002. There are ways -- and then there are ways....
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.
To paraphrase Tolstoy very loosely, there's really only one way to live happily, but a thousand ways to destroy yourself. Since I have no fucking clue on how to accomplish the first, the second course is my only alternative.
First stop is the old trick. He shall remain nameless, since I couldn't remember his name even when he was in front of me, sucking me off. Besides, names are unimportant. I can use any name I want and get the same result. Brian. Bobby. Jack. Justin. What the fuck difference does it make?
Trick lives in a nondescript building on a nondescript street. I've been there a number of times before to take advantage of his special sales of various substances. He is a fairly reliable source. I usually buy coke -- usually just enough for the night. Can't take the chance of hiding it in the house. Knowing where I keep a little weed is one thing, but anything else would make Ron flip.
Trick is always honest about the quality and whether it's been cut too much or is extra strong or whatever. If you're a good customer -- or if he likes you -- you get the straight story on the goods, maybe even a discount. Trick really is not much of a businessman. He also gets in decent supplies of 'e.' I have the impression that he and his boyfriend/dealer are purveyors to half the queers and rich club kids in L.A. They both will probably be discovered shot dead, gangland-style one day -- I just don't want it to be a night when I'm there.
I ring him from the parking lot and he buzzes me in. He seems a little high. I think it's never a good idea for the seller to partake of his own product. It's the first step down. But look who's talking? He wants to do a little trading for the shit. I don't think so. I've got the cash -- or, rather, Ron had the cash in his drawer -- so I'd rather pay and be on my way, as they say. He doesn't think I'm very funny.
We've already had this little conversation about the transaction on the phone. I want to get the stuff and get out. But now he's playing Mother Superior on me.
"This coke -- excellent quality. Half-price if you blow me."
'Okay. Half-price if you let me blow you."
"Stick to what we agreed to. And don't fuck around with me. I'll have your ass thrown off the lot and off the catering truck altogether."
"The coke is good. Come on! That other -- it's bad news, you know that! What do you need it for?"
"What the fuck do you know about what I need? What do you know about anything?"
Trick looks sad. Isn't that sweet? He's trying to look out for me! Pathetic. "I'm just saying that a guy like you -- what's the point?"
"If you don't want to sell your shit, then don't sell it. But I don't need an 'After School Special' here. You don't think I know what I'm doing? I was doing this when you were in fucking kindergarten!"
He sighs and pulls out the glassine bags from his magic box. Hello, it's been a while. I feel them. Weigh them in my hand. They are stamped with little pictures of the Powerpuff Girls. How fucking ironic.
"No. Way pure. Watch the fuck out."
I open one and wet my finger. Taste it. Bitter. Alkaline. Like the old mining hills not far from Pittsburgh. It tastes like the smell of the slag heaps and pits. That's a good omen -- I think.
"How many people have stepped on this shit before you got it?"
He shrugs. "I'm telling you -- be careful."
Who the fuck does he think he's talking to? "I don't need YOU or anybody else to take care of me. And I don't need to take care of anyone. So just stick to the plan."
Trick now acts like he wants me out of here. So, perversely, I stay a little longer.
"Bring me a mirror."
"No fucking way! Not here!"
"Bring it." It isn't hard to stare him down. He's done up with a lot of gym muscle and attitude, but he's a nelly boy to the core.
He brings the mirror and I spill about half of the bag I've already opened on the surface.
"That's too much. I said the shit was pure." He's getting nervous. What, does he think I'm planning a flame-out in his fucking Big-Q-furnished living room? There are far better places for that. Far nicer rooms and houses to take the Big Sniff in.
I pull a pen-knife (I'm always prepared) out of my jacket and divide the powder in half again. But, to be on the safe side, I separate a line. Then I take out one of Ron's nice, clean, new hundred dollar bills -- he loves getting crisp new money from the bank. I'm usually satisfied with whatever filthy old notes come into my hands, but then I'm never fussy, right? I roll it and snort the line. And then wait.
It's not like coke -- it doesn't go straight inside and light you up. It's more insidious, it's more sincere. It takes over like a warm blanket on a cold, cold night. Take enough and you feel heroic -- the name is no mistake. It infuses with pleasure, like an orgasm going in you, instead of coming out of you. Perfect for making the ugly seem beautiful, the hateful seem loving, the world seem bearable. At least until you need the next dose.
I cut another line and offer it to my host. I'm not that sorry when he declines. I do the whole quarter and save the rest for later. I also collect the other bags and hand over the cash. I keep the hundred, of course. There's nothing more repugnant than watching someone snort their dope straight out of the bag -- it's like watching someone eat with their fingers. The hundred is like my silver spoon.
I feel like a happy, happy camper as I leave. I won't be sorry not to have to deal with Trick again. So long. Happy trails. I mount my Mustang and head for my next stop.
The best place I can think of is the place I went to with 'Stan' that night of the infamous 'rehearsal' with Jimmy and Ross Preston. I haven't been back there since, but I still hesitate. Peter was there last time -- and there might be other people I know, and not just tricks. So I have to think of alternatives.
I park the Mustang at a restaurant in West Hollywood where Ron and I go quite a bit. The attendants know me, know the car. For a modest fee and a friendly smile -- and I always have that -- they'll keep a good eye on it. I wouldn't want anything to happen to the Mustang, after all -- it's an innocent bystander in all of this.
But instead of steering into the glammy part of Boys Town, I head for the not so glittery end. I don't think even Peter on his slummiest day will go down this far. Which is exactly why I proceed there.
If you have the instinct for it -- or the nerve -- you can smell out the right spot. I don't mind walking and exploring. I feel like I just ate Thanksgiving Dinner, warm and full inside. I must even be smiling, if you can believe it, because a few people smile back at me. A few of them stop and turn. This is when I know I'm getting close.
The place I have in mind reminds me of somewhere else. It doesn't look California. It looks more Lower East Side. The familiar ambiance. The familiar glow. I'm right at home.
It really is a lost opportunity. Why didn't I bring Ron and his camera? It would be like going back to the old Honeymoon Hotel. Look, dear -- isn't that the wino we used to fall over all the time? Why, I believe it is! Good times.
The guy at the door doesn't even look at me twice, but passes me right in. Mainly the leather and uniform crowd -- no twinks in a place like this, which is another reason I'm starting here. I don't need any fucking reminders.
Now, I need a guide.
A skinhead-looking guy cruises me, but I ignore him. I'm looking for the trail to the toilet. I move around the periphery of the main floor. Techno music, some German shit. These guys are so predictable. I'll have a headache if I stay here too long, but that's not my plan.
I spot my prey leaning against the back wall. I recognize the stance, the code. One leg straight out, the other bent and braced against the wall. The eyes always moving, always alert on the room. He spots me at the same moment I spot him. I go over and lean next to him.
I take out a cigarette for myself and offer him one. I light both of them.
"Thanks." He's shorter than I am, of course, and has dark, buzzed hair. He looks weedy, like he's just grown here without any direction or purpose. That is never me -- I always have a purpose.
He scans the room. "So-so. Wednesday isn't exactly the most exciting night of the week."
I inhale the smoke. I haven't been smoking much lately because of all the fucking training. It winds me. But it feels almost as good as the dope.
"But that's an opportunity. A slow night to catch a trick could be a good night to...." I shrug.
"I see what you mean. Where are you from? Not out here, that's for sure."
"New York. Why, 'for sure'?"
"I'd have seen YOU. I see everybody."
"Am I that -- distinctive?" Now I back off a little.
"Shit." He laughs and coughs out some of the smoke. "Are you slumming down here or what?"
I look at him sideways. "Hey, I'm new in town and trying to know the score. This is where I landed. My suite at the Ritz wasn't quite ready yet, so here I am."
Now I'm nervous. It shows. "Why? Cops hassling?"
"They can. Not in here, but they can, so watch your ass." He takes another puff. "And be sure to ask. Always. There's a law says they can't lie."
"Sure. That's bullshit. They always lie."
"I'm just saying. But you won't pull anybody in here. Well, occasionally, but not this crowd."
"Too into themselves?"
"Yeah. Unless you are into some of the shit they are -- and even I'm not THAT desperate -- yet."
"It depends. You gotta do what you gotta do."
"Don't shit me." He looks me up and down. "You even SMELL like fucking Beverly Hills."
I laugh. "Why? Because I took a bath in the last three days? Don't give me that!"
He shakes him head.
The skinhead cruises me again. But I know this type. He's a good trick, but a rotten john. That's the same with everyone in a place like this. But I don't know where else to go at this point, barring working the cars and that's the best way to get your ass in the pens, pronto.
"If you got anything -- to spare -- I could take you somewhere better." My companion mentions the name of the the place I went to with 'Stan.'
"Already been there. I got into a hassle with a guy -- I'm not going back tonight. Any other ideas?"
"Maybe. Let's go."
My new buddy leads me into the can and I share another quarter bag with him, laying it out on the tank of the toilet. He snorts it up like a fucking vacuum cleaner. "You weren't kiddin' -- this is pure shit. You could kill yourself with this, it's so good."
"What a nasty idea," I say. "I'll have to be careful, won't I?"
Continue on to "Waiting for the Man - Part 2", the next section.
©Gaedhal, June 2002
Pictures of Gale Harold from "Paper Magazine."
Updated June 7, 2002