green vinyl pouch is empty. That's where we keep the cash that Famous makes, cash-in-hand,
his earnings while he lives with me here in San Francisco, undocumented, an illegal
vinyl pouch is empty, so we have to take money out of the red one, this Clinique
make-up travel case that I bought at the thrift store in Joshua Tree. I don't
know what I was thinking. It's got this perforated pattern on it, and a layer
of yellow comes through the little holes. The red one is where we put the special
set-aside cash that we're saving for our road trip. Everyone knows about our road
trip by now. They ask about our plans for it. We're definitely living in the future
tense; something to look forward to. Open road. For his birthday, people bought
Famous guidebooks, maps.
Famous leaves the house all beardy, wearing an orange cowboy shirt over a sleeveless
basketball jersey. It's Tuesday, a precious day off; Tuesday, marked by the local
emergency alarm drill, every Tuesday at noon. rrrrrrrrrrrr, heard throughout
the Mission district.
All the jobs required of me in order to finish my zine -- make print outs, fold,
staple -- I do wrong. Famous tries to be patient. I call him over. Ah, can you
help me? Uh. Uh think uh broke the printer. Sheepish.
We listen to BPM 1991-1994 by Unrest. "The Make Out Club" comes on. You
were the very first one... I put that song on the first mixed tape I ever
made for Famous. That's when he was living in London; me in San Francisco. We'd
reluctantly takes money out of the red pouch. He has errands to run. He has to
go to the post office to pick up a scarf that his mom knitted for him. Originally
it was for Christmas, but eventually she got it done in time for his February
My lips are rubbed thick and dark red. It's from blow jobs.
Last night, Tyler.
got a problem with kissing cause you've got a lot of stubble. I'm not used to
the hair. Just, do it slow." So I did it soft, just tongue flickering, like a
European porn, lips touching like butterflies, no smothering each other's mouths,
no grip and suck.
This morning my lips are puffy and red, and usually I call that Kissy Mouth, but
there wasn't much kissing with Tyler.
Tyler was, its true, a straight drunk guy who needed a blow job.
"Hey, we need blow jobs!" said
him and his friends. They were, it would be revealed later, a construction crew.
Tyler was the foreman. Well, as a matter of fact, said I. Famous appeared just
then, great timing. Well, as a matter of fact. I gestured at Famous, who smiled
big. He was wearing his engineer's cap. As a matter of fact, this guyll
give you one, and we live across the street.
We were outside of El Rio, handing out flyers for our pirate screening of Dogs
In Space. We had intended to go in and out, but we stopped for the $1 gins.
And What's-His-Name took one look at us and said, "Oh, the troublemakers are here,"
and we said, Yeah, you got it, and we wound up staying.
The club was over. The three boys were out front, holding their bikes. Flyer?
"Were drunk," said the one named Andrew. Thats when they
said they needed blow jobs, and I promptly offered our services.
"Hey," Tyler shouted at the
other friend, the one named Chris. "They live across the street, hey!"
"Chris," Andrew pointed out,
"looks like Chris Novoselic."
Yeah, I said. "Who's that?" asked Chris.
Nirvana, you know, from Foo."
Yeah, kind of you do, I said.
Chris was unappealing. We didnt care whether or not he came along. He looked
was saying, "Im not gay, but Im cool with that. I think maybe
one time, if it was the perfect moment, but you know, itd have to be perfect."
we turned to Tyler. Let's go. Golden brown curls, naughty eyes. He stood there
with his bike, horny. He was short, almost. He and his bike: low machines. "Come
on, Chris," Tyler whined. Chris was looking uptight. "Come on."
I felt warm in my jeans and I wondered if I'd actually cum in my pants. I felt
dizzy. Famous and me gave them a moment, we passed out flyers to a bunch of assholes,
tried to pick out the people who looked the least like yuppies, and when we got
back, Chris was, "No way, no way" in his stance.
Tyler, come on, we called. We crossed the street. Green light, we crossed.
Tyler was on his bike, trying to reason with Chris.
Come on, we yelled. Forget Chris, muttered Famous.
All of a sudden Tyler was coasting by on our side of the street, on his bike,
with Andrew in the lead. He yelled out, "Andrew convinced me to go with him to
The Phone Booth..." And he sailed away. Fuck Andrew, said Famous.
We were hungry and those $1 gins were burning us up. Let's go up to our place
and eat some vegetarian dumplings or something.
Let's go to The Phone Booth, we agreed over the ravioli leftovers that we ate
instead. Yeah, let's go. Fuck that Andrew.
In case we couldn't pull Tyler away that night, Famous wrote our phone number
on a flyer as a back-up. He added: "Anytime you want it."
Then we flew down the stairs and out the door. Our steps were made bouncy by the
gin. My cap was on, pull it down, push it up. I was feeling struttingly confident.
It didn't matter what happened. We were going to go bug the hell out of Tyler.
When we got
to The Phone Booth, Archie was out front. "Want whiskey?" he asked. Yeah, of course.
He pulled a bottle of Jack from his hoodie. He told us, "My friend got hit by
a car tonight, on her bike." We asked if she was ok. "Yeah, she's fine. There
was an ambulance, cops." We swallowed the whiskey. Archie. He shook his head.
That sucks, we said. "You're Archie, aren't you?" said a girl, kind of short,
homely. "Yeah," said Archie, neck up, rock star. "Yeah, I'm so-and-so's friend,"
said the girl. Archie nodded without smiling. "She pointed you out. Said you were
Archie." Archie nodded, smiled, kind of, look of pity on his face. "Do you have
a cigarette?" the girl asked. "No," said Archie, "but you can have some Jack Daniels."
We told Archie we'd see him inside. I could feel my feet itching for Tyler. To
the guy at the door, we said, Do you need our IDs? He said, "Yeah, yeah, just
so I know you got 'em." He didn't even look at them. It was crowded full inside,
you could feel the swell. That song on the jukebox, kind of disco, kind of punk,
familiar. What is it? "What's this song again?" said Famous. Go in, go in.
When we got our cat Clementine, she was fixed, supposedly, but she still gets
she meows a sound you wouldn't think could be a cat, and we find her up on the
window sill, her tail swelled to twice it's normal size, and she's wanting to
get out the window, two floors down, into the back parking lot, where the fluffy
black tomcat, a real ladykiller, the neighborhood stud, is striking a brutal pose
under a carefully chosen sedan.
Clementine is baying at the window. I have to pull her back and close it shut
cause I'm nervous she'll get so excited she'll jump. Can you imagine the sight
of her flying out the window? What a cat.
was I? Tyler.
First, into the rush of the Phone Booth. And could it be that the bartenders there
are finally warming up to us, after all this time? There's a smile.
They were out of Pabst. "But Rolling Rock is two bucks tonight." I said
ok even though I wouldn't be caught dead with a Rolling Rock, but I was drunk
enough that I was open to suggestions, and sober enough to remember how Bud makes
that guy Pat, there's that one girl, are they looking? But no Tyler. So
we talked with Andrew. He had spectacles on, and he was dark haired and handsome.
Underneath those glasses I detected a familiarity that I couldn't put my finger
on. Over Rolling Rocks bleg! Andrew confessed to us that he has
been in pornos. For what company? we asked. We've seen a couple of pornos in our
day. "Stryker," he said. "Have you heard of it?" Well, yeah, we know, you know,
the Famous Jeff Stryker. "I was working for that company and then I just did a
few." How many porns you been in? I asked. "Four." You got a big dick? I asked.
He gave me a look.
Hey, I said, I'm not coming on to you. Come on. You tell me you're in porn, that's
the logical follow-up question, right? "Right," said Andrew. "I'm 8 and a half
inches." That's pretty big, I said. Where's Tyler?
Tyler," said Andrew. "And I'm straight..." Yeah, yeah. "But I'm on Tyler's crew.
He's the foreman. And Tyler..." Yeah? Andrew bragged, "has got a beautiful bod."
We imagined these affable young men spending long days working construction. So
where is he? we asked. As if on cue, there was Tyler, lifted off the ground by
the booze, lit.
remember us?" I asked.
said Tyler, that noise that cocky straight boys make, barely there, huh, it comes
from the bottom of the lungs, from the diaphragm. "Huh," said Tyler. "Course I
'member you guys."
We tried to make conversation but we were strapped, and drinking Rolling Rock
which was embarrassing, and then Tyler was all over this blonde bimbo, who was
smiling obligingly. He was being aggressive, Tyler was, all in her face. He nuzzled
up to her.
rid of the floozy," Famous demanded under his breath.
Tyler was posing in profile, looking up, eye to the corner of the room, to show
off his jaw.
Next Tyler was all over an Asian girl, who was doing the same teasing giggle as
blondie did. If me and Famous were women, we'd probably hate this guy. But from
our viewpoint it was hot watching him be a total heterosexual sleaze.
"Who is this guy?" said a tall
young bloke, a real hero with a blonde bowl cut and everything. "Who is this guy?
I don't like him."
Tyler was kissing a warm neck beneath a drape of black hair.
The hero was pointing his thumb at Tyler, like a hitch-hiker. "Someone's gotta
get this guy to cut it out." Tyler was dancing, doing the sex roll, very MTV
Beach House. The hero leaned up against the bar next to Famous and started
talking with him about skateboards. "Hey, where are you from?" he asked. England,
Famous told him. "Man, not all Americans are dumbasses. I gotta say. I'm just
so embarrassed. These days. When I meet someone from another country, I just gotta
say." He went on, apologizing profusely on behalf of all war-mongering yanks,
while Tyler stumbled back from his latest conquest, somehow wedging himself between
her and the first girl, who was sitting at the bar, everyone pushed together,
so I grabbed Tyler's ass.
The girls had a couple of guys who were standing nearby, monitoring the situation,
making sure this guy doesn't get too out of hand.
I slipped my hand down Tyler's trousers. His butt was a smooth square rock.
Tyler leaned back and without making eye contact, eye to the corner of the ceiling,
whispered to me, as if he was just talking about scamming on chicks with a pal,
gotta say your hand on my ass is a whole lot more tempting right now than these
Famous. I pulled him forward a little, I pulled Tyler back. Feel this.
Famous slid his hands right down Tyler's pants. You know the stiff waist of a
pair of work pants, they stand square on a pair of narrow hips. And no underpants.
Famous couldn't hide it on his face. His eyes rolled up, his tongue curled against
the back of his front teeth. Come on, let's go.
Tyler slipped away, busted a dumb break dance maneuver, tossed his head, looked
up at the corner, down to the floor, all chin, very Travolta. His eyes were glazed
over. Somehow his shirt had come undone to the naval.
said Andrew, boasting his buddy's body like show and tell. "Look at that slab."
hide it on his face. Tyler did the sex roll. Let's get the hell out of here. I
think we had ordered another pair of $2 Rolling Rocks by this point in time. Tyler
had a fresh Bud. Let's go. "Listen," said Tyler, buddying up close. "You guys
go ahead, I want to try to slip out, Without Anyone Noticing."
Famous and I split immediately. Man, we were on the ball. Out the door. We were
standing outside on the sidewalk and I saw a couple of the cute young dykes from
the other bar, Lynn, another girl, they were cruising by on their bicycles. Is
he coming out? Suddenly I felt a little pathetic, waiting out in the cold. But
not pathetic enough.
Finally, I said, Ok, Famous.
He looked at me, alert, buzzed on gin and beer, bouncing a little. His eagerness
and his cap made him look like a cadet. I played sergeant:
Ok, Famous, I said. Go get 'im.
It must have been the gin: Famous is such a shy boy. But as soon as I'd said it,
he was skipping back to the bar.
I've been thinking about those blue bowls from Chinatown, the ones with the thin,
wobbly brown lines. We're using them now for the cats, Isabel and Clementine,
on the kitchen floor, one bowl for water and one for food.
We got them when we moved into the place on Porter St. A basement on a dead-end
street. Everyone called it the End of The World.
Famous had decided to stay. We had been long-distance lovers for over three years.
I would go to England, he would come to California, we'd meet in New York City.
We'd go for months on mixed tapes and masturbation, not seeing each other once.
Finally, it was summer, Famous was in San Francisco, he was finished with school,
we are so in love, no reason not to stay, he didn't get on his flight.
Staying at the house on 17th wasn't really an option. It was a nice place, but
there wasn't really room enough for the both of us. The roommates were Lovely
girls, really, but a little... Well, one of them told me I needed to learn to
dry off better before stepping onto the bath mat after a shower cause it was getting
we decided to move, and moving in together is weird when it's not a marriage thing,
or something so legit as that, but involves subterfuge. In this case, one partner
is making the conscious decision to become an illegal alien. We pretended to the
landlord like it was just me going to live there.
We needed bowls, which brought us to Chinatown. We were looking, in that 3-story
emporium, my favorite shop there, down in the basement we were looking for dishware
with slightly wobbly lines, not traditional designs, but almost. Organic, sort
of. Brown and blue. We were going to move in together just like real adults, except
we're both boys and Famous was going to be overstaying his visa in order to live
here. Illegal. So it was kind of fake, and all the more real. It was like playing
house. I said thank you in Mandarin to the lady at the cash register, but she
wasn't going there with me. She said, "Youre welcome." I always
pay a dollar extra for the plastic "San Francisco" shopping bag.
Eventually, that apartment was invaded. Spores of mold did naughty dances on the
ceiling in the bathroom, on the shoulders of our jackets in the closet and in
the valleys of the woven carpet under the futon. Dared each other to jump onto
our pillows and ski down the slopes of our noses. The mold was persistent: Silent
and barely-there, it dotted the pages of our paperbacks, abstract punctuation.
An army squatted in circle formation near the window frame, like a neurotic Yayoi
Kusama painting. That house knew how to emulate my disintegration.
We lived in that place on Porter St for two years and I think we played house
well. Because despite the mold, a lot of people came to visit us, came for solace
and tea, and Galaxie 500 through my cherished old Harman Kardon stereo receiver.
I asked Tyler,
what kind of music do you want to listen to? What would be appropriate for this
scenario? He responded, "ambient." I thought, ok, what have I got? My current
favorite record to fuck to was This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing
To Think About by Modest Mouse, and somehow it didn't seem right. I said,
Uh, like Massive Attack? He agreed. We put it on in the lounge, and we sank into
the big green couch. We lasted maybe a song, and I suggested that we take the
CD and ourselves into the bedroom. Famous went to the bathroom and when he joined
us in the bedroom, I was on top of Tyler, kissing him. Famous climbed up and then
I was down, face to face with the monkey imprinted on the snap of Tyler's Ben
Davis trousers, and then that snap was off and the pants were pulled down off
his hips. I cherished that pull. Everything was rocks on Tyler. Rock boobs, rock
biceps, rock thighs.
a little weird with the kissing," said Tyler. "The stubble." Okay. I slowed down.
Gave him a little flickering tongue, like the silly boys in European porns.
Famous was so pleased to hear the cliché was true:
guys just...," said Tyler. "Girls just don't..."
His glazed eyes would look off, to the right and up, posing, just like in the
bar, drunk, and proving he wasn't that into it, just being serviced. In profile
he looked classical. I'd made him a promise, back at the bar, whispered, and I
did it. Pushed his legs apart and rolled them back and put my lips to his asshole.
The crack was perfect, just slightly fuzzy, clean. Down there he placed no restrictions
on French kissing.
I started putting my fingertip in, and then Tyler said, "Do you have lube?" which
I kind of ignored until he said it again, and I realized he wanted to be finger-fucked.
I went to the
bathroom, teetering. Please let my roommates' lube be on the top shelf of the
medicine cabinet, where it usually is. It isn't. Er. Oh, yes, it is. "Put it in,"
said Tyler, "like that, yeah." I thought I felt a turd. I imagined a wrinkled
fig. I hoped it wouldn't cause a scene and obligingly it went away. "Okay," directed
Tyler, "now back towards you." I made a c-shape with my finger. A comma, a hook.
"Right there." Bingo, prostate. Usually, I never get it right. Tyler knew what
he was talking about. Later me and Famous admitted to each other how impressed
we were. Famous said, "Jeez, I think I need to take one of those sex-positive
classes where I squat over a mirror and learn about my anatomy." I thought of
the diagram they have up on the wall at Good Vibrations. Oh? I thought
when I first saw it. Oh, I thought tonight.
said Tyler, and I hit it. "Not so hard." Okay. But I wanted to poke the shit out
of this straight boy. "Not so hard, not so hard." Ok. I slowed down. I caressed.
I felt proud of myself. Caressing just like a gentleman would. I always think
of making mom proud in moments like that. She used to read me Highlights For
Children magazine, and the "Goofus and Gallant" comic was my favorite.
"Who do you want to be?" Gallant, I'd tell my mom. I want to be Gallant. I
wanted to be Gallant, so I caressed Tyler's prostate gently. But then I got into
a rhythm where I'd rub a little and then kind of hit it and dig in. Shit, I
thought. I knew I should've clipped my fingernails. I always hate having overgrown
nails. Now I saw a practical reason as to why. I could feel my nail cutting into
Tyler's slimy cave wall. I wanted to scratch my initials there. I slipped my middle
finger in. Two fit so easily. We teased him: Bet you want something thicker.
breathless. Famous sucked him off ferociously. Tyler edged off the bed and his
arm reached back and braced the floor, balletic. He went, "uh." I looked
up. Famous got his mouth off of Tyler's long, thin dick. "I'm gonna..."
Afterwards, I went into the bathroom and Tyler was taking a piss and I joined
him at the toilet. It was sweet. Cause I know even some other gay couples don't
take a waz at the same time. And I always think its one of the advantages
to hanging out with other boys. Here was me and Tyler with our dicks out, peeing
together. We looked down at our dicks. Tyler remarked on my girth. Bet you want
something thicker. He pushed his upper lip with his lower lip, a tough move. A
cocky smirk, but almost feminine, almost a pout.
The next morning, it was a shock to see Tylers handsome profile between
us. That slight smack of the lips you do when you awake. He had a considerable
hard-on, so we started sucking on it despite our filmy, bad-breath mouths. We
wanted Tyler to jack his dick off for us, put on a show. We egged him on and he
stood up and stretched out his strong body for us, pulled on his dick. But he
decided it wasn't going to happen, so he just put the extra lube from his fingers
into his curly hair, pushed his upper lip with his lower lip, a smirk, and pulled
on his Ben Davis. Paint splatters on midnight blue. Paint-splattered Pumas. A
green nylon windbreaker.
We made Tyler
coffee and bagels. We have a freezer full of bagels, leftovers
passed on to us from our friends who work at a coffeeshop. He
asked for another and he scarfed that one down too, as well as
the strawberries my parents had brought up from the suburbs a
couple days before. Tyler broke off pieces of bagel and stuffed
them into his mouth. He talked through it all, about how hes
taking ballet classes. He wants to be a ballerina. He wants to
go to Italy and to the Louvre. About his plans for his crew for
the day. Who'd get there early (Chris), who'd get there late (Andrew).
And what would they think? How theyd make fun of him. We
gave Tyler the upper hand by ratting Andrew, how he confessed
hes been in pornos. How frustrated he is that Matt, who
hasn't been laid in two years, wouldn't go with the flow last
night. We didn't tell him we didn't care.
We told him about a friend of ours who needed house painting jobs. "Yeah," he
said, considering. "We paint in two weeks." She's a she. "That's something we
haven't had in a while, we haven't had a girl on the site," said Tyler. "We had
a girl painter, and get this, her last name was Picasso." Tyler told us that Chris's
last name is Sander, and how all he ever seems to do on the job is sand. And his
boss, a gay man, his last name is Fairy.
what's your last name?" asked Famous. "Quest," smirked Tyler, bottom lip pushing
upper. "That's perfect for the hero," said Famous. "I made it up," said Tyler,
pushing up his lip. "I had it changed." He told us a little bit of the long story
behind the name.
He lifted his bike, carried it down the stairs.
As Tyler cycled away, Famous watched him through the window. "Damn, that
ass," said Famous. And his shoulders, so broad and freckly.