• Coming Soon: NIGHT CREATURES

    Long time, no blog!

    I thought I'd drop a few lines to announce that Book Two of the Immortal Testimonies series will be released by Bold Strokes Books in December! What's fun about this series is that all the books take place in the same world but don't necessarily need to be read in any particular order. Of course, I'd LOVE readers to discover them in the sequence I write in, but if anyone wants to begin with Book Two, they're welcome to!

    The first installment, IN STONE, was released in November and has had its fair share of good press. Now it's time to move on to the follow up...NIGHT CREATURES! Here's a blurb: 

    It’s 1981, and Bryant thinks his move to New York will be the beginning of a new life. But the men he meets are being threatened by a mysterious illness. Could transforming into a Night Creature save him and his loved ones from certain death? Book Two of The Immortal Testimonies travels back in time to the gay community’s darkest days.

    Some of you may recall NIGHT CREATURES in its blog format, which I updated weekly. Well a few years have passed and I've made a bunch of great changes turning Bryant's story into a novel. I hope you enjoy them!

    NIGHT CREATURES should be available everywhere in December, but stop by amazon to pre-order NOW! 

  • "New Website" OR "I'm official"

    I haven't updated the blog in...oh, seven months. Totally cool. I do have an excuse: I've been busy. 

    Editing In Stone was a really cool process. My editor, Lynda, is my favorite person ever. Sometimes I felt like she was IN MY HEAD. We worked so well together. Even though the edits were breezy, they were work...took up a lot of time and energy. Then I had to get Book Two, Night Creatures, in good shape (some of you may recall it as a blog...I'm sure I'll write more about that at a later time). It'll be a while before Lynda and I start peeling away at that one, so now I have time to make myself feel like a real author. Making a website is apparently one of the ways to do that. 

    So, here it is. 

    Nice, right? 

    Oh, and as you saw on my NEWS page, I got my box of author copies today. It's weird having so many copies to myself so far before the release. I want EVERYONE to read it. This will be a huge exercise in self control. But this also means that I'm offically published. My book is a real thing, made of matter and worth money. I couldn't be happier. 

    I'm also realizing that this new blogging tool I'm using doesn't have a built-in spellcheck. GREAT. Forgive me while I get used to this thing. 

  • Thank you Victor and Hugo and...Laverne.

    So this entry isn't as essay-ish as my others. It's kind of ramble-y...a true-blue blog post. I like to think that it's the beginning of something more eloquent but I wanna get to get this out of my system sooner than later, a timely reaction to the vacation that I recently completed...

    I just got back from the other side of the pond. Ugh. That reads like a bad dad-joke. Let me try again...

    I was in London. And then in Paris. The whole experience was incredible. I love traveling. I need to do more of it. Yes, I also said that when I went to Italy...six years ago. Hopefully it won't take me that long to make my next journey.

    ANYWAY, going to France and the UK was a surreal experience for me. Through the little research I've done on my family, I have blood in both countries. I'm sure there's DISTANT King/Jordan/Melvin/Kelley (Those are the various lines that compile one Mr. Jeremy Jordan King) DNA roaming the streets of one or both of those cities, but I wasn't interested in meeting my doppelganger. I just thoroughly enjoy being in places with history. Yeah, yeah, NYC has a lot of years under its belt, but European cities are OLD. Like cradles of modern civilization kind of old. Standing in front of something that had its first brick plopped down in 1100 AD is kind of mind blowing. Then realizing that that brick was put there to improve on an even older structure makes me want to throw up. There's nothing more humbling, in my humble opinion, than getting some perspective on how long we've been minuscule my existence is when placed in line with the bajillions of other existences that currently do and have inhabited this world. Ugh. I love it.

    As I'm typing, my mind is holding fast to one example- Notre Dame. You know, this place:

    Or, as most of us have grown up imagining, this animated behemoth:

    Being at Notre Dame was heart wrenching (in the best possible way) for two reasons...

    1) Just wow. It's gorgeous. And so old. And still standing. And it's been the center of worship for longer than my brain can comprehend. I'm NOT a religious person. I don't believe in any of that stuff. I'd rather read about stars and planets and apes learning to walk upright BUT being in a place that's been so important to so many people made me feel like I'd been shot with a bazooka. Even if there isn't a god present there...or angels in the rafters...or ghosts walking the halls, there's still energy. Residual energy of hundreds of years of peoples prayers, hopes, dreams, frustrations, damnations, and whatever else has been projected into that sanctuary. And if there's no such thing as energy, there are memories. I could look at a tile on the floor and think about the many eyes that focused on that tile while in prayer or while passing through with a camera or in between breaths of conversation with a friend. I could see the soot on the ceiling that's been created by uncountable flames of candles, each one of them a desperate prayer. If I were to scratch the grime off that spot on the ceiling and place it in a vile, I imagine I'd be the most powerful man in the world. That's the kind of feeling I got when I walked in there.

    2) My first novel is about a gargoyle. In a previous post I mentioned that as a child I was obsessed with gargoyles (the TV show and the physical beings). I was introduced to them in Disney's adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The gargoyles in that film are comedic relief, offering no real depth or insight on the many legends or purposes of their presence on virtually every gothic creation. The story's protagonist, Quasimodo, offers a richer glimpse of what it's like to be a grotesque because he's the personification of those stone creatures.

    To a gargoyle on the ramparts of Notre Dame as Esmeralda rides off with Gringoire Quasimodo says, "Why was I not made of stone like thee?” 
     Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Book 9, Chapter 4

    I remember being totally enthralled by his secret life high above the streets of Paris. I was touched by watching him swing from parapets and buttresses as he expressed a yearning to live a typical life like the people "Out There." The ten year old version of myself didn't posses his hump or horseshoe jaw, but deep down I identified with him. My gayness was becoming more and more apparent and I just wished that I could be normal, that my true self could walk in the sun like the millers and the weavers and their wives from his song. Instead, like Quasi (and so many other gay kids), I hid. Walls were built as high as his bell tower and I only showed myself when appropriate. He appeared every hour or so to ring some giant bells and then retreated to his modest bedroom to play with dolls. I showed up to school for six hours and then disappeared into fantasy worlds in my back yard. We both buried our issues under play things and convinced ourselves that the fantastic was real. And by that I mean that we had pet gargoyles.

    There's a chapter in In Stone that details my affection for a little gargoyle that I'd bought at Natural Wonders (REMEMBER THAT STORE?!?!). I'd post an excerpt but it's all in the hands of my editor and I think it'd be against my publishing contract or something...ANYWAY, that little gargoyle was my best friend. No, really. I was truly convinced that my little trinket was real and that it came to life at night to protect me. I said goodnight to it every night. I also thanked him for his good work every morning. If I didn't do these thing I'd get anxiety. And when I was feeling sad I'd therepize to him. Don't even get me started on the nervous breakdown I had when I dropped him and caused his ear to break off. Jeez...

    So I was standing on top of Notre Dame, in a place that captured the mind of Victor Hugo, whose work captured the minds of filmmakers, whose film captured my mind and got the ball rolling for what is now my soon to be released debut novel. Maybe my book will continue this chain reaction and do some good for someone else. I hope so. ALL of these thoughts exploded into my head as I stared at the beautiful and ugly stone creatures around me. It was the most full-circle moment I'd ever had. I half expected to get struck by lightening because I don't think that people are supposed to feel so strangely contented.

    As I climbed its 386 stairs and photographed the better part of its 5,000 gargoyles, I silently thanked Notre Dame for getting me to where I am today. Like so many people before me, but for completely different reasons, I don't know where I'd be without that place.

    And in case you haven't checked it out, here's my author page. Keep your eyes on this space for pre-orders.

    Or you can "Like" In Stone on Facebook.

  • Introducing Garth OR I'm finally getting published!

    If I remember correctly, I was sitting on my Nana's living room floor. My mother, sister, and I went to visit her in southern Illinois every August. There wasn't too much to do after supper so we usually sat around reading, watching TV, or in my case, drawing. While most eighth grade minds were full of pubescent thoughts, mine was in arrested development and fixated on fantasy. I spent hours concocting stories in my head and then illustrating them on paper. I was going to be an animator. Or a writer. Or an actor. Or an illustrator. I didn't know. Anyway, the free time at Nana's little house near the train tracks always brought me inspiration. It was there on her olive shag rug that In Stone was born.

    I was really into gargoyles at the time. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was out...Gargoyles: The Animated Series was a hit. I'd even purchased a little gargoyle at a novelty shop in the mall. I was obsessed with him. So, like when mermaids were popular and I drew them on any flat surface, I began sketching grotesques. The most important of those drawings was made on Nana's floor. For no reason whatsoever, I paired an ugly gargoyle with the marble statue of a beautiful woman. I portrayed them huddled on the ground of a forest, frozen in their stone shells by the sun overhead. To me, they were an alternative version of Romeo and Juliet or Beauty and the Beast. I remember being very proud of myself for dreaming up with something so lovely and strange. I felt obligated to come up with a story for the couple.

    For many years I tried to figure out who they were. Eventually they were named Garth and Helena. They gained friends, lovers, enemies, and enthusiasts. Their roles went from primary, to secondary, to tertiary, and then back again. The story blossomed from novella, to graphic novel, to illustrated novel, and into a full-blown piece of fiction. As much as they have transformed, so have I. Rehearsals were abandoned for brainstorming. Auditions canceled for the completing of chapters. It's been a long journey from actor to wroter, but it was worth it.

    I'm very proud to announce that my debut novel, In Stone, will be published by Bold Strokes Books in November 2012!

    I don't think I can post the cover design yet, but I will go ahead and share some artwork from the original incarnation of In Stone. Once upon a time, it was to be an illustrated novel. I've moved on from that idea that but plenty of paintings still exist. Until I can share more with you, here are some moments as I imagined them in my head. Hopefully this will get you as excited as I am! Most of this is concept art and not completely finished, but I think you'll enjoy them nonetheless...

    And if you've been following my other blog, Night Creatures, you've probably noticed that the majority of that site has gone down....and for good reason! Night Creatures is actually a companion piece to In Stone. It isn't a direct sequel or prequel, just another story featuring many of the same characters and mythology. Now that this novel is officially in the pipeline, I've got to be a little more discreet with future work. Sorry! But if this all goes well, maybe you'll see Bryant's story next!

    Keep your eyes peeled for more posts! Thank you for reading!

  • "The Drinking Problem" OR "Sometimes I Write a Dating Column"

    I know it's been an obscenely long time since I've updated this here site, but I assure you that I haven't just been watching HGTV on a loop. I decided to devote most of my energy to working on some fiction, which you can find at It's basically the first draft of a novel. And it's done. So YAY for me. I promise to get this site up and running again and here's a little morsel until that happens....

    The following piece was just e-published in ONE WAY magazine ( as a dating column. Unfortunately the formatting there is a little wonky so it's kind of an arduous read. Oh, and the editors forgot to include my last name. You know, just a small problem. So here is "The Drinking Problem" written by Jeremy Jordan King... not Jeremy Jordan, the Canadian porn star or Jeremy Jordan, the failed 90's actor. Enjoy.

    The Drinking Problem

    I dated a model-type man-boy a while back. Well we didn’t really date. We just occasionally got drunk-naked. In my soberer moments I simply lusted after him, dreaming of his perfect face, hair and clothing. I couldn’t pinpoint anything substantial about his personality that attracted me. I was into him for superficial reasons.
    I tried to explain all of this over drinks with a friend. As my arms flail for dramatic effect, I spill my specialty drink on my meticulously planned ensemble. “I fucking hate these martini glasses,” I squawk. “What kind of asshole thought they were a good idea? Bartenders fill this unstable, easily breakable glass to the brim with an expensive drink that will be guaranteed to spill, making the customer increasingly anxiety ridden, completely negating the idea that a martini is supposed to calm ones nerves. Brilliant. Plus, these glasses just look too gay.” I'm already busting at the seams with faggotry. I mean, I never leave home without a broche or ornately patterned scarf. Do I really need to hold a delicate glass rimmed with pink crystals and garnished with a puff of cotton candy to further advertise my homosexuality? And don’t even get me started on the vagina-shape of that particular chalice. It’s offensive.
    “Then why do you order them?” my friend asks.
    “Because I like the idea of them…like I like the idea of that pretty boy.”
    Bingo. I realize that martini glasses and model guys are practically the same. They have big heads mounted on grotesquely thin bodies, filled with nothing but vapid cosmopolitan astringent. They stand overly garnished, thinking they're the shit even though everyone secretly agrees they’re a pain in the ass. While the model and the martini might look good from across the room, once I get up close it becomes clear that they’re just goofy Midwesterners trying too hard to look like they belong in New York.
    When the cocktail waiter comes over, I order another something off the drink menu. “Excuse me. What kind of glass does that come in?” I ask him.
    “A martini glass,” he says, dryly. His silent coda would have been, “What else would it come in, you dumb $%#@.”
    I ignore his rolling eyes and continue. “Can I get my drink in something else?”
    He throws me a blank stare and tosses his flat-ironed hair (he was definitely a martini kind of guy). “What kind of glass would you like?” he finally mutters.
    I begin to panic. If the type of glass a person drinks from is reflective of their taste in men, I’m being asked a pretty important question.
    There’s always a rocks glass. That thing is sturdy and modest…the preferred glass of alcoholics who like their liquor with three ice cubes, possibly with a splash of this or that. But like a real, beefy booze hound, Mr. Rocks will probably backhand me when I mention that he’s drinking too much.
    Or there’s the highball. It’s tall, fit and not overly feminine or masculine. He’s like a Hells Kitchen gay. A chorus boy. My drink would look damn good in that glass. Until I take one sip and realize it’s all ice. Yeah he feels good in my hand but our affair is over before I even get a chance to become punch-drunk. Flighty little bitch.
    The waiter continues to glare at me. “The glass, sir?”
    “Surprise me,” I say.
    I need to keep my options open. I’ll take what the world (or waiter) brings me…except a violently drunk model-glass with a midtown zip code. 

  • “I’ll be on the bench, right before that threshold” OR "Initiation, Part 1"

    You know how recovering alcoholics can get that look in their eyes? That one that affirms, “I don’t need mind-altering substances to have a good time!” They’ve been able to rediscover that child-like ability to find happiness in simple things…things that don’t make you throw up or have sex with short people. I can only dream of this fountain of youth. How refreshing it must be to be unafraid of conversation. How glorious it must feel to be in touch with one’s feelings. Then I look at my gin in tonic and say, “but you’re so magnificent.”
    I already went through that sober phase. Hell, I went through that shit before I even tasted my first drink. In high school I was a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions (also know as S.A.D.D.). I initially joined because it acted as drama club II. Everyone from drama was in S.A.D.D. because the events and assemblies sponsored by the club had a dramatic flair. They were natural partners. My favorite was the Mock Crash, in which two totaled cars were brought onto the football field to simulate a post-prom drunk driving accident. Before the student body arrived for the show, we were splattered with fake blood and stuffed inside, around and between the cars. Some played dead, some injured and some drunk. Once everybody was seated in the bleachers, the macabre tableau came to life. The injured actors were put inside ambulances, the drunks were taken away in cop cars and the dead ones zipped into body bags. Sometimes real-life parents were in on the act, weeping for their dead children as the vice principal consoled them in her arms. This little touch made it all more real, just in case the hearse and stretcher weren’t enough. The display left the student body both disturbed and confused.
    I can proudly say that nobody got killed by a drunk driver after prom that year. I’ll just take a moment to pat myself on the back…
    Besides the fun (and morbid) reenactments, being in S.A.D.D. gave me an instant superiority complex. My peers were drunken retards and my membership in that club exalted me above them. In addition to being more attractive and exceedingly intelligent than most of the people in my school, I had better morals. “Did you just call me a fag? Well at least I won’t give birth to a deformed child and miss graduation, you beer whore!
     As the football team drank beer and fucked cheerleaders in the woods, my drama nerd friends watched scary movies in my basement with orange sodas in hand. Hours were spent in the park behind my house playing capture the flag. Adrenaline rushes were found in rowing an inflatable boat across the bay at two in the morning. High school was a time of endless creativity and unsurpassed fun. Like puppies, we could entertain ourselves with obscure and ridiculous objects. Many nights were devoted to testing the patience of the staff at the local diner. How many waitresses would allow us to order a cup of coffee for a candle in the shape of a Precious Moments figurine? Would people look at us in horror as we spoke to it like a child? How about when we light the wick after it threw an imaginary temper tantrum? (“That’ll teach you to talk back to your parents, you wide-eyed little ingrate!”) A rare breed of teenager we were.
    There were a few peripheral friends from other schools who got tanked every weekend off moms’ malt beverages and their unavailable dads’ beers. We only mildly associated with them and were timid about fully integrating them into our group. Especially the kids from Southern High. They were trouble…they smoked pot! Garsh! I already looked at cigarette smokers like they were wearing KKK regalia. To see someone smoke something ILLEGAL would have caused me to wet myself in fear. Thankfully, I never witnessed such an act and my underwear was left dry.
    To me, the label “straightedge” was taken literally. Emphasis on the straight. My budding affections for people with penises caused me worry. Semen could be just as detrimental as vodka so I steered clear of both. Alcoholics drink mega-gallons of diet coke instead of booze; I would date a girl instead of a boy. Same principal, right? 
    Upper classmanship was finally mine. I needed to at date at least ONE girl during my high school career or I’d be painted as the old, gay maid of Central Regional High School. It was a very stressful time in my life. I easily confused my fascination with someone’s ability to project a joke all the way to the back of an auditorium with love. ENTER: JESS BENCH, an active member in Southern High School’s drama club. She was loud, funny and ginger haired, just like the most influential women in my life: Ariel (the mermaid) and Rose (from Titanic). So when she expressed interest in me, of course I liked her back.
    A plan was hatched. I needed to show Jess that I was her Prince Eric (not Jack because he dies). My friends were the little sea creatures, luring us into a blue lagoon for our first kiss. I would plant one on a very specific area of her face, a place that would let her know that I was into her, but not rape-her into her. This location danced the line between neutral kissing territory and the boyfriends-only zone. The side of her upper left lip would receive my saliva stamp. If she reacted well, the gay spell placed over me would be broken and we could sail off into the sunset as a chorus sang the final reprise of “Part of Your World.” If she grimaced, I could claim to be a European with bad aim.
    Nerves got the best of me and I missed the target completely. My lips landed somewhere on her temple, maybe even grazing an ear. Fortunately the incident tickled my victim, fortifying my persona as a court jester. “Oh, that Jeremy.” As she giggled and pulled her hair behind her ears, all I could think about was my bad aim. It had to have been the universe’s attempt at rescuing me from the talons of heterosexuality. I resisted its help and let those sharp claws dig into my pristine gay body, forever scarring me with the memories of life on the other side. Like the survivor of a motorcycle crash I would look back at those scars and vow never to hop on a that bike again.
    Deep down I knew it was wrong. At school I preached about good judgment. Then I walked out the door and went on dates with her. A bad decision. Oh, the hypocrisy. My downward spiral began with that botched kiss. Then it moved on to a date to see Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Soon we were making out in her ’89 Ford Something-or-other. At least if I were doing drugs, I’d receive some kind of enjoyment as my body went to shit. But swapping spit with Jess was a joyless assault on my being. As we kissed, I kept thinking, “When will I start liking this?”
     I should clarify that Jess wasn’t the reason I didn’t like Jess. She was a lovely person. I was just confused. I thought I wanted to date her but what I really wanted to do was braid her hair and call her “honey.” I liked Jess. I just didn’t like Jess’s vagina or large breasts. I didn’t like them so much that I never even let them come near me. I’d kept our relationship in G-rated territory and would go no further. I had successfully found a princess to kiss, just like my favorite movies! The plot of our direct to video sequel involved me scratching my head and wondering, “Now what?”
    ]I wanted to call the whole thing off but I had no reason to. I couldn’t blame it on faggotry because I wasn’t ready to come out. We got a long swell so no giant fight could take place. So I fooled myself into believing that she was bad for me. I’d break up with her because I feared for my safety. With the Southern Regional kids’ reputation for drinking and drug abuse, I convinced myself that Jess was a user.
    “I think I smelled pot in her car,” I announced to my lunch table.
     “All her friends are stoners. I’m not surprised,” someone said.
    “Yeah, it’s bad. Her car reeks of it.”
     In reality, I’d never even been around pot. I had no clue what it smelled like. I knew that hippies smoked grass so I assumed the scent was similar to that of a thrift store in upstate New York. Poor Jess. If she had worn Curve like everyone else she’d be in the clear, but her affection for patchouli body oil triggered by delusions. Her tree hugging perfume became residual marijuana smoke and her giant, patchwork purse a transport for blocks of crack (Does crack come in blocks?).
    “I can’t believe she smokes. She’s a singer,” my friend said with a look of repulsion, like Jess had been running a puppy mill.
    “I know. What a waste,” I lamented. Then I let out a sigh and took a swig of chocolate milk for dramatic effect.
    “So are you going to break up with her?”
    "I’m going to have to. I just can’t be with a drug user. I’m in S.A.D.D.”
    Jess Bench’s name was literal for me. She was a place of waiting, of contemplation before making the first major steps into my new life. Shortly after likening Jess to the villain in a Scruff McGroff comic, I began rehearsals for a community theatre atrocity. The lead in that mess of a musical was Chris. The show was so bad, most people with a single ounce of self-respect would have dropped out. But I couldn’t leave him. We were each other’s saving grace. Yes, we could have left together but then we wouldn’t be able to hang out every night after rehearsal. The more I saw Chris, the more I believed Jess was smoking crystal out of light bulbs. I ignored her calls and let the one almost-heterosexual relationship I’d ever had fizzle to nothing.
    Free of her grasp, I held my breath and took the first step over the threshold of Chris’ dazzling world… 

    TO BE CONTINUED (ooo...ahhhhh...)

    While you're waiting for this blog to update, check out my other blog, NIGHT entries every week!
  • "Son of a Witch" OR "The Enchanted Mr. King" Part 4

    The Reconciliation

    Soon, my essential-oil-loving father would be forced to face my bible-thumping aunt and uncle. Well, they don’t really thump the bible...the action is more closely related to a pat. He's a Methodist Reverend and she's a Midwestern Martha Stewart.

    Methodists are a cool bunch. Maybe that’s just my uncle, but I’m going to use him as the face for the religion. Uncle Bucky (yes, Bucky…everyone has weird names on that side of the family) is my mom’s older brother. That part of me comes from southern Illinois. The small town in which they are from is as country as it gets. The English language has been reverted to a pool of mumbles that only those from that specific region can understand. Church is attended regularly and when a person isn’t in church, they are listening to Billy Graham on the radio. The food is primarily made of butter, Crisco and white corn syrup. Arteries are clogged but mouths are happy. Minds might be small but hearts are as big as they come.

    Uncle Bucky attended seminary quickly after finishing high school. Considering the small town that he came from, he returned from his studies with big city ideas. Probably the proudest achievement of my family history is Bucky’s involvement in the civil rights movement. Shortly after the events in Selma, Alabama, he and a handful of other religious folks went to march with Martin Luther King, Jr. Especially coming from a town that wouldn’t know a black person if it fell over one, this move was pretty brave. Any concerns about my dad bumping heads with Jesus were hushed because my Uncle is a progressive guy.

    While the bible outlines a shit ton of rules for living ones life, there are many ways to interpret those rules. Nothing steams me more than people who take every word of that book seriously…but that’s a different rant, altogether. Uncle Bucky approaches things wearing an intellectual cap. How does the way of life in Jesus’ time compare with ours? What is the basic principal of that specific passage and how can we, if at all, learn from it? Everyone on Earth might not agree with certain aspects of his religion but Uncle Bucky knows that everyone can agree on the importance of love, family, respect and decency towards your fellow man. As long as we’re on the same page there, that’s all that matters.

    So when they decided to come to our home for Christmas, I totally cool with it. I knew that everything would be just dandy. My father’s new beliefs might have been a bit bizarre, but they were ultimately respectable and rooted in love. I was more worried about John, my ex-boyfriend, spending the holidays with us. Even though our three-year romantic relationship had ended, we were venturing into a new one of friendship. In the years in which we dated, he’d practically become a member of the King clan. It was only fitting to have the whole family together for the holidays, exes included. The presence of a former lover was not what concerned me, though. For some reason, that was perfectly acceptable. John’s blatant atheism was what had our stomachs in knots.

    In the beginning phases of John’s explorations in killing god, he could get pretty fiery. Rightly so. Yes, the various churches of the world do more harm than good, but faith is deeply engrained in the fabric of society; we need to make peace with it. Would a world with no religion be better? Maybe. But that’s not going to happen. The next best option would be to make the existing religions as healthy and intelligent as possible. Slowly, John realized that he couldn’t just blast scientific and historical facts in the faces of the devout, discounting every shred of faith in their programmed minds. To do so is ultimately unproductive and offensive. If a conversation needed to be had, it could be done with tact and sensitivity. In the privacy of his mind, he could judge them. In public, he could nod and smile. 

    So, I knew that both John and my father would be fine with a holy man in the house. That didn’t stop everyone from being extra conscious strange pagan idols on the mantel and whatever conspiracy theory book John happened to be reading.

    As a result of dad’s enlightenment, our holiday season was a bit more Yule than the traditional American Christmas. The focus was shifted from mangers and angels to simply honoring the season- the process of death and rebirth, the power of nature and the effects of our position in the heavens. We’re in darkness for most of the winter months. How does that change the way we live? What can we discover about our loved ones and ourselves while the world is in a sort of forced meditation? These broader, non-religious issues and traditions were actually greeted warmly by my family and friends. I mean, I don’t know whom we thought we were fooling for so many years, parading around as people who actually knew anything about divine birth and saviors. We didn’t go to church. I’m surprised my sister even knows who Jesus is. Christ had practically always been removed from Christmas. We were left filtering out the stuff we didn’t identify with and trying to absorb what we found to be true about the season. Ugh, that took so much effort. Finally, we were free to say that on December 25th, we were going to celebrate life, the wonder of winter and one another.

    We certainly didn’t flaunt those ideas. We did, after all, still have guests in our house that valued the Christ-child’s supposed birth. We granted this theory with the utmost respect and the holidays were seemingly going off without a hitch. The funny thing was, dad wasn’t the only one worshipping strange idols. One would think that the witch in the house would be the only one investing inanimate objects with a certain value. Uncle Bucky’s wife, my wonderful Aunt Pauline, would show us a little witchiness of her own.

    My aunt is the ultimate family woman. She lives for joining the family together for activities and is wildly successful at recognizing each person’s individual talents and needs. She’s truly a lovely woman. Although sometimes, I will admit, her efforts at sentimentality can be humorous. On Christmas Eve, she had a "special" dessert planned. When she uses the term, “special,” it usually means that there’s story or important meaning assigned to whatever is about to follow. And because of the dessert’s special-ness, it was top secret. Fortunately, I had a slight idea as to what we were in store for. I helped do the shopping so I knew what ingredients were involved: yellow cake, peppermint stick ice cream and shaved coconut. Those are among my favorite things on Earth. I’d sit through any ten-page story as long as I got to eat that special dessert.

    But what emerged from the kitchen post-honey ham genuinely caught me off guard. It may have been one of the more terrifying things that I've ever laid these gay eyes on:

    The lights were dimmed.

    Aunt Pauline walked through the French doors from the kitchen into the dining room, white mound in hand.

    Candles flickered from its highest point.

    "Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday dear Jesus. Happy Birthday to you," she sang.

    After we'd blown out the candles on Jesus' oddly shaped third course, we realized just what she was going for: The ice cream had been spread over a small cake and rolled in coconut, resulting in something that slightly resembled a very famous babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. We cut open said babe and ate him. He was delicious.

    The whole incident was almost too bizarre for us to even address. My sister actually had to leave the table, for fear of laughing, crying or peeing her pants from both. John was speechless for about an hour afterward, as his ideas that Christians are truly the most fucked up people on the planet were confirmed. I didn’t look over at dad, but I’m sure he wore a shit-eating grin. That Christmas, he wouldn’t be the strange one.

    So whenever I'm having doubts about my father's maypoles and candles and alters or my personal lack of faith, I look back on when we for real-real worshipped the infant version of an alleged carpenter-turned-king...stuck candles in him...sang to him...sliced him open...devoured him...and a few hours later, flushed him down the toilet.  
  • "Son of a Witch" OR "The Enchanted Mr. King" part 3 (also known as "Jeremy Once Did Musical Theatre")

    The Curse of 2001 and the Great Awakening Thereafter

    “Think about your life, Pippin,” sang the chorus in my high school auditorium. The spring musical was quickly approaching and we had to nail that closing number. The drama club was a motley crew of lovable losers with nominal singing skills. Even though we didn’t always sound like a choir of angels, our conviction and sheer volume was impressive to most people in our small town.

    Gathered around a baby grand, the school’s riff raff sang to me about throwing myself into a firebox. For those unfamiliar with the musical, Pippin, it follows a young prince on his quest for fulfillment. (That’s probably the world’s vaguest description but that pretty much sums up the plot). The “players” in the show within the show try and convince Pippin that suicide is the only way out, for he’s tried and failed everything else.

    I wouldn’t say that the exact situation was manifesting itself in my real life (suicide wasn’t on my radar) but I was at a turning point. It was my junior year of high school and all of my friends were beginning to settle into themselves. Like Pippin, I felt a slight emptiness that I couldn’t quite grasp. I had good grades, great friends, a supportive family and a fair amount of talents…what more could there be? Not to toot my own horn, but I was able to play the role of Pippin with a certain ease that people gravitated towards. Since I really was in Pippin’s same situation, I suppose my portrayal was slightly voyeuristic for the audience. When I took the stage to sing about finding my corner of the sky, those around me saw a kid who was genuinely lost, a kid who really wanted to find something unexplainable. “Hey, let’s watch this wreck try and find his corner. Yeah, good luck with that.”

    One person in particular was especially drawn to me. His name was Tim. “He looks like a dirty Q-tip,” is how a friend once described him. She proclaimed that statement with the utmost confidence that I would know exactly what she meant. And I did. He was a tall, gangly thing that slink, slank, slunk-ed around with Fosse arms and swivel-y hips. His head was buzzed and the remaining hair, attempted to be bleached blonde, had turned a bizarre orange-yellow color, resembling…earwax.

    At first I accepted his admiration for me as merely a freshman looking up to a junior. I certainly idolized upperclassmen when I was his age. He should have been able to, also. But, oh, was I naïve! It soon became clear to me (and the rest of the school) that Tim was one of those homosexuals. This was not only confirmed with words from the horse’s mouth but his tendency to wear women’s clothing and do Britney Spear impersonations in the lunch room led us to certain conclusions. Never before had students, teachers and parents seen a kid be openly gay in high school. Nobody really knew what to do with him. Was he brave? Was he stupid? Was he a threat? To me, he was all of those things. I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly made me uneasy about that kid. Even the sight of him gave me the heeby jeebies.

    As I reflect on that awkward time of my life, I realize that I was uncomfortable with his openness. There I was, a closeted homosexual, interacting with the first out and about kid I’d ever met. The inkling that I could be (gasp) one of them (shudder) had always been in the back of my head. Those ideas were so deeply buried within me that I couldn’t even begin to explore them. But that little fuck made them accessible. Every time I saw him…every time I thought about him, I had to confront myself. As Pippin sang “I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free…” Jeremy was thinking “I hope my spirit doesn’t feel compelled to run free in San Francisco with that bold, skinny Tim character.”

    Folded into hearts, stars, horseshoes and an assortment of other charms, the notes attacked. In his inferior script, he confessed his love for me. As I read his words, I wished that I could be reading the yearnings of someone whom I actually found attractive. Did it have to be Tim? Had that hot football player from study hall written those letters, I’d have painted my face with a rainbow. Not Tim, though. He was such a strange duck. If I was going to be drug out of the closet, it couldn’t be with him. God, I was annoyed.

    Not only was Tim sub par in the looks department, he was a legit creepster. Everyone had noticed his compulsion to fabricate very extravagant, incredibly unrealistic lies. According to Tim, he’d been with every attractive man in school, met Britney Spears and practiced witchcraft. Yes, he was a witch. Or warlock. I don’t quite remember what gender-specific title he used. Either way, he claimed to be of a supernatural sect of society.

    The brand of magic that my dad practices is not the same circulating the underbelly of most high schools. While dad’s involves a certain degree of soul-searching and commitment, kids like Tim were just seeking out a way to be different. Most of the students donning various degrees of black clothing, lace, velvet and studs had just watched a few too many Tim Burton films. They probably didn’t get enough attention at home so they decided to cast spells on one another, wear essential oils and pretend to be elves and sorcerers in the woods in order to get someone to look at them. I can’t say that the looks solicited were desirable but attention was given, nonetheless. Those kids were also genuinely confused by Wicca’s overall positive outlook. They used witchcraft as a threat. “Don’t tease me, I’m a witch.” “That teacher’s a bitch, I’m going to curse her.” As we learned in The Craft, don’t use your magic to fuck with people. That shit comes back at you, threefold. Verdict: Those confused kids were just confused kids with a tendency to wear a lot of eyeliner. No more, no less.

    Somehow that lanky freak still scared me. I knew that he was merely a directionless little boy. But when people talk like the villain of a SyFy Original Movie, it can be off putting. After he told me that he conjured up my contact information using his witchcraft, I was freaked out. My rational mind knew that he’d just looked at the drama club contact sheet. My irrational side wondered if he’d been absent on the day that it was passed out. Maybe he really did have to use deep, dark, forbidden, gay magic to get my email address. Like a little girl from The Crucible, Tim had sent the devil on me and I was shivering.

    Hiding the constant notes, emails and phone calls was daunting. Tim was desperately trying to convince me that I was gay and that we were destined to be together. If I denied him, he’d tirade about how he’d had visions of seeing me with other men. “I saw you with Louis. I’ll tell everyone. I know it’s true,” he’d weep into the phone. If I was scared before, statements like that put me at ease. As fun as it would have been to be with Louis, I was as pure as a Mormon on his wedding night. I’d never been with a guy, silly! Hell, the whole idea of being a gay man was baffling to me so acting on those forbidden desires was still a ways off. I wondered if I should pay him to have more visions for the sheer entertainment value.

    The whole situation was difficult. I truly didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Something about him made me kind of sad, actually. A lot of his crazy-town behavior could have been attributed to a disastrous home life. Through other people, I learned that all was not well in that witch’s lair. He’d buried himself in elaborate delusions. He legitimately thought that he was a witch, had met Miss. Spears and that he’d had ten boyfriends on the soccer team. He’d even convinced himself that him and I were in a relationship! Through emails, he’d fight with me about not being attentive to his feelings. He accused me of getting off on the fact that I could make him cry. Back on planet Earth, we’d barely ever spoken and nothing about him could get me off. Gross. My replies to his notes and calls were polite and to the point. Most people in their right mind would have understood that I just wasn’t interested. When would he get a clue?

    He called my house and try to talk things out, as if we had a long history worth salvaging. Usually these calls would result in me hanging up on him in a huff, refusing to even entertain his silly ideas. My mom would ask whom I’d been talking to. “Nobody. Some weird kid from drama,” I’d say. I really didn’t want my parents to get any ideas. More than anything, I didn’t want them to think that their son was having a tough time in school. I’d always been the token fairy and often been subjected to a certain amount of scorn. When the majority of children would run to the teacher and tattle on bullies, I never complained. From a young age, I knew that the acknowledgment of something wrong makes you vulnerable. Your gates become opened, inviting more ridicule, leading to an unhappy social life and ultimately, therapy. I could self-therapize, thank you.

    I forced everything to slide off my back. In the process of saving my own ass from embarrassment, I saved everyone the trouble of dealing with my embarrassment. There never had to be a parent intervention in my classroom or a teary-eyed night with my mom, begging her to let me stay home from school. If someone called me a girl on the playground, I made sure that I was so deeply enveloped in a dream world that I wouldn’t even notice a word had been said. On top of my thick skin, I was intelligent. I could usually come back with a quip that was both demeaning and over the offender’s head. All the effort I’d made into becoming an unaffected shell of a homosexual youth had paid off. By the time I’d reached high school, I didn’t really have any problems. Actually, I was rather well liked.

    But soon, my pretty pink palace would be struck with a faggy cannonball. It would topple to the ground and I would be afraid and I would be vulnerable.

    Jeremy, I know u want me to stop talking to u and writing to u, but I can't do that and I'll tell u y very soon. I can't stop talking to u. I know ur probably thinking I'm weird, but u don't know y I'm doing this all. But u'll find out sooner then u think. I hope everything's blown over because there's going to be a surprise in ur life that ur probably not going to like and believe me I know it's going to happen because of my witchcraft. We really need to talk and settle this cause it's getting really stressful. We may speak even sooner then u think. I'll ttyl k



    PS-Don't take this note as a joke cause there is going to be an event happening really soon that's going to change everything.

    Magic or no magic, the email was unsettling. After digesting his interesting use of the English alphabet, I had to contemplate what the fuck he could be scheming. There was going to be a surprise in my life that I’m wasn’t going to like? Was he going to kill my dog? Oh, wait, it had to do with his witchcraft. Was he going to turn my dog into a bug that I would subsequently squash? And it’s getting “really stressful?” No, shit. He thought he was stressed out? I was the one being stalked by a gaunt, psychotic, witch-kid! Then there was the “we may speak even sooner then u think.” What the hell? Was he going to appear in my dreams? Absolutely not. I had to tell my parents.

    As he should have been, my father was both concerned and entertained. “That kid sounds like a nut,” he said. “But we should probably tell the school.” Dad called the guidance office, the guidance office called the principal and the principal called the police. It was a mess. We were, after all, dealing with a threat. Yes, it involved magic but who knew if that was code for “I’m going to come to drama practice and really set you on fire, Pippin. Poof. Magic.”

    A police investigation, his one-week suspension and a restraining order later, I was freed from Merlin’s grasp. But was I? After the whole ordeal, I attributed every misstep in my life to a curse. Even if he didn’t know how, I was sure that Tim had cast a spell on me. It may not have been an elaborate one involving a sacrifice and dragon’s blood but surely there were words muttered. Did those words count? What makes magic, anyway? Is good spell casting like a prayer- a wish, the projection of good energy into the universe? And is dark magic the opposite? Did Tim project a butt-load of negative energy onto me? Probably. Did that mean I was hexed? I hoped not.

    One night during performances of Pippin, I realized something as I sang, “I wanted magic shows and miracles, mirages to touch. I wanted such a little thing from life. I wanted so much.” Like Pippin and Tim, my head was in a dream world where I didn’t have to acknowledge anything true. Pippin had sought out an exaggerated life when all he really wanted was simplicity. Tim gave himself imaginary powers and love affairs because he couldn’t face how deeply lonely and sad he truly was. I pretended that everyone wasn’t calling me a fag as I flounced around stage singing and dancing because I was afraid of how queer I really was.

    In a musical about the search for fulfillment, the audience is left with a bare stage. The lights, costumes, sets and chorus are stripped away, leaving Pippin alone with himself and his choices. Even though he’s no longer surrounded by bright colors and sparkly costumes, he’s content. Those things weren’t real. His identity and his love for another person were the only truly attainable things in his life. Those were the things that made him leave the audience with a final smile and those were the things that ultimately fulfilled him. As I stood on stage in the darkness, I felt the clouds around my head lift. I, too, was learning those same lessons.

  • "More Evidence of Magic" OR "Gay Sex and the City"

    I had an hour or so to kill before an interview the other day. The weather was practically perfect so I parked myself on a bench in Union Square and did something that people do while alone in public. A homeless man would have masturbated for a group of pigeons, I decided to do some writing. I took out my notebook and began to jot something down but I soon noticed many eyes on me. Those eyes judged me as one of those downtown types that likes to do art in public. Sometimes I think people write or draw on park benches just so they can be asked about what they’re doing. I’d rather eat my notebook than share it with someone so I decided to just stare into space, past the people who were jealous of me for being slightly literate.

    It was then that I remembered how cruise-y Union Square can be. Hell, all of New York is a meat market but those hungry NYU boys are relentless. One kid in white sunglasses was burning a hole in my face with his gay-stare. He was mildly cute but probably under twenty-three and I have a rule about people under twenty-three: they’re dumb. There’s a crucial moment of development at that age that makes people begin to realize what they really want to do and who they want to be. I’m sure white sunglasses was plenty nice but he’d be having a quarter life crisis in a year and half. I couldn’t deal with that. I smiled and moved to another bench. Suddenly, an Armageddon-style wind picked up. It was a sign to get out of that would-be sex den and find cover on a side street.

    I walked east down 16th Street, knowing that I could duck for cover in a Dunkin’ Donuts with some dementia-ridden elderly people. A over carmelized latte from a mchine would hit the spot. My mad dash for the next avenue was interrupted by a delightful electronic charm. I’d received a text message. I stopped for a brief moment to see who or what could possibly be so important as to interrupt my journey to caffineland. With my head buried in my iPhone, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked up to find an older Indian man sporting a turban and clutching a holy book or sorts. If I were not the man I am, I probably would have thought that he was a terrorist with a hand full of powdered bio-warfare poised for my face. Thankfully, I had worked at a yoga studio for three years and could tell the difference between yogis and Islamic fundamentalists, saving myself from a potentially embarrassing and racism-fueled getaway.

    “You are a very lucky man,” he said through a thick, magical, shaman accent.

    I though he was reading my text, which was from an old booty call who happened to be a-callin’. With the potential of some no-strings sex on the horizon, I supposed that I was a lucky man, indeed. “Well, thank you,” I said, quite proud of myself for re-joining the human race and becoming a sexual creature.

    “I couldn’t help but read your aura. It is lovely,” he said, obviously not invested in my dirty message. “You, you will have a very good month next month.”

    My go-to horoscope site had been telling me the same thing for years but I was still mildly poor and living in an outer-borough. Unless my aura was telling me to step to the left to avoid a falling piano, I didn’t care. He was probably going to ask me for money next so I just thanked him and put my head back in my screen. Most people would take that as their cue to keep walking but my little fortuneteller couldn’t leave until he’d invested me with every piece of wisdom he had.

    “You, you are not hungry,” he shouted, pointing at me with an accusatory finger. I panicked for a moment as I thought people around me would confuse the exchange as some sort of dispute over the last loaf of bread. I tried to give him the universal sign for “quiet down” but he was deep into my reading. “You are not hungry for food. You are not hungry for money,” he continued. Part of me was thinking, “LIES!” because I was kind of hungry for a cheeseburger that I’d buy on credit because I have no cash. Then he seemed to take an actor’s beat. He took a deep breath and smiled a yogi smile. “What you are hungry for…is love.” The last word floated out of him like a magic carpet. His fingers conducted it out of his mouth and into the atmosphere.

    Before I could even have a “what the fuck, buddy” moment, he barreled through with the final part of his prophesy: “You will have two great loves in your life and you’ve already suffered from a broken heart once. Don’t worry, you will have another!” Yoga McGee left me with a shit-eating grin and asked if I’d like to discuss the matter more. I didn’t. I couldn’t. I wanted him to evaporate into the wind and return to his lamp. He clutched his book, bowed and walked away, leaving me with his words.

    I’d found great love and enjoyed it for almost three years. How did that guy know that it was over, that I’d recently stitched up my broken heart and was ready to try again? Why was that overweight man in a turban suddenly a skinny Charlotte York, telling Carrie Bradshaw that she only had one more shot at love after ending things with Aiden Shaw? Why am I so gay for referencing Sex and the City? Because, like Carrie, I was freaking out that I was only twenty-five and fifty percent done with my ration. Did just me, Jeremy, get two loves? Did the girl across the street get three? Did the yogi get four? Shouldn’t this stuff be regulated? Damn.

    Now, with every man that spoke to me, I would have to mentally evaluate if they could be the next big one. Being that I only have one left, the next one is it, right? I didn’t know if great love number two was supposed to last me through the end of my natural days or not. Maybe I’d meet him at age forty. Until then, am I’m just wasting my time? Maybe I’ll meet him next week and be stuck with him forever and ever amen. That’s also terrifying. I wished I hadn’t dismissed that strange man on the street. Yes, I did want to discuss it further! Come back, creepy Sheba!

    I didn’t have much time to be a drama queen about the rules of th universe because I had an interview to get to. It was for a writing position at some big gay blog that had me super excited/frazzled. One of the first things the editor asked me was, “How do you describe your writing? What do you like to write about?”

    Even though I’d sent him about ten samples, I indulged him and told him what he already knew. “Well, I like to write about being me…a twenty-something New Yorker trying to work and date in the city. I try and approach my experiences with some thoughtfulness and humor. I’ve had a lot of weird experiences.”

    The editor chuckled and said, “You’re kind of like a gay Carrie Bradshaw.”

    On impulse I replied, “That’s gross…the gayest thing I’ve ever heard.”

    Luckily that didn’t insult him. He laughed heartily and said, “I know. I realized that as soon as I said it. But it’s kind of true.”

    I smiled and took a second to digest the events that had led up to that moment. Ever the professional at making a full-circle experience I said, “Speaking of Carrie Bradshaw, do you remember that episode about great loves?”

    Thanks, J-Hud.
  • "When I Learned to Fly" OR "Finding Daniel Vosovic"

    If you’re a New York homo of a certain age, you probably remember going to the Sunday gay party in the club under the Maritime Hotel. Trying to re-live our youth, some friends and I recently attended the party and it blew…like it was an island of misfit gays kind of blew. The visit was saddening because I have joyous memories of tromping around that ballroom with my best gays. Then I have slightly foggier memories of leaving with a slightly smaller number of homos, as we’d lost some to temptations of the body. Or alcohol poisoning. Or date rape. Anyway, it was a good time- a time that I sometimes wish that I were able to replicate. Other times I realize that I’m past that phase of experimenting and being wild.

    I wasn’t in the market for a boyfriend, just fun. Nobody really wanted a boyfriend in college. The point of college is to learn. During that time, one should gather as much knowledge and experience as humanly possible. That way, after graduating, you’ll have to all the professional skills to land an entry-level position and have developed a solid sexual vocabulary to land Mr. Right. I was single and ready to mingle (insert embarrassing straight-girl “hoot!” here). There was one exception. There was one man who, if I met, I would latch on to and run into the sunset with. His name was Daniel Vosovic.

    Daniel was a finalist on Project Runway: Season Two. He’s most memorable for his cute personality, cute face, cute body, cute hair and not-so-cute tribal tattoo. For being right out of design school, he was surprisingly intelligent, eloquent and mature. His pieces were simple, chic and beautifully feminine. Even his concept sketches got me excited. Mr. Vosovic spoke openly about his homosexuality and proved to be a solid, adjusted gay man without the trappings of camp. But it was the prominent nose that sat perfectly on his prominent face that bought me (give me a nose and I’ll give you my heart). He was, quite simply, my dream man.

    Coincidentally, Daniel V. enjoyed partying at that same Sunday night haunt. If my friends felt tired and tried to talk one another out of hitting the club, I’d rant about their desires to sabotage my dreams until they reluctantly accompanied me. So we’d enter the giant space and make a mad dash for the upstairs bar. In that loft, there was an area roped off for gay celebrities, famous trannies and recent graduates from Bravo reality series, like Daniel Dearest. We, the rabble, would watch from afar as my precious Daniel and Amanda Lepore drank Champagne and chortled with Michael Musto. We’d seductively sip or vanilla Stoli and gingers, hoping to be invited into that inner circle of fabulousness. Soon the people at the other end of our stares would get creeped out. We’d relocate to the main floor, where the dancing was.

    I’m not, nor never have been a dancer. It takes a lot for me to boogie down. And by a lot, I mean copious amounts of booze. In those pre-Lady Gaga days, the gays were wild for Britney. When she came on, our eyes turned into a Tim Burton film and we writhed our skinny, twink bodies onto other equally awkward men. On one Sunday, my friends had ensured that my insides were loaded with the appropriate amount of fermented things to soften the blow of Daniel never acknowledging my existence. The dancing began.

    I didn’t just dance. I threw myself “out there,” as they say. Usually I gawk at a certain someone until I’m approached. On that night, I did the approaching and I was the forward slut to keep your eyes on. Thankfully, my companions had sequestered me to the dance floor, leaving the Bravo elite untouched by my Medusa-stare. My new prey was a guy with a “swimmer’s build,” as labeled by whatever gay hookup site he was undoubtedly a part of. He was literally tall, dark and handsome. And by dark I mean foreign.

    I would love to report that I remember every incredible detail about the following few minutes, but I don’t. It was all a blur. I do recall getting very close to him and ending up dancing together. He kept talking to me but I couldn’t understand him. Maybe it was the loud music’s fault but it was probably just his accent. I have a tendency to look foreign, so he could have thought I was one of his brethren and decided to strike up conversation in his native tongue. He was just having so much fun on his first trip to the States! How much he enjoyed not having to step over beggar children in the street! I don’t know. All I did was just smile and nod.

    Soon he caught on to the fact that I wasn’t retaining any information coming out of his beautiful lips. Instead of floundering in that awkward moment, I thought it best to just kiss him. We made out with absolutely no regard to the public around us. We were all over each other like my roommates had left town for the weekend and we could fuck on the couch. When I came up for air, I could see my friends looking at me with shame. That was my cue to cool it and just dance.

    When gays “just dance” they’re really “just humping.” To an innocent onlooker, it might just look like a bunch of guys in a cramped space but there are many appendages seeking friction in that bunch. Mr. Accent went behind me and danced from there. At that point, I’m sure he was simulating a sex act but I was becoming too drunk to indulge in the skit. I was probably just leaning into him to keep from falling over. That was also the time I’d decided that he was from Spain. I’d assigned him the name of Juan, because I felt compelled to be as derogatory as possible. Juan continued to whisper sweet nothings in my ear, which judging from the following actions could have just been instructions.

    Suddenly, I was above the crowd. I looked down on my friends, who looked up at me with the most horrified faces I’d ever seen. Juan was holding me up like a newly-birthed lion prince.

    Once landed, I couldn’t really process what had just happened. I just giggled nervously and continued to dance. Maybe I had hallucinated. Maybe I was too drunk. Juan looked at me, smiled and said something to the effect of, “Yeah! Yeah!” Was he getting off on lifting me up?

    I’d say YES because he did it again. On that trip to the ceiling, it was clear to me that I wasn’t dreaming. In real life…in public…against my will, I was being lifted up. Was he showing me off to friends across the room? If that was the case, surely there was a more effective way to introduce me to Pablo and Jose. A flash of sobriety came very quickly to this skinny ‘mo. Even though I had just stuck my hands and tongue in places they shouldn’t have been, reenacting lifts from Swan Lake was just too much for me.

    “What if Daniel is watching this?” I kept screaming in my head. I imagined him peering down from his thrown, pointing at the amateur production of Peter Pan being performed below. He’d take a quick sip of his bubbly then return to munching on gold-crusted baby truffles. When I was returned to Earth, I turned to Juan and looked at him like he’d just raped and killed my one and only heir. My shot at infamy was shot. My life was ruined. Oh, but he still was pretty cute.

    I remember nothing after that except eating a cheeseburger at the diner around the corner. My friends had rescued me from whatever bad decision was surely to follow. If they weren’t around to drag me out of that club, I would have found my way back to his motel and tried to hook up. Then I’d probably throw up on him, pass out then wake up at an ungodly hour to sneak out. Also, a good story.

    When I awoke the next day, my phone was loaded with text messages in broken English. Apparently, I’d given Juan my info before being escorted out. In the clarity of New York’s mid-afternoon sunlight, I realized that I wasn’t going to find Daniel Vosovic by competing against a club full of hungry bottom feeders and our very clear class difference (his being behind the velvet ropes). I needed to up my game. Once I could sit up without wanting to die, I would emerge with a new plan…a plan without alcohol or foreigners or impromptu dance routines.
    (Daniel designing his next garment as I designed my next scheme.)