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Saturday, July 23, 2005

JD: Guardian Angel #18, or Immaculate White Hightop Ponys

I have no photos of JD. But I do have this particularly poignant picture from the time. The man in the trucker’s cap is LB, I’m the guy next to him with the Amish beard and glasses. One could say that LB saved my life, and there’d be merit in the claim. When I met him I was twenty years old and my life was in tatters. Endless nights of drugs and men had taken quite a toll on Bucko. My best friend was a hopeless speed freak. I worked seventy-two hours a week in a liquor store, but with the minimum wage of $2.10 per hour could barely pay the rent. I was ripe for the plucking, and LB came along just in time.

LB had lived a relatively easy life, secure and a bit hum-drum. He’d graduated from a trade school in Boston, then went to a community college and got his degree in computer science. He toiled away at a boring IT job for a very old and proper Boston bank, content to be part of a team lost in the cogs of an immense machine. He was twenty-four when I brought him home from a bar near Fenway Park called the 1270, after its address on Boylston Street.

I’ll not linger on the early years, as it has little bearing on the story I’m telling. But it is true that, thanks to LB, I was able to escape the liquor store and establish a retail career. We enjoyed two years of staid matrimony, or the closest we could achieve in the early 80s. LB was strict and a bit stern, his Protestant practicality contrasting sharply with my ad-hoc bohemian anarchy. We tried to live in a common middle ground that neither espoused fully. We felt secure in an uneasy way, aware that any wind could topple our house of cards.

In our third year LB began what was to be a downward spiral of depression, alcoholism and the rampant overuse of Valium. At the time his main symptom was one of exhaustion. He couldn’t summon the courage to participate in life beyond his work, and took to going to bed absurdly early, generally between 7:30 and 8:00. On strict orders, I kept his condition from his friends and family, but grew restless rambling around in our apartment alone every night. When I brought up the fact that, at twenty-three, I had needs that required attention, LB suggested that I look elsewhere. Our only caveat was that I’d never take time from the small bit of socializing that we’d still do now and then.

At first I felt a gust of liberation blow right through me. LB and I had a rather pedestrian sex life at the best of times, and I retreated into fantasy as it became less and less frequent. I committed myself to having as much fun as I could find, and I found the opportunity to explore plenty.

I returned to an old haunt from my wild days. It was a sticky-floored dive on the wrong side of Beacon Hill called Sporter’s. I was assured discretion because none of LB’s bourgeois friends would ever be seen there. Sporter’s didn’t have a sign out front, because if you didn’t know it was there, you had no business being inside. It consisted of three rooms. One entered through one of two bullet-pocked doors from Cambridge Street into a large, dark room with an oval bar running front to back in a Tiki Hut theme. The walls were hung with greasy, nicotine stained mirrors trimmed with faux bamboo. In one corner an ancient ice machine sputtered and coughed, next to it first a pinball machine, then later a video game. To the right was the original backroom, which had cases of empty long-necked beer bottles stacked and waiting for their eventual pickup. Off this were a men’s room that was foul, and a lady’s room that was worse.

To the left was another room with a bar and a space for shows and dancing. I don’t recall any parquet on the dancefloor, just a small 15x15 foot cul-de-sac with a small, elevated DJ booth against one wall, a filthy, fingerprinted mirrored wall in the back, assorted lights overhead, and a third wall with a locked “Lady’s Room” that either the DJ or the bartender could buzz open.

There were very elegant nightclubs in Boston, I’d even worked in one when I was nineteen. But for the scavenger hunt I was on, Sporter’s worked out best. The crowd was very mixed, and Sporter’s popularity waxed and waned with shifts in demographics and fashion, but at this particular époque the crowd was unpretentious and working class guys (mostly from the North Shore). There was a crowd of old lecherous regulars clustered around the big bar on wobbly and torn black vinyl stools, but they were more interested in booze than boys.

I won’t catalog my various tricks from that time as, again, it has little to do with JD, and I don’t wish to tax the bandwidth of any more than I am already. But it is fair to say that I was out from two to three nights a week and never went straight home. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and collected asses like one might commemorative spoons.

It was a warm spring Thursday evening in 1983 when I pulled open the door to a busy 2-for-1 in progress. Taking a quick tour, I got a pilsner glass full of scotch and soda from the back of the bar and surveyed the takings. 2-for-1 was very popular, and the place was packed with hopefuls. Pushing through the louvered doors to the dance room, I stepped inside and made my way through the crowd.

Tell me I am crazy
That I'm wasting time with you
You'll never be mine
That's Not the way I see it
Cause I feel you're already mine
Whenever you're with me
People always talking 'bout
I don't care about your other girls
Just be good to me

Standing around, I spotted a face in the crowd that I hadn’t seen before. His broad shoulders and toned pecs filled out with the wifebeater he was wearing to good effect. He had a square forehead, strong jaw, loving-cup ears and luscious, full lips. His auburn hair was a tight mass of natural curls cut short. His arms were cut and chiseled, and in the cleft between the left bi- and triceps was a homemade tattoo that spelled “JD” in greenish-blue ink. His light-colored jeans were skin tight and showed off a fabulous ass and large basket. His shoes were immaculate white hightop Ponys. Giving him the once over, I looked away toward the dancefloor. Some guy asked me to dance, and I said “Why not?”

Friends are always telling me
You're a user
I don't care what you do to them
Just be good to me

As I danced I looked over at the crowd pressed tightly around the opening to the dancefloor, squinting past the lights to see if I could catch a glimpse of him, but he was lost in the sea of faces.

You may have many others
But I know when you're with me
You are all mine
Seem to always listen
To the bad things that you do
You never do them to me

I reconciled to the thought that he was probably just out with friends anyways. He seemed to be with a group of people, among them several girls. He was probably straight. He was probably…

People always talking 'bout
I don't care about them other girls
Just be good to me
Friends are always telling me
You're a user
I don't care what you do to them
Just be good to me

Just then he sauntered on to the dancefloor with a woman in her late twenties and took up space right next to me. I tried to play it cool, but I felt him staring me down. Looking over, we made an eyelock as we continued dancing, ignoring our partners. I was transfixed by his bright, clear blue eyes.

Is a game of chances
So I'll take my chance with you
And you, I won't try to change
Talked about it and
I'd Rather have a piece of you
Than to have all of nothing

After an eternity he moved his head to my ear, and in a rough Bostonian growl said: “I’m thirsty, buy me a beer.” I reached over to my dance partner to thank him, but he’d already left, and I hadn’t even noticed. I was walking off the dancefloor with one of the sexiest men I’d ever met. I was hooked before we made it to bar.

But just be good to me
In the morning Just be good to me
In the afternoon or evening
Ooh yeah
Just be good to me

We made the thinnest excuse for small talk I’d ever attempted, and in a rare moment felt shy and nervous. To try and disguise my awkwardness I became aloof and almost monosyllabic, which is most unlike me. I gulped my scotch and chain-smoked Parliaments.

I'm not the careless type
I won't tie you down
When you need me
I'll be around
I'll be good to you
You be good to me
And we'll be together
Be together

He had come out with his sisters, one of whom was celebrating a birthday that evening…he lived in Medford. I lived in Jamaica Plain… I worked downtown... Yeah I knew Tommy, we worked together…Great guy, good friend…

Me? Big enough, bigger than most...See for yourself…Shit yeah, you’re fuckin’ hot...No, can’t come back...Got a lover asleep at home...Took his car...You got a place ?...

La la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la
Just be good to me

We left Sporter’s almost immediately and jumped into LB’s Subaru. I pushed a cassette into the stereo and blasted Siouxie and the Banshees as we made our way through the light nighttime traffic to Medford, JD directing me the five miles there. He lived at home with his folks at the moment, having just left a bad situation (JD was always just emerging from a bad situation). As we exited off I93 I asked where we could find some privacy. After much tooling around and red-light facesucking, we settled on an athletic field on the campus of Tufts University, under the bleachers. Ever-practical LB had a blanket in the car.

Opening his pants, JD had a huge fat white dick lined with blue veins running down to the foreskin (which I wasn’t expecting but appreciated ever so much). After much gobbling and probing, I flipped him on his back and delivered a frenzied fuck using spit and precum for lube, punching his chest with my fists and bending low to blow him while still up his round meaty ass (one of my specialty numbers). We came together in a mini thermonuclear explosion.

Dropping him off after an exchange of numbers (he knowing when to call so as not to get LB), I raced back through Downtown and up the Jamaicaway, taking the dangerous curves at 60 mph. I washed up a bit and crawled into bed next to LB. He stirred, asking the time. “Late”, I replied.

JD and I settled into a routine. We arranged with our employers to take the same days off. I would get up early, drive LB to work and meet JD at Dover Station on the old elevated Orange Line. We’d chat about our lives and little kitchen-sink dramas. I would try to find his limit of toleration in hard-core Death Disco and Punk with the likes of The Birthday Party or Flux Of Pink Indians on the stereo, but he’d only laugh and strum out the beat on his thigh. He labored under the illusion that I was a Southie tough, and I did nothing to disabuse him of it.

Our lovemaking grew more intense, more intimate, more sexually daring. I’d had many sportfucks and I’d had loving relationships, but never the two together before. Within the proscribed rules of engagement, JD and I let down barriers and bonded in a deeply emotionally way. But I was unwilling to give up the comfort of the home LB and I had nurtured, and JD was unwilling to get responsible. I knew that he did drugs and ran with a rough crowd. He loved me passionately but couldn’t bring himself to make a commitment, and I couldn’t bring myself to ask for one.

LB went on a business trip about four months into this. I dropped him off at the airport that evening and tore over to Medford to pick up JD, who had packed a bag in anticipation. For one week we played house in that apartment in Jamaica Plain, both on our best behavior. JD would meet me for drinks after work, I’d prepare a dinner for him. I was utterly enthralled and completely overwhelmed by the depth of my feelings. And JD surprised me with his domesticity. I caught myself wondering what if…

On the last day of LB’s business trip, we went to a swimming pool on the Esplanade along the Charles River at JD’s suggestion. He flirted shamelessly with several guys in the locker-room as we changed into our suits, and I found it all wonderfully endearing. We sunned ourselves on lounge chairs on that summer afternoon, rough-housing around the pool (until we incited the ire of the lifeguard) and laughed and laughed. After taking a shower and changing, we took the short stroll over to Sporter’s for a beer. Although the dance room was closed during the day, the DJ was in there practicing his mixes and working some new lights. As we both knew him quite well, we asked if we could slip in and enjoy the music. On that magical afternoon, the DJ put on a private party just for us, and we danced and carried on, eventually collapsing into each other’s arms.

On the way home, we got very quiet. Neither one of us wished to break the spell or go back to our ordinary lives. That night we went to bed early and cuddled tightly.
I knew that we’d broached an unspoken boundary, pushed the limit on the parameters of our relationship. JD and I had discussed options and the future a thousand times, and each time drew the same blank. I couldn’t continue any more with the status quo, it was tearing me up. I was wracked with guilt over what had become a through cuckold of LB, and was determined to pick up the pieces of my life with him. JD knew something had snapped as I threw his bag in back, and I drove him home in silence. We wouldn’t see each other for over two years.

By then LB and I had broken up and I had moved back into downtown. I had a great job with Scandinavian Design and had carved out a new life for myself. The store had over a dozen windows looking out on Park Square, and I’d while away my time watching people pass by. That was when I saw JD sauntering past. In a flush I ran out the door and called out. I practically attacked him, grabbing and shaking and burst into tears, full of oaths. After a moment he eased me back and introduced me to his companion. I looked up, a bit confused, and saw a glum, skinny young man glaring back at me. To me he looked no better than the ratboys who worked those same blocks after dark and, in fact, that’s just what he was. JD looked good, but thinner and less well-kept. He had dark rings under his eyes and the two of them looked tired. JD tried to make plans for later, but his boyfriend would have none of it. He’d heard all about me and was less than pleased with having me rematerialize. With long sideways glances, they continued down the sidewalk. I excused myself and had a good long cry in the stockroom.

Thus continued a pattern between us: When I was free, he was involved, when he was free, I was embroiled in yet another flawed relationship.

But we would sneak each other in and out of our lives, regardless. Sometimes I’d locate him and we’d have a couple hours of intense fucking during a free afternoon. He had an annoying habit, however, of showing up at a bar with some improbable piece of trade, coked out of his gourd, and suggesting threesomes which the trade would find singularly unappealing. Drugs took over JD’s life, making him more impossible than ever. I’d still try and see him, but the effort was rarely rewarded, and I put him out of my head as much as I could.

Life moved on, five years passed. I had burned trough a highly combatitive four-year relationship with a beautiful South American, and lived in New York for a year. Everything in my life was altered from when I’d met JD, but I still had a burning love for him. It was unrequited, as we had lost contact and I didn’t know where he was. Friends would tell me that he had moved to LA or Florida, no one knew exactly where. JD was just gone.

Then, just after Thanksgiving in 1989, I was getting some breakfast at a café in the South End where I lived, my back to the door. It was very busy and there was a clamor of cups and plates and that high, hard laughter heard whenever gay men are gathered. Over the din, I heard an unmistakable voice bitching about not finding an empty table. I looked up from my paper and there he was, vastly transformed. The years had been unkind to the beautiful man I’d met at Sporter’s. He’d lost so much weight and his face had altered into a charactiture of himself. His strong jaw had hardened into a set grimace. His nose had taken over the center of his face as his cheekbones seemed to break through his ashen skin. His temples were sunken, and his hair was almost all white, although he couldn't have been more than thirty-five. His bright blue eyes were sunk deep into their sockets. To be honest, for a second the only image I could think of was Wayland Flower’s old Madame puppet, but without the high coloring. I stood up and went over to him quietly.
“Oh my God!” hugging with some of his old strength.
“You want some breakfast? I have a few minutes.”
Eyelock… Forced Smile… Face Touching…

I bought JD a nice big breakfast and we brought each other up on our lives, laughing a little bit desperately. Neither of us wanted pathos to creep in and an artificial gaiety prevailed. We soon discovered that we lived less than two blocks away from each other. And we were finally both free. He invited me over for a drink that evening.

I rang his bell at the appointed time, and a big, burly guy met me at the door. Obviously one of JD’s straight trade drug buddies. I didn’t know what to expect, but suspected no good could come of the evening. I was led down to a basement apartment in total disarray, with pizza boxes and beer bottles covering the coffee table and much of the rug around it. I could hear JD’s voice cackling and joking with someone in the kitchen. I took off my coat and cleared a spot on the sofa, taking a beer offered by the guy who let me in. After a moment, JD came in looking drawn and oh so thin. With him was a woman I recognized without placing where. I was introduced to his sister for the second time in my life, and then to her husband (“Sexy bastard, huh? Keep tellin’ her not to leave us alone, I’d have his pants off in a minute”). The evening was subdued, with JD having a couple of beers and an anxious sister leaving around 9:30 (“So’s you’ll get some rest, ya fuckhead!”). Hugs and kisses at the door, a joke regarding the je-ne-sais-quoi of straight guy’s asses, and a long glance shared between the sister and me. I shut the door and returned to the couch.

JD told me all about his adventure with AZT, how he couldn’t tolerate the side-effects and stopped taking it. He’d found a Mexican herb that worked better, he said. His sister had already flown him down twice for treatments and he felt so much better. I looked deeply into those eyes and lied about how I could tell. We slept together that night curled up tight after some mutual fellatio. I dared not fuck his now-bony ass.

We continued to see a lot of each other that December, reminiscing on the “Good Old Days” which were decidedly a mixed bag and had only begun seven years previously. He would not let any self-pity intrude on his life, and I was too terrified to let my guard down. We settled down into a ghostly approximation of our old relationship. I’d meet him for a beer at Fritz after work, he’d cook something simple afterwards. I took him out once or twice, but he’d disapprove of the elaborate meals I favored and the money spent.

We spent Christmas Eve together that year, but had a strict no gift rule because he couldn’t afford anything and I didn’t want to make him feel bad. Sex had drifted out of the picture completely by then, and we were content to simply be together. The next morning, his sister came to pick him up to spend Christmas with her family. I spent a quiet Christmas with my sister, too.

Weeks passed and JD’s phone would just ring when I called. My roommate picked up his call one evening while I was out. He’d be staying with his sister for a while, he said. He left a number, but I didn’t call it. My JD demon was thoroughly exorcised, and with all the loss I’d experienced lately, chose to let his sister handle him. I had a little cry and moved on.

As a postscript, I did see JD one last time.

It was the next summer, 1990, in the brief interlude between my Spanish vacation and my escape to Paris. Jean-Marc had come to Boston that July for a week to meet my friends and family and collect me. I was completely enthralled with my little French enmerdeur and had endless fun showing him off to everyone.

We were walking down Tremont Street one hot afternoon when we bumped into JD. He was a walking skeleton, but a jaunty walking skeleton in immaculate white hightop Ponys. After introductions were made, we struck up a conversation centering mainly on hot incredibly hot JD found Jean-Marc. Although happy for me and all, wouldn’t I, couldn’t I get Jean-Marc to agree to a threesome, just once, before we left?

“It would make my whole summer”, JD said.

Jean-Marc, not understanding a word being said, asked me repeatedly to translate what was being said into French. I made up an almost plausible alternate conversation to placate them both, figuring out a way to have Jean-Marc end with a “Non”.

I shrugged, gave JD a big hug, and said “Maybe next time, baby”.


At Sat Jul 23, 03:58:00 PM GMT+10, Blogger Matty the Damned said...

Jeeeezuz Buckles!

You sure know how to word a pervert romance.

I must admit that this offering left me a little emotional (meaning bawling my eyes out). You've reminded me of the boys I've loved and lost and sometimes never quite had.



At Sat Jul 23, 03:59:00 PM GMT+10, Anonymous getting back the ghost said...

nice story. glad you posted the picture even if it wasnt him. another thing relating to another post of yours. in Summer 1978 i had just come out of the closet and was working at a new gay bar on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood that the owner of Studio One had just opened. i quit in the Fall to return to university at Berkeley but before doing so realized a dream to see New York and the east coast(ultimately i lived in new york for 18 years before moving to mexico city). I drove all the way to Provincetown and met the houseboy at Land's End B&B. nice guy. I wonder if he was the same one you knew. he was shortish, sinewy thin and balding. i think he was from jersey.

At Sun Jul 24, 12:30:00 AM GMT+10, Blogger Bucko said...

Thank you for your warm words and kind praise. This post was almost a case of automatic writing, as it poured out over the course of about nine hours. JD will be fondly remembered by all he touched (and he touched many many many cocks).
I'd like to think that I've survived to tell the stories of those who fell too young.

Gracias, chicito! It sounds as if we have had many parallel experiences.
By your description, it sounds as if you're describing David Schoolman, the proprietor of Land's End Inn. He was very sweet and generous to me over many years and I miss him terribly. DS was smallish and red-headed and had a distinct accent Newyorkais. Completely unpretentious, he slept in a loft over the kitchen.
My houseboy was a talented poet and illustrator from Sharon, Massachusetts with the initials AS. He had the physique of the Incredible Hulk and the face of a Neanderthal! I'm sure his tale will come up eventually.

Bisous, and keep reading,


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