Deep Inside Mancunt, or Titpig's Adventures in Barebacking, Part 6: Collar & Leash, Dawg's Tale (Part 2)
About a week later Dawg sent me a message on Mancunt, asking me if I’d help him move. As I knew that my landlord had ultimately rejected his application, I asked where and when. The address he gave was actually rather close, about a mile away, and the date was the coming weekend, which, of course, I’d be working. Telling him that I’d provide whatever assistance I could, I asked him to call me with the specifics, but he never did.
But the following week he did call to invite me over to his new place. I was honored, as his profile is very clear that he never hosts, and any attempt I’d made to see his old place was met with fast excuses. I took it as a sign that maybe, at last, we could spend time together not focused exclusively on sex. I was elated at the prospect, and he gave me directions, asking me to come by at midnight. Unsure how long the walk might take (and over-estimating, as usual), I was a couple of blocks away twenty minutes early. I saw a 7-11 and went inside. I purchased a Powerbar for myself, some Gatorade for the house and, in a moment of whimsy, a rather expensive bar of Swiss dark chocolate for Dawg. Consuming the Powerbar on the way, I just had time to pop some gum in my mouth before finding myself in front of his new home.
In SoFla it is very common for a property to be composed of a house (of varying dimension) and a small cottage out back. In a reversal of the usual, Dawg lived in a tiny cottage near the street, the dark bulk of a house in the shadows beyond. The front yard was landscaped with numerous potted plants and an inoperative fountain, the whole thing surrounded by a picket fence. The driveway was filled with various cars and I wondered if, for a moment, he was having more than me for company. I opened the gate and knocked on the door.
My knock started a frantic barking inside, which almost drowned out a faint voice within. As he opened the door, Dawg asked if I’d closed the gate. Nodding that I had, two small, yapping dogs raced through the opening and greeted me in the yard. Names were mentioned (and quickly forgotten) as I offered each my hand to sniff before giving them each a pat on the rump. The Yorkie grabbed hold of his tail and spun in circles at my feet while the puppy, unimpressed, ran to a potted plant and lifted his leg.
“That’s quite a trick.” I smiled, pointing to the gyrating Yorkie.
“He’s nervous…started doing that a while back.”
“Dunno know why he does that.”
“Ever get him checked?”
He ignored my question and bid me to enter, calling to the dogs who quickly followed.
We entered a thin room, maybe twenty feet long. To the right was a small loveseat, armchairs left and right. On the wall hung a very fine contemporary painting of trees somewhat abstracted, thick with impasto. To the left was a pine armoire that had been outfitted for a TV but which now held his laptop and an HP All-In-One, along with stacks of discs and books, mostly of the college textbook sort. Between the loveseat and armoire was a large pine trunk, much too tall and large to serve as the coffee table he’d intended. Beyond was a tiny table with two chairs, of specious wood lacquered a bright white and beyond that, up a step, was the sort of kitchen one might encounter in a cheap beach house let by the week. The counters were covered in linoleum that was peeling around the chrome edging holding it down. The stove was the very least expensive model possible and the fridge ancient. I passed him the bag with the Gatorade, pulling out the chocolate bar.
“A small housewarming,” I said. “I hope you like dark chocolate.”
“Thanks, I do.” He said, placing it up on a shelf and putting the Gatorade in the fridge. “Come see the bedroom.”
I followed him into a small room dominated by a mattress and boxspring sitting on the tile floor under a thin cotton rug. The only other of furniture was a dark lingerie chest next to the door and Moroccan-type brass trays on thin wooden stands that acted as nightstands. Against two walls were dozens of empty painting-sized picture frames, most seemingly quite old, leaning against each other in a rough composition. The nightstands and lingerie chest were covered with clocks of all descriptions, most inoperative judging by the times they showed. On the far side was a small closet bursting with assorted leather goods. Over the closet door was a shelf arrayed with boots and heavy shoes. I noticed his BA diploma from Northwestern hanging on the wall.
Nodding around, I told him that it was all very nice. Asking me back into the living room, Dawg offered me a drink of the Gatorade I’d brought. Taking the glass, I asked about the painting.
“George did that,” he answered, pulling a framed photograph from the armoire. The picture showed a gentleman in his late fifties sitting on a sofa next to an implausible Dawg, wearing a Chicago-winter sweater and sporting an $80 haircut, blown-dried and parted neatly.
“I met George when I was in my early twenties. He taught me everything I know. He died about five years ago.”
I looked intently at the strange faces smiling out from behind the glass, trying to glean a personality, but came up blank.
“You must have loved him very much.” Looking into Dawg’s face I continued: “I lost a lover to AIDS when I was thirty-two…your age. It almost killed me. We lived together in Paris.” I sighed, thinking how long ago that was.
Dawg replaced the picture on a shelf covered with others, all happy smiling people, all dressed for winter.
“Is that how you got it?”
I gulped my drink. “Nah…I doubt it.”
I was turning wistful despite myself; Jean-Marc seemed so awfully far away at that moment, and I felt strangely alone and insecure.
He touched my arm. “I didn’t know.”
“How would you? I rarely discuss it…Hey, it was a long time ago.”
He sat on the loveseat and motioned for me to join him. I curled into his arms and snuggled closely. He smelled good, like my Dawggy, all mansweat and leather. Pulling up my chin, he gave me a long kiss, reaching under my tank and giving my right tit a tweak. I pulled away long enough to wipe a hand across his head, feeling the short, pointy hair, so soft when rubbed. Smiling softly, I went back to the smooch and rolled on top of him, pushing my hands down into the gap of his pants above the ass. Yorkie began barking and spinning again. Dawg flashed a look at him and suggested we move into the bedroom. Nodding in agreement, I stood up on my heels in the small space allowed by the enormous trunk. He followed me in, closing the door.
Falling on the bad, I immediately noticed the high quality of his sheets. They were crisp and cool, a high-thread cotton finely woven, freshly washed. His pillows were all down and crunched to nothing under the weight of my head. Dawg carefully undressed me, sweetly and without hurry. Studying my chest, he rubbed my abs with the calluses on his fingers before sucking hard on my left tit. I followed by pulling off his layers, pausing to inhale the deep musk of his pit before reaching at the ass under his pants.
We were naked and embraced in our usual tumbling roll when he reached down with a dry hand and began pulling at my dick.
“Get some lube.” I suggested.
He nodded and jumped off the bed, opening the top drawer of the lingerie chest, digging around. “Hmm…I don’t…” opening the second drawer “seem to…have any.”
I made a face.
“We can get some.”
“Where, at this time?” I was more curious than anxious.
“They sell it at The Ramrod. It’s right around the corner.”
My face brightened. “You don’t mind?”
“Not at all.”
We were making our way to the Ramrod when a police cruiser drove up and pulled over, the passenger side electric window lowering with a hum.
“Hey, B***, what’s up?”
Dawg replied that we were going out for a drink and introduced me to the cop, who was in his early forties, balding and wiry thin.
The cop began a jovial discussion of a hold-up that had just taken place down the street, being very familiar and, while seemingly totally straight, obviously cruising Dawg. Leaning into the cruiser’s open window, he responded with a nervous jollity, laughing at the right moments and responding where required. I took a half-step back into the shadows, unsettled by what was happening. It wasn’t jealousy so much as concern. Knowing that Dawg was frequently (if not generally) on some sort of illegal substance, the cop’s friendly tone and attentive interest unnerved me. My limited experience with Ft Lauderdale’s finest had left much to be desired, they had all proven to be small-town hicks with guns. Finally the conversation ended with waves all around and he pulled away.
“He has a thing for me…been stalking me since I moved here.”
“What do you mean ‘stalking’?”
“Comes by at all hours…sometimes he parks outside my house and just sits there.”
I collected my cool and didn’t ask particulars. With Dawg’s various kinks and issues, it might have been a uniform thing, it could have been an authority thing, it probably was a danger thing. All I knew was that a cop was interacting in a highly inappropriate manner with someone of Dawg’s ilk, and it rattled me deeply. We walked the rest of the way in silence.
The Ramrod has a small retail shop just inside the door, selling the usual assortment of toys and videos in addition to an exhaustive stock of lube, from KY to Crisco. Not expecting a pit stop, my clothing was selected for easy removal, not a leather bar: I had on flip-flops, with board shorts and a thin tank. I looked like I’d just come off the beach and contrasted sharply with Dawg’s heavy leather outfit. The clerk was chatting up a pair of grizzled bears who were dressed in chaps, their bellies making a mockery of any suggestion that their vests might ever close. Surveying the goods, we quickly decided on Elbow Grease Original. I raised a hand flagging the clerk over. While I was getting the lube, one of the bears came over and pawed Dawg like a new toy, all grabby and constricting. He outweighed me by well over a hundred pounds, and my outfit made me feel vulnerable and (nearly) naked. In another situation I might have spoken up, but at that place and time I felt powerless and tiny and incredibly queer and fey. Besides, I was still trying to make sense of the scene with the cop. Sending me a couple of looks, I was able to do little more than tell Dawg that we had to go, and eventually the bear relented. As we beat a path to the door, he turned to me and asked:
“Did you want a drink?”
“No,” I quickly replied, “Did you want to stay?”
“Gawd no!” He gave me a quick hug across the shoulders and we were on our way back to his place, relieved.
We were nearly at the turn to Dawg’s street when the cruiser pulled up a second time, blocking our path.
“Found the punks who robbed that store. They were carrying these.” The cop pointed to several half-gallons of orange juice. “Want one?”
“So, what are you boys up to tonight?” There was a menacing quality to the question as the cop handed us a stolen jug of juice. The question was not jovial.
“Just heading home. Thanks for the juice…” There was an edge to Dawg’s voice as well.
The speaker on the radio inside the car started squawking and the cop responded gruffly. “Best head straight home…”
“It’s right here…yes sir.”
The cop jerked the car into gear and sped down the dark, residential street.
Needless to say, the evening was hardly as I would have chosen it, what with the shades of dead lovers, weird cops, aggressive bears and all. Our trip to get lube, as well-intended as it was at the time, served as a series of distractions, and my libido does not recognize vulnerability as a response trigger. The humiliation was complete when nothing, not the lube, not the promise of Dawg’s well-trained ass, nothing, would stir me to excitation. All I wanted was to drift to sleep wrapped in his arms, which we eventually settled into, he spooning against my back. Any disappointment on Dawg’s part was completely masked in a sweet fog of drowsy intimacy. We were nearly asleep when there came furious rapping at Dawg’s front door, which caused us both to jump and gasp.
“Stay very still. Don’t move and he’ll go away,” he whispered into my ear, pulling me close.
I didn’t dare ask if it was the cop or someone else. I just closed my eyes and let the sleep come.
I was awakened by a smoke detector blaring in the next room. Dazed, I jumped up and found Dawg in his kitchen, scraping at something over his stove, smoke thick in the air.
“Hope you like pancakes.”
Rubbing my eyes, I told him that I love them, but that he didn’t have to bother. The dogs began shouting their morning greeting, with the Yorkie grabbing his tail and beginning a spin.
“Oh, no bother.”
The chaos of barking dogs and smoke belied his assertion somewhat, but it made me chuckle. I made my way to the bathroom and shook out a piss.
“What,” I asked, crossing back to the kitchen “Are you cooking with?”
“My pans are still packed somewhere, so I improvised.” He pointed to an aluminum baking pan sizzling on the stove. “Here, yours is ready.”
I stared at a plate of blackened pancake batter swimming in syrup being offered and thanked him. For no particular reason I chose the oversized trunk as a good place to sit and eat and, picking up the fork provided, took a mouthful. It was dreadful, dry and sticky and missing a key ingredient that my sleepy head didn’t name but recognized. Dawg came over and offered me a tall glass of the cop’s OJ, which helped me to swallow the burnt-yet-raw batter I was pushing around the plate. The sound of a truck pulling into the gravel driveway came from outside, followed by a knock on the door. Suddenly aware of my nakedness, I hurried into the bedroom and pulled on my shorts.
Dawg’s voice shouted as I heard the door creak open. In the space of time it took to find and put on my shorts, the puppy had located my plate and evidentially found its contents more appetizing that me, though not much. I hurried back in, apologizing for the carelessness in leaving food within the dog’s reach.
“He almost got it all.” Dawg said, still scolding his pup.
“Nah…just a bite.” I smiled and took the plate back.
Standing in the door was a thin, attractive straight man in his mid-twenties. We were introduced and shook hands as he took a seat on the loveseat. Peering into the driveway through the open door, I saw a large truck with a landscaping company’s name stenciled in its side, the bed filled with plants.
“We gotta run soon,” the guy stated. “Gonna be a busy day.”
I finished up the plate and got dressed as they carried on a very work-oriented conversation, discussing the challenges of the workday ahead.
Making the short walk home, my head buzzed with opposing concepts. The landscaping job was evidentially genuine. Dawg had told the truth on that one, which suddenly made me feel guilty for not having believed him. But it was all too implausible and a bit Flashdancish- Stockbroker turned landscaper by day/leather denizen drug-shooting powerbottom by night. One and one do not make five, and there were many parts of the puzzle still left opaque. The cottage was furnished very nicely (for the most part) but all of the really fine things had an inherited quality, as if he were using someone else’s things. The fabric on the loveseat, for instance, was expensive and fine, if somewhat fussy…what a woman would call “masculine”. And I just couldn’t picture Dawg hunched over fabric swatches. And then there were all those empty frames and stopped clocks…
Although I saw no evidence of drug use in the cottage, I wouldn’t really know what to look for, and wouldn’t have snooped even if the chance had arisen. Yet, whenever I asked someone online if they’d met Dawg, the answer was always the same: Sweet guy but troubled and drug-addled. He had an infamous reputation. And, of course, I’d seen him both buzzing-high and trance-stoned, even if I chose to ignore it. He’d mentioned rehab once, during one of our first encounters but never since. If not forthcoming, he never lied about his drug use but I’d never inquired. I asked myself the futile question of how much is too much, then stopped myself from answering, knowing the truth. Dawg was playing with fire, especially with that cop. What was he trying to prove? Or was he stuck, trapped inside a scene he couldn’t control, but which could only end poorly?
Making my way home, what really hit me was the breakfast, so sweetly intentioned and so horribly executed. He had made the effort, though. The idea that the plate of “pancakes” was an attempt to bring the normalcy of domestic happiness back into his sphere of reference choked me with sudden emotion. As his cooking supplies hadn’t been unpacked after more than a week, it was obvious that he didn’t cook often. Yet he’d cooked for me. I was deeply touched and moved by the gesture. And if I hadn’t been already, I fell in love that morning.
Arriving at home that morning, I made a big pot of tea and sat at my computer, staring at a blank Word document for almost a half hour before I began typing:
I sometimes wonder how much of the intimacy I feel when we’re together is a projection of some kind of longing on my part and what is a shared bond of real emotion. I’ve never really handled being alone very well for very long, but I tend to tangle what I want and what is real until they are nearly impossible to separate. I’m trying to avoid that with you, but it’s sometimes difficult to tell, so I’ll need your help a little bit in straightening everything out.
You have met me at an especially challenging and difficult time in my life. Almost everything that I’d ever held important to me and my persona has been stripped from me. My career is history, my confidence shattered, my possessions given away or otherwise lost. Much of my sense of right and wrong has become so relativistic as to be rendered meaningless as a moral compass. To say that I’m adrift is both a tired cliché and a recognizable depiction of my current state. At times I feel the only things that remain of me are my mind and my libido, and both of these things have been capricious as well.
I have had many relationships in my life, of different types and flavors. Some involved joint-checking accounts and shared living arrangements, plans for a future and the acquisition of much stuff. Others were fleeting and more diaphanous, with no clear boundaries or rules beyond our respect and lust for each other. Occasionally there was a bleed-through of one type into another, shifting and overlapping with the various commitments I’ve made in my life. At this moment I can’t honestly say that one type can claim superiority over the other, as each has is strengths and obvious weaknesses.
I’ll also share a secret with you: I am the subject of something of a curse, as are my sisters. We three live with something that I have called “The Love Curse” and I shall someday write a book of that title. I predict that it will be the breakthrough gay book that is so universal and so popular that it will shatter stereotypes and myths and lead to a greater understanding of how we live, love, and fuck. It will probably be made into a mediocre movie that everyone will compare disparagingly to the book.
Anyways, the curse is an odd thing to be burdened with. I inspire intense feelings, often expressed as love (with all its attending baggage) in people who have met me briefly (at times no more than a matter of minutes) and/or who don’t know me at all. It is demoralizing to me, because it distorts and twists the true meaning of love and makes sharing real feelings very difficult, as these people seem to be in an unrealistic fog of unrealizable expectations. When, at last, they discover that I’m just another guy (with demons and eccentric habits) who is both straightforward and complicated, the “love” takes on more sinister aspects.
My last partnership lasted for nine years and ended with death-threats and the wholesale loss of so many material possessions, as well as the ruination of my financial well-being. That was almost two years ago, but I’ve yet to shake the implications of what happened. In these last two years I’ve met many guys who seem under the curse, most of whom want to “take care” of me after a short acquaintance. I ran away from these entanglements as quickly as I could, as tempting as some of them were in theory, because in practice they would have been just impossible to maintain. Last September I met someone who didn’t seem to be under the spell of the curse, and was oddly pulled in. He seemed to offer the chance to explore real intimacy without the burden of unrealistic expectations and the instant affections that mar so many of my interpersonal dealings. But, in the end, it wasn’t because he wasn’t in love with me, it’s that he was a slave to his demons of drugs, compulsive sex and his inability to tell the truth to me or anybody else (most especially himself). In seeking relief from the love curse, I found someone incapable of any kind of love, which went a tad too far. And even as I write this, I know that as deceitful, selfish and impossible as he was, he tried to love me just enough for it to break my heart.
I first joined Mancunt to catch him in the act, so to speak, but never did. See, throughout the six months we were together, he and I never had real sex, just some unsatisfactory, rushed JO and occasional oral, never lasting more than 3-4 minutes. But his demeanor was totally sexualized, relentlessly so. I knew that he had experiences outside of the tight leash we lived on (there was abundant evidence), but could neither make him tell me the truth nor see me as a desirable object of his sexual passion. This bit hit me especially hard, because no matter what else has befuddled my life, I’ve always been certain of my sexual allure.
This is where you come in. You hit on me before I’d posted any pictures or even completed my profile. It struck me as slightly ludicrous that you would be attracted with so little of me revealed. You are very beautiful. When I finally responded to your overtures and you came over that first time, I was astounded by you, your energy, your drive, your looks, your acquiescence. I presumed that there was something hidden, something secret about you. Frankly, my first impression was that you had a daddy or master who sent you out on dalliances only to profit by the results when you got back. Not wishing anything more involved than a sexual relationship, I accepted that you had a bigger life that wasn’t “Dawgpound” and shrugged wistfully. As I have nothing materialistically or monetarily to offer you, I figured that you were beyond my reach.
I did try to initiate rendez-vous beyond early-morning booty calls with offers for dinner and several attempted phone calls which went unanswered and unreturned. These confirmed in my mind that you were unavailable beyond the proscribed limits of our encounters and I shook off any other pretenses. As Manhunt is, really, a very small place, I asked about you here and there and heard various interesting stories that essentially confirmed what I already knew about you, but added no new parts to the puzzle. You have a number of ardent admirers here and there, but remain enigmatic.
I heard tales of rampant drug use, which I took both with a grain of salt and accepted. My own history with drugs is complicated. I used heavy drugs recreationally as a kid, but stopped at the age of 23 when real life and the necessity of providing for myself outweighed the fun. I suffered a series of accidents which exposed an underlying arthritic condition in my neck when I was 41, that left me bed-ridden for almost six months and on a cane for months after that. Under the care of a Pain Specialist, I went from Morphine to Fentanol and Valium in huge and ever-increasing doses. I spent several years dependant upon these medications, and the eventual withdrawal was harrowing and has left me with rather high daily pain levels which I now control with Ibuprofen. There is some slender piece of myself that knows, no matter what pain I’m in (and at times it’s intense), I’m better off dealing with it. The meds never really controlled it for very long anyways, but left me so muddle-headed that I made a series of catastrophic decisions leading to the cancellation of my health insurance and my dependency on Ryan White funding for my HIV meds, the income restrictions of which rendering me permanently poor and bankrupt. This has left me vastly demoralized and clinically depressed, occasionally suicidal (although I’ve never attempted, only contemplated it).
When I speak of the drug habits of my six-month ex, it can come off as somewhat prudish or judgmental. In truth, it was his closed mind and heart that ripped me up, his betrayal of me involved dishonesty. The meth that he’s smoked for so long (eleven years or so by my reckoning, perhaps more) has rendered his brain incapable of producing Dopamine naturally has left him dour and moody. His only escape to pleasure involves sparking up the glass pipe. But because he hid all that from me (and denied any involvement strenuously when I confronted the obvious evidence), I was never allowed access to that part of him. And with the joy he got from Tina came compulsive sex, which I was barred from experiencing as well. Why he chose to keep me on a shelf like a porcelain teacup will remain something of a mystery, but it must have fed one or another of his needs to perceive me that way.
Look, I have no false illusions about anything. I am a big boy with my eyes wide open. I understand that we each have demons chasing us. I myself have many, not the least of which is a self-destructive streak that occasionally gets the upper hand on my more reasonable nature. And, as I’ve said previously, I have nothing to offer beyond my (occasionally cloudy) mind and capricious libido, so insistent at some times, so absent at others.
But you sound deep chords in my spirit. I crave your presence in my life. I want to trust you, but I have no real desire to possess or control you. I just don’t want you to repeat the mistake of others presuming that I am incapable of handling the truth, raw and unvarnished.
I seek a deeper level of understanding with you, and believe that you would like the same with me as well. Open the door and let me in. I take nothing for granted, ever.
Trust me, B****. I’m real. Given half a chance, we can learn deeply important lessons from each other.
* * * * * *
Subject: Check your mail
Date: Sun Jun 25, 2006 01:30 PM
> On Sun Jun 25, 2006 01:30 PM, Buckob wrote:
> I've sent you something from firstname.lastname@example.org.
> Please read it carefully. It took me a while to write it.
* * * * *
Subject: Re: Check your mail
Date: Mon Jun 26, 2006 01:55 AM
> On Mon Jun 26, 2006 01:43 AM, dawgpound wrote:
> are you there?
> On Mon Jun 26, 2006 01:45 AM, Buckob wrote:
> Hey. I'm here. What are you doing?
> On Mon Jun 26, 2006 01:48 AM, dawgpound wrote:
> was just getting ready for bed, you?
> On Mon Jun 26, 2006 01:51 AM, Buckob wrote:
> I was hanging out, chatting with pals, flirting and waiting for your
> On Mon Jun 26, 2006 01:55 AM dawgpound wrote:
> i take some time to reply to letters like that; I need to process it > and
> my reply such that I feel as if my thoughts and feelings are > accurately
> it was a beautiful letter, and I want to thank you for taking the
> time to sit down and put into writing (beautiful writing i might add) > how you
> feel.....few people can do that.
I had to subliminate my anxiety about Dawg’s potential reply, otherwise I’d have crawled right out of my skin. His strange, stilted response did little to put me at ease, and as days passed into weeks with no reply, I found my efforts increasingly worthless. I’d fantasize about his showing up at my job, all tortured and needing to talk. I took to sleeping with my phone on the nightstand, ready for the text or call that he might send but never did. At first I imagined that he was laboring carefully over a reply that contained just the right mix of caution and hesitation, pragmatic but hopeful. Then I feared that I’d misread the situation and that all he’d ever want from me was a hard dick at 3:00 AM.
I bargained with the spirits that, if only they could assist Dawg in crafting a letter, or induce him to call me, I’d be braver, apply myself better, be more attuned to them… I’d go back to the gym, get more rest and eat better. I’d lead with my head rather than follow my heart if that was what was required. In my bargaining, no sacrifice seemed too spartan, no appeal unreasonable.
I saw that he was seemingly always on Mancunt. Generally he’d appear around 11:30, his icon (all leather and Fu-Manchu moustache, tattoos and bulging muscles) would slowly drift down through my Buddy List as the evening wore on. I’d leave messages, non-committal and friendly, that were never opened. At least once a week I texted him “Good night” or “Be well”.
Time passed at a furious clip, with work and play being joint loci for my energy. My hours, which had never been very regular, became extreme. I rarely dragged myself to bed before 4:30, occasionally much later. If I’d had no luck on Mancunt that night, I’d catch the early birds. Sleep would come in marathons after having been neglected for days. More than a few times, I’d rack up several encounters in one night, or attend parties where the bottoms always seemed to outnumber the tops (thanks, Tina). I got many “referrals” from guys, usually fistbottoms, who’d heard of my patience and fearless stamina, and I changed my profile to include the lines:
“When I read D&D free, I take another puff from my cigarette and say ‘Oh well…’”
“Expanding limits seems to be a specialty lately, got any you want pushed?”
* * * * *
Subject: Re: can you come over now?
Date: Fri Jul 21, 2006 04:20 AM
> On Fri Jul 21, 2006 04:20 AM, dawgpound wrote:
> On Fri Jul 21, 2006 04:21 AM, Buckob wrote:
> I’ll be there in 20 mins. Just have to walk over
> On Fri Jul 21, 2006 04:22 AM, dawgpound wrote:
> call a cab
> ill pay for it
> you have cash to pay the driver and ill reimburse you
> when you
> come inside?
> addres is *** NE 15th st
> door will be open, come on in
Chainsmoking as I waited outside for the cab to arrive, I marveled at the spirits for their (teasingly tardy) reply to my pleas. I’d be careful to not project too much neediness yet not be too aloof. I chuckled to myself, wondering if Dawg ever went through such mental contortions before arriving at my door. Probably not, I decided. He’s a stone skipping across space, a force of nature, bigger than the sky yet small enough to fit in my hand. Which game is on the agenda tonight? Shall I be the Drill Sarge and he the Raw Recruit? Maybe the Stern Dad/Juvenile Delinquent in need of a spanking? Which scenario proposes strangulation, anyway? The purposeful pots of tea I’d consumed throughout the night pushed at my bladder and buzzed in my brain. Fresh outrages seemed ripe for the plucking. As it says on his profile:
“Love is…committing a crime.”
The cab slowed down as it turned on my street, scanning the dark houses for my number. It was Dawg who’d re-introduced me to the glamour of taxicabs, bringing me back to my carefree days trolling the bars and streets of Boston and New York, so very long ago. My mind raced quickly through times past (and projected) as I waved the driver over. I felt young and vital and carefree and oh so brave, brazen and unique, endowed with a mental acuity few possess at those dreamy hours preceding sunrise. And I was happy, deliriously happy.
Stepping into the cab, I recognized the driver from other nocturnal adventures and bid him a good morning. Reading from a slip of paper with Dawg’s address scribbled on it, he let out a funny laugh and repeated what I’d just said, asking if I were sure.
“Yeah, that’s it…something wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong. But you’re the third guy I’ve driven over there tonight. Whassit… some party goin’ on at B***'s?”
I inhaled a measured breath. “Well, I guess I’ll find out when I get there, won’t I?”
For some perverse reason, that made the driver laugh uproariously.
The cottage seemed still and quiet as I opened the latch to the gate in the picket fence. I couldn’t see any lights on and wondered suddenly how long I’d been musing before the cab showed up. Turning the doorknob and giving the door a push, I saw that everything was lit by perhaps a half-dozen pillar candles. The room seemed disheveled, with a toss pillow on the floor, chairs turned around and plastic cups littering the trunk and tables. Making my way inside, Dawg emerged from the bedroom, fully dressed and looking bleary. His eyes were red and swollen and his posture seemed to signal defeat with each step. He pulled the corners of his mouth into a tortured version of the beaming smile I’d seen so often.
Very quietly I said “I’m glad you asked me to come.”
“It’s my birthday today.”
We stood about five feet from each other. I wanted to run over and hug him hard, but something in his demeanor suggested that I shouldn’t, and an awkward air settled between us, lasting several silent seconds.
“Your e-mail…your e-mail was…”
I sighed. “I never should have sent that.”
“Oh no, oh no.” There was vehemence to his contradiction. “It was beautiful.”
“I was afraid that I’d said…something wrong, something that made you uncomfortable.”
“I never said that.”
“I never wanted…”
“It was beautiful.” Dawg seemed to mark a perimeter five feet from my position as he moved. “But that word…I never expected that word.”
I paused and looked down, scanning the e-mail in my head for the word that set him off, but came up blank.
“Word? Which word?” My heart raced and my throat closed.
Dawg turned toward the kitchen. “You want a drink?”
“Whatever you got.” Watching his back move as he walked, I asked again:
He handed me a cup of juice.
I blinked several times, trying to remember the context in which I’d used “relationship”, but came up blank. I was confused.
“Maybe I said too much.”
“I never said that.”
I sipped my drink. His tone was odd, unexpected. My mood had evaporated, replaced with uncertainty. I looked deeply into his bloodshot eyes and said quietly:
“Let’s see what happens. I just felt…I just feel…” Be brave, an interior voice encouraged “…when you feel something, it needs to be said. And I said it.”
Dawg approached me:
“I’m glad you did.”
He kissed me gently on the lips and we went into the bedroom. As I helped him undress, I looked for tell-tale signs of earlier play but found nothing. He smelled like his randy usual self, very manly, rather ripe, but not cummy or slippery with lube. Whoever it might have been earlier in his cottage, he had remained dressed.
But Dawg was bushed, dog-tired. I took him in my arms as we lay together, stroking and kissing and we drifted into sleep.
I awoke with a start. Dawg was fully dressed, leaning over the bed.
“Go back to sleep. I left your breakfast on the counter. Just let yourself out, the door will lock automatically.”
I smiled a bleary smile and thanked him, rolling over.
I stirred around ten, hearing the dogs barking in the other room. Shaking an unremembered dream from my head, I made my way to the bathroom with an urgent pee. Looking down on the tiled floor, I spied two good-sized turds on the rug and the stench of dried urine filled my nose. Maneuvering carefully in the small space, I lifted the lid on a filthy toilet. Making a small face, I directed the stream on a couple of clumps inside the bowl but failed to dislodge them.
Walking into the main room, the dogs greeted me with barking, the Yorkie doing his spinning trick. Looking at him in daylight, I noticed that he was missing a substantial amount of fur from his rump, his underbelly matted and dark with neglect. I wondered when he’d last seen a vet.
Making my way up to the kitchen, I saw a plate of French Toast sitting on the counter, amid many days worth of dirty dishes and various food containers, some empty, others not quite. One of SoFla’s larger roaches was making a path across the backsplash linoleum. The double-basin sink was overflowing with bowls and cups and plates, the right basin filled with stagnant water almost to the rim, dishes piled high inside. Flatware encrusted with old food stuck out everywhere, and a nasty rotting smell hovered under my nose. Whatever else he’d been doing, housework hadn’t been a priority, nor had walking the dogs. I lifted the plate he’d prepared, but decided against eating anything, settling for a bottle of water I found in the fridge.
I threw my clothes on and went out in the yard for a smoke, contemplating Dawg’s actions and words the night before. He’d reached out…I hadn’t scared him that much, which was always a good sign. The deplorable condition inside put me on edge, to be sure. Although hardly a model housekeeper myself, I’d never let anything accumulate to such extremes. Depression, neglect and a certain self-destructive streak ran through us both, obviously. Anything we might pursue had trouble written all over it, and I knew it. But I didn’t want to marry him, did I?
What was that pull, that vacant feeling whenever he wasn’t within arm’s reach? Why would I obsess on his profile and pix on those occasions when he made himself unavailable? What masochism inside me did he touch so well, and with such miniscule effort? He was handsome, of course, but so were the scores of other men I dallied with so very frequently. He was younger than my average, but not by so very much, certainly fewer than ten years younger than, say, B36 whom I adored but didn’t love. I wondered what I could have to grip onto should anything progress with Dawg. The only thing I felt, most of the time, was the void of a beseeching loneliness that I knew we shared but doubted the other could fill. But I didn’t want to control him, I wanted to explore him, and my own feelings when I was with him. We neither offered the other any calm harbors.
I went back inside with a purpose and went to work in the kitchen. Removing my watch, a stainless-steel number with a smart designer name that G had given me for my birthday the previous January, I started with the right-side basin, sticking my arm into the cold, clotted grey water and fished for the drainstop. Something oddly satisfying passed through me watching the dishes emerge from the muck, the sucking sound of the resulting whirlpool seemed energizing. The work had the marvelous effect of centering my mind, and I focused on the task at hand.
As I was preparing to leave, I pulled a piece of paper from his All-In-One and wrote a quick note:
Thanks for the French Toast, it hit the spot. In lieu of sending flowers, I washed your dishes.
Carrying out a bag of trash, I let the dogs go out in the yard one last time, gave a contented look around, and shut the heavy wooden door. It wasn’t until I had thrown the bag into one of the municipal dumpsters provided that it occurred to me that I’d left my watch on the counter. Momentarily dismayed, I reassured myself that I’d retrieve it the next time we saw each other.
To be continued...