I have been so fortunate as to have met many inspiring persons in my many decades on this planet — some quite famous, and others not so well-known to the masses. A handful of these personalities have left lasting impressions on me; some even after just a brief meeting. One such person was Robert Mapplethorpe. I arrived at his door together with my partner Don Herron (photographer) who was to deliver his celebrated bathtub portrait of Mapplethorpe.
We were first greeted by a young man in s&m attire, who opened the door to reveal several other (semi-)nude young sex gods busy at work (doing whatever they did). Eventually the most gorgeous sex god of them all — Mapplethorpe, himself — received Don and I. I had — of course seen the photo that Don had taken, which was quite amazing — but Mapplethorpe himself was absolutely enthralling: beautiful to look at, hot and sexy, and at once kind and down-to-earth. This meeting was many years before I, myself, had become infected with the AIDS virus; although Mapplethorpe and I frequented many of the same sex clubs and other venues. Here I wish to present some links to some of Mapplethorpe’s art, his history and a wonderful tribute to him at the queerhistory.blogspot.
STRAIGHT TO HELL — MAPPLETHORPE IN TRIPTYCH.
I decided that it was best to depict Mapplethorpe in an Expressionist style – and almost like a charcoal and chalk painting. This because the style fits the era when he was growing up, but also to convey technique-wise the brutal simplicity of his art photography. His photographic portraits were perhaps designed to challenge the traditional “high art” status dominance of painted portraits. Mapplethorpe is often quoted as having said: “People don’t have time to wait for somebody to paint their portraits anymore. The money is in photography”. The wisdom of my choice of painting style is perhaps most apparent in the center panel, which deals with his internal perceptions of himself, and where the spectator’s eye goes straight to the majestic Cala Lily – The flower of Death – of which Mapplethorpe was so keen. The contrast provided by the single flower that is so calm and majestic is so powerful that the drama of the expressionist style is immediately reset — in a single glance. This artwork is rife with symbolism. The panels are meant to recall gay jerk-off magazines from the ’50s and ’60s, and thus the reference to “la main gauche” (the left hand). Mapplethorpe created magnificent classy/artistic porn: sexually provocative, statuesque bodybuilders (predominant in the gay mags of his era), celebrity porn (the masturbation of striving for fame in one’s own lifetime and beyond), sensual portraits of flowers etc.
“Straight to Hell — Mapplethorpe in triptych” – Adam Donaldson Powell, oil on canvas, 2018. Keywords: Mapplethorpe, tabloid (lurid, sensational) art, guns as penises, penises as guns, splattered blood, blood stains, sex, AIDS, crosses, Calla lily (flower of Death), sado-masochism, fetish, narcissism, pecs and nipples, the body as a living sculpture, perfection vs. the glory of the imperfect, Don Herron’s iconic Tubshot photo. Each panel measures 40 x 50 cm.
NB. Yes, I address Mapplethorpe’s obsession with Black men and their bodies / genitals by featuring Mapplethorpe himself in mirror image — as both Caucasian and Negroid. In this way his desire to completely embody and define ultimate personification of sexuality will finally be complete. The iconic Don Herron Tubshots photo of Mapplethorpe was chosen as my model because I actually met Mapplethorpe at his loft when Don and I delivered the photograph to him. This triptych is my “tribute” to both Don Herron and Robert Mapplethorpe.
Don Herron’s portrait of Robert Mapplethorpe.
Read Jack Fritscher’s great article about Mapplethorpe (his lover and friend)
Read more HERE!
READ ABOUT DON HERRON’S TUBSHOT PHOTO OF ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE HERE!
My favourite Robert Mapplethorpe quotes:
“I want to see the Devil in us all. That’s my real turn on.”
“The whole point of being an artist is to learn about yourself. The photographs, I think, are less important than the life that one is leading.”
“Art is an accurate statement of the time in which it is made.”
“I’m looking for things I’ve never seen before. But I have trouble with the word ‘shocking’ because I’m not really shocked by anything…Basically, I’m selfish. I did [those photos] for myself— because I wanted to do them, because I wanted to see them. I wasn’t trying to educate anyone. I was interested in examining my own reactions.”
“Beauty and the devil are the same thing.”
“I am obsessed with beauty. I want everything to be perfect, and of course it isn’t. And that’s a tough place to be because you’re never satisfied.”
“When I work, and in my art, I hold hands with God.”
“To make pictures big is to make them more powerful.”
“This AIDS stuff is pretty scary. I hope I don’t get it.”
“People don’t have time to wait for somebody to paint their portraits anymore. The money is in photography
“My father wants me to be like my brother, but I can’t be.”
“If I have to change my lifestyle, I don’t want to live.”
“I would never have done what I’d done if I’d considered my father as somebody I wanted to please.”
“I just hope I can live long enough to see the fame.”
“I stand naked when I draw. God holds my hand and we sing together.”
Well, well, well … Basquiat, Mapplethorpe, Warhol and countless others mostly wanted to become famous — overnight. Only a few from that period managed — and there was a lot of talent, and many “schticks”, niches and intended trademarks being sold … and a lot of sex and drugs being had. I went from being a Goddard College nudist, free-sex, LSD-hippie straight to Hell — to NYC — in 1975. I was just one of many “soldiers and ambassadors” of new wave culture at the time. Many scenes from those NYC-years (with obligatory forays to Paris, the Greek Islands, Fire Island, London etc.) are recounted in my published literature. An excerpt from my novel “Entre Nous” follows:
ENTRE NOUS, a gay erotic novella.
It is a blustery March mid-morning in Oslo. Yet there is a slight preview of the upcoming Spring with the longer daylight hours and somewhat warmer temperature. However, it is not just the increased daylight which lifts my spirits. I have fallen in love with a good friend. We never planned on it happening, but our friendship took a sudden romantic turn recently. Alas, je suis amoureux – je suis foutu! (I am in love –– I am fucked!).
I had invited Rickard over for a taco dinner, with beer and tequila chasers a few weeks ago. We talked long into the night and I invited my buddy to sleep over instead of hassling with trying to find a taxi to drive him home on a Saturday night. I live in a one-bedroom apartment and have a couple of long sofas in the living room, one of which Rickard was quite content to be able to sleep on. However, I would have nothing of it. We were – after all – buddies, and had seen each other naked before in the showers at the swimming hall. He could, of course, share my double bed. But just to ease any potential reservations regarding crossing the boundaries between friends and sex partners, I jokingly added: “Just don’t try any funny stuff!” Rickard smiled and fired off a playful retort: “You wish!” As he showered, I changed the bed linen.
We were both fairly inebriated, and Rickard fell asleep rather promptly. I – as usual – was suffering from a bit of initial insomnia, and I was still awake two hours after Rickard had fallen asleep. It was quite warm in the bedroom and after Rickard had gotten up to urinate he returned to the bed and kicked off the down comforter. I took this as a clue to get up and turn off the space heater. It was then that I noticed that Rickard had a swelling inside his briefs. I was transfixed by his body: his muscular chest, shoulders and thighs, the tattoos on his arms, the pierced nipples and (of course) the wetness of excitement outlining the head of his swollen cock. I leaned in close to him to listen to his breathing. He was still asleep.
Unable to contain myself, I extended my arm towards his bulging crotch and carefully snaked his dick out of the opening of his underwear at the right thigh. I massaged his 22-centimeter long, thick and uncut cock shortly before I engulfed the beautiful dagger-shaped treasure into my mouth. First licking and sucking on its bulbous head and then engulfing as much of it as I could – deeply down my throat. Rickard began to moan and heave his thighs, and suddenly I felt his hands on my head – forcing me to devour even more of the delicious specimen of manhood. He was definitely awake now.
After about ten minutes of intense fellatio, Rickard’s entire body began to convulse – sending waves of hot, ropey jizz into my mouth and all over my face and chin. He then masturbated my prick allowing me to ejaculate my own thick load all over his still semi-hard cock. I went to the bathroom to fetch a towel and began wiping the cum off of his dick when I noticed that he was fully hard again. Rickard then told me he wanted to fuck me. It had been years since I had stopped getting fucked up the ass – it was usually I who did the fucking. However, his swollen cock was just too much to resist having again, and so it was that I let him screw me. It hurt like hell (being so out-of-practice) but the pleasure exceeded the pain factor. He fucked me, first doggy-style, and then on my back with my legs up in the air. I finally I sat on his dick and bounced up and down on it – easily taking the full length and girth. I came first, making a mess of the bed linen; and shortly afterwards Rickard ripped off his rubber, moved up towards my face and covered my face and chest with gooey love juice.
I was nervous the next morning – worried that we might feel awkward; but we ate breakfast together, were affectionate towards one another and Rickard left feeling happy. He told me he would call me the next day to say “hello”.
And that was the start of a new relationship for me. So much had happened in my life since I moved from Paris to Oslo last year. Rickard was my first real friend here. I had, however, kept up e-mail contact with my best friend in Paris: Bertrand. It is these e-mail communications that I had sent to him that I now am re-reading:
November 2, 1998
Mon cher Bertrand,
I have been in Oslo for just two weeks, and already I seem to stumble into predicaments that I thought were more typical for Paris – or New York City, than a city like Oslo. I just have to tell you about an incident that happened to me last Saturday, but you must promise me that you will never tell a soul! I mean it!! ‘Pas âme qui vive!’
I had been out with a few colleagues from work, and after a fairly decent meal at a sushi restaurant in the upper-class area called Majorstuen, two of us decided to go across the street and catch a film. I had had a few beers (you get a half-litre in most restaurants here, and the alcohol content is rather high) and began to feel the urge to relieve myself towards the end of the film. Well, before I knew it the film credits began to roll across the screen and people were queuing up to leave the theatre. Now, here in Oslo they apparently lock the entrances to the salon de cinéma once the film is over – forcing everyone to leave through the side exits, which take you directly out to the streets.
When I realised that I was suddenly outside, in the cold air, I began to panic. I politely said “ciao” to my colleague, and quickly ran back to the entrance of the cinema. Unfortunately, the film we saw was the last showing of the day and the front doors were already locked.
Now since my apartment is just a 20-minute walk from the cinema, I began walking briskly towards my own neighbourhood. I crossed through the upper corner of Vigeland Park and suddenly spied a public toilet. There was almost no lighting inside but I did make out that there was a urinal, and several cubicles (without toilet seats). I had heard that this particular area was rather “gay-cruisy” and I feared that (perhaps) it might be occasionally patrolled by undercover cops hoping to catch persons having sex in public places … as occurs in other cities in the Western world. Just as I had gotten up the nerve to use the urinal I heard a commotion outside: an altercation between several men – some of whose voices I feared might belong to policemen.
I quickly zipped up and “high-tailed” it out of there, of course, now needing to relieve myself more than ever. I only had about ten more minutes before I had reached my apartment house and the sweet comforts of my own bathroom when suddenly I slipped on the icy sidewalk and skidded a few feet (stomach-down) across the slippery pavement. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a brown pole, which I assumed was holding up a sign of some sort. Thinking I would steady myself, I quickly reached out my arm to grab hold of the pole, and immediately felt that something was amiss. The pole was soft, warm and fleshy. I raised my head and realised that I had grabbed the left leg of a drag queen who instantly turned to her friend and said: “Ooh la la, ma chérie. Look what I just caught!”
Other pedestrians hurried quickly past, snickering under their breath; and I muttered a gracious “I’m sorry. I mean ‘thank you!'”, and ran behind the closest tree and relieved myself. So you see, Oslo is not so very different than Paris. I will be sharing more of my exotic tales with you in future e-mails.
November 13, 1998
Bertrand, my dear friend!
Oh, how I miss you – and Paris. I am quite “down” today – having just quit my job. I am sitting in my apartment, drinking French red wine and chain-smoking cigarettes – and feeling so damned sorry for myself (“pauvre de moi!”, “quel dommage!”). This self-pity is so disgusting! (et inutile).
Let me tell you what has happened:
You remember, of course, that when I signed the contract with this company I was promised a substantial pay raise after some months, depending on my performance and my Norwegian skills? And you know that I have attended Norwegian language classes both before coming to Norway, and recently in the evenings three days-a-week after work? Well, I have also been working overtime almost every weekend the past eight weeks and haven’t gotten paid anything extra for my effort – it’s true mon chér – because here overtime must be “forced upon you” officially by your boss in order to get the extra pay; otherwise you must eventually take the payment in the form of time off. When do I have time to take days off? À l’enfer avec eux! I am drowning in work, and these colleagues of mine do not take kindly to me showing the bosses how much more they can expect from (or get out of) employees.
Well, to make a long and boring story short – I asked my boss about the raise and referred to my diligence, my performance and the positive feedback from my clients (proudly using almost perfect Norwegian). He replied, with a wry and uncomfortable smile, that we would have to wait until after my “six-month review”. I protested, of course, but he just responded that that was company policy and that there was nothing to be done. Downtrodden, I headed for my office, but on the way I noticed that several of my male colleagues were gossiping with one another about something – apparently quite juicy. But when I approached them to be let in on the fun, they made excuses and ran off – one-by-one. So I returned to my office, hung up my suit jacket and went to the washroom to urinate and to wash my face.
I sat down in one of the stalls, and there I saw that someone had just recently adorned the walls with graffiti. There was a crude drawing of someone with a huge penis in his mouth – and under this drawing was written: “William suger pikk!” (“William sucks dick!”). Well, I was furious – both at my boss, then at my colleagues – and now at this final insult. I immediately went into the supply room and found a board marker pen, and returned to the restroom stall where I wrote underneath the crude graffiti (in English): “Yeah, and Dick loves it – just like you do!” In my anger and frustration, I had become just as crude as my co-workers.
Fuming, I went out for a 2-hour lunch, and returned to find the entire office again gossiping. I then marched into the office of my boss and told him that I was quitting the job immediately. He told me that I could not just quit on a moment’s notice, and that it would reflect upon my job reference. I then told him to take it to the top of his ass! (“pour le prendre au dessus de son âne!”), collected my personal belongings from my office and proudly walked out of the building – followed by about 20 pair of shocked eyes. My life is beginning to feel like a modern-day parody on Voltaire’s “Candide, ou l’Optimisme”.
So now I intend on doing something I haven’t done since I first arrived in this town: I am going to go out and get properly laid! And tomorrow I will look for and find a “proper job”. I so enjoy your e-mails, Bertrand! I will write again soon.
December 19, 1998
I am soooo tired today! I am dog sitting for a friend who lives across town, and since I am not allowed to have pets in my own apartment building I have stayed in his apartment the last two nights. The first night (Friday) went quite well, as did yesterday (Saturday) day and afternoon. But last night was a “living cauchemar” – for both the dog and myself.
A neighbour came home a little after midnight, just as I had turned off the television and gone to bed. There was a lot of loud laughing and music bouncing through the all-too-thin walls separating the two apartments, and after a while I noticed that the old recording of Donald O’Connor and Marilyn Monroe singing “A man chases a girl (until she catches him)” playing on the ancient phonograph was skipping and repeating; over and over. I punched my pillow, then tried to cover my ears with it until someone eventually turned the phonograph off. I then breathed a sigh of relief, got up and got a glass of water – and returned to the bedroom.
It was then that the nightmare really began. The couple went at it for what seemed like hours. I have never before heard so much commotion from a couple making love – moaning, screaming, thumping noises … rocking the very foundation of the building; making the dog bark – and my own libido rise.
Finally, after three rounds, all fell quiet for about 45 minutes. I was just dropping off to sleep when I heard the neighbour growl “Kutt ut – jeg må sove!” (“Stop – I need to sleep!”). It was quiet for another 20 minutes, and then I heard the bed next door again creaking and banging against the wall separating our bedrooms. Suddenly the neighbour – now awake – furiously screams in Norwegian: “You f*@k#xg c*@t of a whore! I said I need to SLEEP! You are stealing my manhood! Get off me! Get out!!”
Minutes later I hear the neighbour’s door slam, and “Ms. Hump and Jump” stomping down the stairwell in her high-heeled shoes; sounding like a horse clopping through the streets in the oldest part of Paris
All was then quiet, but I couldn’t sleep a wink – thinking about “stolen” manhood, the joys and trials of youthful libido and – of course – how I could approach the neighbour to ask him where he had found the vintage recording.
December 28, 1998
Bertrand – mon ami,
Happy New Year!
Thank you for your e-mails. I am very happy that we are able to maintain contact after I moved to Oslo from Paris.
Do you remember the song entitled “Smile”? I believe it was originally from the Charlie Chaplin movie “Modern Times”. Well, I was leaving the metro station on my way to my new job when I heard the music from that beautiful song being played by an old man with a violin. Most people hurried past him, but even though I was running a bit late I just had to stop and listen for a couple of minutes.
The old man’s playing almost brought tears to my eyes. The beautiful tones rang through the air as clearly as church bells on a sunny Sunday morning. As the song ended I dropped a few coins into his violin case, and the old man replied “Tusen takk! (A thousand thanks!)” and then in broken English: “Happy day after the day after Christmas!”
I smiled and replied: “Thank you, sir! The same to you, as well.” Suddenly, I was feeling so happy – practically dancing towards the exit while whistling the last lines of the song to myself – just like in an old Hollywood musical.
And as I was about to walk out of the metro station the old man shouted out to me in Norwegian: “How the hell did you make it?”
I laughed to myself, and exclaimed to everyone in earshot: “Life is good – It is all good!”
January 3, 1999
You will never guess who just called me from Paris – and at 01:20 hours! Jean-P.! He was bitching about the “corrupt French legal system” and some stupid trouble he had gotten himself into.
It seems that he was out on the town two months ago, and had decided that it would be fun to compete with some “gentlemen of the night” for their johns. He apparently tried to pose as a man-whore, and offered to go home with the customers free-of-charge. This, of course, infuriated the working “girls”, and he was beaten to a pulp. Well, as his story goes, the police were called and all parties were promptly carted down to the police station and fined for disturbing the peace.
True to his nature, Jean-P. became indignant and insisted on pressing charges against his aggressors. When the case finally came to court, the judge threw them all out – essentially calling it “just another stupid fag fight”.
Jean-P. is still licking his wounds, and has not dared to go to any clubs or bars for the past two weeks.
I had a very difficult time trying to keep from laughing when he told me his tale of woe. If he were not such a fool, he would truly qualify as a tragic figure.
I must admit that hearing about his idiotic adventures made me a bit homesick for Paris. You must write and tell me some of the gossip you have heard recently. I know that you have not been going out much, but you have certainly heard some juicy “bavardage”!
January 14, 1999
You are all too kind – always rooting for the underdog. I also feel for JP but “she” really does get herself into some incredible situations. Do you remember the “fabulous” job she got a few years ago – working as a “fluffer” for a major film company? And do you remember how she boasted about meeting tons of celebrities, and all her name-dropping (that was always about people we had never heard of)?
Well, Carlos Enrique told me that JP had asked him for help with his income taxes. It seems that he wanted to apply for tax deductions for a considerable number of kneepads and frequent visits to his chiropractor over an extended period of time. When Carlos Enrique asked him to explain these deductions to him so that he could account for them properly in the income tax statement, JP tried to talk around the issue. Carlos Enrique insisted on an explanation, and JP finally told him that he worked for a gay porn film company, and that his job was to “fluff” muscle-bound actors who needed help in maintaining their erections throughout the scenes that were being shot. (Apparently he spent all too much time on his knees and in a leather sling – and at his age, too.) Well, I guess to each his own – or as Carlos Enrique likes to say: “es triste, pero es cierto!”
By the way, I am enjoying my new job. I work as an international account manager for a major Scandinavian advertising firm. The people are very nice and the pay is good; especially since I get a commission on all accounts that I bring in. I am also planning to move into a new apartment soon. It is in the same neighbourhood where I live now, but nearer the park – and it is permitted for the residents to have a dog. I cannot decide whether to get a Bichon Frise or a Chinese Crested.
Anyway, take care –
February 7, 1999
I had an interesting experience last night that has affected me immensely. It was so surrealistic that the only way I can describe it is through verse:
THIS CRAZY VISION OF MINE.
I lie on the sofa – half-asleep in a wet dream,
My body lubricated with sweat and the
Room pungent with the imagined scent of
Dripping man-cunt and semen.
The ringing of the telephone disrupts my fisted dance
With an impudence that only can be described
In four- or five-letter words, and a disturbing
Feeling comes over me – somehow
I know that something is amiss –
This crazy vision of mine offers no
Humane release; there is no humanity
Anymore – only the immorality of
So-called ‘morality’ and idleness.
They say that idleness is the work of
The Devil, yet society binds us to
Television and global propaganda
Ranging from politics to advertising:
A sadomasochistic mind control.
Big Brother is not watching us –
We have become Him willingly,
Embracing uniformity and ratting
Out suspected dissidents – be they
Enemy or friend, neighbour or mother.
I pick up the receiver and before
I manage to grunt ‘hallo’ I hear
A husky breathing sound –
Not quite panting, but a
Emanation evolving from
The caller’s spleen.
After two minutes of mutual
Breathing into the receivers,
I excuse myself to go get
A cigarette, and we continue
Our duet – my caller singing
The baseline while I willingly
Exhale the melody.
When my suitor abruptly
Hangs up the telephone
I fall back onto the sofa,
Finally spent – and
I cannot get the experience
Out of my mind, it is forever
Embedded in my libido and
I will never again be the same.
February 23, 1999
My dear friend Bertrand,
Thank you for opening up to me about your recent escapades.
Things are going very well at my job. There is talk about possibly sending me to New York City for a couple of weeks to establish business relationships with some new clients the firm is pursuing. It will be strange to be back in the City again since it has literally been years since I have been there.
I have a new friend here. He is actually Swedish and his name is Rickard. We met at a party and have struck it off. No – our friendship is only platonic, but it is good to finally find someone here locally that I can confide in and be myself with.
He has recently come out of a “doomed” relationship and is looking to rebuild his personal life. We talk together quite often, and exchange many funny stories about ourselves and situations we have experienced over the years. He fell in love with a young Polish man he had met at a gay bar about six months ago. The young man had apparently been a well-known child actor in Warsaw, and (now in his mid-twenties) works as a man whore. Rickard and the young man had thrown a New Year’s Eve party and his young friend (being the drama queen that he is) suddenly stumbled out of the kitchen with a butcher knife and began brandishing it threateningly at the guests, ordering everyone to “get the fuck out! The party is over.” It was late and time for the guests to leave, but Rickard was of course both shocked and enamoured by the young man’s passion. They had sex and fell asleep. In the morning Rickard woke up to an empty house – his young friend had left without waking him to say “goodbye”. Rickard decided to go out and buy some coffee and cinnamon rolls for breakfast, so he got dressed and went to the local 24-hour market. When he opened his wallet to take out his bankcard he noticed that it was not there. He searched everywhere at his apartment but still could not find it anywhere. He then called the bank account information services on the telephone and discovered that his account was totally without funds. He quickly surmised what had happened. He tried to call the telephone number of the older French woman his young friend had been staying with, but she had not seen him for several weeks. Rickard then went to the bar where he had met his friend but no one had seen him the past several days, so he called the French woman (Thérèse) again. The two of them were quite curious about each other (having just heard about each other from the young Polish man, but never met or really talked with each other before), so they agreed to meet. Rickard was shocked when he met this vivacious transvestite with dyed red hair, heavy make-up and a very thick French accent. “She” could not have been more than one and a quarter meter tall, and although she professed to be “37” was truly somewhere between 60 and 65 years old. Thérèse was a recently retired French teacher, having taught French at a lesser-known language school in Oslo for fifteen years. Anyway, to make a long story short Rickard and Thérèse became chums, and Rickard started taking French lessons from her. They had a lot of fun together. Thérèse would try to show Rickard how to pronounce French words and vowels properly – making fun and sexy grimaces – and then playfully trying to kiss him. Sometimes she would shock him with her childish antics. Once they were out walking in a residential area and she told him: “Look! My good friend Anna lives here. We must just stop for two seconds to say ‘hello’.” When she had rung the doorbell she suddenly turned to Rickard and screamed: “Run, you fool!” – laughing hysterically. She eventually told Rickard all she knew about Karol (the young Polish man) and showed Rickard some naive watercolours Karol had made and left at her apartment. They were not very good, but one resembled the paintings done by dogs or elephants, and had some nice colour combinations. Rickard asked if he could have it, and told Thérèse that he wished to surprise Karol by framing it and exhibiting it on a wall in his apartment. Thérèse thought this would be quite amusing as Karol had no idea that Rickard and she had gotten acquainted with each other. Rickard then asked Thérèse how to write “Asshole of a Polish man whore”, explaining that he wished to title the artwork. Thérèse taught him how to pronounce and write “enculé de putain polonaise!”. They laughed heartily, and Rickard left her house and went straight to the framers. Once the painting was framed and in place on the entrance hall wall in Rickard’s apartment, Rickard went out on the town to find Karol. After three hours of looking and waiting, Karol came into the bar where Rickard was sitting. Rickard bought him a few drinks and convinced Karol to come home with him for the evening, assuring him that all was forgotten and forgiven. When the taxi arrived in front of Rickard’s apartment building Rickard jumped out of the taxi and commanded Karol to pay the taxi driver. Karol immediately replied that he was not about to pay the taxi fare. They stood there arguing and yelling at one another on the street for several minutes. The Pakistani taxi driver then finally got out of the taxi and asked them to please pay him, as he had to move on. Then both Rickard and Karol started yelling at the poor taxi driver who finally just drove off – glad to be rid of the two. They looked at each other, laughed and climbed the stairs to Rickard’s apartment. When they came inside the entrance hall Rickard proudly showed Karol his newly acquired work of art. Karol was shocked and humiliated, and Rickard felt that he had gotten compensation for his suffering and financial loss. They had “wild” sex together but when Rickard came out of the shower in the morning, Karol had left – this time leaving a short note explaining that he would soon return to Poland and that he was sorry, but that “everyone knows that no one should ever fall in love with a whore.” Rickard was sad, but considered himself lucky to have gotten out of the situation without more serious consequences.
I feel much empathy for all of these persons: Rickard, Karol and Thérèse. Love is not easy, and life is perhaps not so simple for any of them – or perhaps not for any of us.
Anyway, I hope to hear from you soon! I send hugs and kisses.
Yeah, I thought – clicking out of my sent e-mail messages folder. I really must write to Bertrand and tell him about my new relationship. The company I work for is sending me to New York City for a couple of weeks. I will write Bertrand from NYC.
March 19, 1999
Greetings from The Big Apple! I have been here for a week, meeting potential new clients for the company I work for in Oslo. It is fantastic to be back here. It has been years since I was last here. I think the last time was when we took our weekend vacation together here in 1991. What a great time we had then, didn’t we?
I have been taking prospective clients out to dinner almost every weekday evening, but strike out on my own at night. I have been taking in many of the bars and clubs – not just around Christopher Street and in Chelsea, but also at my old stomping grounds: the East Village and the Upper East Side. It is too bad that it is too early in the year to visit Fire Island. I do miss Cherry Grove and The Pines.
However, my friend – there is something I have to tell you. I have fallen in love!
Incroyable mais vrai.
It all happened rather unexpectedly, but I have been dating my friend Rickard for a few weeks now. I am quite excited. We chat with each other over the Internet every other day while I am here in New York City. I think you will like him very much. If we are still together when I visit Paris in the autumn, I will try to bring him along so that you can meet each other.
Otherwise, all is going quite well with my job, my apartment and “Truffles”, my Bichon Frise.
How are things with you? How are things between you and Alain? And have you heard anything from (or about) our dear friend Jean-P. recently? I actually have been thinking about him much lately – especially after an experience I had a couple of days ago here in NYC, which normally only happens in porn flicks – or in the life of Jean-P.
On Saturday I had decided to take the subway down to Greenwich Village. I wanted to do some shopping and cruising. I am infatuated with Rickard, but we have agreed to wait a while before we make an agreement about monogamy – being that he has just recently come out of an emotional relationship where he got burned. Anyway, I caught the train near my hotel in Chelsea and sat down on the half-full morning train. I was reading the Village Voice but out of the corner of my eye I noticed a cop walk past me and pause by the subway car doors to my left. I looked up and spied the hottest looking Latino cop I had ever seen. In fact, he was also the hottest cop and the sexiest Latino I had ever seen. My eyes started out at his size 46 shoes (I love a man in uniform and with big feet), and then my piercing gaze slowly moved upward, examining every curve of his ripped body under the tight uniform. By the time I reached his crotch my heart began racing, I started to sweat and I could feel my prick getting hard. I continued my slow cruise of his body, taking in the outline of his chest, shoulders, his bull-like neck which functioned as the perfect pedestal for his beautiful half male-model and half rugged sportsman face with dark steely eyes, and black curly hair. He met my gaze for a couple of seconds before I continued downward to his big strong hands, his billy club and finally came to rest again at his crotch, which clearly showed the outline of an impressive package. Suddenly I saw that the train had reached my destination. I quickly got up to leave the subway – but not without looking briefly back at the cop for one final mind’s eye image for my future jerk-off fantasies. I was just about to leave the subway station when I heard a deep voice behind me bark out: “Hey you! Stop up for a minute.” I abruptly turned around and was startled to see my sexy policeman two and a-half-feet behind me and quickly approaching. “What were you eyeballin’ back there?” “Excuse me?” I replied. “I said ‘what were you eyeballin’ back there, coño? You see somethin’ you like or are you up to somethin’ the law should know about?” I began to stammer some nonsense about not knowing what he was referring to, and that he must have the wrong person – I was scared shitless, but also quite turned on. The cop then asked me to show him some identification. I pulled out my credit cards and my Norwegian driver’s license. He looked at them briefly and asked if I was legally in the USA and what my business there was, and how long I had planned to be there and so on. I answered his questions politely, trying to show respect for his status and profession. He then asked to see my passport and return ticket. I explained that they were at my hotel, and that I do not usually carry them around with me. He then asked me where I was staying and I gave him the name and address of the gay hotel I was staying at in Chelsea. But this hot cop was not satisfied. I had apparently cruised the wrong cop because he then called for backup. When the two other policemen (one Black and one Caucasian) arrived in their cop car we all drove up to my hotel, and the three policemen followed me up to my suite. In all fairness, I did not look like a businessman that day. I was dressed in my gay cruising attire, wearing black boots, tight-fitting torn black Levi 501 button-fly jeans, a black tee shirt sporting the words “Fuck slut” and a black leather jacket. I was wearing no underwear and my cock was prominently displayed on the left side of my pants leg. And the gay hotel I was staying at was not exactly a four-star one. Once inside my hotel room I went into the bedroom to get my passport and my airline ticket. When I returned from the bedroom I saw two of the cops looking over a porn magazine I had left on the small sofa in front of the television. The Caucasian cop looked over my travel documents and the Latino asked me if I make a habit of cruising officers of the law when they were on duty. I replied “No sir, not really.” He then asked me if I took drugs, which I promptly denied. The Caucasian cop asked me to remove my jacket which he searched, and then to empty my jeans pockets. I pulled out my wallet, the loose change I had in my front right pocket, my cigarettes and lighter and a bottle of poppers. “What’s this?” the Black policeman asked me. “They are poppers, Sir. But I do not use any illegal substances.” Now I was really getting nervous. The Black cop then took a pair of latex gloves out of his pocket and asked me to drop my jeans and bend over. I looked at the three policemen in disbelief, and the Latino said: “He said drop your pants “Fuck slut” – and your underpants too!” I was freaking out now, but followed the orders I had been given and removed my jeans and underpants. “And now bend over” the Caucasian cop commanded. I was shaking like a leaf as I slowly bent over facing the crotch of the Latino. The Black hunk then ordered me to spread my cheeks and began probing my asshole looking for drugs. I soon felt his big middle finger deep inside my hole causing me to squirm and protest. “Relax and shut up,” he barked. My face was buried in the crotch of the Latino and the Caucasian cop had already unzipped his pants and was pulling on his dick while watching the unfolding events. Suddenly I felt a moist sensation in my asshole – the Black police officer was tonguing my fuck hole! I began to moan and the Caucasian cop urged the Latino to ‘shut me up’. The Latino then shoved his delicious oversized fuck rod into my mouth, allowing it to grow as he fucked my mouth – soon reaching the back of my throat. I thought I had died and gone to “pig heaven” but I didn’t really know what heaven was until I felt the Black cop’s hard cock ramming my man cunt. They each took turns slamming their juicy dicks into my ass and mouth until I thought I would pass out from the combination of pain and extreme pleasure. The Caucasian then ordered me to go into the bathroom and sit on the toilet seat. I was then told to jerk off while the three of them stood over me beating their meat. They came one after the other, covering me from head to thighs with hot jizz. I was beside myself with excitement and soon came, unloading my biggest cum shot since my youth. I smiled – grinning from ‘ear to ear’ – and thanked the officers, being certain to address them as “Sirs”. The Caucasian replied that they were not finished with me yet, and one by one they pissed all over me. I was in shock as they put their cocks away and zipped up. As they left the hotel suite the Latino smiled at me and advised me to try to stay out of trouble – adding: “you never know what to expect in the Big Apple.”
Write me when you can. I return to Oslo in a little less than one week.
I did not need to go out cruising that day or the next, and my remaining days in New York were relatively uneventful. However, I did take the subway everywhere from that day on – but I never saw my Latino again. The evening before my return flight to Oslo Rickard called me. We spoke for about ten minutes, and I told him about the successful business meetings I had had. Towards the end of the conversation Rickard asked me if I had found time to have some personal fun while on my business trip. I replied “a little – but nothing too exciting.” I greedily wanted to savour and keep my NYC cop experience for myself – at least for the time being.
On the day of my arrival back in Oslo, Rickard met me at the airport and drove me back to my apartment. I was tired from the journey, but glad to see him again. Although I had only been away for a couple of weeks and we had been in touch with each other constantly during my absence, it felt great to see him again. He told me that he had planned a belated birthday celebration for me later that evening since I had been away on the actual date of my birthday. I asked him what he had planned but he just smiled and said: “We will start out with dinner at a new French restaurant called ‘L’Etoile de Norvège’ and then I thought we could go back to your place so you can open your present.” I was not used to getting presents (let alone people remembering my birthday), so I was both flattered and intrigued. He then changed the subject and spent the rest of the drive into the city ranting about Dieter Wolfe’s new book “Narcissus”, which propounds that homosexuality is a supreme form of narcissism. Apparently, it had created quite a commotion in the gay communities in Berlin and Amsterdam and is currently also a hot topic of discussion amongst gays in Norway. Rickard meant that the book is a “gift” to the conservative Christians and neo-Nazis who would like nothing better than to see the gay partnership law repealed, and who are against gay culture and expression in every way and form. He was particularly annoyed with the book’s so-called examples from gay culture in Berlin, which supposedly supported the author’s “outlandish” thesis. I listened carefully, but was most impressed by the intensity of Rickard’s impassionate tirade. Even though I myself dislike to be told that I am sexy when I am angry, I must admit that Rickard’s “engagement” was a definite turn-on. He recounted the author’s premise that gays live largely in a narcissistic fantasy world – living out their dreams and compensating for social inadequacies through sexual role-play. According to the author, this was a superficial sub-world mainly concerned with image, fantasy, pretentiousness and costume, rather than real attraction based upon who potential partners really are as people. The author had apparently interviewed several gays in Berlin regarding their fantasies, the type of men they were most attracted to, and who they tried to emulate (ranging from the highly effeminate to the muscle-bound, butch studs and masculine role models such as porn stars, firemen, soldiers, marines, cops etc.). Dieter Wolfe found several gays who had told him that they have intentionally experimented with dressing up in different costumes and assuming specific roles while frequenting the same sequence of gay bars and clubs on successive nights, noting that different potential partners were attracted to them according to the fantasy presented – even though the visitors to these bars and clubs were essentially the same from night to night. One interviewee told him an amusing story about how one night he suddenly discovered that he had picked up the same man several times previously without knowing so. It turned out that the “trick’s” wig had fallen off during sex, revealing a full head of hair underneath – and – of course – the true identity of the playful impostor. Ironically, the interviewee told Wolfe that his response was to throw the rogue out instead of continuing his erotic tryst with the “character” that had attracted him. I snickered to myself, thinking about my own recent experience with the cops in Manhattan. I wondered if I had been equally attracted to gay men dressed up as “would be” cops as I had been to the “real thing.” However, I mentioned none of that experience to Rickard but rather coyly asked him: “Don’t you think the guy was lucky to have found a sex partner who was so versatile and convincing in terms of his repertoire that he even manages to fool him (the interviewee) time after time? It sounds to me as if he has found the perfect long-term partner!” We had just come to a stop at a red traffic light, and Rickard turned to look at me. He had a surprised look on his face for a second or two, and then started to laugh. He leaned over to kiss me, saying: “You’re going to love your birthday present!”
It was about 1430 hours when we arrived in front of my apartment. Rickard told me he would pick me up at 2030 and told me that I did not need to dress up with a suit and tie for the restaurant – jeans with a dress shirt and blazer or suit jacket would do. We kissed and fondled each other for a few minutes and Rickard drove off. I put my bags inside the apartment and then rang the door buzzer of my neighbour to get “Truffles” my dog. Truffles had been staying with my neighbour Jens while I had been away. After a short walk in the park with the dog, I fell asleep on the sofa and woke up four and a half hours later in a panic. I had just about thirty minutes to walk and feed the dog, shower, shave and get dressed. Luckily, Rickard called to say that he would be about 15 minutes late.
L’Etoile de Norvège was an intimate and trendy bistro in the neighbourhood called St. Hanshaugen. It was quite full when we arrived, but fortunately we did not have to wait very long for seating since Rickard had made reservations beforehand. I ordered coq au vin, with snails as an appetizer and a fantastic chocolate creation for dessert. Rickard had the lamb, a shrimp cocktail as an appetizer and cognac and espresso for dessert. We managed to drink an entire bottle of French red wine and finished with a bottle of expensive champagne. When Rickard asked for the check, I excused myself to go to the toilet. While standing in front of the urinal, the door to the stall in back of me suddenly swung open and out came someone I recognised. It was the young man I had sex with back in November – when I had gone out to “get laid” after the incident at my previous job. I did not even know his name. I had walked into a local gay bar downtown, saw the guy standing by himself, approached him, asked if he was “ready to blow this scene” and walked out with him. We then took a cab back to my place where I fucked him as hard as I could and then he left, and I had not seen him again since – until this very moment. He looked at me (I still holding my cock in my fist), licked his lips suggestively and smiled, washed his hands and then walked out of the restroom.
When I got back to the table, Rickard had a strange look on his face. I asked him if everything was okay, and he replied: “Sure. It’s nothing really.” I said: “It doesn’t feel like ‘nothing’ to me, Rickard.” He then said: “You’re right! I just saw Karol leaving the toilet. You must have seen him while you were in there!” I replied that I had seen a young man there but did not know any Karol. “Shit!” I thought to myself. “So that is the ‘famous’ Karol!!” I could not tell Rickard that I had previously tricked with the guy from the toilet – especially if he is Karol – and definitely not tonight as it would spoil our evening together. Rickard perked up and began to tease my curiosity by making hints about my “present” which I did not understand. While I went to get our coats from the coat-check Rickard made a short telephone call from his cell phone.
When our taxi arrived at my apartment I went into the kitchen to get a couple of glasses and a bottle of Scotch whiskey. I came out of the kitchen, put on some music, dimmed the track lighting and was just about to sit down when the outside buzzer rang. Rickard told me that he would get it, and shortly afterwards there was a knock on the front door. Rickard opened the door and called out to me: “It’s for you – a delivery of some kind.”
When I went to the entrance hall I was shocked to find an attractive young man standing there. He was totally nude except for a black leather jock strap, a black ribbon tied in a bow around his waist, and he had the most beautiful and sexy smile I had seen for a long time. He was holding a box containing a dozen Calla lilies, which he handed to me. I was speechless but Rickard came to my rescue saying: “Happy Birthday, Billy! You might want to get an extra glass from the kitchen for our delivery boy.” The delivery “boy” (blond, slender and with a swimmer’s build) was truly in his mid-twenties. He promptly said: “Let me help you with that.” I looked at him and then at Rickard who was smiling, and the delivery boy (called ‘Truls’) quickly added: “… help you with your box – I mean the flowers, that is.” He followed me into the kitchen, and while I reached for the crystal vase on top of the cabinet Truls began preparing the stems of the Calla lilies for arrangement in the vase. He was standing in front of the sink, so I stood behind him and extended my arm around him to turn on the faucet so I could fill the vase. Truls then began to grind his buttocks into my crotch. Rickard had been watching from the living room and called out: “Truls, I am putting your bag with your clothes in the bedroom.” I stroked the palms of my hands over Truls’ pecs, rubbed his abs and finally groped his crotch, all the while licking and kissing his neck and pressing my tongue into his delicious mouth.
We returned to the living room, where I poured out three healthy shots of whiskey into the glasses and called out to Rickard. Rickard shouted back: “I’m in the bedroom. Can the two of you come in here and help me with something?” We took the three glasses and went into the bedroom, and found Rickard standing beside the king-sized bed – in full S&M regalia. Within minutes he had Truls spread-eagled on the bed with his beautiful ass on full display. Rickard had tied Truls’ hands and feet to the bed frame and turned to me and said: “Happy Birthday, baby! Let me get this prepared for you!” He then gave Truls’ juicy fuck hole a long and deep tongue bath, making Truls moan and quiver. After about seven minutes of ass licking and tongue fucking and me salivating while watching, all the while stroking my own cock, Truls said “Værsågod!” (“It’s all yours!”). I did not hesitate, but eagerly plunged my now throbbing cock into Truls’ man cunt. Rickard knelt on the bed besides Truls stuffing his fat cock down his throat, all the while admonishing him to “Choke on it! Show me you really love it!” We switched positions a few times – finally exploding all over Truls’ crack, his back and his face, before we untied him and we both knelt before him sucking him to an intense orgasm.
After Rickard saw Truls to the door and paid him for his services, we continued our own lovemaking all night long. It was the best birthday surprise I had ever received. I slept curled up in a foetal position down by Rickard’s cock and balls – ever ready to service his eventual needs.
Bertrand was horny, and reading William’s latest e-mail from New York didn’t make things any easier. He quickly cleaned his paintbrushes, pushed the painting easel back against the wall, and put on a tight-fitting white sleeveless t-shirt, his faded denim jacket and biker boots. Bertrand didn’t even bother changing from his paint-spattered jeans. He had decided to go out and find relief in the back streets of Le Marais. Perhaps he would write a sexy “Happy Birthday” e-mail back to Billy, recounting the evening’s erotic play – perhaps an e-mail William would not soon forget.
He walked into “Le Trick” around 2147 hours. The popular small neighbourhood gay bar was already crowded for an early Tuesday evening. Bertrand ordered a drink and instinctively scanned the faces and bodies scattered around the bar, hoping to identify the “catch-of-the-day”. But everyone of interest seemed to be either playing billiards or was otherwise engaged with friends or potential sex partners. Bertrand ordered a second drink and walked downstairs to the “playroom”. The playroom was a dimly lit basement, which reeked of sex, sweat and poppers. The basement was divided into two adjoining areas: a small DVD-room where XXX-rated sex films were continuously shown on a screen, and which had seating capacity for about twenty persons; and a larger room equipped with two black leather slings hanging from the ceiling on the right hand side, several glory hole cubicles on the left hand side and a simple bathtub in the centre of the room – it was strictly “no frills”.
Bertrand wandered into the DVD-room first. He had always had a passion for porn, especially in sleazy places. He often felt a bit self-conscious walking into such places as all eyes seemed to immediately “size up” and follow each newcomer, but the excitement of the smells, sounds and heavy air always enabled him to fall right into the milieu and action without fail. There were about 12 half-naked and fully naked guys scattered about the seating area, stroking their own, and fellow film enthusiasts’ cocks. In the shadows – lining the walls of the DVD-room – Bertrand could make out another 8-9 studs cruising up and down the length of the room, looking for their prey.
Bertrand took a seat on the left side of the third row. On the screen were two New York studs fucking in a dark alleyway. The film was dubbed in French, and the sweaty actors’ sex-talk seemed perfect for the mood of the cinema clientele: “Comme ça? Comme ça?” – “Oui, mais plus profond … et plus dur!”
Bertrand pulled out his fat cock and had just begun to pull on it and show it to curious onlookers when he heard some serious slurping noises and moans coming from the row in front of him. He slyly leaned forward to check out the “movie action” in front of the screen and was surprised to find Jean-Pierre on his knees and between the legs of a well-endowed elderly man – sucking and gobbling down the prime meat with gusto. The old man came before he could pull his big dick out of Jean-P.’s mouth, filling JP’s mouth and throat with so much cum that it leaked and ran out of the sides of JP’s mouth as he continued to devour the juicy cock. Bertrand was turned on but did not wish to intrude upon Jean-Pierre’s “private” moment, so he buttoned up his fly and ventured into the playroom.
In the playroom Bertrand flopped his thick cock out of his jeans, which were still buttoned at the very top and worked it up into a three-quarter hard-on. He then eased it slowly through one of the glory holes and within seconds it was being stroked, licked and sucked, causing him to quickly reach a full erection. His mysterious partner alternated between licking his balls and devouring his cock until Bertrand let out a low whimper and exploded spurt after spurt of boiling hot cum – hosing down both the trick on the other side of the wall, and the entire floor area around the free-standing short wall separating Bertrand from his cock-hungry sex partner.
Bertrand had come so much that he almost slipped on the floor as he walked away from the glory hole wall – but then again, the entire floor was covered with used rubbers, semen and piss so it could have been anyone’s cum he almost slipped on. The sex slave who had just been fucked with a variety of dildos, fists and cocks was now on his hands and knees, looking for a lost contact lens. Bertrand shuddered as he heard the young man exclaim: “I found it!” and then spit on it and put it back into his eye.
On his way out of the room Bertrand saw a nude Jean-P. kneeling in the bathtub in the centre of the room, and surrounded by five half-naked studs who were jerking off all over him. Bertrand was impressed at how driven JP was – was he incredibly self-assured and hot, or had he bought a one-way ticket to ruin? Within minutes the five studs were pissing all over JP, who appeared to savour every drop. Bertrand thought to himself: “Jesus fuckin’ Christ, man! Billy is right. Jean-P. really IS a fucking pig!!”
Bertrand returned to the bar upstairs and ordered a beer. Just as he found an available spot of the wall to lean on he saw JP approaching. “Bertrand! So good to see you! I’ve been asking Bill about you lately. How have you been?”
“Hello Jean-Pierre! It has been a while since I have seen you. You are looking full of energy. What have you been up to?”
“Not much,” replied Jean-Pierre. “I am actually looking for work – sending out resumes. I would like to get into gay publishing. I have a friend who works at a small gay publishing company here in the 4è arrondissement. They have no openings at the present time but he has promised to give me tips about possible other places to apply to. I am hoping that my previous media and gay film studio experience will help my application. And what about you? Are you still together with Alain?”
“Yes, of course we are still together!” said Bertrand. “We still live together only on the weekends, but we speak on the telephone daily.”
“I saw you downstairs in the DVD film room, but you disappeared before I could catch up with you,” said Jean-P. with a mischievous smile.
“Yeah, I am doing a little research but the film room was too dark, so I wandered around and returned up here to have a last drink before heading on home,” said Bertrand – being careful not to embarrass himself or JP by mentioning that he had seen him in the bathtub. JP had probably not been embarrassed had he told the story himself, but to have it mentioned by someone else and to your face was a violation of the Paris gay sex club social code.
Jean-Pierre was intrigued by Bertrand’s comment about doing “research” – and here of all places. “What kind of research are you doing? I thought you were an artist!”
“I am,” replied Bertrand. “You see, I am planning my contribution to a group show at a new art gallery in London this autumn. I have a couple of friends there who are opening their gallery called “In Your Face!” with a group show featuring five visual artists from London, New York City, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam. It will feature paintings, photography, sculpture and video installations. I have been invited to represent painting with ten paintings.”
“That sounds exciting,” said Jean-Pierre. “But I still do not understand about the ‘research’”.
Bertrand continued: “You see, my curious friend, all participating artists have been asked to display works that are an expression of the gallery name: ‘In your face!’, and I have decided to make gigantic paintings of puckering ‘man slut’ assholes. The problem is that it is so dark downstairs that it is almost impossible to identify good models.”
“Ah – ha!” exclaimed Jean-P. “So you are looking for models!”
“Not just models,” replied Bertrand. “I need “man sluts” who know how to make their assholes communicate to me as an artist – not just a ‘run-of-the-mill’ tight male pussy on a “pretty boy” ass. I need some models who truly know the joys and pains of taking oversized dildos and pricks up their holes, and who know how to make their cunt lips pucker and how to goad their sex partners for more and more.”
Jean-P. was totally beside himself with excitement over the project, and asked if Bertrand had also considered painting huge dicks or open mouths. Bertrand replied that oversized paintings of erections, women’s vaginas and open mouths had already been done ad nauseam. He wanted to present the luscious male cunt, in all its natural beauty and seductive glory.
Jean-P. then asked Bertrand if he might try out to be a ‘man cunt’ model. Bertrand said: “Well, you are probably as well-qualified as any one else who frequents the backrooms. Let me take a look at your butt.” Bertrand turned Jean-P. around and firmly grabbed his buttocks with both hands, squeezed them and then rubbed his crotch up against JP’s ass. Jean-P. moaned as Bertrand ran his nose lightly over the left side of the back of JP’s neck.
“Now THAT is the reaction I am looking for!” said Bertrand. “Stop by my studio next Wednesday at 1430 hours. Here is my card with the studio address and telephone number.”
They kissed two times on the cheek and once on the mouth, and Bertrand disappeared into the night.
Once back at his apartment Bertrand sent an e-mail to William, who was still in Manhattan and who would turn 43 years old in two days.
March 20, 1999
Joyeux anniversaire! Happy Birthday my dear friend!
I bet you thought I would forget! Both Alain and I think of you and talk about you often – we miss you here in gay Paris. (And we are not the only ones who miss you either!)
Your experience with your policemen almost drove me out of my mind – I became so horny that I finally had to go out. I just came home from “Le Trick” where I tried to equal your bravura, but I did not come close to rivalling your policemen/‘fuck slut’ story.
However, I did run into our friend Jean-P. He has not changed; he is still changing jobs all the time, still sucking as much dick as possible and still talking a lot of shit. However, there is still something exciting about him. I told him about my gallery show (no, I did not tell him that I got the idea of painting man slut cunts from you; although he probably would love to hear about your boyfriend’s experience with his prostitute friend!) and he immediately asked if he could audition to model. I said he could come by one day next week. I will photograph and sketch his hole to begin with, and then see if he has the right material and cunt expression to warrant a painting or two. I expect that I will need 4-5 different models in all.
Anyway, have a fabulous birthday – and I will try to telephone you soon after you return to Oslo.
Bertrand was not in the best of moods on Wednesday. He had just received a fine for putting a vintage 1980s chair on the street below his flat the week before. He had been careful to take it out after midnight, and was convinced that someone would gladly collect it before morning – as it was in good condition. Bertrand liked the idea of sharing his cast-offs with needy persons or neighbours who shared his tastes in furniture. Alain had convinced him get rid of the chair – one of Bertrand’s prized mementos from his early twenties – as it no longer fit in with the new minimalist contemporary style Bertrand now had become enamoured with. Alain is a real “stickler” when it comes to decor – everything had to be consistent, matching in colour scheme, period, style and expression. It was a little tiring and laughable sometimes, but Bertrand respected Alain’s knowledge and his extreme “gay sensibility” when it came to modern furnishings. Alain worked as a personal consultant for several rich and famous persons in Paris, styling their homes and organising their wardrobes. Bertrand and Alain had often disagreed on the ethics of hiring professionals to help decide such personal questions, but Alain simply called Bertrand “old-fashioned” and a “pseudo-Socialist.” However, Bertrand did put his foot down when Alain began to rant about the virtues of Feng Shui.
Bertrand had just come in from buying some beer and wine when the buzzer rang. It was Jean-Pierre – on time. When he opened the door to his painting studio Bertrand was surprised to see Jean-P. dressed in an outfit designed by one of Paris’ new hot fashion designers, and with a new stylish haircut. “Entre, tu es le bienvenu chez moi!” he said, as he greeted Jean-P. with the customary kisses on the cheeks and a final peck on the lips. “You look fantastic! I have never seen you so dressed up before!”
JP seemed radiant. He explained that he had just come directly from his job interview at a gay publishing company, and that he thought it had gone quite well. Bertrand didn’t know what to think. It was as if there was a total stranger standing before him. He replied: “Great! I hope you get the job. I guess I do not really know so much about you, other than your “out-on-the-town” persona.”
JP laughed and said: “Not many people do. Although I seem very outgoing, and perhaps for some even outrageous and sleazy, I do have my serious side – and – of course, like everyone else – my own personal history and philosophy of life. My favourite motto is: ‘Never judge a book fully by its cover.’”
Bertrand laughed and replied: “Vous avez bien raison monsieur!”
JP responded: “But of course I am right! And what is with the ‘monsieur’? Surely we do not need to be so formal – just because … “ Bertrand interjected: “ … just because we have never fucked each other before?” And JP retorted: “Oui, that too – but I meant to say ‘just because I am dressed up.’” And with that he took off his jacket, and grabbed Bertrand by the balls. “But don’t think I haven’t noticed you. I saw you getting sucked off at Le Trick the other night.” Bertrand blushed ever so slightly – not because he was embarrassed at having been ‘caught in the act’, but rather because the Parisian gay social code had suddenly been breached – JP had dared to mention the private – the ‘unmentionable’.
JP noticed his slight discomfort and giggled, saying: “Relax, my sexy friend. Your secret is safe with me, and everyone else who was there – or eventually knows someone who was there that night! You do understand that if you have sex with one person in Le Marais, you actually are having (or have had) sex with hundreds of men you possibly never have seen or met before!”
Bertrand replied in Spanish: “Es triste, pero es cierto!” Suddenly JP became very quiet and subdued. Bertrand had the distinct feeling that he had said something wrong, but did not know what. He then asked JP: “Tu vas bien? You look a little pale!”
JP then said: “Yeah, sure. Do you have something to drink?”
Bertrand replied: “I just bought some beers and some wine. What would you like? I think I also have a little green Chartreuse here somewhere, and I can brew some coffee or espresso if you like.”
“A beer would be nice. Thank you.”
Bertrand brought out a couple of bottles of beer, lit a cigarette and offered one to JP. “Thanks,” said JP. “I am sorry. It is just that I suddenly thought about my friend Carlos Enrique. You know him, don’t you?”
Bertrand replied: “Sure, I have met him a couple of times – and he is also a friend of William. How is he doing, by the way. I have not heard much about him for a while.”
“He is not doing so well right now, I am sorry to say. He has recently been told by his doctors that he is HIV-positive, and that the particular strain of HIV that he has gotten is resistant to most medications.”
“Fuck!” exclaimed Bertrand. “I didn’t know!”
“Yeah, it is sad. Carlos Enrique uses that Spanish expression (‘Es triste, pero es cierto!’) often. That is why I reacted when you said it.”
“I did not realize that Carlos Enrique was so ‘active’”, said Bertrand adding: “I never see him out at the bars or clubs!”
JP replied: “Exactement! Carlos was never promiscuous. He just got ‘unlucky’ – one time. I guess that it is all it takes. I have begun to wonder whether or not it is a question of Russian roulette, or Fate!”
“Sounds more like a question of lust and sensibility to me,” said Bertrand. “We know enough about the dangers and the kinds of precautions that are required. There really is no excuse anymore.”
“Bullshit!” exclaimed JP. “Who thinks and acts ‘rationally’ 24 hours-a-day? And besides, sex is about feelings, identity, the need for love and acceptance … Are you aware that – despite years of anti-AIDS campaigns and easy access to condoms – people are still getting infected every day of the year, and all over the world – even right here in Paris? Why can’t they find a cure for this fucking disease? I am a sleazy slut, and still going strong. But Carlos – he is almost as prim and proper as I was raised to be. It just isn’t fair – and it does not make sense that we should be punished for just wanting to love and be loved. MERDE!”
“I guess I agree with you on that last point,” said Bertrand. “I have buried so many friends over the past twenty years that I have become really selective regarding which funerals I decide to attend. I am so fucking fed up with funerals, sadness and death!”
“I know … I know,” replied JP. “I feel the same way – but at the same time I am enraged. I am fucking pissed off at the whole goddamned culture, and the system – and the lies.”
“What lies?” asked Bertrand, now quite curious about this previously unknown gay activist side of Jean-Pierre.
JP was really worked up now: “The lies from society about accepting ‘gayness’ and alternative lifestyles, but only if we acclimate us to a sexless and non-provoking stereotyped and PG-rated fucking American situation comedy existence. Society really does not want to know, and they definitely do not wish to see how gays really live. I was raised as a Catholic in Lille. I tried to fit in for years. I pretended to like the girls I dated as a teenager, and secretly had discussion-less sex with boys in alleyways and in parks. I got my degree from the Sorbonne, and went on to take a semester at the ESSEC (L’école de commerce) – but then I flipped out. I could not take the charade anymore – the fucking lies and hypocrisy. I rebelled by dropping out of school, and burning my business student textbooks. I stopped calling my proud parents every weekend and started my alternative lifestyle.”
“In other words, that was the beginning of your life as a sexy slut!” quipped Bertrand. “It is wonderful that you managed to break free … it was even more difficult for those of us who are 10 years older than you, believe me!”
JP smiled but retorted: “In a way, yes. But you must not misunderstand me. I didn’t become a fucking slut just out of rebellion. I wished (and still wish) to preserve true ‘gay culture and ethics’, and to give and receive as much uninhibited and uncontrolled love as possible. The gay culture is endangered, as I see it. Everyone reveres and respects the expressed sexuality of the ancient Greeks and Romans. We even tolerate homosexuality in other contemporary cultures and as expressed and experienced by famous authors and artists of this century and the two previous ones, but society does not truly accept the underground ‘gay aesthetic’; most people really want gays to live in pseudo-heterosexual type relationships – not to fuck around and flaunt our stuff! The polls say that society generally accepts our right to practice homosexuality; but that is not the same thing as accepting our need to be on the outside of the general norm. It is all about ‘fucking control’ man, and I for one do not wish to be normalized into a ‘nice gay couple’ stereotype!”
Bertrand felt an arousal in his crotch as he nodded in agreement: “Bien sûr. There is too much control. What is not already forbidden in France will soon be regulated!” Bertrand was still pissed off about the fine he had received. He had not realised that JP was so intelligent, and that his personality and his reflections were so complex. He liked that in a man – intelligence and reflection combined with a rebellious ‘fuck ‘em’ attitude. “Can I get you another beer?” he asked.
“Sure,” said JP while unbuttoning his shirt. “It is warm here, is it not?”
“Yeah, it is,” replied Bertrand. “Just make yourself comfortable. It is all eventually coming off anyway.”
JP took the hint and got completely undressed as he looked around the studio. He was looking over the preliminary idea sketches Bertrand had made and had just spotted the open briefcase on the floor beside the small sofa, which contained an assortment of dildos in various sizes, lubricant and a few sex videos. As Bertrand returned to the main room from the kitchenette with two new bottles of beer JP commented: “I don’t think we will need any of these sex-aids. I prefer to ‘pucker up’ au naturel.”
Bertrand leaned over JP, giving him a deep tongue kiss as he set the beers down on the end table. JP responded willingly, undoing Bertrand’s button fly while pulling Bertrand’s tongue deep inside his mouth. Within seconds he had whipped Bertrand’s growing cock out of the confining briefs and began sucking it voraciously. Bertrand oohed and aahed for several minutes before pulling JP up from the sofa and spinning him around. He then began tonguing JP’s fuck hole – making him moan. JP began stroking his dick, exclaiming: “Yeah – just like that. Deeper – suck my fucking bitch slut hole!” Bertrand reached down and grabbed one of the dildos in the briefcase, dressed it in an oversized condom and greased it with lubricant before working it into JP’s asshole. He eventually progressed to the fist-sized black dildo, which JP took with no problem. Just before it seemed as though JP was about to bust his nuts Bertrand pulled out the huge dildo and grabbed his digital camera. He began taking photo after photo of JP’s puckering man cunt. It looked as beautiful as an orchid in full blossom. After taking several photos Bertrand put down his camera and slid his raging cock into JP’s fuck hole, slamming it in and out and pulling on JP’s hair before finally whipping off the condom and drenching JP’s back and buttocks with hot cum. He then quickly turned JP around and told him to jack off on him. JP needed no extra encouragement, and came like a true fuck film “mothafucka” all over Bertrand’s hair and face. While JP was cleaning himself up in the toilet, Bertrand began reviewing the photos in the camera’s memory.
“These are great!” he exclaimed. Your asshole is a work of art – ‘Simplement phénoménal!’
“And so are you, my friend!” replied JP. Bertrand gave JP a prolonged kiss on the lips, squeezed and slapped his ass and told him that he would definitely be included in the exhibition. He explained that he would enlarge the best photos, make some sketches and then interpret them onto over-sized canvases as half-realistic and half-abstract paintings. JP then dressed and left the studio.
It was five days later that Bertrand received the phone call from Alain telling him that he had just been at their favourite gay-owned café, and heard that JP had taken an overdose of pills and alcohol. He had died the day before. Apparently, JP had not gotten his “dream job” after all. Bertrand was deeply affected by the news, having just recently gotten to know and like (and fuck) Jean-Pierre in such an intimate way. He immediately knew that his painting exhibition would be a tribute to JP and all he stood for: the salvation of gayness as a culture and personal expression. His paintings of JP would dominate his part of the gallery opening exhibition.
Karol arrived at Comme un baiser about 2430 hours on Friday. It was early May in Paris, and Spring was in full swing: the cafés were crowded in Le Marais, the Bois de Boulogne was busy and the streets of “the swamp in the fourth arrondissement” were hot, hot, hot! Karol had taken a taxi from the Bois de Boulogne to Comme un baiser after nearly getting caught by some police officers on silent bikes. He had buttoned up his butt-tight white leather jeans just in time; his intended sex partner had vanished into the thicket and Karol decided not to push his luck any further. He wanted to dance and let everything ‘hang out’. This was – after all – his long-earned weekend of joy and liberation before proceeding further to Warsaw, a destination that evoked feelings of both love and hate in him. He had lied about his “success” in Oslo to his family and friends in Poland, and no one at home knew that he had been earning his living through male prostitution the past six months. He had told all that he was playing the part of a Polish construction worker in a Norwegian soap opera. He had, actually, gotten a second call back after his audition but the part ultimately went to someone else. And after the incident with Rickard he decided to go back home for a while – to “find himself” once again. Not only career-wise, but also because he had realised that his inability to commit to a relationship with another man emotionally was becoming a burden. Of course, he wanted to have a relationship – but only in his dreams. Not only was it exciting for him to get the constant attention from the endless queue of “johns”, one-night stands and short-term affairs, but Karol was wary of getting hurt. He had experienced enough of that while in his teens and early twenties back home in Warsaw. That was why he had to destroy things between himself and Rickard. He realised that he had started to fall in love, and that scared the shit out of him. It was Thérèse who recommended that he take a weekend in ‘gay Paris’ before going to Warsaw. His flight from Oslo to Warsaw required a connection from Paris anyway, so why not take the weekend in Paris before flying on to Poland?
The club was not very full when he arrived – it was still early and Comme un baiser had just opened their doors. Karol sat at the bar drinking Polish vodka straight up. He looked at himself in the mirrors on the wall behind the bar. He looked damned good in his tight white leather pants, studded belt and white denim jacket, and his turquoise low-cut tank top both enticingly revealed the outline of his pectoral cleavage and enhanced his blue eyes. He knew which look he was going for and had mastered it: from his muscular chest to his fat-free waistline, his bubble-butt and ‘packing’ crotch to his 1970s Peter Berlin hairstyle. Karol’s (or “Mariusz” as most called him) biggest sex fantasy was to become his generation’s next gay super sex icon. He was narcissistic and he was an exhibitionist, and that was just as exciting for him as actually having sex with someone. Unfortunately, being so well known in Poland because of his childhood television career prevented him being as open and free as he wished when in Eastern Europe. But tonight he was out on the town in Paris … in Le Marais – where no one blinks an eye, no matter how gay or outrageous you are.
The club was soon swarming with hunks, fashion queens, transvestites and Karol’s favourite: attractive, sexy-looking, middle-aged men. Karol had never been particularly attracted to men his own age or younger; he preferred a “Daddy” who responded to his “mec fatal” behaviour. He liked guys with moustaches and hairy chests – the opposite of himself, who even shaved his crotch and armpits.
Bertrand and Alain arrived at Comme un baiser around 0120 hours. The place was “jumping” by that time, and while Alain went to the toilet to primp in the mirror Bertrand fought his way to the bar. He stood behind Karol and politely asked: “Bonsoir, beau gosse! Peux-tu te serrer un peu pour me laisser aller au bar?” Karol turned his head and was immediately transfixed by Bertrand – exactly his type. He replied after two seconds: “Pardonne- moi. My French is not very good. Do you speak English?” Bertrand flashed his trademark smile and said: “But of course, you beautiful specimen of male lust! I wanted to know if I could squeeze by you to get to the bar. I want to order a drink.” Karol grinned and said: “Why certainly, but it is a little tight here. I hope you do not mind a little innocent intimate contact!” Bertrand pinched Karol’s right nipple rather hard and quipped: “Somehow I do not think that innocence is your best virtue, mon cher!” And then to the waiter: “Deux whiskeys – sans glaçons.” “Two?” asked Karol. “Are you here with someone?” Bertrand smiled and replied: “Yes, with my friend,” and turned to point out Alain, who was busy flirting with a dark-haired young model-type. “Come, I will introduce you!” Karol turned to look at Bertrand’s friend, hesitated for a moment and then said: “Well okay, perhaps for a moment.” Bertrand presented Alain saying: “This is Alain. I am sorry, I do not know your name?” Karol smiled and shook Alain’s hand saying: “Bonsoir. I am Mariusz.” “Well – hello Mariusz!” And to Bertrand and Mariusz: “This is Émile.” Émile nodded. Alain took the whiskey Bertrand had brought him and said: “Émile and I were just on our way to the dance floor. Care to join us?” The DJ had just mixed over from hot gay techno to Barry White’s classic ‘You’re the first, the last, my everything.” The foursome pressed their way towards the centre of the crowd, and soon paired off. Alain was totally entranced with Émile, leaving Bertrand to enjoy a sexy pas de deux with Mariusz.
After a few songs Bertrand noticed that Alain and Émile had left the dance floor and were nowhere in sight. He then returned with Mariusz to the bar and ordered another vodka and whiskey for the two of them. Mariusz then thanked Bertrand for the dance and the drink, after which Bertrand leaned over and kissed him on the lips. Mariusz responded by sneaking his tongue into Bertrand’s mouth. Bertrand felt his entire body go into shivers of ecstasy, closed his eyes for a moment and said: “There is most definitely not much innocence in THAT kiss!” “Nor in yours,” replied Mariusz.
“So what is the story with you and Alain? How together are you?” Bertrand laughed and said: “We are together – but at the same time ‘free’ to be ourselves, and to be with other interesting men when we feel for it. It keeps us from becoming bored with each other. And besides, look around you – the magic of Le Marais is found in the spirit of ‘liberté’!”
Karol turned to face the gyrating and pulsating crowd and exclaimed: “This must be heaven!”
Bertrand grinned and replied: “Yes, at least for a night – at least, every once in a while. So Mariusz, where are you from and what do you do when you are not looking for ‘heaven’ in Paris?”
Mariusz had placed his right palm on Bertrand’s thigh, grazing the bulge in his pants. “I am an actor. I come originally from Warsaw, which I am on my way to after this weekend – unfortunately.”
“Warsaw? How is it there – is it as gay fun as Budapest or Prague?” asked Bertrand, enjoying the physical attention he was getting from this young stud.
Mariusz replied: “No, not really – that is part of the problem. I cannot be ‘free’ there – especially since I am recognised by so many people.”
“Are you famous in Poland,” asked Bertrand. “From your sexy looks, I would not be surprised if you were very well known and quite popular!”
Mariusz blushed slightly and said: “You are quite funny – and generous in your compliments. Thank you! No, I used to star in a well-known television soap opera as a child, and most people still remember and recognise me even now several years later. It cramps my style – and besides, my parents and childhood friends all still live in Warsaw so I must be discreet in my gay behaviour and way of dressing while in public in Poland. Nothing too outrageous, you understand.”
Bertrand licked Mariusz’ neck and tongued his ear, whispering: “You are extremely sexy, Mariusz. Would you like to ‘tear off a piece’?”
Mariusz looked at Bertrand with a confused facial expression. “Tear off a piece? What do you mean?”
Bertrand looked deep into Mariusz’ eyes and said: “I want to fuck you – really rock your world!”
Karol replied: “But what about your friend? And do you know a place we can go?”
Bertrand laughed and said: “Don’t worry about Alain. He has obviously already left with his ‘friend’. We each have our own separate apartments here in Le Marais. Please say ‘yes’. It would make me very happy.”
Karol gave Bertrand a prolonged, wet and sexy kiss, looked into his eyes and confirmed: “There is nothing I would like better!”
They walked arm in arm to Bertrand’s apartment, passing by Le Trick where Bertrand spotted Alain and Émile entering the bar. Bertrand smiled to himself and continued chatting with Mariusz. Mariusz told him that he had until recently been living in Scandinavia for about a half year. Bertrand asked where in Scandinavia, and Mariusz told him that he had been in Copenhagen for two months and most recently in Oslo. Bertrand’s eyes lit up when he mentioned Oslo, and Bertrand told him that he had a good friend who had recently moved to Oslo to work. “Perhaps you know him? His name is Billy.” Mariusz said: “Oslo has a population of about a half a million. I know several gays there but I have never met a ‘Billy’. And what do you do here in Paris – I mean for work?” Bertrand told him that he was a visual artist – a photographer and a painter, and that he is currently working on an exhibition for a group show in London this autumn. Mariusz was intrigued. “I love art. I am a ‘closet artist’ myself, but I have no training and little talent. What do you paint? What styles and themes are represented in your work?” Bertrand said: “Mostly gay themes. I do a lot of male model photography, celebrating the ‘edgy side’ of gay culture. The exhibition I am working on at the moment is a series of semi-abstract portraits of the male cunt. I am calling the series “Sleaze”.
Mariusz suddenly stopped and looked at Bertrand. “The male cunt! You mean assholes?” Bertrand smiled and said: “Exactement. Perhaps you would be interested in posing for me? I take photos and then transform the images into oversized paintings.”
Mariusz was caught off guard by the proposal. He was an exhibitionist and was quite proud of his body, but the whole asshole painting concept reminded him of the embarrassing joke Rickard and Thérèse had played on him in Oslo. He responded: “Well, I don’t know. Maybe. Would my name and face be included in the exhibition? I must protect my parents and family.” Bertrand assured him that no models’ family names were to be mentioned and no faces shown. However, he loved Mariusz’ sexy look, and would also be interested in photographing him – both clothed and unclothed, and also outside of the theme of this particular exhibition. He would even pay him to be a model.
Mariusz thought for a minute and then replied: “I am not shy about my body or about being ‘queer’, and I have done some male nude modelling previously – but my asshole is not for general public viewing. However, as long as you can promise me that the male cunt photos and paintings will not be connected to my name or person, then I will think about it.”
“Well,” said Bertrand, “let’s have some fun tonight and if you are still interested in the morning, then we can walk over to my studio and take some photos. If they are as beautiful and exciting as I imagine they will be, then I would love to include one or two of my paintings of your ‘man cunt’ in the exhibition.”
Neither Mariusz (Karol) or Bertrand disappointed each other that night, and Mariusz felt quite safe as he lay in Bertrand’s strong arms after two rounds of intense lovemaking. In the morning, during breakfast, Bertrand broached the question of a photo session. Mariusz took on a serious look, saying: “Yes, but only on one condition.” Bertrand put down his coffee cup, and said: “And what would that be?” Mariusz then laughed and replied: “That you promise to let me strip for you, and that you ‘fuck my lights out’ again at the end of the photo shoot!”
Bertrand beamed and replied: “That, my sexy mec, is not only your condition but also mine as well!”
Karol was brimming over with excitement as he stood in front of the bright photography lights and posed for Bertrand’s camera lens. Bertrand had put some trance music on the cd-player at full blast, and barked out his instructions to ‘Mariusz’: “That’s it! Pull your t-shirt slowly up over your chest revealing your nipples – and now take your index finger and slowly draw a line on your body starting from your crotch up toward your left nipple. Yes!! Now pull your t-shirt over your shoulders and head, sling it from you and shake your hair. KEEP your eye on the camera! Give me your sexiest look, like you are seducing the camera. That is perfect!! And now unbutton your pants – slowly” … etc.
Karol loved every minute of it, and was soon down to just his jock strap, grabbing his big hard-on … now threatening to rise out of the confines of the jockstrap’s elastic rim. Before long Bertrand had him stroking his cock – all the while having sex with the camera. And finally, Mariusz was on fours, flexing his buttocks and spreading his ass checks with his hands. By now Bertrand had worked his own panting fuck pole out of his pants, stroking his cock in his left hand in between snapping photo after photo. “Magnifique!” he exclaimed. Finally he couldn’t take it anymore, and rammed his condom-dressed cock into Mariusz’ ass with one hard initial thrust. After they both had achieved what seemed like endless orgasms, they fell to the floor – sweaty, exhausted and sated – as much by the eroticism of the photo session as by the final orgasms. They kissed passionately, and exchanged hotmail addresses. Bertrand told him to let him know when he next returned to Paris, and promised to send him an e-mail invitation to the art exhibition opening in London.
Just as Mariusz was leaving the studio, Bertrand’s cell phone rang – it was Alain, calling to tell him all about his own wild night. Bertrand watched Mariusz walk onto the street below as he stood naked in front of the studio window and listened to the details of Alain’s night with Émile.
Karol was in a pensive mood on the short flight from Charles De Gaulle to Warsaw. He thought both of what was waiting for him in Poland, as well as all that he had experienced the past six months. He took Bertrand’s card with his cell phone number and hotmail address out of his wallet, kissed it and then put it away – lost in dreams and memories.
June 12, 1999
So good to hear from you, my friend! I am sorry that it took so long for me to respond to your last e-mail. Rickard and I have just returned to Oslo after a week in Göteborg (Gothenberg) Sweden, where we were visiting his sister ‘Kajsa’. She is very sweet, and we had a great time! I love Göteborg. The people are quite friendly and curious about foreigners (unlike Paris). However, I was very distressed to hear about Jean-Pierre – and also poor Carlos Enrique!! So many of us are dying these days – either from suicide or AIDS-related problems.
How is your exhibition coming along? Rickard and I are hoping to make the opening in London in September. Please let me know the exact address and date.
I had forgotten it is that time of the year when you and Alain take off for your annual ‘Safari’ in La Réunion. I would tell you that I am sorry that you cannot join Alain this year (due to your exhibition preparations), but you know how I feel about Alain’s exchanging cheap electronic toys from the Paris flea market for sex with the local young men. Not that I am opposed to prostitution or having sex with those gorgeous men, but I really feel that he takes advantage of them. He should at least pay them in cash, and enough money so that they can retain some self-respect! And who is this ‘Émile’ character that he is traveling with instead of you? I totally understand that you are contemplating writing to your friend in Poland and asking him to come visit you. It sounds like the two of you really hit it off. I have never before heard you describe an experience with a fuck buddy so enthusiastically. Some of these Polish men are real hot! You should at least not sit alone in your studio all summer long; especially when Alain is going to be busy, busy, busy.
Well, I’ve got to run. I am meeting Rickard for dinner in an hour and I need to shit, shave and shower.
Be good – and if you can’t be good then be careful! Smile!
June 14, 1999
Bonjour my sexy friend! I wanted to tell you that I had a fun time with you when you were in Paris, and to ask you if you will be coming back some time soon. I am working on two paintings based on the photographs I took of you – and they are coming along very well, but I would really like to take another look at you in person before I finish the paintings. It is quite different painting from photographs rather than from a live model. I would be able to pay your round-trip bus/train ticket and put you up for some days while we work and enjoy each others’ company. I am totally independent now, as Alain and his friend Émile have gone to La Réunion for the summer. I was supposed to go with him, but I have to stay in Paris and complete the exhibition.
I hope that you do not consider my proposition to be too presumptuous. Send me an e-mail if this sounds interesting to you.
June 17, 1999
Thank you for your e-mail and the generous invitation. I also had a very nice time with you in Paris. I often think of our fun together.
My stay here in Warsaw has been both positive and negative. It was good to come home to the smells and tastes of my mother’s home cooking and to meet some of my old friends who are still living here, but the joy has begun to wear thin. I think I have been here too long. My parents keep asking me questions about my career plans, about when I am going to settle down and get married ‘to a nice Polish girl’ and when I am going to move back to Warsaw permanently etc. I keep telling my mother that I am gay, and always have been – but she does not seem to hear or understand. She tells me that it is just a ‘phase’ that I should have outgrown a long time ago, and that she and my father expect me to get married to a girl and raise a family just like all other properly raised Polish men. They go to bed early (never after 2300 hours) and I have to sneak out of the house if I want to go out on the town at night – otherwise I wake them up and have to answer a million questions. I feel like a fucking teenager again living in that house! I have suddenly remembered why it was so urgent for me to leave Warsaw.
There is not much to do. Sure, I go to the theatre and to a concert every now and then – but the gay scene is a little old-fashioned for me. There are not really many specialized sub-scenes (everybody goes to the same bars and clubs), all too many bad drag queen revues and I do not dare to frequent the cruising areas because so many people recognize me and I wish to spare my parents for embarrassment in their home town. The main cruising areas are the toilet at the central railway station, a couple of parks and another area where man whores sell their goods. This is not Paris, or Le Marais.
My mother is always comparing me to my cousin Piotr, who is my age and who works as a factory foreman. A few nights ago Piotr and his overweight ‘fiancée’ Boleslawa came to my parents’ house for dinner, and my mother did her best to impress them with food and compliments all evening. Just when I thought things could not get any worse, Boleslawa started talking about the ‘tragedy’ of homosexuality in modern society and how she hopes the Pope will finally do something about it. She had read an article on the gay scene in Warsaw recently and was appalled to discover that there are places where gay men go to put their penises through holes in walls at public toilets and bathhouses. My poor mother ran out of the dining room, explaining that she had forgotten something in the kitchen and my father and my cousin just sat there eating their food and pretending not to hear. I was left to listen to this stupid woman’s ranting. I got even more upset because I remembered how Piotr’s rowdy friends used to pressure me for money as a teenager, and if I did not pay them they had their way with me sexually. I also happen to know that Piotr has been known to frequent the saunas from time to time (according to friends who have seen him there), as Boleslawa refuses to give him head (she considers it unnatural and non-Christian). Boy, did I want to ‘sing out’ about what I knew – but I kept my mouth shut, as usual.
Anyway, to make a long story short: I think it is time for me to move on, and your invitation could not have come at a better time for me. So yes, I would love to come to Paris. Maybe I will go back to Copenhagen afterwards – or even to Amsterdam or Berlin.
I have checked the bus and train schedules, and I will arrive at the Gare du Nord on Wednesday, the 20th of June at 1318 hours. I hope you can meet me at the train station since I do not know my way around Paris so very well.
Hugs and kisses,
PS. I will bring you some authentic Polish kielbasa and potato and cheese pierogis!
June 18, 1999
Thank you for your encouraging e-mail! I decided to invite my Polish friend ‘Mariusz’ to Paris. I am very excited – and I think he is too! Merde – if Alain can take his Émile to La Réunion, then I am certainly not going to sit and feel sorry for myself all summer. I feel as if Émile is breaking the rules. We had agreed to not be monogamous sexually, but totally monogamous emotionally. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens –– for him – and for me!
July 14, 1999
Your last e-mail was full of the feisty and adventurous Bertrand that I have missed recently. Perhaps this affair is good for you! You and Alain have been together for many, many years now – a little absence from one another could possibly remind you both how much you mean to each other, and perhaps even help to ‘jump start’ the relationship again.
Things are going well with Rickard and me. I must admit that I am much more in love with him than I had thought. I have even begun to have feelings of jealousy when he gets cruised by other men (‘keep your paws off my man, Bitch!’). The summer beach season has now begun here in Oslo, and the popular nude and gay beaches on Bygdøy and Langøyene are quite busy. We have been out at the gay nude beaches a couple of times already. On Bygdøy (not far from my apartment), there is a secluded gay area called “Homolulu”, and on Langøyene (the Long Islands) there is a predominantly gay area with cruising in the brush. There are also gays that frequent the main nude bathing area on Bygdøy, but it gets so crowded that we prefer the slightly less accessible and more intimate areas.
Anyway, two Saturdays ago – after several hours of sunbathing and some light cruising at Langøyene, we took the ferry back to Oslo and walked to my apartment to take a shower and rest before going out to dinner. We were kissing and fondling each other in the bedroom, when I suddenly – don’t ask me why – whispered to Rickard that there is something I had been keeping from him, and that I needed to get it off my chest now that our relationship had become so serious.
Rickard responded: “Let the past be the past. The only thing I hate is lies.”
This did not make what I had to tell him any easier, but I insisted that there was something important we needed to talk about.
Rickard then said: “What is it, babe?”
And I responded in an apprehensive tone: “I have been with Karol – your ex-lover.”
“What?” exclaimed Rickard. “You know that I have been through hell with that son-of-a-bitch! He is a no-good, lying, stealing asshole. How could you?” Rickard then pulled away from me, prompting me to grab his arm. He then screamed in a rage: “Ikke faen (‘no way in Hell’). Let go of me!”
I pleaded: “Let me explain. It was a one-night stand – and it happened some time before I met you. I picked him up at a bar, and didn’t even ask his name. We barely talked. I just needed to get laid. I walked into a bar, saw him posing against a wall and I asked him if there was any reason we couldn’t just leave immediately – with no discussion or small talk, or pretending to be interested in anything more than a good fuck. He nodded and said: ‘Sure. Let’s go.’ And that was that. I never saw him again until the day we celebrated my birthday.”
Rickard was glaring and was quite pissed off: “Did you fuck him AGAIN the day we celebrated your birthday? When did you find the time? Did you run out as soon as I dropped you off at the apartment after picking you up at the airport? Damn, William! You are no better than that cheap whore Karol!!” Rickard was beside himself with rage. He stormed out of the bedroom and into the living room like a hurt teenager, lit a cigarette and was sitting on the sofa when I ran after him – hoping to calm him down, and to save our relationship. I blurted out: “Rickard, listen up for a second –”
Rickard interrupted my sentence by throwing a pillow across the room, breaking a crystal vase. I then got quite upset myself and yelled: “Rickard! You need to stop, and to calm down so that I can explain.”
Rickard’s eyes were red with anger and bewilderment. He retorted: “I understand perfectly, Billy.”
“No, you don’t”, I countered. “I did not have sex with Karol on my birthday – or any other day after that one first time – which was before I even met you! I ran into him in the toilet at L’Etoile de Norvège the night you took me out to dinner. Yeah, he cruised me in the WC – but nothing happened between us. I didn’t even know that he was your ‘Karol’ – or even that his name is Karol. At least not until I got back to our table and you told me that you had just seen ‘Karol’ coming out of the toilet while I was in there. It was first then that I realised that he was your ex-lover, who you so despise. I did not want to ruin the evening by telling you that I had previously been with him sexually, so I just told a ‘little white lie’.”
“A ‘little white lie’?” exclaimed Rickard excitedly, albeit a little calmer than before. “You told me that you had ‘seen some guy in the toilet, but that you did not know any Karol’!”
“I did not know he was your Karol before you told me that ‘Karol’ was in the toilet the same time I was – it was just then that I realised that the guy I had tricked with and just been cruised by was your Karol.”
Rickard was relieved but still pissed off: “Stop calling him ‘my’ Karol! Billy, you know how much I hate lies, and you know how hurt I was by that *@xkk#g bitch – and how just talking about him makes me livid. I don’t mind you having a trick or two when we are not together – we have agreed upon that. And I do not ask questions about who you are with when we are not together. But lies are something else – especially when you are lying about being involved with my enemies, and people who hurt me. Don’t you realise that Karol has stolen my fucking manhood – and not just once, but twice? First, he humiliated me by stealing from me and then disappearing without a word, and secondly by leaving me again after I had forgiven his ‘sorry ass’ – telling me that ‘everyone knows that one should never fall in love with a whore.’ Well, I guess he got that right! The problem was not that he was a whore, but that he was a lying, thieving, self-centred, egotistical, unfeeling BITCH! You can both kiss my ass!”
I had begun undoing the button fly of Rickard’s white denim jeans and I was tugging his tumescent cock out of his white jockey shorts when Rickard barked: “No, no, no. What do you think you’re doing?”
I ignored him and engulfed his cock with my lips – sucking it deep into my mouth. Rickard half-heartedly tried to push me away, but gave in almost immediately. I looked up at him and smiled as I pulled down his pants, tore open a condom packet with my teeth and rolled it out onto Rickard’s now fully hard prick with my mouth.
“Remember the story I once told you about ‘Miss Hump and Jump’?” I asked.
Rickard said: “Yeah – what about it?”
“Well, anyone who attempts to take your manhood will have to fight me first. Now check out the ‘original Miss Hump and Jump’!” And with that I straddled Rickard’s stiff pole and rode it like a broncobuster until we both came and collapsed into a pile of sweaty limbs and muscles, and an endless barrage of sloppy kisses.
I then teasingly asked Rickard: “Was it good?”
“Oh, yeah!” gasped Rickard. “But don’t ever do that again!”
“Ride your dick like that?” I asked, with a half-smile.
“You know what I mean – lie to me about fucking Karol.”
“I promise,” I said, kissing Rickard again before running into the shower.
Well, Bertrand. That little ‘lovers’ spat’ between us has actually helped to bring us even closer together. Last weekend we spent a romantic weekend together in Helsinki, Finland. We checked into a middle-range and moderately priced hotel close to the centre of the city. The rooms were okay, and there was a big Scandinavian breakfast and lunch buffet, which featured (among other classics) meatballs – both for breakfast and lunch. We enjoyed meatballs twice on Saturday, but decided not to chance getting meatballs again for dinner and went out for sushi and sashimi at a Japanese restaurant just about six blocks from the hotel. Afterwards we found our way to a gay bar, with a small dance floor. We watched the gay and lesbian couples enjoying themselves in conversation and playing darts, and were ourselves deep in small talk and making out with each other. Well, about 2130 hours the lights above the small dance floor dimmed and the DJ started to play Finnish tango music. Suddenly almost everyone in the bar ran to the dance floor and began dancing the tango. Rickard and I watched with admiration and amusement. Neither of us had ever seen same-sex couples dance the tango before. Within minutes two Finnish men approached our table and asked us both to dance. Rickard smiled and politely replied: “I don’t dance – and my friend doesn’t know the tango.”
“Everyone can dance the tango,” said the tall blond man, and his dark-haired friend concurred. “Yes, come try it!” And with that they each grabbed Rickard and me by the hand and pulled us out onto the dance floor. It was a clumsy affair for Rickard, but I seemed to get the hang of it after a while – I was, at least, not so bad for a first-timer. It was a very romantic weekend, full of laughter, playfulness and lots of vodka. We talked and talked – and told each other for the first time how deeply we love each other. It was Rickard who broached the subject first: “Billy, I have been thinking that perhaps we should deepen our commitment to one another.”
“Like getting married?” I asked.
“I was actually thinking about moving in together – you, me and your doggy. But I am willing to consider a formal partnership in six months or so, if all continues to go well.”
I was in tears, hugging Rickard like I would never let him go. “Oh, Rickard! I love you soooo much. I have never been so happy with anyone in my entire life. You are the only one I want to be with. Yes, I will live with you – and I would marry you tomorrow if you wanted to.”
We agreed that Rickard would move into my apartment since I lived on the West side of town, near the woods and the fjord – making it easy to take walks with the dog (and each other), go sunbathing at the beach – and still be close to the centre of Oslo. I reminded Rickard about your exhibition opening in London in September, and told him that I really looked forward to introducing him to you and Alain.
Rickard said: “It has been a while since I have been to London. I look forward to the trip. Hey, why don’t we spend a week in New York afterwards before returning to Oslo? It sounded like you didn’t get to have much fun while you were there earlier this year – with all the job stuff you were doing. We could do New York City and even take a day trip out to Fire Island!”
I was, of course, beaming: “I would love to visit New York together with you, Rickard!”
We kissed and walked up the street towards our hotel, arm-in-arm. Rickard had a contented look on his face, and I was happier than I could remember ever having been before. I suddenly thought about the cruising I had done in NYC, and the adventure with the three cops, and how I had decided to play my NYC experiences down as my relationship with Rickard was really just in the beginning stages of seriousness. However, I kept quiet about those things, and when we reached our hotel room and fell into bed I whispered into Rickard’s ear: “Let’s make a fresh start from today. Let the past be the past – and may this be just the beginning of the rest of our fabulous life together.”
We made love that afternoon – no wild fucking, no role-play, no make-up sex – just beautiful lovemaking.
And so you see, dear Bertrand: lovers can fall out and still find their way back together. I am certain that you and Alain also will rediscover the love and passion you feel you have lost recently.
Bertrand read and re-read William’s long and romantic e-mail. He was happy for Billy, but uncertain as to whether he and Alain would find their way back to each other as lovers. In the beginning, in the first weeks that Alain was away he had received e-mails and phone calls from him every week. But now, after a month of being apart from each other, the communications were more sporadic – and the e-mails and conversations were always the same: ‘Émile and I are having fun’– Émile said ‘blah blah’, Émile this and Émile that. Bertrand was annoyed and had now stopped writing back or calling; he even stopped taking the telephone – screening his calls through the answering machine. He confided much to Mariusz, who was very understanding and supportive. Mariusz told him that his own experiences with relationships had been that they often are a ‘sweet mixture of heaven and hell’, and that he never felt that comfortable with Émile or Alain because they seemed so ‘standoffish’. Bertrand then replied somewhat sarcastically: “You mean snobbish and rude?”
Mariusz then started singing the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young refrain: “love the one you’re with – love the one you’re with.” Bertrand leaned over and gave Mariusz a deep tongue kiss that lasted an eternity, but which was (in actuality) all too short for both of them. Bertrand then told Mariusz that he was falling in love with him, and Mariusz started to cry like a baby.
“What is wrong my little man?” asked Bertrand.
“I feel the same way, Bertrand. I am so afraid. You are with Alain, who will be coming back at the end of August – and you do not know anything about my past. There is so much I should tell you – I have not always been a good person. I have changed so much since being with you. I know this – but I fear that my past will one day catch up with me.”
Bertrand stroked Mariusz’ hair and replied: “Don’t you worry, my love. We shall take one day at a time. Alain and I have been moving away from each other for a while, and I am not certain that I can continue in any type of relationship with him other than being close friends. I need time to think and feel – and I must talk things out with Alain. Besides, he seems infatuated with his ‘Émile’. As far as the past is concerned, everyone has a past. Life is about making mistakes and learning from them. We all deserve a new chance – again and again. I have done many stupid and insensitive things in my life – and still do. I do not need to know anything about your past – only who you are now, and how I can help you to become that which you wish to become.”
“But you do not even know my full name,” said Mariusz. “Not everyone calls me Mariusz – only my family, people who know me in Poland and my closest friends – which are very few. And then there is –”
“Shhhh –” interrupted Bertrand, placing his index finger over Mariusz’ lips. “You are my ‘Mariusz’. A name means absolutely nothing to me, and neither does your past. I know your heart and your eyes and that beautiful smile which makes me both want to weep and to make love to you at the same time. I trust you, Mariusz. I am falling very quickly in love with you.”
Mariusz curled up on the sofa in Bertrand’s lap and fell asleep as Bertrand ran his fingers through Mariusz’ hair.
July 25, 1999
As you might have guessed, Mariusz is still staying with me. I have become quite infatuated with him – and he with me. Yes, I know things are happening very quickly – but it feels so right. Mariusz brings out the ‘romantic in me’ unlike anyone ever has done before. I have asked him to stay with me throughout the summer.
Regarding things between Alain and me, we don’t have much contact with each other presently. I guess we both have much to think about. I, at least, need to find out for myself what I want and if my lover relationship with Alain can be salvaged. I no longer want the kind of loose relationship we have had. Living with Mariusz has shown me how lonely I actually have been the past few years, and how starved I am for romance, tenderness and all of the conventional forms of stability that I previously have eschewed in relationships. And at the same time, I feel that I want to learn to trust my heart and my intuition more – to be less guarded, and become more open to people who I do not know so well, and who are different from me. I need this so that I can grow – and so I can be loved. Perhaps both Alain and I need the same thing: to experience butterflies in the stomach, the roller coaster emotions, the exhilaration and the uncertainty of being infatuated with someone outside of our habitual ways of being and thinking and feeling – to come to life and blossom again, like an orchid which has lost its flowers but nurtures the buds sprouting from its stems – in promise of new life, new beauty, new expressions.
My infatuation with Mariusz is as much an egoistic need as it is a coincidental occurrence, in that I have begun to realise that I have longed for such an experience in my dreams for quite some time now. He came along at just the right time. And he considers me a ‘prime catch’ – which serves my currently deflated ego well.
Your last e-mail has affected me very much. I have read it over and over again. I am very happy for you, mon cher. You are like a ‘brother’ to me. I respect your honesty as you have shown it to Rickard. You took a major chance – and made it work out in the end. I do not know if I could be so honest. God knows that Alain and I have never been so honest with each other – or with ourselves regarding who we are, what we want etc. We have both built up too many impenetrable layers. Perhaps that is typical Parisian, or typical gay …
And yet, I fear that I am much like your Rickard in that I would prefer not to know so much about Mariusz’ past indiscretions, or to divulge so many of my own. As you know, I have not always been an angel myself. Mariusz wanted to tell me some things about himself and was afraid that once he told me I no longer would want him – that the magic between us would dissipate. Although I am not superstitious in nature, I do believe that some things are better kept to oneself. The past only binds us to our previous selves, previous thought patterns, previous fears and fantasies – and leaves little room for the present or future possibilities. I told him that I do not want to know so much about who he has been in the past – at least not at this stage of our budding love affair.
By the way, Le Marais gay is as crazy as ever. The record high summer temperatures have resulted in the electrical capacities in the oldest areas being taxed to their limits. Last weekend was extremely hot and everyone who had an air conditioner or electrical fans was using them. The power network in an eight-block radius (including Le Trick) broke down – resulting in a black out in that part of Le Marais. It only lasted for about an hour-and-a-half but the boys apparently took full advantage of the unusual circumstances. Outside Le Trick men queued up in the dark – some lining up against the wall on the side of the bar, and others standing before them – passionately kissing, feeling up and sucking off the objects of their desire.
Hearing about this made me think of dear JP. Had he been alive, he would most certainly have been there – enjoying himself, and giving much joy in return.
Anyway, my friend – I must end this e-mail now. Mariusz and I are going out to dinner. He should be home soon. He is changing so much since we have been together – in his clothing, his hairstyle etc. He seems happier. I think that both Paris and I agree with him.
August 4, 1999
Just to let you know: Alain called me last night. He is not sure that he will be able to make it to the exhibition opening in London. He and Émile are considering staying on La Réunion until the end of the season.
I told him that it does not matter, and that I have understood where our relationship stands. Alain tried to play down the significance of his love affair with Émile, saying that it is just a summer fling; but I cut him off in the middle of his lame explanation and told him that I have begun to move on myself as well – together with Mariusz. Alain became very quiet on the other end, and the conversation ended strangely for us both.
So, I do not expect him to come to my opening. I have asked Mariusz to accompany me, and he has agreed. It will be exciting for us to experience each other in a new environment, to live at a luxury hotel for a few days and for him to share in my limelight at the opening. Actually, it seems quite appropriate since his beautiful asshole is pictured in two of the paintings I will be exhibiting.
Anyway, I look forward to seeing you again, to meeting your beau Rickard and for you to meet my Mariusz. We will be staying at the Four Gables Hotel, which is supposed to be fabulous. Perhaps you two can book a room there as well if you make a reservation right away.
Bertrand and Mariusz are already waiting for Rickard and me at The Flaming Queen, a quaint new gay London restaurant located next door to the raunchy bar Ye Olde Buggery, the day before the exhibition opening. Bertrand has told me that Mariusz seems excited to meet us. I am certain that Bertrand has spoken of me warmly and often; he is always quite loyal to and effusive regarding his best friends. I am also excited. Bertrand has never met Rickard in person, and has never spoken with him on the telephone either. Bertrand tells me that my e-mail descriptions of Rickard have intrigued him; especially since my previous lovers have been quite younger and less established than Rickard is.
I notice that both Bertrand and his young friend (who has his back turned to us when we enter, but who briefly turns to us in profile when Bertrand recognises me) are surprised when Rickard and I walk into the restaurant, and the realities of the liaisons begin to unravel.
Bertrand says: “William, mon cher! At last – I have so longed to see you! Here is my friend Mariusz. Mariusz here is my best friend in the world: “Billy! And this is undoubtedly his boyfriend Rickard.”
Mariusz and I look at each other, and then Mariusz looks at a glaring Rickard. Mariusz is stunned. He is still holding my hand which I had held out to exchange grasps in greeting. Bertrand notices the reaction between the two of them and exclaims: “Ahh, so you two have met before then?” Mariusz begins to babble something unintelligible, and I quickly say: “Yes, we had a short conversation several months ago – in a French restaurant in Oslo – nothing more.” Mariusz then looks over to Rickard who looks like he was about to explode with emotion. “Hello, Rickard. My name is Mariusz. I am certain that any friend of my Bertrand’s good friend Billy is a fantastic person. Bertrand has impeccable taste and judgment.”
Rickard laughed nervously with a half-sneer: “That is a rare thing these days my friend!”
We all sat down and Mariusz excused himself to go wash his hands. Soon afterwards Rickard rose and said that he must use the toilet. Once inside the restroom Rickard grabbed Mariusz and threw him against the wall. “What the fuck do you think you are doing? Who are you screwing over, lying to and stealing from this time? I thought you moved back to Poland – or was that also a lie? And what is with this ‘Mariusz’ routine?”
“Stop! You are hurting me,” exclaimed Karol.
“Hurting YOU?” yelled Rickard. “What can YOU possibly know about being hurt?”
Mariusz’ eyes welled up with tears, and he began to shake all over. “I am only human. Yes, I am fucked up – I have made some bad decisions and acted badly – and I have hurt many people. But I have also been hurt – very hurt – many, many times. I am afraid to love, and to be loved. Can’t you see that?”
Rickard released his hold on Mariusz, and Mariusz slumped to the restroom floor, not daring to look up into Rickard’s hard glare. “I have apologised to you for stealing. I had no more to give, and was not ready for a relationship then. But I have changed – I have grown since then, Rickard. I am in love – yes, damn it! I am in love with Bertrand. He is a good man – and he trusts me and treats me with love and respect.”
Rickard turned away, saying: “I offered you love and respect; and what did you do with it? You betrayed me, you stole from me – and you left me twice, telling me that I was a fool to fall in love with a whore. Who is your next fool – your next victim after Bertrand? Have you planned that one out?”
Mariusz was sobbing: “It’s not like that Rickard – honest! We love each other, and as soon as he talks to Alain when we get back to Paris then –”
“Do you really understand anything, Karol? Do you think people are characters in a film or a book? This is about real people – with real life histories, and real emotions. Do you plan on stealing Bertrand away from poor Alain? What can you offer Bertrand? He still thinks your fucking name is ‘Mariusz’! That’s how ‘honest’ your love for Bertrand is!”
“But I have tried to tell him everything,” protested Karol. “He doesn’t care about my past – only the person I am now, and our love for each other.”
“Right!” said Rickard, sarcastically. “I remember also saying such stupid things when I had fallen into your web. What do you suppose Bertrand would say if he did – indeed – find out the truth? Who and what you really are! And that you not only have gotten your Polish whore asshole fucked by every horny gay man in Oslo (and God knows where else), but that you also have fucked with his best friend “William” – and not so very long ago. I have half-a-mind to have a little talk with Bertrand – for his own good!”
“No, please don’t Rickard! I beg you!” cried out Karol, rather desperately. “What do you want from me? Tell me what I can do to make this okay!”
Rickard felt embarrassed by Karol’s vulnerability and the desperation of the situation, but he could not get past his own pain and humiliation. He walked over to the sink and splashed some water on his face and washed his hands, saying: “You cannot do a damn thing for me ‘Mariusz’! You have done enough. I wouldn’t touch you with a two-meter-long pole, let alone my dick. But this is not yet over between us – mark my word; and you’d better watch your back ‘Bitch’!” And with that he left the WC. Mariusz cried out: “Don’t let the door hit you in your back Rickard!”
All went reasonably well through the lunch, and when we eventually returned to the hotel Rickard and I began discussing the events at the restaurant, and Karol’s relationship with Bertrand. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. It was Alain. He had just arrived in London (without Émile – they had broken up; Alain did not want to lose Bertrand) and planned to surprise Bertrand at the exhibition opening. The hotel receptionist had given him our room number.
We talked for about two hours – getting caught up. Rickard told Alain about Karol, that he was not only a man whore but also a liar and a thief, and that he feared he would hurt Bertrand – it was Karol’s ‘nature’ to hurt and use other men.
I tried to play the devil’s advocate, thinking I would say: “In all truth, I have never seen such a glow in Bertrand as now.” But I only said: “I am certain that this summer fling will soon fade, Alain. Once Bertrand sees that you have come to the opening and you assure him that you love him more than ever – then everything will be back to normal – maybe even better than before!”
“Perhaps,” said Alain. “But perhaps I also must use stronger means – like telling Bertrand who and what his precious ‘Mariusz’ really is. I never really liked this ‘Mariusz’ – he seemed sleazy and shifty-eyed the night I first met him at Comme un baiser. Émile didn’t like him either.”
“Ahh – Émile!” I said. “You have not exactly been the archetype of the ‘faithful lover’ yourself Alain. Did you not become infatuated with this Émile? Are you aware how hurt Bertrand is over that? Do not do anything foolish, Alain.”
“Billy – I think that Alain has every –”
“No, Rickard” I said. “This is not about you and Karol, and your need for revenge – or to teach Karol a lesson. This is about Alain getting back together with his life partner: Bertrand.”
Alain thanked us for the conversation, kissed me on the cheeks and mouth, and gave Rickard an especially good hug. I had an uneasy feeling in my gut when I shut the hotel room door.
“This is not going to be very comfortable,” I said.
“What do you mean?” asked Rickard.
“I think Alain will do anything to win Bertrand back. He will not think twice about hurting Karol (… I mean Mariusz)”.
“Fuck Karol!” retorts Rickard. “I hope he gets everything he deserves … Now get over here now! I need to get my dick sucked, and I want to bugger you ‘English-style’ afterwards.”
Rickard did not have to repeat himself. I got undressed ‘in a jiffy’.
The morning of the exhibition opening Alain spotted Mariusz downstairs in the hotel lobby, talking with one of the receptionists. Bertrand had asked him to inquire after several London newspapers in order to see the pre-exhibition reviews written after the critics and cultural journalists had been to the exhibition preview two days before. Mariusz looked good, with his new haircut, his fashionable outfit, and sporting a self-confidence and openness that made him look quite different from when Alain had met him at the club in Paris several months ago. After sizing up his ‘competition’ for a few seconds, Alain sauntered over to the reception desk and stood in back of Mariusz. Alain discreetly cupped Mariusz’ right buttock with his left hand and whispered: “Bonjour, mon ami.”
Mariusz almost jumped out of his skin, and quickly turned around to see a smiling Alain. “Oh, it is you Alain! We didn’t think you were coming. Bertrand will be very happy to see you. And where is Émile?”
Alain replied: “Émile is back in Paris – he has work to do. So you and Bertrand are here together? I thought you were back in Poland – or perhaps in Scandinavia. Don’t you have a job that requires your presence?”
“I am sort of in-between jobs at the moment,” said Mariusz, looking a bit embarrassed by the awkwardness of the situation and Alain’s comments and questions. “I was just inquiring about newspapers for Bertrand. There were some critics and journalists at the exhibition preview yesterday, and we – I mean Bertrand – is curious about what they may have written. Bertrand is in the shower, and we were just about to have a late breakfast. Perhaps you would like to join us in about a half hour? I am certain that –”
“Thanks anyway, but I plan on making a surprise entrance at the exhibition opening this afternoon, and I would appreciate it if you did not spoil Bertrand’s surprise by telling him you saw me or that you have spoken with me. Besides, my little ‘high-maintenance harlot’, I think you and I have something important to discuss.”
Mariusz got an uneasy feeling as he looked into Alain’s hawk-like eyes that portrayed more than just a small degree of seriousness. “I really have to get back to the hotel room, as Bertrand is waiting for me – I mean the newspapers. Perhaps we could talk after the exhibition opening. How long are you staying in London?”
Alain grabbed Mariusz firmly by the arm and retorted: “Non, non – we are going to have a little tête à tête right now!” And with that he pulled Mariusz away from the reception desk and over to a secluded corner in the lobby.
“Sit down!” barked Alain.
Mariusz felt very uncomfortable with Alain’s demeanour, but decided to comply so that the situation did not get further out-of-hand. At the same time he felt a bit indignant at the treatment he was receiving. He had never liked Alain anyway – even though he had only met him once before at the club in Paris. And he knew how much he had hurt Bertrand by running off for the entire summer with that twerp Émile. “Okay, you have gotten my attention. What do you want to tell me?” asked Mariusz, in a half-bitchy tone.
“Don’t use that tone with me, Karol!” retorted Alain, piercing Mariusz with his hardened eyes.
Mariusz gulped and tried to hide his surprise, but Alain saw through the pretence. “Yes, I know who and WHAT you are, Karol. You see, I had a little talk with William and Rickard yesterday. Rickard has filled me in on your résumé. Just how long did you think you could keep all this a secret from everyone? And what do you intend to do to poor Bertrand?”
Mariusz was scared now. “I am not doing anything to Bertrand. We are in love – and it really does not have anything to do with you anymore since you are now together with –”
Alain cut him off: “You obnoxious little gold-digging tramp!” Alain was grabbing Mariusz’ shirt with his right hand which was curled up in a fist. “You have wormed your way into my relationship, lived together and fucked with my lover all summer long, lived off Bertrand as if he were your newest ‘Sugar Daddy’, taken your place as the star model of his exhibition – and you now sit here and tell me it is none of my fucking business! Merde! Who the fuck do you think you are? You conniving little –” He then released his grip on Mariusz’ shirt and lowered his voice, having noticed that they were attracting the attention of several persons in the hotel lobby.
Mariusz looked miserable. “I love Bertrand, and I will not give him up without a fight.”
Alain sneered: “Not without a fight? What do you have to offer Bertrand? A little ass, which is probably rotten with disease and which surely bears the scars of being ravaged by a thousand dicks? You don’t seem to own a nail in a wall, and probably cannot even pour your own piss out of a pot. And besides, when I tell Bertrand about your lies and deception I am certain that he will drop you like the bad germ you are. Does Bertrand even know what your real name is? Probably not. You have stolen my lover from me – and therefore you have no rights in this matter. I will reclaim that which is mine. That you can be sure of.”
Mariusz felt desperate. He put his hand on Alain’s thigh and begged: “Please, Alain. Please do not tell Bertrand – not in this way. I have tried to tell him about my past, but he has not wanted to hear about it. He says it does not matter to him, and that he does not want to know. But I feel that he should know who I have been – in order to understand me and to truly know how much I love him. But please let me tell him in my own way. I beg this of you! Is there nothing I can do to persuade you?”
Alain looked down at Mariusz’ hand which was still resting on his thigh: “So you think you can buy me off with a little ass? Forget it baby. I will ‘fuck you’ up, but my cock will never find its way into your dirty hole. But keep coming with offers – it only gives me more to tell Bertrand about your true character and intentions.”
Mariusz removed his hand from Alain’s thigh immediately and exclaimed: “You have misunderstood me, Alain. I would never cheat on Bertrand – and certainly not with you.” Feeling hurt, he then added: “Besides, you are possibly the last person on the planet I would let anywhere near my ass.”
“Is that right?” chuckled Alain. “Well, my little friend. We shall see how much you enjoy your “dickless fuck”. I am giving you an ultimatum: either you skip town immediately – before the exhibition opening, and without explanation to Bertrand – or I tell Bertrand your entire sordid story.” And with that, Alain looked at his watch and said: “I must go out to do some shopping. I do not want to show up at the exhibition opening empty-handed. I think we understand each other, and there is really not much more to say.” Mariusz had tears in his eyes as he watched Alain stand up. Just before turning around to walk away, Alain briefly cupped his crotch with his hand and smiled victoriously.
Mariusz gathered up the newspapers and walked across the hotel lobby to the elevators. When he reached the hotel room Bertrand was sitting on the bed, fully dressed.
“There you are! I was starting to wonder if everything was all right. Did you get the newspapers? Have you looked for the reviews of the exhibition?”
“Here they are,” said Mariusz, forcing a smile. “It took longer than I thought downstairs. I have not looked at the newspapers yet. I thought you should be the first to see them.”
“You look a little despondent, mon cher!” said Bertrand, kissing Mariusz on the forehead. “Are you sure that everything is okay?”
“Yeah – I just have a bit on my mind. I need to go do a little shopping before the exhibition opening. I guess you also have some last minute details to attend to. I think I will eat breakfast out while I am shopping, and meet you at the gallery a little before the opening – say a quarter to four. Is that okay?”
“Of course, my love. And you are quite right. I do have some things to attend to at the gallery. I will grab an espresso and a baguette and just head right over to the gallery. I will see you in a few hours then?”
Mariusz kissed Bertrand on the lips, gave him a good hug and responded: “Yes, at a quarter to four at the gallery. I am quite excited for you.” Mariusz fought back the tears as he watched Bertrand leave the hotel room, wondering if they had just kissed for the very last time.
When Bertrand reached the gallery he was pleased to see that the four-room locale was bustling with handsome men and women scampering about. Some were placing bottles of champagne, red wine and Perrier on tables in the largest room, while others were bringing in silver trays with cheeses and canapés. All the works of art were already perfectly hung and placed in the respective rooms, and Bertrand’s colourful paintings – in the largest room – looked magnificent under the track lighting. Bertrand’s friends, the gallery owners, were beaming with pride and excitement as they greeted Bertrand. “Bertrand – you have arrived! Come have a glass of champagne with us and the other exhibitors. And you must see the wonderful reviews of the exhibition hanging on the wall over here!”
Bertrand replied: “It all looks fantastic! I have the newspapers with me, but have not had a chance to read the reviews yet.”
Bertrand was quite pleased with the reviews, especially that of the reviewer Malcolm Friendly who wrote: ‘This is an opening London will not soon forget. The exhibition by these talented international artists is both beautiful to look at, and provocative. Especially noteworthy are the group of paintings entitled ‘Sleaze’ by the French artist Bertrand Massenet, who has created an almost mystical portrayal of the male rectum, depicting otherwise private and purely functional bodily orifices as adventurous and spiritual portals into the unknown. While the female vagina has frequently been the theme of contemporary artists, the male rectum has (until now) mostly been overlooked – other than in explicit pornographic works. Massenet approaches this delicate subject matter with intelligence, sensitivity and good craftsmanship.”
After reading the reviews, Bertrand joined his fellow exhibitors and congratulated them on their works of art and the good reviews. They drank … making toasts to one another and to the gallery owners, and chatted until the first visitors arrived a few minutes before four o’clock. Bertrand anxiously looked around for Mariusz, who had not arrived yet, when he suddenly saw William and Rickard enter the gallery.
“Billy! And Rickard!” he exclaimed, kissing them customarily and affectionately on the cheeks and mouths. “So good to see you, my friends!!” Isn’t it a beautiful gallery? Come, have a glass of champagne!”
“Where is Mariusz?” asked Rickard, ignoring William’s nudging at his back in an attempt to get him to hush up on that topic. Just at that moment they heard sirens squealing a block away, and William noticed that Rickard looked disappointed – probably because Mariusz had not shown up. Bertrand seemed to sense that something was amiss and darted over to the window to see what the commotion outside was all about. Rickard was about to continue his line of questioning when I stopped him by whispering into his ear: “This is not our business.”
“Mariusz had some errands to run,” replied Bertrand. “I am sure he will arrive shortly. And how are you today, my dear Billy? Did you sleep well? Was it difficult to find the gallery?”
I replied: “No, not at all. We ate brunch and walked around the city for a couple of hours, and then just took a taxicab over here. I am so proud of you, Bertrand! This is the most exciting show of yours I have seen so far! Congratulations!”
“Yes, it is quite amazing,” added Rickard politely, as he put his arm around Billy.
Rickard then muttered: “There is Mariusz!”
Mariusz had decided to go against Alain’s threats. He had arrived with a bottle of champagne and a dozen Calla lilies in his hands. Bertrand’s eyes lit up when he saw Mariusz coming toward him, but he could not help but notice that his ‘little ray of sunshine’ looked a bit apprehensive. “Here you are, my sweet buns! Ahhh, now I see what errands you had to run. These are beautiful! And you remembered that Calla lilies are my favourite flowers, too! I love you sooo much! Come have a glass of champagne with us.”
Mariusz looked at William and Rickard worriedly. He offered to show them where the refreshments were, and when they were standing alone by themselves Rickard said to Mariusz: “Don’t worry Karol. I can see you really care for Bertrand, and he for you. But if you hurt him like you hurt me, I will personally tell Bertrand – and anyone else who is interested – all about you.”
Mariusz looked at Rickard with gratitude, and said: “Thank you! I do really love Bertrand – and I will do my best to make this relationship work.”
And then they returned to join Bertrand, who was addressing the exhibition visitors and who proudly exclaimed: “And now I would like to present my favourite model, and my lover: Mariusz!”
Mariusz beamed with joy and excitement, and they kissed in front of the applauding crowd.
Unknown to the people inside the gallery, there had been a serious accident just a block away. Alain had run across a busy street, thinking that he must not be late. He had decided to try to talk to Bertrand just before the opening. Alain had bought a beautiful bouquet of roses and fern leaves and a bottle of expensive Scotch whiskey. He hadn’t seen the car careening around the corner, attempting to make the turn a split second before the light changed to red. It struck Alain from behind, sending his body flying in slow motion up into the air – and then crashing down onto the street – broken, limp and lifeless.
The sirens sounded again as they sped away with Alain’s corpse, but the clapping of the crowd at the gallery drowned out all external noise. Bertrand and Mariusz gazed deeply into each others’ eyes at the final loving and highly emotional consummation of their now official relationship.
Several days later, in New York City.
Mariusz was deeply buried in his writing. The Chelsea Corner Cafe was fairly empty as most working people had already gotten their morning coffee and breakfast to go, and were either sitting at their desks at their jobs or were en route to appointments. He had the day to himself, as Bertrand and William were visiting art galleries. He did not know where Rickard was … and did not care. It was good to have a day on his own. He and Bertrand had been together almost constantly since they arrived in New York City from London – now almost seven days ago. They would return to Paris tomorrow. And then Mariusz must find proper work, and get his acting career back on track – somehow.
“Excuse me! Are these papers yours? Sorry. Should I ask you in Polish? You are Polish, right?”
Startled, Mariusz looked up at the stranger who was standing above him, holding the loose papers in his hand. He was equally as surprised by the abruptness of the interruption as he was by the question about his being Polish. Mariusz glanced at the intruder’s face and then at the papers he was holding in his hands and replied: “Yes, they are mine. Thank you! But how did you …?”
“How did I know that you speak Polish? I saw the Polish newspaper on the table. My name is Mieczyslaw but most people just call me ‘Mischa’ … Mieczyslaw is just too difficult for most Americans to pronounce. I was born here in New York, but my father is Polish and my mother is Italian-American. I grew up with Polish as a second language in the home. How about you? Are you American or Polish?”
Mariusz’ facial muscles suddenly relaxed into a casual smile, and he replied while extending his hand to greet Mischa: “Hi! My name is Mariusz, but the name on my birth certificate is Karol. I am here on vacation with some friends. I was just sitting here writing some poetry.”
Mariusz blushed. “My written English is not perfect, and I thought that trying to write a little in English would help me to learn to express myself better. I am really not a poet or a writer. It was my friend’s idea that I try this. He always tells me that I have so many rich experiences and intuition about things and people … and (how do you say?) situations.”
Mischa smiled at the handsome young man and as they both now felt the awkwardness of the ensuing silence, Mariusz asked him if he would care to join him for a cup of coffee.”
“Why, sure!” replied Mischa. “If you are certain that I am not disturbing you. Are you waiting for your friends?”
“No, no” said Mariusz. “Please sit down. My lover Bertrand and one of our friends are running around visiting art galleries all day today.”
Now it was Mischa’s turn to blush. “Bertrand? That is a man’s name, is it not?”
“Of course,” replied Mariusz, laughing and then he began to pale a bit as he exclaimed: “Oh! You thought that I am … I mean, you did not know that I am … I’m sorry. I am being silly. My name is Mariusz, and I am gay!”
Mischa was taken aback by Mariusz’ discomfort but liked the way he saved the situation in a so direct fashion … ‘not bad for a non-New Yorker’ he thought. “No problem,” he replied. “So am I … I think.”
“You think? How can you not know?” retorted Mariusz.
“I do not have any practical experience. You see, I am a Jesuit priest and I have taken a vow of celibacy, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to live a sex-less life while I have so many basic sexual urges and an undercurrent of feelings for other men.”
“I know all about these things, Mischa. I grew up in a Catholic home. My family is so fucking homophobic, and one of my relatives is a ‘hypocreep’.”
“Hypocreep?” exclaimed Mischa in puzzlement.
“You know … he acts like he is very heterosexual and ‘normal’, but secretly has sex with other men when he feels for it.”
“Oh,” laughed Mischa. “You mean he is a ‘hypocrite!’ Yes, this is my world too. Being in the priesthood is much the same as the American military. Officially there are no homosexual priests because no one practices sex, but unofficially anywhere possibly between 15% and 50% of priests are homosexual. The official policy is much like that of the military: “Don’t ask and don’t tell.”
“But how do you know if you are gay if you have never had sex? Have you never been to a gay bar or a gay sauna?” asked Mariusz.
Mischa seemed uncomfortable with the personal direction of the conversation, but he was bursting inside … so great was his need to talk to someone; perhaps it was best to talk to someone he did not know, and who had nothing to do with his daily lifestyle and work. “Well, I do have my urges … both in thoughts and in physical reactions to certain situations. Please excuse my shyness. I am not used to talking about these things…”
“Hey, I understand. We can talk about something else – it is okay; really!”
“No,” said Mischa. “This conversation is unexpected, and a little uncomfortable, but I think it is good for me to finally talk about these things a little. Yes, I have ventured into a few gay bars and one gay cinema but I was not confident enough to speak to anyone in the bars, and I only had sex with myself at the cinema. I felt much shame afterwards, and the experience still haunts me … I cannot get the images and feelings out of my mind.”
“Welcome to my world, Mischa!” joked Mariusz. “I can confess to you that I also sometimes deny myself sex for periods of time, but my periodic celibacy has nothing to do with religion or morals. I do it to build up my passion and my stock of semen.”
Mischa was startled by Mariusz’ remark, but felt the warmth of passion flushing into his face and the blood rushing to his genitals. Mariusz was definitely handsome, and quite different from the various gay clone types Mischa had seen on the streets and in the bars of Manhattan. He wondered if he had been able to strike up a conversation with Mariusz had he known that he was homosexual from the beginning of their meeting. Perhaps he (Mischa) had developed this radar thing … what is it called: oh yes, ‘gaydar’. Mischa had a million questions to ask Mariusz, including: ‘What is gay life like for you?’ ‘How long have you been gay?’ ‘How do you relate to HIV/AIDS?’ ‘What is it like having a lover?’, and also some questions he wanted to pose, but did not dare: ‘Do you and your lover have a monogamous or open relationship?’ ‘What do you like to do sexually?’ Instead he asked: “Can I take a look at your poetry?”
“Uhhhh … I don’t … well I guess it would be okay. But this must be solely between us – you understand – entre nous! I have never shared any writings with anyone other than my friend Thérèse and (just recently) Bertrand.”
“Entre nous”, commented Mischa. “Mais certainement! And I hope that all we speak of also will be strictly ‘entre nous’ my friend,” picking up Mariusz’ pages of scribbled poetry. Mischa began to blush as he started to read the poems, and Mariusz piped: “I should warn you that they are somewhat sexual in nature, but not especially X-rated.”
Mischa read the following poems:
Celluloid Sex Magic.
Slap me with your sex magic,
And drive me home via my nipples.
I’ve found my silver lining
In the strand of pre-cum
Drooling from your precipice.
Tease me with the flex
Of your oiled biceps
As you grab me by the hair
And draw me into the
Chasm of celluloid beauty.
Tempt me, force yourself upon me,
And — for God’s sake — stay in my
Consciousness while I examine
The photo on the next page.
Being the old-fashioned faggot
That I am, I delight in
Chasing straight boys
Until they catch me.
I buy them drinks,
Light their cigarettes,
And tell them they are
The biggest and the best.
Then I take them home
And give them what they want
And deserve —
As deep and as hard as
Mischa almost gagged on his coffee at the last poem, spilling the dark liquid all over his shirt. He excused himself to go to the WC, and returned after some time – more composed in sentiment but still with a coffee-stained shirt. “I was unable to get the coffee stain out. I am sorry … I look a mess.”
Mariusz laughed and said: “It is good to see you loosen up a bit. If only the stain had been from wine or beer … or perhaps some ‘bodily fluid’…” Mischa looked at him … first with confusion, and then suddenly uttered a nervous and controlled laugh. He muttered “Dear God!” under his breath, and looked around the cafe in embarrassment.
“You look so adorable right now!” exclaimed Mariusz, flirtingly. “Some guys find angry men sexy. I get totally turned on by ‘blushing blokes’.”
“Blushing blokes?” retorted Mischa. “Surely you are teasing me now?”
“You ARE adorable, and not so bad on the eyes either,” replied Mariusz. “Listen! I am staying at a small hotel just a couple of blocks from here. Bertrand is out for the day, and I am enjoying talking with you. I do not know anyone else here in Manhattan. Perhaps we could go back to my hotel and you can change your shirt, and then we could maybe take the Staten Island ferry, which I have heard so much about. What do you think? Do you have time, and would you like to spend a little more time together?”
Mischa was quietly freaking out inside himself. His short-cropped dark hair barely held back the beads of sweat threatening to stream downwards over his forehead – revealing his fear … and his excitement. His first thought was to tell a lie … to say that he was sorry but that he had another important appointment which could not be changed at the last minute. But Mischa was tired of lying about his urges, his sexuality … he recognized this opportunity as his window to a new identity – no matter what happened, he had perhaps just this one chance to share of himself in feelings and (dare he think it?) perhaps also physically with another person. ‘No, Mischa’, he thought to himself. ‘Not with another person, but with another MAN!’ He bit his lip slightly, looked into Mariusz’ open face and mumbled: “Sure, why not?”
Mischa felt sheepish as they strolled up to the receptionist’s desk at Mariusz’ hotel and asked for the key to the room. The male receptionist did not react at all, to Mischa’s surprise (and perhaps a little to his disappointment, as his heart was racing with expectation). Once inside the modest hotel room Mariusz disappeared into the bedroom and returned to find Mischa still standing in the entrance hallway. “Loosen up, Mischa! Here is a clean t-shirt and a long-sleeved shirt you can borrow … or even keep. I think we wear about the same size. If you wish to shower, you will find clean towels in the bathroom. Make yourself at home.”
“Thank you,” replied Mischa, extending his hand. Mariusz took Mischa’s hand into his own, lifted it to his lips and kissed Mischa’s hand … smiling and winking in a way that was at once both reassuring and alluring. Mischa blushed yet again, and hurried into the bathroom. No sooner had he entered the shower and turned away from the entrance to the bathroom than did he feel a hand graze his shoulder, a kiss touch the back of his neck, and the genitals of another man press up against his buttocks. He pulled away in shock and embarrassment, and quickly turned around … covering his genitals, and making the sign of the cross over his face and chest. “Mariusz! What are you doing?” he exclaimed.
But Mariusz had already fallen to his knees and had engulfed Mischa’s 16 centimeter-long virgin cock deep down his throat. Mischa tried to push him away, but Mariusz was too strong, too determined … and too talented. Mischa blasted a healthy, long-overdue load of hot jizz almost immediately, and in true Christian-style managed to suppress his moaning to a mere whisper … despite the difficulty given the intensity of the orgasm. Within seconds Mariusz had pulled Mischa into the adjoining bedroom and was straddling Mischa’ face – pressing his asshole and balls into Mischa’s face while stroking his cock at close hold over Mischa’s now big eyes. It did not take long for Mariusz to blow his horny, young ex-prostitute load all over Mischa’s face, the pillow and headboard … and even the wall behind the bed. “Jesus fucking Chri…!” exclaimed Mariusz, stopping himself when he realised that he was cursing in the worse possible way in front of a priest. “I’m sorry for the language, and for all the cum … but that was HOT!” Mariusz then proceeded to lick the sticky white cream from Mischa’s face, and finally plunged his tongue deep past Mischa’s tight and inexperienced lips. He reached his right hand back behind himself, thinking he would grab hold of Mischa’s cock and kiss it in gratitude, and quickly discovered that Mischa was hard again. In fact, his cock was now throbbing even more than before. There was only one thing to do … and they both knew it. Mariusz quickly pulled off Mischa, pushed him aside, and them scrambled to his knees saying: “Fuck me Mischa. I want to be your first!”
Mischa hesitated, mumbling “I don’t think we should … I mean, I don’t know if I can …”
Mariusz grabbed tightly onto Mischa’s swollen dick and replied: “You can Mischa, believe me. You can … and you must!” And with that he reached back and spread his ass cheeks, exposing his glorious portal for his novice’s bulging eyes. “Touch it.”
Mariusz patiently instructed Mischa in the art of anal foreplay, guiding him through the rituals of licking, sucking and fingering; and finally ripped open a condom package and stretched the rubber over Mischa’s fully-erect prick. Mischa couldn’t contain himself, and slowly pressed his hungry maleness into Mariusz’ opening. “That’s it Mischa,” encouraged Mariusz. “Now deeper … and harder.” As Mischa’s penetration gave way to free-fucking they both moaned with pleasure until Mischa grunted: “I am sorry. I have come.” Mischa came immediately … making a mess of the bed sheets, and they both collapsed into each others’ arms; exhausted, sweaty and depleted both physically and emotionally. Mariusz then kissed Mischa – this time more with tenderness than passion, and Mischa willingly accepted the loving gesture with affection and gratitude. “Thank you … you do not know what this means to me …” Mariusz put his right index finger on Mischa’s lips, at once silencing him. “Just enjoy this moment, my friend,” said Mariusz and snuggled into Mischa’s arms and left shoulder.
After a shower, Mariusz suggested that they get dressed and take the subway downtown. He still wanted to experience the Staten Island ferry. He had heard of a good Mexican restaurant on Staten Island and thought that they could eat lunch there. Mischa was torn. He mostly wanted to run away … and repent his actions, but he couldn’t refuse Mariusz’ offer to spend more time together. Besides, there was much Mischa wanted to know about being gay … and about Mariusz. And so it was that he consented to a ride on the ferry and lunch at the restaurant. Mischa had never before had these feelings for another person; but he realised that this was a sexual and emotional breakthrough for himself … and not necessarily the beginning of a prolonged love affair or relationship. That realisation was both comforting … and troubling. Not only had he officially broken his vow of celibacy, not only had he had (and enjoyed) sex with another man … but he had had sexual relations with another person outside of the sacrament of marriage (and even without the intent of eventual marriage). However frightening the experience felt, he knew he had gone beyond the point of return … he must find out where the road leads to, and who he (in fact) really is.
Mariusz was dressed first and was on his way to the mini bar to get a couple of sodas when he heard a knock on the door. It must be the maid wanting to clean, he thought. He called out to Mischa: “Mischa, I think the maid is at the door. Why don’t you continue getting dressed in the bathroom while I let her in.” As he heard Mischa close the bathroom door behind himself he ran his fingers through his still wet hair and proceeded towards the entrance of the hotel room. He froze stiff when he opened the door: it was Rickard!
“Rickard! What are you doing here?” he exclaimed.
“Good morning to you too, Karol Mariusz,” said Rickard noting the discomfort between them. “Since William and Bertrand are out visiting art galleries today I thought you and I could spend a couple of hours together, and perhaps talk through our differences once and for all. I acted like an asshole in London, and I thought it would good for us to put things right before you and Bertrand return to Paris tomorrow. Besides, it will make things more comfortable for the four of us when we go out to dinner tonight if you and I have called a truce.”
Mariusz replied: “That is a good thought and a kind gesture, Rickard. However, you have caught me at a bad time. I have other plans, and am just on my way out the door. I thought it was the hotel maid at the door and …”
Just then Mischa walked out of the bathroom and asked: “Mariusz, do you have another shirt that is cut a little looser. This one is a little tight around my shoulders.”
Mariusz replied: “Sure, just a minute!”. He then turned to Rickard and said: “Rickard, I feel like we finished our discussion in London. We have both moved on – you with William, and I with Bertrand. We will possibly never be the best of friends again, but we do not need to drag out any old scenarios each time we come in contact with one another. Let us spare ourselves and our lovers this indignity. I suggest that we just …”
“You suggest that we just what, Karol?” barked Rickard. “Who is that in the hotel room with you? I thought you had changed. That you are so ‘in love’ with your Bertrand. I was right all along. Let me in!” And with that he pushed Mariusz aside and stormed into the hotel room, and soon came face-to-face with a startled and embarrassed Mischa, standing in the middle of the room holding a shirt in his hand.
“Who the hell are you?” demanded Rickard in a hostile tone.
“Leave him alone, Rickard,” said a notably worried Mariusz. “He is a friend who needed a fresh shirt after he spilled coffee on himself. We stopped by here on our way out.”
Rickard glared at Mariusz and retorted: “Karol, I am not stupid. I have learned from the ‘best’ – remember? You both have wet hair, for Christssake!” Turning back to Mischa, who was very uncomfortable in the developing situation, he repeated: “So, who are you?”
Mariusz interjected: “That is none of your business, Rickard. Now please leave. I do not want another one of your drama queen scenes. I am on vacation.”
“Yeah, this was supposed to be my vacation with William … and suddenly you and Bertrand decide to tag along. Don’t tell me that was Bertrand’s idea Mariusz. What are you fucking doing here in New York anyway … what are you up to now?” Rickard was quite hot around the collar.
“You really need to calm down Rickard. This is personal, and does not involve Mischa. To tell you the truth, who Mischa is and what he is doing here does not concern you either. You know nothing about my relationship with Bertrand, and neither he nor I need a moral protector or controller. And another thing, neither Bertrand nor I horned in on your vacation. Your lover William invited us. I was originally against it, but Bertrand felt we needed a vacation before returning to Paris and when he managed to get airline tickets at the last minute I felt I could not say ‘no’.” Now Mariusz was equally worked up. He had had enough of Rickard’s outbursts and threats. “We finished this discussion about our past in London, and we reached an agreement. I expect you to let go of the past …”
But Rickard was staring at Mischa, looking him over from head to feet. “So your name is ‘Mischa’! What kind of name is that for an American?”
Mischa thought that he could perhaps calm things down if he talked to the man. That was – after all – an important part of his work as a priest: listening and talking to people. He reached out his hand to greet Rickard saying: “My formal name is actually ‘Mieczyslaw’. It is Polish. Mischa is easier for people here to pronounce and remember, so I usually just use it.”
Rickard took his hand with an extra hard handshake, hoping to counteract Mischa’s gesture with an air of formality and masculine superiority. He then turned to face Mariusz, laughing and uttered with sarcasm: “Now why am I not surprised at this? This is rich, Mariusz. Not only do you have a half-dressed man in your hotel room in the middle of the day, but he also has two names and you are also both …”
“Watch your mouth now, Rickard!” shouted Mariusz. “You are about to say something very stupid. And show some respect, please! The man is a Jesuit priest.” As soon as he had said the word ‘priest’ Mariusz knew that he had opened a new can of worms. Sure enough, Rickard picked up on this remark immediately.
“A priest, you say?” replied Rickard. “Well isn’t that purr-fect! When the cat is away the mice immediately start to play. I thought priests were supposed to take a vow of celibacy. So you are cheating on Bertrand, and Mischa is cheating on God!” Rickard laughed until tears began to well up in his eyes. “Two Polish man sluts find each other …”
Mischa began to lose his ‘cool’. “Sir, I am not a slut … and I would frankly …”
“Save it – both of you. I get the picture.” And turning to Mariusz he said: “Karol, I came here bearing an olive branch – hoping to reach out to you and resolve our past differences. But I see that I have been right all along; with you it’s all just a series of lies – from start to finish.” And turning to Mischa he said: “Enjoy yourselves boys”, before he hurried out the door.
Mariusz approached Mischa and tried to hug him, saying: “I am so sorry. Don’t pay any attention to anything Rickard said. He is an ex-lover and he has never gotten over me. I should never have …”
Mischa pulled away, quietly replying: “Mariusz. This was obviously a mistake. I really think that I should go. Where did I put my shirt?”
“Look, Mischa. I understand that you are upset … and probably angry as well. But sometimes things happen for reasons we do not understand until much later. I think that perhaps it was (how do you say?) providence that we met each other at the cafe, that we ended up here at my hotel room, that we made love, and that you truly ‘came out’ to yourself for the first time. And perhaps it is also ‘providence’ that Rickard showed up here and confronted us. In doing so he has forced us to confront ourselves – both how we have been and how we are becoming. No one can be free to change and grow as long as we hold onto our past identities, and allow others to continuously regard us in outdated ways.”
Mischa looked away, trying to avoid Mariusz intense gaze. “I don’t know, Mariusz. So much has happened today … perhaps too much, and too fast.”
Mariusz put his right hand on Mischa’s left shoulder and continued: “Mischa, the way I see it we have two choices right now. We can either immediately part our ways for good, or we can spend a couple of more hours together in celebration of a beautiful connection and a life-changing breakthrough for you. If we choose the former I fear that we will buy into Rickard’s perverted view of our lovemaking; but if we choose the latter I believe that we can both move forward into our future lives with good memories, and a sense of having loved and been loved (if only for some hours) – which would have a positive effect on how we see ourselves and ultimately how the world regards us. We can drop the Mexican restaurant if you wish. Perhaps only a short ride on the Staten Island ferry – we don’t even have to get off the boat.”
Mischa looked into Mariusz’ eyes and smiled, saying: “Mariusz, you are a very wise and sensitive man. You should become a priest.” Mariusz was startled by this remark but let Mischa continue talking without interruption. “I remember when I was a young boy my priest once told me that I would probably always wear the sackcloth. I always thought that that was a strange thing to say to a boy … at such an impressionable age. But I see what he meant now. I have always struggled between finding new ways of being and expressing myself and maintaining the status quo, which has meant that I have put myself through a lot of internal suffering all my life. But now, like you say, it is time for me to put away the sackcloth, climb down from the cross and to accept my humanity as an expression of the God within me. In other words, practice what I preach to others.”
Mariusz had sat down on the little sofa by the window, and Mischa sat down beside him adding: “You are right about many things you have said Mariusz. This is a turning point for me … and while I do not know where today’s breakthrough will lead me, I do know that I must begin to think positively about myself and my sexuality. So yes, I would like to spend a couple of hours more with you – to cap off this incredible sharing in a positive and loving way. I only hope that I have not made problems for you and your lover … or your friends …”
“Don’t think about that at all, Mischa!” assured Mariusz. “Bertrand and I love each other, are committed to one another and we have a healthy perspective about sex in and outside of our relationship. My conflict with Rickard is my problem, and it has nothing to do with you … or with him walking in on our visit together. He will either get over me soon, or he won’t. My only responsibility is to myself. I refuse to let his problems become mine.” Mariusz leaned over and kissed Mischa on the lips. Mischa returned the kiss, saying: “We had better get going before …”
Mariusz chimed in: “Before we start undressing each other again, and before someone else knocks at the door?”
Mischa replied: “Yeah, something like that.”
Mariusz grinned and said: “I hear you loud and clear. I will get you another shirt – please accept it as my gift to you. By the way, you have heard the saying ‘once you step outside of the closet it is almost impossible to get back into it’? Gay urges are addictive, and you are definitely a heavenly gift to gay men.”
Mischa blushed, saying: “Time will tell, Mariusz. God willing, I will work this out.”
Forty minutes later they boarded the Staten Island ferry. Surprisingly, it was not very crowded and they had plenty of room to themselves on the outside deck. They stood the entire way to Staten Island and back, leaning against the guardrail on the side with a view of the Statue of Liberty. They spoke of their pasts, their families, their interests in music and art and so on. Mischa was especially intrigued by Mariusz’ background as an actor, and that he had lived so many different places at such a young age. And Mariusz respected Mischa’s courage in confronting his internal conflicts regarding religion and his gayness. When Mischa asked Mariusz what it is like living a gay lifestyle, Mariusz replied: “It is like everything else in life: sometimes it is wild and exciting, sometimes it is boring and predictable … and sometimes it really fucking sucks.” Mischa thought back over the events of the day: the fantastic sex, the intimacy, the seemingly never-ending argument with Rickard which could have been taken right off a bad television soap opera … finally, the knowledge that in another fifteen minutes or so he and Mariusz would say ‘farewell’ to each other, probably never to meet again. Mischa then reached out to take Mariusz’ hand, and they both gazed out at the approaching Manhattan skyline in silence and contentment.
“MERDE!” exclaimed William, waking up with a start. Not only were his bed sheets soaked with sweat and the comforter dishevelled due to intense dreamtime activity, but his genitals were sticky with cum. “That was an incredible dream … I can’t wait to tell Bertrand.” William eyed the pile of travel books and gay guides on his bed, and noticed that his television was still on; the volume turned off. He then remembered that he had put on a porn dvd after reading in bed. He thought to himself: “This is the day! Today I fly to Oslo, and begin my new life away from Paris.” William had a funny feeling that he had somehow gotten a glimpse into his future … almost the same kind of spooky feeling of recognition like when he had experienced déjà vu. And then he thought, perhaps I will wait with telling Bertrand all about this dream.
“Artistic perfection includes planned imperfection”.
— Adam Donaldson Powell
Photo: Francis Bacon’s artist studio, National Gallery of Dublin, Ireland.