Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Excerpt from Book 2 Chapter 4

Virtue had caught BART to avoid any frustrations of being in traffic and he had felt that getting out and about in the city would be a good thing. The lunching hour was over so the streets were emptying and the temperature was warming. Even though certain spots were still tainted by the past, The Embarcadero was still very nice and he figured it would especially be so today. There would not be as many tourists, not as many transients, just enough people to be comfortably alone in public. Arriving at a bench that was not a player in any part of his past but still had a particularly nice view, he sat. It was at the further end of the dock where he could watch the cars that were practically parked in traffic overhead, and the pelicans and sea gulls below.


            Twenty minutes had passed before he saw Maurice sitting down a few piers away. He seemed to be enjoying the same pristine conditions as himself. Virtue had been carrying around the phone all this time but he had not made any trips to Bloodcount, nor had he been to the shoe store. Maurice had not contacted him either so Virtue assumed it was not that big of a deal. The phone was dead now anyway so he could not call him on the phone. Virtue debated momentarily if he should walk down to him and make himself known. The notion was not allowed to come to full consideration because another man, a younger man, around Maurice’s age came and greeted him in typical urban ritualistic fashion. This new and unknown character handed Maurice a cigarette and lit it for him. Virtue did not recall Maurice being a smoker, or even seeing him with any cigarettes but he then reminded himself of how little he really did know about this man, and how little the things were that he did remember.


            He watched them sit for a few moments and then they left as did he. On the BART ride home he wondered whom that man was and what business did he have with Maurice? He then forced himself to not think about Maurice. He forced himself to not wonder what he was doing in the city and not at work. Maybe he was just enjoying his day as he was. He forced himself to not think about whom that man was that he spoke with, that man that he left with. He was not in a relationship with him, he was not his keeper, he was not even gay so why did it matter.  It was at that moment when Virtue shut off his obsession he saw the picture of Dilibe staring back at him. On it was, him, a group of African children, and a saying that went something to the effect of


It takes a village to raise one, with your help none of them will be forgotten.”


For a moment Virtue wished that he could just push that image and the painful memories that it brought up back down and go back to thinking of Maurice. His fantasy was a lot less painful than the recollection, the reality of his past. His fantasy he could easily go in and out of when he chose. If it ever got to be to much he could come out of it. He could push Maurice away if he wanted. If he ever felt like he did today he could remind himself that it was not even real. His past was real, his pain was real and could not be pushed away the same.


Getting off the train and into his car he decided to bring Maurice his phone at Bloodcount and be done with it all. This fantasy was not healthy just as the relationship he had with Dilibe was not healthy. This fantasy that was Maurice had to stop now. He would be out of his life as soon as he gave him his phone and if he had to stop going to Bloodcount to be done with him, all the better. Virtue did not see the Fed-ex box on his doorstep until he almost tripped over it. His camera and all the accessories that it came with had arrived.


Virtue awoke from a nightmare that he thankfully could not remember. The unfortunate part was that it had fully revived him at 3:30 in the morning. This was, however, a perfect opportunity to give Maurice his phone and be done. It was cold and blustery outside. It was your typical 3am cold mixed with winters bite. The wind was wiping up trash into small dirt devils around building corners and giving strength to the stench of urine was only the seasonal, bay area touch, found downtown and in still abandon parts of West Oakland.


As much as he frequented the bars, gyms, and clubs, he could never get use to the smell. That is until the alcohol took full control of his inhibitions and turned off his senses. The smell of hot sweaty sex intoxicated him while sober. When he was under the influence, it had none. Bloodcount’s parking lot was too cold for any straggling or wandering. The wind added to the chill factor, making this one of those nights that, no matter the number of layered clothing or thickness of the flesh, this cold transcended it all. This was that cold that gnawed at one’s bones, as if unprotected. This cold, that possessed this night was internal, left out in this cold, one developed that chill that you could not warm from and had to conquer with strength of will. This was one of those winter nights that exercised one’s determination to survive.


As Virtue walked from his car to Bloodcount’s door, past the bar, and past all the people that he normally greeted on his way in, he gazed upon Maurice. He was sitting at a table in the corner with his head against the wall, going in and out of consciousness. He never noticed the other worldly chill that seemed to creep in and out of the old building as people opened and closed the door.




“Ah hey man, what’s up.” Maurice said trying to open his eyes as best he could.


“I haven’t been here in a while and I found your phone.”


“Ah cool man, I had been looking for it everywhere.”


“I was going to bring it up to your job but I did not want to get you in trouble. I know how some places can be with their guards.”


Maurice gained more cohesion remembering that he still held a drink in his hand he drank it quickly. He then refilled it and spoke,


“Man fuck them, I don’t work there anymore.”


“Oh really, I'm sorry to hear that. What happen?”


“ I don’t know, some damn retail politics and shit.  I guess I went six hours without taking a lunch and they had a fit. They said it was a write up, and since I was not past my ninety days, one write up meant termination. Basically some bullshit.


“That is kinda messed up. Did they tell you when you started about any of that?”


“Man naw, all they did was have me watch these damn videos and sign a bunch of paperwork. I think it was all because of this one chick. She was trying to get at me in the interview, but you know, I'm being professional and shit. She’s all touching and me and what not so I don’t pay it any attention. So I'm in the bathroom one night right, after everyone has gone home and its just me and her. She fucking comes in the bathroom hella bold like and while I'm pissing, grabs for my dick.”




“I know right, I was kinda stuck too. I mean I wasn’t feeling her at all so I just zipped up went out of the bathroom and played it off like nothing happen. Two days later I get the write up. Now tell me that’s not some bullshit.”


“Yeah that is some bull. You know what, I can give a friend of mine a call. He is looking for a bouncer. He owns three clubs in the city and called me the other day. He said if I knew anyone to send them his way. The thing is, you would have to work Thursday through Sunday, nights very late.”


“Shit man, I aint trippin, a job is a job, money is money.”


Virtue listened to the words escape his mouth, disobeying the part of his mind that possessed logic and reason. The purpose of coming here was to get rid of him, this Maurice. The point was to give him his phone and be done with him, not to offer him a job that could probably increase his depth in his life. The words had been spoken and as it stood, Virtue would honor them.  When Maurice found out that they were gay clubs and he might have to break up people having sex in the bathroom, in the parking lot, or on the dance floor, that might be it for him. No matter how gay friendly he might be, seeing live gay sex for the first time is something that men his age, and with his background could not and would not tolerate.


“No worries man, I’ll call him up tomorrow.”


“Man right, the fuck, on. Hey drink with me.”


Maurice poured the rest of the bottle into the now empty glass and pushed it in front of Virtue.


“I’mma get a new bottle and glass.”


Slowly he rose from his seat, balanced himself and like a child taking their first steps, he made his way to the bar. Virtue promised himself that he would not get to the point where he forgot. He would remember, and would not take this Maurice home, especially not now. His namesake broke through and stabbed his soul at how selfish and manipulative he was being. Heavily intoxicated, but staggering more like a well-versed toddler, Maurice managed the new bottle of vodka in one hand and the new glass in the other making his way back to the table.


“Aight” he said as he sat down carefully and poured the new liquor into Virtue’s old glass. “This is for a good dude that lives up to his name.”


Virtue smiled and drank. Bringing his head back to forward facing position he saw Maurice had not drank out of the glass but straight from the bottle.


“So, how did you and Ced stay in touch, over all the years, going in and out of foster care and group homes?”  Virtue asked purely out of desperation. He was searching for a conversational topic, feeling obligated to him for buying and sharing the alcohol.


“Well I guess I can tell you this, I'm drunk and I don’t give a fuck right now, plus Ced is dead and you won’t tell nobody. Ced and I use to get it back in the day. We never fucked but you know how horny teenage boys can be, and you know being in the group homes and shelters and what not we all had our cliques but Ced and I, we were our own clique. He looked out for me and I looked out for him. One night when we were in the same group home I went to go piss at like 3 in the morning and I busted in on him jacking off. I did not say nothing  you know just played it off but the next night I woke up again and again he was in there working one out. This time I saw him through the key hole. I don’t know man. I like that shit. I liked the way his dick looked to me, so I started working one out too. So a week of that shit went by then one night he said,


            ‘blood quit watching me and get in here before you get us both caught.’


So I went in and we were in there both jacking off together. He never said nothing about it but if I was not up, he would wake me up and we would go in there and both jack off together. Then one time he grabbed my shit and started stroking me, so I grabbed his shit and started stroking him. That went on for hella long then I sucked him off one night but he said he was not going to do that to me. I wasn’t trippin I just liked his dick though.  It stopped for a while because he met some chick and so did I but it picked up again our senior year in highschool, when we did actually go. We had chicks and shit and hung out but every now and then we would get it. It did not really stop stop until he met Hope. He said it didn’t feel right because he loved her. He said knew that she was going to be forever.”


Virtue sat there looking at Maurice dumb and awestruck. He did not know what to say or how to even feel now as he watched him pour some vodka into the glass but drink from the bottle.


“So why was he so upset when he saw me kissing Dilibe that day?” Virtue said, again not thinking but letting the words escape the filter. These words were not what he wanted to say, nor did they form any question that was anywhere near the top five questions that sprinted threw the neurological pathways at light speed. These words, this question, was safe and he let it be.


“Man Ced was a trip that way, Kissing a man, being on bottom, or anything that was submissive was gay to him. Enjoying it when a man sucks your off, eats your ass, lets you fuck them in the ass was not gay that was just getting yo nut off.”


“So Ced was bi? Did Hope know?”


“I mean technically I guess you could say he was bi, he said he only ever did anything with me. Naw Hope don’t know shit. Like I said we stopped everything when he met her.”


Virtue spoke again ask delicately as possible,


“So, um are you..”


“Gay.” Maurice interrupted.  “I don’t know. I’ve let dudes suck me off, I’ve sucked off a few dudes and did a few hand jobs and shit but nobody have ever fucked me in the ass though. I never really wanted anybody too. I like what I like sometimes I like a dude but mostly females though. I go with the flow, whatever happens, happens you know.”


He stopped speaking to take a large gulp from the bottle again leaving a little less than a third remaining. Virtue took the bottle and poured some into his glass, downed it, then looked at him again. He could see Maurice eyelids fighting to stay open but ultimately failing. He got Jimmy’s attention and they carried him to his car. Jimmy remarked at how easy it was to load them in the car when at least one of them was awake. Virtue managed Maurice into the backseat then through the door and onto the couch. The camera sat on the kitchen table. Virtue had been playing around with the settings and lenses earlier, taking test pictures, seeing what did what. Sitting at the table he snapped a picture of Maurice passed out on his couch in black and white. It was his first real artsy looking picture in years and he liked it.  


Virtue did not sleep much that night. The anxiety of not know what happen the night before would have been more tolerable, even a comfort than the full knowledge that he now possessed. The what if he was able to dismiss, uneasily, as fantasy. The maybe that lay sleeping on his couch, again, was not only the elephant in the room but a giant bull at that. Virtue never noticed his snoring before, blaming that on recuperation of his own drunkardness. Every audible inhale and exhale was now a beacon of possibility. Every contorted breath was an invitation to consider Maybe. He was, is gay, even if he only justified his homosexuality as something that just happened, something that just went with the flow. The possibility, the Maybe was there. He was an option.



While standing at his coffee pot leaning against the counter, he waited for the fresh pot of morning libation to finish brewing. Virtue tried to push all his former thoughts out of his mind and again regulate them to the realm of fantasy. Looking at the most perfect specimen of the male form he had seen in a while he reasoned, even though he was gay, he still did not have a chance. He was into thugs, he was into DL types, he was into younger, more muscular, more hyper-masculine men. None of which he was. The facts were he was too old, too fat. The many profiles of the many different dating sites Virtue trolled, endlessly before settling in at his favorite porn site for the night showed him they type of man he knew this Maurice wanted. The one’s like this Maurice all had three things on their profiles in big bold letters, sometimes underlined and italicized,








Two of which, he was. It never mattered before, but now, with the live possibility of this Maurice lying on his couch, in much the same position as the night before, it did.


            The coffee maker beeped, pulling him out of his mind and into the reality of now. He subconsciously poured his cup, poured his sugar, and took his first sip. He went back into himself and replaced his former mantra,


“He’s not gay.”




“He wouldn’t want me.”


The coffee again brought awareness to every perceptible expulsion of air to Virtue’s ear. He went from denial,


He would not want me anyway, too old, too fat.”


To bargaining,


“Maybe if I did lose a few pounds, tighten up here and there, get back to the way I use to look before.


Right to acceptance,


“If he does not want me, the way I am, then forget it. I'm still me despite age, despite weight or anything else. I am good enough and I love me.”


            Maurice shifted positions on the couch causing the blanket to fall, revealing the extraordinary wonder that was his ass, scantly covered by white, form fitting boxer briefs. The movements throughout the night had again caused his pants to settle an inch or two around his knees. He was facing the couch’s back cushions so his, again shirtless back, and incredible rear were on full display. Virtue stopped thinking and sat at the table in hypnotic awe.


            He mindlessly took another sip of his coffee and the sight of his camera that had sat on the table all night became visible once again. He remembered his photo and decided to take the camera upstairs. He was already old and fat; he did not want to give the perception of pervert as well. He came down the back stairwell to see Maurice still sleeping, almost glowing now. He remembered the promise he made last night and went back upstairs and to his phone,


“Hey Rob it’s Virtue. I know I know it has been a while. I'm good, she’s good. Hey I have a possible guard for you. Naw, naw he’s good. He can start whenever you want. I’ll tell him to come in tomorrow. Yeah he has his guard card. Right on man, thanks. I’ll talk to you soon. Later.”


Conflicted but more confused Virtue looked up at his calendar and remember today was the day of big clean. Even though she had been in town for some time now his mother had finally convinced Aunt Mimi to stay at the house. His mother had told him that she said she had to take care of before she could be regular “like y’all.” His mother did not want to give her any cause to make any other waspy, passive aggressive comments. The house was always immaculate, even during her product-making season, right before she went on the road. Knowing Aunt Mimi, she could find something and it would drive Virtue’s mother to silent distraction. 


An alarm started to play coming from downstairs. Virtue knew the tune because it was the same alarm tune on his old cell phone. Maurice must have charged his phone and it was a good thing. It saved Virtue the awkwardness of having to wake him. It saved his mind and soul one last look at that phenomenal form that he, Maurice held in his possession. That strange moment where he might have to touch him if calling his name did not wake him was now, not a possibility. 



© Christopher F. Brown 2012


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