You know I have issues. Bipolarity, arrogance, shyness, all this complicated by my minority role as an aging homosexual. I was quite outgoing and sexually active in my days, but these days my shyness keeps me at home, except for the gym that I absolutely need for a look in the mirror, the occasional dark room swing under anonymous circumstances, and the occasional dash into known cruising areas where we all don't know each other, that's basically it. I was into tricks in my days, I brought tricks home most nights of the week. But I've gradually abandoned the practice, the last trick crossed my doorstep four years ago. In fact, I'm caught in some sort of downward spiral, arrogance tells me I'm better than others, shyness tells me I'm worse, and the result is an incoherent state of mind and a feeding ground for my bipolarity. And don't forget my age. You're thirty-two years old, you can't be sure you're not past the best sell date in the meat section. You don't wear the sticker on your sleeve, but you never know, people lie in your face and have sex with somebody else.

I need to do something about this, I need to masturbate more, and go out more, and have more erections. I must break the vicious circle of my depression. Yes, depression. Isn't it a fail-safe sign of depression that I feel slighted all the time, the way I felt slighted today by Charles' disappearance, although it is easy to conclude the he must have found his trunks, no need to wait for me after all? Why should he. Would I have waited? Possibly not. But then, Charles appeared to be a nice person, nicer than me, so he should have waited for me in the dunes.

Around ten o'clock I had already lost three games of chess on the Internet Chess Club. Several sex clips were better the first time I saw them (although they weren't particularly good then either). I thought about a post for my neglected blog, but couldn't decide on a subject, I never really came out blog-wise, which creates all sort of problems. Should I prepare myself for an early hand job? I'd been coming once today under the hands of the man with the green eyes. I can still come three times per day, so there is some elbow room in the hormonal department. Yes, ten o'clock is the time when I go to the bedroom on a day like this, strip, and meet myself in the mirror for passable auto-sex. You know how this works, you use your hand, your dick, and your erection to provoke an ejaculation, which is also misleadingly called orgasm. I try to avoid the mirror when I come, and it's ikky to come over the floor or over the bed, all of which suggests an unstylish finale to the session, with me, the dick throbbing, returning to the bathroom to jerk off over the john. I know this in advance, it hurts my self-respect, the anticipation of the toilet bowl as the recipient of my erotic efforts, but the hormones are usually strong enough to keep me going, and when the hand-job is done I'm wise enough to wipe the last drop of cum and go back to work (during the term), or to bed (during the break). I'm working hard preparing my classes, you know, since I'm scared of being fired from this hippocampus of a college where I teach French to very uninterested, but portly students who give me negative evaluations --- they must feel something is wrong with me --- but I will lose my job anyhow, since the college is losing money and will soon go out of business, and in my nightmares I have already lost the job and am being eased by this proactive unemployment office into an after-life as a male prostitute --- you speak French, n'est-pas, we can assure you, this escort service is completely above board --- until I find myself in soup kitchens at the age of thirty-eight.

Omne animal post coitum triste (I speak French), which applies to hand jobs as well, the physiological effects are the same. So there we are, it's past ten on a Sunday evening during the break, I've nothing to do, I've nothing to do tonight, except that Charles "invited" me to this "do" at the house of his friend next to the Blue Moon. I'm so out of touch, I didn't even know somebody moved in there to throw orgies and compete with the decrepit dark room in the town's only gay hunt next door. "Man is a party animal," wasn't that Winston Churchill, or Abraham Lincoln, or Jesus Christ? How long would I have to go on at my hippocampus until somebody realizes I'm making this up?

The party is supposed to start at twelve. Charles apparently knew about the Blue Moon, despite his British heritage, we must be world famous. It's ten o'clock now, two more hours to go. How am I going to bridge the time? Next to the venue possibly, in the Blue Moon itself. On foot, the club is fifteen minutes away, and I should respect the drunkin' drivin' regulations anyhow, in particular tonight, when we don't know where we will end up. Would we expect a textbook orgy with people naked and ready? Maybe not. At best, it will be some compromising affair where people will try their best behind the flower pots or in the closet, Charles mentioned the closets already, remember, and what if there are not enough closets at hand, eliminating the opportunities for proper sex under polite circumstances, so we'll have to drink our time through the night instead. I'm briefly fantasizing about the real thing, the host receiving us in Adam's costume, his cock at the ready, a hired sexual slave fondling his rear with a bunch of feather plumes, everybody's giggling, you are encouraged to drop your guard and leave your clothes with a second slave and get laid on the kitchen table and stay sober because there is no time for booze and discover that your wallet has disappeared from your abandoned clothes when it's too late. Have you ever been to such a party?

The Blue Moon is fairly empty, as gay venues usually are when I arrive. I'm getting used to this. Some people bring bad weather, I bring the absence of crowds. When would be the right time for me? I arrive at a club, the crowd isn't singing and dancing to Abba's "Give me a Man after Midnight." They are not laughing, cajoling, winking, alluding, anticipating. The champagne isn't flowing, the dicks are at rest. A few regulars with receding hair lines hold on to a can of Heineken, watching the non-crowd as they don't converse.You get it? I mean the patrons are standing around, mostly silent, not concentrating on the booze, nor a prospective trick, instead they are watching baseball on the overhead screen. They should return to the closet and get married.

There's nobody present tonight I know well, except for Ray, who lives in the street when he does not live here. He is getting more and more smelly with the passing years, his hair graying, his pockets empty, but the management tolerates him because he is so sweet and helpless. I'll have to buy him a drink, we had sex so many times (I'll explain later). So I buy a drink for Ray and for myself, and we regurgitate small talk. I like him, but I don't like to talk to him, and feel a bit restless, I didn't have my ten o'clock session, so I want to finish the drink quickly and go to the darkroom. It's bad behavior to take your booze into the darkroom, even though this joint hasn't placed the usual warning signs on the door about safe sex, alcohol, or prostitution.

Instead, the sign says: "Keep door closed, if left open, all of the dark leaks out." Humor saves the world.

So we close the door. I should have known, Ray's presence next to the counter had been a warning sign, the room is empty, so to see. Don't take this literally, there wasn't much to see, dark rooms are dark by definition, instead, smells and sounds define the place, and the infra-red bulb in the upper right corner produces just enough luminescence to discern shapes at fucking distance.

The place is quiet. I traipse through the dark, and hear only my own footsteps on the planks of the wooden floor --- the wooden floor, a redeeming feature of the Blue Moon, whose Victorian structure is entirely made out of timber. Although, come to think of it, how often dark rooms have wooden floors, even when the venue is located in some alienating concrete building in downtown New York, and even when other considerations would strongly suggest linoleum, the sturdy kind found in hospitals, as proper floor cover. Perhaps this is by design, the gay club management lending a helpful, auditive hand to patrons in need of orientation.

Where were we? In Blue Moon's dark room. So the place is dark, and quiet, and no particular odors would indicate the presence of particular people. The familiar stench of used, fermenting semen hovers in the air, easily outstinking the lemon flavor of its enemy, the chlorinated chemicals that a hapless immigrant pours over the floor every morning, unable to control her thoughts.

Many places are conducive to reflective thought, and empty dark rooms certainly fit the bill. Thoughts like, 'What am I doing here,' 'How could the world have come to this,' 'Will I ever get laid again,' or 'Don't stumble.' I'm traipsing in the direction of the long bench fixed to the wall on the other side of the room, which, I know, is there, since I've used it before, it's stupid to stand in an empty room, much better to sit when the opportunity arises. The bench had been installed on the request of the more mature clientele who are increasingly coming to prefer their sex in horizontals ways. I could have been one of them. Plus, thinking is better done sitting. Well, perhaps not true. Anyhow, we are still traipsing, haven't reached the sex bench yet, you know how it is, dark rooms can be confusing, think of your own bedroom.

I've just thought the 'What am I doing here'-thought, when the answer strikes me like thunder. 'You are killing time before you are going to gate-crash a party,' the answer is. Yes, that's right, gate crashing is what it amounts to. Invited by a random cruising acquaintance who isn't the host himself, just another invitee, at best, and who has fled the sex scene as soon as he had found his trunks instead of waiting for me, clearly, if he would be at the party, he would disown me and laugh a superficial, British laugh at the pointed question 'Do you know that guy' --- if anybody could find Charles, that is, 'Have you seen Charles? we have this guy here,' answer: 'Charles is busy,' ("busy"), yes, Charles, more precisely "Charles," anybody would know where "Charles" is, Charles, that's the nom-de-guerre he throws at hapless clingers who don't understand about casual sex.

Gate-crashing, me and my thirty-two ear old shyness, that would really be that last thing I would do. What a schnapsidee, the idea alone that I would have to explain the whole thing to a gate-keeper, who would listen to my explanalia with affected patience, let me finish my sentences that get longer and longer, and finally ask, with a campy voice: 'We are not gate-crashing, are we?' I was blushing at the thought as I sat down on the bench for the elderly, wondering whether the infra-red light might somehow accentuate my blush to the point where I was positively glowing so that people could see me and think I'm prudish and it's my first time to have modern sex with nobody.

An angel walked through the room --- no, definitely not, there was no angel, not even a devil who's presence might have spruced things up a bit, it was only dark, and sad, and silent, like in the hell of early Judaism, and it would always be like this, and I would die here, and nobody would take notice, and later during the night people would use my body as a prop for aberrant sexual positions, until one pervert would finally realize my defunct state, bring out his dick, and do necromanical things to me, not to me, in fact, only my body, which would make it even worse. They would find me the next morning, raped to death, and there would be an inquiry by this ambitious new DA, Hunsbruk, and the name of my family would be besmirched forever, and my mother would have to move away so that she would not have to care for my grave in the lost corner of the cemetery where, by informal arrangement, the queers are buried, not to mention the tombstone inscriptions.

I'm sitting on this bench, buried in thoughts, getting confused. Wasn't it Charles who asked for a date, wasn't it me who told him how absurd he was, wasn't it him who relented, but in a sweet way, as if he would really like to see me again? Him, who is younger and better-looking than me? So I'm buried in thoughts as a passing light captures the dirty floor with a circular movement, the door squeaks, the light retracts in another circular movement until it's dark again, the door's closed, and I'm no longer alone. Another guy has entered. Two men in a dark room.

That's a cliffhanger, right? To be continued soon.


John Kok

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