You can care about social justice and care about your own happiness, too.

Let's Queer Things Up!

It feels strange to write a headline like this.

On the one hand, maybe it should be obvious — we all deserve to have joy, pursue meaningful connections and experiences, and invest in our own mental health. But somewhere along the way, I think I forgot what it meant to be happy just for the sake of it. And based on the burnout I’ve seen, I don’t think I’m the only one.

I was talking to my online therapist recently about how (yet again) a post about sexual assault on my Facebook feed had triggered my obsessive-compulsive disorder. When he gently suggested I take a deeper look at my social media usage, the conversation that ensued drudged up a lot of intense realizations about how I view happiness and self-care.

Namely, that I wasn’t giving myself permission to unplug, because I viewed that as betraying my values.

I realized…

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Lazarus Kiss.45

Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.

May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others

and a love within recall that alters you.

kiss

As they crossed to the Eaton’s food court Harris spotted Becky. Their eyes met briefly but he didn’t acknowledge her. He’d learned his lesson the other day. One remembered rejection was enough for him. At least the curse had been sparing him that.

As they were going into Eaton’s Harris heard a woman calling him.

“Harris! Harris! Hold a minute.”

It was Becky.

“Look I truly am sorry for being such a snob the other day.”

“I see.” he glanced at Lin. “Uh … Becky this is Lin Zhang. Did I pronounce that right Lin?”

“Very nicely Harris.”

They stepped out of the way.

“I’d love to see you again Harris. We could meet at Mug Thuggs.”

“I guess so, but you said … boyfriend etc.”

“I know what I said. Things are iffy but it’s not like …. I’d just like to get together with you again. I did enjoy myself.”

Why did she care … oh Christ … was this the latest variation the curse.

“I may be busy tonight. I’m not sure what time I’ll be free.”

“I’ll be there. Until about 10, say?”

“Okay.”

She pecked him on the cheek and disappeared into the lunch crowd.

“You see this is why I have to put on some weight. Women like men of substance. It makes them feel secure.” Lin grinned.

“I have never heard that theory before Lin.” Harris said following Lin into the shopping centre.

“And she smells like candy I want to be eating.”

As they rode the escalator down his cellphone rang.

“Harris here.”

“Hi Harris it’s Alex.”

“What’s up?” Harris’s heart sped up.

“Look do ya know how to clean a computer.”

“You mean the hard drive? That’s not my end of the business.”

“No. The screen. Stuff got splashed it.”

“Hum …” Harris nodded at Lin and then towards Big Eats – Where Everything Is Supersized. “I usually call maintenance when that happens here. I’ll see what I can find out and call you back later.”

“I’s hopin’ ya might come by later an’ help.”

“I could drop by after work. Where do you live?”

Alex started to give him the address.

“Wait I’m going to have to write this down. Or better yet why don’t you text me the address.”

“T’anks. I really appreciate this.”

The afternoon at dE.tail was endless as Harris fussed with minutia to satisfy the Sport Spot people. Faces that looked fresh and perfect to him were sent back with a request to make the freckles a shade fainter, to change the trailing arch of an eyebrow. Internet consumers we’re going to buy this overpriced equipment because a Top Model’s eyebrow had one or two less hairs in it.

They were more likely to buy it because it came in a range of colors. This was the only innovation Sport Spot offered. No amount of re-sized genitalia was going to change that fact. Now if Geoffrey were spokesperson for Santa’s Sex Shoppe that would be a different story. At least Harris would have had a glimpse of the real thing, all be it as a silicone duplicate as battery operated dildo. Andy would have three legs.

He took one brief break to text maintenance to send up something to clean his monitor screen. They replied there were kits in the supply closet.

He groaned when a photo he had worked on twice came back with a further request for facial toning. Tired from the hour overtime already put in he slightly heightened the gleam of the lavender LatteLat machine and sent it back without doing anything to the model’s face. He got an instant reply that it was perfect.

He left before they could make more requests.

*39*

As Harris exited Chester, the subway station nearest Alex he texted that he’d be there shortly.

Alex lived on the second floor of a house a few streets north. Large open front porch with a couple of lawn chairs. Bright pink geraniums in pots and hanging baskets of fuscia and baby’s breath.

He rang the bell and while he waited he wondered if his balcony got enough light for this kind of plant. Alex never struck him as the plant type.

“T’anks for comin’.” Alex held the door open for him. He wore a loose UofT polo shirt and baggy grey sweats.

After a day of working on Geoffrey’s pecs, abs and other attributes Harris was relieved that none of Alex’s attributes were suggested.

“No prob. Got tied up at work.” He had to brush by Alex to step in. His flabby stomach felt even flabbier as it briefly came into contact with Alex’s. He looked up the stairs to keep their eyes from meeting.

He walked up as fast as he could. How large did his ass look. What difference did that make.

The apartment door opened directly into a small living room. TV to one side of the door. A dresser to the other side. Photos of Alex along the wall by the door. The apartment smelled of a vanilla body-wash from a recent showered.

Harris slipped off his shoulder bag. Rested it on the dresser and opened it to get out the cleaning kit.

“I got this as the office.”

“T’anks. Get ya a beer? Sapporo chilling in the fridge?”

“Sure.”
“I know at’s what ya get at Story.” He put the two Sapporo on the coffee table.

“Nah.” Harris was flattered and puzzled. This was the curse but no one had been this attentive as a result of it. If it were Monica Bostford he’d know exactly what to do, and would want to do it. He had no idea of where to begin with Alex but desire would probably be a good starting point. He felt no desire.

“Where’s the …” he hoped it wasn’t in the bedroom.

It wasn’t. The computer desk faced a bay window on the other side of the living room.

“What happened.” He leaned over to look at the smear.

“Spooge.”

“Spooge?”

“Mine.” Alex blushed. “M’ ex Linda found it on a pair of her delicates an’ to get back at me smeared it.”

“Spooge?”

“Come.”

“Got it.” Harris hit his head in mock stupidity. “Tilt the screen for me. That way when I spray, it won’t drip into the monitor. At least that the theory.”

He squirted the small spray bottle to mist the bulk of the smear.

“I’ll give it a minute to soften the spooge residue.”

“Spooge residue” Alex grinned. “Never heard that not even on CSI.”

Their eyes met for the first time. They both laughed.

“Hold it while I see if this’ll clean it off.” With the soft cloth Alex gently wiped the screen. “I think that’s done it.”

Alex set the screen back in place.

Harris moved a throw cushion and sat on the couch to drink his beer. “Homey. You lived here long.” He got up and walked over the computer again.

“ ‘Bout five years. M’ Da owns the house. Owns a couple.” Alex sat next to Harris. Adjusted the the cushion between them.

“I see.”

“Yeah. Last few years I shared it Linda. She left th’ other week. I t’ink I told ya. It wasn’t workin’ any more. Ya know t’ings ‘appen. She though’ I was sleepin’ ‘round an’ … it’s not as if she wasn’t either but … ”

Their eyes met again.

Harris noticed the trophies shoved into a corner by Alex’s computer. He stood and picked up one. It was a round, metallic column about five inches tall with a gold kick-boxer on top. “Best Senior Division Boys”

“So how did you get into U F?” Harris hoped knowing more about Alex would ease the longing the curse had forced upon him.

“First grade bullies ata new school pushed me ‘round. I went nuts. Beat the crap out o’one of ‘em. Broke his nose ‘fore they broke us up. I was small. When I got goin’ nothin’d stop me. I got angry easy. M’ma figured I should get a way to … direct that anger

“Won’um high-school.” Alex took the trophy. “Meant to get rid of ‘em but never could.”

“I wasn’t into sports.” Harris patted his belly. “This is enough weight for me to lift.”

Harris looked at the framed photos of Alex along the wall  by the door.

Can’t wait to read the whole thing? order the PDF for $5.00 – paypal.me/TOpoet – say you want Kiss

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The Mummy

Taking an October break from 227 Rules to share some very recent ‘scary’ pieces. How recent? This one was started October 19 at Glad Day before I watched The Mummy 1959, worked on the next day after I watched The Mummy. In the movie he sinks into a bottomless bog.

Kharis 

is this the last wrap

or the first

the first wrap was a tissue

of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

I used that wrap

over & over

until the tissue

was a layer

layer after layer of

‘oh i’m fine’

‘i don’t mind’

‘how can i make you happy’

walking away

rather than add another layer

hoping nothing had caught

no thread was snagged

on a expectation

an exception

on resurrecting love

 

I was protected

entombed by safety

by the fact

that all anyone wanted to hear

was ‘oh i’m fine’

‘this bandage solution will do’

‘you deserve to be fixed first’

 

bound tight

peering at life though the slits

surrendering to the weight of history

pushed along by an unquestioned past

by ritual expectations

controlled by the clasp of gauze

layer upon layer after layer

some turned to dust

some turned to scar

some turned to face the sun

reaching for release

 

decayed tissue

dust motes settling in the moonlight

‘how can i make you happy?’

‘how can i unravell the book of life’

can i survive

without another layer

of this tissue

this scar tissue of lies


‘oh i’m fine’

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Haunted Hotel

Is my hotel room haunted? A little after I had fallen asleep my first night here I heard movement in the room. At first I thought was the sheets, or someone in the hall but as I woke it was clearly someone walking around my room! I remained still in the bed things, it’s about time I met a ghost. It was quiet for a moment then started again – footsteps around the bed. I sat & squinted but saw nothing 😦 I turned on the light & I was the only one visible in the room. I laid back and it started again. I realized then it was the room above me – I’m on the 7th floor & yes there an 8th floor.

I fell asleep quickly after that and slept pretty soundly. I’m not used to sleeping in such a dark room – only light being the little green specs of various electronics. I always cover the numbers on the clock radio – too bright. If I could black out the light from the hall around the door it would be even darker.

After hitting a meeting at the Dupont Circle Club my Thursday goal was Dumbarton – I did find it but failed to find the cemetery. The museum was boring. The Gardens weren’t open until 2. Such is life. I hiked around Dumbarton park, took lots of pics. Didn’t see any signs directing to cemetery. Did see a deer though. No ghosts.

Got a bit lost getting back to the hotel – which allows me to explore other parts of the city. My may indicated that Q street would lead me to where I wanted to be. I grabbed a bagel to give me sustenance. It was good but the clerk would have been better 🙂 Got stopped a few times because of my Canada luggage tag. So I wonder if I should remove it for now?

Got back to hotel a little after 1 – walking since 9 – so I needed to get my shoes off to rest, meditated. showered & shaved my head. Some text chat with an interested fella I’ve been emailing with for a couple of months. I have low expectations so I was a bit surprised & then quite pleased when he showed up. We’ll leave it at – let’s just say I am learning the lay of the land first hand 🙂 He had to be up for work at 4 a.m. !! Which gave me time to finally hit the Triangle Club – the lgbtq Alano Club – which doesn’t open until 6. I took in the ‘Out Side The Lines’ meeting in which they look at literature that relates to recovery but isn’t necessarily AA published. It was interesting & I wasn’t at all stressed by their use of outside literature.

Another full day in which I was much too busy to real eat more than my healthy breakfast, a bagel & a pizza slice. Maybe I’ll lose enough weight to come back to TO as a ghost of my former self 🙂 The real fun starts tomorrow night so I’ll try to file up with a real meal before the Fire ignites.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Past Washington posts http://wp.me/P1RtxU-1e3

Jet Bag Lag

As is often the case getting to the airport takes longer than the flight – sometimes just getting to plane takes longer than the flight. Traffic slowed the drive to airport so I had just an hour to get from the car to the departure gate. Finding the right Air Canada aisle was the first hurdle, checking my luggage, getting though US border guards – no problem there – but – somehow I mis-tagged my suitcase 😦 10 minute delay to sort that out. Would it arrive in DC when I did? 

Then finding a washroom, the right boarding gate, getting seat assigned – well it all worked thanks to some deep breathing & the serenity prayer. The express flight was packed. My Kindle book was diverting enough. The flight was trouble free &, because of the delay with the suitcase it was one of the first to hit the baggage carousel.

Caught a cab into the city – I used to take SuperShuttle but found out cab costs the & it’s door to door, not door to this hotel, that hotel & finally your hotel. Yes, I know I could do public transit but even my emotional baggage is too much for that 🙂

Room not ready at hotel so did some walking around – *bucks for a bit of energy & to sit to catch my breath. Long walk in which I got lost – a great way to see new parts of the city – I knew if I kept in the right general direction I’d get back to the hotel. Room ready. Unpacked. relaxed on bed a bit, changed my shoes & out again. Took in meeting at DuPont Circle club then made my way to Mulebone on 14th street. Didn’t get lost this time.

Great meal at Mulebone – ate too much which is a good thing to do for a body that’s been stressed by travel. Hit a Safeways on the way back to the hotel for my morning foods & late night snacks. Final unpacking & seeing what I forgot this year! Checked my email & also what hot guys might want a private lesson in spoken word 🙂 I’ll sleep well tonight with dreams of hot Safeway clerks dancing in my head.

Past Washington posts http://wp.me/P1RtxU-1e3

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Baycrest Brain Rental

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve participated an interesting brain/auditory/memory study at Baycrest, Rotman Research Institute. The official, & very catchy name of the project is: “Individual differences in working memory processing in young and older adults indicated by neuromagnetic oscillations” It was spread over three sessions and proved to be one of the more intriguing studies I’ve done.

It was one that called on more of my brain. Usually the ‘memory’ studies I do involve remembering lists of words, numbers, replicating images. This is one of few that also involved hearing. One portion involved recording my brain signals with a magnetoencephalograph (MEG) while I was doing the task. While doing the task I had ear buds that were playing a variety of tones, pitches & different loudness levels.

The other portion involved hearing tests and testing understanding of speech in noise. I was to repeat a phrase (a different one each time) said against background of people talking. Sometime I get to practice at poetry readings where people not interested in the performance see fit to talk as loud as they can to drown out the performer (this happens more often than you’d expect.)

Doing this studies is a way for me give something back via research. Even when I was doing the pharmaceutical research I was aware that my tiny participation could save lives. I also felt it was important that, even though this information isn’t germane to the study, there be gay males included in the pool. And sometimes the money was decent. I’ve had more MRI’s cat scans, eegs, & MEGs than the average person too.

The most challenging part of the study was getting to Baycrest in the morning 🙂 I general transit to Lawrence Station & walk the rest of the way. I know where the Starbucks are. For this study I opted to go one stop further to York Mills & walk from there along Wilson. Turns out this route is faster. I like the opportunity to see other parts of the city & sample Starbucks. Plus I’m always eager for photo ops. If you’re interesting be a part of such research gave Baycrest a call. http://www.baycrest.org/participate/participate-in-research/

More North York pics: http://topoet.tumblr.com/post/160819331013/

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TOpoet.ca is blushing

The Adventures of Danger Girl

Unlike most of the people, in the Toronto, spoken word scene, I don’t love poetry. I especially, don’t love poetry written post 70’s, with the very rare exception of maybe a handful of poets. Duncan Armstrong aka TOpoet is one of them.

It doesn’t take long, maybe just a line or two to realize that this is someone who really invests in everything he experiences. Whether he is writing about the roles we are cast in by others, ex lovers, the state/lack of civilization, or a father wearing shoes that once belonged to his dead son, like he does in “Breaking In Grief” from his new chapbook, “After The Falling”, you are not just reading a series of beautifully strung words, you are feeling what it is like to be there, and remembering the feel of shoes that didn’t belong on your own feet.

He is also incredibly funny. It’s…

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Colloquium 2017

This year’s SpecFic spread its tentacles in a new location – 918 Bathurst Street. As long as it is within walking distance of both a subway station & a Starbucks I’m happy.

In her opening remarks for this years SpecFic Sandra Kasturi mentioned that the one complaint the consistently she gets is that there are too many ideas to deal with let alone process. Truer words are rarely spoken as the day’s presenters flooded 918 Bathurst with endless visions of the future & ideas about the present.

First presenter was Julie Czerneda: “It’s a Wrap, Folks” a talk about the writing process itself. How to end a story. She talked about some the traps: i.e. the wrap-up-every-thread ending. Some things can force an ending like word count, submission deadlines. A resolution is not necessarily the ending. Ending shouldn’t be a new plot point unless it is leading to a sequel. If you are having ending issue – ramp up the tension to force one.

She was followed by Robert Boyczuk: “Why You (Still) Can’t Teach Writing” a talk on the usefulness or uselessness of creative writing courses & workshops. One can learn structure & how to have a sharper critical eye but not how to be more creative. He feels sometimes writers spend more time in, looking for, or talking about workshops than they spend writing. My personal experience is often writers judge work by who you’ve studied with than the actual quality of the writing itself. The presentation turned into a discussion about editors & copy writers (maybe something for next year).

The morning sessions wrapped with Jason Taniguchi: “Long Ago and Far, Far Away: Falling Hard for Fictional Worlds” a talk about the lure of alien worlds. This was a great talk about what it takes to do successful world building – something that all writers need to know not just specfic writers. His list of elements included things like ‘it is spilling over with unique specific details’ ‘it has a sense of its own history.’ The importance of representation in world building is becoming more important – what races, genders are in your world? He felt things like Harry Potter or Hunger Games were markedly white & heterosexual.

Unfortunately the day was too damp cold & gloomy for patio lunching. Was glad to get some fresh air with a quick walk to the nearest Starbucks to reap the rewards of my bonus stars – stars it seems one earns merely by walking past a Starbucks – by the time I got back my microwaved sandwich was cool enough to eat.

After the lunch break Sandra read Madeline Ashby: “Abandon All Hope, Eh?: Lessons Learned from the Company Town Tour” – it raised questions such as ‘how can you impose borders on stolen land? utopian for who? the world you are happiest in may ‘not be the best possible world’ What is the future? M feels that to transform Canada we need to move away from resource based economy. We have a skewed sense of what progress really means – is it faster internet connection or being able to live without the internet? Madeline fell ill & couldn’t even Skype – now that’s ill.

This was followed by Vicki Clough: “Alternate Realities in Art” a look at how fine arts are creating a space for epic story telling. I say fine arts – i.e. painting, sculpture as opposed to illustrated novels. She used the work of Kent Monkman & Saya Woolfalk to explore how this is done. Kent reinterprets classic paintings by interjecting his alter ego Miss Chief Eagle Testickle into them; Saya tells the story of a species that switches between animal & plant. Kent’s inventiveness made me wonder if writers might be able to do the same thing – could I rewrite say David Copperfield & find a way to insert my p.o.v to add a layer of observational commentary: it was the best of TOpoet.ca and the worse of TOpoet.ca?
17554424_10210246166523198_864376003505417264_n

The day wrapped with keynote speaker Cory Doctorow “I Can’t Let You Do That Dave” a, for me, overly tech talk about the dangers of DRM coding that allows makers to control how their devices get used but which also comprises personal privacy & safety. Devices can be hijacked to attack their owners – car computers, thanks to DRM (I think) are vulnerable to 3rd party steering. He spoke directly & passionately about our right to control our data. Check out OpenMedia.ca for how to get involved in protecting our rights.

By the end of the day I was exhausted from sitting, listening & at times, even thinking. 918 was a good venue for the colloquium even though it didn’t appear to be at all accessible. Didn’t spot a wheelchair ramp, washrooms were down flights of stairs. Looking forward next years.

ps: in my loot bag: Playground of Lost Toys: ed Anderson/Pflug; Year’s Best Weird Fiction: ed Barron/Kelly; Buffalo Soldier: Broaddus; The Society of Experience: Cahill; Winter Tide: Emrys; Quaternity: Hoover; Proof of Concept: Jones; Those Who Make Us: ed Morris/Trembly; Dead Americans: Peek; Broken Baloons: Prussky; Lifeblood: Showalter; Dead Girls Don’t: Story; Blood & Water: Trenholm 🙂

Past Colloquium posts:

2014: Colloquium in the Round http://wp.me/p1RtxU-EW

2015: Up SpecFic Alleys: http://wp.me/p1RtxU-173

2016: Ghost in the Twitter Feed http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1F6

rough draft sample

Spoilers

boy gets girl

dog lives

monster vanquished

boy buys right girl

man repents

eviler spirits arise

escape succeeds

money isn’t enough

love conquers all

she feels complete in marriage

success isn’t everything

family is reunited

all is forgiven

things are never the same again

she knows better

he finds a purpose in self sacrifice

boy gets boy

dog learns a lesson

man rescued from loneliness by child

greed is punished

being pretty isn’t fulfilling

he didn’t really want her

the lame horse wins a race

he dies saving others

the truth remains hidden

it was all a dream

the boy was once a girl

there is no escaping

they were ghosts

drugs were a bad choice

bad guy repents

she was a princess all along

the villain was his father

the castle blows up

the space ship blows up

the race is won

marriage means more than career

he is a genius

the plants were evil

Satan is foiled

he walks again

she forgives her rapist

he sees the errors of his ways

his heart is ten times bigger

everyone is dead

Chapbooks available: http://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

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kiss314257567_1162384753819933_3271661288579707843_oon going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes

April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm start – Featuring Queen Sheba. Slam winner gets trip to Capturing Fire & maybe coffee with me in DC.games

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June 9-10-11: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 – flight & hotel booked already

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check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

August 31-Sept.3 – I have my ticket already

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November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

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Lazarus Kiss.04

Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.

May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others

and a love within recall that alters you.

kiss

Lazarus Kiss.04

“I don’t know. That was so weird, you know. She’d look at me as if she had never met me before. After awhile I got the message.”

“Yeah sure you got the message but you weren’t actually listening either. You raved about her as if it was the first time you got laid in years. I could never figure it out. Laura was okay looking but still pretty much run of the mill too.”

“To you, not to me.” His downed his cocktail. “I gotta get out of here. Some of us work for a living.”

As Harris left Story he relived that night with Laura. Meeting her and how taken he was by her very presence. That first kiss. No woman had made him feel that way since.

“ ‘Scuse me.” It was the busboy. “ This’ll sound totally off th’wall but …. ya see I have a girl an’ all  but there’s sometin’ about ya. Ya know never thought I might be bi but ….”

Harris stepped back. “Ah … well … thanks but …. I’m not really interested. No offense.” A flash of heartburn made it hard for him to breathe.

“Yeah, but dis is so fucked, like I said, I saw ya sit down and couldn’t take my eyes off ya, ya know. I’m Alex Tzorvas. My number.” He held a napkin out to Harris.

Alex had the body of one of those Ultimate Fighter goons, sounded as stupid as one too. Harris took the napkin and stuffed it into his back pocket.

Harris was stunned when Alex kissed him. Tongue and all. Another man’s tongue in his mouth! He wanted Alex to go to his knees and suck his cock. He could feel his hands on those buldging shoulders. He pushed Alex away.

“Look Alex. I’ll drop by in a few days and if you still feel the same way we’ll talk.” His breathing became easier.

If what his Dad told him was true, the guy wouldn’t remember him at all. An ideal test case, plus he wouldn’t have to worry now who was going to hit on him for the rest of the night. He threw the napkin into a subway trash bin.

On his way home from the subway he noticed posters on the street light poles.

R E W A R D

Missing – Frances Green – age 23  

5’4” – red hair – green eyes 

wearing a dark blue sweater and Guess jeans 

carrying a large blue leather purse

last seen on Saturday night

exiting the Greendale subway station

on her way to Saint Anne’s Community Hall

anyone with any information is asked to contact either the police or call 

And there were numbers to call –

He studied the photo. The image was slightly fuzzy. The face didn’t register except as pretty. Who had he talked to about St. Anne’s recently? It wasn’t too far from there he knew.  He was tempted to call to give the posterer a few tips on cleaning up the image.

*5*

Alex was flirting with a couple of hot looking babes in the front patio when he saw the fat guy arrive. He thought guys with ponytails were losers, especially when they were wearing baggy shorts, grubby hoodie and a childish tee-shirt. Who the heck was Morbius? The fat guy joked with his sister Cally.

“Hey you taking our order or what?” one of the cute girls touched his calf.

“Ah … got distracted.” he mumbled.

He’d been working at Story for a month and was still on probation. Not that his sister would fire him but he needed to make a good impression. He was sore that he had to start at the bottom there. After all he had three years at MacBrick. The fact that he’d kept his temper in check there was a miracle. Other than that time when the gay soccer league showed up. Well, not that he always kept in check but the fact that he got away with it that long.

So here he was busing tables, cleaning washrooms, mopping up vomit and occasionally flirting with hot babes. Hot babes made a difference after the rough and tumble MacBrick regulars. Story attracted a younger, hipper crowd that wasn’t out merely to get drunk and pick fights.

He didn’t mind the Story uniform – male staff in dark cranberry red shirts with the Story logo over the left pocket. Female staff in similar shirts only in a more plum shade. He couldn’t tell the difference between cranberry and plum. Black aprons with the same Story logo on the bottom right corner had pockets for a table rag, tips, change and order pad. Story supplied and cleaned the shirts and aprons. Staff supplied their own pants, shoes and attitude.

Alex was glad that the shirt was stretched across arms and biceps. He dug his body and liked to have it noticed by hot babes.

“I’ll send sommun out to take your order. I’m a table rag t’night.” He gave them a playful frown and ran his towel over the table. “Clean ‘nough t’be eaten out on.”

He went back in. His eyes kept going to table were the fat guy and his pal had sat. They looked like good friends. Must be nice. Alex had never gotten along with other guys. Women yes. He knew what pleased them and how to have them please him. Men were competition inside and outside the ring.

The fat guy certainly enjoyed his food. Alex avoided fatty fried stuff. Had to to stay trim and hard. He watched as the guy ate the sweet-potato fries. Dipping them and pushing them into his mouth then licking his fingers. Alex could feel the guy licking his own fingers with the same pleasure as they went into his mouth. He could see the guy’s eager expression as Alex forced his head under the apron to eat his hot sweaty waiter ….. What the fuck. Where’d that thought come from? Alex shook his head as he went to clear another couple of tables.

“Can you take this to those guys?” Cally nodded to the order of double burgers that were for the fat guy’s table.

“Sure.” He took the food and while he was there cleared off empty plates and bottles. “Anyt’in else gents?”

He stood at the fat guy’s shoulder. Eye contact was made. His dick strained for more than eye contact. For once he was grateful that the apron covered his package.

“No, we’re fine for now.” the Afro haired guy said.

When he saw that they had finished their burgers he went back to the table.

“Excuse me.” He took the empties and wiped down the table. “ Anyt’in else?”

“Time for onion rings.” Harris leaned back and the busboy took his empty plate. “Forget ’em?”

He brought the onions rings and went back to bussing duties. He kept his eye on the guys. A quick glance at Cally’s running tab for the table told him that the heavy guy’s name was Harris Stevens.

He wrote his name and phone number on a napkin and watched for a chance to give it to Harris.

When he saw him alone in front he approached him.

“ ‘Scuse me. This’ll sound totally off th’wall but …. ya see I have a girl an’ all  but there’s sometin’ about ya. Ya know never thought I might be bi but ….”

Harris stepped back. “Ah … well … thanks but …. I’m not really interested. No offense.”

“Yeah, dis is so fucked, like I said, I saw ya sit down and couldn’t take my eyes off ya, ya know. I’m Alex Tzorvas. My number.”

Harris took and napkin and stuffed it into his back pocket.

Once he gave his number to Harris he leaned forward and kissed him. Pushed his tongue into the other man’s mouth. Beery fried food. He visualized Harris going to his knees, lifting the apron and licking the sweat off him the way he had licked the salt off his fingers when he was eating.

He pulled Harris’s tongue into his mouth. Only for a few seconds. A man’s tongue in his mouth! Tongue only. No other body parts.

 

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