My friend asked: how do you measure success … you as writer, artist, transgressive transgressor?
A fair question, voiced at an unfair time—especially after the wails, the gnashing of teeth, self-flagellation and my immolation of the spirit. It was a bad day, hard in that way of earnest failure and rank invisibility.
Yes, a right and proper meltdown … but only with a few friends. Containment is easier, less messy that way. You slip on the condom of denial and let the heartfelt and sincere voices of reason teflon away, secured in a bubble of protection and righteous avowals that no amount of goodwill can ever be enough to overcome self-imposed isolation.
Over what, you might ask.
Trying to measure my own worth and coming up short. Because I sometimes forget my words aren’t scattershot universal messages of hope and goodwill and feel-good-self-esteem-raising-barns-with-neighborly-old-ladies…
My words teeter on intellectual eroticism (that was a good review) and they are big (“she uses big words,” reminding me of that Smothers Brothers skit… the words are dirty) and the endings aren’t gimmes or happy, the characters aren’t nice, not take home to meet mom nice, and I Jack White you into interrupting and corrupting…
And I need to remind myself I write that way because it pleases me, not them, me and maybe one or two others, and being brave and foolhardy are one and the same.
So some can’t finish, they take umbrage, blogs get written because I scuffed lines in sand and they hate me and my characters and got so invested it mattered enough to hate me and my characters, the ones who finished.
I know the problem. Not the solution, the problem. I write for men, not women. I write where the boundaries end. I write soul-sucking hard, feel it in the paint, take the feint and the three. I write my way because no one else will.
I write……about hope teetering on the knife edge of hopelessness, about sanctuaries that reveal the lies, and the men who ride the waves of despair.
From The Wrong Side of Right:
The biker continued to slug down shots, pouring his own in rapid succession as Tony vacillated about staying put or making a run for it. There was no doubt that the man was a predator and he was prey. Why he’d been singled out he couldn’t fathom. The biker’s buddies were happily ogling the goods on the dance floor. It stood to reason his darkly dangerous lothario should be trolling for a mierda fácil like the rest of the troglodytes, not fixating on him.
Tony flexed his wrist, surprised it still functioned. He had an urgent need to pee so getting the zipper down without doing major damage to his man parts rose to the level of compelling. When his biker groupie broke eye contact to pour another drink, Tony bolted around the corner of the bar and headed to the employee’s shared bathroom, a one-holer with a sink and disinfectant in a dispenser. It saved waiting in line at the men’s room or having a patron puke all over your shoes before the end of the shift.
The jury was still out if he’d return to tending bar, not that he’d done much of that since his arrival. Like a B-grade horror movie, from the get-go he’d gotten trapped in amber, unable or unwilling to move, to make a sound, or to fight off an unprovoked confrontation that made no sense.
The violence of the assault had scrambled his brains in more ways than one. If he was honest, it had stirred juices he didn’t know he had, and that scared him more than a big dumb fuck with dominance issues and a hard on for Jack Daniels.
After relieving himself, he stood over the sink and dry heaved, the adrenaline draining in a rush, leaving him shaking and in a cold sweat. There was no way he was going back out there. The memory of being trapped and beaten to a pulp for being a queer, a sissy, a queen was still too raw. It shut down everything, even his will to live.
Because no one had come, no one had stood up for him, not his father, or his mother, not his two older brothers or his nerd friends. When the bullies exposed his little secret, he became everybody’s favorite whipping boy but it never stopped the wanting, the yearning, the craving for something dirty and pure and his, his alone.
There were times he still cried, curled into a ball in a corner of the room he now called home, touching himself because nobody else would. Or bribing Jorge for a Friday night blow job that left him disappointed, because every time it happened, it hit home that there might be nothing more than just a quick scratch that never quite reached the itch.
He never heard the biker enter, but he did register the bolt engaging, locking him in with a man who could crack him open like a walnut.
“What’s your name, kid?” The voice was like the man: rough and raw, two-pack-a-day gravelly.
Tony ignored the question, instead choosing to concentrate on his reflection, praying that someone, anyone, would come looking for him. Jorge maybe, because he liked his bitch, and the tequila shooters, and the camaraderie at work. The kid was the closest thing to a friend he had.
The apron sat on the edge of the sink. Tony glanced down at it, then at the huge hand descending on his damaged wrist, the bruising already purpling over the blue veins. He was no lightweight but the biker out-massed him a good fifty pounds, not a bit of it fat. There was little he could do as the man examined his handy work.
He knew enough to not beg. That had stopped years ago. The fear never went away, though.
The man husked, “Sorry about that, sometimes I forget, ya know?”
No, he didn’t know, but it gave him a moment to take a breath. Sorrys often led to something else, usually punishment because the one being sorry didn’t like that kind of vulnerable, and that kind of vulnerable was him waiting for more, like he earned it. Hell, maybe he did.
He used to fight back but that made it sport because there was seldom just one. They ran in packs, the haters, and loners against a mob never fared well, at least not in his experience. So he’d tried passive, hoping for mercy. Shutting it out until the rage and the hate wore down and they’d made their point.
Looking in the mirror he was surprised to see a flare of compassion in the biker’s eyes, as if the man had gotten inside his head, had been where he was, where he still existed.
Tony muttered, “It’s okay,” though it never would be, but that wasn’t something he’d share with the hulk looming over him, pressing his groin into the hard porcelain, the man’s massive erection hard and stiff and prominent even through the thick leather.
The man turned him around and shoved him back against the sink, fumbling with Tony’s zipper, then his own.
“You ever been raped, boy?”
Turning away, Tony mouthed ‘please’ and tried retreating to his safe house, the one in his mind that blanked out everything hateful and ugly.
The biker’s hands pried him loose from his tentative scrabbling for safety, stroking and plumbing his flesh with determination, and sensation swelled from the inside out, responding and slamming the door against fleeing.
“Well, have you?”
The question terrified him. He had always feared he’d go to his grave a virgin, but the prospect of facing a savage with a cock the size of a semi wasn’t how he dreamed his first time would be. Definitely not when it promised to also be his last.
Tony’s cock betrayed him, growing stiff and thick, dancing against the biker’s huge phallus as the man ground his groin into his belly. The ridge of the porcelain bit into his ass and he reached behind to grip the edges as their cocks tangled and sparred, and he nearly swooned when the biker’s hands pressed both together and pumped hard, fast. Up, down, the beast nearly lifted him off his feet, only to jam him into the floor, his fingers curled around the rough underside of the sink, an anchor in a sea of violence. The grunts and pants and fuck yeah oh that’s good swam in the air like bubbles with words, not tethered to either of them. Just out there.
Tony bit his lip and squeezed his eyes shut tight, tighter, until the explosion behind his eyelids lifted him into orbit and he came, hot and sweet, cursing himself to hell and back because he loved it. He hated it.
Later he could not recall cleaning up or wrapping the apron around his waist, hiding most of the wet spots on his jeans and tee shirt. He did remember watching the big man pause at the door and give him a strange look because he had asked, “Have you?”
“Have I what, kid?”