“I hope you are well!” I said enthusiastically on the phone. I was talking to Scott.
“Thanks babe. It was my birthday three days ago.” said Scott with a weak voice.
“I meant to call but I got busy,” I lied, I had totally forgotten about it, “I am so sorry. Happy birthday though!” I looked up at the five people I was with and they all looked sheepish. We were walking to a local cafe.
“That’s ok hun. How’s Deniro?” Scott asked.
“He’s doing good. Really good.” I lied again. I looked down at Deniro, who was on a leash, and see blood running down his neck. Fuck, I think to myself, what do I do?
Two weeks before I talked to Scott on the phone two new boys started working at KC. Their names were Ben and Chris and they were a couple. Chris was a scene boy. He had blonde hair and an innocent look. He did things to get attention and you could tell he prided himself in being different. He was really odd, at times he was shy, and beneath his outer mannerisms I could tell that he was just a lost boy wanting to be heard. He was the very definition of the saying ‘the eyes are the gateway to the soul’ because his eyes juxtaposed his actions and gave away his true self. I grew to have a soft spot for him because I knew what it was like to want to be noticed.
Ben was confident, but equally as confused. He was articulate and spoke like an aristocrat. He thought he was too smart and was certain he was too good looking. He talked like he knew more than you and unintentionally acted like he was more important than you. He bragged about acting roles he had, acted like nothing bothered him, and pretended to know a lot about drugs and the sex industry.
Once they both started at KC the entire work dynamic changed. Ben and Chris quickly took it upon themselves to rule the entire Boys Room. They would come in with giant bags and throw their stuff all over the room and spend hours doing their hair and makeup. The room would soon be filled with makeup, hair products, clothes, and other assortments. The place quickly became a pig sty and nobody was happy about it.
Jay quickly got acquainted with Ben and Chris. Jay himself was still new, and I had a bit of a crush on him. He was silent but quiet charming. He warmed up to Ben and Chris and before the blink of an eye they were in a three-way relationship. Well, they called it a three-way relationship but it was obvious that Jay and Chris weren’t into each other that much. Jay was in love with Ben and Chris was in love with Ben. Ben was in love with Jay but was too scared to dump Chris to be with Jay because Chris was a safe space… at least that’s the way I interpreted it. Jay and Ben would cuddle and makeout on the couch when Chris wasn’t around. When Chris was around then Ben and Chris would usually get into fights and Chris would end up crying. The environment at KC was getting highly toxic. I was regularly at work coming down off crystal meth, so I was seriously annoyed by the new toxic environment.
Branden soon became friends with the threesome (my nickname for them at the time because it took too long to say all of their names). They would do drugs together and very rarely engage in sexual acts together. Nick soon followed suit and hung out with them for the drugs, and I fell right behind them soon after. Before I knew what hit me we were a group of six friends and we hung out all the time. I never particularly liked Ben, he seemed very fake and rubbed me the wrong way. Jay I was infatuated with, and Chris I felt sorry for, so I tolerated them. Matt had a full time job and wasn’t around as much, and we didn’t want him to hang out with us when we were doing drugs because he would get judgemental and ruin the buzz. Nick’s apartment was too small and Branden’s was too far, so we started hanging out in my Chippendale house. We all learned the game of poker and would have three day binges which more or less actually involved poker and more involved lots of crystal meth and talking about sex.
One night, the night before I talked to Scott on the phone, we were having a poker binge. We had rearranged the furniture so we could all sit comfortably for days on end. We were passing around the pipe often and I was on my second day of no sleep. As the night progressed Chris kept looking at me funny. Jay and Ben sat together and Jay would stare at Ben’s phone as Ben typed something out and then they would both giggle. Branden was telling a story and Nick was spaced out looking at his phone. Jay and Ben’s giggling continued and Chris kept looking at me. I was starting to get paranoid. When Ben stopped laughing and looked at me for a split second I had a feeling that they were laughing at something that had to do with me.
I decided to send Chris a text message: What is going on?
Chris: I don’t know if u want to know.
Me: Just fucking tell me.
Chris sends me a screenshot of a series of texts that Ben had sent him, it read:
Ben: Do you think Cody would want to do a foursome?
Ben: Yeah, he’s kind of a prude.
Ben: He might not be any good. He’s not really experienced. He’s kind of weird.
I send Chris a text message: I wouldn’t have sex with you guys anyway.
Chris doesn’t message me back. Instead I get a text message from Ben.
Ben: Chris told me he showed you what I sent. So you want to come home with us?
Ben: Why not?
Me: Because I like one on one sex and I don’t want to have sex with any of you.
I could tell Ben was a little offended and it made me happy.
Ben: Jay thinks you’re really hot.
Me: That’s nice.
There was not another text exchange that night. It seemed like the three boys were just horny from all the ice so I didn’t think much of it. The sun was slowly brightening the night sky. Morning had come and we all turned into zombies. We didn’t speak for a few hours, instead we were consumed in our phone screens. Our faces illuminated by the blues and yellows of Facebook and Grindr. Chris suggested we go get coffee at the local cafe. We decided it was a good idea to get out of the house for a few minutes and I thought it would be a good time to take Deniro for his walk. I found a pair of sunglasses to help me hide from the brightness of the outdoors, and so did everyone else. Deniro whined with excitement when he saw me grab the leash. His tail frantically swung back and forth as I placed it on him. Standing up gave me a whole new rush and I started to feel less zoned out. Nick walked past Deniro as he walked out the door and said, “Don’t touch me.”
“Awe, don’t you like his pretty face?” I joked.
“Not when he stinks like something died.” Nick responded.
I followed Nick out the door with Deniro, “I just washed him a couple days ago.”
With sunglasses in place, the group of us walked through a very small park named Peace Park to get to the cafe. There were children laughing on the playground and parents sitting on the benches. I wished they didn’t look at me when they did because I looked in the mirror before we left and noticed my skin and hair was greasy. A little dog was running around off-lease and saw Deniro. The small white ball of fluff came running up to him, pink tongue sticking out with ears flapping behind. Deniro stood still as the small dog apporached. The owners walked up behind their dog and, within a second, the little dog yelped and grabbed Denrio by the neck. Deniro didn’t even flinch as the small dog bit at his neck and barked. The owners grabbed their small dog and apologized. I hardly said anything because Deniro seemed fine and I was tweaking out too hard to say much. The group hardly said anything as we continued walking. For me the walk seemed to take forever even though it took us 3 minutes total. Everything was too intense, I started to feel a panic rising in me. I tried my best to hide it and take deep breaths. We were nearly at the cafe when Nick said, “Cody, I think Denrio is bleeding.”
“Really?” I asked, then bent down to inspect him. Deniro had a line of blood running from his neck down his legs. I grabbed at one of his skin-folds on his neck and spread it. A chunk of skin had been removed by the small dog and it was bleeding profusely.
“Fuck,” I exclaimed, “That fucking little dog took a good chunk out of Deniro’s neck!”
Nick bent down to look, “Eww, that’s fucking gross. He didn’t even yelp when it happened. I didn’t think he was actually hurt.”
“Yeah, me neither. Fuck, I don’t know what to do. I’ll try and fix it once we get our coffees and get back to mine.”
My phone started ringing in my pocket. One Day/Reckoning Song by Asaf Avidan & The Mojos was my ringtone at the time. I had heard the song for the first time in Koh Tao, Thailand. I was with Blaire when I had heard it. I remembered dancing the night away in the beach club. At one point Blaire yelled in my ear, “You’re going to have such a good time in Sydney. It’s such an amazing place! You’ll do so well there.”
I take my phone out and look at the caller id. It’s Scott.
You’ve got to be fucking kidding me, I thought.