Scott had just called me, Deniro’s neck was bleeding, and I was high as fuck. He reminded me of the birthday that I missed and had asked me about Deniro. Luckily he was also fucked up on his own form of prescribed medicines so he was unable to sense the unease and paranoia in my voice.
“I went outside today,” He said proudly, but quickly grew sad, “I was so scared.”
“Well that’s good you left,” I praised him, “That’s such a good step.”
“I had a hard time crossing the street. I was so scared of the cars,” He paused and then added, “I have to wheel myself around in a wheelchair, you know?”
“Oh… well you are going to be able to walk again, right?”
“Yeah, but that’s what I wanted to call you about. Deniro hasn’t been a pain to deal with, has he?”
“No way,” I look down once again at his bleeding neck, “I like taking care of him.”
“Would you be against looking after him for a longer period of time?”
“Yeah, that should be ok,” I assured him.
“Ok, because the doctor told me today that I won’t be released from hospital until September.”
SEPTEMBER, I think to myself, THAT’S MONTHS AWAY! I responded with, “That should be ok. Don’t worry about us, just focus on your recovery.”
The conversation ended there. I wished him luck and hung up the phone.
The five of us grabbed our coffees and teas and went back to my place. I brought Deniro into the bathroom with a roll of paper towels and cleansed his wound. I got the bleeding to stop but didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t even know where the nearest vet was nor did I have a vehicle to take Deniro to the vet in. In my drugged state I decided to let the wound run it’s own healing course and wish for the best. I decidedly neglected something that needed immediate attention, and I take full responsibility for that now. I had a shift at KC that day, but when I came back that night I checked Deniro’s injury again and cleaned it once more. Deniro was very patient as I cleansed it. He didn’t move or whimper as I dabbed his wound with paper towels. When I was done nurturing his wound I looked him deep in the eyes and started tearing up. I was stretched thin from the stress of the day; from the stress of having these responsibilities, of not knowing when Scott would come back, of trying to fit in, the stress of work and how toxic it became because of Chris and Ben; but when I looked at Deniro and his unrelenting patience with me I felt as if all those problems sunk away. He needed me as much as I needed him. Deniro slept by my door that night for the first time.
Sleeping after a three day meth bender was harder than imagined. You’d think that after three days your body would be begging to sleep, but instead I lay with my eyes closed for hours. Just when I’d be about to sleep my body would jolt and I would be wide awake again. Once I did fall asleep though I was in such a state that only a good shake would’ve woken me. The mornings were for regret, and usually for crying as well. As I stumbled to try and get ready for the day, the come down in full force, I felt empty and emotionless. The smallest thing would make me burst in tears, and there was numerous times I cried to the Les Miserables soundtrack. I felt heavier with each step when I was walking to work. I would have my sunglasses firmly in place with a power drink gripped in one hand. I would sometimes get shaky and my breath would get uneven. My heart would be racing and I would have to tell myself that it was all in my head. In my comedowns I would always tell myself, Next time I’ll wait a week before having more, or I would think, Maybe I won’t do it for three days in a row next time. But once the comedown was gone it was also forgotten and all I could remember was the unforgettable high that preceded it.
One night Chris, Ben, Matt, Brendan, Nick, and I met at Nick’s apartment. Since Matt was there we tried to keep the drug use on the down low and had it prepared and hidden in the bathroom. When one of us felt like we needed a hit we would excuse ourselves to the bathroom and take a puff or two (or three… or four…). Brendan and Nick were obviously less worried about keeping it from Matt as they would usually both go into the bathroom together. At one point Chris, Ben, Brendan, Nick and I were ALL in the tiny bathroom before Brendan noticed and said, “Fuck, not all of us at once! He’s gonna know!”
Matt wasn’t as stupid as we loved to pretend he was, so he knew right away. He didn’t say much about it but still gave his judgemental two-cents. It was quiet royal coming from a gambling addict and ex-stoner.
When Matt went to the bathroom (to actually USE the bathroom for it’s intended purposes) Brendan leaning in close to Nick and I and whispered, “Let’s play a prank on Matt.”
“Ohmygod yes,” said Nick, “That would be HILARIOUS.”
Besides his normal job and working at KC, Matt also worked as a private escort and advertised online (as a rent boy). Although it was riskier, private escorts made double (sometimes triple) the amount that escorts in a brothel made. Instead of giving some money to the brothel owner, you kept the whole sum for yourself. The trade off was that you had to handle your own calls, emails, texts, and transportation; basically the manager’s job.
“Let’s text Matt’s rent boy account and pretend to be a client,” said Brendan, obviously proud of his plan. Matt had two phones; his personal phone and his work phone. Our plan was to text his work phone pretending to be a client that was interested in his services and see where it went from there.
“Yes!” exclaimed Nick. I nearly gasped at how funny the potential was. We were all in agreeance.
Brendan texted Matt from a blocked number just as Matt came out of the bathroom. When I saw Matt I was pathetically having a hard time composing myself even though nothing had happened yet. I pretended to look out the window so that he wouldn’t see the stupid smirk that was struck across my face. Matt pulled his work phone out of his pocket when he felt it vibrate. As a group we never hid work-related things. Work was our entire lives.
Matt unknowingly corresponded with Brendan for a while. Brendan came up to me at one point and said, “Do you think I should send him a picture of this guy and pretend it’s the client?” I furiously agree and he sends it. It was a picture of a hot, shirtless lebanese man.
Almost immediately Matt looked at his work phone and said with excitement, “Holy shit! Holy shit guys! Look at the hot client that wants to hire me tonight.” He goes around the room and shows everyone the picture on his phone. He was beaming. I tried my best not to laugh.
Brendan consulted with Nick and they both decided to pretend that the client’s address was the apartment complex next door, that way we could secretly watch Matt walk to his ‘client’s’ apartment and witness his disappointment. They texted him the address.
“Oh my god!” yelled Matt, “He lives like, right there!” He pointed out the sliding glass doors toward the apartment complex, “I’m sorry guys I’ll have to leave you. If he wasn’t so hot I might pass but this is just too good!”
“That’s ok,” we replied, trying our hardest to act at least somewhat disappointed.
Matt left the apartment in a rush. When the door closed behind Matt, Brendan sent him one last text. It read: Will you do bareback with me?
Matt texted back: Probably not.
Brendan texts: What if I gave you an extra $500.
Matt: Yes, then I would.
Immediately I feel some humiliation for Matt. Nobody would ever admit to doing bareback with a client. It was so risky, and for someone like Matt to admit he would, even with his fear of HIV, was embarrassing. I had a slight feeling that maybe we went too far with that question, but was still laughing along regardless.
We scrambled to the balcony and watched Matt head towards the complex next door. He stopped at the gate and texted: Your apartment number isn’t on here? (We gave him a fake apartment number so that he wouldn’t accidentally buzz someone in that complex).
Brendan texted: Yes it is.
Matt: No, it’s not.
And then Matt calls Brendan’s number. Brendan tells us all to shut up and then answered the phone yelling, “Yes it is cunt!” The five of us lost our shit laughing. I am howling as Matt tried to explain miserably that he knew it was us all along, “Yeah right!” yelled Brendan, “You fucking didn’t know shit,” then he said in a mocking voice, “look guys, he’s soooooo hot!” I laugh even harder.
Brendan decided to meet Matt outside of the elevator, and when the doors opened and Matt saw Brendan, he took a swing at his face.
We laughed. It was a really good time. Matt cooled down after a minute and laughed himself.
“We should plan a vacation together,” Matt suggested after Ben and Chris left to go home for the night.
We all agreed that was a good idea.