Category Archives: canada

The Truth: An Ending

When Scott first told me that he was in fact not hit by a car but instead tried to kill himself, I cried. As he told me about how he jumped off a third story balcony I buried my face deep within the crook of my arm. Scott was touched by my emotion, but he, nor anyone, knew I wept for selfish reasons. I didn’t weep because the lack of love Scott felt made him throw himself off a building, the tears tracked down my cheeks because for the previous few months I wasted my time taking care of him. I took care of Scott because I felt bad for him being hit by a car. I struggled with my own morality to stay around and help him recover, the man I hardly knew. When the truth that Scott was the cause of all his own pain was put forth I was angry because if I knew the pain was self-inflicted I would’ve skipped town months ago.

 

I lost my friendship with Nick and Brendan over crystal meth. I didn’t want to do it anymore and this caused a rift in our relationship that couldn’t be fixed.

 

I ended up becoming a stoner with Scott and that’s when our friendship really began. I didn’t have anyone else to hangout with so I spent all my time with him and I really grew to love him. I started to not regret taking care of him, and I started feeling terrible for even having those thoughts. Scott was a gentle, beautiful human being. He helped me through my (admittedly first of two) crystal meth addiction. He told me things about his past that made me weep. He was really a man searching to be loved.

 

When I made the mistake of making friends with a cunt named Keith, and when I made the even bigger mistake of moving in with him, Scott and I drifted apart. My obsession with Keith made me insane and I cut off everyone who cared about me so I could focus all my attention on him. Keith and my relationship was toxic, and we were both to blame for it. I did some batshit crazy things because of him, and he did some truly disgusting things to me. Our destiny was always doomed and Scott had seen it and he desperately tried to warn me about it. I ignored him.

 

The last time Scott and I hung out I did crystal meth with him. I hadn’t relapsed (yet), I was just living by Scott’s motto; you need to let loose every few months or else everything is going to build up inside and explode in more destructive ways. But if you can allow yourself to be bad once in awhile, then you can control the monster deep inside you. I don’t know if that motto applies to everyone, but at least for Scott and I we definitely had giant monsters living inside of us. Still do.

 

Scott’s world seemed to be on the rise until one day I got a call from him. He said that he was going to try and kill himself again, and that none of his so called ‘friends’ were there for him. I was the only one he could get a hold of and he said I was the one of the only ones who still cared. Scott’s plea was that he just needed someone to care for him. He only wanted love. He gave and gave and gave and only a handful of people ever gave back. Scott was thrown in the dirt time and time again and that’s how I know he’s the strongest person I ever met because I would’ve killed myself years ago if I had been in his same shoes. But he kept trying, and he kept trying, and when things started to look up the world would fail him again and he would be left alone to pick up the pieces.

 

That is why, on April 30th, 2014, Scott decided to end his own life. I was visiting my family in Canada at the time, needing a break from my Sydney blunders (especially more recent developments from Keith and I) and I received a call telling me Scott was dead.

 

I was so angry. I was so lost. I was so hurt. It wasn’t a question of if he would commit suicide, but of when… I didn’t expect it to come so soon. When I flew back to Sydney I attended Scott’s memorial. It was filled to the brim with people I didn’t know. People who never came to visit when Scott was bed-ridden, people who never offered to help. In the sea of sad faces all I saw were masks of people trying to get some attention, to fill the need for their lives to be more interesting; People trying to play the I knew him longer game like it actually mattered. I didn’t even know Scott for a full year before he died, yet I am haunted by it every fucking day. We all could’ve done something more to help him. Looking around the memorial I realised we all had killed him.

 

The memorial was a shit show, as was organising Scott’s belongings, as was finding a home for Deniro, as was everything else in my life. You’d think that people would come together in a time of need but all I experienced from Scott’s aftermath was greed and deception and I quickly understood how Scott wasn’t able to feel love in his life. I can count on one hand the individuals who were there for him in the beginning.

 

I started studying in college, I made new friends, I got fired from the brothel and was working independently. The next few months flew by and I was being flown around the country in a next level of escorting. I was making the big coin until I relapsed.

 

My second time addicted to crystal meth wasn’t as fun as my first. And in the height (and end) of my second addiction I was given something of Scott’s: the script for a musical he was once in. Flipping through the dense script I came across something very peculiar. It was five pages of written words from Scott with the title My Script Idea. What was written inside wasn’t really a script, it was a cry for help. I am still the only one who has read it but I’ll say the subject matter was haunting and intense. It wasn’t a script at all, but a brutal retelling of the real things Scott had been through in his childhood. I only know it was real because when Scott and I were stoners he would briefly tell me the stories but never in detail. I was shocked and disgusted and I hid the papers away in a box so I wouldn’t have to see them. Scott was truly a broken man with a sick past who was looking for redemption.

 

Two weeks later I ended up in hospital in a coma from a drug overdose.

 

Two months later, with the help of some friends, I decided to go back to Canada for my own safety and wellbeing.  

 

Seven months after I came back to Canada I am sitting in Staff Housing in Whistler, looking at the sun shine out of my window, wondering if I will ever be the same again. I never asked for pity from anyone, and I never will. I had been through hell and back; through rape, addictions, prostitution, insanity. I sit here, looking out my window at the beautiful Canadian wilderness, and I wish for things to be different. But when I ask myself what I would like to be different, I can’t come up with an answer.
I don’t regret anything.  

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The Truth: Part 35

We were well into our giant bender when Scott finally woke up. I had checked on him numerous times throughout the night to make sure that we weren’t being too loud, but each time he was fast asleep. Once I heard him murmur in his sleep. I hoped the sound meant he was having a good dream, but hope turned into despair as the murmur turned into another groan of pain escaping Scott’s lips while he slept. How can one dream of good things during these times?

“Make sure you’re being careful,” Scott said to me once he was awake. I didn’t need to tell him what we were up too downstairs. He just knew the answer and looked at me with big, soft eyes.

“I am.” I said, sitting on the end of his bed. I could hear Brendan and Ben laughing loudly downstairs.

“I think I’m going to start trying to go up and down the stairs soon.” Scott said hopefully with a twinkle in his eye.

Through my drugged state I managed to give a warm smile, “That’s awesome.”

Scott smiled back and we sat and didn’t talk, instead we listened to the mumbled conversation downstairs.

Suddenly I found myself singing softly under my breath, “It’s not easy being green, it seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.”

Scott looked at me with surprise, “That’s Kermit the Frog, right?”

“Yeah. I don’t know why but it’s stuck in my head. I think I heard it on a commercial or something.”

Scott sang softly as well, “I am green and it’ll do fine. It’s beautiful! And I think it’s what I want to be.

Downstairs; Brendan, Chris, Jay and Ben had started smoking a new bag of crystal. Ben had just been passed the pipe by Brendan and had started smoking it. I sat across from Jay, who was staring at me weirdly once again. All night Jay had been staring at me, and when I would notice he would let out a cheeky grin and look away. There seemed to be some animosity between the ‘threesome’ of boys… their three-way relationship was on the rocks, the magnitude of problems rising from Chris and Ben; Ben’s love for Chris was waning while Chris’s jealousy of Ben and Jay was growing. It was like watching the slow tick tick tick of a bomb about to go off. Random stares and mean-hearted glances were thrown between the three all night.

We didn’t do much the first night, nor the second. We smoked lots of meth and played games. Chris made lots of off-hand jokes about body temperature that I didn’t understand, Ben and Jay had their own secret conversations. Nick spent lots of time on his phone.

Brendan, on the other hand, was a wild card. When on crystal he was all over the place. Sometimes he would spent hours on his phone. Sometimes he would talk at a fast pace about random shit for hours. Other times he would clean whoever’s house we were smoking in. On rare occasions he would fall asleep in the middle of a conversation and wake up hours later. His behaviour was always sporadic and confusing. Brendan was the only one of the friend group who intimidated me. When he was in a good mood he was fun, when he was in a bad mood he was horrible. I always had the impression that Brendan didn’t like me, only because whenever we were together (and especially when he was on meth) he would make fun of everything I did. He would ask what was wrong with my hair, or why I chose to wear a certain bad outfit. He would tell me I was annoying on crystal meth (granted, I probably was) or that my voice was annoying. On the outside Brendan appeared to be a nice person, but nine times out of ten he wasn’t. That night I avoided direct conversation with him until he said, “Cody, what the fuck is wrong with you?”

I had been spaced out with that Kermit the Frog song stuck in my head, “What?” I asked.

“You’re staring at the wall.” He laughed.

“Oh, I was just thinking about something for a second.”

“Naw man, you’re fucked. You look fuuuuuucked up!”

“I’m not feeling too fucked. I was just spaced.”

“Cody, believe me, you’re fucked. Look at yourself, god! Your pupils are HUGE. Your hair is a fucking mess. You need help, mate.” Brendan laughed while Nick put his phone away and joined him. I must have not looked too impressed because next Brendan said, “Oh come on. We are just kidding. You need to grow a fucking backbone.”

“I do have a backbone!” I said a little too aggressively.

Nick piped in, “Did Brendan hurt little Cody’s feelings. Awe, so sweet.”

I tried to say, “No, he didn’t hurt my…”

“Awe, Cody is hurt.”

“Fuck off I’m not hurt.” I defended.

“Why don’t you build a bridge and get over it!” Nick said mockingly.

“No, I don’t care.” I said.

“Yes you do,” Brendan interjected.

“No, I’m just…”

“Awe look, he’s still going.” Nick laughed.

“Yeah because…” I tried to say.

“Oh my god, GET OVER IT CODY!” Brendan said with a wave of his hand, “Fuck you’re always so sensitive. We are just joking. Fuck.”

I remained silent and tried to hide my frustration. I felt my phone vibrate, it was a message from Jay.

Jay: I’m sorry they’re so mean to you.

I looked up at Jay who was already staring at me. It clicked in my mind then that maybe Jay liked me. I pushed the thought out as soon as I had it. I can’t get involved in this three-way relationship, I thought, It would get so messy.

For the second day in a row we watched the sun rise without any sleep or food. It was decided that all six of us were going to go to work that day. We decided to power smoke the rest of our crystal meth first since we wouldn’t risk having it at work. It seemed like a good idea until I saw how much we had left. Normally I would have three to four puffs on the pipe every hour… that alone could keep you up for days. That morning, in the space of ten minutes, I powered through ten good rips. We all did. Mixing ten rips with the fact I hadn’t slept or eaten for over two days was recipe for disaster.

“Oh we some fried chicken,” Brendan squealed as he pulled his vehicle onto the road. All six of us fit into his small car as we set off for work.

“It’s too fucking cold! Turn up the heat!” Ben yelled over the loud music Brendan was playing.

“No way! I’m so fucking hot!” Nick retaliated while opening the passenger-side window.

“Yeah, I’m really hot too.” said Chris, almost to himself.

“Yeah we get it.” Brendan said abruptly. Everyone went quiet, “You’re hotter than everyone else.”

Chris looked embarrassed as he said, “Two degrees hotter, actually.”

“Fuck,” said Nick, “I knew you were on about something.”

I had no clue what was going on. Everyone seemed to be in on something except for me.

“I heard rumors but I didn’t think it was actually true. If you don’t want people to know you shouldn’t be making obvious jokes about it.” Brendan laughed.

“Yeah, you saying I’m warmer than everyone else is a huge giveaway.” Nick added.

I finally spoke up, “Giveaway about what?” Everyone turned to me.

Nick said, “Chris is two degrees warmer…” I was still puzzled, “… His body temperature isn’t the same as healthy people…” I still didn’t respond “… There were rumors going around…”

“I have no idea what you’re on about,” I felt stupid saying.

After a couple seconds of silence, Ben said, “Chris, did you want to tell him?”

Chris answered, “Yeah,” and then he turned to me and said, “Cody, when people have HIV their resting body temperature is two degrees warmer than those that don’t. I have HIV.”

(I have to stop here and say that, after researching this ‘fact’, I am unable to find its validity. This is the conversation that happened, and everyone believed at the time that HIV positive people were 2 degrees warmer than other people at resting body temperature. But I am unable to confirm the scientific accuracy of said statements.)

“Oh, ok.” I responded.

“None of us care that you have it,” Nick said reassuringly to Chris, “I have a couple friends who are HIV positive. It doesn’t bother me.”

“It doesn’t bother me neither.” Brendan agreed.

“Yeah, I don’t care either.” I agreed as well.

The rest of the car ride I wanted to ask Chris questions about the disease but instead I tried to focus on not dying; I felt like an alien was about to burst out of my chest.

At Knight Call I was fucked up. I had never felt that high before on crystal meth; powering through the rest of the stash before work was starting to seem like a bad idea. I was shaking and tripping over my words. I tried my hardest to act normal in front of the manager on duty, Robert, but he kept looking at me with suspicious eyes. When Dave found out I had done crystal meth a few weeks back word got around quickly that I had done it and Robert was one of the first to step forward and talk to me about it. He kept saying to be very careful with it, and warned me to avoid Chris, Ben and Jay. And so Robert looked at me with suspicion, and then disappointment. He didn’t need to say it; I knew that he knew I was high.

I tried to calm my nerves once I got into the Boy’s Room. Luckily the only other person working a shift besides the group I arrived with was Bruce (the new Irish guy), and he tended to keep to himself. I was very quiet as I observed Nick, Brendan, Chris, Ben and Jay handle their highs with grace. I just sat quietly and tried to not have a heart attack. It felt like something was trying to crawl out of my throat. I had a hard time swallowing. My forehead was greasy and my palms were sweaty.

What seemed like hours were actually minutes. Brendan was called off to see a client. Then Nick was gone as well. Chris, Ben and Jay randomly left as well to see a private client, and soon it was just Bruce and I in the room. I silently prayed to no particular god that I didn’t want a client. I wasn’t in the right state for it. I felt like I was spinning really fast and couldn’t shake it. The silence suddenly was crawling under my skin and I found that I needed to say something out loud or else I would implode.

“How are you and Jason doing? Where is he?” I asked Bruce as calm as possible, remembering to breathe and pause at the appropriate intervals.

“We are doing well,” He answered with suspicion, “He’s working in the underwear shop.”

“Oh cool,” I said, regretting that I said anything at all. Trying to force out words was infinitely worse than sitting in silence.

I didn’t say anything else. We both sat in silence watching reruns of Futurama on the TV. I felt like I couldn’t move, so I sat in a hunched position for quite a while until I swear I heard Bruce say, “Cody?”

“Yes?” I answered without looking at him.

I didn’t hear what he said, but I guessed that he said, “How are you doing?”

I felt like it was odd that he asked me so long after I had asked him, but without looking at him I made up a lie about my day and what I had been up too recently, “… And then I went to the beach and it was amazing. I heard you live in Bondi? That’s amazing! I’ve only been there once but I really would love to go again. What do you think of it?” I asked and turned my head to look at him. But what I saw came as a shock.

Bruce wasn’t there.

I quickly stood up and looked around frantically. My heart pounded so hard I swear my whole body pulsed along with it. He was just there. He had just asked me a question. I remembered hearing his voice. A sudden thought about the second coming of Christ raced through my mind and suddenly I felt like I was in Left Behind. I looked out the glass door to make sure he wasn’t having a cigarette, but he wasn’t there. I even stupidly lifted a couple of throw pillows as if he were a lost tv remote.

Suddenly I heard Robert’s voice and it made me jump, “Carl, what are you doing?”

“Oh umm, I thought I lost something.” I lied, putting my hands behind my back as if I were hiding something.

“You have an outcall… they want you to come in twenty minutes, so you’ll have to leave here now.”

“Ok,” I said, hardly holding in my disappointment. I debated telling Robert that I wasn’t able to do it. Just tell him you’re sick, I said to myself. Instead I said out loud, “Hey, do you know where Bruce went?”

“Carl, Bruce has been gone for about an hour with a client.”

 

*    *    *    *   *    *

 

I had a mini panic attack in the taxi ride to the hotel to see the client.

When I was with the client I was unable to perform at my peak. The client looked at me with disappointment and within 15 minutes told me to go home and go to bed. I still got paid, but it was the first time a client had kicked me out.

“You’re terrible,” the client said before shutting the door on me.

Stupidly I went back to work in hopes that Nick and Brendan were back. Luckily they were and I told Nick about how fucked up I felt.

“Oh my god, really? I feel fine. It’s probably in your head.” Nick said.

Brendan said more bluntly, “You just can’t handle it.”

“No, this is seriously fucked you guys. I’ve never felt like this before.” I pleaded.

“You just don’t know how to let the high take over. Stop fighting it.” Brendan advised me.

“I don’t think that’s what this is.” I said as a last ditch effort to make them realise that I felt like something was wrong with me.

Even though I knew that Robert knew I was high, I didn’t want to give him any excuse to bring it up. So instead of doing the smart thing and going home, I stayed at Knight Call.

I got another client that night. This time the client came to Knight Call to use one of the rooms.

I entered the room. I took my clothes off. I hopped on the bed. He pulled me in. I kissed him once. Then he said, “Nope. Naw. Nope. Fuck this. I don’t want you. You’re fucked. I don’t want you.”

“What are you talking about? I’m fine.” I said a little too brashly.

“You’re not even hard, and your skin stinks. Something is wrong with you.”

I was immediately offended, “Umm my dick isn’t a fucking button that I can turn on and off. I don’t just get hard immediately.”

“No, I don’t want you. I want someone else.”

“But I…”

“Please leave now.”

When I shut the door behind me I realised I didn’t even get any money off him.

I now hold the record for the quickest to be kicked out of the room… I was in there for less than two minutes. I also was the first one to be kicked out twice in one day.

After being kicked out a second time that day I decided to bite the bullet and go home.

When I went to bed I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t toss and turn, instead I lay perfectly still staring up at the ceiling, watching it pulsate and pondering my sanity.

It’s not easy being green,” I silently sang, “It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.

The pulsating ceiling turned from being frightening to being comforting. Soon I found myself drifting to a much needed sleep.

The Truth: Part 34

In King’s Cross there lived a homeless woman. The first time I saw her was the first day I arrived in Sydney. She had long brown hair and wore a purple sweater with black sweat pants. She was begging on the street and I gave her a few coins. She was sitting on a heap of bundled blankets on the concrete, yelling obscenities at other homeless people walking by. The next time I saw her I bought her a burger. Her face looked leaner and her teeth were more yellow. She smiled and said thanks. I saw her around quite often, but she never seemed to remember who I was.

“She’s so disgusting,” Nick commented once when we both had seen her on the street, “I never give her money because she’s obviously using it for crystal meth.”

Overtime I would see her less and less, and when I would spot her the features on her face were more sunken and her teeth started going brown. I saw her once pulling uneaten sushi rolls out of the garbage and eating them.

She asked me once, “Oi, do you have any spare change?”

“No sorry, I don’t.”

“Fuck you, cunt.”

The last time I ever saw her I was waiting in line to buy coffee before a shift at Knight Call. I was tired and coming down off crystal meth. She came into the shop and started yelling, “Does anyone have any spare change? I need a coffee!” Most of her hair had fallen out and I think she had a tooth missing. Her voice wasn’t as soft as it was before. Nobody even turned to look at her. She started going up to every person and individually asking them, but they all shook their heads.

She finally came up to me and asked, “Can I have two dollars, mate? I really want a coffee.”

I replied, “I won’t give you two dollars, but if you wait with me in line I’ll buy you a coffee.”

“I hate the coffee here. I want two dollars to buy coffee somewhere else.” Her breath smelt like rotting flesh.

I snapped, “Well you’re homeless so you really can’t be that picky.”

“Fuck you, mate!” She stormed off.

After she left I grabbed one of my teeth and wiggled it. It was firmly in place.

At Knight Call I started seeing this old man with white hair. He made me laugh, and we would shoot the shit for the better part of the hour. He came in to see me twice in one week. On the second visit he asked me, “Do you like anyone here?”

“No not really,” I answered as I rolled over to the side to look at him.

“I don’t mean like, crush like. Is there anyone here you think is good looking?”

“Kind of, yeah.”

With a cheeky grin he asked, “Who is it? I would like to have a double with you and a guy you think is really hot.”

I had never done a double with another escort before. I debated just telling him that I didn’t want to, the prospect of it made me nervous. For another escort to see how I act in the room seemed like someone would be infringing on personal matters. I acted very different with my clients than I did in real life, so I wasn’t sure about having another person I worked with witness my client persona.

The white haired man continued, “… think of it as a gift from me to you, to be able to sleep with anyone you think is really hot.”

I was quiet for a few seconds, contemplating if I wanted to say the name of the boy I really would’ve liked to have sex with. I said with a grin, “As long as you don’t tell them that it was a gift. I don’t want them to know that I’m the one who set this up.”

“Thats fair enough. So whom shall it be?”

I couldn’t hide my smile, “Jake.”

“Oh, and who is he?”

“He’s this really muscular guy that I work with. He’s pretty cool, sometimes really annoying. He drives me home from work on the nights I work late once in awhile.”

“Sounds fun. I’ll set it up once we are finished here.”

It took Jake only one day to find out we had a booking with a client together. He announced it in front of the entire brothel.

“Cody and I are having a double in a week,” Jake said loudly to all the boys in the Boy’s Room. He had a cheeky grin and looked directly at me, “I’ll be your first double, correct?”

“Yeah, you will.” I couldn’t hide me smile.

“He booked it for next tuesday. Are you excited?” He asked, obviously happy he still had the attention of the room.

“Meh, I don’t really care.” I said nonchalantly. A couple of the boys laughed.

Jason, Bruce’s boyfriend, had started working that week. We all thought they were a cute couple. Everyone remained thoroughly entertained at their Irish accents, making them say words like ‘leprechaun’ and ‘thursday’ and laughing when they pronounced it ‘Tuuuuursday’. Jason seemed really nice, though. He seemed to care for other people and wasn’t like most of the other boys. He obviously liked to make people laugh, and he had a devilishly charming smile.

Immediately Jason got along well with all of the boys, and many fancied him as he was really good looking. He had a second job working in a gay underwear shop located near Oxford Street (the gay street.) I got along with him very well, and it didn’t take long before he became a good work mate of mine. We would spend time telling funny stories and smoking darts in the outdoor area, but outside of work we had never hung out.

The week went by as I was getting to know the Irish couple at work, and Jake texted me everyday saying:

Five more days till we have that double….

 

Four more days….

 

Three more! Are you nervous?

 

Two more days and we have that double.

 

Tomorrow is the day!

Then the day arrived. I was nervous. The client had booked it for early afternoon, but requested that I came into the room for the first fifteen minutes alone and then go down into the Boy’s Room to collect Jake when we were ready. I liked this plan as it gave me time to calm my nerves. I smoked a cigarette minutes before the white haired man was supposed to arrive. When he arrived and we met in the room I told him I was nervous and he said, “You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.” He didn’t seem to understand that I was nervous because this was the only thing I wanted to do for the past three months. Sleeping with Jake was something I wanted for a long time.

After fifteen minutes I went down the stairs and collected Jake.

“You nervous?” He asked.

“Nah, this will be fun.” I said with as little emotion as possible.

Jake disappointingly blew his load within 5 minutes and then begged me not to tell the other boys; he was obviously embarrassed. We had kissed roughly, the client sitting naked on the chair watching us throw each other around a bit. Then when it came to the actual sex Jake didn’t last long at all.

“I just don’t want people knowing.” He said once again before we left the room.

“Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.” I promised, but it wasn’t even an hour after our session that I had told everyone about it. Payback was a bitch for when he let everyone know I had gonorrhea the week previous.

Nick was jealous that I had the double with Jake and acted snarky with me the rest of the afternoon. Nick had fancied Jake for a while, his crush being strengthened once when Jake and him cuddle on the Boy’s Room couch one afternoon (Photo evidence of this was provided to me by Matt, the Brothel stalker and good friend, as I was not there during the cuddlement). Nick had been wanting to be the first one to have a double with Jake, but I beat him to it.

“He blew within five minutes,” I laughed as I was telling Nick.

“That’s because he probably wanted to get the fuck out of there.” Nick said with satisfaction, which didn’t make sense to me because normal people blow early because they’re too riled up.

That night we decided to go on a big bender at my place. Nick’s intentions seemed to be that he needed drugs to alleviate the emotions he was showing towards the situation with Jake. Nick hated emotions. The rest of us just wanted a fun night on it. Scott would be sleeping, so it didn’t matter to us that he was there. He would’ve never found out that we were smoking crystal meth. Nick brought the poker set, and Brendan drove him and I to my place in little Chippendale. On the way we picked up four points of crystal from Brendan’s dealer, a man who would literally throw the meth off his third story balcony in an envelope and Branden would have to try and catch it as it was falling. Branden would then put the money in the dealer’s letter box. I guessed that the dealer was trying to be smart and not get caught dealing by the police, but I thought that having random people stand under your balcony trying to catch falling envelopes seemed way more peculiar than doing a deal in person.

“We are such meth addicts,” Branden said while driving from the dealers.

“I’m not,” said Nick, “I just do it every once in awhile.”

“Fuck off, we are all addicted.” Branden laughed.

“I don’t think I am. I’m not loosing my hair and my teeth aren’t brown. I can control it,” Nick retaliated.

“Look at us, we do it all the fucking time. It’s ok to be addicted. It’s better when you just admit it.”

Everyone was quiet. I cleared my throat, “I’m addicted.”

“Of course you fucking are!” Branden howled.

“Well you two may say that you’re addicted, but I know that I’m not.” Nick hissed.

“If you’re not addicted then don’t have any tonight.” Brendan looked at Nick with malevolence.

“Fuck off,” Nick’s eyes were wide, “I paid for my half of this for tonight, I’m not gonna waste it.”

“Whatever you say,” Brendan gave up.

I instinctively grabbed one of my teeth and wiggled it. I was sitting in the back seat of Brendan’s car, which was silent.

My tooth was still firmly in place.

The Truth: Part 31

Scott was living back up in his room after that agonising night on the couch, his nightly screams continued but at least were muffled in his new location. He managed to get his hands on a wheelchair, kindly donated to him from an organization in which he was affiliated with.

Scott was unable to walk up and down the stairs, so every day I would have to deliver him food from the kitchen, or bring him up cigarettes, or any toiletries. Luckily Scott had a couple friends who would make food deliveries to the house. They would come with fully cooked meals that I would store in the fridge and deliver up when needed. I still had to feed Deniro every day and bathe him once a week.

Most nights I would come home from work just to simply check if Scott was still alive. Calling him was pointless because he was sleeping most of the time. He’d be in such a prescription drug slumber that no noise would wake him. I was sure I would come home one day and find him dead; one time I was sure he was. He lied twisted in the bed with his tongue hanging out, his breathing was so shallow it was unnoticable. I rushed to his bedside and shook him. He woke after a few good shakes, simply opened his eyes and weakly said ‘Hey darling’ before passing out again.

Once I had checked him and took out some garbage or dishes from him room, I would deliver up anything he needed. I would then get ready and leave the house again. I was out with the boys drinking and smoking almost every night.  

One night someone suggested we go to a place I had never been before; a sex sauna.  

I went with Matt, Brendan, and Nick.

The entrance to the sauna was fairly discreet despite its busy location. It was nestled in a corner building just a block off Oxford Street (Sydney’s gay street). It was past 12 at night, and we waited in a small line.

“That will be twenty dollars,” said the front desk attendant as we reached the front of the line. He clarified, “Twenty dollars each.”

I paid in cash and he handed me a towel and pointed me in the direction of the locker room. I waited until everyone had paid, and we all walked in together. I was really nervous and Nick could tell.

“You’re gonna be fine. Just relax.” He said.

“I’m actually kind of scared.”

“I’ll be with you the whole time. Don’t be such a baby. God.” Nick snapped.

The lockers had an assortment of older men undressing and I tried to suppress my laughter at their nakedness. I looked towards Nick with horror as the men gawked at us, and we both ferociously giggled and safely found lockers as far away from the wrinkly older men as possible.

I was too embarrassed to get naked in front of everyone, so I held the white towel around me as I took off my pants and underwear. Then I tightly wrapped it around my body.

“Let’s go to the sauna first.” Matt suggested.

The sauna and steam rooms were located downstairs. I slowly crept down the stairs afraid of what I might be about to witness. Luckily there were only three men in the sauna in opposite corners looking very timid. The men shifted their posture as we approached and I had the sudden realisation that I would have to remove my protective towel in order to enter.

Nick, Brendan and Matt hardly took any time removing their towels and entering the sauna, but I hesitated for a second too long and everyone gave me weird looks. I removed my towel and quickly used one hand to cover my crotch and basically ran and jumped into the sauna.

“Fuck, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.” Brendan said about my modesty. I swear one of the older men was licking his lips.

We sat in the sauna, the bubbling water providing safety from prying eyes looking at my bits, and became boisterous. We laughed and splashed each other at the expense of the other men who were trying to relax. Soon the heat of the water was getting to our heads, and Matt started nodding off.  

“Oh my god, look at Matt!” Nick laughed at Matt who slept with his head back in an unnatural angle. Suddenly Matt’s head rolled forward and dumped right in the water. We waited a second for him to wake up, but when he didn’t I quickly waded over and rescued him. I lifted his head out of the water.

“What are you doing?” Matt said groggily.

“You fell asleep and were about to drown!” I replied.

“I didn’t fall asleep.” Matt retaliated as he rested his head on the edge of the sauna and fell asleep again.

We waited a few minutes and decided we wanted to look around, but when we tried to wake Matt up he told us to leave him there.

“I don’t want to leave him,” I said. I added more quietly, “He’s drunk and I don’t know what these guys will do to him if we leave him.”

“That’s his problem.” Brendan said brashly.

“Yeah, who cares. He can take care of himself.” Nick agreed.

“I’m not going to leave him alone here.” I said firmly.

“Fine, if you want to stay here with him then you can. I’m going to go look around.” Brendan got out of the sauna and wrapped the towel around himself. Nick followed.

I was left alone with a sleeping Matt and two old men.

I sat in the sauna and tried to look interested in everything but the two other men in the sauna. One of them was sitting across from me, and when I was checking out a poorly painted mural on the wall I felt something between my legs. It was the man’s foot.

My head whipped down to look at him as he rubbed me. At first I was shocked. He wore a crooked smile and was quite older, but he wasn’t bad looking. I could tell he had a nice body even though most of it was submerged in the water. Before I knew it I reached my foot out under the water and touched him too.

This man and I fooled around without words while Matt slept a couple feet away.

The man left the sauna once he was done and left Matt and I alone. I violently shook Matt awake and told him to go home if he was too tired.

The second level of the sauna was a giant dark sex maze. Literally. There were gloryhole nooks, sex swings, dead ends, and small rooms with “beds” in them (“Beds” because it really was just a platform with a mat on top of it). The maze really freaked me out. The walls of the maze were painted black and there was hardly any light. A couple times I walked around a corner directly into someone else. A few times a stray hand in the shadows reached out and grabbed me. Nick laughed at how on edge I was. While I was inspecting a glory hole he snuck around to the other side and put his hand through the hole and grabbed my leg. I screamed so loud that a few strangers congregated around to see what the commotion was.

Pretty soon I got the hang of the maze. I would confidently pull stray hands off my body and started walking around alone. None of the men were my type so when I was about to call it quits I was surprised when a tall man accidentally ran into me. Our eyes met. He was tall, muscular, tanned, and Italian. He grabbed my hand and without another word said, “You’re coming with me.”

We had sex in one of the rooms.

The Truth: Part 30

“The plane ride was a fucking cunt,” Scott complained. He was lying on the couch, wincing in pain with every movement, “When we took off and when we were landing I couldn’t help but scream. Every bump was fucking agony.”

“Fuck, that sucks.” I was slowly getting ready for a shift at KC.

“Just leave me on the couch tonight, I am too sore to move upstairs.”

I brought him a pillow and blanket from his bedroom. I sprayed on some deodorant and fed Deniro.

I was putting on a clean shirt when Scott yelled, “Hey hun, can you come here?”

“Yes?” I asked as I walked into the room.

“I had an idea. I can hardly walk, I’m in too much pain. I am going to ask around for a wheelchair tomorrow, but for now I was hoping you could bring down the desk chair from upstairs? It has wheels, so I am hoping that when you are gone I can push myself around on it to go to the bathroom?”

“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.”

“Thanks, hun. I don’t want you to have to help me to the bathroom. I’m hoping I can do it on my own.”

I paused for a second, “How much pain are you in, if I may ask?”

“Darling, it’s the most intense pain I’ve ever been in my life.” He let out a weak smile.

*  * * * * * * *

At work I told Nick, Brendan and Matt about Scott’s arrival by ambulance.

Matt could hardly believe it, “There is no way they let him out of the hospital in that condition!”

“Well you should have looked at him, Matt. He is all skinny and his face is sunken. He is in such bad shape, he can’t even climb the stairs to get into his bedroom.”

“Don’t tell me he’s gonna sleep in your bed tonight?” Matt gasped.

“Oh my god, no way. He’s going to sleep on the couch tonight.”

The conversation swayed to more boring topics so Nick and I slipped away for a cigarette.

“I’m thinking,” Nick paused to take a drag, “I want to make an online profile.”

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking the same.” I stated.

“I need the extra money, business has been slow. Plus we get seriously ripped off here anyway.”

“Yeah I know, right? We could be making double the money online. I’ve just been very skeptical about being online. It doesn’t seem as safe.”

“Matt has been doing fine. Nothing bad has happened to him and he’s the one who always makes mistakes. I want to make a profile soon.”

“Yeah, I should as well.” I flicked the finished cigarette from my hand into the ash tray.

Nick followed suit, his cigarette became a glowing projectile as it bounced off the lip of the tray and landed on the ground. “Fuck,” Nick said under his breath. He then said, “We should get together and make our profiles together.”

Yeah, that would be fun.”

“Brendan said he wants to make his profile soon as well. We can make a night of it at his apartment or something.” Nick stands up to go back inside.

“Are you going to pick that up?” I asked about the cigarette he left lying on the ground. It was still glowing red.

His face contorted into disgust as he spat the words, “No.”

I noticed that I started spending lots of my time in the manager’s office every time Robert was working. There was a comforting quality about him that I enjoyed. He reminded me of a family member I never had. With a sense of humor that was golden and a gentle soul that was pure, he didn’t belong in the line of work he was in. Yet he managed to fit in perfectly as the strong and gentle male presence that the brothel needed. Everyone respected Robert. Nobody ever said anything bad about him.

Robert was sad to hear about how much pain Scott was in, “That’s too bad, mate.” He winced when I told him about how Scott was wailing in pain. “Does he have someone taking care of him?”

“Yeah, me.” I responded.

“No way,” Robert was shocked, “No mate you can’t. He can’t do that to you.”

“Apparently he doesn’t have anyone else.”

“That shouldn’t be your problem. I know this is horrible to say, but you shouldn’t be doing this. Nope. That is way too much for you to deal with.”

“I can’t just leave him. I’m not that kind of person.”

“But listen, mate, you are a very young guy. You have so much going for you, the last thing you want to do is to take care of someone. It’s just not fair, and quite frankly, it’s not your problem.”

“I know. I just… I just can’t. At least not right now.”

Robert’s face grew soft, “Just please be careful. Please, please… just be careful. Scott, he’s a good guy and all, but he is trouble. He isn’t someone you should be around often.”

“I’ll be careful.”

Later that night I arrived home to find the neighbors had infiltrated my living room. The three guys were spread out on the floor, Scott was passed out with his mouth wide open on the couch. They were all glued to the tv, stoned out of their minds. The bong rested on the floor beside them. I greeted them and said no to an offer of a bong hit. I stayed up with them late into the night, and once they all had gone back to their house Scott woke up and said softly, “Hello, darling.”

“Hi, how are you?”

“I’m fine, darling.” Scott whispered, and then went back to sleep.

For a few seconds I watched him sleep. This man who used to be as strong as a rock was now a frail shell. He was swaddled on his blanket, looking smaller than any man I’ve ever seen. His facial features looked alien. He seemed to have aged ten years since the last time I had seen him. What used to be a whole man was now broken.

As he slept peacefully, Deniro guarding him at the base of the couch, I couldn’t think of a reason not to help him. I wanted to see this man whole again. It made me sick to see him in such a bad condition. There is nothing worse than comparing a man who is supposed to be whole to that of an infant.

Once I had crawled into my bed I felt proud of myself. I was proud that I was willing to go against better judgements to help this man I hardly knew. To help this man who had helped me at one point.

I had only just closed my eyes to sleep when I heard a faint noise. My eyes darted open and I wondered what it was. There was silence for a few seconds as I squinted at nothing in the dark. The noise came about again, louder than the first time. It was silent for another second, and then the noise got so loud I shot out of bed.

It was Scott wailing in pain.

When I got out of bed to inspect him he was fast asleep, but once I climbed back into the comfort of my bed he wailed again. His cries chilled me to the bone.

I hardly slept as Scott cried all night.

The Truth: Part 29

Scott informed me by phone that they were releasing him from the hospital early. A few months early. I was concerned, “Are you healed enough to be out of the hospital?”

“These fucking nurses seem to think so.” Scott grumbled.

“It’s so early. Two weeks ago you said that you were going to be in for a few more months.”

“They changed their minds. They don’t want me here anymore.”

To me it seemed like they were kicking him out, but I didn’t say anything.

Scott’s voice went soft, “I’ll need your help when I come back. I hate to ask, but I’ll really need your help.”

“Yeah, that’s fine. So when are you arriving?”

“In two days.”

I almost said fuck into the phone, “Cool. Well I shall be here for your triumphant return.”

“Darling, you can lay down the red carpet.”

“I will.”

When I hung up the phone I screamed. I didn’t care if the neighbors heard me. Deniro heard the screaming and came running right as I collapsed onto the floor. Don’t cry, I told myself repeatedly.

When I felt more composed I called Knight Call and told them I wanted to cancel my day-shift on the day Scott arrived and change it to a night shift. It was no fuss. Next I bathed Deniro, wanting to make sure he smelled fresh for Scott’s return. “You’re going to see Scott soon!” I tried to tell Deniro enthusiastically. Deniro cocked his head and I felt as if he understood.

I panicked when I saw the living room. It was a mess of garbage and rearranged furniture from all the ‘poker nights’ I had been throwing. I spent an hour getting the room organised, another hour vacuuming the carpets and sweeping the linoleum floors, wiped down the bathroom, and washed the mountain of dishes that had accumulated on the kitchen counter.

The bordello was dead the next day. I was working the day shift with three other boys, one was Blake. I told Blake that Scott was coming back early and Blake seemed excited. “I’ve always liked Scott,” Blake beamed.

“Yeah, he’s a cool guy.” I replied.

“He was one of the only guys that worked here that would want to talk to me.”

I understood what Blake meant. Boys at KC had the tendency to overlook Blake. He was stereotyped at the dumb straight-man, even though it was false. Blake had a lot of smart things to say, he just didn’t know how to say them. Scott recognised this, and when given some patience Blake would flow with deep intelligence.

Nick showed up a few hours late for the day shift, as usual. I was eager to tell him about Scott’s sudden return.

“No fucking way!” Nick gasped.

“Yeah, and I think they are kicking him out.”

“Fuck, that doesn’t surprise me. He can be so difficult.”

“He wants me to help him out.”

“What? Like be his nurse? Fuck that!”

“I know. I didn’t come here to be anyone’s goddamned caregiver. It’s been stressful enough looking after that dog.”

“I don’t know why you don’t just move out.”

“I can’t do that. I would feel so bad.”

“Who cares? It’s not your fucking problem. He should’ve thought of that before getting himself hit by a truck.”

I pondered for a second, “I want to leave. I just can’t. Scott has done so much for me.”

“You hardly even know him! All he has done is give you a place to live. You could come stay with me if you wanted, you practically live there anyway.”

“I can’t.”

Nick’s distorts his voice to a flamboyant tone, “It’s because you a pussy. You a little bitch pussy who needs to grow a backbone.” He poked me in the side and I laughed.

Dave was worried about Scott’s return. He warned me that Scott had good intentions, but got into trouble easy. I took it into consideration. Dave also told me that I had a client coming in an hour. The client was one I hadn’t seen before, but whom had been coming to KC for years. I was specifically recommended by Dave to the client. “He’s easy,” Dave said, “So don’t worry. He’s a really nice guy. Old. Very smart. Doesn’t expect much.”

“Cool,” I said, “Sounds easy to me.”

The client eyes glowed when he took his first look at me. I brought him up to the room and shut the door and locked it. He was short, wore glasses, had a hunched back, and spoke with a british accent.

“You are a very handsome young man,” said the client, whose name was Hector.

“Thanks, did you want to start with a massage?”

“No no, that won’t be necessary.” Hector laid down on the bed, “Just come here and cuddle with me, I want to know more about the mysterious Carl.”

“Do you want me to take my clothes off?”

“If you want to.”

I decided to take off my clothes except my underwear. I laid down in his arms and he made a whimpering noise.

“Are you ok?” I leaned up to look at him.

“Yeah I’m fine, it’s just nice.”

“So what do you want to know?”

Hector asked me questions about my life, my parents, my siblings. I told him about my travels through Southeast Asia and how I came into the escorting business.

“You have a very good head on your shoulders.” Hector mentioned, “You are a boy who has been through a lot.”

“Oh, and that’s not even half of it.”

“Ohhhhh… there is more?”

I told him the story about Scott and the dog. I didn’t mention the meth part, or the part where I hated the responsibilities that were thrust upon me.

“Oh you poor thing,” Hector sympathised.

“I’ll live.”

“What you’re doing is very admirable. You are a really great person. To be so patient and caring towards someone you hardly even know? A saint.” Hector’s enthusiasm was charming, “Scott must be very lucky to have found a man like you.”

“It’s stressful.” I admitted.

“Oh, understandably! But to persevere through it all is astounding. You are a lot wiser than your years, Carl. He’ll be forever in your debt when he returns.”

“I don’t think I’m ready to be someone’s caregiver.”

“No, you’re probably not. But I believe you will do just fine. Scott will be counting on you now.”

“I’m not even sure what condition he’ll be in when he gets back.”

“Let’s hope for the best.”

The hour was over and I got dressed as Hector informed me that he would be coming in to see me again in a couple days. I told him I had really enjoyed his company and was looking forward to seeing him soon.

I had renewed hope that I was going to make it out ok.

The next day Scott texted me once he got off the plane to let me know that he would arrive soon. He warned me that he was going to be arriving in style, whatever that meant. I made sure the house was in perfect condition for Scott, surely he was going to come home exhausted and I didn’t want his return to be muddled with a dirty house. I waited by the window looking out onto the street. Deniro rested by my feet.

An ambulance pulled up. Oh fuck, I thought. Two men got out and walked around the back of the vehicle to open up the swing doors. They wheeled Scott out on a stretcher. They had problems rolling the stretcher up the sidewalk, so they removed Scott from the stretcher and one man carried him in his arms like a swaddled baby. Scott was thin and frail. His features were sunken. His eyes had huge bags underneath. Scott screamed in pain as he was carried through the threshold.

“Put me on the fucking couch,” Scott wailed. The man walked to the couch and started lowering Scott, “Slower, Slower, AHHHHHHHHH!”

I looked down as Scott wailed while being placed on the couch. Deniro was in a frenzy over Scott, wagging his tail furiously. A smile towards Deniro managed to escape Scott’s mouth, as well as a weak greeting.

“You weren’t expecting the ambulance, were you?” Scott asked.

I shook my head.

“Yeah, neither did I.”

The Truth: Part 26

“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?

       Chris: Idk

       Ben: Yeah, he’s kind of a prude.

       Chris: Yeah.

       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?

Me: No.

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.