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The Truth: Part 22 and 23

Part 22

I made a trip to the sexual health clinic. I’d like to say it was my first time getting a sexual health screen, but that would be a lie. A few months prior when I was still living in Canada I had to get one done. When I had sex for the first time, it was unsafe. The guy I was sexualising with didn’t have any condoms, and I had lacked in knowledge about sexual health. I had been naive enough to risk it. I secretly booked an appointment with my family doctor and told my parents I was going to hangout with friends. When I arrived to my appointment and told my family doctor why I had come, she scolded me. “Cody,” she said, “I cannot believe a good boy like you is in here for that. How could you be so stupid?” She gave me a stern look, “I better not catch you in here for the same reason again. Legally I’m not allowed to tell your parents, but I’d have a good mind to!”

The sexual health clinic for prostitutes in Sydney is cleaner than expected. It could be easily mistaken for a normal walk-in clinic sans the giant posters on the wall about safe sex, how to properly inject drugs, info about methadone meetings, etc. I forced Nick to come with me because I had been scared to go by myself, but when the nurse called my name I told him to wait outside. I looked back towards Nick before entering the screening room, he was slowly shifting his weight away from a woman in the waiting area who was scratching all over her body and mumbling to herself. A brief moment passes where I thought about bringing him with me. But in the end I entered the screening room without saying anything.

The health screen took longer than expected. She asked me a series of questions about my sexual health history, which sexual roles I engaged in (“Do you give, receive, or both?”), info on HIV, and the last time I had unsafe sex. She asked me if I was a sex worker and I felt uncomfortable when I said yes. She dealt with prostitutes all the time, yet I was embarrassed and my face turned red as she ticked Sex Worker off on the form.  Then I had to do a blood test, rapid HIV throat swab, normal throat swab, pee in a container and stick a swab stick up my butt. The rapid HIV tests came back negative, but the full blood results would return in a week, as well at the other results. The nurse explained to me that the main STD/I’s they looked for were Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, Herpes, and HIV. I was relieved to hear that the nurse personally thought I was negative on all counts, but I would still have to wait a week to get the official results.

Nick and I went straight into work after the health screening. Dave opened the door for us and said, “You boys should really just go home now.”

“Why?” Asked Nick, “We are scheduled on for tonight.”

“Yeah,” replied David, “You and thirteen other boys.”

The Boy’s Room was packed. Bodies of boys were strewn all about. They were sitting in each other’s laps, some were sitting on the floor. Dave told us that no clients had come in all day. Pete had just arrived as well for the manager change-over to take on the night shift. As the owner of the brothel, Pete wasn’t pleased that there had been no clients. Pete never vocalized his displeasure, he would have a weird, almost worried look come across his face and say methodically, Hmm that’s interesting. He would then come up with a bogus story about the stock market and the economy and use it to excuse the lack of clients; They are holding onto their money, he would say, because they are scared of the falling economy.

There wasn’t any room on the sofas so I grabbed a pillow and sat on the floor. All the boys in the front half of the room were yelling, laughing and talking over one another. The other half seemed moody and remained quiet. There were a few boys I couldn’t recognise but I didn’t really care to make an effort to introduce myself that night. Trying to get a word in was nearly impossible, but a boy finally confirmed a question I had about there had been no clients that day.

“Yeah,” said the boy, “ There has been nothing. Its been so fucking boring!”

A boy shouts, “Everyone fucking leave so that I can get a client!”

“You ugly fuck, no client would actually want you.” Said another, and the boys broke out into a laughter.

Brendan was in the corner of the room and spoke up, “It doesn’t help that half you cunts have the same look as me. If another skinny blonde guy starts working here then I’ll be out of business.” More laughter erupts. I wonder if Brendan thought that when I had first started. I notice that two new blonde skinny boys were on the silent half of the room, talking quietly to themselves.

I turn to Nick and say, “Well, Brendan isn’t wrong,” and then motion towards the two new blondes.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” Nick says, “I’m gonna give Pete a piece of my fucking mind. Between you, Matt, Brendan and I we have enough skinny blondes. He doesn’t fucking need more.”

I had agreed with Nick and stepped outside for a cigarette. I found myself glaring at the new blondes through the sliding glass, thinking about how they might ruin my business. I had been getting a good chunk of the clients for the past couple weeks and didn’t want my winning streak tarnished by new blood. The problem was that the clients loved new boys. I was worried.

Jake stepped outside even though he didn’t smoke, which had me annoyed because that meant he wanted to talk.

“What do you think of the new blondes?” Jake said with goofy grin.

“I’m kinda mad. There is so many of us now.” I reply, taking a drag of my cigarette.

“Yeah it’s kinda funny how there is so many twinks here. I am lucky because I’m basically the only muscle guy.”

“Fuck off.” I say, not even looking at him. I continued to watch the boys through the sliding glass door.

“But it’s true,” he gave a guilty laugh and then continued, “I get the most clients here. I’m not ashamed to admit that. A lot of clients like a muscle top.” I glare at Jake and am about to tell him to fuck off again when he continues, “But, you have got the second most clients out of all the boys here. I’d hate to see you lose clients, you were here before those two so you deserve it.”

I hesitate before saying, “Thanks.”

Jake adds, “That’s why I am going to talk to Pete and try and get rid of them.”

“What?” I respond, “You mean get them fired?”

“Yeah,” Jake says, “Because it’s totally not fair to you or to Nick or anything.” The client bell rings and rejoice floods over the Boy’s Room. Jake says, “Finally,” and goes back inside with me following him.

The client asked to interview all the boys, which took a really long time since there was fifteen of us. Almost half an hour later the interviews were over and Pete went to see which boy has been chosen. Dirty looks shoot across the room as the boys wait in anticipation. A lot of boys had desperation on their face, and I felt bad for them. We all needed money to survive, and some boys had it harder than others. Boys like Jake made thousands of dollars, others barely made anything all all. For most boys, escorting was a last resort, so it was sad to see the desperation on their faces and know that getting a client could mean the difference between going hungry or not. When times were tough and the brothel was slow, boys would look at other boys who got jobs in animosity. Although we knew it was out of our control, we would feel a deep jealousy towards the boys that got too many clients. Some boys even got angry about it.

Pete simultaneously swings open the door and says, “CAAAAAAAAARRRRRL!”

The boys all moan and turn to stare at me. Most of them looked bitter, a few looked angry. I didn’t help the situation by saying, “Who, me?”

“Yes, he wants YOU,” Pete replies, “Hurry up.”

I carefully tip-toe around the boys and make my way to the door. Everyone is relatively quiet as they try and mask their disappointment. In ways it felt good to be picked over everyone else. I quickly glance to the new blondes and think to myself, I’m doing just fine.

Part 23 

Most of the boys had gone by the time I was done with my client. They had grown fed up with waiting and no other clients had walked in the door. Jake was one of the boys whom had left, along with Blake and the two new blondes. Nick had been waiting for me with Brendan and I found them in the back having a fag.

“How was the client?” asked Nick, making room for me to sit beside him on the wooden slats.

I sat down and replied, “Meh, it was alright.”

Brendan spoke up, “I saw you doing the strut up to the door when your name was called.”

I put on a flaming gay voice, “It felt so good,” I put my hand on my heart, “to beat out all you skinny bitches. I wanna thank jesus, my good looks, and…”

Nick cuts in, “Yeah you probably went into the interview and told him you’d do it for free you little slut.” Nick and Brendan laugh.

Brendan adds, “Gave him a little sucky sucky in the interview.”

“Oh you’re just jealous I got him over you guys.” I jokingly bite back.

“Oh yeah, who could be jealous of that?” said Nick.

Brendan basically yells, “He was so disgusting. You can HAVE him!”

We stay and talk for a while before deciding to leave early. Not even the present company could ward off the boredom of waiting for a client. Brendan had a car, so we decided to go to his apartment. I hadn’t been to Brendan’s apartment before, so I was intrigued to see it.

Brendan was an enigma to me. He talked about being a good person but then acted like the biggest bitch of the walk. He was loud, he was stark, and he could be very rude. Despite these flaws he could also be extremely generous, and he could stand up for you when you weren’t able to stand up for yourself. Deep down, under his lost boy persona, there was a very good person that came out once in a while. At the time I considered myself closest to Matt and Nick and furthest from Brendan. The cracks in his tough-guy attitude showed his humanity, which kept me wanting to be his friend, but I tended to keep him at arm’s length.

On the drive over to Brendan’s apartment he was telling us about his racked up debt. I won’t say the amount, only because I can’t remember, but it was definitely on the higher side of five digits. Most of the debt seemed to be from the ridiculous amounts of speeding and parking tickets he would get.

“Cody, we need to make a stop and pick up some stuff.” Brendan said as he looked back at me in the back seat of his car.

“Ok… what are we getting.” I reply, hoping it’s food.

“You can’t get all crazy, ok?”

“I won’t.”

Brendan exchanged a look with Nick and then said, “We are going to get crack.”

“Why would that make me go crazy?” I asked.

“Because you’re this little goody goody and I don’t want you freaking out about it.”

“I won’t freak out. I don’t care.”

“Ok, because we will probably be doing it tonight.” Nick hits Brendan in the arm and Brendan turns to him and yells, “What? He’s gonna be there anyway! He midaswell know!” He turns back to me, “You can try some if you want.”

“No, I promised myself I wouldn’t do any drugs.”

“Well, I’m not going to force you. But if you wanted to try it now might be a good time. It’s just gonna be you, me, Nick, and two of my other friends at my place tonight. We are all going to be doing it so you’ll be the only sober one.”

Brendan parks on the side of the road and goes up to this apartment block. Nick and I wait in the car, and not even five minutes pass before Brendan is running back.

“Whew!” yells Brendan as he hopped in the car, “We gonna get fucked.”

We arrived not long after to Brendan’s apartment. The apartment was beautiful and expansive. It was two levels, three if you included the stunning rooftop terrace. I didn’t know what I was expecting when I entered the apartment, but I was thoroughly impressed. The apartment was clean with a ‘showroom’ kind of feel. The furniture was basic with clean lines and a modern touch. Brendan’s housemate was technically the leaseholder of the apartment, and he resided on the first floor. Up the stairs was Brendan’s bedroom, two balconies (one accessible through Brendan’s room, the other was accessed through the living room), kitchen, living area and the bathroom. The next flight of stairs took you to the rooftop terrace. The terrace was stunning and looked over a small park. The surrounding area was apartment city, which was a shame because the view would’ve been even more spectacular if it was extended beyond the park.

Brendan immediately took us to his bedroom and shut the door. The walls in his room were bare and he didnt even have a bed frame: his mattress was just lying on the floor. Brendan got me to sit on the mattress while he opened the sliding glass mirror to reveal the closet. There he rummaged through some drawers until he found a small black case. He sat on the bed and carefully opened the case to reveal a glass pipe.

“Is that what you smoke it with?” I asked.

Brendan smiles and says, “Of course.”

I watch as he takes out the small bag from his pocket. It’s a square ziplock bag with a clear substance in it (the ‘crack’, as they called it).

“Can I look at it?” I asked, intrigued by the harmless looking drug.

“Just give me a second,” said Brendan as he carefully unzipped the bag. Nick was sitting behind him pretending not to care too much about the process. Brendan carefully took a small section of drinking straw from the black bag and used it to carefully remove a crystal from the bag and dropped it in the pipe. “Here,” he said and zipped up the bag and threw it at me. I inspected the bag and saw that the ‘crack’ looked like large pieces of salt. They were cubed and opaque. I squeezed the crystals between two fingers and felt how hard they were.

Brendan puts the glass pipe to his mouth and sparks a lighter. He is about to hold the lighter up to the glass pipe when he catches my eye, chuckles and says, “Cody, I can’t do this when you are looking at me all wide eyed. Are you gonna be ok?”

“Yeah,” I said sitting up straight, “Sorry I’m just interested in how this works.”

“Mmmkay,” Brendan responded. He sparks the lighter again and holds the pipe to his mouth. He rolls the pipe side to side under the flame, and soon I noticed the crystals melting into a clear liquid and then dissipating into a white smoke. Brendan starts slowly inhaling, and the smoke stops rising out of the top and quickly falls back through the pipe and into his mouth. He diffuses the lighter and inhales the last smoke for a good few seconds before removing the pipe from his mouth and exhaling. The smoke escaped from his mouth in a thick cascade. The smell of the smoke was like a less intense version of burnt plastic. He repeated the process and handed it to Nick. You could tell Nick wasn’t as confident in the practise as Brendan was.

I asked both of them a series of questions about ‘crack’. They tell me that the high is really hard to explain: It’s not hallucinatory, nor does it make your brain fuzzy. They said it was like sleeping for 12 hours and then drinking a large coffee; you feel normal and on the top of your game.

It’s a good hour before Brendan asks me, “Are you sure you don’t want to do any?”

I am silent for a second, “I don’t think I should.”

“There is nothing to be afraid of. You won’t really feel any different. But it’s totally up to you.”

I am completely silent, Nick and Brendan watch me in anticipation.

In the end I feel like it was inevitable. The draw to it seemed unreal. All my life I had the mentality where I wanted to try all, see all, and do all. I had told myself since a young age that I would never do any drugs (except weed), but even then I always felt it was a false promise. I did want to see what it was like. I had the perfect opportunity to try it with a friend I trusted and an environment I felt comfortable. If Nick did it, then it couldn’t be that bad.

“Fine,” I say, “I’ll try it.”

 

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The Truth: Part 20

I didn’t sign up for this, I thought to myself as I throw food into Deniro’s food dish and quickly run away. I didn’t sign up to take care of that house or that dog. It was just my luck for such large responsibility to be thrown at me out of no where. I debated going home, abandoning the house and the dog and leaving it for Scott to take care of. For selfish reasons I was upset. I went to Australia to have a good time and travel, not be stuck wondering when my housemate was going to be out of hospital. Scott woke out of his coma and, through the large amounts of painkillers he was on, managed to tell me to remember to walk Deniro every day. I didn’t. I couldn’t. It affected my work and party schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to do it every day. But here and there I would miss a day or two. I didn’t care for the demon dog, even though Deniro seemed to be warming up to me. To be honest, after the growling incident, Deniro scared me. Despite all this, I powered on. My good side got the best of me and I decided to help out this man I hardly knew.

Everyone at the brothel found out about Scott’s hospitalisation and they were all buzzing about it. Wild rumours were floating around, and all the talk was making me uncomfortable. Jake, the muscular guy I had a crush on, was in the boy’s room parading around being a cocky asshole. Sometimes he remained invisible in the corner and sometimes he demanded the room’s attention. For a good looking guy he had low self-esteem, a common pattern with the boys. Below his plastic shell there was a good guy, which is why I liked him. But on this particular night he really pissed me off. He was parading around, being nosy and loud, and he turns to me with a cocked smile and says, “So how’s Scott doing?”

“He’s doing ok, I guess.” I am hungover from the night before and laying on the couch.

He responds cheekily, “Now how the fuck did he get himself hit by a truck? It makes no sense!”

“I don’t know! Scott said it was nighttime and that the driver purposefully drove off the road to hit him and then drove away.”

“How fucking stupid is that? He should’ve jumped out of the way. If you are stupid enough to get hit by a truck then you deserve to be hit by a truck,” Jake laughs. The blood in my body starts to boil and I can feel my cheeks going red with anger.

“Just shut the fuck up, Jake,” I yell, sitting up.

“Look, you don’t have to get all bent out of shape. I am just saying it sounds pretty stupid to me.” Jake tries to hold back a devilish smile, obviously happy with my reaction. He now had the room’s attention and it was obvious he was enjoying it.

I angrily stand up and huff to the back of the room, slide open the sliding glass door and slam it behind me. I sit on the wooden slats in the smoking area and light a cigarette. I was shaking with anger, my cigarette trembling in my hands. For some reason I found myself searching the Internet on my phone for hit and run news stories in Cairns. My search results come up with nothing. I didn’t think much of it, I thought maybe the news outlets just didn’t cover the story.

That night I had an outcall way out in the suburbs. It was a $45 taxi ride out there, but Brendan promised to pick me up personally when I was done in exchange for the other $40 taxi-fare. Sometimes the boys with cars would drive you to your outcall in exchange for the amount you would’ve paid for a taxi. It was a good way for the boys to make extra cash, car permitting.

The man’s house was awkwardly bare. Nothing hung on the walls, the room was sparsely decorated. He was a nice client, but he made me uncomfortable with how much he talked about his kids. I gave him an hour long massage and my hands were really sore when it was done.

I waited outside for Brendan for 30 mins. He was supposed to meet me outside my clients’ apartment at 2 am when I was done, but after I called him to ask him where he was he said he was gonna be late and that Nick was with him. I could hear Nick cackling in the background as Brendan tried to hold his composure and tell me that he was gonna be 10 minutes late.

Half an hour later when Brendan finally arrived Nick unrolled the window and screamed, “Get in bitch!”

“Oh lord Jesus girl get in the car we going shopping!” Brendan yells.

I hop in the backseat and immediately feel the energy pouring off Nick and Brendan. Nick whips around in his seat with crazy enthusiasm and yells, “Security! This bitch has got to go!”

Brendan echoes, “He has got to go! Oh lord baby Jesus have mercy!” They both throw their heads back and howl in laughter. Once Brendan composes himself he starts driving and asks, “How was it?”

“It was good. Really easy, just mainly wanted a massage.”

“I’ve had him before. Isn’t his house so creepy? There is nothing in it. Bitch needs a painting or statue or something.”

“Really?” Nick asks with saucer eyes. Both of their enthusiasm seemed weird to me, it was something I hadn’t seen before.

“Yeah. And when I try to stick my dick in him he moves his hips around too much. It’s like, hello bitch just stand still, ok!?”

We all laugh, and I jokingly ask, “Oh my god what are you guys on?”

Nick quickly responds, “We aren’t on anything.”

Brendan adds, “You’re crazy babe.”

“Have you ever done drugs?” I ask, wondering why I had never asked before.

Nick and Brendan exchange glances. Nick says in response, “Umm yeah like every once in a while I will take a pill.”

“Oh lord Jesus!” Brendan yells out of no where.

Nick repeats louder, “OH LORD JESUS!” They both start laughing.

“Just don’t freak out about it,” Brendan tells me.

“Why would I freak out about you doing pills every now and then?”

Brendan is hesitant, but then says with a guilty smirk, “Because you’re a goody goody.”

“Oh lord Jesus!” Nick screams.

“Oh lord baby Jesus!” Brendan screams back.

And that’s how the rest of the drive goes until we get back to Nicks apartment and start drinking.

Partying became a full time endeavour. Every night after work Nick, Brendan, Matt and I would meet at someones apartment, pre-drink until 2 or 3 am, and then go out clubbing until the sun rose. It was now a ritual. One particular night we were pre-drinking at Nick’s apartment and I noticed something odd. I’d seen it before but not at this frequency. About every half an hour Nick and Brendan would go into Nick’s room for 15 minutes. I never normally paid attention to it because I thought they were going in there to fix their hair or to apply more makeup. Matt, who was sitting beside me, was obviously bothered by it. Matt yelled at them from the living room, “We all know what you are doing in there! We aren’t that stupid!”

I pondered what he meant, and I thought that maybe they were going in there to make out. I didn’t think that Nick and Brendan liked each other before, but it would explain why they would spend so long in there. It seemed desperate to me and foolish that they would try and hide it like that. They knew that Matt and I wouldn’t care. I would be happy for them to be together.

Matt broke my deep thought, “You do know what they are doing in there, right?”

“I… I think so.” I say, starting to feel foolish.

Matt says bluntly, “They are smoking crack.”

“Really?”

“Why else do you think they go in there alone so often?”

“I thought maybe they were doing their hair.”

Matt laughed mockingly at my hilarious innocence, “Oh my god! I know they do their hair a lot but that’s just dumb.”

“Well how was I supposed to know?”

“Yeah, you are pretty innocent.”

“How do you do crack?” I asked.

“You smoke it. Don’t tell me you want to try it.” Matt gazes at me with a dumbfounded expression.

“No I don’t, but I would like to watch Nick and Brendan do it. I’ve never seen how it’s done before.”

“That’s just weird. I would never do something as stupid as crack.”

Later that night Matt spends $400 on the pokies (slot machines). In one way or another everyone had their vices. Matt craved risk. Brendan craved adventure. Nick craved numbness. I craved the unknown. These mental cravings were manifesting themselves into physical ones. I thought mine had manifested in the form of becoming an escort, but little did I know I had a lot more coming.