Tag Archives: addiction

Don’t Cross Your Arms

When a person crosses their arms it usually means they are either hiding something or trying to protect something. It’s a natural instinct built into the human race.

She sat across from me in her white doctors’ uniform. Her hands were folded on top of the clipboard on her lap. She was going off script – I could tell by the hesitation followed by not being able to look me in the eye. Routinely, when I am getting a sexual heath checkup, they ask the normal questions; the questions written down on the page on the clipboard. They ask about my sexual history, they ask about escorting, they inform me about the dangers of sex work and STD’s and I’s and HIV.

I can answer these questions robotically, having been asked them dozens of times before. It doesn’t faze me or embarrass me – my answers are without emotion. But this time I really fucked up. I really, really fucked up and now the doctor was going off script.

In a perfect routine of questions and robotic answers, the doctor will ask questions about escorting (“How long were you in sex work?” “Did you use protection?” “Did you provide full service?” ect.) and then they will brush on the ultimate question: “Have you ever had sex that you didn’t consent to?”

I had developed such a methodical and resounding ‘no’ to that question they would usually move on to the next question immediately.

This time when I was asked by this particular doctor, “Have you ever had sex that you didn’t consent to?” I fucked it all up. Instead of answering her, I lifted my hands off my lap and crossed them. It’s such a stupidly small gesture, one that can go easily unnoticed, but this doctor was perceptive. I don’t know why I allowed myself to do it. Immediate regret flooded through me. She put the clipboard down on her lap and rested her hands on top of it. She was looking down, I could tell she was building her off-script sentence in her mind.

The doctor looks up at me earnestly and asks, “Cody, have you ever been raped?”

I keep my arms crossed. I am uncomfortable but doing my best not to show it, especially in my voice. But my voice betrays me and it wavers slightly as I answer, “Yes.”

“Was it through sex work?”

“No.”

She sits up straight in her chair, “You know we have crisis counsellors here, right? If you ever need someone to talk too about it we offer our counsellors at no charge.”

I swallow hard. I wear an imitation smile and respond, “Thanks, but I’ve dealt with it all myself. I don’t need help.”

“They are always here. If you find you’re having a hard time then please don’t hesitate to contact us and we can set you up with an appointment.”

I smile harder as if I am trying to prove something to the entire world, “Thanks so much, but I am honestly fine.”

 

 

 

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The Truth: Part 33

Everyone at the brothel found out I had gonorrhea.

I was at a loss of what to do with my spare time so I started showing up at work and hanging out with the boys. They noticed I wasn’t taking any clients, and when Jake found the bottle of pills in my bag and confronted me about it the truth came out and it didn’t take long before everyone was making jokes about my predicament. I was the butt of every slut joke for the next week. I didn’t seem to mind as it was all in good fun, but when Jake felt bad that he outed my condition he admitted to me while driving me home one night that he once had syphilis.

A week later I was called back into the sexual health clinic and was cleared from gonorrhea. I was so happy it was all over, and I started working again immediately.

A new boy started at Knight Call; His name was Bruce. Bruce was a stocky Irishman with a very round face. His Irish accent made the other boys howl with laughter as he explained that he had done escorting work before. He seemed like a nice guy, and immediately everyone seemed to like him. He was a bit nervous, his round face glowing red. But Bruce seemed to enjoy the attention of being a new boy with a funny accent, and he told us all that he had a boyfriend, Jason, who was starting the next week. They had both moved to Australia as a couple and hoped to stay for a long time. They spent all their money coming down the coast of Australia, so they needed to make some quick cash.

“I convinced him to do this with me,” Bruce said about getting his boyfriend, Jason, to work at Knight Call, “He knew I had done it before in my past and I had convinced him to do it here so we can make some extra cash. It’s such easy money.”

After that everyone was excited to meet the second Irishman. It seemed to be all that everyone was talking about for the next week. I didn’t get what all the excitement was about. We had people from all over the world work at KC, so why all the fuss over two guys with funny accents?

“Do you think that Bruce is hot?” I asked Nick one day after work.

“God no! Why the fuck would you ask me that?” Nick hissed.

I was surprised about the anger in his voice, “Oh, I don’t know. I think he’s kind of cute.”

“Eww you’re so disgusting.”

“Well I was just saying…”

“Well maybe you should keep your shitty opinions to yourself. Did you ever think of that?” I didn’t understand why Nick was being rude.

Work was slowing down for everyone that week. I don’t even think Bruce got many clients, despite the fact that he was fresh meat. We struggled to scrape by and when we had to go and interview clients we all were trying our best to make a good impression.

I had my interview technique down pat. I would walk into the office (the clients usually sat on the couch) and walk straight up to the client and say, “Hi, I’m Carl. What’s your name?” I then would shake his hand and sit right next to him, making sure I was very close. I would act like an innocent young boy, knowing the right cues to look away and blush, like when they said ‘You’re really good looking’. I would usually place my hand on their thigh and look deep into their eyes and ask them personal questions about their lives. I was good at pretending to be interested in them. I was good at flirting with them. I was good at making them fall for me. I then would recite what I would and wouldn’t do in the bedroom, ask if they had any questions, and then leave saying, “I hope to see you later.” Sometimes I would add a wink for good measure.

As far as I knew, no one had a technique like I did. New boys would ask me what to say in the interview and I would always lie. I didn’t want to share any of my trade secrets about the interviews. They were the most important part of getting a client so I needed to keep the edge over everyone else. I needed to stand out, especially during the ‘down times’.

I got one client that week: An Asian man who brought a peculiar bag with him into the room. I was afraid that the bag was full of dildos. The client set the bag beside the bed. I gave him a massage and we started fooling around. For the most part he was nice and polite, but we got into a small argument over what I wouldn’t do in the bedroom.

“You lie to me.” He said in broken english, pushing round glasses up his nose. He was very thin, in his late 40’s, and lay naked on the bed.

“No I didn’t. You never said anything about doing that downstairs.” I retaliated, sitting up and trying to keep my voice steady and playful.

“I pay for full service.”

“No… “ I drew out the word, “You pay for a massage, anything else needs to be discussed before hand. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to, and I don’t do that.”

The client looked severely disappointed. He sulked for a second, then straightened up and bent over the side of the bed to grab the bag.

Oh great, I thought, He’s going to pull out a knife and stab me.

The client bent back up with the bag in his hand, “I want you finish. I want you to cum.”

“Yeah, cool,” I say looking at the clock. He was asking for me to finish 15 minutes early.

“I want you cum in here.” He rummages through the bag. I wait a couple seconds, afraid yet curious as to what he was looking for. “Finish in this,” the little Asian man hands me a small frying pan.

I nearly laugh but quickly compose myself. I asked the next question as straight faced and normal as I possibly could, “You want me to cum in a frying pan?” The client nods furiously. I couldn’t help myself, “But like… what are you going to do with it?”

“Cum for me in here.”

I studied his face for a second hoping that it was a joke. He looked at me with such intensity I knew he was serious.

After the job was done I really hoped he washed the pan before eating something out of it.

I went home after the Frying Pan Client, knowing that it was going to be the only job for the day. Scott was starting to get better in his long recovery and was noticing that I didn’t seem in full form most of the time. He blatantly asked me one night, “Have you been doing drugs?”

I hesitated, “Yes I have.”

“I hope you’re being safe. What are you doing. I heard rumours you’ve been dabbling in ice…” His voice trailed off. I was quiet for too long, so he added, “It’s fine if you are. I’ve done it before. It’s a really fun drug to take every once in awhile.”

“Yeah, I have done it.”

“Just be careful, darling. Don’t make it a habit. I have noticed you’ve been going out a lot.”

“Well I’ve been hanging out with Nick and them a lot.” I defended myself, them meaning Brendan and Matt. “We’ve just been drinking and going out a lot. Honestly I’ve only done ice a couple times,” I lied with the straightest face possible.

“Well, you can talk to me about anything, honey. I’m ok with you doing it. I’m not your mother so you do what you want. I really care about you so let me know once it starts becoming a problem.”

“I will,” I lied again.

“It’s only a problem once you start lying about it.” Scott said with a hint of confrontation, then he said more softly, “You can trust me. I’m like your cool Aunt. Auntie Scott.”

I let out a fake chuckle, “I do trust you. You’ve done so much for me, letting me live here and all.”

“The same goes for you.” Scott grabbed my hand, “Thanks for being so patient with me. I hate being in this condition and all the responsibility I’ve placed upon you. I really wish it was different and…” Scott stopped himself, his voice had cracked and tears welled in his eyes, “Just thank you.”

“It’s no problem, Scott. Really, I just want you to get better. You just focus on your recovery and I will focus on keeping everything in order.”

Deniro lay on the end of Scott’s bed and lifted his head lazily.

I said in reaction, “I need to feed Deniro still. Do you need me to bring you up anything?”

“No darling, I’m alright. Can you just take some of these dishes down for me?” Scott motioned to a plate, bowl, and empty glass.

“Of course.”

I washed up the dishes and fed Deniro. I gave Deniro a big hug and kissed him on his head. That dog had really grown on me, even though it was still a pain in the ass to give him a bath.

I went up to check on Scott before heading to bed.

“I think tomorrow I’ll try walking down the stairs for the first time.” Scott said with a ring of hope.

“Yeah, it should do you some good to get off this level. Do you want me to be there?”

“Yes please, darling. That would be wonderful.”

 

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 28

On vacation, Matt, Brendan, Nick and I got wasted and remained that way for three days. It started before we even left when Brendan, Nick and I took a few hits of crystal before starting our three hour road trip. We picked up Matt from his apartment and began the journey. During the road trip we blasted music through the car stereos and screamed the lyrics at the top of our lungs. Brendan was the only one with the vehicle, so he drove. We made a stop along the way at a Bed & Breakfast to go to the bathroom. The woman at the front desk had missing teeth, and the teeth she still had were shriveled and blackened.

We had agreed to bring weed down with us, courtesy of Ben who gave me some for free. Ben had learned that I liked smoking weed while having a cigarette at KC. He told me that he used to grow some plants. He offered to give me some for free to take with me on the vacation. I reluctantly accepted, hoping that he wouldn’t try and use this kindness as a quid-pro-quo for sex later.

When we had arrived at our destination, everyone except for Matt was desperate for another hit. Three hours in a car had us aching for more, but the three of us decided to keep it a secret from Matt all weekend so we weren’t able to smoke it in the car like we’d normally do. It was a really nice cabin; a perfect getaway. It was a two bedroom cabin with one bed per room, so Nick and I shared one bed and Brendan and Matt shared the other. Each bedroom has it’s own bathroom, there was a communal area in the front with a small kitchen, and the porch of our cabin overlooked the rolling hills of the Australian countryside.

We were hardly settled in the cabin before Nick came up to me and said, “Brendan and I are going to the bathroom in our room to smoke some tina. Can you distract Matt while we are doing it?”

“Well, I want some too.” I complained.

“Yeah that’s fine. We can’t all be in there at once so when I am done I’ll trade you places.”

“Ok, fine.”

I walked up to Matt and struck up a conversation with him in the communal area. It didn’t take long before he asked, “Where is Brendan and Nick?”

“I don’t know. I think they are in the bathroom doing their hair.”

“Again,” He rolled his eyes, “How much do they have to do their hair!”

“Oh you know them. I know, it’s super annoying.” I tried to relate.

“I think it’s a waste of time,” exclaimed Matt.

“What do you mean?” I asked. I sat down on a chair by a round table, he sat across from me.

“It doesn’t matter how hard they try, they still look like shit,” I let out a smile as Matt explained, “The more makeup they apply the more disgusting they look. Please never wear makeup.”

“I would never wear makeup, I think it looks terrible too.”

“Well so far they’ve influenced you to do other things…” Matt trailed off.

“Oh they didn’t influence me to do shit. I decided to smoke crack by myself.”

“You’re gonna get addicted,” He teased.

“No, I am not. It’s just something fun to do every once in awhile.” I got super defensive. I have it under control, I thought.

“Well when you do get addicted I’ll be the first one to say ‘I told you so’”, Matt laughed.

Nick walked in the room and I immediately got up and walked down the hall to the bedroom, saying something about how I had to ‘find’ something in my bag. I walked through the door, Brendan was sitting on the bed.

“Is it in the bathroom?” I asked, feeling myself getting anxious. I always got anxious before taking a hit.

Brendan spoke with a whisper, “No, it’s right here.” He lifted a small face-towel that was resting beside him, under it was the pipe. “Just do it here,” Brendan added, “The bathroom is too small anyway.”

I grabbed the pipe and felt my anxiety getting worse; I couldn’t wait to have some. I made a motion with my hand like I was sparking a lighter while saying, “Light?” Brendan reached in his coat pocket and pulled one out.

I was going to put the pipe to my mouth when Brendan said, “Will you just sit down,” He laughed, “You are way too impatient. Just calm down and chill out.”

“I am calm,” I defended myself as I sat on the bed.

“You’re looking so desperate for it. Just sit down and enjoy it.”

“Sorry,” I said. I waited a second before putting the pipe to my mouth and sparking the lighter. As I waited for the crystals to melt I said, “I told Matt that you and Nick were doing your hair.” Brendan let out an approving but uninterested grunt as the crystals melted and I started inhaling.

I heard someone walking down the hall, followed by Nick saying Matt’s name really loud. The door swung open as Matt walked in. He looked dumbfounded when he saw me with the pipe in my mouth.

“OH. MY. GOD.” Matt exclaimed, “You’re KIDDING me right?” I stopped inhaling and let out my smoke. Matt turned to Brendan, and then Nick. “I can’t fucking believe this!” Matt yelled. I could feel my face getting flushed. Matt leaned in close, “I knew you were addicted. So you guys planned on doing this all weekend and not tell me?”

“Of course,” Brendan said, “Because you get so fucking judgemental.”

“Yeah because it’s so bad,” Matt gasps, “And I hope you guys know that you got Cody addicted.”

I hated it when people would talk about me like I wasn’t there, so I spoke up, “I’m NOT addicted, Matt!”

“Well you could’ve fooled me,” He said while motioning to the crack pipe I was holding.

“We better not hear about this all weekend,” Nick rolled his eyes, “Just shut up about it.”

“I don’t want to be the only one that’s sober,” Matt whined.

“I brought some weed for you,” I voiced.

Matt uttered, “I don’t want to be the only one who is fucking stoned.”

“Well that’s your problem then,” Nick barked, “Not ours.”

Matt’s posture grew from rigid to soft, “What’s it like to be on crack?”

Brendan answered, “It’s just like being at one hundred percent. It’s not like being stoned or drunk, you just feel really good.”

I added, “It’s really hard to explain unless you try it.”

“Why,” asked Brendan, “Do you want some?”

Matt thought for a few seconds, “Maybe,” he said drawn-out.

“Oh come on, just do it,” Nick appealed.

“Yeah it’s not the bad,” I indicated towards the pipe. Matt looked at me while contemplating for a few seconds.

“Stop being a fucking cunt and just do it with us,” Brendan finally said, “It’ll be fun.”

“Ok… Ok fine I’ll try a LITTLE,” Matt gave in, “Only because you’re all doing it, so if I get addicted it’s your fault.”

“Yeah ok Matt,” Brendan rolled his eyes, “Whatever.”

I was surprised at how quickly Matt gave in to doing it.

We spent the whole vacation tweaked out on ice. On the last night we got stoned to help us sleep so we could feel refreshed for the drive back to Sydney in the morning. I adventured out into a field by myself, sat in the grass and looked up at the stars. There was hardly any light pollution so the sky was dotted with millions of crystal specks scattered across the deep purple night. I sat for an hour by myself, watching some kangaroos in the distance, listening to the animal calls of the Australian’ country. It was the first time I had been in the middle of nature by myself in a few months, so I took in the surroundings with serenity and breathed deeply. I was happy. Enormously so. I had the friend group I had always wanted. I was able to be myself around them and feel comfortable. We were having fun and trying new things.

At that point, coming to Australia was the best decision I ever made.

And then Scott came back early.

The Truth: Part 27

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.”

“Thanks hun.”

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. 

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.