Tag Archives: travel

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.”

 

 

 

The Guy

Sometimes I feel like an empty shell; a vessel that others have dug away and dug away until there’s nothing left but some skin and bones. I sit alone with a cigarette and look off into the distance at nothing, wondering how I haven’t killed myself already. At the street corner I am always one step away from going in front of that speeding bus. I look at the people around me and wonder what would happen if I bash their faces in – would I feel something then?

/

Other times I feel filled with emotion – with life. My inclinations are multifaceted as I laugh and cry and sing and anger seemingly at the same time. My friends are lovers are enemies are friends – I am unable to keep one label attached to them. I chuckle earnestly and love openly. The world seems more colourful even on the gloomiest of days. I want to hug and kiss everyone and tell them how much I love them – about how much I love life.

 

Evil vs Good.

Evil vs Good.

Evil vs Good.

Evil vs Good.

 

The guy that used me as a vessel for sex for a year while making me think he felt something for me / The guy that helped me sort my life out when times got hard.

 

The guy that was my best friend who told me I was too ugly and skinny and weird / The guy that would stay up late with me as we talked about love and life and everything in between.

 

The guy that I relapsed back into crystal meth with / The guy that cried when I cried when I showed him a song* that meant a lot to me.

 

The guy that first broke my young heart when he ran away to Las Vegas with a porn star / The guy that would Eskimo kiss* me and it was adorable.

 

The guy that was an off duty police officer that wouldn’t stop having sex with me even when I told him to / The guy that noticed me in the club and for the first time I felt that I was worth noticing.

 

The guy who’s mouth hung open horrifically when he took too much meth.

 

The guy that slept with me because I looked like his step son.

 

The guy that pretended to like me to try and get me into an orgy.

 

The guy that tried to blackmail me for sex.

 

The guy I had to push down the stairs to protect someone I loved.

 

The guy that used to take bodies out on his boat and dispose them in the harbour.

 

The guy that clawed at me while screaming that he was going to kill me.

 

The guy that wasn’t there.

 

The guy …

The guy

The guy

 

Is this why I feel dead inside? 

 

 

(*song was Little Lady by Ed Sheeran feat. Mikill Pane) 

(*Eskimo kiss is when you rub the tip of your noses together)

 

 

Cody’s Guide On How To Be Single

People ask me all the time, “Cody, why on earth are you still single?” They don’t actually ask me that but I’d like to think that they do inside their head. I feel like it counteracts the many times they’ve said to me, “Cody, you’re such a mess,” or “Cody, please stop doing that.”

My close friend’s are able to see through my messy exterior and see that there is a pretty-alright-if-you-look-hard-enough guy inside. Although I’ve never technically ‘dated’ anyone, I’ve had my fair share of successfully unsuccessful relationships.

Take for instance my first of these relationships: He was a hot sparky from Calgary. He was muscular, ginger, and now that I look back he was pretty boring. I was madly infatuated with him and he decided to end it with me and run away with a porn star from Vegas. Yikes. That relationship only lasted a month.

Then my next relationship came along. He was a man working in the oil fields. He wasn’t as good looking as the previous relationship but sometimes I feel charitable (Just kidding, I’m sure I was the charity). We saw each other on and off for six months. He tried to teach me to drive manual in his truck once – and once was enough for him after we slid backwards down a dirt hill with me screaming, “WHY!?” It came to light that he had major anger issues when he took a baseball bat to his classic mustang one night. He also had night terrors and scared the shit out of me when he told me he saw a gang hanging outside the house. I also accidentally punched him in the nose when we were making out and he bled all over my face. We would sleep on an air mattress on the floor because why get a bed when an air mattress is fine? In the sixth months I was with him we never had sex. I ended the relationship with him and he went to Mexico to ‘sort his life out’.

I am no good at flirting either. I had a guy come up to me in the gay club in my hometown and say, “You’re the hottest guy here.” I responded with, “Oh wow you must be blind.” and then I sank into the crowd, never to be seen by him again.

I’ve also tried my hand at flirting by saying to a guy once, “I would love to go home with you but I haven’t showered in three days.” He didn’t even end up giving me his number.

Another time I was drunk and I refused to go home with a guy because he didn’t have any alcohol in his house.

Next of my failed relationships was with this big, muscular sporty guy. We saw each other on and off for over a year and he was too embarrassed by me to even introduce me to his friends. I was so infatuated I didn’t care and it ended up being really toxic for me. I understand why, in hindsight, because I was in the messiest time in my life and the poor guy had to buy all my meals because I was so insanely poor. But he was incredibly hot and his calf muscles were as big as my head so it was a confidence booster that he wanted to be with me. It was the first time I’ve ever felt good looking, which for a kid that grew up incredibly ugly it was quite an astounding revelation. I drooled on his chest once and I was like, “Oh god I’m so sorry.” and he replied with, “It’s ok you do it almost every night.” Fuck. My. Life.

Another relationship I ended up in was pretty tragic. We bonded over crystal meth and it caused my relapse. We were both quite psychotic due to the drugs and I’m quite happy it’s all over. I’ve been meth free for a year and a half now. Out of respect I won’t say more than that because, even though he acted batshit crazy, I really can’t judge. It was bad. It was weird. I can’t stress enough that I wish him all the best.

I do find that I am quite lonely sometimes. Sometimes I wish I had someone to cuddle, to talk too. But then I remember I’m only 23 and I laugh at myself for being so stupid. Don’t get me wrong, if a relationship happens then it happens – But I’m happily single and don’t mind staying this way. I love myself a lot – it’s not a bad thing either. I think in life, loving yourself is the most important. It may sound conceited or selfish, but I think it’s pretty fundamental. I feel whole in myself that I don’t feel like I need someone to complete me. Lot’s of guys think I’m weird, but I love that. I love openly and am myself, and that is what’s important to me. If someone comes along that can fit in to that then I can make it work.

So I guess what I’m saying is; in Cody’s Guide On How To Be Single, you should just embrace it. Don’t care about it. Don’t think too much about it. Life’s too short to rely on someone so rely on yourself. The rest will fall into place. You can learn a lot about yourself from dating, but you’ll learn more from being single.

An Ode to Australia

Australia can be described in a simple 4-letter word: see you next Tuesday. 
(I can’t count)

Actually, Australia can be summed up in this sentence: cunt.
(Why am I a writer?)

Yes, Oz is a cunt. A big, fat, cunty cunt. A beautiful cunt. The cunt of cunts. Shit cunt and good cunt. All the cunts.

Now that you are used to the word ‘cunt’ you are able to learn more about why Australia is one:

I lived in Sydney, Australia for 2.5 years. I am unable to explain the beauty of it, the vastness of the land, and the persistency of near death. Seriously, this place wants you dead.

First of all, Australia can fuck off with those spiders. I can’t count on a huntsman’s eight legs how many times I woke up with those fuckers staring at me in my bedroom. I’m talking about dinner-plate sized pieces of shit that dwell in your living nightmares for eternity. A huntsman once laid eggs in our bathroom ceiling and we woke one morning to find that our bathroom was an orgy of horrifying demon babies spawned from the depths of hell. After we bug bombed the shit out of the bathroom and cleaned up the war zone of dead baby spiders we still were finding living ones every day for about 2 months.

My neighbour had to be hospitalised three times in one summer for being bitten by a white-tailed spider. She had to get skin grafts. Mother. Fucking. Skin. Grafts.

Lets not talk about the redback spider that was crawling nonchalantly through my friend’s FUCKING HAIR at a party. I told him not to panic but then I panicked. People had to calm me. We didn’t notice where the spider went. It was mayhem.

Or the family of redbacks I found in my backyard with my housemate. Yeah, I became a non-smoker for about a week.

Did I also mention the time I was chased by a MOTHER FUCKING BAT!? I’m not talking about the cute bats that sometimes wander into your home while you freak out trying to throw a towel over them – I’m talking wingspans of 3 feet here. They’re literal foxes with wings. Well, I was face to face with this mother fucker as he rested on a very low branch. I screamed. It screamed. It flew. I ran. It chased me down the street.
Do you remember the beginning of the movie Jumanji when the girl is chased down the street by bats?
The part that gave you nightmares for weeks?
Yeah, me IRL.

“But what about the cute animals?” You ask. No, just no.

I witnessed a little possum hiss at me with the force of 27 satans.

Wombats? Yeah, my friend and I hit one while driving. Dented the fuck out of his vehicle.

Birds seem harmless, right?

WRONG!

Someone in my bus tour through Cairns nearly got attacked by a fucking CASSOWARY! Those cunts look like dinosaurs and will slice you open like french bread.

You’ll hear the cockatoos coming from 100 kilometres away and you’ll pray to god himself they don’t get too close and make you go permanently deaf.

Kookaburra’s are nice tho. 10/10.

But the pelican’s will try and eat your baby whole.

Snakes? Nah.

Kangaroos? They’ll kick ya.

Wanna die by a heap of brainless jellyfish? Just take a short dip in the cool refreshing death of ocean.

The green ants work together to build amazing structures and bring death to you and your family. 

Even the plants-THE FUCKING PLANTS– may kill you.
*Cue Mark Wahlberg touching a synthetic plant and someone running themselves over with a lawn mower in The Happening.*

I’m lucky to have lived through all these traumatic experiences. It makes me appreciate why Aussies are such hard cunts. I feel like an Australian who makes it to 20 years old should win a lifetime achievement award for not getting their eyes pecked out by a magpie.

Despite all these grievances, I still rate Australia highly. If you’ve never been, then I can’t recommend it enough. Surviving Australia should be on everyones bucket list. Ill never forget it, and I can’t wait to go back.

Ill see ya next Tuesday, Australia! (But not really because Australia is expensive as fuck.)

An Ode to Whistler: I should be dead.

I always knew this time would come, I just never knew when or in what way. It’s time for me to say goodbye to Whistler and say; thanks for almost killing me.

Never in my life have I stood on the precipice of death and laughed. I mean that literally. Figuratively I’ve stood on the precipice many times and laughed until I cried, but Whistler provided the unreal opportunity to really be slamming on death’s door.

It was the first time I’ve ever skied in the glades. My friend insisted that my 186 cm long skis would be fine for navigating through trees and I stupidly and naively believed him. I was doing horribly. I pizza’d my way through the glades like a retarded 5 year old while my friend effortlessly manoeuvred and sped his way through on his snowboard. The pizza technique was hardly working and I continued to build speed. My friend had stopped up ahead and I came at him like a rampaging animal before I noticed he was stopped at the edge off a small cliff. I wanted to stop but just screamed ‘OH SHIT’ instead as I plopped over the side head first. Luckily the powder was deep, so when I landed on my neck and continued ricocheting off small rocks it wasn’t that painful. My friend looked mortified as he jumped off the cliff after me, determined to stop my limp body. And yes, I was completely limp. In the face of death my body went into rag-doll mode and I didn’t even try to stop myself from sliding down. I couldn’t feel anything. All my brain could think of when I was tumbling down was the Whistler newsletter headlines: Gay Boy Tumbles Off Cliff And Dies. It would be my last claim to fame. Luckily the whole ordeal was less dramatic than I make it seem, the powder slowly built up around my head and stopped me from sliding down further. I lay motionless for a few seconds, mentally scanning my body for injuries. When I realised nothing was broken I burst out laughing. I was unable to get up because of the way I was laying, so I stayed there and laughed for what seemed to be ages before my friend caught up to me.

This has been my whole whistler experience. I’ve fallen off cliffs (twice), I got a major concussion from stupidly not wearing a helmet, I got a second concussion, I suffered through bronchitis, the flu, throwing up in garbage cans at work from bad hangovers. I’ve fallen off stripper poles, cut my lip from the sharp edges of a snowboard, been trapped in a gondola because of a bear.

Whistler has been life on the edge, and I’ll never experience anything like it ever again.

Mainly it’s been the people that made Whistler a memorable experience. The friends I have made here have been the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. Sure, they have also been the ones to influence me to take that one last drink on a night out that gets me (almost) kicked out of a club called Maxx Fish (Technically they did kick me out but I came crawling back in like a cockroach when they weren’t looking). They’ve been the ones to convince me that drinking 5 jugs of beer the night before bungee jumping is a good idea, or the ones to cheer me on as I funnel an entire bottle of red wine (please don’t ever try it, I actually almost died. But it didn’t stop me from funnelling an entire bottle of Fireball on a seperate occasion. Or funnelling half a bottle of Okanagan peach cider either. Please don’t. Just don’t.).

As you probably guessed, a lot of my fondest memories are fuzzy from a night on the drink. But that’s Whistler life. You really haven’t experienced Whistler until you drunkenly walk up a ski hill at 3 am comforting a crying friend in between throw-ups yelling ‘You’re beautiful! *throw up* Any guy would want you! *throw up*’.

I’ve done many things since I’ve been here. I’ve tried to get recognition as Whistler’s only drag queen (my drag is atrocious but borderline ok when you have no competition). I’ve learned to snowboard so that I can finally be that guy that can say snootily, “I ski AND snowboard.” I’ve zip-lined, hiked, camped, bobsledded, paddle-boarded, sat in a dingy down a river, and more.

Working for Whistler was a pain made better by the people I worked with. Every day I would go to work happy to see all my friends, less happy to deal with stupid customers. Believe me, the customers were stupid. Full on stupid. I was working as a rental tech (someone who sets people up with their ski equipment) and the amount of times I would measure someones feet but they insist that the boot I give them is too small and make me go up three sizes larger is unfathomable. Don’t try and fight me on it bitch I’ve been trained 2 weeks for this!

Living on the poverty line was hard. Mr. Noodles and I became close acquaintances. It didn’t help that I spent most of my money on alcohol but I will never regret that for one second.

I’ve seen some bizarre shit as well. I’ve watched a girl piss on a bathroom floor, a girl took a shit in front of me once, I’ve seen people skiing naked. Once I saw a friend fall down an entire set of concrete stairs. I’ve drunkenly played bumper-cars with laundry carts in a hotel parkade. I got my drink drugged once and watched the trees melt upwards and everything I looked at was shades of red.

This place will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve come so far from who I was before to who I am now. I feel more energised about life. Feel more positive about things. And it’s really cool to be around people who just don’t give a fuck about who you are. We all came here for the same reasons: to have fun and make friends. I feel like I’ve accomplished that and more.

Every person here has affected me in brilliant ways. It didn’t matter if it was a best friend or someone I met drunk at a bar once, everyone had a story to tell and piece of their story will stay with me forever.

I know an ode is supposed to be a poem, but I can’t put all of this into poetic words. The entire experience was poetic and I am unable to capture that in any significant way. The best way I can are with these words I have put in writing here.

A piece of Whistler will always be a part of me wherever I go. I may leave, but it will never be forgotten.

I’ll send it into the next life,
Cody Oak.

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.  

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 32

Statistically, escorts would have many clients who were HIV positive. I never had a client fully come forward and tell me that he was positive, but in a city where the HIV rate among gay men was 1 in every 10 I assumed that a few of them were.

Dean was still working at the brothel at the time of Scott’s return. Although I hadn’t heard from Blaire in a few weeks I knew that she was still hanging out with him. Dean wouldn’t come in and work shifts, he was strictly booking only so I never saw him hanging around the brothel.

One slow day at Knight Call I managed to get only one client. He was Asian, wore glasses and had a skinny frame. He was very awkward at first, but once I gave him a massage I felt his body relax and he engaged in conversation.

“Have you ever heard of Dean?” He asked me lying naked on his back. I lay beside him looking up at the ceiling.

“Yeah, I know him. The kiwi guy, right?”

“Yeah, him. I had him last week.”

I rolled over to face the client. I loved gossiping about other escorts with my clients, it helped me learn what they liked and disliked, “And how was he?”

“Well, he’s very good looking, which is a shame because he was shit in bed.”

I chuckled, “Really? Why was he shit?”

“He didn’t want to do anything with me. He only wanted to give a massage and to get me to suck him off. He refused to touch me or do anything to me. What a waste of money.”

“I’ve had someone tell me that before, I think it’s because he’s straight.”

“Yeah, maybe. But is he really straight?”

“Probably not.” I laughed.

“And he said something to me at the end. Something very odd.” He paused as if hesitating to say what it was.

“What did he say?” I egged him on.

“Well, at the end of the session he told me that… he told me that I shouldn’t bother booking anyone else here.”

It didn’t surprise me. Dean was cut-throat and would do anything to keep a client as a regular. But what the client said next really took me aback.

“He said that you were all dirty and diseased.”

I shot up into a sitting position, “He said what?”

“He said that most of the boys here didn’t use condoms and that most of you had HIV or other STD’s.”

“That little…” I wanted to say cunt but I didn’t want to offend the client, “poop.” The client seemed to enjoy that I was flustered, I continued a rant. “Who does he think he is? Going around say all that… stuff. No wonder he gets so many clients. I wonder how many people he has told this to? Did he say any specific names?”

“No, he said just all of you.”

“That crazy…” I couldn’t hold it in, “…fuck.”

After the client had left I took no time running into the boy’s room to announce it to everyone. Word got around to Pete the owner, and when Pete confronted Dean about it Dean blatantly denied saying it. I was called into the office by Pete one night.

“Carl, please sit.” Pete usually used my escort name in place of my real name. I sat in the office chair opposite of him. “You must not go around spreading these rumours about Dean any longer. I have banned that client from ever coming here again, he obviously was looking to start drama.”

“But I think he was telling the truth.”

“Carl, I have known Dean for a long time. I trust his word.”

That was the end of that conversation.

As the days passed I noticed a change in my body. What started as a tingling feeling in my nether regions turned into a painful burn every time I peed. I was scared and I didn’t tell anyone about it. I let it go on for two days, hoping that the pain would go away on it’s own. I started getting a thick yellow discharge and the pain became so unbearable that I was scared of peeing altogether.

I went to the free clinic for prostitutes the next day by myself. I told Nick to wait for me at work.

The nurse ran through all the tests, doing blood work, anal swabs, a very uncomfortable penis swab (which entails sticking a cotton swab up the urethra), and a urine sample. When she inspected my penis she almost immediately said she was certain it was gonorrhea. She had the Doctor to come in and look at it and he concurred.

“Now, it will take about a week for the test results to come back to prove whether or not it actually is gonorrhoea,” the Doctor said, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose, “But we are going to give you the medication today as a precautionary. You are an escort, correct?”

‘Yes I am.” I said quietly while swallowing back tears.

“You won’t be able to do escort work for a week from today,” He leaned back in his chair, “The reason being that gonorrhoea can raise your risk of getting other diseases such as HIV significantly, so it’s safer to take a week’s break.” He noticed I looked upset and said, “Don’t worry, gonorrhoea isn’t too bad. It’ll clear up in a week and you’ll be, umm, back to normal.”

The treatment for gonorrhoea included a week’s worth of large white pills you need to take daily, and a one-time needle in the butt.

I mistakenly thought the needle wouldn’t hurt that bad, but after it was done I could hardly walk on the leg that was attached to that butt cheek.

I walked with a pimp limp, head down in shame, to Knight Call. Luckily it was Dave who was manager that day so I told him the truth about why I couldn’t work the roster that week and he said he’d keep my secret. I went into the boy’s room sheepishly and told Nick to come outside for a cigarette with me.

Nick laughed when I told him, “OH MY GOD! That’s so funny! Even I haven’t got any STI’s yet! Who did you get it from?”

“I have no idea.”

“Wait, you’ve been using condoms, right?”

“Of course I am!”

“Well then how the fuck did you get it?” He took a drag of his cigarette.

“The doctor said that if someone has gonorrhoea in the throat they can give it to you when they give you a blowjob.” I paused, wondering how to word the next question, “You let clients suck you off without a condom too, right?”

“Yeah of course. Everyone does.” Nick swished his cigarette through the air.

I bit my lip, “But, do you sometimes suck clients off without a condom?”

“It depends on who they are.”

I slowly nodded and looked down at the ground. It was a cloudy day so I didn’t cast a shadow. I took the last drag of my cigarette and flicked it into the ash tray.

Since there was no point in staying at Knight Call I decided to head home. Scott was awake when I went into the room to check on him. He yelped in pain as he struggled to sit up. I sat on the bed next to him.

“I thought you were at work, darling?” Scott asked drearily. I could tell his eyes were having a hard time focussing.

“I am unable to work for the next week.” I replied with a mock frown.

“Oh no. What happened?” Scott looked at me as if he knew the answer.

I let out an almost guilty smile, “I found out today that I have gonorrhoea.”

“Oh that’s awful. From who?” His voice was uneven.

“I don’t know,” I realised I hadn’t had sex with anyone but clientele for the last month so I added, “A client.”

“Are you ok? Do you want to talk about it?”

“No, I think I’m alright. I’m a little bummed out about it but the doctor explained everything to me and it should clear up soon.”

Scott was quiet, and then he said with a cheeky smile, “You’re a dirty bitch.” Then he tried to chuckle but each laugh sent pain through his body so instead he ended up wincing and moaning in pain. Scott fell quiet and sunk down into the bed. “I need to rest.” He said it with a pang of defeat.

I left him alone and went down into my room. I suddenly realised that, for the past two and a half months since I started working in the brothel, work was my whole life. I worked almost every single day and partied almost every single night. I could still do the partying for the next week, but I was at a loss of what to do for an entire week without the brothel.

I messaged Nick: What are we doing tonight?

Nick replied: I heard the threesome (Chris, Ben, and Jay) wanted to get together tonight for some. (Meaning a night on crystal meth)

Me: I’m in.

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.