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Sex on the Eames chair (1) --- a true story

By Michael Ampersant

It was three days ago that Josh and Jason arrived in Cannes. We had to pick them up at the train station—a semi-lit location with password-protected toilets tucked away under an ugly overpass that divides the town into two. The announcement screen goes dit-dit-duuh-dit (d#—g—g#—d#), the TGV noses into the station, I wonder briefly what would happen if I lost my balance and hit the tracks, but Josh and Jason pour through the sliding train doors in front of us just in time, or before anything can go wrong.

The Eames Chair in question

Josh has aged well since his last visit nine years ago. His hair is gray now and cropped very short, but it is still in place—he didn’t go bald as some of his email pictures would suggest. His regular Dutch features hold up, including the boyish profile and a flat tummy (we know about his gym visits). Jason is a charming oriental guy with heavy-rimmed glasses that accent his jug-eared looks, he must have a sense of humor. We get chatty immediately, it feels like a conversation left dangling an hour ago. I’m glad he’s a bit camp.

I’m chatty myself since I’m excited—all day I have failed to find a pretext for buying condoms. Josh, a pure rice queen, had been Chang’s lover back in Amsterdam at one point, and us, bored up here in the wilderness of the Esterel between Cannes and St. Raphael, had exchanged views on Josh’s reputation as a “sucker”—as Chang would put it in his innocent English—not meaning a loser, but somebody good at blow jobs. I had never had the pleasure, but Chang also mentioned Jason’s dick, which was supposedly large. So we had been discussing the pair’s sex life that reportedly took a turn towards “clubbing” and “play” in recent years. I mentioned condoms repeatedly during the last couple of days but Chang wouldn’t listen, and my last hope, a sex shop (“sexy” shop, in French) opposite to the train station was closed. So we are condom-less when walking the pair to our vintage SUV parked on the ugly overpass that divides Cannes into two. The vehicle elicits a brief remark from Josh (“you still have that ‘thing’?”).

The sky is overcast and cold, they are exhausted from a trip through Taipei, Amsterdam, Paris, and Dijon, Chang will cook for us at home. But this is the Cote d’Azur, so we drive up and down the foliage-swept Croisette and exchange views on the Palais des Festivals (recently re-done in defeatist white, the building, previously painted in a dirty ochre possibly meant to hide the Concrete Brutalism of John Foster’s original design). We talk housing prices as if anyone of us would be able to buy an apartment here. I point across the bay where the Esterel looms on the horizon, a pretty panorama on a good day when the rusty ridge glows in the afternoon sun.
“You can almost see our house from here,” I point out, “it’s on the hill next to the hill with the antenna,” and miss the turn for the high street of Théoule-sur-mer, the last occasion to buy condoms.

The Esterel, seen from Cannes

We continue along the Corniche d’Or which begins here and leads to St. Raphael. It’s the raison d’être of Théoule, the corniche, since the road started as a private project of the touring club of Monaco which imported 65 Italian families to do the job. They had to live somewhere and erected goo-colored dwellings for themselves that still define the town center. The little houses give Théoule an Italianate flavor, and people who move here complain about vendettas between entrenched clans that poison the atmosphere as if this were somewhere in Calabria.

We arrive at the house, pre-dusk is descending. The salon is clogged by a tiny wood stove meant to go into the dysfunctional fire place, but the artisan who was meant to do the job has gone missing. We sit down anyhow. No, we spend a few minutes in the kitchen where I suggest that the tea could accommodate a bit of brandy. Chang says “no” but I prevail and pour myself an extra shot while they turn their back to watch a cruise ship sailing past in slow motion; cruise ships always slow down here before going into the bay of Cannes. They look at us (the passengers) and we look at them, they think we are happy, we think they are happy. Anyhow, I pour the extra shot while Josh and Jason admire the last cruise ship of the season.

The last cruise ship of the season

We move back to the Designer’s-Guild-appointed living room paid for in better days. The conversation slows down a bit, I fetch bubbly from the fridge. Josh and Jason tell about Australia, how they found each other. Their paths crossed in Sydney, eyes meet, Josh counts to three and executes the “gay turn” (Josh’s words). Eyes meet again. Jason reverses direction, crosses the street (makes it easier to keep tabs on each other). Josh enters a Starbucks, Jason follows. Josh sits down, Jason asks whether the other chair is taken. I ask what they ordered. Jason had Mocha, Josh an Americano.

They ask about us. I’m on my late-afternoon bike ride along the Amstel River when an oriental guy, also on a bike, turns onto the dike from the right. I slow down a bit, then turn into the Amstel Park entrance which is not far and guarded by a statue of Rembrandt van Rijn. I brake and put one foot on the ground. The oriental brakes and puts one foot on the ground. “What’s your name,” I open the conversation. “Jason,” he answers. “What’s your real name,” I ask. He procrastinates a bit, then says “Chang.”

“My real name is Ban,” Jason says. Josh affects an assertive clin d’oeil for his partner. Josh (the pure rice queen) must have met many Jasons in his life.

Paul Cadmus, Finistère (1953)

It’s past six o’ clock, Chang’s getting hungry and everything stops. He’ll cook filled cabbage, a recipe from my mother. The cabbage provides a pretext for the first bottle of red wine. Josh and Jason brought two expensive bottles, we need to taste them both.  

The cabbage is a bit undercooked and my sauce isn’t saucy enough (I usually do the sauces, gravy from the pan, added to a roux). Josh and Jason don’t seem to mind. We had dinner parties with Marc and Paul, the other gays in the village, Marc (a black guy from Martinique) sat next to me and rubbed his thigh against mine (it never came to anything, Marc and Paul broke up and moved away). So Jason is seated to my left, but there are several inches between mine and Jason’s thighs and I fail to remember how I managed to cozy up to Marc in the first place. We chat along, desert is served, a rosé bottle opened. I had a rough week with the banking liaison who wanted to know why I stopped servicing my mortgage, so I drink faster to stay awake.

Jason tells good stories, Josh says. This one is disgusting, Jason warns, whether we mind. No, we don’t. Jason tells about the time he worked at this sauna and checks on “the room.” Room is apparently shop-talk for the row of cubicles where the patrons “relax.” The room needs to be checked at least once an hour and he steps onto something slimy on the ground. He ignites his torch and discovers a molehill of grapes, strangely bruised. Turns out some guy had them inserted bottom-wise and another guy sucked them out grape by grape. “Suhk, suhk,” Jason adds in conclusion. I forget to ask how Jason found out.

The bottle is empty again. I get up to fetch another one and discover that my sense of balance is gone. I fall back onto the chair. This is the moment, I will fall off the chair inside two minutes or crawl to bed now. I excuse myself and stagger away. Regrets are shared.

You drink too much and wake up too early. You really feel like shit and can’t go back to sleep. I stagger upstairs (“Aspirin, Aspirin”), and recover behind my desk (a slow process). You can see Corsica on a good winter day, like today, shortly before sunrise. I take pictures.

Corsica, seen from the house

The sun comes up and Chang emerges. He’s coyly smiling. “You know what?” he says, “We had sex. They sucked my dick.” I tell him to relax and get a cup of coffee. He’s teasing me, I know. He returns from the kitchen and reiterates: they sucked his dick.

I answer emails and study the disappointing page view statistics of my blog. There really was something unusual to Chang’s smile. He’s now busy behind his new laptop-tablet parked among a graveyard of bottles on the dinner table (cadavre is French argot for an empty bottle). “You’re making this up,” I say to him. (This is the moment I decide to write this up.)
“No,” he replies. “Jason got up and made the move. Unzipped my zipper. I got up, both of them got on their knees and suck my cock, Jason from the left, Josh from the right, deliciously.” He grins; “deliciously” is his favorite adverb.
“At the same time?” I ask.
“At the same time.”
“It’s unfair.”
“You drank too much and went to bed.”
“I talk about condoms and you turn me down and now this?”
“Yes,” he says and his grin broadens, “it wasn’t my fault.”
“It’s unfair,” I repeat.
“Life isn’t fair,” he answers. He’s deadpan in a way that he isn’t when he is lying.
“No semen stains on the floor,” I say.
“Josh finished me off.”
“We must buy condoms today,” I say.

Story continues here

Michael Ampersant lives on the Cote d'Azur and writes mostly gay, mostly erotic prose. This is a true-true story, which appeared first on the pages of Temptation Magazine (under the title La Corniche d'Or). The Eames Chair in question will make its verbal appearance in Part Two.