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A Real Life --- Perry Brass' memoir --- teaser (2)

Perry Brass, the famed author, born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, left fled home at the age of seventeen. He has just finished a memoir of his ensuing adventures and LustSpiel is teasing you with its third chapter. Here’s the second part of said chapter (there's one more). The year is 1965. Perry has already arrived in LA and started a hustling career. Then he meets Rodney.



Yes. Rodney.

He was my age—exactly seventeen—and the most beautiful boy I’d seen in my life. He was of normal height, but perfectly formed, as if someone had taken a pair of sculptor’s calipers and created this creature from the golden mean, with a rower’s wide shoulders, a silken, honey-skinned chest (capped with rose-petal-soft nipples), and perfectly formed extremities, not to mention his face. He had a nose and brow you’d see on a statue of a boyish Greek hero; he had greenish-blue eyes that were capable of melting space and time; and he had an expression of disarming innocence which was capable of such defensive cruelty as to destroy you time and again. He was from Nashville, Tennessee, and had been hustling since the age of fourteen. He came from a respectable lower-middle-class family (not one thrown into dire poverty as I’d been), and had started his career in local parks---often married men would meet him and either pay him or buy him anything he wanted, and then take him back to hotels. He kept small kid jobs, like babysitting, so that his parents would not ask how he had ended up with so much money for clothes or records or to spend on things that they couldn’t give him. He had a deep, inviting, soft Southern drawl.
“I tell ‘em from the start, ‘Honey, I don’t do nothin’ but lay back and let you do all the work. And don’t you even think about fuckin’ me!’”
He had his shirt off in Pershing Square.
It was like a bolt of lightning that had hit me, like some a teen-idol Apollo that had just fallen out of the sky. Like Blake, his hair was also dyed—a kind of silver platinum color that strangely enough looked perfect on him. It made him look even more like an antique statue come to life. I don’t remember the first words we said. All I wanted to do was kiss him.
Blake took me aside shaking his head: “Perry, this is going to be a disaster!”
Well, when you are seventeen and falling in love, there’s no way around it.
Rodney had been hustling in Hollywood. He knew exactly what to do, and where to park himself on the street. He invited us to join him that night. The three of us took a bus out to Hollywood Boulevard: all bright lights and tourists and wide sidewalk spaces, with a park next to us.
“Look at this place,” Rodney drawled. “Johns all over heah! Jus’ waitin’ for us!”
He was right. One immediately stopped for Blake who was wearing a pair of jeans so tight they provided a National Geographic map to his considerable endowment.
This left me alone with Rodney. He suggested we go into the park. It was well-lit and still buzzing with tourists. Shortly afterwards, we saw a thick hedge of green bushes next to a wall. “Why don’t we go there?” he asked.
We did and within its depths, safely hidden from the outside clamor of tourist noise, with bits of moonlight glinting in his platinum hair, he kissed me.
I thought my heart would stop. His lips were luscious, soft and moist. I didn’t want to stop kissing him. I peeled off his T-shirt and mine too, kissing his beautiful chest and shoulders. I felt like I was already sailing off into the sky.
“We’ve got to stop this and make some money,” he said, half an hour later.
Back on the boulevard, someone almost instantly—like, five minutes later—picked him up. The three of us had arranged that the next day we’d meet back in Pershing Square; I didn’t have to wait very long when another car stopped for me. I got in.
In it was a polite, short, middle-aged man looking about as non-descript as possible, like some suburban housewife’s overworked husband out for a drive. He asked how I was doing that evening. I told him fine. He asked where I was going. I hesitated. I wasn’t sure what to say. His eyes narrow a bit, like he was thinking what to do next. Johns did that sometimes. The important thing for them was to stay in control, and maybe he wasn’t.
“Suppose…?” he asked slowly. “Suppose…I told you I was with the LA Vice Squad?”
I panicked. I thought about jumping out the car, but it was moving too fast. I started to sweat, then quickly drew a breath. Sure—this was no worse than being chased by those dumb-shit boys back in the Valley.
“OK,” I said calmly and shrugged. “Then I’d ask you for every bit of ID you have.”
I figured—maybe wrongly—that he’d have to stop to get his ID and I’d jump out.
He looked at me and suddenly smiled this funny, sheepish grin. Like he’d been put back in his place safely now.
“Just joking,” he said. “I didn’t mean to scare you. You seem like a nice kid. I like the way you talk. You’re from the South, I can see.”
I wasn’t happy with this. He put his hand on mine, and I removed it. He could tell he had pissed me off; he tried to make it up to me and took me out to eat—I was, as ever, hungry. I didn’t know what his next move was, but I was broke and had to do what he wanted. I was very polite—you could say Southernly—eating my cheeseburger and the French fries he bought me. We returned in his car and he didn’t look at me, but just drove me back to Hollywood Boulevard and handed me ten dollars.
I took the money and got out. I still wasn’t sure what kind of game he was playing or why. Blake had told me that there were some men who just wanted to be seen with me. That is, in the company of an attractive kid. The fact was, strangely enough, they simply wanted to be with me.
“It’s the Southern thing,” Blake explained. “You make them feel good. Keep it.”
I wasn’t sure what to do then, but I couldn’t just hang around Hollywood. It was too dangerous. There really was the Vice Squad patrolling out there, and you never could tell when you’d run into one, since they worked under cover. They could arrest you for being yourself, for simply even breathing. I guess being queer you weren’t supposed to breathe—you could contaminate the very air on which the straight world relied. I strolled around for a while; it was getting late. Finally, about 2 AM, I found a bus stop with a bench, and sat down at it. It was in a pool of light surrounded by darkness and an eerie, jittery kind of silence. Three black men appeared. One of them---with the build of a heavy-weight boxer---strode over to me.
“Where you from, boy?” he asked.
“Georgia,” I replied.
“They don’t like us kind o’ people in Georgia. They don’t like no black people down there.”
“Not everyone’s like that.”
“How I know you ain’t? Why don’t you act like a man and get up and swing at me!”
I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was get on the bus back to downtown. Suddenly it arrived.
“You lucky,” the man said. “You lucky you didn’t swing at me. I wudda killed ya.”
“Sure,” I agreed. “I’m lucky.” I got on the bus alone.
I spent the night in an all-night movie theater, falling asleep somewhere after King Kong met Godzilla. A couple of guys sat down next to me and felt me up but I didn’t care. The next morning, I met Blake and Rodney in Pershing Square. They had done well that night. Blake had made $20—he’d had to work hard for it, but he had made it; Rodney $30, for, as he put it, “just sittin’ back and enjoyin’.”
But they were both impressed that I had made $10 without doing anything at all, plus, I had been taken out for dinner. I didn’t tell them about the Vice Squad story. Frankly, I was embarrassed by it, it made me feel small.
After that, and without any further ado, Rodney joined our life. Sometimes the three of us would sleep in the same dumpy hotel room downtown; other times Blake would find johns of his own and stay the night with them. Rodney would not let Blake touch him, and I could not imagine going down on Rodney---he had a personal code, and guys who sucked him were johns. I was not going to be a john. But we would make out passionately until finally I couldn’t take it any longer and would have to stop. At seventeen, my head was literally in the clouds. It was as if I were circling the world with him. Kissing him was like some kind of jet-propelled, out-of-body experience, fueled by teenage hormones and my own romantic impulses.
It went along with his beauty---something that men wanted to capture and pay for. I was aware that an endless wave of eyes would watch us on the street, first glued to him, and then, as if by reflection, to me. I knew I was appealing, but he was light-years more appealing.
Rodney would do nothing but hustle. The idea of having any other kind of job seemed ridiculous to him. He had been dealt a genetic card of perfect looks, and everything about hustling came easy to him. Blake, on the other hand, wanted a job, and began looking for one. Finally, he was promised one in a shop that sold records and sheet music downtown; he found out about it through one of his johns. I wanted a real job, too, but there was nothing there for me. I was too young and inexperienced, and I was not going to go back to picking fruit again.
Time went by quickly like money did, and yet, strangely, slowly too, because so many of my adolescent feelings were tied up in Rodney, in just being with him or getting to look at him. Then, early one evening after Blake had disappeared into the first days at his job in the music shop, Rodney and I ended up on Hollywood Boulevard again. This time the johns weren’t anywhere to be seen. Even Rodney could not attract anyone; we were lost in milling waves of tourists looking at the names of movie stars embedded on the sidewalk, with no one even looking at us.
Then, out of nowhere, a big blonde, “Gidget”-movie-surfer-type, with sun-streaked hair and mile-wide shoulders approached us.
“You guys like to party?” he asked. “We got a car waiting.”

(Stay tuned)

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