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James Beach

Gay Whatnots



Storytelling and Sportfucking


AGES ago, movies were oral and fucking was the same. We recognize in folklore our nerds and our jocks, some intermingling; just guess who was waxing poetic and waning mathematic, while guess-who kept widening the prairie and having orgies? Guess who wrote the rules in the Bible and you’re maybe new to Sitchin’s idea of a 12th planet with so big an orbit that its visits to Earth occur every few millennia; you’re maybe a fan of Atlantis, or people who obtain levels of vibration and ascend to another plane; you’re maybe aware of the vilification of Judaism as the backwards verses took on dark meanings as forwards verses fought for the lead; you’re maybe a believer in Intelligent Design, or the Matrix theory; your belief that paganism was plagiarized by ideological religious concepts borne later maybe does keep you sane; and, you maybe watched the Zeitgeist movie online, or you’re an astrology buff. Who wrote the Bible? Who appeals to the saints? Whoever confesses or absolves, if sin is everyday play, unless the soul’s astride? Men were closer ages ago. 



Handsome Cab


Being on foot has its advantages in a tiny city. One, some people have seen me walking on the roads from their cars, and so “know” me. Two, being a pedestrian is eco-friendly. Three, occasionally I get offered a lift -- the lift last night came from a “handsome cab,” which in this city means (peace officers on horseback notwithstanding; they’re one of the few saddlers left in town) a bicyclist pedaling a two-seater set on two wheels, a convertible top for when it’s raining or too sunny so as to protect the passenger(s). At two a.m., “bar close” here, I’m alone and walking down one of the city’s narrow pre-grid-system streets and wow! a handsome cabbie offers me a lift. I accept, feeling privileged and foolish. Not too many cars are out; in my memory not one vehicle passes. As he pedals we chat a bit, I compliment his gluteus maximus (he’s wearing biker tights). He tells me of one of his coworkers, a female with a large muscular posterior. Stars above are huge, float gel-like. When I depart a few blocks later (he details only the inner city streets) I repeat mention of his glutes. He appreciates the compliments and of course the lift was a freebie.



Rush, or: Going Greek


In college, at those ubiquitous early-season keggers, I was told by upperclassmen to “rush”; meaning, signing up to introduce myself to all campus fraternities for their upcoming pick-parties, wherein freshmen could meet the top men in all four frats and then wait for an invitation to pledge. Being young and open-minded, new to drink and oh so much a virgin (including abstinence from anyone of my own sex, at any age, which I later learned was fairly unusual; as a teen I was a chronic solo masturbator), I signed up for rush. Going Greek had double-meanings for me, then. Now I recall it as a blur of excessive booze and hunky jock-guys, each of which was new to me and my social circles. Of the frats, the only one that called me back to pledge turned out to be the nerdy/fag frat (nobody was out as either one, but it was the lowest of the four in the hierarchy, I found out). It was also the one upon whose floor I happened to live — our college had no “frat houses” but we had “frat floors,” all in the same dorm; my frat was on floor three with the next-runner up, with the top two frats on the top floor, above us. (Our Hall was a sound building with high ceilings and we heard not a word nor a grunt from any vicinity but the immediate; we had communal showers and I was so afraid of gay sex I showered alone at 2 a.m...) I suppose the other frats were right in refusing me membership. In fact, the frat that I pledged, well, I never felt that kinship with anyone in it; no gay sex occurred. Plus, everyone in it hated my girlfriend (— although, after I dumped her and the whole of the frat, she slept with more than one of my ex-brothers —) and I suspected they only let me in because a computer had assigned me to their floor. In retrospect, I am top floor spiritually, but not mentally or bodily; they could tell. All of them had already had gay sex even if just in a circle-jerk in junior high, and I was just about to do it for the first time. Which is why, incidentally, I broke up with the girlfriend. I get a rush just thinking about what could’ve been… I sometimes tune in to to think about times to come for the rest of you dudes who rush; the rest of you guys that have been around, know the game, I can imagine.





Queers of various ages and appearance lounged in the rooms of the ramshackle house. All were men, or some close variation, except for the host’s friend visiting from Australia; she supplied the wine. A parakeet flew free in the space, crapping on a frou-frou window dressing, where it liked to perch and watch. The pre-party consisted of a few drinks, maybe some discreet drug use, chitchat and disco music as the drag artists’ stage make-up stood out garish against their bare torsos and heads. But the quiet scene escalated to yelling when an ex-roomer arrived; the shouting ceased as soon as the host phoned the police, and the ex-lover of the host, and his house-boy, got to work hauling out as much stuff as possible, including a giant plastic chair shaped like a cupped palm, four fingertips for a back. By the time the police arrived, the ex-roomer had departed with much clatter and clutter, and the drag queens had just about finished squeezing into their costumes. The three female officers (likely assigned to this task because of their gender-- the house, referred to informally as the Palace of Excess, was well known even at the police station as a gay mecca) held their composure. As the hyper-animate host gave his spiel to the lead cop, the parakeet fluttered over and roosted on the shoulder of the cop to her right. Embarrassed and startled, she held a demure pose while a gutsy drag queen snapped a few photos of cop-n-bird. At this, the Australian gave a kookaburra laugh! The host removed the parakeet forcibly from the lady cop’s shoulder so the officers could leave. After that it was nearly ten o’clock, the perfect hour on a Wednesday night for venturing out.



A Gay Veneer


A bloke in The States on business took a few vacation days for an orgy. Being an affluent homosexual he rented a classy suite and invited as many men as would commit online with an ad, “seeking curious bois”. To enhance hedonistic pleasure the Brit laid out the expected party supplies: a lot of crystal, bottles of wine and brandy. The suite’s bar had additional goodies at high cost. On his laptop played movies of groups of shaven men “exercising”; also on the laptop: mood music, much opera. The obligatory “revolving door” allowed men to come and go, as it were. Days passed. Eventually a Southern man arrived, who had come with questions about pederasty. The Brit sadly shook his head; he’d been romanced at age twelve and thought it “far too young” to be having sex with an adult, tongue-in-cheek, and politically correct. The Southerner, still clothed, disagreed; he’d started with men at age five and was happy, healthy, married, a father of several and also sober except for an occasional drink-- unlike others in the room, who drank and drugged themselves into a naked comfortability. The Brit asked the Southerner if he wanted a toke and a shower, a roll on the bed? Refusing crystal-smoke, the Southerner said, “That stuff will destroy you, teeth first.” To which the Brit replied, “Why, I suppose not. They’re veneers.”



In Need of a Bath


Summertime? Near an ocean shore circumstances forced a choice between outdated trendy or trashy living. I chose trashy (or it chose me). In my single room a few blocks from the water, furnishings are sparse and broken-in; a dilapidated assemble-at-home bookshelf needs to stay screwed to the wall by its cardboard back, according to my landlord. I may be aging but I’m far from dilapidated. Kinship with the bookcase stayed at a distance. With a gentle nudge bringing it to collapse on one or both sides the bookshelf is tall and useless. (I’m tall but how useless is an appreciator of aesthetics?) Half of its shelves are missing or piled in the base. This makes me question if it’s concealing a secret passage into the neighboring room or if the landlord simply ignores the term garbage because of personal and social responsibility; some sort of divine plot happening all around me; most of his tenants are trash, and I surely fit in the blessed house. “Trash goes all the way to the top,” a realtor once told me and I believe that as well. But the bookcase is an aesthetic hindrance and what with the mouse problem upstairs I’d prefer to clean out the garbage that’s semi-screwed into the wall. True, it’s the only piece of furniture visible from the street through my windows. But an empty bookcase covered in flea-dust? (Am I dust, already?) A painted mural would be nicer, to admire during whiled-away hours. Minus a remote server my online life is as dull as it’s always been (save for the early 2000s when people were much more direct and serious while chatting with their dial-up connects) and so I imagine my windows to draw in almost as many onlookers as that obscure and brilliant and almost garish “Boys Bathing” panorama that still hangs by a thread in the archives at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Painter Alex Granager and wife gifted that painting to the museum, as trashy as any picture of naturist swimmers. These days Granager’s au natural boys are off-view at MIA. Only a matter of time before it vanishes from internet sources — its g-rated kiddy nudes are anyway cause for much anguish and hysteria in mainstream media this century. The hilarious point being that art simply champions life (rather than the vaguely nostalgic bohemian ideal that life follows art). At least, the bottom of the art heap does. (Alex’s untitled portrait of two fine-clothed brothers at auction surely features Donald Sutherland as a youth! Undownloadable, that image is possibly a fake? designed to tease me with spitting-image of Sutherland, decades before he did the shocking film “Day of the Locust,” wherein he plays the role of boy-basher...) Yet the window-worthy bookcase stands, empty, in my room, as it dully and dustily holds on by its chipboard and laminate, notches and screws. Hardly a “study” for a piece about boys bathing, but somehow it gets me to that thought in a weird progression. More like a kiddy mystery, what with the potential for a hidden passageway of my reticent neighbors, who might molest me in my sleep or rob me of my stash while I’m out? What will arrive for us, we all wonder, if romantic ideals give way to mysticism and brainstorming out of boredom and desire? My “happenstance” book shelving being unworthy of even my art-loving heart. 




James K Beach is in Antique Children Journal, Blue Monday Review, Danse Macabre Online, Mad Hatters' Review, Paraphilia Magazine, Smokebox Commentary, Warhol Stars UK, Wood Coin Magazine, and others. Visit his Poets & Writers directory profile for more.



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