How I Came Up With The Characters in “Buy Guys”
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A preferred locale for the moneyed retired, a vacation mecca for millions, and a prime international gay destination for both partying and living, sunny balmy Fort Lauderdale also attracts many young gay guys from Little Town, Nowhere, with no ambition or credentials, searching for a breezy lifestyle at some other guy’s expense.
So the protagonists of my new novella, “Buy Guys,” Blaze and Pete, two young, handsome drifters with nothing and nothing to lose, who leave dreary New Jersey to lead what they think will be easy lives as male prostitutes in sunny Fort Lauderdale, posting their profile on the fictitious male escort site, Buy Guys, are actually composites of many guys I met or bedded down with over the years. Pretty, often with a chip on their shoulder, but vapid, with no thought of the future, working at nowhere minimum wage jobs in between hustling some lonely gay man for a buck or drugs or both, or just “fucking around.” In fact, most of the sex my two guys experience as dicks for hire is based on experiences l had as a private citizen, shall we say, and as a Rentboy, which l played a month, to research my book. The retired dentist from Palm Springs, the naive Scottish tourist, and the Born Again gay boy who Blaze and Pete have as clients are guys I actually played with.
There are a number of other characters in “Buy Guys,” who play a more pivotal role in my story that are likewise drawn from real life, undiluted.
The Bimbo Boys, the two pall bearers Blaze knows from his funeral home job back in Jersey and who mysteriously reappear when my guys are down in Fort Lauderdale, are modeled after a pair of big, burly, furry partners who I met in Lauderdale while they were on vacation from Chicago. And like the Bimbo Boys, they were heavy fist fucking bottoms.
Then there’s Harry, the maître d’ at La Bella’s, a restaurant/bar on Lauderdale’s gay strip (modelled after an actual place, Tropics) frequented by retired, often wealthy old men and their potential younger paramours. An effeminate version of the rotund comedian, Jackie Gleason, Harry was modeled after Charlie, my old boss at the department store I worked at part time while going to college. It was Charlie who, on my twenty first birthday, took this then naive kid from the burbs to the seedy (now gone) West Village and my first gay bar, the Stonewall, yes, the Stonewall, a year before it was it raided and the whole Gay Revolution was put into motion. I learned that night that Charlie had been a drag queen headliner at clubs in the City and Jersey back in the fifties.
It’s while at La Bella’s one night solo that Pete meets Mitch, the rugged, stocky, furry methhead paramour of Randall, a kingpin in the South Florida funeral home game, who pays Pete a thousand dollars to watch the two of them having sex. Mitch was actually a rugged, stocky, methhead buddy I met and bedded down with in Fort Lauderdale, who, though he held a CPA license, never practiced but instead led a checkered life as a sometime male escort, while cuddled by his wealthy West Palm Beach Jewish parents. A Tina addict/compulsive gambler, Mitch died when he fell asleep at the wheel of the compact car his parents had leased for him coming back from a drugfest weekend in the Keys.
John The Cop, a retired NYC detective now living the Good Life in Key West as a meth dealer and who has a brief but torrid affair with Pete is based on a cop named – yes, named John – who I knew from Pennsylvania’s Poconos where we both owned vacation homes. Tall, blond, handsome, affable John retired to Miami a few years after I left NYC for Fort Lauderdale, and we stayed in touch. Sadly, John died a few years after that when he was thrown off his motorcycle, his favorite mode of transportation, by a van making an illegal U turn, and his beloved bike was thrown up in the air and landed on him.
One of the clients Pete makes is wheelchair-bound Vinnie who is paralyzed in an auto accident in which his partner is killed and who is testing the waters with an impartial party like Pete to see if he can still have sex. Vinnie is a mirror image of a buddy, Danny, I befriended, again in PA, one summer who was paralyzed not due to an accident but the result of a rare spinal infection.
P.S.: Yea, a paralyzed guy can still have sex. Trust me.
I did say my characters are real, didn’t I?