“For the Love of Samuel” is a novel of love lost and love found, set in contemporary New York City and Fort Lauderdale.
New Yorker and aging gay man Billy Veleber who abhors growing old has lost Jim, his former meth head lover, to his habit, and Gus, the older man in his life and mentor, to despair, when he is confronted with the chance to become 21 all over again, through the magical prowess of the dog tag of a long dead Civil War soldier, Samuel Evans. Young again, Billy abandons Manhattan for Fort Lauderdale where he meets Dare, the love of his life, whose clever quick rich venture first bonds them, then threatens to end their idyllic lives together forever. Billy also faces the reality of having to tell Dare the truth about himself.
In this excerpt from my book, Billy, after some sudden major setbacks in his life, has decided to put on the magical dog tag of a Civil War soldier who Tad, a thrift store clerk back in Boystown, Chicago where Billy had gone for a job interview that went nowhere, had given him. The dog tag had originally been given to Walt Whitman, author of “Leaves of Grass” who also served a a nurse in the Washington D.C. Armory Hospital during the Civil War, by a dying soldier, Samuel Evans, as a token of gratitude for caring for him, and had been passed down through generations of gay lovers.
As long as one has had or has love in their life, its wearer will return to the age of the soldier whose dog tag he wears died, in Billy’s case that of Samuel Evans who died at 21. Now, over the course of a weekend, the once aging 51 year Billy sees himself bring transformed into that of the young stud he once was…
I leave the baths around five, and after a coma nap, a quick Smart Choice Fettuccini Alfredo 400 calorie dinner and a good hot shower – I notice with cocky satisfaction in the bedroom’s full length mirror that my love handles are history, my stomach is flatter, my receding hairline is unreceding, and most of the gray on my head and in my beard and and on – yes! – my chest is going or gone, I head over in my leather vest, no shirt, and levis and boots for The New Eagle off Tenth Avenue. It’s almost one – a.m. – but as one of my fuck buddies before Gus and even Jim, said, “That’s when they stop window shopping.”
Now it’s called The New Eagle because the old Eagle, along with the Spike and the Lure, the leather triumvirate of my youth and my years with Gus, were gone. They had become the victims of the real estate boom at the turn of the millennium, and had been brutally and sacrilegiously torn down for shiny, gleaming condos and spankingly clean baby carriages.
In the crappy bathroom at the Spike they had stenciled on the black wall in cheap white paint, “Don’t flush for piss.” That said it all. I only hoped some gay historians had saved that piece of the wall before it too became history. Now all we have left is the hole on Tenth Avenue, what us hardcore leathermen sarcastically brand as Genuine “Vi-nel.”
I strut in, my goose-step no longer adopted but my own, and find the same Chatty Cathy cliques – different faces, same old shit – going on like the last time I was here with Gus just after we’d gotten back from our first class holiday excursion to Athens and Rome and a few weeks before his stroke.
In between the groupies are some of the oldest members of our clan, The Old Guard, usually alone because most of their cronies are already dead, and usually with enough keys hanging from their belts to rival a night watchman at the Chrysler Building, the fucken handkerchiefs hanging from their pockets, so Twentieth Century, or the best of them in faded, stretched out jock straps that should be on Antiques Road Show along with their owners. Yea it’s true, the older some of these guys got, the less they wore. For attention I guess.
Admired or ridiculed, it doesn’t matter; the greatest sin is to be ignored.
I order my nine dollar screwdriver with fifteen cents of vodka in it, and head up the stairs to the second level where just a year before Gus and I had had our leather marriage ceremony.
As I’m going up the stairs some twink in a super short Tux jacket, Bermuda shorts and floppies and one of those Abe Lincoln top hats – I guess he thinks he’s in the Garment District because anywhere else he’d be tire-ironed – and his angelic girlfriend, a vision in pink, dressed in a fluffy chiffon skirt, low cut blouse and sneakers, are waltzing down the stairs. They give a funny stare but I stare them right back.
“You,” say I, pointing to the bitch, “don’t belong here.”
“You can’t discriminate against us, fucker,” replies her boyfriend who sounds like he shoots up with estrogen in the morning.
I give him a frumpy look back. Yea, buddy, you’re right. The days when a leather bar could stop you from coming in if you weren’t dressed “in code” are over. With the leather scene fading faster than an Atlantic City “Wish You Were Here” postcard, it’s all about selling the liquor.
There’s less people upstairs, the same Chatty Cathy shit going on or guys on their fucken phones GPSing you but never making a move beyond that, when I see HIM.
He’s tall but not too tall, hairy but not a gorilla like me, older but not old, with an open leather camouflage vest showing a tight, lightly furry chest and six pack out of one of Men’s Fitness cover stories, “Dynamite Abs in Just Six Weeks!”, a scrawny beard and face of a felon who did hard labor, and leather gloves and biker’s cap to complete the whole Neo-Nazi look.
Plus a pair of furry, honey melon buns deliciously hanging from his chaps begging to be tongued.
He’s standing at the other end of the bar, surrounded by clones though he is far and away the pick of the litter. I lock my eyes on him like a laser for a good ten minutes but I get hardly a glance.
Now in the old days before Jim and Gus when I was free as a bird but as timid as a spinster, I would have just moved on. Oh, but this was the new Billy, the ballsy Billy. I walk over and stand two feet away from Mr. Hot Shit and his court jesters and just keep staring.
Finally I get his attention.
“You got a problem, bud?” he says returning the stare of a killer. His cronies do the same.
“Well, I’ve been cruising you for at least ten minutes now and I didn’t even get a fart back.”
“So what are you looking for, some fem, or fat boy, or maybe some tough guy with whips, chains and razor blades hanging from his belt?”
His buddies begin to little girl giggle, but not a muscle moves in Hotshit’s Stone Mountain face.
“I’m not into watching your pubic hairs grow in, buddy.”
“How old do you think I am?”
“Thirty, thirty two maybe.”
Fuck, dude, I’d suck your dick all night just for that. But I continue to play it cool.
“So you get your kicks changing some old man’s Depends, I guess.”
Now Hotshit is the only one that’s laughing.
“Okay, smart ass, buy me a beer.”
He follows me to the bar and after collecting our beers, we move to the other side and sit down on the wood bleachers.
“I gotta tell you buddy -”
“Billy, name’s Billy.”
“Hank, in from L.A. Hell, Billy, you’re the first guy I’ve met in a long time that’s got balls for real.”
“Hey, I know what I want, so why waste one another’s time?”
“And you want me?”
“If you can deal with all this.” I glide my hand over the fur on my chest and abs when Hank puts his hand over mine and pushes it further down to my crotch.
“I dig the fur big time. And most younger guys are so used to deleting and blocking everybody, they don’t know how to talk, Christ, they don’t know how to fart in public. But you – you sound pretty mature for a kid old enough to be my younger brother, or son if I had a teenage bride.”
“You don’t have to be old to have your shit together.”
Hank raises his razor chin. “So how old do you think I am, stud?”
Now with that hard core felon face, I take him for fifty but PR has taught me to tell people what they wanna hear.
“Good answer,” he replies. “I’m 46.”
“I just threw a guy out younger than you,” I say smugly.
“High maintenance. Wanted it all the time. Hey, what do I look like, some fucking machine?”
“You must be pretty tough.” He smiles for the first time since we connected, a tough guy’s, controlled, but a smile nonetheless.
“Yea, I’m a trust fund baby, do what I wanna do, when I wanna do it, with whoever I wanna do it with.”
It’s refreshing to create whatever past the moment calls for when you know, chances are, you’ll never see the guy again.
“And you?” I ask. “You’re not one of these aging hotties who live off those of us with money are you?” This time I place my hand on his chest, rubbing it slowly back and forth from nipple to nipple. He’s got a nice succulent set.
“You know something,” with his own smart ass grin. “I’m going to really enjoy hearing you howl while I fuck you.”
I get up, pat my ass for his benefit, then sit down again.
“This ain’t yours yet.”
“Okay, fair enough.” He takes my hand, places it on his crotch, a respectable bulge at that. “I’m a set designer in Hollyweird, between gigs, which is why I decided go visit New York and see some old buddies …”
“…who you’re free loading off of.”
“If you mean, I’m staying with one of them the answer is yes.”
“Current trans-coastal lover, present or former fuck buddy, auditioning sugar daddy, which is it?”
“None of the above. Just a buddy’s couch and a lumpy one at that.”
“Well then, that makes it easy.” I get down off the bleachers and wait for him to follow. He does.
“Remember.” He taps on the chrome and leather armband on his bulging left bicep.
“So two tops can have fun,” I say matter of factly, taping on my neoprene version, also on my not quite as bulging as his left bicep. “Who ends up on the bottom bunk is a matter of luck and timing.”
“Everything off ‘xcept the vests,” I order after locking my apartment door. I wanted no disruptions in case “In Transition” Robin or Casanova Carpenter are sighted.
“Hot foreplay?” asks Hank, leaving on his vest.
“No, nostalgia,” I reply.
Just before Hank strips, he pulls from his underwear bulge a sock with a Glade sandwich bag filled with what looks like Lady T, and a small straw.
“Now if I was a size queen,” looking at his unimpressive penis,” I’d tell you to get the fuck out right about now.”
I’m a grower. not a shower,” Hank replies pompously, as his dick comes alive staring at my boner that is as hard and long as my morning woodie. I grab his nips hanging like pearls off the earlobes of a whore, and twist them.
He gingerly spills some of his white magic powder onto the flat surface of the bed stand. “Want to indulge?”
“No, I’m a fucker, not a drugger.”
Who needs T? I’m high on him and high on my new found youth.
“Got anything to cut it with? Wait, let me get one of my credit cards…”
“Hold on,” I say, and pull out one of those plastic memorial cards funeral homes make up when someone dies. “Use this.”
“Who’s Anna Veleber?”
“My mother. Don’t worry, she was a bitch when she was alive, but she won’t bite you now.”
He looks at me strangely, thinks nothing of my having him use this petty plastic memorial to the woman who birthed me so he can get high, shrugs those broad fucken shoulders, makes a line, and snorts away. He holds up his little straw in my direction.
“No, I’m just fine, really.”
Then my curiosity finally gets to me and I ask, “So what is that stuff? Tina? You buy it here?”
“Mostly T with a snatch of coke mixed in as a kicker. Hell, no, bought it back home where an eight ball is eighty bucks.”
“It’s five times that here,” I explain. “No wonder everybody’s nuts in California. They’re all flying high. But how the fuck did you pass airport security?”
“Ah,” he says with a smirk. “Some guys smuggle it in shampoo bottles, others up their ass like some fucken mule. Me? I just walk through the scanners with the shit in my pocket. Nobody ever bats an eyelash, though one time the security guy patted me down so much I was getting an erection, thought maybe he’d want my number.”
He prepares another line. “So you sure you don’t want any?”
I nod negative and he leans over and snorts two more lines. What he thinks I don’t know is that Tina dick is already setting in and his thumb size dick has gotten beer can thick but is like a jelly roll at Christmas without the whipped cream, going absolutely nowhere, while mine is one happy fuck fella, twitching away in anticipation of that beautiful fucken manly butt.
Welcome to the bottom bunk, buddy.
“Slide over to the edge of the bed,” I order. “My tongue is hungry for that furry hole of yours.”
I can see he‘s beaming just like Jim when I made the same request. But nowhere did Jim have as furry a butt or manhole – Hank’s is almost as furry as Gus’s was.
I kneel at the edge of the bed, position his ass right in front of my baby blues, and sink my tongue into his hole like a kamikaze pilot aimed for a navy destroyer.
“Hey buddy,” he murmurs. “That feels r-e-a-l good.”
“Wait,” I say, and I lick the tip of my pinkie and dip it into his super concoction, lick some off with the tip of my tongue, then smear what’s left on my finger around the lips of his hole before l use my tongue to shove the stuff as deep inside as I can.
“What?” I say like an innocent convent novice, who’s been caught using one of her crucifixes as a dildo.
“I’ve had booty bumps, but nothing like this.”
“That’s because your men are unadventurous and uncreative.”
Then I lick my two middle fingers, do a shake and bake in the stuff and, giving his hole one good spit, plunge them in, massaging his prostate that becomes as hard as the Rock of Gibraltar.
“What the fuck!”
“And you thought you Left Coast boys knew everything.”
Experimenting with Jim all those years taught me there’s a lot more to meth than just smoking and darting.
But my dick, throbbing and drooling, is saying enough of this shit, now it’s my turn. So for my piece de resistance, I finger one last shred of the good stuff and swab my wet head with it, feeling, I have to say, a little good myself by now and, without wasting another micro-second of pleasure, slowly shove my tool up his ass.
And fuck him.
And keep fucking him.
“Holy fucken shit,” yells Hank, in a world unto himself, “where the hell did you learn to fuck like that?”
“The Juilliard,” I say quietly.
No response. And here I thought he’s the artsy type.
After about a half hour, I climb up on the bed, a drop of precum falling from the tip of my swollen head to his delicious lips, stand up, and straddle him like the Colossus of Rhodes.
“Okay, handsome, now it’s time for YOUR workout.”
And with that I slowly lower my butt on his face, spread my furry cheeks, and shove my hairy man hole right on his bearded lips till he starts gasping for air.
I wake up and it’s three in the afternoon. It’s just me in bed, Mr. Hot Shit is gone, and propped up by the alarm clock is a note with a phone number scrawled over it and:
“If you’re ever in L.A., I’d skip my mother’s funeral for you. You’re right, two tops can have fun as long as one yells uncle…”
Another satisfied customer. Maybe I should start getting references.
I got a woodie and get up to take a piss when I catch a glimpse of myself in the bedroom mirror.
I do a double take, stop, walk up close and take another look.
“FUCK YEA!” I yell out at the top of my lungs and I don’t give a shit who hears me.
I’m fucken young again, yes, fucken young again!
I run over to the closet, and pull out a shoebox loaded with old pics. I find it, a picture taken about twenty five, no, Christ, almost thirty years ago, by one of the female photographers at J. Walter Thompson, my first job out of college, who had a thing for me. I’m at my desk and my hair is longer and I have only a droopy Paul McCarthy mustache. But the face is the same as the one staring back at me from the mirror now. Young and hot and boyishly handsome – and 21!
Fuck, fuck, FUCK!
The same age as Samuel, the soldier whose dog tag I wear – died.
For a second the solemnity of that thought hits me, but a glance back at the mirror and I’m once more overwhelmed by the orgasmic impact of my new reality.
I’m fucken young.
All over again.
Thank you Tad, thank you Samuel, and most of all, thank you Walt. I hope you’re in Homoheaven having every young guy you ever lusted after in your life – twice!