Good question. Well, it’s your interview so maybe it’s better if you ask me something specific. There is uh, there is certainly a lot of stuff I didn’t write about, mostly because the people I could have written about were supporting me and so I had to be discreet.
That comes across, I have to say.
Well, sure. Honest doesn’t mean spilling your guts or telling everything you know, at least not to me. But I did try to point to the gaps and implicitly invite people to speculate. I’m surprised really that I didn’t get…for instance, uh, I’m surprised that people didn’t wonder about my past and how I got into the situation I was in. Or rather, why it was so hard to get out of it.
We wondered. Trust me, we wondered.
OK, well then everyone was really really cool then about the parts I was leaving out.
For us, I think, for D. and me, it was…once we got over being appalled and [laughs] shocked, we just became fascinated and starting following your exploits obsessively.
I’ve heard that from a lot of people. This one guy, an Irish guy who came to Prague and I helped him find boys, uh, he worked on an oil rig in the Middle East and he said he would print out my blog posts and pass them around to all the other gay guys that worked with him…at least I think it was gay guys; it might not have been…and anyway, and then they would all read it. [laughs] Everyone was always wondering, Well, what’s happening to Rick right now? How’s he doing? I hope he’s OK.
Like a soap opera really, which it was. I don’t think I got enough credit for sometimes deliberately writing in that mode in order to hook people. Yeah, I never knew who was reading me, you know, usually until much later. Most of my readers were very very quiet, for obvious reasons.
This uh, this uh Irish guy was very generous with me and not just in Prague but later, even recently. He’s probably sent me a couple thousand over time.
Yup. And the only way I knew how to pay people like that back was to live as hard as I could and then write about it. Again, uh, I think that aspect is in and of itself interesting but I doubt I’ll ever get any credit for being one of the first people to do something like that, to blog about being down ‘n’ out in real time and to kinda sorta survive by doing that.
Are you sure you’re not the only one?
Well, you’re right, I can’t think of anyone, anything similar, any blog similar but I can’t know everything that was ever out there, you know.
What about your patron? What happened to him?
Well, he had a backstory, too, and everyone in Prague kind of suspected that he did. I heard a few years ago that he was arrested by Interpol and extradited back to Singapore.
Oh my. What did he do?
Embezzling apparently. I’m not going to go into detail about that because, you know, for a criminal [laughs] he was very very generous with me and really with all the boys he took care of, and he took care of a lot. He redistributed the wealth in a very serious way. [laughs] Which he didn’t have to do and I don’t think most embezzlers would have been… would do either.
So, you know, I would love to show up in Singapore and help him out, if I ever got that kind of money, I would love to do that. Um, I hate to think that no one is taking care of him. I hear Singapore is not the best place to be in jail.
I imagine not. Maybe you can write a book and then help him out.
Any other juicy gossip?
Well, I was often amazed at what people would confide in me about. It was stupid, really. I, uh…whenever I was started to get to know a boy and I felt like he was getting ready to confess something to me, and some of them had a lot to confess, I would stop him and say, you know, I don’t really want to know and you shouldn’t be telling anybody either. At least not, as I’ve said, if no one’s paying you to do so. [laughs]
Good, good advice.
But on the other hand, I have to say, if it sounded like it was a particularly good story, I’d let them talk and then file it away for future reference.
Yeah, even if I didn’t use it, the specific details, I tried to absorb it all so that I could write about other stuff with more authority.
I’m sure all writers do that.
Yeah, but as for me there are secrets I have that I guess I’ll be taking to my grave.