Cheatin’ time again, ctd.

Originally published on August 28, 2006.

This story has gone on too long; I need to get past it.

George and I go to Rudolfa. He sees a young, femmy guy at a table, who’s a bartender from Pinocchio. His hair’s elaborately gelled and I swear I remember a hair clip of some kind but that’s probably just me being catty. He’s wearing faded hip-huggers and a short shirt that shows his midriff. His shoes are white sandals.

I’m as unerect as I can get; my dick is hiding between my legs.

George is inordinately happy to see him, and vice versa, and so bounces over to give him a kiss. Boy looks at me like, “Why the fuck is he with you?” George heads off to the toilet. I follow. He pulls me in and reveals to me that he’s had sex, “good sex,” with this boy, gratis, and that he now thinks he’s “100 percent gay!”

I feel mildly sick; I feel slightly jealous. For a moment I’m dizzy. It’s nostalgic, this feeling.

[I’ve known for some time that George’s strongest homosexual attractions are for trannies and cross-dressers. It’s only recently he’s begun to show interest in more effeminate gay boys, as well. Active interest, as in, actively pursuing. It was only a matter of time, I guess. I haven’t had the stomach for asking him if he tops them or vice versa — there are plenty of femmy top boys, after all — he’s always said he doesn’t like fucking men, but maybe it’s because his choices have always been older, relatively masculine men.]

We go back to find a table and George tries the phone again. Nothing. He rubs his forehead and eyes and face in exasperation. I can see he’s trying not to cry. He turns to me and says: “I have you, Riki, yes?”

“Yes, you have me.”

“I have you,” he repeats, reminding himself of the obvious.

After that brief emotional revelation, George says we should join the bartender-boy, whose name I can’t remember, at his table. George gets drunk after only two beers, pulls the boy into him, and kisses him on the cheek. He keeps one arm around the boy’s waist and one arm around my shoulders. The boy is nice enough, chats with me for a bit in bad English then suggests we go to Stella. I reluctantly agree, trying to be mature and magnanimous. It’s hopeless, really. Yet we all get into a cab to head off to this Vinohrady gay bar, something I would normally never do so early since we are within walking distance. Nevertheless, this is one way young Czech gay boys show off how much money they’re making and who am I to deny this little boy his ego boost?

[Club Stella used to be my favorite haunt, but it had become too full of foreigners and too full of young-gay attitude for me to feel comfortable there. The guys in Rudolfa always say hello to me even if they can’t converse. The flighty gay boys in Stella rarely remember they’ve met me even if they’d done so twice before. I think it’s better for gay culture — for any culture, really — if young guys and older guys have opportunities for social contact even if some of those contacts are mediated by money. Some might think I’m full of shit for this, but I think gay bars in America lost a lot of their fun, not to mention some of their humanity, when the hustlers started getting turned away at the door. Anyway, Stella feels more and more like a sparkly Halsted Street bar in Chicago than a comfortable, divey hangout — plus beers are now closer to tourist prices at 30 Kc.]

We get to Stella where the cute, quiet, shaved-headed boy who also sells grass, not the surly, bespectacled, attitude queen I once had words with, lets us in. We belly up to the bar for a drink.

By this time, my jealousy must be clearly visible, at least to the bartender-boy. I flinch every time George touches this boy. He more than touches: He kisses his neck, George’s favorite nibbling spot. I am wondering how I can leave without looking like I’m storming out. The boy asks me “What is…?” meaning “What’s wrong?” I could say: “You, you’re all wrong. George should like hairy, older, bear-slash-writer types, not cheesy Kenvelo-model wannabees who work at hustler bars.”

Of course, I don’t. I go and sit in a chair.

And George is nothing if not doting and when I’m around he dotes on me. It’s a quality in him I can always exploit. He leaves the boy at the bar and comes to sit next to me, kisses me on the forehead, and puts his arm around me. I don’t remember what we talk about, but I know he attempted several phone calls to Denisa and Martín [Remember this is the reason he’s so upset tonight — he thinks his girlfriend and his best friend are fucking.] I remember asking him what he would do if it turned out they were fucking.

“You’ll kill Martín?”

“No, no, Martín, friend. Denisa: dead!” He karate chops his throat.

“Oh. Okay.”

After about ten minutes, George suggests we go home.

“I no sleep Denisa. Tonight, I sleep you, okay?”

How could I object? He’s completely forgotten the boy and the boy exited much earlier, seeing the two of us crammed together on a small plush chair. And I guess he understood instinctively that he didn’t want to face the side of me that is “the butch American queen,” either.

So, we go home and in the tram I realize that I am unable to call anyone in my phonebook, not just Martín and Denisa. “Look, George, it’s my phone not them.” He looks unconvinced. “No, stoh percent dey fuck.” He was sure they were guilty and was not about to let a technological glitch get them off the hook. I just shut up. He was looking murderous.

Martín is waiting outside our flat in the drizzle because he doesn’t have keys of his own. If I’d just fucked my best friend’s girlfriend, I wouldn’t be hanging around outside waiting to be let in.

Shouting in Czech ensues.

I have to tell Martin to wait outside while I escort George upstairs. I don’t want their argument and potential physical violence to piss off my neighbors. Once I get Martín inside, I find that George is already using my other mobile to berate Denisa. I don’t understand a word of the staccato tirade, nor of Denisa’s tinny, trebly response audible on the speaker, but his eyes are tearing up. He’s furious. His forehead and cheeks are flushed and occasionally he stamps the floor with one foot. At one point he’s talk-shouting so vociferously I’m afraid he’ll have a heart attack. He goes hoarse, chokes on his last word, and stomps his foot again, tossing the disconnected phone at Martín, whom he then begins to chastise in a lower, calmer tone.

The boys’ confrontation is much less serious than I anticipated. George has kickboxing training and despite Maríin’s muscles, he’s not much of a fighter nor particularly strong. I’ve seen George’s slim frame take Martín’s gym body down many times when they play-fight. I didn’t want to see the real thing. Luckily, George blew his gasket on the phone with Denisa and had no more steam left for Martin. It didn’t hurt that Martin behaved passively and obsequiously.

During a period of relative silence as George downs a half-liter of pivo in less than 15 seconds, Martín quietly asks him something in Czech. George replies in English: “I sleep Riki tonight! You go!” He points upstairs and Martín grabs his blanket and softly, cautiously moves off.

In bed a few moments later, I’m wondering what I can do for George. I can see he’s still upset, and sex is certainly not appropriate. I hug him and try to kiss him on the cheek, but he moves his face around to kiss me with an open mouth. Then we both turn to our respective favorite sides and try to sleep.

I am awakened I don’t know how many minutes later with a tug on my shoulder. George is trying to prop me up, one arm slipping under my back, one over my chest. He hooks one leg under one of mine and pulls me toward him. As I reach around to embrace him, I don’t feel his heat, I don’t feel his sweat as I expected to.

I am startled to feel his heart. Reverberating through him, strong and quick in his chest, his arms, his belly: it is everywhere. I’ve never felt someone’s heartbeat so close to wildness, so physically present. He’s squeezing me and its presence, its insistence scares me. What’s happening to him? What can I do? I squeeze back. He feels fragile; I feel helpless.

The next morning it’s like nothing has happened. The boys (now Petr is home as well, back from a late-night biznis) are smoking weed in the front room. I go to brush my teeth. George comes in the bathroom with a big, closed-mouth grin, curls his finger at me and positions his mouth for a kiss. I think that’s all it is. My lips are holding his and he opens his mouth and I feel his tongue. Then I taste the ganja. He gently shotguns the thin stream of smoke into my lungs while frenching me. He pulls back and smiles again.

“Good?” he asks.

“Very good,” I lick my lips. “The best.”

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