Horizontal Lives

True Tales of the Infamous Courtesan: Persephone N. Hades and her Horizontal Life underground. How she got there, her mis-adventures and her struggle to re-surface.

Monday, December 27, 2004

It's Good to Have Friends. Especially in Hell.

The Playwright and I, (whom I mentioned before & who graciously forgave my intense behavior the night of his Reading,) were meeting for a late night glass of wine and a cig at Hudson Bar and Books.

(One of the few places smoking is not outlawed in New York City.)

We were chatting about theatre, writing, etc., when suddenly and quite incongruously, he asked:
"Do you have any friends?"

I’m not sure why he asked. I feel like I have friends. I feel like I’m the type of person who should have friends. But okay.

"I think so. I don’t get to see them much. But, I think so."

"Do they know what you do? Do you have any friends in the business?"

(I had a best friend for a while. Cooper. He found me through my website. He was a published writer and in the throes of writing a new book—an Historical Fiction. He contacted me because his Protagonist was in love with a Courtesan and he wanted to meet a ‘true’ Courtesan—for research purposes. Hesitant at first, to meet him, thinking his line, a big ploy, I struck a bargain with him: He could travel to New York to meet me, enjoy a full-blown session with me, pay for the session and afterwards, if he could help me with my writing, I would give him his money back. And that’s exactly what transpired. From that moment on, we were inseparable to the point of me training him as a male escort and bringing him with me to see couples. He was an amazing friend and an amazing Gigolo. Unfortunately, during a call, we had a falling out that was never able to be repaired. I miss him terribly, but the 'balls are in his court', as they say.)

So the succinct answer I gave to the Playwright was, in my present life, most of my friends are clients turned pals. The girls I know in my business are really acquaintances. The friends I have from my past that are still around here and there, fall into two categories. Either they are friends from way back, like Clarisse, or Nia and Kia. Or they tend to be either actors or writers as that’s the world I was in for so long.

Most of them know what I do, but are uncomfortable with it, so we rarely speak of my work. However, once in a while, when something happens to one of them that involves some unusual sexual occurrence, I get to hear about it.

My friend Julian, a very talented, funny actor whom I met doing a show ages ago in the Boston area, lives from job to job, as most actors do.

The way I did until 'my job' became 'my career'.

To supplement his income, he works doing Catering. He’s one of those guys in the polyester black tuxes that serve you at your Weddings, Bar Mitzvah’s, Anniversaries—

The Cater-Waiter.

I wrote him an email, inquiring how his Holiday’s were, and here is the story he related to me:

Julian’s Christmas: (in his words)

Catering has been very good to me over the years and may continue to be, for many more perhaps.

I spent my Christmas working a private party for a middle-aged homosexual from Palm Beach in his spacious but cluttered apartment on Park Avenue.

Assisting me on the job was my friend Albert, (or just Al).

(I say my friend because he is, just that, my friend, nothing more or less, and I emphasize that because it will help later on in this story to understand the context as to why I bring this up.)

We both appeared in a long ago forgotten production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" in upstate New York.

(Aren't most productions of "Streetcar" long ago forgotten, except the original anyway?)

It was a very simply planned event. Only 11 guests. Which to any ‘Cater-Waiter’, would simply rate as "Cake". (Usually in catering the proposed ratio of guests to waiters one wants is 10 to 1, and here we were, 2 waiters to 11 guests: 51/2 guests to 1 waiter. Cake!)

My friend Al handled the kitchen like 'Emeril' himself, jumping right in decorating the
Platters, going 'round the apartment, removing leaves from the Christmas plants and decorations to use as garnish for the chicken sesame and the lamb and roast beef on garlic toast.

After putting out the cheese tray and setting up the bar, (yes, even I did some amazing things with pinecones and Poinsettia leaves for the cheese-board), the guests arrived.

Our Host—the Palm Beach Boy’s mother, brother, assorted nephews, nieces and maybe a cousin or two, plus Raul. Raul being our Host’s ‘Major Domo’: A young handsome boy from some South or Central American country, who had never seen snow, till a week ago.

Fast forward to about three hours in to the party where our Host, now by this point, has had to my count, about 17 bottles of Michelob Ultra.

I know because I am now like Pavlov's dog running to the fridge to get another refill for his beer whenever I hear "Juuuliiiiaaaan".

"Ope!’ I’m thinking, ‘he's down only half a glass. Let me get him another one."

After a while, he would just turn and start to pronounce the first syllable of my name: "Juuu", when "whoosh" I’m already there with my white napkin wrapped bottle of Michelob Ultra.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, my friend Al is sucking down countless legs of lamb and the same untold number of sesame chicken sometimes dipped in Russian Dressing.

Don't ask.

"Juuuliiiiaaaan", Zip. I’m already walking toward him with yet another one.

At this point I count 22 bottles of beer and they ain't on the wall but in the blue recycling bag. Anticipating his need upcoming, I look for more. But when I look in the cupboard and in the fridge, I can't believe it. No more beer. "No Beeu Heeu." Finito la beero.

Again I hear what I fear has become his mantra "Juuulliiiaaan".

I may have neglected to mention that in my last attempt to refill his glass and hopefully snag a very lucrative holiday tip for my friend Al and I, I was just sublime. Refilling his glass in the midst of some story he was telling, not even allowing him to break his stride, he referred to me as "Julian, you’re my best friend".

Well, I mention to Raul,
"Raul, no more beer."
He says "Luke een de coburd".
I say, "yes I already did. He went through about 22 bottles of beer."
To which Raul, (God or somebody love him!) says, "Oohhuu Boouy!"

I go out to our Host and break it to him. All’s well. It’s only a momentary relapse. He bounces back telling me to "go to my bedroom and there is a glass next to it, fill it up with whatever is there."
I do as told and ‘whatever is there’ happens to be a full decanter of Scotch. Or Bourbon.
(Doesn't everyone keep a full decanter of spirits next to their bed with cut glass crystal?)

I wasn't fazed.

In the 13 minutes that go by before my next page, Al, my friend, downs 3 more lamb chops, 6 chicken sesame's w/French dressing, 2 cups of coffee and some fruit tart. And about 4 chocolate truffles. The inherent danger in hiring ‘starving artists.’

"Juuuuuliiiiaann." Now there are many voices. The guests have now taken up this calling, "oh Juuuuliiiaaaan."

"Refresh my drink and oh come with me." Our Host says to me. We walk towards his bedroom.

He proceeds a few steps in front of me and keeps going to his bathroom which is in his bedroom and I hear he is starting…well he is peeing. I can hear the 22 Michelob Ultras gushing out of him, slamming into his all-marble toilet like a tsunami heading towards the shoreline.
Then, "Come here please".

I hesitate, proceeding slowly till I am under the doorway: Just like in an earthquake. Stand under the doorframe. There he is, cock in hand pissing away, while I stand holding his drink, which still needs refreshing, in mine.

Feeling a bit awkward, my eyes start to wander. I scan the numerous photos of 1950’s era bodybuilders on the walls and can't believe that a few hours ago, Al and I were having a straight/gay conversation about him. You know the type:

"You think he is gay"? "Well, he's not married and he is wearing monogrammed slippers."

Definitely a signal that one is gay.

Well maybe.

Standing there, watching him, listening to him pee, cock in hand I can’t help but thinking,

"WHY? Why me? Why can't this be some bored Palm Beach housewife with surgically enhanced Double-D's, a neglecting alcoholic surgeon for a husband who supplies her with a bottomless pit of an expense account, a house nestled between the Inter-coastal and the Atlantic, resting against Mar-a-Lago, Trumps resort? And she would invite me down to the Breakers for the weekend where she would basically fuck my brains out and then bored with me, put me first class on TWA with a new Coach leather portfolio bag jammed with one-hundred dollar bills."

"Look, I like you. You've been terrific tonight and I want you to come back." He says, cock still in hand, sporting a multicolored plaid button down collared shirt that only the privilege of wealth would give one the courage to purchase, monogrammed slippers and a pink sweater wrapped around what one would call hips.
"Well I will give you my number and for your next party give me a call." I say.
He says, "Noooo. I mean after the party when everyone leaves."
"Well after they all leave, the party is over and I will have to go."

(Sometimes I surprise myself as to how clever I can be when the situation calls for it.)

"That’s when the party starts," he says. "You come back. We'll have a few cocktails and have some fun. I really like you." he repeats a little too sincerely for my non-committal self.
"Uhm well, uh I, its been a long day."

(Yes, thanks to my theater background my improvisatory skills are sharp as a Ginsu.)

"No. I don't think so. I will have to go home." I emphatically say again.
He shoots back, "Who's that other guy?"
"What guy?" I shoot back just as fast.
"The other waiter? Do you live together?"
"What? No! He’s my co-worker, that's Albert. We’re friends. We live in the same building.
He looks at me questioningly and responds, "Nahh really. Come on. You can tell me."
"No sir. He is a friend. We are both straight and just friends. No more no less."

Perhaps all that pissing reduced the amount of alcohol in his system, because he seemed to come around at that point.
(Need I remind you, he still has his cock in his hand and is now only beginning to shake and put it away.)

"I am very sorry if I have offended you."
"No sir. Don't worry about it. It’s a compliment really." I can't believe I said that but I did.
He persists in making sure he didn't offend me and I assure him its all ok.
"This happens to me a lot." I say with the best ‘shit-eating grin’ I can muster.

We begin the walk back to the party, where he again assails me with his apologia and how he has been married 3x and divorced 3x.
(Talk about a glutton for punishment. 3 times? Did he forget?)
And how he is paying alimony up the gazoo and how in Palm Beach all the help stays after to party and jerk around.
Not thinking of what to say, I respond, "Well, that’s Palm Beach. " and make a hasty retreat to the kitchen. The kitchen where Albert is finishing up the chicken sesame hor's d’ouvres and watching the Arizona, Oklahoma game on the Host’s new Zenith flat screened liquid plasma TV.

"Where you been?" he asks.
"Oh, just refreshing his drink."

At that precise moment, I hear the sounds of Cuban jazz coming out of the room and our Host is now blasting Latin music and dancing with his mother. When breaking through all that, the percussion, background singers, brass, I hear…"Juuuliiiaann".

Turning to the remaining chicken sesame's and the one lamb chop, I swish it around in its juice, pour myself the remains of a Michelob Ultra, sit down, put my feet up, change the channel to the History channel, look up at Albert and say,

"You get it."

(Love you Julian! See? We’re all in the same business.) xx Persephone


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