Thursday, July 27, 2006


I found these letters among my old files. I wrote this after visiting this place called the Parliament House in Augusta. They're long and sorta explicit, but I thought you guys might find them amusing.


August 3,1999

To David, whom I will likely never see again,

I wanted to thank you for considering me atypical.

When you told me Saturday that I wasn't the sort to come to the motel, it
was exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to hear. My entire lousy week was
made better by your kisses, which were sorely needed. The oddity that
surrounded us had bothered me until I spoke to you.

You helped me understand the motel, not the sort of place I was expecting to
find ten minutes from home, and you helped me understand myself a little
better that night. You were perfect, David. If not completely beautiful in
body, your mind was one that I would've enjoyed coming across outside of the
realm of anonymous sex.

Wait, maybe not "coming across." Wrong words. Flashbacks. Not entirely bad
ones, but I'm still having a little difficulty being completely comfortable
with what I did.

You were right when you said in your suite that I assign guilt to things,
give myself huge guilt trips. I think I explained why. Guilt's not a
religious thing for me, though. I just couldn't really allow myself to
relax. Until you helped me. You and that guy whose face I couldn't see.

You seemed to think that I put my heart into things, even in places like

I didn't know that no one else would really be into talking. They should
post that rule somewhere, for I bet that I'm not the only one who didn't
understand "unwritten" policy. I mean, if it weren't for talking, I would've
gotten lost the first time I went through that maze. (Yes, I'm not stupid. I
now realize that's half the damn point. Hey, you know that I feigned more
innocence than I actually had, but it takes me a little bit to come to grips
with it.)

I'm trying to be funny. I'm nervous. I should stop trying.

When I walked in the door, I wasn't breathing right. Ted, the guy on the
phone, told me that the "House" was a social environment, but there was no
dancing and no bar. He said he was surprised that I hadn't been partying out
there before, but I told him I live like a hermit here in Augusta. I tried
that bar here a couple times, and it just didn't work out. I mean, one guy
shit on me, and another guy stopped calling out of the blue. And the music
was bad. And I couldn't drink.

When Ted told me there was no bar, that made me feel good, for I can't drink
much anyway when I'm alone. When he said there was no dancing or loud
music, I told my telethon joke and said I was relieved. He told me it was a
"very social atmosphere" and that I should try it.

The only gay people I really know in town, who I don't try to completely
avoid, are my florist and my ex-boyfriend Greg, also a hermit. My florist Charles
told me that the motel was a good place to meet people and hang out, that
he'd been there a couple times. (He's the sweetest guy. He told me I would
like it if I went, but that was months ago. In retrospect, I probably
should've paid more mind to his leather fetish.)

That's why I called the place, for Charles told me it was nice but left out
what there was to do there. On the phone, Ted told me that it was "social."
It was geared toward meeting people, and it was relatively crowded on the

He made it sound good, really good to me. I hadn't left my apartment in two
days after a really, really bad week, so I was determined to go out and do
something in this damn soulless community. I thought I would go there, have
a drink and maybe talk with some people, see what the place was about. He
told me the place starting picking up around 10 p.m.

Then Ted told me about the $15 cover charge.

"Fifteen dollars?" I asked. "What do you have there to merit that?"

"Well, we're a resort," Ted said. "The $15 is a day pass. It allows for full use of the facilities."

"Oh OK," I said. A resort.

My ex Larry also told me months ago that I should see what the motel was
about. He'd seen an ad in Etc. Magazine, which talked about the 8-foot fence
separating the hotel from the street. I remember telling him that I didn't
want to go because I didn't have a date to get a room with. In typical Larry
fashion, he told me to go there and find one. (David, dear, I didn't have
this in mind when I talked to you.)

Anyway, when I got off the phone with Ted, who probably thought I was talky
and awkward, my curiosity was peaked. I changed clothes, like, three or four
times because I didn't know what to wear to the place. I tried on a T-shirt
and shorts, pants and a button-up shirt. I even considered sunglasses, even
though it was about 9:30 p.m.

But it was 105 degrees, and I only knew from the ad I saw that there was a
pool. I figured the shorts and T-shirt were a safe bet. (I thought about a
swimsuit for a second, but then I didn't want to take up some valuable pool
space from an actual hotel guest.)

And, after knocking on the door of my friends down the hall to see if they
wanted to go and calling around to other friends to see if a $15 cover was a
blessing or curse, I went to get gas and cash and headed over.

I've driven by the place a million times. The giant wooden fence is a little
off-putting because it looks dark and makes it seem like there's no one
there. The fact that it has a run-down Alamo motif going and no windows
doesn't discourage that.

But I drove in, not knowing where to park exactly but finding my way. And
then I went into curious but cautious mode.

The guy at the front desk, the older one with the beard and the
owl-and-marijuana tattoo, probably thought I was still in the closet. I was
acting so frantic. Every now and then, people kept coming in from the resort
area through that door with the crescent moon on it. It made me think of old
outhouses, and it didn't really add to my ease.

The thing that startled me most, though, was that sign on the desk.

"There will be a voluntary Leather demonstration at 2 a.m. in the Tower. All
interested may attend."

I think my first question to the front desk was, "You have a tower?"

Then, I think I said something like this.

"Hi, I ... uhhh... I called here and spoke to you. I was interested in
getting a day pass. I heard that it was $15. Um, leather demonstration, that
sounds interesting. Hi."

The bearded guy told me to hold on for a second, then went to get Ted, who
was very cute and had that eye twitch that made me think he kept winking,
like he was interested in my reaction or, more likely, like he had a big

I kept stammering over my words, so much so that, when I told Ted I wasn't a
closet case, he said, "Yeah right." I was serious. I was just a little
stunned over what I imagined was going on at the other side of that door. I
mean, I didn't really have all that much of an idea about what I was walking
into, even though I figured the "facilities" were probably something
clandestine. Stupid me, looking for some frame of reference, kept picturing
that masked orgy scene in "Eyes Wide Shut." I asked questions, paid the $15
day pass, the $10 membership fee. Ted was happy that I had Discover. I was,
too, but only because I did this in spite of being broke. I was too curious.

Apparently, it was out of sorts to refuse the towel, lube and locker, but I
figured I could save money by following a simple rule: Keep my shorts on.

And Ted winked. And he showed me the map. And Ted winked as he pointed out
where the pool was, where the rooms were, the place marked TV room, Laundry
Room. And he showed me a square on the map labeled "Maze." It was between
the TV room, the laundry room and the game room, which I thought were the
place's typical hotel staples.

"There's a maze here?" I asked.

"Have you not been in a maze before?" Ted asked.

"I've never done anything like this before."

"You'll have fun in there," he said. "It's difficult in the dark, though. Try not to get lost, and you should be able to find your way out."

At that point, I became more naive than I had been all evening, and I'd been
pretty naive all evening.

I remember thinking, "Well, at least there's something for people to do if
they're not interested in having sex or taking off their clothes."

You came into the lobby while I was talking to Ted. I thought you worked
there, David. You seemed relaxed, in your extra-extra-large fireman's
T-shirt and that Carolina Panthers hat. I thought you were my age. Truth be
told, which is good because I never intend for you to see this, I didn't
really look you over much. You're not what I would like to consider my type
as being. (Clearly, you must be a little bit my type, considering. But, as I
told you, sometimes my standards lower if someone is just nice enough to pay
attention to me.)

That doctor guy who came in later, the one that everyone stared at, is what
I'd like to consider my type. But then, I think most everyone liked him,
particularly when he went parading around the pool in boxer briefs. I'm
still a little embarassed over what I said to him, even now because of how
he reacted.

At least that got me talking to you, though.

And I shouldn't worry so much about what he thought of me, if what I think
happened actually occurred.

Ted told me when I left the lobby the first time, smiling at you and talking
too much, that I should be able to find whatever it is I was looking for at
the resort.

"I don't know what I'm looking for or if I'm looking for anything, but I
think you're right," I said. "I think I might find it here."

As I walked out the door down that silly little path through the weeds, I
hope I added, "What in the hell am I doing here?"

I'll be more specific later, I guess. Now, I should go to sleep. I have to
be at work early.



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