Thursday, November 16

you paid the price

Littlegirlcop was very content to be sitting in a plane, barreling down a runway, about to take off from McCarran Field. A week in Vegas is much too long, thought Murphy. On paper it all sounded great: a cop convention, a city where people come to do things they wouldn't want to talk about when they got home. "What happens in Vegas stay's in Vegas" The words held a promise, but that promise wasn't kept.

You would think that a city built on a foundation of camp, neon and vice would be more fun for a gay man. You would think there'd be atleast one fag bar on the strip. Maybe a Liberace themed club or someplace dedicated to Judy, Bet, Babs or Liza; but there wasn't. There were bars, Littlegirlcop did do a bit of research, but they weren't on the strip. Murphy found his way to an area that'd been affectionately referred to as the Fruit Loop. There wasn't a neighborhood, just a strip mall in a industrial area between the Airport and the Hard Rock Casino. Just a couple of discos, an adult bookstore, a Hamburger Mary's and a bear bar called The Buffalo. The beers were cheep, that's always a good thing, thought Murphy. But this place was obviously on the wrong side of the tracks. Once you made it through the door it was like any gay bar anywhere, but getting there didn't make you feel out and proud.

Sure there was the lights and the glitz of the strip, but again it was an unkept promise. You got the replica swiss watch, but you paid the price of the original. You got Venice with one clean canal, you got all you can eat shrimp in a dessert. The cheesecake at the Carnegie Deli at the Mirage was great, so great that Murphy stopped back for a third piece the night before his flight, but you just can't recreate a Manhattan deli in the lobby of a vegas hotel. Mouthful after delicious mouthful, Murphy thought of the man he shared a piece with the last time he was in New York and felt sad because they no longer spoke. He felt sad because Vegas wasn't New York; and he felt sad because he wasn't home.

Tuesday, October 17

with several of old pals

Littlegirlcop started his Monday morning the way he always did. A cup of coffee and a web browser open to to the Weddings and Celebrations section of the New York Times. Other mornings the first thing he'd look at was his favorite amateur porn site, but on Mondays it started with porn of a different kind. He would scan down the list of names, the woman's name was first followed the man's. Same sex couples didn't fit that format so Murphy'd scan down the column of woman's names looking for the occasional Robert or Micheal that indicated a gay couple. After that he'd look in the column of men's name for the dyke couples. There were always more Lesbians getting hitched for some reason. Murphy always read about the gay men first though. And if it were a particularly sweet story he might bookmark it and come back to it later in the week.

His current favorite was the story of two men who met in college. The men stayed close friends throughout their twenties and both dated women. Eventually in their early thirties, one man came out to his friend by telling him that he didn't "play on his team." A few months later the other man did the same. Soon they were a couple, staying up to watch Princess Dianna's funeral and years later it was all documented in the Times. Like many of the single gay men who read that announcement, Murphy was daydreaming about living happily ever after with several of old pals.

The daydream would usually begin with the two men in tuxedos, on a dance floor set up on a terrace on a warm summer evening. At this point Murphy would feel a twinge of embarassment, what a horrible cliche. He was having the wedding fantasies of a sixteen year old girl. He could take some comfort in the fact that he hadn't decided on the bridesmaid lineup. Well some comfort but not much – the band was always playing the same song: The way you look tonight.

It was at this point Littlegirlcop made sure there was no one around who could see what he was reading. He'd definitely rather be caught checking out the amateur porn, though that too would result in lots of teasing around the station house. The other guys would at least understand the porn, thought Murphy. Everyone knows men are dogs and most suspect gay men are the worst of the pack, But the wedding page, that he'd never live down.

Tuesday, September 26

part of him had darker thoughts

Littlegirlcop and his friend Ted sat on the porch at the party invisible to the men around them. Murphy wasn't quite sure what he was still doing at the grand house, well he was there because his pal Ted didn't want to stay alone, and he was curious about the fancy party on leather weekend, but Murphy and Ted were clearly out of place. Neither was a circuit bear. Neither was an A-lister. Neither had a shaved head or a flat top, or took special nutritional supplements to get bigger muscles, both men were ok in the muscle department but neither was trying to look like a body builder. While they recognized a few people none of the men attending were friends or even really acquaintances. Murphy recognized one man who he had briefly chatted with online. Ted recognized the same man as the guy, who a month ago, tried to lure away his date with the offer of a blowjob. The city was very small at times, thought Murphy.

"These are the Heather Bears," explained Ted, "if they were high school girls they'd all be pretty, rich, cheer leaders named Heather."

Ted didn't know why he received the invitation to the party, and while he was flattered by the evite he didn't want to go alone. This was mostly because Ted was shy, but there was a small part of him that had darker thoughts. It was an invitation from a stranger, it was a pre-party for a kick-off party for the leather street fair. And while the phrase "ass in a sling" wasn't entirely unappealing for either man, the thought of drinks full of Ruffies and a lost weekend chained up in someone's playroom did make them cautious.

The potential for intrigue made the party much more interesting than it was. While the evite promised a piss tough in the alley, what they found was a new metal wash tub with a yellow bandana tied around the handle, nestled in the garden behind some rose bushes. The tub was still dry by the time they found it, with no pissers or pissees in sight. The tub was of the same variety that Murphy's father filled with beer and ice for barbecues and that his mother used for bobbing for apples on Halloween. Their expectations did not match the reality of the party. They were sitting on the poarch of a very nice house with a bunch of upper middleclass gay men. Some of the guys were in there leather gear, but they weren't dyed in the wool leathermen and wore their chaps and harnesses the same way they wore a tux to the symphony. They were eating chips out of bowls and picking at supermarket deli platters. Deli platers, thought Murphy, what kind of self-respecting fag serves a deli platter.

Friday, September 8

his eyes weren't at all unsure

Well it wasn't as good as a sailor, a fireman or UPS driver, thought Murphy, but the homeland security guy at TF Green International was in a uniform. And he was definitely flirting.

"He wants to know how old I am and if I'm single," the man said half to Littlegirlcop and half to the woman he was working with. "You like Tony Bennett? I'll sing you a Tony Bennett song."

Littlegirlcop nodded, a bit baffled by the unexpected attention. "Out of the tree of life I just picked me a plum, You came along and everything started to hum," sang the man as he wiped down Murphy's bag with the swab for the explosives detection machine.

"Time passes quick, working with him," said his younger pretty partner while the man continued singing. Her lack of surpise told Murphy that he might not have been the first man to be serenaded at this security check point; still, Murphy was flattered.

"It's a real good bet the best is yet to come, The best is yet to come and, babe, won't it be fine?" While the words asked a question, the man's eyes weren't at all unsure, they weren't asking.

The machine spit out the white swab, beeped an all clear and the singing security guy pointed Littlegircop towards his gate. He was still singing as an amused Murphy walked on; smiling, stepping a bit lighter.

Tuesday, August 22

someone that looked like his wife

In his inbox that morning Littlegirlcop saw the name of his best friend from high school. It'd been a rough few weeks. Cancer took a friend. An old boyfriend was visiting. Emotions raged and conflicted, two rivers fought as they merged and settled. The thought that flashed through Murphy's head, well it was more of a wish really, was that his old pal Mikey Sullivan had turned queer, was leaving the wife, the volvo and the three lovely kids in the midwest, and was moving back to town for a new start.

"Dude, you don't need to be a shrink to figure that one out," said his cop buddy Marty, "Do you think he liked you back? Is he gay to? What'd he want?"

"He was just to catching up. We were best friends but, no. Not that I know of," said Murphy. "But if you looked up dyke in the dictionary there'd be a picture of someone that looked a lot like his wife. But I don't think she is either, she just looks the part."

"Murphy, you really need to get laid."

"Yeah, you don't need to be a shrink to figure that one out either," said Murphy. Littlegirlcop replayed the conversation in his head as he drank his beer at the bar. He replayed it as he walked from the bear bar to the leather bar. He replayed it as he drove home alone.

Wednesday, July 5

Gabe was a stoner, Don was a square

Littlegirlcop uploaded the shirtless photo to his profile on and couldn't help but think of his friend Gabe. Gabe took the photo of Murphy shirtless, in shorts, in the club locker room a couple years ago. Murphy was a bit uncomfortable getting his photo taken anyway, this discomfort was made worse by the fact it was taken in a lockeroom, a place usually off limits to photography, and that it was taken by a guy he didn't know very well. While the resulting photo wasn't particilary flattering, the combination of the down at the heals location, the black and white film, the general unruleyness of Murphys hair made Murphy look a bit rougher, and maybe a bit more interesting than he usually felt. And with time he realized it made the perfect photo for a chat profile page and other internet dating opportunities. With the many ways you can meet men online Murphy had more need for this photo than he had ever realized.

Littlegirlcop and Gabe had a lot in common. They both loved books and movies. Both men seemed to have a knack for achieving below potential, both were willful and mischievous, and both had full beards that were often in need of a trim. These beards were similar enough that on occasion they had been asked if they were father and son. The truth was Murphy was nothing like Gabe's son and Gabe was nothing like Murphy's father. While close enough in age, Gabe Rosen was antimatter to Don Murphy's matter. Gabe was a communist, Don a Republican; Gabe was a stoner, Don was a square. Gabe played hookey, baited christians and loved labor politics. Don Murphy worked hard, went to church and didn't have much use for unions. What the men shared was an underlying sense of decency. Both had wives named Liz, and both would be highly offended if ever called liberal. Besides these three facts it'd be harder for two men to be more different.

Littlegirlcop had been thinking a lot about Gabe lately and It wasn't just because of the abundant uses Murphy had been finding for his shirtless internet photo. It was becuase Gabe had told him he had stage four lung cancer. Until then Murphy had thought cancers only came in stages one, two or three. The cancer had moved beyond the lungs and to the brain. All the chemo and radiation, Gabe told him, would buy him more time, but not remission, Murphy questioned his lack of a strong reaction to the news. He felt like he'd have been a better friend if he had teared up some, but Murphy's emotions had been quite flat, and this troubled him. Littlegirlcop knew strong feeling would come in time, when Gabe was closer to being gone, or when he passed. Murphy knew he would always think about Gabe on Bloomsday or when he walked by the Bloody Thursday memorial in front of the longshoreman's union hall or whenever he got lucky with that shirtless internet photo. Murphy would think of Gabe a lot.

Sunday, June 25

you'll tell him of your interest in opera

Then Old Bobby said, " So Eva Gardner said, because that little wap is one hundred and twenty five pounds of solid dick." Littlegirlcop laughed, Irish Joe laughed, John and Jon laughed too. There were more people at the table but the others were caught up in their own conversations and didn't hear Old Bobby's story.

Old Bobby wasn't as old as he looked, but two pacemakers, a blown-out shoulder and years trying to quench his strong thirst put at least ten years on his sixty-three year old body. He said all pro athletes need either a manager or a wife, and he'd prefer a manager, but truth was he had neither. There were a handful of people from the club that watched out for him, but that wasn't a good substitute. In his youth he was quite an athlete. In fact some of his records still held. And on a wall of the restaurant where they ate, with photos of regulars, local heros and a few movie stars was a black and white photo of a younger Bobby with his record time written below it. The photo was from a time when races were measured in miles not kilometers.

It was Irish Joe that got Bobby talking about Sinatra, He'd asked him which wife was the mother of Nancy, Joe said he liked her singing too. Irish Joe didn't look like a Nancy Sinatra fan, thought Murphy, but sometimes it was hard to tell. It was also Irish Joe that managed to find a place in the conversation to mention that this was Pride Weekend. To this point, Littlegirlcop would've only figured Joe was proud on March seventeenth or when the Sox beat the Yankees. Murphy checked for a wedding band and didn't see one, though that never meant too much. Littlegirlcop was reminded of a phrase, "dropping their beads" in his nineteen seventy seven, pre AIDS copy of the Joy of Gay Sex, in a section about how to spot another gay man.

"In straight business or social situations, gay people are understandably slow to come out to one another. But they will "drop their beads" (as queens used to say) one by one, until the full necklace lays on the floor. He'll mention the ballet, you'll tell him of your interest in opera. He'll name the notorious or questionable resort he visited on his last vacation. You'll admit your love of Fire Island."

Littlegirlcop might have more in common with Irish Joe than he had thought. They both enjoyed Old Bobby's stories. Maybe they needed to start talking about Fire Island.