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Trick

“I fucked your mother…  Fucked her for real,” said the ten year old boy standing next to me at baggage claim 5 of the San Francisco International Airport.
     “What?” I asked him.
     “Fucked her,” he said again and then winked.
     Take into account it was 5:46 AM Wednesday morning and I had just landed after a five and a half hour flight from Chicago O’Hare.  Also I didn’t know who this boy was.
     “Tore that bitch up!” his voice cracked at the end of it.
     Beating children is wrong.  Most of the time…
     His mother came over and grabbed him by his arm and dragged him away, berating him for talking to strangers.
     I spent the next twenty minutes in the cab imagining clever retorts with occasional flashes of stuffing the boy into a duffel bag and throwing him onto a flight headed to South America.  But then I felt bad about it and took a few Advils from my travel kit.
     Perhaps my head was already hurting from the lack of sleep or maybe because I’d spent the whole flight replaying the latest argument I had had with my parents, the night before, about Adam.
     Adam was my twin brother.  My identical twin brother actually.   He had announced three months ago during his traditional Christmas phone call home that he was a homosexual and intended to lead a life of voluptuous expression in San Francisco.
     My mother had begun weeping and stayed in bed for the next three days while my father drank room temperature Vodka from the bottle, sitting in his recliner chair, staring at the blinking lights of the plastic Christmas tree.
     On day four he stumbled over to the cordless phone and called me, uttering his first words to anyone in over a half a week.
     “Are you a faggot?” he asked me.
     “Who is this?” I asked.
     “Your fucking father…  Answer the question.”
     “No.”
     “Don’t lie to me.”
     “No, what the hell kind of question is that?”
     “Your fucking brother lied to me.”
     “What?”
     “God damn cocksucking liberal lesbian piano teaching nancy boy faggot… always was a bit sweet… walking like he’d took a warm shit in his pants…  fucking enjoying it…  brown play dough!  BROWN PLAYDOUGH!  It’s called CLAY you motherfucker!”
     “Dad?”
     “Who the fuck else would it be Alex?”
     “What is going on?”
     “MERRRRRRRYYYYY CHRISTMAS!!!  That’s right, your brother Adam is a certified cocksucker!  Fucking Mormons with their goddamned….”
     The phone went dead at that point.  Apparently in his drunken rage he had thrown it into the gas fireplace.
        Over the three months following Adam’s revelation, my father and my mother had had multiple emergency meetings at their church.  It was confusing to hear about it because the messages I received only got worse as time went on.  Never would my mother speak about Adam.  To her he was somewhere between dead and possessed by a demon.  My father only grew more enraged and guilty.  In one of the last messages I had received, he confided that Adam had obviously become infected with the disease of buggery because my father had never purchased him a Rhodesian Ridgeback, a South African lion hunting dog, for his sixteenth birthday.
     In addition to his guilt was the constant questioning of my sexuality.  So similar are our physical details and athletic talent that my father often confused us both, especially when we would play in the yard as kids.
     But where Adam excelled in music I fell short.  Learning after only many failed competitive attempts to best my brother in the audio world that my true talents were in the art world.
     What was most terrifying to my parents was the fact that Adam was, in my quiet opinion, their favorite.  Yes, I have been told, and by professional counselors in fact, that it is quite common for twins to feel this way.  But I still believe it.  Whenever an accomplishment was to be mentioned to strangers or friends it was always Adam’s first and mine second.
     Regardless, Adam had always been a good brother to me.  Caring, warm, considerate, encouraging, etc…  Why he had not confided in me about his homosexuality was probably most disturbing to me.
     It was time to mend the family.
     The Castro district was known as a flagrant homosexual paradise in the already loose city of San Francisco going back as far as the 60’s.  Adam had a recording studio and apartment above a flower store.  I had never been there but I had seen some pictures.
     I went around to the back of the building as he told me and walked up a flight of wooden steps.  Knocked on the door and was greeted by my mirror image, only in an apron.
     “Hey!” he said and moved forward hugging me.
     “How’s it going?”
     “Good, good I was just getting dinner ready.  Come in, come in.  Do you need any help carrying in your luggage?”
     “No, I got it man; don’t worry about it.”
     He held the door open and I brought my stuff in.
     “Hold on one sec, I need to get something out of the oven,” he said.
     But when he turned to go into the kitchen I couldn’t understand what I was looking at.
     He wasn’t wearing pants.  Or underwear.  He was naked from the waist down, his front being deceptively covered by the apron.
     Yet in between his ass cheeks was a half a lit cigar with a red ember, occasionally a puff of smoke coming from it.
     It just fucking baffled me.  I couldn’t say anything.  I turned my head to look away from the horror and saw a man in black leather clothing sitting on a white leather couch.  He was looking at me.  He had a mustache.
     “Do you want some pineapple ice cream for dessert?  Or Japanese plum ice cream?  I’ve got both,” Adam asked me.
     “I…  I don’t care…”
     “Japanese plum then.”
     I put my bags down and looked back at him.  He was bending over to get something out of the oven.  Another puff of smoke.
     I looked away.
     “What do you think of the place?  I just finished putting up the crown molding last night.”
     “It’s wonderful.”
     “So I talked to dad, and he’s just freaking out.  Belligerent drunk.  Mom won’t even pick up the phone.”
     “Yea I know.”  The leather man was still looking at me, unblinking.
     “You alright?”
     “Yes, no.”
     “Help me with this,” he handed me a platter of smoked salmon and lemon slices.
     He pointed to a dining room table and I walked over to it placing it in the middle.
     There was a creaking of leather on leather and a slow sigh from Leather Man.
     “Hi,” I said to him.
     He only nodded his head.
     “My name is Erik, what’s yours?”
     “His name is Trick,” Adam said.
     “Why do they call you Trick?”
     Leather Man adjusted himself.  “Because I taught him that,” he said.
     Another puff of smoke.
     “What the fuck?” I said.
     “What?” Adam asked.
     “You’re smoking, or fucking, or I don’t know what with…  Cigar.  You’re fucking smoking a cigar,”
     “So?”
     “It’s in your ASS!  Your FUCKING ASS!  What do you mean So?  Did homosexuality make you retarded?”
     “HEY!” Trick yelled at me.  “Come here.”
     “Fuck that.”
     “I told you to come over here.”
     “Fuck you.  Fuck that.  You are just, goddamn this is, I can’t believe this.”
     “Come over here.”
     “Creepy fucking Leather Man needs to shut the fuck up now.”
     “Going to teach you some new tricks.”
     “I will fucking kill you.”
     “Just like your brother.”
     “Do you wanna be buried in that fucking leather rape suit?  That can be accomplished.  Break your fucking skull in!”
     “Erick!  Please, calm down.  That’s just how Trick is.”
     “You lost your fucking mind!  What are you doing sticking up for him?  Is he your pimp or something?”
     Silence…  With a puff of smoke.
     “Jesus…” I said taking a step back.  “Is he selling your ass for cash?”
     “It’s not like that.”
     “How the fuck is it like?  What is this?”
     “I am opening up to the world.  Becoming a real man.”
     “What?”
     “The Greeks never looked down on what I am.”
     “Who gives a shit about the Greeks?”
     “After all they invented? And did I think it’s a valid point.”
     “There are only two things the Greeks invented.  Gyros and Sodomy.  So how the fuck is that a recommendation?”
     “Your logic is eluding me,” Adam said.
     I paced back and forth for a second.
     “Come here,” Trick said.
     “Stay away from me and my brother.”
     “You both look so pretty.  So sweet…  In the eyes,” Trick added.
     “Fuck this.  I’m getting a hotel.”
     I grabbed my bags and struggled to open the door with both hands full.
     “But it’s just a cigar,” Adam said.
     “Sometimes a cigar is not just a cigar…”
     “But what about the salmon?”
     “If you haven’t already, you can stick it up your fucking ass!”
     I got the door opened and slammed it behind me, dropping one of my bags down the flight of stairs.  I was in such a rage that I didn’t care.  I just kept kicking it down the steps in front of me until I was on the street.
     When I looked back up I saw him standing at a window looking at me.  I am not quite sure but I think I saw another puff of smoke rise from behind him.
     A skinny kid walked by and made eye contact.
     “Hey man, can I bum a smoke off you?” he asked.
     “Fuck you!”
     “What?”
     “And fuck the Greeks!”
     I began walking down the street.  This was my first visit to San Francisco.  The City of Brotherly Love.

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