Thursday, July 7, 2011
CASINO: a piece by Max Steele, extracted from SCORCHER
Max Steele's zine Scorcher, has just come out in its sixth incarnation, and this is my favourite story from it, reproduced with kind permission of Max at www.fagcity.blogspot.com
"It’s early summer and friend my Lola and I are going out. Lola’s sister Sophie is visiting from out of town. Suburban blonde soft femme lesbo softball player, and just 16. Lola and I are taking her to a queer glam dance party. We tease our curly hair and put on eye makeup, drink warm underage vodka with sweet diet cola and put on bright tight outfits. New in town our slutty little hearts beat hot wet and fast underneath neon spandex.
“Luck? Is that you?”
“Yeah, hi. Billy? What’s up?”
“Luck? Let’s be ladies tonight.”
Stomping through the West Village, pausing to smoke weed and check our reflections in store windows. Lola is a condescending, salty, sage and sarcastic older sister to Sophie. Rolling her eyes, calling her “kid” and secretly protective. I’m so jealous.
“But Lola,” Sophie whimpers, trailing behind us, “do you think they’ll let us in? I don’t have an ID or anything.”
“Sure.” Lola says. “You just have to… go in. Just show them that you know that you belong inside.” She nicks a breadstick from an outdoor table at a bistro, and chews on it like a cigar. Waiting for a stoplight, Lola absent-mindedly fingers her breast through her bodysuit. She catches me staring at her.
“What?” she asks, “I want my nipples to be hard when we get there.”
Outside the nightclub, Lola flirts with the girl at the door, a fat goth dyke in crusty pink pigtails, braces, acne and a spiked dog collar. “How many are you tonight, Lola?” she asks.
“Just three!” Lola bats her eyelashes and takes me and Sophie by the hand. We make Sophie go check our coats while we buy rum and cokes. We like the sugar and caffeine, it helps us dance. We each slam the first and sip the second, force little Sophie to do the same, and head to the dance floor.
We dance in circles, facing inward. Real furiously not caring if anyone sees us, Lola and I are just getting in touch with our own bodies, together, to the beat. Eventually I get distracted, through, the mirrored ceilings make me excited, nervous. I spy a bleach blonde boy in a tight black t-shirt dancing by himself, and I see he notices me too and we smile. I wanna go dance with him but I don’t want to be rude. Sophie whispers something to Lola, and puts her hand over her mouth like she’s gonna puke, and Lola rolls her eyes and leads Sophie outside, to the bathroom line I guess. I lean against the wall and stare at my shoes. I’m drunk all of a sudden, and out of breath. The boy is staring at me and smiling and still dancing by himself. When the song ends, he comes over to say hi.
“What’s your name?” he asks.
“Billy, what’s yours?” I say.
He says “Charlie.” and “Can I buy you a drink?”
We get more rum and cokes and are dancing together this trendy song about math called “Love Is A Number” it’s fake retro-sounding, synthetic and sick. I have a tummy ache. I think I might be hungry. Or else it’s anticipation. He’s sweating, but he smells like expensive deordorant. Something not human, but wet and exciting. He’s wearing a little bit of black eyeliner and has glitter in his hair and on his face. Fat pieces of gold foil. We’re dancing really close, pressing our pelvises together, I can feel his cock getting hard through his jeans, rubbing up against mine. He stares deep into my eyes and then looks down to where we join, where we’re rubbing up against each other, and then back up at my eyes and he smiles.
“You’re a really good dancer” he says. I’m so flattered.
Huge black radical drag queen MC steps onstage getting ready for the show, dancing to trendy house music and waiting for the DJ to turn on her microphone and turn the lights on. Lola appears on the dance floor and commands the Queen’s attention. They know each other and she invites Lola to come up onstage and dance with her. The lights on the stage come up on Lola and the MC.
(KIKI is a word for when two drag queens are attracted to or hook up or have sex or fall in love with each other. It is also a word for MAGICK.)
“Is that your friend?” Charlie asks.
“Yeah” I say. Lola and the Queen are doing the freak.
“She’s crazy.” Charlie says. Lola is humping the floor, making sexy faces. The crowd is egging her on and the Queen is spanking her as she humps the floor.
“Yeah, I know.” I say. I want Charlie to know that I am friends with the craziest girls. We’re wild, out tonight, looking for trouble. I’m just trying to impress him cause he’s cute.
Charlie runs his hand down my chest. Feels me up underneath my tanktop. He has rough fingertips. I inherited this tank top from my girlfriend Cotton when he stayed with me last summer. It’s falling apart, there’re holes in it, but he said it was lucky and he’s right. I’ve been wearing it every day and I’m gonna keep wearing it until it falls apart. Don’t take off my luck. Charlie asks me how old I am, and when I tell him he rolls his eyes and says “Figures. I always like the young ones.” I ask him how old he is, and he’s only a few years older than I am. Odds, stacked up.
It’s time for the show! The MC asks for volunteers, and brave drunk punk boys to come up on the stage, strip naked and have a dick-size contest. She judges their bodies and invites Lola to help her, introducing her as: “My fierce, cunty girlfriend Lulu!” Everybody on the dancefloor cheers. “Lulu’s LUCKY. She’s gonna help me pick a winner TONIGHT!” Everybody goes wild.
I’m super-focused on my new date. In it to win it. Chris is dressed like a rock star magazine ad, fake poor tight ripped cotton. Distressed. Man-handled. He’s such a poseur. I appreciate the posture, though, and take it personally. He hangs an arm around my neck and starts kissing my cheek, all sweet. “Do you wanna go somehere” he asks, “more private?”
We go upstairs to the lobby. Red plastic couches in low lighting near another. Charlie sits me down next to him and starts rubbing my hip bones. Across the room from us, in a slimy unlit corner, I see Lola’s little sister, Sophie. She’s making out with a man in a business suit. She’s straddling him and grinning. She’s in big trouble, she’s getting in trouble right now. Lola and me are in trouble too, for taking her here and letting her get drunk.
Like church, people go to a casino to confirm a hunch. The thing about going out, and gambling, is that you never know what is going to happen. You never know this, really, in life, ever. But you go to a casino to be reminded that the world of possibility is gigantic, that chance is infinite, you never know. It’s almost four a.m., Charlie asks me where I live and asks if I want to hail a take a taxi there right now. He’ll pay.
Lola stumbles downstairs, her curly pontytail coming half undone. She grabs Sophie by the wrist, out of the lap of the guy in the suit, and drags her to the door. I leap up to kiss her goodbye. Lola is wearing a green lycra bodysuit. “It split!” she says, “Onstage. Right at the crotch.” She bends over and shows me. I can see her dark curly pubic hairs. “Can you believe it?” She asks. “Everybody totally, like, saw my pussy or whatever.” She catches her breath, “Plus: Sophie was making out with a guy! We’re leaving, do you want to come?”
“No,” I say, gesturing behind me to Charlie. He’s sitting on the couch staring at me and biting his fingernails. Lola chuckles.
Charlie and I get into a cab, it’s getting late. He and I both feel excited, we’re in on an adventure, but the ride home is taking it feels like forever. We don’t even know each other. Being in transit is unlucky. Gambling is an indoor crime.
In bed Charlie and I strip, kissing hot fast and desperate like we’re dying. He’s wearing a bunch of ball-chain necklaces, and one blue rabbit’s foot, damp with sweat. He drops them in a pile at the foot of the bed and takes off my lucky tank top and his tongue is rolling around my mouth. I’m thinking about how high-rollers get pretty girls to blow on their dice. It’s a sweet ritual. I bite Charlie’s left nipple.
Charlie asks if I have a condom, and he unrolls it onto me and starts jerking me off, staring at me real hopeful, optimistic and I think superstitious. There’s a moment of calm, silence as I squeeze into him, but then suddenly we’re fucking really fast and hard, athletic, to prove something. Charlie says, smiling, straddling me “Whoa, you’re even better at this than you are at dancing.”
I blush. “Shut up” I say.
“Wait” Charlie says, “get behind me”. He gets turns around, sticking his ass in my face.
crouching on all four. Petit four in my face. “Do it,” he says “like this”. I start fucking him from behind, slowly at first, smooth like cards up your sleeve for the right moment. “like this…” Charlie’s voice trails off, in a groan.
“I want you,” he says “to really feel it”.
TWO POINTS HERE:
A) VYGOTSKY’S THEORY OF THOUGHT AND SPEECH: Words and their attendant meanings (THE LAW, WHICH IS LANGUAGE) do not exist apart from the physical acts thereof. Words have no meaning until we can conceive of saying them. Imagine how they sound coming out of your throat, being articulated by your pretty chipped little teeth and tongue. Then they are alive, animated and exist. Every thought word feeling is empirical, generated by the body. It’s where language comes from.
Thought is not merely expressed in words; it comes into existence through them.
B) Here is who wins at slot machines: only good people win slot machines. People who deserve it. Here is who else wins at slot machines: everybody, sometimes. Here is who loses at slot machines: only good people lose slot machines. People who deserve it. Here is who else loses at slot machines: everybody, sometimes.
To say it makes it real. Give it a name, like a casino, a dedicated space, in which to gamble. A casino is safe, actually, cuz at a casino you always lose, eventually. The house always wins. Gambling is what you do when you don’t care about what you’ve got. Besides, who ever got rich by gambling? The language of chance gives birth to chance.
Charlie and I are fucking even faster. He wants me to really feel it. And I want to know what it feels like to say that We’re fucking and in between kissing the small of his back I mouth the words “really feel it” silently behind him. He pulls me out of him and flips onto his back, we jerk off together and shoot onto his stomach, kissing furiously and breathing hard through our nostrils. We cum really hard happy and clear. Having narrowly escaped something and the thing which we have just avoided is losing. A result. I pass out next to Charlie having gotten lucky.
In the morning he wakes me up, to ask if he can use the shower. When he comes back, he puts on a pair of clean underwear, which I guess he’d had with him in a black backpack that I didn’t notice before. He was prepared, I guess, for any eventualities. Charlie apologizes for having to leave so early, but he has plans to go horseback riding, he says. At the racetrack."
You can order your very own copy of "Scorcher" from the Birdsong micro press, here http://www.birdsongmag.com/zines.php