Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Copyright 2011

A reader replied privately saying he had a similar experience at 14. "Kevin" was taking a leak in a public washroom in his mid-size town when a man nearby surreptitiously let him see that he was hard. Like my turkey-vulture guy, Kevin's neighbour was not very desirable, but the experience left little Kevin wanting to come back for something better. And he did go back within a month. A grown-up man, not too attractive but not too bad, picked him up and sucked him off in the nearby woods.

I, on the other hand, was a little too unnerved by the man in the Chevrolet and the turkey-vulture guy trying to pick me up at La Fontaine Park, so the thought of returning there never entered my head. But when my sister's costume-designer friend mentioned Dominion Square, off I went at the first available opportunity, the summer I was 15. 

WHAT AM I DOING HERE? What if somebody sees me? They’ll know why I’m here for sure.
That’s paranoid, I guess, but still.
Sure is hot out. Some guys have no shirts on. Wow!
How’m I gonna find it, anyway? How’ll I know? My sister’s friend did say Dominion Square[1], didn’t he, when he told her that story? And he was talking about sex and men, wasn’t he? Hope I’m not wrong. After all, he is an adult. He oughtta know. And he is in the theatre—he’s even kinda effeminate, with that little scarf around his neck.
I can’t sit on this bench forever, though. But I’ve been dying to know where to find it for so long. I hope something happens soon—before I change my mind. I’m shaking, I’m so nervous.
would have to take the Côte-des-Neiges bus after school where Gary Friedman could see me waiting for it. And he would have to ask me where I was going. What do you care, I wanted to say, after he wouldn’t go to that movie with me. Maybe he’s not like me after all.
Aw, I’m fed up with guys my own age anyway. I can never figure out whether they’re like me or not. Besides, it’s too dangerous. I don’t want everybody to call me even more names.
’Sides—I like men! It’s okay to fool around with Bobby Harrison in his attic, but he’s got a boy’s body still—he doesn’t even shave yet. And then he’s always talking about girls—which ones are “stacked,” who he felt up—or fingered, and how he wants to see Jeanny Murray’s boobs. Ugh.
No, I wanna grownup man with hair on his chest and stubble on his face. Someone like Mr Couture across the street. Oh man, he turns me on. Especially when he wears that raccoon coat and smiles at me when nobody’s looking—and then he looks just a little longer than he should. I’d love it if he’d pick me up in his Camaro naked under that fur coat. I’d kiss his handsome face with that big moustache and two-day-old stubble, and then I’d crawl inside that fur coat to get at the dark, brown hair I see at the top of his shirt.
Or that construction worker I pass on the way to school every day, the one with the T-shirt that’s too short— Whenever I see that line of hair running up his stomach, it feels like the area just below my stomach is gonna explode! And he’s always staring at me too.
But all I ever do is jerk off thinking about that line of hair and Mr Couture’s stubble. What can I do about it? I could never go up to them— I could get into so much trouble!
Well, that’s why I’m here— To do something about it.
So how does this work, anyway? I can’t tell. Maybe that guy lying in the sun without his shirt on—he turns me on, but he hasn’t budged the whole time. Besides, he’s with a lady. And that guy with the hairy legs going by— He doesn’t even see me. There was that guy with the short black hair who walked past a couple of times and looked at me—he seemed okay and interested, but I haven’t seen him for a while. Oh, I wish everybody had to wear some kind of sign saying what they liked.
I gotta pee.
I guess I’ll go in that public washroom they got here. Let’s see, where is it— Oh, just there, near the horses. VESPASIENNES. I wonder what that means? It sure looks like a washroom.
Relics from underground 
washroom under Place 
d'Armes, similar to the 
one under Phillips Square, 
where little Johnny really 
went to pee.
It smells worse than the horses in here.
Nobody around. Guess I’ll use the urinal.
Ah, that feels good.
Oh-oh. Here comes somebody. Usually I can’t pee with somebody else there, but I’m already going, and I drank a lotta Coke and stuff.
Hey, what’s he doing? He’s just shaking his thing, like you do when you finish going. But he didn’t even go yet!
Well, I’m done. But that man’s still shaking his thing, flopping it. Wait—it’s getting bigger. Wow! Is he doing it on purpose? In a public washroom? Man, it’s getting even bigger. Oh no, he sees me looking, and now he’s looking at me. He’s turning a bit, like he wants to show me more of it. I better not look at him. Shit, now I’m getting a boner. What if somebody sees it? I better get outta here.
Whew— That was weird!
Guess I’ll walk around the square some more. I gotta find someone— I just gotta. Ooh, he looks nice, the guy with the black beard. Aw, he isn’t even looking at me.
What am I gonna do? Guess I’ll sit down.
That sure was weird, that guy in the washroom. Why’d he do that? It must have had something to do with sex. But if it did, why didn’t he just say something like that guy at the bus stop last year? He was creepy— I sure didn’t want to go home with him! And the guy in the washroom was kind of old and scrawny. But his thing kept getting bigger. I’m getting a boner again just thinking about it. Ouch. It’s pulling my pubic hair. I’ll just shift around a bit. Hope nobody notices it.
Huh? That guy’s smiling and talking to me. Oh no, it’s the guy from the washroom! I don’t understand what he’s saying. He speaks really joually[2]. “Pardon?”
“ ’ow are you?”
“Fine, thank you.”
“What are you doing ’ere?”
“Oh, I came to sit down for a bit.”
“You come from a long way?”
“No. Just the other side of the mountain.”
“Do you go to school?”
“Yes. I’m in grade eleven.” I don’t want him to know I’m only fifteen.
“You wan’ to come wit’ me? We’ll ’ave a good time!”
What does he mean, have a good time? What would we do? If he’s talking about what I think he’s talking about, this isn’t what I had in mind at all. I’ll just ignore him.
“Come on, we’ll ’ave fun. I live jus’ on de nex’ street. Come on!”
I don’t know. He doesn’t look mean or anything. And what if nobody else comes along? Besides, I have to get back for supper before six-thirty. And what about what he was doing at the urinals? I’m getting a boner again thinking about it I can’t help it. I never saw a grown man’s thing get hard before. It’s not my fault.
“Eh? What you t’ink?”
He’s smiling still. I think he really likes me. I wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings. And if I don’t go with him, maybe I won’t meet anybody else.
“Come jus’ for a minute.”
Well, maybe just for a minute, then. I might even have time to find someone really sexy afterward.
“Okay, just for a minute.”
Boy, I’m really shaking now. I’m really gonna do it, even if it’s not exactly what I had in mind. But I don’t have to tell anybody about this. Nobody’s gonna know except me.

I wonder what kind of place this is. It looks sort of like a hotel, and sort of like somebody’s house.
Why’s he talking to that lady? I’ll bet she knows why I’m here. Maybe I should go.
What a big staircase. Ugh, the carpet is really dirty and smelly.
Now he’s unlocking a door.
“Come in! Come in!”
Shit, what am I doing? I’m really shaking.
What a weird place. He’s got everything in here—a fridge, a little stove with two of those funny curly elements, a sink, a wardrobe and a bed. All in this room. This is where he lives? In just one room? It’s smelly, too. But the window’s open. Think I’ll sit on the windowsill. Shit, he’s closing the door. Ugh, even he smells.
“Would you lahk some Pepsi?”
“No thanks.” I want to get this over with.
“You are very pretty wit’ your blon’ ’air.”
I kinda like him touching me down there. Oh-oh— Here comes my boner.
“Oh, dat’s nahss.”
Oh, wow. He’s opening my fly and pulling out my thing!
“Ah. Dis is very nahss.”
He’s touching my boner— I feel like I’m gonna spurt soon. But I can’t let him think I’m a baby.
“This is my first time.” Shit, my voice cracked. I don’t believe it— He’s taking out his teeth! Now he’s putting my boner in his mouth. Gross! But it feels good— Oh wow—here it comes! Ugh, he’s swallowing it. I wanna get outta here. Look at him smiling without his teeth. Ger-ross!
“Would you like to do dat to me?”
Oh, super gross! “No, thank you.” I gotta get my thing back in my pants and go. Yuk. It’s all slimy now.
“Will you come to see me again?”
“Okay.” I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I sure don’t want to come back here!
“An’ take dis.”
A two-dollar bill? What’s that for? “Thank you. Bye.” Let me outta here!

This bus ride’s taking forever. Ugh, I can smell that man’s stink on me—I can’t wait to wash it off. It’s a good thing I took the Park Avenue bus—there’s nobody on it I know, and some of the people on it are pretty smelly themselves. I wouldn’t want anybody to smell that man’s stink on me. I wonder why he gave me two dollars. I guess ’cause I’m a kid, and adults give money to kids sometimes.

“I’m home!” Everybody’s out on the patio. Good.
“It’s about time. We’re eating in ten minutes!” I know she can’t see me with the sun on the screen.
“Hi, Dooby.” Stupid dog—stop sniffing me! I’ll sneak upstairs and into the shower before anybody might else can smell me.

Gotta scrub this stink off. The soap smells nice; it feels good to get all clean again. Aaah.
Funny. I’m washing off this old guy’s stink after he put my boner in his mouth, and here I am in this pink bathroom. Everything’s pink: the tub, the towels, the polka-dot shower curtain, the Dial soap. It’s all so prim and proper. Even the sky outside is pink from the sunset.
And in a minute I gotta go down and eat supper with the rest and act as though nothing happened. They’ll ask me what I did today, and I’ll talk about school. How could I tell anybody about what I did today, let alone my family? Everything will seem so normal. Except me, now. I did something really different today. Really different. I never get into trouble. I’ve always been such a good boy—I don’t even smoke. But look what I did today!
Feels good to step out, good to get rid of that stink! Wait. I can still smell something, though. Not stink— It smells like … something male, I guess— Grown-up man?
Well, that guy wasn’t perfect. I feel kinda sorry for him—living in that little room. He really seemed to like me. And he wasn’t mean. And I did it: I finally had sex with a grownup man. Next time I’ll do it with a really sexy guy, somebody like Mr Couture or the construction worker.
Even if that guy was gross, I’m not gonna regret this. Ever. And next time …

[1] Now Square-Dorchester
[2] Joual: the patois of French Canada

From "East of the Big Q," a collection of short stories about queer Montreal, by Raymond John Woolfrey. Copyright 2001-2011 "Vespasiennes" was read by the author at Zeke’s Gallery, July 28, 2005.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Garden of Wonders

Copyright 1995

Long before the Village Gai sprung up where it is today, one place where men picked up young hustlers – in addition to Dominion Square – was the parking lot at Parc La Fontaine, on Sherbrooke Street East. At 14, I had no idea. I only wanted to see the little zoo that used to be at the north end of the park, Le Jardin des Merveilles (The Garden of Wonders, in English). Here's how it went.

Le Jardin des Merveilles
“What’s Morgan’s, and why shouldn’t I go east of it?” asked Michael, impatiently. Michael moved to Montreal two years ago from Vancouver. He’s thirty-six, about six-foot-one, short dark-brown hair, and he usually wears a big earring. His hair and his body are wiry; his disposition wired. As a result of the latter, he’s pretty skinny, with a somewhat bony face, thick, dark eyebrows, and black eyes that dart around ceaselessly. We often go out to bars where we yack for hours. This evening we were in La Queue Dorée.
“Morgan’s used to be a department store. Now it’s The Bay — the one on Phillips Square,” I explained. “I didn’t mean you shouldn’t go east of it— I was quoting my mother. Lots of mothers said that to their kids.”
“Really? Why?”
“I never asked. I just lumped it in the same category as ‘never get into a stranger’s car.’ ”
“Wow. Like the East End was full of child molesters, or something. But when you were older, weren’t you curious?”
“Not until I was fourteen. I was a pretty obedient kid. Rather a priss, really. So I contented myself with exploring the West End and downtown. I didn’t know anybody in the east, anyway.”
“Did you find out why anglo boys shouldn’t go east of — what is it again — Morgan’s?”
“Well, sort of.”
“What happened?”
“I wanted to go to the zoo. I’d never been to one. My mother said she was too revolted by the animals always ‘getting sexy.’ And back then there was a children’s zoo in La Fontaine Park called the Garden of Wonders, or Le Jardin des Merveilles in French. I figured I’d better go before I got too old for a children’s zoo.
“So I went alone one Sunday afternoon in late June. After I’d been there for awhile, I saw my math teacher from the past year out with his family. I didn’t want him to see me—partly because I was embarrassed at being alone and partly because I was afraid he knew I used to peek down his shirt to see his chest hair when I went up to his desk.”
Michael laughed. “I had a teacher I used to do that to.”
“I figured I’d had enough of monkeys picking each others’ assholes anyway,” I continued, “so I headed for the bus stop. As it came into view, the 24 was just pulling away. I ran to the stop ahead to try to catch it, dodging a car that was creeping along the parking lot. Halfway there I realized I wouldn’t make it, so I walked back to the other stop, which was closer. On the way I became aware of the same car I had just dodged cruising back, moving alongside me, and at the same pace as my walking. I glanced inside and noticed the driver was looking over at me, sort of leering. Once I got to the bus stop, he stopped his car, and gestured with his head ever so slightly that I should come over to him. But the movement was so understated and, well, furtive, I wasn’t sure if I imagined it. So I pretended I didn’t see and looked up Sherbrooke Street for the bus.”
“Was this across from the library?” asked Michael, suspiciously.
“He thought you were a hustler! I heard that that parking lot and Dominion Square were the places where hustlers went before the village.”
“I had no idea! I didn’t even know the concept!” I said. “So, on the bus-stop sign, somebody had written ONCE EVERY over the number 24: I figured I might have a while to wait. From time to time I looked out the corner of my eye at the blue Chevrolet still parked nearby. I didn’t dare look at the driver. As time crawled on and the car didn’t budge, I was getting rather nervous. Was he a policeman? Had I done something wrong? Was it illegal for English-looking boys from the Town of Mount Royal to venture into the East End?”
“You should have listened to your mother!” Michael schticked.
“Yeah,” I said. “I wasn’t really worried at the time since there were other people waiting for the bus. But I did start wondering if I was getting paranoid when I thought a guy waiting at the bus stop was watching me too. He was kinda weird looking, with narrow shoulders and a face like a turkey vulture.”
Michael made a face: “Eeooh!”
“But after a while I realized I wasn’t paranoid. He was staring at me. So was the guy in the car. I didn’t know what was going on. Finally, the turkey-vulture guy spoke: ‘Do you want to come with me?’ he asked, in English.”
“Why in English?” asked Michael.
“You know. Everybody speaks to me in English, even before I open my mouth.”
“Yeah, you look pretty anglo—a real tête carrée.[1]
“So I looked at him. I wondered if he meant what I thought he meant. No, he’s just a little a bit weird and he wants a friend, I thought. Besides, I knew that if I left then I’d get home just in time for Bugs Bunny.”
“Yeah, after all, you were still a kid!”
“So being the polite little bourgeois boy that I was, I looked him straight in the eye and replied, ‘No thank you, but maybe the man in that car would like to,’ indicating the blue Chevrolet to my left.”
“You little snot! You knew the score, all right.”
“I guess so. It’s like I did and I didn’t, you know what I mean?”
“Yeah, I know— At that age … What happened next?”
“The bus came. I got on and I went to the back, like all teenagers do. As the bus pulled away, I saw the man at the bus stop through the rear window, and I felt a small pang of lost opportunity, I guess. I realized he was offering me something I’d been wanting so long for: sex with a grown man. Surely it would have been some kind of adventure, at least. But as the bus headed west, I looked at him again. He really was unattractive, being turkey-like and all. And I really did want to get home in time to see Bugs Bunny.”

[1] Literally “square head”: pejorative for English Canadian

From "East of the Big Q," a collection of short stories about queer Montreal, by Raymond John Woolfrey. Copyright 2001-2011 This story was first published under the name "Le Jardin des Merveilles" in Queer View Mirror (Vol. 1), Arsenal Pulp Press, Vancouver, 1995