Chapter Eight

The Blessing of The Multitude


A-dam was the turning point for my life. I know that now, I didn’t know it then, of course.

It was very cool, though it had its bad parts. It was cold and wet a lot of time, and I couldn’t make as much whoring, but enough, mostly to American tourists who liked boys.

I cleaned up my act so I could look sixteen again, wore clothes too big for me, got my hair cut so my head looked bigger, shaved real often though that wasn’t so important since I still couldn’t grow a beard, used eye drops to get rid of toker’s red. Worked on making my expressions real innocent. This German girl roommate helped me make my eyelashes look longer, you can use mascara, they even make clear mascara so it isn’t so obvious. She like me, I fucked her sometimes. I lost my tan and that helped, otherwise they thought maybe I was Spanish or Portuguese.

Then the demand soared, though you wouldn’t believe how many of them were disappointed I wasn’t Dutch. Black hair and eyes, and they wanted me to be Dutch.

I thought about dying my hair blond, and talking with an accent. And a lot of them wanted me to set them up with Dutch boys or do three ways with one. I guess it was a let down to come all that way and have to have sex with an American hustler, but it didn’t stop them. I met a couple Dutch boys who were into it once in a while, they didn’t trick for a living but they’d do if for some extra money. They were straight, both of them. When I needed them we made veel geld (lots of bucks, but they call them guilders) when we did a threeway for some guy. Most of the other guys whoring were from Europe but not Dutch. Italians and Greeks a lot, some more Spanish, Portuguese. One Irish kid, he had red hair and did pretty good. But mostly I stood out and the competition wasn’t too bad.

There’s always somebody who thinks a pretty, clean, American dick was the best.

The drugs and places to crash were everywhere. They called us street boys, straatbengel, but I never saw anybody there who had to live on the street really. You were supposed to have work permits and visas, and apartments were expensive if you wanted to be official and nice, but you didn’t really have to do any of that crap if you weren’t too picky. I mean, A-dam is the only place I know where a whore needs a work permit, but none of the boys had them, that was for the legal brothels, and I don’t think they had boys there. There were lots of squats, and big shared flats where the guys didn’t care about that if you came up with the rent. Those were mostly immigrant workers, not Dutch, some Turks and people from the poor European countries, they didn’t speak English much.

I lived with about eight guys in a two room flat for a while, it was cheap and sometimes I paid in trade, got a little money from one or another of my roommates. Most of them were straight but not too picky. Horny guys don’t care all that much if you’re putting out and they don’t have a girl, but a lot of them did, the sex was everywhere.

A-dam was a very fine place; this was kind of what I expected in San Francisco.

And Drugs!  Mostly it was pot, hash, killer hash, sometimes it was laced with opium, and the H was fine, easy to get, clean. The junkies there were a lot better off than anyplace else I’d ever seen. I think the government gave it to them for discount, or something.

I’m not a junkie, never have been, I chipped a little but never got really into that stuff, still it was nice once in a while.

You know the worst addiction I had is cigarettes. The Spanish stuff was like smoking cow turds. I always swiped packs from the Americans when I slept with them if they smoked. If I could get there I’d go to the NATO commissary using my dependent ID when they were real busy so they didn’t take time to check to see it had expired. I’d buy cartons of them there and sell them on the streets. I made like $2 a pack that way. Can’t do that in the states, dependents can’t buy cigarettes, but at sixteen in the Netherlands you can and commissary would sell them to me. I stopped trying though because I figured they’d catch me. Also I bought condoms there, they have them at the checkout stands on most bases, the NATO facility was the same. They were better and lots cheaper than what you got at the local places and some of the straatbengel liked to have them if they could get their tricks to use em. Depends though.

Personally, I preferred the closer contact and I love sperm, but I tried to do it that way too because after the hepatitis I was kind of trying not to get too much V. D. And I was worried I’d give it somebody until I met a trick who was a doctor and asked him, and said probably not if I was all better. But he didn’t take a chance, wouldn’t even kiss me  So I figured I shouldn’t take chances either.

They had a free clinic and I got syph in my throat and my ass once or twice. Most guys wanted to blow me or fuck me, and I preferred getting fucked, it paid better and I liked it better. Giving BJ’s was fine too and it paid pretty good. If you convinced a guy you were straight, say you won’t do it, sometimes they up the pay until you give in.

Anyhow, you just go into these coffeehouses and drink this incredible coffee, so strong it wired you so much you needed some hash just to keep from shaking. And they sold hash right there, and you could smoke it there legally. And somebody was always buying, I didn’t even have to put out for it most of the time. Once in a while I bought, not often.

It was warm and steamy and friendly and quiet, you could overlook the gloomy streets and you didn’t have to feel lonely. You could sit and read a book. The tables were all old, polished oak planks, and some shops were dark and some were bright and coppery and gleamed and that felt fuckin’ fine to sit there and get wrapped in those places, my head all off on a trip of its own from the hash and the coffee, and the smells.


One time I hooked up with this kid, he was about nineteen, he was a student there, he was Dutch, and he just thought I’d be his lover, he fuckin’ fell in love with me, so he fed me and gave me money for about two weeks. I don’t feel guilty about it, I told him right from the start he was wasting his time, but he did it anyway. I gave him a lot of freebies, I shouldn’t of done it because it just encouraged him. The sex wasn’t good he was always wanting me to dick him, and he just laid there. I sthere anything more pathetic than two bottoms in bed together?  And he didn’t have much meat on his bones. Not too bad in his pants but nothing to write home about. Still, I made sure he got what he paid for. But he finally got the message.

But when I was with him, I got to find some places where I could do some drawing or sculpture again, I couldn’t do it much, couldn’t afford the supplies and to pay for space and you can’t drag much stuff with you when you are moving around a lot. I changed places about once every other month. But it was fun and kinda reminded me of Twentynine Palms and Paul. I missed him some. I got a teddy bear at a flea market once, a beat up all ragged piece of shit, just because it reminded me of sleeping with Paul.

Anyway, like I was saying, A-dam changed things for me.


His birthday came and went. It was a teary day for me, he was eighteen, and I had no idea if he was alive or dead. At that point I really went into a spiral down for a while, and the Colonel was not much help, I suspected for the same reasons.

Months went by and we got a little letter from Will postmarked from Belgium, saying he had been in Spain a while, and got tired of it, not to worry he was in good health.

I wanted so much to believe that.

Then more months, and suddenly a call from Paul with an address. In Amsterdam.

I made a reservation immediately. The Colonel couldn’t go, couldn’t get away, but I think in fact he was afraid of what we’d find if we looked for him. So I went alone.

I could not find him, but it was still reassuring in some ways. I saw the place he had lived, I saw Amsterdam, I decided it was safer than Los Angeles had been for him. Maybe I was rationalizing.

He was clearly not hanging out in the better areas, I didn’t like the look of the neighborhood and was concerned about the drug scene in Amsterdam, very concerned. But I didn’t think it was the kind of place where you might end up with a knife in your back and be dumped in the canal.

It might not be ideal, but in sum I didn’t think I could hope for all that much better.

And like much of Europe, Amsterdam was very accepting of the kind of interests Will had, I felt he was less likely to run into trouble on that account.

The Colonel didn’t resent my going, but didn’t want to hear my report either. That made me think it was so definitely painful for him.

About a month later he told me he had a trip planned, and as his work often is classified he didn’t say where, but I noticed when the bills came that he had charged a hotel room in Amsterdam.


I was doing this, it was easy, but it’s not like I am a lazy person.

I mean, I whored because it was fun and paid pretty good other places, and I needed to do it to survive, and of course I liked dick. But if I could have made a living some other way, I’d have done that and just done guys to get the sex I wanted. I never wanted a lot of stuff, just a place to sleep and a dick up my ass, some clean clothes, food, and good drugs. And sometimes a good book, but that was harder to get since I couldn’t read Dutch too well. I liked to read a lot, Paul gave me that, I spent money on books.

So one of my roommates told me you could get jobs in Amsterdam if you wanted to make some extra money. A lot of them were students, and they got work visas so they could get work permits to work part time, but I didn’t have much interest in school. Still, you didn’t need a work permit for a lot of jobs. If you were undocumented, they didn’t care, you couldn’t get real jobs, like being a teacher or some shit, but you could work in a restaurant or coffee house, they were always looking for people. They paid cash, no benefits or shit.

That was what a lot of those Turks and all were doing. And for me it was even easier. First of all, most everybody there speaks English, so you don’t need to know much Dutch, and I’d picked up a little I’m good with languages. But people liked to speak English so they could get practice.

I did that some, it worked out pretty good; I like working. It also meant I had less time to party and all, be lonely, and I sort of thought that might be a good thing for me. So I started to work in this Chinese restaurant (yeah, that’s funny, right! Chinese restaurants in Amsterdam with American busboys!) and after a while somebody there turned me on to a job in a little grocery.

It was a family business, the owner’s son had gone off to University and he needed some help a few hours a day, it didn’t pay much but with a little whoring on the side I was doing fine. I liked working there, they were nice people and treated me real good. It was warm, crowded place, it smelled great from all the food and fresh baked goods; and they usually gave me lunch or a hot meal for dinner. Sometimes they’d have me stay after closing and take me upstairs and feed me at their dinner table. The deKuyks they were called, I told my friends they were “a bunch of dykes” or said I worked at “The Dykes” but that was just a joke. Mrs. deKuyk liked me a lot, she was roly-poly herself,  I think she wanted to fatten me up and did. It was a good place to work even if the pay was shit.

I didn’t tell them a lot about me, just my folks were military in Europe and I was just checking things out a little before I decided to go off to college. Well, it might have been true.

So I had been working there a while and I turned nineteen I’d been in A-dam more than a year, and then I met Matteus. That’s Dutch for Matthew, or Matthias, same thing, but I will always think of him as Matteus, it’s not the same if I translate it. After a while I called him Mats for short. It’s not “mats”, like a wrestling mat, they say it more like “mop” so its like “motty-oos” and “mots”. Funny way to talk but that’s Dutch.

Anyhow, he came into the store one afternoon shopping and I took one look and WHAM! Something happened inside, I got hard just looking at him.

Dunno why, really, he was not the sort of thing that I usually got all hot for.

Most of the tourists who wanted me were much more my type. I mean, given a choice between a guy who is thirty-eight and a little paunchy but hairy, and a guy who is nineteen and smooth and tight, I’m probably for thirty-eight to be honest. Well, thirty-two anyway. Paul would say I was fucked up about that, but it worked for me.

But Matteus was my age, and he was good looking but not what most guys thought of as incredibly hot. But suddenly I did think he was, I looked into those blue eyes and just WHAM! His hair was long, blonde-brown, he was not a little bit chubby like Dutch boys usually are in the winter, he was quite slender, had very pale skin.

When I came to my senses, about a day later, I realized he had the finest bones in his hands, they were slender and delicate, and that I had really flashed on them. Long fingers, like a diamond cutter I met, one of the few Dutch tricks I got.

And he knew it too, he looked at me, did a double take, and laughed. I figured he was straight and I’d been too obvious. So I went into the back room and stacked some cans up so I wouldn’t have to look at him, but I kept peeking out into the store to see if he was still there. And then he left, but he seemed to be looking over his shoulder back at the store and I sort of hoped he was.

He came in again the next day and just loitered around looking at stock and I knew then.

I asked him if I could help him, I used my best Dutch to do it. I figured that would make it perfectly clear to him that I was an American, because my Dutch was pretty bad. Well not so bad, but pretty obvious and not so good. He laughed and told me stick to English.

Mr. deKuyk was watching this and for one thing, I didn’t serve customers, I did stock and cleanup and almost never did anything direct with customers. I figured he had figured me out a long time ago, but the Dutch didn’t get too uptight about homos, and he thought this was amusing.

He finally said to me “Villem,” – that’s what he called me he couldn’t quite say William and they didn’t use Will because “Vill” sounded funny even to them –  “Take your friend out for coffee after your work is done, don’t waste my time.”  But I could tell he wasn’t mad.

So we made a date.


It was 1978. He had been gone a year and a half, and I decided it was time to make some changes in my life. I was in this apartment in Twentynine Palms and it wasn’t where I wanted to be, and even though I wanted to be where Will could find me, I couldn’t let that run my life.

And I decided I was pretty tired of my job anyway. I considered looking for a transfer to another military facility, but decided to change altogether, and after a lot of soul searching, I decided to look for work in Chicago, and stayed with my parents for quite a while.

About three months after I moved, I got a postcard, forwarded from California, from Will. He was in Amsterdam and included a return address.

All it said was “Miss you sometimes. Love, Will.”

I called Eleanor, and she was surprised to hear it, they had received one letter, a single page, with not much information, postmarked from Brussels. I gave her the address, then wrote to him immediately, telling him I’d moved, asking him to call me or his mother some time.

It was good to know he was alive.


Matteus was early, he was waiting impatiently for me when I got to our date. We sat and had coffee but he asked all the questions, I was sitting there staring into those blue eyes, trying to get inside and to get inside his head so I could fuck his eyeballs out with my stare.

He smelled so good. I was hard as a rock every minute, couldn’t even think while we talked about anything but pulling him on top of me, wrapping my legs around him, having him fuck my brains out.

It was his hands and his eyes, they were the only things I saw when I looked at him, and I never saw eyes like that before. When I was looking into them I could not think of anything but sex and . . . I fell in love with him, the first time since Paul I’d been in love. Just looking in his eyes.

But he wanted to talk, and I told him whatever he wanted to know. Anything.

And a funny thing happened, two funny things, maybe three.

One thing that happened was I heard the story myself.

I mean, I know the story, I’ve told it a few times, to Paul, to Jesse, to some others. One guy PAID me to tell him this shit, he was a sick fuck, but it was easy money and he got off on it. I made it sexier for him.

But it was so different this time, I told the story and for the first time I can think of I heard it myself.

It was so sick and sad and pathetic! 

I thought, Fuck, you idiot shut up you’ll scare him away. And I thought Why I am I saying this? Now? I thought, What the fuck have you been doing with your life? 


And inside me a scream was welling up and I was afraid I’d let it out.

And his eyes did get big and round. But he just kept asking questions and listening, and I could see tears rolling down his cheeks. That was the second thing.

The third thing was he suddenly said, “It’s not a good time to talk about me. We must to take care of you first.”

He did. We went to my place, it was a crummy little hole, but I kept it clean. Neither of my roommates was around, they were just students passing through who flopped for a month or two and helped with the huurprijs, the rent, we were paying almost nothing, almost squatting anyway.


And he held me and his touch was electric and I felt his burning heat, his slim, slim body pressed up against me and the power from him came flushing through me, washing me clean, washing all my sins away, baptizing me in our mingled semen, making me feel right for the first time in such a long time, in since forever, in since never.




Eleanor said she had gone to Amsterdam to look for him, but had no luck. He was not at the address I’d given, it was some small apartment building with a lot of very transient kids hanging around, a few of whom seemed to recall Will, but none knew where he was. After a few days she gave up and went back to Spain.

I had a new job with Motorola, and finally a lover, one of my brother Danny’s friends had become a matchmaker, brought Brandt to Danny to check out for me one day and Danny called and said “You need to meet this guy, Paul.”

I can’t say it was love at first sight. But we had a good time, met again and in time it became clear to me that this was the match for me. He was a lawyer, brainy and I thought rather good looking in his peculiar way. Older than me, about thirty-nine.

He is a little exotic looking, he had long red hair, naturally very curly, and a scraggly beard. He is six foot seven inches tall, and thin as a rail. Phi Beta Kappa. In fact, he is one of the smartest people I’ve ever known; and he managed to keep alive much of the child in him; sometimes he was annoyingly spontaneous. I thought that quality would suit Will if they ever met.

And spontaneous, that’s something I really lack, I like a world that is orderly, sane, rational. Brandt liked those things but he didn’t need them as much as I did. And I needed someone like that, someone who could be spontaneous and irrational. I’m not sure why a spontaneous, irrational lawyer would be successful, but he was, very.

We moved in together after about six months; had a nice apartment in the city and I endured a commute to the suburbs.

I told him all about Will, in time. He was fascinated by the story.

One day he said “Why don’t we go to Amsterdam this summer and see if we can find him?” 

I thought that was a little crazy, but we wanted a vacation anyway and I’d never been to Amsterdam. On the other hand, I told him we’d see Paris first, and not obsess, this was a vacation, and we’d consider looking for the boy a side trip.

The summer of 1978 was beautiful weather, we made our plans, and another postcard arrived, this time directed to my parents’ home.

So it seemed it was to be pretty easy to find him, after all. I told Eleanor she might as well let me check things out instead of going there, he hadn’t sent his new address to her. Remembering how I had seen him that last time, I figured it would be better for me to see him than her.

All he had said was “I am in love. Miss you. Write. Will.” 

God knows who – or what – he was in love with, but it sounded better than a lot of the things I could hear.

We determined to enjoy our time in Paris and it was wonderful. If you’ve never been, it is really the place to start a visit to Europe. Yes, all the bad things you’ve heard are probably true, but the people are friendly if you try to speak a little French, the food is glorious, the museums beyond description.

I sat at the Rodin museum and looked at The Thinker, in the garden, for two solid hours, while Brandt patiently waited.

Mostly I was thinking about Will, this perplexing creature to whom I was tied. For tied I was, I had never escaped the bonds of karma, even when he was gone and I absolved myself of responsibility. Even after two years apart, I knew I would never rest until his story was done. I just hoped the ending would be happy.

But I didn’t have a lot of illusions.


He left, said he’d look for me in the shop in a few days.

He’d opened up some gate inside me. It wasn’t because he left, but I cried for hours. Every now and then, I’d start again, deep wrenching, wracking sobs, almost screaming until I was exhausted, and then I’d start again, until I shot up just so I could sleep. Get away from the pain.

That night I had a dream about the time Greg raped me in his van.


I was in kind of a daze after that, not drugs, I didn’t shoot again, I was just broken inside, not bad broken, but I needed to heal up after whatever had happened.

Two days later Matteus came by work and I thought I’d die just having to keep my hands off of him. I looked in his eyes and was lost immediately, couldn’t even understand what he was saying to me most of the time. But we met, again after work, again in a coffee house, and went again to my place; and when we were done I fell into a deep sleep and he was gone when I woke.

I thought this was crazy, but it was so wonderful, when I was around him, I just felt like powerless, I couldn’t even think. We met every couple days, but I didn’t know anything about him. If I could pull my head out of my ass for a few minutes, I’d ask; he’d just say “not yet, not now, you need something else now.” 

He was right, he was so aware of me, I could say anything, or nothing, to him and he understood. He’d ask me again and again about my life. We’d lay on my little mattress in the dark while he did magic tricks with my insides.

It felt like he grabbed little ends of my story that were sticking out, and pull on them, pulling them like those long long handkerchiefs magicians use; dragging endless long streamers of shit and pain and fear and horror out, my life story in detail, bringing it all out. Turning me inside out. Until I was covered with this shit.

And then he would wash it all away with a touch of his lips against my nipple, a stroke of my ribs. He traced the scar on my arm so very gently with his fingertips, his warm sweet breath on the back of my neck. Shivers ripped through me every time he touched me. Then he’d gather up the pieces of my soul he’d pulled out and stick them back where they belonged.

Then he would disappear again.

I was having more dreams, nightmares. I would dream that Matteus was tied up like Gary did me, and I was raping him. I would dream Greg  had Mats in the van, and was beating him. I was Kent or George sometimes. I couldn’t sleep much.

After three weeks of this emotional crap, I finally began to shoot up before I met him, just so I could calm down and focus; or I smoked some hash with him in the coffeehouse. He seemed very nervous about doing that, strange because everybody did it. He wouldn’t do much, said I should not do so much either, and I tried.


Finally, I just made him tell me about himself, I knew nothing about him at all.

He was a conservatory student, going to be a concert pianist, lived with his parents. He said he didn’t think it was “feasible” for us to meet “just yet.”  I had to pull it out of him, but he said that he hadn’t a lot of sexual experience, just one or two guys in the past six months. But it was really hard to get anything out of him.

He was hiding something from me, but I didn’t care. I had finally found someone who made me feel safe. Made me real.

I sent Paul a postcard, Mats told me Paul sounded like someone to keep in touch with. I told Paul I was in love.



Matteus showed me things I had never seen before, some of which were not in our bed. Showed me the city through Dutch eyes

He refused again and again to show me his home, his school, anything of his personal life. “Not now, it’s not the right time.”

One day, I got suddenly real suspicious.

“What are you hiding from me?”

He looked at me quickly then answered without hesitation.

“Yes, something, you are right.”  He pierced me with those eyes. “But it’s not a bad thing, just something I can’t tell just yet.”

“I’ve told you everything about me, can’t you tell me what this is?”

Right there, out on the street, a busy summer day, he kissed me on the lips and a shiver ran up my spine. I saw some shocked looks out the corners of my eyes. Dutch people don’t kiss in public.

“No, not yet, I am sorry, you must trust me.”

So I did.

I was always trusting people, sometimes good people like Paul, sometimes bad ones like Gary. I think it was one of my problems, I never knew who not to trust. Well, I had learned some of the bad ones, that guy who raped me taught me some of that, to be more wary, but come down to it I trusted people.

Paul had said it was an attractive but dangerous habit. “Trust is fine,” he told me. “Trust demands judgment, though.”

When we were apart I ached for Matteus, and sometimes I’d think of Paul too, I’d get the two of them all confused, I’d want to crawl into Paul’s big warm safe bed sometimes. Have Mats fuck me there. I thought I should call Paul some time, but overseas calls are very expensive and I didn’t have his phone number anyway. I wished I could talk to him, to get him to tell me if I should trust Matteus, but then I figured it didn’t make any difference.

Mats might screw me royally, might turn out to be an asshole, but I didn’t have any choice, I was going to trust him, I had to. If he betrayed me, I’d probably kill myself. But given the choice of not trusting him or dying, I was going to trust him.

I had never needed anyone so badly.

He was better than a thousand dicks.