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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
It was so sick and sad
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“What are you hiding from
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
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
I had never needed anyone
He was better than a