A Night In Denver:
Those locks on his door struck the first odd note. I felt some qualms about walking into a room so tightly bolted. He opened the door. Again, he stood aside and let me enter first. Three rooms; bathroom, living room/dining room, kitchenette. To my burnt-out eyes it looked pretty luxurious. Only one window. A tiny windowlet in his kitchenette. A couple of very wicked-looking hunting knives, one in a leather sheath hanging from a book case made from a wooden crate. The other one was in the kitchen, lying on the counter next to the sink.
"Make yourself comfortable," he said.
I sat on the couch and stretched my body. It was good to get off my feet.
He offered to stamp my postcards and take them down to the mail box. Seemed like a lot of trouble, but he insisted. I gave him the postcards, and he left me alone for twenty minutes, bolting the outside locks on the door as he left. I sat on the couch trying to feel the warmth of the room and to relax. But an anxiety took me over - an irrational, but palpable sensation that I was being watched. An inner voice spoke loud to me, never more clearly, "Something's wrong. Get out. Now. While he's gone. Don't wait for him to get back. Just get out of here."
I could give myself no substantial reason for this sudden anxiety. Nothing too strange. I hadn't been there for more than five minutes - but that tiny voice spoke so loudly, never more certainly, "Get out of here. Now."
I argued with myself. "I can't get out the door."
"Go out the window, then. Just get out."
"What happens when I'm half out the window and he walks in through the door? How do I explain that?"
But I didn't. Somehow making the effort to leave - to flee - seemed even more dangerous than staying. If I ignored the anxiety, perhaps it would not become real. But if I acted on the anxiety, perhaps it would.
At last the question was decided for me. I heard the locks clacking once again, and my friend returned. I thanked him for his trouble, but he was curiously remote.
"Why don't you take your boots off?"
"I'd like to, but I haven't taken these off in days. I'd stink you out."
"Don't worry about it. You want to take a shower?"
"I'm fine. I might wash my feet off in the sink, if that's all right?"
Off I went into the bathroom where I took my boots off. I took note of the gay porn on lying on the tank of the toilet. Washed my feet in the sink, ran some water under my armpits, splashed my face - then back out into the living room.
"So, I guess you saw my shit, huh?"
"hmmm?" I replied, non-committally.
"You know, my stuff."
I gave him a look, blank, uncomprehending.
"Well, you know now. I'm gay."
"Oh, you mean the magazine."
"Yeah. Well, I used to be gay, but not now. I gave it up. I'm non-sexual."
"Don't worry about it. Me, I like girls. But sex is sex and you do it the way you like."
"No, I mean it," he insisted. I'm not into it anymore. I'm totally non-sexual. I hate sex."
He kept on talking. A perfect motormouth. Told me he had done coke and speed a few hours before, and he was still flying. He began a long series of increasingly grotesque stories, sparing me no salacious details.
Driving at night he hit a dog - heard a yelp and a scream. He stopped the car and found the dog wounded, but not killed. He finished the dog off with a hammer. Said it got him hot. He couldn't believe how hot he was. Said he masturbated in the car, "I thought I'd never stop coming," he said. "Do you think that's weird?"
My stomach was making queasy motions, but I had already heard a lot of very wild tales in my months hitch-hiking, and I decided this guy was just trying to scare me. I played it cool.
"Nah. I've heard of that. Death is a rush for a lot of people."
"No, you're just saying... you think that's weird, don't you? You can tell the truth."
"Nah, it was just a thing, I guess," stretching and yawning, "God knows what people do, you know?"
"Oh, you must be getting sleepy. Go on to sleep. You have to find a job in the morning."
"Sa'write," I said.
"No. Really. You go on to sleep. In the morning I'll fix you some pancakes."
"Would you like that?"
"Then why don't you say so?"
"I offer to do something nice for you, you can show some appreciation."
"Oh, no, man. I appreciate it. I'm sorry. Just really beat. Tired."
"Oh, yeah. That's right. You go on to sleep."
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A Night In Denver ęGreg Bryant 1998 All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction of this material is prohibited. Unless authorization is given via Knighmayor Productions.