The Pocket Piece
Donovan wanted to go to the sex club with me. I had a problem with that.
In my mind, there was nothing as tragic as two boyfriends cruising a sex club together. One of the two would be wishing he was there by himself, and the other would be wishing they were just both at home. Boyfriends are RARELY on the same page, sexually.
I had met Donovan about a year after I moved to San Francisco, while on a vacation back home in South Florida. It was Thanksgiving week, and several of my buddies and I drove down to South Beach from Fort Lauderdale to hit some of the White Party events.
That Saturday night, we hit a club called 'Salvation' (formerly a club called Diamante', although I remember when it was the location of the Miami Beach Sanitary Fish Market). We were pushing through one of the packed and steaming hot hallways connecting the different dancing areas, when I was spun around by a little guy grabbing my arm.
'Hey! You're from San Francisco!'
I smiled at the guy. He was boyishly cute, short, furry, olive-complected and had a goofy grin.
'No, sorry. You must be thinking of someone else, I'm from HERE,' I replied, shouting a bit to be heard over the music.
My friend Jim whirled around and smacked me on the back of my head.
'You dizzy mess! You ARE from San Francisco...NOW!'
Oops. I apologized to the guy, who was still holding onto my arm in order to keep the crowd from sweeping him away.
'No, don't worry,' he laughed. ' I'm Donovan...I live in LA., but I've seen you....around in San Francisco, I mean.'
By then, I was losing track of my friends in the hall, so I invited Donovan to follow me so we could get acquainted. Four hours later we were still fucking on the 14th floor balcony of my friend Ray's apartment, as the glorious South Beach morning light began to strike the highrises along Alton Road. We watched as the first stabs of sunlight marched across the island, each building suddenly bursting into brilliant golden light, like freshly struck matches.
Inside Ray's apartment, we could hear the boys come trooping in from Salvation. I made a vague promise to find Donovan on the beach later that day, although I knew that I probably wouldn't try. I escorted him out as he made a sheepish exit through the apartment, accompanied by a withering commentary from my friends, who rarely saw me hook up with anybody.
'Oh. My. God. Joe did a Take-Home Piece!', Jim said, once Donovan was gone.
'Shut up,' I retorted, brilliantly.
In our sick, silly circle of friends, we had created names for almost every kind of possible sexual hook-up. A 'piece', obviously, was a hot guy...a piece of meat. So we had Take-Home Piece, Car Piece, Tubs Piece, etc. If you did someone once, but didn't want to hit it again, he was an 'Ex-Piece'. Someone you were planning sex with was a 'Future Piece'. An 'Almost Piece' was someone who you NEARLY had sex with. There were innumerable permutations of the Piece System. Someone who you thought you wanted to have sex with, almost did, but were glad you didn't, was a 'Future Ex-Almost Piece.' And so on.
Donovan was a 'Pocket Piece'. Small and portable. My type, exactly.
About a week later, back home in San Francisco, I got an email from him. He was coming up from L.A. for a job interview and wanted to have dinner with me.
I surprised myself by saying yes. I really wasn't interested in dating anyone, I had only been in San Francisco for a year and was voraciously consuming all the city had to offer. But Donovan HAD been hot sex, that one time, albeit I was wasted and probably would have nailed anything within reach that night.
Donovan hung around after his interview, and we had a nice dinner in the Mission, then enjoyed a stroll around the Castro. It was one of those achingly beautiful San Francisco winter nights. The weather was warm enough to forego coats, but with just enough nip to make you scurry around a windy corner. I took him back to my rented Victorian on Hancock Street and we spent the rest of the weekend naked and screwing.
Monday morning, Donovan offered to drive me to work, on his way back to Los Angeles. As he drove, he talked excitedly of his various job prospects, most of which were in the Bay Area.
Pulling up to my office, he said 'So listen, I wanna do this again.'
My brain immediately began doing a file search. Ah, there it was: 'VaguelyPromise.exe.'
'OK, sure. We should sometime,' I said, with a bit of forced enthusiasm.
'How about next weekend, then?'
For once in my shameful dating life, I didn't have to invent a lie, and I felt SO relieved.
'Oh, I think I told you...I'm going to London for ten days with the guys you met in South Beach. We're leaving on Saturday morning.'
'Oh, I didn't think you were going so soon.'
'Yeah, it's next week and -'
Donovan cut me off, 'So, why don't I come up on Friday and help you pack?'
Friday morning Donovan was at my place in time for breakfast. He must have left L.A. in the middle of the night. He helped me shop for some last minute items. He waited in the barber shop while I got my vacation haircut. He even did my laundry in our basement, while I went to the gym for a last workout.
I was getting a bit unnerved by his relentless attention, so I began to soft-pedal any interest I might have in dating him. I even let him overhear me talk to the Miami boys about the filthy perverted dirty gay homosexual sex we'd be hunting for in London. He just sat on the bed and leafed through a magazine, without commenting.
That night, I told him that I was planning to stay up all night, so that I could sleep all the way to London. Of course, he offered to stay up with me. Before dawn, he drove me to SFO for my flight.
We made our good-byes in the 'Unloading Passengers' lane, as I skillfully convinced him that he probably couldn't see me off at the gate of an international flight. Donovan wished me a good trip, and I watched his big truck disappear into the morning fog.
London was a blast, of course. A drunken, silly, debauched, blurry blast.
About a week into our trip, I decided to call home and check my messages. The phone rang only once.
I was startled to hear my phone picked up.
'Oh, um I think I have the wrong number,' I said, thinking I'd fucked up the international dialing code or something.
'Is this Joe?'
'Uh...yeah. WHO IS THIS?'
'It's Donovan, of course.'
-to be continued'