I met up with my favorites last night!  I haven’t seen them since she was pregnant in the hospital with twin boys, one of which I’m the Godfather to. They harp on me for that and I understand. They’re staying with Rosie, which normally they stay with me but thought my apartment wasn’t baby proof enough (“I will not have my babies fall out of a screenless window while Uncle Jim enjoys a quick cig” Adele said). It was their anniversary last night, so Auntie Rosie babysat the twins (when I called to see how it was going, she had to cut the conversation short because she had two screaming babies on her hands…which I don’t know how I’d handle…probably with a little Makers on the nipple) as they went out to eat. I can’t believe it’s been six years since I was an honorary bridesmaid at their wedding and ended up peeing down my pant leg at the karaoke bar afterwards. Wow, time flies!
     I had a quick second in between jobs so I crashed their dinner, which was at one of their favorite spots in L.A. I offered to sit on the outside of them (the lighting was easier on my hairline) but they insisted that I sat in the middle. Just another gay crashing the party. I had a blast! We talked about everything: babies, boys, bills.
    “At the new restaurant, I don’t tell anyone about me,” I said as I took another bite of the delicious meatball. The food was really good. “I keep to myself.”
    “You’re mysterious,” Adele said. “Like this is just a moonlighting gig. You’re a bartender by day then moonlight as a server by night.”
    I broke into laughter because it’s so true! Today I finally saw the benefit of working two jobs, seven days a week, when I deposited money into my account and noticed that it was higher than it normally is at this time of the month. It made me think that maybe I’ll be able to accomplish a goal of mine: pay off that pesky credit card bill with the 22% interest rate.
     I finally get to meet and hang out with my godson, and the other one, later this weekend! After I get off work, of course. 

    I met up with my favorites last night!  I haven’t seen them since she was pregnant in the hospital with twin boys, one of which I’m the Godfather to. They harp on me for that and I understand. They’re staying with Rosie, which normally they stay with me but thought my apartment wasn’t baby proof enough (“I will not have my babies fall out of a screenless window while Uncle Jim enjoys a quick cig” Adele said). It was their anniversary last night, so Auntie Rosie babysat the twins (when I called to see how it was going, she had to cut the conversation short because she had two screaming babies on her hands…which I don’t know how I’d handle…probably with a little Makers on the nipple) as they went out to eat. I can’t believe it’s been six years since I was an honorary bridesmaid at their wedding and ended up peeing down my pant leg at the karaoke bar afterwards. Wow, time flies!

     I had a quick second in between jobs so I crashed their dinner, which was at one of their favorite spots in L.A. I offered to sit on the outside of them (the lighting was easier on my hairline) but they insisted that I sat in the middle. Just another gay crashing the party. I had a blast! We talked about everything: babies, boys, bills.

    “At the new restaurant, I don’t tell anyone about me,” I said as I took another bite of the delicious meatball. The food was really good. “I keep to myself.”

    “You’re mysterious,” Adele said. “Like this is just a moonlighting gig. You’re a bartender by day then moonlight as a server by night.”

    I broke into laughter because it’s so true! Today I finally saw the benefit of working two jobs, seven days a week, when I deposited money into my account and noticed that it was higher than it normally is at this time of the month. It made me think that maybe I’ll be able to accomplish a goal of mine: pay off that pesky credit card bill with the 22% interest rate.

     I finally get to meet and hang out with my godson, and the other one, later this weekend! After I get off work, of course. 


     I was sunning in the park when I got a call from Mom. She wanted to fill me in on the latest with Uncle Stan. Last month he went to see a doctor about a pesky cough that he’s had since December. His regular doctor was on vacation so the temporary one took some X-rays and found a mass in his right lung. It turns out he has cancer. Stage four. 
    He and I talked two weeks ago when I first found out. We never talk on the phone so he knew why I was calling. At first we kept the conversation light, bullshitting about boys and superficial things, before getting into the real stuff.
    ”I had just finished test driving a car when the doctor called and gave me the news,” he said. “I turned to the salesman and said, ‘That was my doctor and he said I have cancer.’ The guy looked petrified. He just stared out the window. I probably shouldn’t have told him but it just came out. I ended up buying the car.”
     At the end of our conversation I told him that I loved him. I don’t think I’ve ever told him that and it makes me sad that it takes something like cancer for me to say it. He was quiet for a minute then said, “Thank you.”
     He’s the second gay in the family to be diagnosed with cancer. It took my sister’s life way too early, and soon it’ll take his. Cancer runs in our family, but it seems to be hitting the gays the fastest. I think it has something to do with stress. The self-loathing, doubt, loneliness, shame, and guilt that we carry all our lives really takes its toll and wares us down, making it harder to fight the beast. I think this as I lay in the sun, feeling my moles sizzle, imagining their cancerous roots tangling around my heart. How I’ll soon be the last gay standing in our family, but for how long? I say fuck it, stop worrying, then lay back down. I immediately sit back up, put on my shirt, and walk home.

     I was sunning in the park when I got a call from Mom. She wanted to fill me in on the latest with Uncle Stan. Last month he went to see a doctor about a pesky cough that he’s had since December. His regular doctor was on vacation so the temporary one took some X-rays and found a mass in his right lung. It turns out he has cancer. Stage four. 

    He and I talked two weeks ago when I first found out. We never talk on the phone so he knew why I was calling. At first we kept the conversation light, bullshitting about boys and superficial things, before getting into the real stuff.

    ”I had just finished test driving a car when the doctor called and gave me the news,” he said. “I turned to the salesman and said, ‘That was my doctor and he said I have cancer.’ The guy looked petrified. He just stared out the window. I probably shouldn’t have told him but it just came out. I ended up buying the car.”

     At the end of our conversation I told him that I loved him. I don’t think I’ve ever told him that and it makes me sad that it takes something like cancer for me to say it. He was quiet for a minute then said, “Thank you.”

     He’s the second gay in the family to be diagnosed with cancer. It took my sister’s life way too early, and soon it’ll take his. Cancer runs in our family, but it seems to be hitting the gays the fastest. I think it has something to do with stress. The self-loathing, doubt, loneliness, shame, and guilt that we carry all our lives really takes its toll and wares us down, making it harder to fight the beast. I think this as I lay in the sun, feeling my moles sizzle, imagining their cancerous roots tangling around my heart. How I’ll soon be the last gay standing in our family, but for how long? I say fuck it, stop worrying, then lay back down. I immediately sit back up, put on my shirt, and walk home.



Starving

     Chef Mary runs a very tight ship. If we need a bullet of adobo sauce or blue cheese crumbles, she demands we go through her and not the cooks because she likes to keep a mental inventory of everything. She’s very stingy, which makes it impossible for me to Robin Hood food, which is sad because I could use it more than ever right now. Even though I’m working seven days a week, the money isn’t what I was hoping. Thankfully, I’ve been making progress with the cooks and am gaining their trust. 

     “I’m not Mexican,” Rolando replied with a scowl after I asked him if he was Marco’s brother.

     I knew he was going to think I was just another guero who thought all Latinos looked the same, but they had similar lips and eyes and I was willing to run that risk as long as it meant making conversation.

     “Then what’s with the Aztec eagle you have tattooed on your neck?” I asked, all in Spanish.

     He smiled and told me he was from a small village just north of Mexico City.

     Later that night my stomach was growling as I wiped down the soup station. At my old place, we get all the free soup we desire, but not here.

     “I’m so hungry,” I said to Marco as I used my fingernail to scratch a dried chunk of soup off the stainless steel.  

     “How hungry?” he whispered back without looking up from the cutting board.

     I looked over my shoulder to see where Chef Mary was. She was sitting at table 14 with her tablet, scrolling Recipes.com, looking for tomorrow’s specials. 

     “Starving!” I whispered back.

      “Gimme a minute,” he said.  

     Two minutes later he slyly handed me something wrapped in brown paper towels.

     ”What is it?” I asked.

     ”Shhh! Just put it in your apron, quickly, and walk to the back,” he said.

     I stuffed it in my pocket and hurried out the kitchen. I smiled at Chef Mary as I passed her on my way to the back bar where no one was. When the coast was clear, I ripped open the package and devoured what was inside.

     “Ouch,” I said as I bit into a bone. I opened the bread and saw that all he did was put a stinkin’ BBQ chicken wing inside a bun. That’s it. “Dammit Marco,” I said to myself. “You could have warned me.”

     I was so hungry that I ate around it and then went back and told Marco that it was the best sandwich I had ever eaten. 



Jiffy Lube Cruise

     I’m trying to figure out if I got cruised at Jiffy Lube or not.

     So I pulled up to the station and left my key in the ignition. The attendant told me to go inside. The waiting room was empty except for Steve Harvey’s voice blaring from the TV. Directly outside was a bench where another man sat waiting for his car. Our faces met through the window. I turned around and reached in my back pocket for a quarter to put in the candy machine. I stood and popped peanut M&M’s in my mouth while watching the Tran family try to win Fast Money. For some reason it felt like his eyes were piercing my back, but it could have been the tingling from being on my feet the last 12 days.

     I had to pee so I walked in the bathroom. It was a one-toilet unisex bathroom. I was mid-stream when the door flung open. I thought I pushed the lock button, but obviously not far enough in. It was him.

     “Oops, I’m sorry,” I said looking over my shoulder. Why did I say sorry? He’s the one who walked in on me. I guess it was more of a sorry, keep wakin’.

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     Remember Ronnie’s friend who was visiting from Florida that I helped decorate his apartment for her surprise birthday party? The one who leaves a trail of thongs and extensions everywhere she goes? Well, last night I met up with Ron Ron and he showed me a series of pictures sent from her latest adventures. She likes to do things on her own, and can afford it, so this time around she had a privately led gator hunting excursion on the swamp. She thought her instructor was hot. Naturally, she went for it. I admire her tenacity.