November 11, 2003
When I saw the flat, I knew that this would be the place where I would live for years to come. It just had a certain feel to it. The rooms were spacious and bright. The kitchen was quite large. It had a utility room and hookups for a washer and dryer. There was also a large fireplace in the living room which faced the back. There was a room in the middle of the flat that would work as a dark, quiet bedroom and two sunny, carpeted rooms in the front facing the street that could be used as space--for relaxing, reading, Yoga or some sort of fun yet to be determined.
I decided I could afford it and I took it. I was retiring at age 44. I had a small house to sell in the East Bay and some investments. I had made a bundle in the stock market at one point and lost a bundle too but got out with enough to live on for some years. Maybe I thought till my mother passed away at which point I would get an inheritance. Not much of a retirement plan but it would do.
I sold the house and moved into the new place. It was 1800 dollars a month for the rent. My other expenses would come to maybe 1200 I figured. That came to 3,000. I figured I could spend about another 1000 dollars a month more or less indefinitely. That is to say, many years. Long enough.
So having settled on the location and financial arrangements of my new life, all that was left was finding something to do with the time. One problem was most of my friends had jobs, and some had wives and kids. Altogether, I figured my friends would keep me company three days a week at most. That was a lunch here, a dinner there, maybe a movie or concert once in a while. I was pretty certain that I would go nuts if I had to spend four days a week by myself taking walks in the park or sitting in cafes. So I needed some friends, lovers, buddies, but no coworkers please. Had enough of that. I wasn't that desperate.
The first scheme that I had was to take up photography again. I had been somewhat serious about it at one time but let it go. I still had the cameras and lenses though. I decided after surfing photography sites on the web that the thing to do was to take pictures of naked girls. That was it. That was the shit as my former dope dealer, Borgstrum, used to say.
Now where to get the girls? Well, Haight Street was nearby and there was always a steady stream of runaways showing up on its sidewalks. Seemed dangerous though. I didn't want to deal with angry suburban dads. My impression from reading the ads on Craigslist was that pretty much anything could be purchased in San Francisco. Nude models. OK, no problem.
The first was Hannah. She was 18 she told me and pregnant but not showing yet. She answered my ad and within minutes was standing naked in one of the empty front rooms and looking at the lens through her legs. A real pro. Claimed she'd been doing it for years.
This rag muffin doll had stringy hair. A kind of nascent dreadlocks. Hairy armpits. Unshaved pubes. Floppy boobs. And a very world weary feeling aura about her angelic and mostly empty head. She was perfect, I decided. I asked if I could touch her. She rolled her eyes up like some medieval Madonna beseeching an all powerful God.
"No fucking. No sucking. But you can touch." A pregnant pause, then "Me or yourself." And just for clarity, "Try not to squirt on me."
Squirt. That was a good happy giddy thought. I had such a stupid happy look on my face that she laughed out loud. I grabbed the camera and took a picture. It was the best of the day.
From then on, Hannah was one of my regulars or should I say, I was one of hers. We belonged to each other in a sense. She helped to fill the empty days and rooms of my little narcissistic paradise. I helped with groceries and rent. On her birthday, I gave her a funky leather and ceramic brooch. She liked it and gave me a big kiss on the lips. I squeezed her growing tummy and rubbed her pubes which she liked. After she left I washed my face carefully and hoped I didn't get herpes.
Hannah of course was not the only one, just the first. Next came Billie Jean. Sad, frumpy, a little fat. But BJ as I came to call her had one advantage over the chaste Hannah, she of the immaculate conception. Namely I could fuck her. She would lay down on the futon I purchased just for her and sweetly spread her legs. "Take me," was her signature line as if there could be any doubt.
When I told Hannah about Billie, she took a sudden interest, may be a competitive jealously even. "How often?" she wanted to know. And of course, "How much did you pay her?"
"Don't worry baby" I told her, "you're the real one." Hannah, now seven months pregnant was concerned enough to make an unsolicited offer. She would suck me. I would pay a little more. No more jacking off. Deal.
I stopped calling Billie Jean after that. Hannah had quite a technique. She claimed secret knowledge of tantric pleasure spots, one in particular, near the base of my scrotum. She pushed and rubbed there with a firm but gentle touch. When I came, it was a complete release. A brief moment of sacred oblivion. A scattering of stars across a night sky.
"Wow" I said humbled, "you're good Hannah."
"I know" she said smiling like a little Cheshire cat. She opened her mouth wide to show me a big white wad of spunk. Stuck her tongue out. Scooped up a bit with her finger and smeared it on my belly. Off to the showers.
There was a problem in the making. Hannah was about to have her baby. What would she name him? Shiva, Imani, Alaska, Marley, Journey, Hewatha, Yokoto, Man, Peyoti? She would toss out name ideas in rapid fire like some sort of deranged nun reciting a rosary or an announcer for some crazy horse race.
"And it's Imani in the stretch with Hewatha on the outside, and Shiva two lengths back but gaining fast!"
"Very funny," she said, not amused.
Finally the big day came and at the hospital I stood by her bedside in awe, peering at the puckered little creature come to life, cradled in her arms, and I asked her, "Well, what name did you decide on?"
I must have had a blank look on my face. She laughed but it was no joke.
Those two front rooms are no longer empty. In one is an enormous pile of Hannah stuff I keep threatening to take to Goodwill and in the other a nursery. No crib. Not cool. But the futon has a soft blanket with bunny pictures now. And little Tom Marley looks up at me with baby Jesus eyes.