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By Drew Kramer
An inauspicious beginning to this journey.
If you had bet me that I could drive all the way through in one straight shot, stopping only for Starbucks on the Ohio Turnpike and a hamburger for lunch, I would have turned you down flat. But, leaving at 7 a.m., the ride out went incredibly smooth. Perhaps that was due, in part, to reduced traffic on the roads because of the extortionary price of gas. (I refused to stop for gas in Ohio. Screw 'em. Their electoral votes secured his presidency, so it's their fault that his oil industry cronies are reaping these windfall profits without sanction.) But at 8 p.m. the same day, there I was, sitting in the parking lot of the Top Secret Location.
This presented something of a problem. I was there a day early. Set-up would be going on, and I would be something of a distraction to all that hard work. After dinner at the restaurant across the street from the Top Secret Location, I steeled my nerves and entered. As expected, my welcome was not quite "Hail Fellow And Well Met," but more along the lines of the proverbial fart in church. I said that I would be happy to drive to the nearest truck stop and sleep there in my car, but if I could sleep in my bed – and the guy I was sharing my bed with was already on-site – then I would gladly work like hell on set-up the next day. After endless consultation, they decided that was okay. And I set out to bed down with Alpha for the night.
I found Alpha, busy in his cabin getting his former boy bobby all set with the bottle of Fantastick, as it would be bobby's job for the duration of the run to ensure that their bathroom was always at all times Clean and Fresh. Alpha and I lost no time at all getting into our rollicking Inferno buddies mode, imagining writing a letter to the fantasy committee, charged with fulfilling the fantasies submitted to them by men attending Inferno, along the lines of, "Dear Fantasy Committee, My fantasy is to take the AIDS-y spooge from a popped zit and stick it up the butt of a really cute kitten." Love that Alpha!
The next day, I worked like hell under the watchful eye of Diabolique, spritzing and wiping down everything that didn't walk away from me in the Bondage Tent. Another irksome turn of events went down when, after it was decided that the Bondage Tent and everything else involved with set-up was indeed "done," I tried to drive through the front gate to unload my jeep. In the time it took for me to walk to my car and drive up to the gate, all of the coordinators had assembled, as if by magic, and were blocking my path. With much tugging of the forelock, I asked if I could please just drive the thirty yards from the gate to my room, unload my jeep, and then go park in the parking lot. And received a flat out "No."
This meant that those two hundred pounds of chain had to be lugged those ninety feet by Yours Truly. Muttering something about "brotherhood" all the while.
A dip in the pool and some sunbathing did a lot to restore my spirits. So did catching up with the guys there that I knew and watching people arrive. Inferno was getting under way.
Oh, man. It felt really, really, really Important that I was there.
I met my roommates, and together we learned that we were to be five, and not four. A cot had been set up in our room, and Session A was booked beyond solid. So amidst us and our gear, we'd have to make room for some . . . some . . . stranger. I hopefully offered that maybe he would be someone unlikeable so we could all have a good time playing wicked stepsisters to his Cinderella.
Dinner was filled with more verge-of-tears greetings ("I'm really here!") and the electricity of anticipation of the run. Following dinner, we all gathered for Opening Ceremonies. Orchestrated by none other than Roman Cool, it absolutely brought the house down. (Why, yes, that was me shouting, "Bravi! Bravi!" "Bravo" is what you shout to a single male performer, but the plural "Bravi" is to congratulate a group of performers. Unless the group consists entirely of women, then it's "Brave." Or for one woman, diva that she be, it's "Brava!" There. Now you can be all smug next time you go to the opera.)
The dungeons were open.
I was in a good space. "No more RoboTop" made for a good mantra. It really was just enough that I was there. I strolled around, taking in the sights and sounds of the first night of serious SM. I got to bed around midnight.
The next morning, I awoke to find myself looking at our fifth roommate, whose wee little cot was planted smack up against mine. There, inches from me, was this big, beautiful, heavily tattooed man, snoring loudly. For about an hour, I watched him sleep. He seemed to be having a really good dream. Periodically, he would arch his head back, practically lifting his shoulders off the mattress, get this beatific smile on his face, like St. Teresa in ecstasy, and go, "Mmmmmmuhhhh." I debated rolling over next to him on his wee little cot, but decided not to, as we hadn't been formally introduced. (He had come to bed after me.)
But, the next morning, emerging from the shower, I found that Beautiful Dreamer was up and about. We looked at each other, and hastily exchanged lustful Woofs. This was going to be verrrry cool.
The first full day of the run would be a busy one for me. I was doing a scene with Horowitz. Luckily, the day before, we had run into one another and talked about it. The interest I had expressed was finding pig-space. Tragically, Horowitz had mistakenly thought this involved blow jobs. I filled him in: I hate giving blow jobs. If I never give another one in my life, I won't be upset in the least.
I've decided that I have two limits. One: I don't get burned. All those years of working in restaurants has left me with a horror and dislike of getting burned. Burns hurt. Two: Nothing goes in my mouth that's not food I like. That includes penis. That does not, necessarily, include piss. With the appropriate asparagus caveats in place, I'm cool with that.
Horowitz, God love'm, said this was no problem. He could rearrange things, and turn his attention to my hole. He also told me this would involve me making an announcement at lunch. One consisting only of five words, which he would give me then.
At lunch, Horowitz was passed the microphone, and introduced me, inviting anyone who wanted to help out with a scene at 3:30 in the compound. He had me turn my back to the audience to show off my voluptuous butt, and then gave me the five words. Over the PA system, I said to everyone assembled at Inferno, "Please, Sirs, fuck me, Sirs."
Immediately after lunch, I had a date with Kokoe. Fresh from Burning Man, Kokoe was up for another flogging. I like him so much! There's so much we share in common. He gets me, and I think I get him. So much so that Kokoe told me he is intent on recruiting me for the Radical Faeries. He feels certain that there's a place for me at the Faeries sanctuary in Tennessee that he calls home. And paying a visit is definitely on my List Of Things To Do.
The flogging was beautiful. Both of us had a blast. I was reminded of something that a man from Texas told me at a flogging workshop I attended during my first Inferno. There I was, flogging away on my workshop bottom, and he stopped me and said I wasn't doing it hard enough. "No," he said, "you've got to give it all you've got. That's what he wants, and that's what he deserves."
Post-flogging, Kokoe and I relaxed and caught up a bit. I excused myself eventually; I had to go clean out. Three-thirty was fast approaching.
Cleaning out took a while – just couldn't get the water to run clear – but I had given myself plenty of time, and I enjoyed doing it anyway. And apparently, since there have been no after-effects, the water supply at the Top Secret Location seems to be better quality than that in Jersey City, where I gleefully dosed myself with crypto back when I bought my Sur-Shot. And I did my level best to get into the headspace for the scene, even though sex is always so frought for me, and that is the quintessential opposite of the pig-space I hoped to attain. "I'm trusting . . . I'm trusting . . ."
Horowitz, fresh from conducting a workshop on electrical play, was unable to stop in his room and get a blindfold for me. But I did a great job of keeping my eyes closed. (I swear!) The deal was, I would be The Hole. Taking all cummers. Horowitz would create safe space for me to find pig-space. That was what the scene was all about. After my booted ankles were restrained and up in the air, my hole, tight as ever, started getting worked.
"I'm trusting . . . I'm trusting . . ."
Pretty quickly, I realized that it wasn't a penis making me squirm. It was a dildo. Now, I'm not a big fan of phalluses made of vulcanized rubber. They . . . hurt. But I did my level best to imagine the men of Inferno, lining up to take their turn at me. That was what this was all about. And it worked.
When Horowitz decided that I'd had enough, he slowly brought me back. To my delight, I saw he had a well-chosen accomplice: a really wonderful guy from St. Louis I had met throwing whips at my first Inferno. H. explained that as he was also an accomplished fister, he had helped to open me up.
We sat there in the post-scene glow together.
I avoided looking at the dildo. It felt huge, but I knew the deal. Whenever anyone has wanted to use toys on me, he usually starts with the medium-sized one. Then, after my whining and complaining, we go down a size. More whining and complaining from me. Down a size. Eventually, if it happens at all, it's with the teeny tiny one. Like, big as your pinkie finger. But as I was dressing and H. was fetching stuff to clean up, there it was. And it was a big one! And by the . . . ummm . . . lube line, it had gone pretty deep into me. Wow.
So I had definitely gone to a place I've never been before. Ahhh . . . that Inferno magic.
Then I cleaned toilets. You wanna go to Inferno, then you gotta work. In previous years I had just done set-up, thus freeing me up for the run. But this time I went into the labor pool, and I came up with "Facilities." That's the nice way of saying, Either take out the trash or clean the bathrooms. But I'm actually fine about cleaning the johns. It was always my job growing up, and no matter what the state of my apartment, my bathrooms have always been clean. It's just a toilet, a bowl of water. What's the big deal? So every day at 5 p.m. I would meet up with my bathroom cleaning partner to take care of business.
And I had made a remarkable discovery. Icarus was at Inferno! Icarus and I stumbled across each other on the World Wide Internet and immediately hit it off. On worldleathermen of all places – where what passes for communication amounts to "You're hot! Let's fuck! Oh, wait, you're really far away . . ." – he and I go on and on in extraordinarily lengthy messages. When he was visiting family in Philadelphia, we met up for dinner and discovered we liked each other in person, too.
When he approached me in the beverage tent, I didn't even recognize him, secure as I was in my belief that such good things just don't happen to me. But there he was! We set up a date for that night, and I was looking forward to beating him until there was nothing left but a greasy spot.
Alas. That night I discovered that Icarus ate something that disagreed with him. And ended up staying in his room, sick as a dog. So it seemed I had a night free. Wandering through the compound, I came across Beautiful Dreamer, the fifth occupant of our room. We followed up on the exchanged woofs of that morning.
Beautiful Dreamer is All That. So All That. We're talking verrrry hot. Covered in ink. Way sweet disposition. Warm. Open. Happy. With that "everybody's buddy" quality that I love about Special Guy, the man who is the Love Of My Life So Far. And that up-for-anything-in-bed quality that always turns my crank. We talked. And I loved talking to him. "You," I said, "are a very special boy."
So we went back to our room. Our roommates were still out and about. And, y'know, we turned in early. Fitting very snugly together on his wee little cot.
Now we're up to the final day of Inferno. Tomorrow would be it. What with the great scenes I had already had with Kokoe and with Horowitz, and my wonderful night in the arms of Beautiful Dreamer, I was more than content.
And I had a full day planned. First off, a scene with a new guy from Arizona. That afternoon, I would be doing a scene with bobby. I had met bobby at MAL, when he was Alpha's boy. Alpha had brought him to this, his first Inferno, and was being a good host. bobby is a hottie, so I didn't have to be asked twice.
But there was a problem. bobby was looking to take the plunge into Mondo Singletails. Like . . . Yum! When we talked scheduling, it turned out that 3:30 was the time that worked best for both of us. Later, bobby had a date with none other than Roman Cool.
Lest I need to remind you, Roman Cool is an international whipsman extraordinaire. He and bobby hadn't specifically discussed what they would be doing, but bobby had told R.C. that he was interested in getting whipped. And I was extended that same opportunity.
Now let me spell this out. There was the distinct possibility that bobby would arrive at his scene with Roman Cool all bubbly from getting whipped by little ol' me.
Should I cockblock Roman Cool?
Cockblock? Let me explain cockblocking. Let's say you've got your eye on this smokin' hot boy. And things are going great. He's all smiley and wide-eyed. You make some pretense to touch him ("So today was your 'back day' at the gym, huh? You all sore and tense in your shoulders?") and he gives a deep sigh. He's as good as had. But along comes your best buddy. He greets you, but then turns his attention to Mr. Boy. ("Hey, didn't we meet at the Black Party? I thought so. I lost track of you later in the night. So . . . I've got some time now. Wanna finish what we started?") And there go your best buddy and Mr. Boy showing you their backs as they head off for some bliss. Pal of mine, you've just been cockblocked.
So cockblocking Roman Cool would definitely not be cool. For example, I would never ever be able to bottom to him again, right?
So what to do with bobby?
I mulled this all over, but wrapped my head around a key fact: I would be doing my first whipping scene at Inferno! The honor has thus far eluded me. No surprise there. Roman Cool, Albert von Munich, Roadkill, Noted Author, Peter from San Francisco, ARt . . . the list goes on and on. All of these are world-class whipping Tops. They've got lines six deep. Who would want to be whipped by li'l ol' me? It's like I get to sit in on batting practice with the Yankees.
But very early on the first night of the weekend, I met dungeonbait, the new guy from Arizona. He approached. We chatted. I asked him what he was up for. And he gave a thorough list, in order of interest, citing his experience level in each area.
Wow! Props there! bottoms like that make it so easy to be a Top. He liked flogging, and had had the merest taste of getting whipped, and wanted to really do a full bore whipping scene.
So immediately he and I had a connection. If the connection isn't there, you might as well play Yahtzee. If it is there, and it's strong, than there's nowhere you can't go.
We met up, and headed down to the whipping tent. Dang, I love the whipping tent. Large and spacious, erected over a lawn so it smells faintly of grass, with various frames and crosses, like a sculpture garden. Despite the crack of whips and the slap of floggers – and the lamentations and exultations – there's a certain silence to the place. Like a temple.
I laid out my floggers, and the special whip – the only one I use in a scene anymore. I feel as though they've been a part of my life forever. I know their personalities so well. Closing my eyes, I can see how each arcs, feel the weight of them, hear the sound they make.
The scene went so well. It's just wonderful when you feel so on top of your game. Feeling that energy, not flowing from you, but flowing through you.
And dungeonbait was exquisite. A strong, powerful man, so responsive, and giving himself over to me with what seemed to be perfect trust. So beautiful. Sublime.
Nothing beats whipping. The most intimate experience two men can share, bar none.
So what to do with bobby? Thinking that through, I came across the motorcycle. Someone at some point had donated a bike to Hellfire. Every run, it sits there, secured with cables so it won't tip over, with a sign propped up against the back wheel reading, "Okay To Play On. Really!"
An idea took shape. I asked bobby if he'd be up for some chain bondage. After all, I had lugged those chains seven hundred and fifty miles. All two hundred pounds of them. bobby was concerned. He had been playing pretty rough. I told him that all that would be involved would be a nice, gentle ride. Nothing to do but lie back and enjoy.
He sat on the motorcycle, and I set to work with the chains and padlocks. Nice guy that I am, I set them in the sun to warm them up before I put them on him. As is always (always!) the case with chain bondage, bobby looked magnificent. There on the bike, his ankles over the handlebars, his hands above his head on the rack over the back wheel. And he was loving it.
It was a fun scene. Light-hearted. I made with the witty repartee.
Then came my favorite part. I removed all the padlocks and told bobby, "Okey-doke. Be on your way."
bobby struggled. And struggled. And struggled.
"Oh, sure. Fine. No, really. You just sit there. I'll do all the work. No, really. It's fine."
bobby struggled and struggled.
He managed to sit upright in the seat, and grabbed the handlebars.
"Vrrrrrooom! Vrrrrooooom!" I offered encouragingly.
Finally free (bobby definitely didn't set any records), we hugged. And giggled. bobby said that it was the highlight of his Inferno. (Awww . . . But he probably tells that to all his Tops.)
So there was this guy watching the scene. There were several who had stopped by, but he was sort of down for the whole thing.
As I was putting the chains away, he approached. He was with the fantasy committee. Y'see, an Inferno attendee has the opportunity to submit (!) a fantasy in writing, and the fantasy committee is charged with realizing that fantasy. (Wait. Did I cover that with the kitten and the zit spooge thing above? Sorry if so.)
He said he had this fantasy that had him stumped. A guy wanted to be chained up in a chair. The fantasy committee guys were planning on abducting him at dinner but weren't sure how to go about the chaining.
Tonight. Gosh. I had a big scene planned for that night. I wasn't sure I could help out . . .
But then I read the guy's letter to the fantasy committee. And . . . and . . . he gets it. He gets chain bondage. It was all there. He even specified that the restraints used be the kind that were secured with padlocks. (Of course I have restraints that are secured with padlocks!) Also enclosed was his picture. I had noticed the guy. He seemed shy and quiet. But intelligent. And kind. His fantasy description was so painstaking. This was really important to him.
And I was the only man at Inferno who could make it happen. Actually, as far as I know, I was the only person in North America. There's one other chain bondage Top that I know of, but he's in Australia.
I said I'd try to move my evening scene to a later date.
Time for cocktails! Leather cocktails by the pool. Traditionally, cocktails on the last night are when you Dress To Impress. And I had an idea. I left my Menkes at home. (Sorry, David.) I wanted to show off my ink. So, my chain tattoo goes from my right ankle to my left wrist. I wore my Wesco boots and jockstrap, and I wrapped a length of chain from my left ankle to my right wrist. It was a total hit. However, every time I moved, it yanked more of the hairs out of my asscrack. How do those men I chain up deal with that? When folks started lining up for dinner, I quickly ran back to my room to switch off the chain for a leather vest.
Inferno Tip: Smother your prime rib that you get at the banquet in the horseradish sauce.
After the banquet, during announcements, I got the word. The abduction was soon to transpire. I scampered off to the Bondage Tent to get ready for the abductee. They brought him in, pillowcase over his head, and plopped him down in a barber chair.
I put on the wrist restraints. And secured them with padlocks.
Then the chain started going on. I rapped to him while I worked. Telling him how much I liked the all-but-eternal quality of steel, that he was in there until I decided otherwise, and that, ultimately, he'd turn to dust before the chains would. I managed to get one of the lengths of chain, secured with a padlock, around his dick and balls. And he was just beautiful. So gorgeous, all wrapped up like that. I removed the pillowcase so he could enjoy the spectacle, too. And enjoy it he did. He sat there stunned and awed, looking down at his immobilized body.
"Look at this, boy," I said, "I've even got your dick chained up." I reached down and grabbed it, stroking it.
And damned if he didn't shoot a huge, huge load. It was like popping a balloon.
All good things must come to an end. The chains had to come off. I did the take-off-the-padlocks thing. He was astonished at how heavy the chains were. I asked him if he'd be down with wearing one of the chains, the first one I ever bought actually, padlocked around his neck overnight. He consented, beaming. Cool.
Okay. Time to switch gears. One more scene to make my Inferno complete. I was getting whipped. By the man they call Roadkill.
Roadkill is the kind of guy you'd want to be caught up in a Central American revolution with. Note the phrasing there. I didn't say, "If you had to be caught up in a Central American revolution." Nope. More than that. Even if it meant that the two of you would be ultimately shot as enemies of the people, when you were sitting in your hotel room and heard gunfire and turned on the television to see that the airport had been taken over by the rebels and there was no way for you to leave, you would find yourself thinking, "Great!"
Roadkill and I had met and quietly talked about the scene we were about to do together. Very casual, like we were talking about a dinner party. I like my wrists down, not up above my shoulders. That kind of thing.
I had nothing to prove to anyone, least of all myself. I just felt that I was due. I've whipped a lot of men (and whippingboy!) since I took it from ARt. Yeah. I was due.
And I swear, that was it! That's what it was all about for me.
I decided that it would be worth my while to spend some of my dwindling resources on a run t-shirt. They were really cool this year, with art by Axel of Seattle. And they were white. As I explained to Roadkill, if I . . . uh . . . bled, then it would be cool to . . . uh . . . put the t-shirt on, and . . . uh . . . kind of have a . . . uh . . . memento. Not, I made clear, that blood was a goal.
Roadkill reserved space for me on the cross in the noisy dungeon. I would prefer the whipping tent, the sweet smell of the grass and cool September night and all, but I am not good in the whipping tent. I am a verrrry noisy bottom.
Y'see, I love to sing. I apparently have a not-so-great singing voice. But when I'm up there on the cross, you better believe I'm gonna sing out. So, much better that I rattle the rafters of the noisy dungeon than wake up everyone within a fifty-mile radius of the Top Secret Location.
I had told Roadkill that I hated to be flogged, and so he decided that he'd warm up with the whip.
We started with tying me down. My ankles. Around my waist. I was wearing those wrapping wrist restraints from Mr. S. But Roadkill opted not to attach them to anything.
Here we go.
First came those little kisses. No cracks. Just the touch of the whip.
Something was . . . different.
When I was whipped before, I remember it as being sort of fun. I don't remember it being painful, really. And I don't know that ARt went easy on me.
But this hurt.
During the tattoo journey, there were some nights when, even though the ink was going right on my shin or ribcage or something, it was no problem. I would just be yucking it up with Joe. But on a few nights I was just not processing the pain. It hurt. A lot. And I wanted it to be over.
And tonight, I just didn't seem to processing the pain.
Last time, I was laughing at times. Crying, laughing, it was all the
I had to work at it. Deep breaths, working up the adrenaline. The restraints on my unrestrained hands cushioned my hands like boxing gloves. And I guess that was the association. When one of Roadkill's throws hit home (damn that boney back of mine!), I would pound my fists against the cross. Like a prizefighter getting his blood up.
We built and built.
I was mostly incoherent. But a few times I remember saying, "I am really scared."
Boy, was I ever scared.
There was the usual fear-of-disappointing-the-Top fear. Being way too much of a lightweight. That fear. But there was something else there I was afraid of. Something deeper.
Heavier and heavier.
Cracking now. Cracking and connecting.
I was howling. Explosions of pain on my back as Roadkill's whip rained down on me.
Howling. I was howling. Pounding my fists against the cross. Howling.
(My sincere apologies to anyone else who was trying to do a scene in the noisy dungeon that night. I mean really. What a pain in the ass that would have been.)
Roadkill moved in for the kill.
And there was Alpha. Standing behind the cross, his sweet, beautiful face. His eyes looking into mine.
At this point, I was in a place behind howling. I was screaming – screaming and crying. And really, really scared.
"Just two more," said Alpha.
"Oh god, John, I'm scared, I'm so scared."
Crack. I screamed.
Crack. That was it.
"It's okay now. It's okay," said Alpha. "It's over.
"John," I said, "it's worse. I'm still afraid, but now I don't know what I'm afraid of."
And with that, the bottom dropped out. Down I went: down down down. Just weeping and wailing.
I wondered, would this stop? Would this be it from now on? Had I lost it?
This was despair.
This was hell.
Alpha and Roadkill held me. Held me tight while I went right to hell. I spent what felt like a long time there. Thus giving me grave concerns. What was the way out? Was there a way out?
But then it happened.
I remembered the scene earlier in the evening after dinner. That sweet man. His fantasy. The chains. The expression on his face.
I always try to do my best. And sometimes I end up doing something good.
That was it. The thing to hold onto. The way back. The road out of hell.
I was breathing again. Roadkill and Alpha were there. These two amazing men.
I was okay.
My head swimming, I leaned against the cross as Roadkill cleared away his gear. Time for us to vacate the cross.
Alpha smiled at me, sang, "Hey, there, you with the stars in your eyes . . ."
He didn't know the words. (Who does?) He hummed the tune.
Roadkill took me in his arms, and we danced. There in front of the cross. He led. I followed.
Hey, there, you with the stars in your eyes.
I asked, to no one in particular, "Was that still SM?"
And was it? I mean, is that what this was all about? If so, what is this SM stuff all about? Damned if I know.
We lay down, the three of us, on the mattress underneath the bondage frame in the noisy dungeon. Other folks took over the cross. Other scenes went down. We listened to the noises.
bobby showed up and joined us. Alpha headed off into the night. Roadkill, bobby, and I made our way back to the compound.
I was all kinds of wired. My back felt amazing. So warm.
I put my shirt on. Not because my back was bloody. Tonight, I was a wuss. But as usual I was cold.
We three stood together, arm in arm in arm. Watching all that SM. Or whatever it was.
"I wish," I said, "that I could take my dog for a walk. On a summer night like this, under the stars, it's such a perfect way to end the day."
Roadkill was inspired. He took his whip and looped it around bobby's neck. "He's not your dog, but he needs a walk. Just bring him back to me. I'll be down at the bottom of the hill by the whipping tent."
So pup bobby and I took a walk.
My last night at Inferno. That night felt like the most important night of my life. And I sure hadn't seen it coming.
I delivered pup bobby to Roadkill, who smiled at me and said, "He thinks I'm going to go easy on him." As I headed back to my room, I heard Roadkill's belt working bobby's butt.
I joined Beautiful Dreamer on his wee little cot. Tonight I really needed a man to hold on to. All the better that it was a hot man like Beautiful Dreamer.
The next morning it was time to pack and leave. But first a shower. When the bathroom was roommate free, I headed in. Peeling off my shirt, I wondered how my back was looking – wondered if there would be anything to bear witness to the night I had had.
And whaddyaknow. There were marks on my back. I asked a roommate if I could borrow a mirror. And there it was, in all its gory glory. A whole archipelago of cuts from Roadkill's whip. I had bled. Perhaps I wasn't the wuss I thought I was. Roadkill, it seemed, hadn't held back. He had let me have it.
I loaded up the car. I went to brunch. I retrieved my chain that had spent the night around Fantasy Man. I bid fond farewells. I got in my Jeep Liberty and headed out the driveway. And there was Roadkill, walking with his slave, pluG. I slowed, I stopped, I opened the door. Confirmed that I was leaving. I told Roadkill that I tried to do journaling, but it seemed that language was distancing, and I didn't want that distance. I didn't want to leave the experience behind. "Words are coins with the faces worn off," agreed Roadkill, quoting Nietzsche.
And so I left him with these: It was wonderful. Thank you.
The long drive home. Not starting out first thing in the morning, I lost my light about two thirds of the way. That made for slower going. And fatigue. I stopped at a rest stop off Route 80 in the wilds of Western Pennsylvania. Yeah, I was kind of hoping for some friendly trucker to invite me to spend the night in his comfy cab. So I periodically flashed my headlights and spent time leaning on the hood of my jeep, smoking and rubbing my crotch.
And got a few hours of uncomfortable sleep.
And now I'm home. At work, my partner – the Bush-votin', Bible-thumpin' one – is full of questions. What did you do? Did you play games? What did you do? How many guys were there? What did you do? And by the way, what did you do?
"First rule of fight club: Nobody talks about Fight Club."
But I have been somewhat more open at my gym. Just flaunting my back. For all the dads and high school football players that populate the place.
And I'm still pretty much in awe. Of those men, many of whom I love. Some of whom have held my heart. Some of whom have entrusted me with theirs. And just the fact that Inferno exists at all.
And that I was there.
This story originally appeared at the author's blog on September 15, 2005. It is reprinted with permission of the author.
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