“Carrot Cake Man,” that was his name. At least that is his professional name. This was the name that I knew this baker by and this would also be the topic that I would talk to him about. I no longer needed to look like an idiot standing by myself waiting to see someone that I actually recognized, or was attracted to.
So we talked. He told me about how his business was getting bigger and better and that he made his sales at a farmers market centrally located near all of the major highways. He said he was pulling in so much business to the area; he no longer had to pay rent. He sold carrot cakes from the Mennonites to minorities, from Catholics to celebrities. Patti LaBelle and Robert Wagner were just two of the personalities he named.
Robert Wagner? In Philly? …Don’t ask, I didn’t.
Getting completely bored with this, I remarked that Vernon seemed to know a lot of the people in the bar. He said he knew them from various adventures and that it only seemed like a lot because the bar was extra crowded that night. He then said that the bar was usually kind of slow unless there was a special event going on and that the owners really did not know how to push their establishment. Even Butch’s Bulge Party, a party every Wednesday night for men in underwear, had turned out to be a dud. If Vernon was running things, he would have much more success at it. He would, as he looked at me, have us both come in wearing nothing but a sock and a smile, and I don’t think he was referring to our feet. We would pull in such a crowd since we were so dark and that I, being darker than him, would get most of the attention. There’s that Mandingo thing again.
Now I’ll admit the thought of me walking around with both my butt cheeks flapping in the wind attracting white folk is not something that I haven’t thought of or done before and I probably will do so in the future, but... not with Vernon. He never said that stuff when I was living with people he was friends with. Why now? Plus I am getting to an age where I no longer want to be the center of attention and if you can’t hold your own then play with someone else. With that in mind I excused myself and went to the Pitt.
The Pitt is the bar in the basement of the building. In addition to the bar, there is a leather and toy boutique cubby hole that you can buy clothing, trinkets and aids for those of us who need them. But when I got there, there was no store. Or if there was, it was not open. What was I to do? I just got another beer and stood out in the middle of the floor, trying to think of what my next move would be. That turned out to be pretty simple.
I had downed about half of the mug of beer I had, you have to drink out of a mug in a leather bar because anything else would be just pussy or as the patrons there call it, Woody’s. I might be there next week. Anyway, so I’m in the middle of the floor minding my own business, when Old Pa walks up beside me drinking his beer, rubbing his belly, scratching his nuts, I don’t know, I wasn’t paying any attention. Until that is, the ever so slight brush of his hand against mine. Was that an accident? Something not worth mentioning because we are all brothers heading on a similar journey and the damn place was crowded anyway. No, because then came the ever so slight nudge against the elbow.
“Goddamn,” I thought. Can I get a little respect around here? Can he least try to say something to me before he tries to get some for the night. Not that he had a chance in Hades. I think I would have to have a stroke and be completely incapable of defending myself before someone looking like him would ever be able to get close.
Its not that I have anything against people who look like him, but this is a leather bar. Isn’t this the place where you are supposed to find your fantasy, because leather is nothing but a fantasy, a fantasy of control or lack of? It’s true I wasn’t in leather garb that night, but still. I was looking for something like this.
But instead, he looked more like this. Like 99% of the rest of the crowd there. I don’t like to think that I am body bigoted, or so immature and shallow that I will lose out on that one opportunity that will turn my life around. But a brother can dream can’t he?
So I played my master stroke. I gave him the ever so slight turn of the head in the opposite direction.
Such brilliance! Such grandeur and aplomb! I should patent that shit. An action as smooth as a baby’s backside should be given all the recognition it deserves. And I was doing just that until I felt the tap on the left cheek. Oh, I had to go.