THE SZENTENDRE TRAIN – part 2

August 18, 2017 Leave a comment

The first week back at work was the usual mess of misunderstandings and scheduling conflicts and what have you.  In spite of the lonely, empty house in Szentendre, I was looking forward to getting home to my garden and my sculpture studio.  I like to make pottery or sculpt animals and human figures in clay. It’s just a hobby, but it was satisfying in a way, and helped to pass lonely hours.  I worked in my garden during Saturday and Sunday mornings and in my studio on weekend afternoons and evenings.

The first Friday night of the new semester, I boarded a later than usual train to Szentendre, because the hectic first week of school left me with some extra duties.  Evening was settling in when I took my seat.  The coach was empty except for a young man seated across the aisle from me.  He looked at me and smiled with a slight tilt of his head.  I averted my eyes and stared out the window at the passing scene that was fading in the descending light of evening.

I had never seen the young man before, and I wondered for a moment why he had smiled at me. I was one of the first passengers to leave the train.  I hurried across the platform toward home, and didn’t see him disembark behind me.   When I arrived at home, I made a small supper for myself and did a bit of housework before I went to sleep.  Saturday morning, I busied myself with my garden and my studio.  The weekend passed with the usual boring loneliness, and by Monday morning I was ready to return to the University.  At least I had some human interaction at my job, even though it was only with the students in my anatomy classes or some professors in the lounge.

As usual, I kept to myself on the platform, waiting for the commuter train to take me into the city.  Most of the scattered people were reading newspapers or talking quietly to each other.  I tilted my face up to the rising sun, closed my eyes, and let the warmth soothe me.  I heard the train coming, and I felt the people around me moving about in preparation for its arrival.  Someone stood next to me, almost brushing the sleeve of my coat, but I did not acknowledge it.

Destruction By Complaint

August 17, 2017 Leave a comment

It’s a gorgeous day. As we roll along, the highway is lined on both sides with curtains of colour.Late September in Canada, and the raw forests of maple, poplar, and birch blast one’s eyes with a spectacular colours; elegant gold, loud yellow, and the dominant colour, blazing red.

We’re going to our country place for a weekend of riding our horses and playing in our swimming pool. Out of nowhere she says,

“I bet the sump pump has died. You’ll have to go down to the cellar to see if there’s flood damage.”

I have to tell you that’s ridiculous, we know the sump pump is in great shape. She had to inject a bummer into a splendid moment. It’s a need she has, to keep the atmosphere forever tenuous.

As we drove up the dirt road to our farmhouse, she continued her thoughts aloud.

“The roof might have to be replaced before winter,” she says, whining. I clenched my teeth and said nothing, although I knew that the nearly new metal roof was perfect.

“Don’t forget,” she said, “you have a dentist appointment on Wednesday.” I stifled the urge to tell her how stupid it was to magnify unpleasantness with unnecessary comments.

As you can imagine, such a woman is also frigid, and in her case, totally ignorant of the niceties of making love. A mature woman, she was awkward as a first time teen. I was shocked the first time. I wondered why she was so bland, when in all other ways she was bright and energetic – which attracted me.

We pulled into the broad driveway at last.

“You have to put a new lock on the front door,” she said, for no reason at all. At that moment, I asked myself a question I’d been avoiding. What am I doing here? She turned the happy, colourful weekend into a dreaded period of relentless whining.

She got out of the car and walked up the path to the front door. I got out from behind the wheel and walked over to the old Jeep I kept at the country place. She went into the farmhouse and I pulled out of the driveway.

I was thinking of how she had ground the lovely weekend into shit with her complaints. I was thinking of her overall coldness, and generally, nasty disposition. And I thought of the girl at the bank, who asked me out for coffee. I thought about the girl at the donut shop, who told me the time she got off work and asked me to meet her.

Fuck this, I thought. My life is being ground into crap by this woman who is supposed to love and care for me. To hell with her.

I returned to the city and drove to the donut shop. She was to be off work at nine. I met her outside the shop and took her to my place. We showered; we made love… good love, and listened to music while we cooked up a late snack. She asked if I was worried that his wife would walk in. I told her I hoped she would, because I’ve had it.

Some Call It Dancing – Part Four

July 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Marisa was beautiful, with long, golden hair that looked stunning against her chocolate coloured skin.  Marisa’s real name was Caroline Shaw.  She had been Carl Shaw before her transformation, and she was the closest thing to a friend that Sylvia had among her associates in the small universe of exotic dancers and club workers.  Marisa was still big as a man.  For the more observant, her large hands and feet, and her height of almost six feet would tell of her original gender.  Sylvia held the pungent smoke in her lungs and handed the joint back to Marisa, who lifted it carefully to her full, red lips.

“Come to my place after work”, she said before taking a long pull of smoke and dropping the small but into an ashtray.  Sylvia exhaled a long stream of bluish-white smoke into the air before she responded.

“What’s up?” Sylvia asked.  “I’m pretty tired after running back and forth from this place to the Ziggidy Bar.  Two sets an hour, with a run up and down the street in between really takes it out of me”.

“For one thing, sweetie”, Marisa said as she prepared for her own on-stage set, “I finished the slave girl costume you wanted me to make for you.  I must say, it looks great.  It’s a good idea you have for it.  The idiots in the audience will love it”.

“For another thing?” asked Sylvia, checking her make up in the mirror.

“I have a bit of special information for you that I think you’ll find interesting”, Marisa said, deliberately teasing Sylvia.

“So tell me now”, said Sylvia.

“No way… not around here.  You won’t want anybody else to know about it”, she said.  The other girls at the make up counter stopped talking together.

“Hey!” said Princess, a young girl with a muscular body. “What’s with the secrets here?  Share, ladies… share if you care”.

“It wouldn’t help you to know, Princess”, said Marisa with an arrogant toss of her blond mane.

“Fuck you”, said Princess.  “You fag-broads make me sick the way you hang together”.

“Eat your heart out, bitch!” said Marisa.  She turned back to Sylvia.  “So come over, Sweetie.  I want to check the fit of the slave girl outfit before I do the final sewing”.

“Wait for me then, after your show.  We can share a cab”.

Some Call It Dancing – Part Three

July 15, 2017 Leave a comment

“Ready”, Sylvia said.  She hung up the phone, stood and waited at the stage door.  The Red Foxx recording stopped abruptly in the middle of a dirty joke and Tony’s voice echoed flatly in the auditorium.

“Now ladies and gentlemen, the always exciting, sweet and slender ‘Angel”.  A ripple of applause was drowned out by the opening strains of Rod Stewart’s version of ‘Tonight’s The Night’.  Sylvia pushed the stage door open and strode proudly into the red spotlight, which followed her to centre stage.  She swung into her improvised routine, moving with slow, gentle grace to the sensual music.

The audience applauded appreciatively.  Sylvia, whose appearance fitted well with her stage name ‘Angel’, was a favourite with the ‘regulars’ at Paris Paradise.  Unlike any of the other girls, Sylvia looked into the faces of her audience during her performances.  The audiences were accustomed to the sulky, resentful expressions usually shown by the dancers.  But Sylvia liked showing herself, and she liked the easy money that stripping brought her.  The lonely, rejected men in the audience were made to feel warm toward Sylvia.  They saw her as a real person who existed in places not connected with her nude dancing in Paris Paradise.

Not until the song ended did Sylvia remove the outer layer of her costume.  The audience didn’t object.  She danced beautifully, and her warm, friendly personality extended out of the red spotlight, over the footlights, and into the hearts of the men in the audience.

The second song came on, and offered a change of pace.  Frank Sinatra’s voice filled the room with ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’, and Sylvia swung and spun as if the lyrics were guiding her.  Her long, well-shaped legs swept her from one side of the stage to the other, affording all members of the audience a close look at her muscled body.  This, too, endeared her to the audience.  Most often, the dancers kept to the centre of the stage, robbing those on the extreme left and right sides of the audience of a clear view of what they’d paid to see.

Sylvia’s routine unfolded like a flower, shedding petals.  Songs by Neil Diamond and Lou Rawls provided the balance of her music.  The audience applauded enthusiastically, whistled, and called for more… more… as Sylvia gathered up her costume and ducked backstage and into the dressing room.

After she showered in the small stall at the back of the dressing room, Sylvia came out to her place in front of the mirror.  She relaxed for a few minutes before dressing in her street clothes.  Marisa, a tall, lean black girl sucked on a joint and handed it to Sylvia.  Marisa was a transsexual in her twenties.  She was born male, and by the time she had turned nineteen, she’d had several operations to become the woman she always felt she should have been.  Her own father was the surgeon who helped her make the transition because he couldn’t bear to see her suffering as she did when she wore the male body that felt to her like a prison.  She had been a female in every way but physically and never knew a happy moment until she became a woman.  Finally, she took great joy and satisfaction in earning her living exhibiting her altered body.

“Ready”, Sylvia said.  She hung up the phone, stood and waited at the stage door.  The Red Foxx recording stopped abruptly in the middle of a dirty joke and Tony’s voice echoed flatly in the auditorium.

“Now ladies and gentlemen, the always exciting, sweet and slender ‘Angel”.  A ripple of applause was drowned out by the opening strains of Rod Stewart’s version of ‘Tonight’s The Night’.  Sylvia pushed the stage door open and strode proudly into the red spotlight, which followed her to centre stage.  She swung into her improvised routine, moving with slow, gentle grace to the sensual music.

The audience applauded appreciatively.  Sylvia, whose appearance fitted well with her stage name ‘Angel’, was a favourite with the ‘regulars’ at Paris Paradise.  Unlike any of the other girls, Sylvia looked into the faces of her audience during her performances.  The audiences were accustomed to the sulky, resentful expressions usually shown by the dancers.  But Sylvia liked showing herself, and she liked the easy money that stripping brought her.  The lonely, rejected men in the audience were made to feel warm toward Sylvia.  They saw her as a real person who existed in places not connected with her nude dancing in Paris Paradise.

Not until the song ended did Sylvia remove the outer layer of her costume.  The audience didn’t object.  She danced beautifully, and her warm, friendly personality extended out of the red spotlight, over the footlights, and into the hearts of the men in the audience.

The second song came on, and offered a change of pace.  Frank Sinatra’s voice filled the room with ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’, and Sylvia swung and spun as if the lyrics were guiding her.  Her long, well-shaped legs swept her from one side of the stage to the other, affording all members of the audience a close look at her muscled body.  This, too, endeared her to the audience.  Most often, the dancers kept to the centre of the stage, robbing those on the extreme left and right sides of the audience of a clear view of what they’d paid to see.

Sylvia’s routine unfolded like a flower, shedding petals.  Songs by Neil Diamond and Lou Rawls provided the balance of her music.  The audience applauded enthusiastically, whistled, and called for more… more… as Sylvia gathered up her costume and ducked backstage and into the dressing room.

After she showered in the small stall at the back of the dressing room, Sylvia came out to her place in front of the mirror.  She relaxed for a few minutes before dressing in her street clothes.  Marisa, a tall, lean black girl sucked on a joint and handed it to Sylvia.  Marisa was a transsexual in her twenties.  She was born male, and by the time she had turned nineteen, she’d had several operations to become the woman she always felt she should have been.  Her own father was the surgeon who helped her make the transition because he couldn’t bear to see her suffering as she did when she wore the male body that felt to her like a prison.  She had been a female in every way but physically and never knew a happy moment until she became a woman.  Finally, she took great joy and satisfaction in earning her living exhibiting her altered body.

This is not Bigotry

July 14, 2017 Leave a comment

I am going to avoid forming friendships with two groups in the future. One group is the Jewish cult of Hassidic people. The other group is black people. I know how it can look like bigotry, but I am not against any kind of people in general. Let me explain.

I have had friendly relationships with three black people; two women and a man. All three disappointed me. They took advantage of my sincerity, my ability, and in general, they each, in separate friendships, disappointed me. Of course I will meet with and talk with other black people, but I will shy away from forming any kind of friendship or relationship. I have befriended three different black people in three different environments. They did not know each other. Each one, in ways similar to the others, betrayed my affection.

Similarly, I am never going to form a friendship with a Hassidic person. I have done business, and formed friendships with three Hassidic families. We enjoyed many conversations, teaching each other things from our separate societies. Each was a separate relationship, in business and in friendship. Of course, they knew each other, because they are all connected within their division of the cult.

In spite of very comfortable relationships, each of the Hassidic businesses cheated me. They refused to pay bills, even bills that I had to pay to my suppliers. They would pretend the colour was wrong, or the type was wrong, and used that to justify their thievery.

I did some research into how orthodox people can be crooked. What I learned is this; they have a connection with god, and their allegiance is to god. That’s why they pray 4 or 5 times a day. Their connection with society, however, is unimportant. It doesn’t count, as long as they’re in god’s good books. If one is not a practicing orthodox Jew, one does not qualify for honesty.

All religions, in one way or another, are built with the same self-importance.

Some Call It Dancing – Part Two

July 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Head down, walking faster, Sylvia scuttled past the line of men who stood against the back wall, staring at Duchess as she dropped her sequinned top onto an on-stage sofa, revealing bold, unnatural silicone breasts.

As Sylvia passed, each man suddenly became aware of her, and turned to watch her hurry into the dressing room at the opposite side of the dimly lit auditorium.  The rows of theater seats were filled with men who were eagerly staring at Duchess, waiting for the magic moment when she would snap off her G-string and reveal her shaved pubic area.  The management didn’t make it mandatory for the girls to reveal their privates, but Duchess always did.  She needed the extra ten dollars that Borden, the manager, paid for any show in which the girl showed it all.  In truth, Duchess also enjoyed the thrill she got from showing everything.

Inside the long, narrow dressing room, girls sat at the counter that ran the length of the room.  Large mirrors were mounted on the wall over the counter, each illuminated with glaring bulbs.  The counter was littered with a variety of cosmetic bottles, jars, and occasionally, pieces of costume.  A red feather here, a crumpled G-string there, breast pasties and other of the strippers’ paraphernalia.  Of the eight small chairs that sat at the counter, three were empty.  One was Sylvia’s, one was for Duchess who was nearing the end of her on-stage stint, and one was for Rickie, a girl who had the day off.  Other dancers, in various stages of undress, occupied the other five places.  One of the other dancers, a woman who looked a bit too old and bulky to show herself nude for a living, sucked on a small brass pipe and expelled a stream of fragrant smoke toward the ceiling.  She looked over at Sylvia who was undressing hurriedly and putting on her costume in layers of opposite order to which she would remove them on stage.

“Better hurry, Angel.  Sounds like Duchess’s music is about to end”, she said.  At that moment, appreciative shouts and applause were heard from the audience.  “There goes her g-string”, the woman said as she put the small pipe to her lips.  Sylvia didn’t answer, but calmly continues to dress in her layered costume, checking each garment in the mirror before her.  The door from the stage swung open and closed again as Duchess entered carrying her discarded costume in a bundle held to her chest.  Her very white skin glistened with sweat.  The sound of a Red Foxx comedy recording could be heard through the door.  It filled the intermission between acts.  Within a few minutes Sylvia was ready, touching up her makeup in the mirror.  An intercom phone on the wall rang.  She reached for it and held it to her ear.  Tony, who was on duty in the control room, said it was time to go on.

 

Some Call It Dancing – Part One

July 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Yonge Street was teeming with traffic.  Downtown sidewalks were crowded with young men who lived in the inner-city core, lounging in front of the bars and clubs that line the broad street.  Other young men from the suburbs walked up and down, obviously out of their element, visiting the hectic downtown area looking for excitement.  It was the usual Friday night scene, typical of a warm summer night.  Cars lined up, patiently creeping from traffic signal to traffic signal, curb cruising as the young occupants gawked at the characters on the sidewalks.  The festive atmosphere permeated the entire scene.  It was always so – summer Friday nights, with high-school youths enjoying an after-school adventure, mixing together with urban sophists, drug dealers and users.

Even in her street clothes, which consisted of loose, baggy, faded jeans and an old cotton top with crudely stitched repairs on several of the seams, Sylvia Vichnorski did not go unnoticed.  Even as she scurried down the street hauling her gym bag, the sensual movements of her walk attracted unwanted attention.  Some young men tried to see her face as she passed.  There could be no eye contact.  She kept her face tilted down and to the side, avoiding any possibility of connection.

She hurried across Dundas Square, past a giant, brightly-lit music store.  Deftly side stepping some boys, who tumbled out onto the sidewalk, excited about their acquisitions of the latest popular music discs.  A few more steps and she turned into a narrow doorway between a pawnshop and a pizza parlour.  A small marquee with blazing bulbs declared this entrance to “Paris Paradise – GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS – Toronto’s most beautiful nude dancers”.

Barely slowing her pace, Sylvia hurried up the steep, narrow stairs, struggling with the heavy gym bag.  The pounding sound of bump and grind music poured down the stairs.  She heard some men enter behind her at the bottom of the stairs and almost ran the rest of the way to the top.  She thrusts open the door and hurried into the darkened theatre amid the deafening music.  She glanced at the stage where a red spotlight was following a semi-naked girl who was writhing with bored repetitiveness.  She felt a moment of relief, knowing she had not missed her show.  Duchess was on stage, and Sylvia knew that her music track had another six or seven minutes to go.  It meant Sylvia had enough time to get ready to go on.