The Loss of Innocence Store [MultiFormat]
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eBook by George Seaton
eBook Category: Gay Fiction
eBook Description: Our men and women in uniform sacrifice daily to serve our country. But what about the additional, voluntary sacrifice that each gay person in the military makes daily when they don their uniform? We ask these men and women to not only serve their country but serve in silence and denial, sacrificing not only their physical lives but their emotional ones too by denying them their right to love. THE LOSS OF INNOCENCE STORE provides a glimpse into the U.S. Army prior to the institutionalization of Don't Ask Don't Tell. This story was previously released as part of the HONORABLE SILENCE anthology.
eBook Publisher: MLR Press, LLC/MLR Press, LLC
Fictionwise Release Date: July 2012
I. Denver -- After Polk
In 1974, after Polk and the Army, I returned to Denver. It was then, on Friday and Saturday nights, I'd step down the makeshift staircase that led to the bar's basement. Lit by four small red lights at each corner of the ceiling, the thick haze of smoke slithered just above my head, eerily alive, blood-red. We'd pack ourselves into that tiny room, our hands moving up one Levied asscrack or another, then squeezing the bulge in front. Reciprocation was immediate.
I'd reconnoiter the room, first moving to the bar, set off in a corner like an afterthought. I'd pause for a moment after grabbing my rum and Coke, turn, and look at the faces seen in the momentary flash of a lighter, a match. I'd always wonder at the hush in the room, conversations whispered, the grunts, and sighs of the sex muted. Like a church, I'd think, smiling with the allusion, worshipers all.
I'd inch from the bar toward a face I'd seen illuminated by the momentary flash of flame. The Army had given me that face. No, it couldn't be him. How could it be? Here in this room, here so far from the innocence of that first touching, that first press of manflesh against my body, that first kiss, that first taste of another man's skin on my tongue?
The odor, the aroma of it all in that tiny room congealed into a particular sweet soup, stewing, stewing. The poppers, the sweat, the smoke, the alcohol, the leather, the odor of stiff cocks withdrawing from willing, oh so willing holes; the smell of cum not only there, palpable in the air, but on the lips of the men, one of whom I remember standing in front of me and squeezing my cock and kissing my eyes. "I love you," he said. I did not know him, but he said it again, "I love you," as he kissed my eyes, gently, sweetly...the unmistakable smell of jism on his breath, there in the surreal haze of that subterranean lair, a voluntarily caged effusion of passion.
That was the essential truth of the Big Party. Since Stonewall, the imperative was to encase our lives within the irresistible urge to partake of what Stonewall offered--the freedom to be. It was our time. Our rites of our passage were unabashedly celebrated within what had become the holy places of our revelations--the baths, parks, bars. Every day or night the pursuit of one man or another, sated only by the experience of the fuck; the peace be with thee benediction that soothed our urge upon urge to be.
My time had begun before those sacred soirees of single-minded intent within that grotto consecrated by the primal stuff of ourselves. My time had come delicately, tentatively on a beach in Virginia where the Army loomed as a gatekeeper, an omnipotent presence no less demanding than the imperatives of conscience honed on the sharp edge of priestly admonitions, delivered through the mesh of the confessional. Thou shalt not not be a soldier. Soldiering was the point of Polk, the Army.
Later on, by 1982, the bar took on a certain scourge of respectability. The downstairs became dignified with a full bar bisecting the small space, and MTV videos flashing brightly from four corners of the room, where the anticipatory revelation of a beautiful face in the light of a match was lost. No mystery left. No hands roamed the treasures encased within and jutting against the paled gray of Levis. Ah, the Levis, brushed on as paint to a canvas. Bartenders chastised what had become by then unacceptable indiscretions. A loss of being.
Before the dignification of the bar, the holy fog hung, pall-like, shape-shifting against the fire, the heat, the gyrations of the flesh below it. My climax came with a mouth on my dick, one eating my ass, the sweet rush of a fresh hit of poppers pulsing through every vessel in my body. And I would look up and see in that blessed haze the face of the boy, that brown-eyed boy who had been my first, there in the Army, there where we were swathed with imperatives much larger than that fleeting moment of first love. I saw his eyes. I saw his smile. I saw what he had given me. I saw what the Army had demanded of me.
As the effects of the poppers ebbed, as the mouths withdrew from my dick, my ass, I smiled down as the shadows of the two who had taken and given the pleasure of the deed rose to their feet. There was simply nothing else expected but the smile. We had made our point.
We were always leaving one another then. We were not beholden to any notion of commitment other than the commitment the fuck demanded.