New York City – 1979
“Are we going to do this or what?”
In a dark, dank alley behind Sweet Johnny Sugarshine’s Electrostatic Groove Lounge, Private First-Class Steven W. Sykes, honorably discharged, felt the cold gritty pavement press into his knees as he looked up at the sizable bulge taking up space in the crotch of a pair of jeans that belonged to his longtime friend and army buddy, Rick Danfield.
“Yeah,” Sykes said as he took a deep breath, held it, then exhaled. “Here we go.”
The moonlight glistened off of the gooey product that Danfield had applied ever so liberally to his curly hair. “Come on, man. This thing ain’t gonna suck itself.”
Sykes pushed his sunglasses up, leaving them perched on his forehead, sitting atop an American flag bandana he used to keep his long, brown hair out of his eyes. “No…you got me there. It certainly isn’t going to do that. Nope. No siree Bob.”
Try as he might, Sykes just was not able to move his hand, mouth, or any other body party anywhere near his pal’s member.
“Jesus Christ, Sy-ko,” Danfield said.
“Don’t call me that!” Sykes barked.
“Whatever, man,” Danfield replied.
“I never deserved that nickname,” Sykes said. “I served my country with honor and distinction in the war. I was in complete control of my mental faculties the entire time.”
“Who cares?” Danfield asked. “It was ‘Nam, brother. Everyone did some crazy shit. You mean to tell me you were able to walk around the jungle with an ear necklace for four years but slurping the old salamander is where you draw the line?”
Sykes pointed a finger up at Danfield. “I did not cut those ears off!”
“Whatever,” Danfield said.
“I found those ears!” Sykes said. “I was holding them until I could return them to their rightful owners!”
“I’m not judging, man,” Danfield said.
“There’s nothing to judge,” Sykes said. “Uncle Sam asked me to give Charlie hell and that’s what I did.”
“Fine,” Danfield said. “But the fact remains that I’ve yet to find a steady chick, and you’ve yet to find a steady chick, so we might as well help each other out until our chick ships come in, ya dig?”
“It’s ridiculous that we’re both still single!” Sykes said. “Our fathers sailed to Normandy and cock punched Hitler and when they came home, they were swimming in poon, but we get forced to fight a war over the economy of a faraway Asian country where everyone is trading rocks for chickens and all the cooze says, ‘Oh no! No hot snapper for you, baby killer!’”
“I ain’t kill no baby,” Danfield said.
“I didn’t kill any babies either!” Sykes said.
“Check it out, man,” Danfield said. “The country’s startin’ to pull its shit together. Jimmy Carter done went and pardoned all the draft dodgers.”
“And those cowardly sons of bitches are pulling down more trim than we are!” Sykes said.
“Everyone’s startin’ to heal,” Danfield said. “Startin’ to forgive. Only a matter of time before the public starts looking at us with the respect we deserve.”
“I’m not asking for much,” Sykes asked. “I’m just tired of being treated like a criminal for doing what my country told me to do.”
“Aren’t we all?” Danfield asked. “But hey man, can I give you some free advice?”
“If it will delay me getting a mouth full of man meat, sure.”
“Look at yourself, brother,” Danfield said. “You got your fatigues on. You got that bandana. Everybody’s trying to forget ‘Nam and you’re a walking reminder of it.”
“I’m proud of my service, Rick.”
“You should be. I’m proud of mine. But you’re more than a soldier, Steve. And a’int no lady gonna give you the time of day if you keep walkin’ around, lookin’ like a billboard for the least popular war in American history.”
“Fair point,” Steve said. “But wait, why should I listen to you? What do you know about scoring with babes? You’re out here trying to get your sausage gargled by a man.”
“So, that’s pretty gay.”
“What’s gay about it?”
Sykes shot his buddy a look as if to silently say, “Really?”
“I’m all about the pussy,” Danfield said. “But I’ve been thinking, what if all the gay dudes are onto something? Would it be so bad to try it and then if I like it, I’ll go all in and if I don’t, no harm done.”
“No harm done?” Sykes asked. “But then you’d be gay!”
“What?” Danfield asked. “A fella gets his pickle smooched one time and that automatically makes him gay?”
“Of course, it does!” Sykes said.
“If a man writes one sentence, is he a professional writer?” Danfield inquired.
“Well,” Sykes answered. “No, I suppose not.”
“If a man bangs a drum, does that get him a spot in an orchestra?”
“If a man runs a single mile, does he take home a gold medal from the Olympics?”
“OK,” Sykes said. “I see what you’re saying. We’re young. We’re in our prime. We should be trying new things. Sampling the smorgasbord of life, as it were.”
“Exactly,” Danfield said. “Now, enough talk, man. Get to work already.”
“You got it,” Sykes said as he smacked his lips together. “I’m…uh…going in. Going in for the big suck-a-roo. Here I come and…hey, wait!”
“What if you don’t like it?” Sykes asked.
“Then I will have learned I don’t like it and I’ll never do gay shit ever again,” Danfield said.
Sykes nodded. “OK. That makes sense. I’m sorry.”
“Nothing to be sorry about.”
“I’m just nervous, you know?”
Danfield patted his friend on the head. “It’s cool. Just let it happen.”
“Alright,” Sykes said. “This…this’ll be fine, right?”
“It’s not going to traumatize me at all,” Sykes said.
“I don’t see why it would,” Danfield said.
“OK,” Sykes said. “Here I come…no big deal.”
“Just like chewing on a hot dog.”
“Right,” Sykes said. “I love hot dogs.”
“Who doesn’t love hot dogs?” Danfield asked.
“Not this guy,” Sykes said, pointing to himself. Ever so timidly, he moved his face closer to the bulge before abruptly backing away. “Wait!”
Danfield rolled his eyes. “Man! If you don’t wanna do it, then just say so!”
“It’s not that!” Sykes said. “It’s just…we promised we’d do this for each other.”
“But what if me sucking your dick teaches you that you’re not gay, then am I still going to get my dick sucked?” Sykes asked.
Danfield blew a contemptuous raspberry. “Pbbbht! Hell no. You can’t ask a straight man to suck your dick.”
Sykes stood up and threw up his hands. “I’m sorry bud. I wanted to do this for you but I was promised a certain level of reciprocity and if there’s no guarantee that I’m going to get it, then…”
“Shit, Steve,” Danfield said. “Do you want me to go first?”
Sykes thought about the question, then shook his head in the negative. “No, because then if it turns out I’m not gay, I’m going to feel bad when I realize I’m too straight to suck your dick, you hear me?”
“I get it,” Danfield said. “Maybe this experiment was ill-advised.”
“Nah, buddy,” Sykes said as he wrapped an arm around his friend. “I just think we need to find some bonafide, legit gay guyswho would just like to slurp our poles for the joy of doing so, with no preconceived promises of reciprocity and…”
“Was that you?”
“I didn’t say anything.”
The pair headed for the street when the sound came again. Grrr.
“You hungry?” Sykes asked.
“Then, what in the…”
From out of the darkness, two yellow eyes appeared. They glowed. It was sheer chaos. The soldiers had no clue what was going on. One claw grabbed Sykes. The other grabbed Danfield. Their heads were knocked together, causing them to lose consciousness.