Turning Idolater

Turning Idolater by Edward C. Patterson Read Free Book Online

Book: Turning Idolater by Edward C. Patterson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Edward C. Patterson
could I know?”
    “Let’s not make assumptions,” Thomas said. “If you
want to know what I look like, I could email you a photo — a jpeg.
I am quite computer literate for an old fart. Or . . .”
    “That would be nice. Perhaps, a naked one. You could
shine up your wheelchair. But, we could like . . .”
    “Like what?”
    “Meet somewhere.”
    Sprakie was shouting in his head now. Serial
killer.
    “That would be fine with me. You won’t mind my
seeing-eye dog?”
    “Cut it out. The joke’s stale.” He glanced at his
watch. “I need to get back to work”
    “Where?”
    “Here, or I’ll lose this job.”
    “But you are the main attraction.” Giggle. “I meant,
where shall we meet?”
    “Do you know where The Imperial Coffee Mug is
in the East Village?”
    “Know it well. What day?”
    Philip struggled with his mental calendar, which
lately was so empty it was full. “Tonight?” he said.
    “Great!”
    “I’m off at eleven.”
    “Come as you are,” Thomas said. “I will see you
then.”
    “See you then.”
    “Yes, my angel.”
    Click.
    Philip closed his eyes. The waves splashed on the
jetties and he could see the distant horizon. The night would drag
on until closing. He knew it. What will Sprakie think? Nantucket dissipated at the thought. “I’d better invite him along,
just in case.” Serial killer. He wondered if the cell phone
was fully charged yet. Time for that later.
    Ctrl-F9 . Back in. Break over.

Chapter Four
Coffee Ceremonial
1
    The early spring chill clung to the evening soul of
the East Village, much like a cold harbor waiting for its crew to
ring the night bell and slurry out to sea. Never slumbering, the
crisscrossed lanes and by-ways sang the song of the alive and the
free, of the adrift and the wandering. These were the carols awake
and acceptable, no map needed to understand the tidal pull; no
liturgy wanted to keep us holy and safe from shoals. Here unfurled
art and tangents, fostering fireworks and introspection in the same
flare — a place in the sun at midnight, where no clock holds our
course to the hour, the month or the year. Only the barkeeps and
drag queens parry regulation, keeping such lore under lock and key
— hymnals emblematic to sailors holding hands in their hammocks
strung by night, never slumbering to the buzz-saw snoring liturgy
held fast within the barkeep’s ring.
    Down Christopher Street, lovers strolled, hand in
hand, fingers entwined — men with men — womyn with womyn; and here
and there, the opposite sex found their Republican granted freedom
and followed their gay sister’s example. Drag queens ruled
sidewalks like karaoke boxes. Sassy and fiery, they mustered the
citizenry to the challenge. Leathermen and bears swaggered with
pudding sweetness within the dark clubs and sweat pools. The
accountant fell swiftly into his Shirley Temple watching
gym-bunnies in jockstraps and not much more. Twinks hopped from
corner to corner seeking quick fun and quick cash. The street
teamed with strollers, dog walkers, cruisers, and general trash
disguised as fine dessert. Being Nelly was fine. Being butch was
grand. Everything pierced. Everything spiked. The vortex of the
maelstrom and nothing sleeping. Sleeping was for the suburbs, not
for Christopher Street.
    While dance bars ruled the night, chance encounters
called for coffee. The Imperial Coffee Mug was a fine place
to exercise such protocols. Facing the street with a broad window
where the java juiced could watch the strollers parade, passers-by
could glimpse at the coffee mavens and their wares. Philip, Sprakie
in tow, shuffled by the window and gazed inside. The place was
packed — mostly young men to middling, but there were a few
croakers hunched alone over their brew cups. Thomas Dye was one of
them, to be sure. The question was . . .
    “Now, there’s a question,” Sprakie mused. “I bet
it’s that old troll in the corner.”
    Philip frowned. Probably was , he thought. He
was the only one in

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