Maybe it’s the clear skies, or just the pleasure of being back home in the city, but my most recent Sex Blog Roundups for Fleshbot have been drawn to the sunny side of the street.
Last week, the roundup focused on those happy campers who seem to enjoy life as it comes. This week, we tinkered with those inventive folks who like to try new things.
And speaking of good news:
Last week, I was over at Mitzi’s place, catching up on the current season of “Deadwood.” Over the past few months, she had walked me through the first two seasons in anticipation of the new installments.
She got me good and hooked just as we learned that the series is being cancelled so that David Milch can focus on a new show about surfers.
He seems to be restless cocksucker, that David Milch. But gosh, what a craft for language. Mitzi and I keep a copy of the Dictionary of American Slang handy when watching “Deadwood” so that we can be ready to check references on arcane usage. So far, we’ve only caught one apparent slip, when a character used a phrase that didn’t exist until World War I.
Not at all a bad record.
I had the slang dictionary ready, and Mitzi was futzing about her desk in preparation of a “Deadwood” double feature. She closed her calendar and turned to me.
“Hey, you want to get an HIV test tomorrow?”
I looked up. “What, just like that?”
She explained that she had an appointment with the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in Chelsea. The test was free, she said, and you get the results in twenty minutes.
“If they make it that easy, how can I refuse?” I said.
Mitzi called to add me to her appointment. And then we turned to our stories, having previously told our gods to prepare for blood.
The plan to get tested was spontaneous, but sometimes, you go with the flow.
Like the time I was at Mitzi’s to watch “The Sopranos” and happened to catch something on television that I simply couldn’t fathom was real.
“Mitzi, Mitzi!” I called. “Come here, you won’t believe this!”
“What? What?” She ran over, a frantic edge in her voice.
There, on the screen, we saw a bowl being filled with creamy mashed potatoes. Gravy was poured over the potatoes, followed by kernels of sweet corn. Tiny bits of fried chicken were bounced onto the mixture, and the whole was topped by shredded cheese.
Animated confetti bounced around the bowl as an announcer’s voice let us know that we had witnessed the creation of a “Famous Bowl,” available now at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
“Is that real?” I asked, incredulous. “I mean, do they really sell that? It looks like a parody of junk food. Is it real?”
“I think it’s real, Jefferson,” Mitzi replied, equally stunned.
“But . . . that’s got to be incredibly bad for people,” I said.
“That will kill you, all right,” Mitzi nodded.
“It looks like . . . it looks like something you might eat at home, like, putting all the leftovers in one bowl and scarfing it after midnight. But you would never tell people you ate like that.”
“Right! People would be appalled.”
“But . . . you could actually walk into a Kentucky Fried Chicken and order this, and then eat it, right there in public.”
I looked at her. “Is there a Kentucky Fried Chicken near here?”
Half an hour later, we were back on her couch. On the table before us were two Famous Bowls, two biscuits and two glasses of Merlot.
We pealed the plastic tops from the Famous Bowls.
Inside, there was a swirled glop of food, a kitchen sink recipe of all the different things you can get at Kentucky Fried Chicken, all mixed in one Styrofoam bowl.
We lifted our forks.
“I guess it all gets mixed up in the end, anyway,” I said.
“Wait, I want a picture!” Mitzi said, jumping to get her camera.
We held our bowls aloft and posed.
After the flash, though, we had stalled long enough. We had to eat the Famous Bowls.
I lifted a fork. “To your health,” I said.
“To your eventual heart attack,” Mitzi smiled.
We tasted our bites, allowing our palates to discern the various textures—mushy potatoes, crunchy chicken, crisp corn.
“I don’t know,” Mitzi said. “I think my mouth is confused.”
“Can’t talk,” I chewed. “I’m clogging an artery.”
We finished our Famous Bowls and biscuits, then turned on “The Sopranos.” I sat back with my wine, waiting to see if my dinner would kill me dead.
Fat Vinnie died that night, but Mitzi and I would live to eat another day.
There was more bloodshed on “Deadwood” during our double feature—gratefully, we weren’t chewing Famous Bowls when an eyeball was gouged on a muddy thoroughfare.
The next day, we met to have our own blood drawn.
I was late. When I arrived, Mitzi was already nursing a pinprick on her bandaged index finger and filling out a form with her recent sexual history.
“You may want to request additional pages to your form, slut,” she teased.
Presently, my name was called. A handsome man introduced himself to me as my HIV counselor, and ushered me to an examination room.
We sat. In a calm voice, he explained the procedure to me. It would be a simple prick, and if I wanted, I could have the results in twenty minutes.
He asked if he could inquire about my recent sexual history.
Fire away, I said.
He ran me through a list of sexual acts as I repeated yes, yes, yes. He ran me through a list of unsafe practices as I repeated no, no, no.
“How many partners would you say you have had in the last six months?”
My mind was blank. “Seriously? Uh . . .”
“Ten? Fifty? A hundred?”
“Wow, a hundred, huh? You get that? Maybe I’m not so slutty as I thought. Put me down for, I don’t know, twenty. Wait, twenty-five.”
He laughed. “Okay, twenty-five. You’re keeping busy.”
“I know. I was married for a long time.”
“Ah.” He nodded, as if that non sequitur were explanation enough.
I promised I would not hurt myself if I got bad news from the test.
My counselor asked me about my kids as he pricked my finger.
When I returned to the waiting area, I learned that Mitzi’s HIV status was confirmed as negative.
“Congrats,” I said, kissing her. “I’m still in limbo, you know.”
My counselor returned to escort me to his office.
“Well,” he said, closing the door. “Your results were non-reactive.”
I smiled, assuming the news would be good, even as my brain processed the term “non-reactive.”
“ . . . meaning that you test negative for the virus.”
“Now, this result does not address the possibility of infection in the past three months, so you need to continue to be safe and to get tested regularly.”
“Do you have any questions for me?”
I did not.
He stood to walk me to the waiting area. Mitzi stood to join me. My counselor handed me an envelope containing a printed record of my results.
He shook my hand. “Now, my name and phone number are in the envelope. You can call me, anytime.”
“Thanks,” I smiled.
Mitzi smiled and we made our way to the elevator.
“My cute counselor gave me his phone number,” I whispered. “Did you notice?”
“Please don’t fuck your HIV counselor,” she whispered.
We decided to treat ourselves to a big lunch in celebration of our clean bills of health. We walked to the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
We toasted with Margaritas.
“To your clean blood,” she said.
“To clean living,” I said.
I ordered pulled pork tamales, with black-eyed pea salsa. They were to die.
The Callen-Lorde Community Health Center is located at 356 West 18th Street. Appointments for free confidential testing may be made by calling (212) 271-7200.