We have RP Andrews stopping by today with his new release For the Love of Samuel
New York’s Gone But Not Forgotten Leather Scene and My New Erotic Gay Romance, “For The Love Of Samuel”
My latest work of erotic gay romance, “For The Lovel of Samuel” is a story of love lost snd love found, set in contemporary New York City and Fort Lauderdale, where an aging gay man who loses his lover to despair is given a chance at eternal youth and the love of his life through the magical powers of the dog tag of a long dead Civil War soldier, Samuel Evans.
My book opens in 2012 in Manhattan’s West Village where my protagonist Billy and his older lover and mentor Gus, once the dynamic duo of New York’s colorful leather scene, gone by the time my book begins, are now leading broken lives. Gus, once one of New York’s leading neurosurgeons, has bercome the cruel victim of a stroke, and Billy who ran the marketing deoartment for one of the City’s major health centers, is left to grab a lowly copywriter’s job at a two bit ad agency after his hospital goes bankrupt.
My book is as much a story of humanity’s never ending search for eternal youth and true love as it is a bittersweet salute of to that leather scene l lived as much as my characters during its heyday of the eighties and nineties.
True, you can still find vestiges of the Sleaze Factor and echoes of the glory days of the seventies, eighties and nineties in Manhattan’s new Eagle, which opened shortly before I moved to Florida in 2002, or Fort Lauderdale’s Ramrod leather bar, rechristened the Gearshaft in my book, both of which play prominent roles in “For The Love Of Samuel.” But for real authentic sleaze you’d have to take a time machine back to New York City’s West Village Sleaze Alley threesome, the Spike, the Eagle and the Lure.
For anybody in the leather/levi scene of decades past and living in New York, visiting these bars on a Friday and Saturday night was a given. You wouldn’t just visit one of them even if essentially the same guys frequented all three. You’d have your early evening beer at the Rawhide in Chelsea (for those of us who came in from the ‘burbs parking in the West 20’s was saner). But by 11ish you were trotting your levied ass (or bare one if you were wearing chaps under your trench) down to West Street. The streets were dimly lit and kinda scary to be honest, but you didn’t care. You were butch (with no shirt under your leather jacket on a 10 degree NYC January night so your tits were all perky for your grand unveiling in the bar) and about to enter Manhattan’s Butch Zone. The “S” bars were all within reasonable walking distance of one another, so making the circuit was easy even with the wind blowing in your face.
And when you’re Saturday night horny, four or five blocks in sub-zero weather means nothing. Remember these were the days long before you were able to connect naked in your bedroom on the web.
While the other bars of the triumvirate were a bit kinder when it came to dress code, at the Lure it didn’t matter what you looked like; if you were wearing sneakers or, Jesus, after-shave or cologne, Mr. Bouncer would turn you away.
And once you entered these temples to sleaze, there was no place, I mean NO PLACE, to move except against another sweaty body in bars the size of the men’s section at any Macy’s. The smell of man-drenched arm pits and chests, beer-laden piss, even carcasses (The Lure, in the heart of the now chic Meat Market, was once a meat packing warehouse) was everywhere. While it was nice to socialize with some buddies, cruising was the main reason you were there in this world before 24/7 cybersex. And even if it was more illusion than reality, these holes had the dingy, dreggy look as if they had been there from the early days of NYC’s pre-gay liberation when being queer meant belonging to some truly secret society of men, not a sub-cultural demographic dissected by Congress and wooed by Corporate America.
On Summer Sunday late afternoons from 4 until about 8, the Sleaze torch was handed over to the Dugout at West and Christopher. There, sweaty men, half naked men flooded the corner, searching for the one last fling m two of the weekend before Monday morning reality came crashing down on all our respective little shitty worlds.
If they hadn’t become victims of the real estate boom that transformed this abandoned sector of New York into a new Soho, (though I understand it’s still called the Meat Packing District), NYC’s gay sleaze alley might still be with us. But alas, that was not to be. While City dwellers and tourists can still point to places like the Eagle or the Ramrod, it just ain’t the same without the West Village threesome, smelly corners of the world that every leather/levi bar today, whether it realizes it or not, is seeking to emulate, replicate, recreate.
In 2015 l, visited New York City for the first time in thirteen years, and one afternoon took the subway from my two hundred dollars a night hotel in the garment district down to Sheridan Square and the West Village, my old stomping grounds. Christopher Street, the catwalk of my youth, was now more trendy than sexy, and where my seedy hangouts, the original Eagle, the Spike and the Lure, once catered to the whims of the leather/levi crowd, high rise condos sliced into the sky. The crumpling West Street piers, the site of decadent night time liaisons, were now a sleek urban park, complete with a jogging trail and tourist ferries.
Ah, if only the sidewalks could talk
But as they say, you can’t go home again.
I’m just hoping some gay historian had the smarts to save the “Don’t Flush for Piss” sign in the Spike’s john that said it all before everything came tumbling down.
Title: For the Love of Samuel
Author: RP Andrews
Release Date: 11/20/2017
Heat Level: 5 – Erotica
Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Fantasy, erotic gay romance, erotic gay fiction
New Yorker and aging gay man Billy Veleber who abhors growing old has lost Jim, his former meth head lover, to his habit, and Gus, the older man in his life and mentor, to despair, when he is confronted with the chance to become 21 all over again, through the magical prowess of the dog tag of a long dead Civil War soldier, Samuel Evans. Young again, Billy abandons Manhattan for Fort Lauderdale where he meets Dare, the love of his life, whose clever quick rich venture first bonds them, then threatens to end their idyllic lives together forever. Billy also faces the reality of having to tell Dare the truth about himself.
Billy Veleber, a 51 year old aging gay mam living in Manhattan, after a number of heartbreaks, decides to put on the dog tag of a Civil soldier given to him by Travis, a clerk in a thrift shop in Boystown, Chicago, who tells him it will give him eternal youth if he has had or has love in his life. The dog tag had been handed down for generations since it was given to Walt Whitman by a dying soldier he nursed in the Washington, D.C., Armory Hospital in 1862. Over the intervening weekend, Billy begins his transformation to 21, the same age as the soldier, Samuel Evans, whose dog tag he wears, died …
I leave the baths around five, and after a coma nap, a quick Smart Choice Fettuccini Alfredo 400 calorie dinner and a good hot shower – I notice with cocky satisfaction in the bedroom’s full length mirror that my love handles are history, my stomach is flatter, my receding hairline is unreceding, and most of the gray on my head and in my beard and and on – yes! – my chest is going or gone, I head over in my leather vest, no shirt, and levis and boots for The New Eagle off Tenth Avenue. It’s almost one – a.m. – but as one of my fuck buddies before Gus and even Jim, said, “That’s when they stop window shopping.”
Now it’s called The New Eagle because the old Eagle, along with the Spike and the Lure, the leather triumvirate of my youth and my years with Gus, were gone. They had become the victims of the real estate boom at the turn of the millennium, and had been brutally and sacrilegiously torn down for shiny, gleaming condos and spankingly clean baby carriages.
In the crappy bathroom at the Spike they had stenciled on the black wall in cheap white paint, “Don’t flush for piss.” That said it all. I only hoped some gay historians had saved that piece of the wall before it too became history. Now all we have left is the hole on Tenth Avenue, what us hardcore leathermen sarcastically brand as Genuine “Vi-nel.”
I strut in, my goose-step no longer adopted but my own, and find the same Chatty Cathy cliques – different faces, same old shit – going on like the last time I was here with Gus just after we’d gotten back from our first class holiday excursion to Athens and Rome and a few weeks before his stroke.
In between the groupies are some of the oldest members of our clan, The Old Guard, usually alone because most of their cronies are already dead, and usually with enough keys hanging from their belts to rival a night watchman at the Chrysler Building, the fucken handkerchiefs hanging from their pockets, so Twentieth Century, or the best of them in faded, stretched out jock straps that should be on Antiques Road Show along with their owners. Yea it’s true, the older some of these guys got, the less they wore. For attention I guess.
Admired or ridiculed, it doesn’t matter; the greatest sin is to be ignored.
I order my nine dollar screwdriver with fifteen cents of vodka in it, and head up the stairs to the second level where just a year before Gus and I had had our leather marriage ceremony.
As I’m going up the stairs some twink in a super short Tux jacket, Bermuda shorts and floppies and one of those Abe Lincoln top hats – I guess he thinks he’s in the Garment District because anywhere else he’d be tire-ironed – and his angelic girl friend, a vision in pink, dressed in a fluffy chiffon skirt, low cut blouse and sneakers, are waltzing down the stairs. They give a funny stare but I stare them right back.
“You,” say I, pointing to the bitch, “don’t belong here.”
“You can’t discriminate against us, fucker,” replies her boyfriend who sounds like he shoots up with estrogen in the morning.
I give him a frumpy look back. Yea, buddy you’re right. The days when a leather bar could stop you from coming in if you weren’t dressed “in code” are over. With the leather scene fading faster than an Atlantic City “Wish You Were Here” postcard, it’s all about selling the liquor.
There’s less people upstairs, the same Chatty Cathy shit going on or guys on their fucken phones GPSing you but never making a move beyond that, when I see HIM.
He’s tall but not too tall, hairy but not a gorilla like me, older but not old, with an open leather camouflage vest showing a tight, lightly furry chest and six pack out of one of Men’s Fitness cover stories, “Dynamite Abs in Just Six Weeks!”, a scrawny beard and face of a felon who did hard labor, and leather gloves and biker’s cap to complete the whole Neo-Nazi look.
Plus a pair of furry, honey melon buns deliciously hanging from his chaps begging to be tongued.
He’s standing at the other end of the bar, surrounded by clones though he is far and away the pick of the litter. I lock my eyes on him like a laser for a good ten minutes but I get hardly a glance.
Now in the old days before Jim and Gus when I was free as a bird but as timid as a spinster, I would have just moved on. Oh, but this was the new Billy, the ballsy Billy. I walk over and stand two feet away from Mr. Hot Shit and his court jesters and just keep staring.
Finally I get his attention.
“You got a problem, bud?” he says returning the stare of a killer. His cronies do the same.
“Well, I’ve been cruising you for at least ten minutes now and I didn’t even get a fart back.”
“So what are you looking for, some fem, or fat boy, or maybe some tough guy with whips, chains and razors hanging from his belt?”
His buddies begin to little girl giggle, but not a muscle moves in Hotshit’s Stone Mountain face.
“I’m not into watching your pubic hairs grow in, buddy.”
“How old do you think I am?”
“Thirty, thirty two maybe.”
Fuck, dude, I’d suck your dick all night just for that. But I continue to play it cool.
“So you get your kicks changing some old man’s Depends, I guess.”
Now Hotshit is the only one that’s laughing.
“Okay, smart ass, buy me a beer.”
He follows me to the bar and after collecting our beers, we move to the other side and sit down on the wood bleachers.
“I gotta tell you buddy -”
“Billy, name’s Billy.”
“Hank, in from LA. Hell, Billy, you’re the first guy I’ve met in a long time that’s got balls for real.”
“Hey, I know what I want, so why waste one another’s time?”
“And you want me?”
“If you can deal with all this.” I glide my hand over the fur on my chest and abs when Hank puts his hand over mine and pushes it further down to my crotch.
“I dig the fur big time. And most younger guys are so used to deleting and blocking everybody, they don’t know how to talk, Christ, they don’t know how to fart in public. But you – you sound pretty mature for a kid old enough to be my son.”
“You don’t have to be old to have your shit together.”
Hank raises his razor chin. “So how old do you think I am, stud?”
Now with that hard core felon face, I took him for fifty but PR taught me to tell people what they wanna hear.
“Good answer,” he replies. “I’m 46.”
“l just threw a guy out younger than you,” I say smugly.
“High maintenance. Wanted it all the time. Hey, what do I look like, some fucking machine?”
“You must be pretty tough.” He smiles for the first time since we connected, a tough guy’s, controlled, but a smile nonetheless.
“Yea, I’m a trust fund baby, do what I wanna do, when I wanna do it, with whoever I wanna do it with.”
It’s refreshing to create whatever past the moment calls for when you know, chances are, you’ll never see the guy again.
“And you?” I ask. “You’re not one of these aging hotties who live off those of us with money are you?” This time I place my hand on his chest, rubbing it slowly back and forth from nipple to nipple. He’s got a nice succulent set.
“You know something,” with his own smart ass grin. “I’m going to really enjoy hearing you howl while I fuck you.”
I get up, pat my ass for his benefit, then sit down again.
“This ain’t yours yet.”
“Okay, fair enough.” He takes my hand, places it on his crotch, a respectable bulge at that. “I’m a set designer in Hollyweird, between gigs which is why I decided go visit New York and see some old buddies …”
“…who you’re free loading off of.”
“If you mean, I’m staying with one of them the answer is yes.”
“Current trans-coastal lover, present or former fuck buddy, auditioning sugar daddy, which is it?”
“None of the above. Just a buddy’s couch and a lumpy one at that.”
“Well then, that makes it easy.” I get down off the bleachers and wait for him to follow. He does.
“Remember.” He taps on the chrome and leather armband on his bulging left bicep.
“So two tops can have fun,” I say matter of factly, taping on my neoprene version, also on my not quite as bulging as his left bicep. “Who ends up on the bottom bunk is a matter of luck and timing.”
Purchase at Amazon
RP Andrews spent most of his life in New York City as a public relations executive before relocating to Fort Lauderdale in 2002, where he enjoyed a brief second career teaching writing at a local university.
All his works of erotic gay fiction and non-fiction are available at amazon.com.
His first work of erotic gay fiction, a collection of edgy short stories called “Basic Butch,” was originally published by San Francisco-based GLBT Publishers in 2008. Basic Butch features characters who go down life paths that, in the end, they wish they had never explored.
His latest works of serious gay fiction include:
“The Czar of Wilton Drive,” the story of Jonathan Antonucci, a twenty-one-year- old, barely-out-the-closet gay man from suburban New York who overnight finds himself a multimillionaire, thanks to a bequest by his late gay uncle. Uncle Charlie has unexpectedly died of a heart attack, leaving him the sole owner of several of the most successful bars in Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale’s gay ghetto, making Jonathan the Czar of Wilton Drive.
Flying down to Lauderdale to claim his bequest, Jon encounters Uncle Charlie’s dubious friends and business associates, and is immediately submerged in Lauderdale’s scene of unbridled sex and heavy drugs. He also discovers his great uncle’s memoirs which reveal truths not only about Jon’s own past but also what may have really happened to his uncle. In the end, Jon is torn between avenging Uncle Charlie’s death or loving the man responsible for it.
“Not In It For The Love,” set at the turn of the new millennium. Josh, a young street-smart Florida drifter is snatched from his dead-end existence as a male hustler in a cheap Key Largo motel by Bishop, a Wall Street power broker who sets him up as his trophy boy in Manhattan society. There, Josh, after leading a promiscuous lifestyle within New York City’s gay sub-culture, meets Hylan, a young, bi-racial, down-on-his luck, wheelchair-bound musician who awakens in Josh what love can be between two men. But their chance at happiness and the lives of those around them are forever changed by 9/11.
“Buy Guys,” published in 2015, is the story of Blaze and Pete, two handsome young drifters with nothing and nothing to lose. Blaze convinces Pete, who is falling in love with him, to leave dreary New Jersey and lead free and easy lives as male prostitutes in sunny Fort Lauderdale. Blaze, however, soon pulls Pete into a much larger, more dangerous scheme, a scheme that eventually threatens to destroy them both.
RP Andrews’ daily social commentary blog on gay life in America has been running since 2010 at str8gayconfessions.com, and a second edition collection of these commentaries is available as an e-book on amazon.com. Confessions of a Str8Gay Man is RP Andrews’ unvarnished, unorthodox views of Modern Gay America which are often counter to today’s political correct gay media.
In addition, there is “Furry Man’s Journal,” his erotic memoirs as a hirsute gay man as told through his experiences with the dozen iconic men in his life.
For more info, visit eroticgayromancebyrpandrews.com.
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