A madcap coming-out story with a wicked bent, Sparkle: The Queerest Book You'll Ever Love has it all: sex, drugs, and 80's rock 'n' roll, piercings and tattoos, drag queens and near-death experiences, all with a beautiful San Francisco backdrop and enough twists and turns to make even Lombard Street jealous.
Your mama never told you that being queer could be this much fun!
I peeked into the room, and in the corner was Chuck, holding back another guy who was cursing and who had obviously been crying. Drama! The only thing I could make out was the other guy saying, “I’ll kill him. I’ll kill that lousy fuck.” And other things along those lines. Chuck was trying to calm the other guy down by telling him how it wasn’t worth it and that he should just leave and to count his blessings that he found out now instead of down the road. Man, Chuck was cute, even in emergency situations. Luckily, the booze was by the door, so I poured myself another gin and tonic and continued to watch the scene unfold.
It took Chuck another five minutes or so, but the other guy finally started to calm down and was getting ready to leave, when guess who should pop in for a drink? Yup, it was our old buddy, William. Well, that’s when the you know what hit the fan. It seemed that the ever-popular William was the source of the misery. No great surprise there. Should’ve known, right?
“You lousy piece of shit,” the traumatized stranger shouted out, and Chuck had to restrain him yet again. “If I ever get my hands on you, I’m going to fucking strangle you.”
And, calm as he could be, William looked him right in the eyes and said, “If I was you, I’d be having this conversation with your boyfriend and not with me. I didn’t force him to have sex with me. Actually, he was the one who approached me. Practically begged me for it. As a matter of fact, if you were any kind of boyfriend to him at all, you should be thanking me. From the looks and sounds of it, your boyfriend really needed a good fuck.”
Then there was the briefest moment of silence in that kitchen. (Well, except for the tinkling of the ice in my glass. Tension makes me thirsty, you see.) And then the other guy just snapped, and it took several men this time to hold him back. I don’t think in all my years I’d ever seen another person so full of hatred. Honestly, it was almost scary. Well, it probably would’ve been scary, but between the drugs and the booze, I wasn’t feeling much of anything by that point. Then William, still not the least bit riled, finished fixing himself a drink and walked back out into the living room. A few minutes later, Chuck and his distraught charge were leaving through the front door. And Bruce, me, I was just leaning against the counter, trying very hard to stay awake, or at least upright. Which wasn’t too easy, mind you. Nope.
I don’t really remember anything after that. But I do remember where I woke up the next morning. I know it had to be really early, because it was just starting to get light outside and the room had a faint blue-gray glow to it. I blinked a few times and forced my eyes open to look around. I say forced, because it felt like my head was being crushed by a thousand-pound weight. Beneath a boulder. Everything looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it. It was all sort of déjà vu-ish. So I just rested there, very still, and tried to let my mind go over the details of the night before. And then a new thought popped into my head. Because it suddenly dawned on me that I wasn’t wearing any clothes. And, wouldn’t you know it, at that very same moment, I felt another person behind me as I heard a rustling noise.
Very slowly, I rolled over. I kept my eyes closed and pretended to still be asleep. Why? Fuck if I knew. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. Remember, I was still new at this (but learning fast). After what seemed like an eternity, I blinked open my peepers, and there they were: those same steel, blue eyes I’d seen just before William kissed me.
“Morning, Secret,” he whispered, with a wry grin, probably the same one the Devil gives you just before he tosses you into the lava pit.
“My name’s Bruce,” I mumbled back.
“Let’s stick to Secret,” he countered with, drawing ever nearer. I knew I should’ve hated him. I knew I should’ve jumped out of that bed, found my clothes, and hightailed it out of there. But, damn it, he just looked so ... so ... well, he just looked, and, like a deer caught in the headlights, I stayed put.
“What time is it, William?” I asked, terrified of the answer.
“It’s almost seven, why?” he answered, and my head pounded.
“I have to be at work by eight.” I felt like crying. I probably should’ve asked for the day off, but I needed the money way too much to have done that, smart as it might’ve been. And I, not in my wildest dreams, ever expected to be where I was right at that very moment.
“Don’t worry, you can shower here, and then I’ll drive you over to the restaurant. You’ll be there in plenty of time, and I guarantee you’ll be wide awake and ready to serve your pretty, little ass off.” He was still grinning when he said that and then he put his index finger beneath my chin and gently leaned in and gave me the softest, sweetest kiss. Good morning to me, I thought. And what in the world am I getting myself into?