Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Back in the mid seventies and early eighties I had a friend in Midland named Crandall. He was tall, blond, and blue eyed with a hairy chest. I met him in 1975 when I walked into the “Fisherman’s Warf” way out on Pearl Street in Odessa, Texas. The bar was a dive with a jukebox that got drowned out every time a train went by because it was right next to the tracks.

One night this drag queen named Hal unplugged the jukebox, cancelling out all the money we’d put in it, so he could stand on a table and announce that someone had stolen his turquoise and silver jewelry. “Now if whoever took it will come forward and give it back no questions will be asked.” First of all what self respecting gay man even in 1975 would be caught dead in tacky turquoise and silver jewelry? Did he actually think the person who stole it be dumb enough to come forward in a bar full of people? He mentioned something about everyone staying inside until he called the police, and that’s when he almost caused a riot. We were pissed off enough that his prissy ass unplugged the jukebox, but waiting around for the police wasn’t something gay guys wanted to do back then. They drove back and fourth in front of the place all the time just to harass us anyway. When a stampede of people started to bolt for the door, the manager George took the microphone and asked everyone to stay as he plugged the jukebox back in. We had to drop more quarters in it to get the music started again. I never did find out what happened to his jewelry, I’m sure some other drag queen stole it from the dressing room.

The night I met Crandall I was feeling pretty sure of myself and I decided I was going to walk in and pick out the best looking guy in the place and take him home with me. Crandall wasn’t hard to spot since he was taller than anyone else on the dance floor, and sure enough we went home and had sex that night. Over the years we became friends and “fuck buddies”. We’d go out to the bars together and if we couldn’t find suitable partners we’d go home and have sex with each other. Crandall was quite handsome and as long as he didn’t walk or talk he could make heads turn from both sexes, but once he was in motion all illusion was gone. He had this prissy way of walking and moved his hands in front of him as if he were pushing air out from in front of him, and he had a slight lisp that was a dead give away. Whenever I did, or said something bad he would say, “Oh Thammy you tho mean!” We were walking through the mall in Odessa once, and I was trying to walk a few steps behind him to make it appear that we weren’t together. These two teenage girls were sitting on this rail and smiled at him as he walked by, but as soon as he was out of their line of sight one of them elbowed the other, and they burst out laughing. When we got out the door he said, “Thammy, did you thee thoth girlth looking at me?” I bet they thought I wath cute.” I said, “No Crandall they were looking at you because they think you’re a fag.” He said, “Oh Thammy you juth jealous.”

Once we had to drive to Odessa to buy a dildo for a married doctor I was dating in Midland. I was embarrassed as hell and I told him before we went in, “Don’t say anything! Let’s just get in and pick one out and pay for it and get the hell out of there.” We browsed through the selection of plastic dicks and finally decided on one with a handle on the bottom that you could crank and make it wiggle. We walked up to the counter to pay for it the guy rang it up and gave me the total. As I was handing him the money Crandall said, “This ithn’t for uth, we’re buying it for thomeone elth.” My face turned beet red and all the air left my body. When we got outside and got in the car I started screaming, “Why didn’t you just keep your fucking mouth shut? He thought it was for us anyway and you just made it worse by telling him it was for someone else!” “Well, you don’t have to yell at me Thammy,” he said. Things went down hill after that. He took it out of the box and started turning the handle and giggling when it wiggled, then he held it up so that the lady in the car next to us could see it. My blood pressure must have been about a thousand by then and I screamed, “Put that fucking thing back in the box! Here we are in my company demonstrator with dealer plates, and you’re showing people plastic dicks! Do you want to get me fired?” About two seconds after that I passed an Odessa police officer, got pulled over, and got a ticket for speeding. I was ready to kill him right then and there. He said, “Thammy you can’t blame that on me.”

In one of our conversations I told him how embarrassed I’d been when I got crabs at the age of seventeen. I didn’t know what they were and I had to get my father to look and tell me. I was so hairy and I’d had them so long the damn things were in my navel and even on my head. My mother had a hissy fit screamed, yelled, and belittled me. Then she and my brother had to drive out to the pharmacy on the army base to pick up a huge tube of ointment I had to rub on myself and leave for hours. It stunk all to be damned and I told him I still had some of the stuff in case I ever got them again because it was such a humiliating experience. He told me, “Thammy I’ll never get the crabth.” I said, “How do you know Crandall?” “Because I only go to bed with clean people,” he said. I said, “It doesn’t matter Crandall I only go to bed with clean people. I took two showers a day when I was seventeen and I still got them.” He argued with me some more and said, “Well I don’t care what you thay, I’ll never get the crabth.”

One Sunday morning as I was sleeping off a hangover the phone rang at Kate’s house. One of her daughters yelled, “Sammy it’s for you, it’s Crandall.” I had to get up and put on a robe to get the phone from its niche in the hallway. It had a long cord so I could take it in my bedroom and shut the door. As soon as the other extension hung up this shrill, panicked, voice shrieked into the phone, “Oh Thammy I got the clap.” I said, “What?” Again he said, “Oh Thammy I got the clap.” “Crandall I can’t understand you. Did you say you’ve got the clap?” I asked.
He slowed down a little and said, “No Thammy I got the crabth,” he was hysterical. “You’ve got crabs? Well what do you want me to do about it?” I asked, as I counted off the weeks since I’d last had sex with him. “Could you get that medithine you have and bring it over?” he pleaded. I said, “Crandall I’m still in bed and I have to get up, shower, shave, and look for that medicine. It’s over five years old and I think it’s in the bottom of my great grandmother’s trunk, so I’ll have to look for it. It will be at least two hours before I can get over there.” “Oh Thammy can’t you bring it right now?” he pleaded. I said, “No Crandall I can’t and your crabs aren’t going to go anywhere in the next two hours. I’ll get there as fast as I can.” After I got cleaned up and found the old tube of ointment I just had to tell one of Kate’s daughters and we had a good laugh about it. She told me a remedy to tell him about and I couldn’t wait.

I drove over to his parent’s house, they were out of town, so he was alone. When I rang the doorbell he answered the door stark naked. He hurried me in and slammed the door closed as he headed toward the den spraying a can of Lysol on his hairy ass. Now you’ve got to picture this, here’s a handsome guy who looks like a blond Tom Sellick swishing through the house spraying Lysol alternately on his butt and in the air while heading for the sliding glass doors to the patio. The house reeked with the smell of bleach and I could hear the washer and dryer going. He slid open the glass door and ran out into the yard and plopped his naked ass on the redwood picnic table face up with his arms and legs spread out. That was when I noticed he was glistening from head to toe with something oily. I said, “Crandall what are you doing? Don’t you know people can see you through the cracks in the fence?” He said, “I don’t care I read thomewhere that ultraviolet rayth will kill them.” I said, “No they won’t and what is that greasy stuff you’re covered with?” “I couldn’t wait for you tho I went to the thore and bought two bottlth of medithine. I already uthed one bottle and thith ith the thecond one.” He said as he handed me the bottle. I read the directions and it said to leave on for twenty minutes and wash it off or it could cause skin irritation. I said, “How long have you had that on?” “About an hour.” He said. I said “The bottle says twenty minutes you’d better get in the shower and wash that shit off, or it’ll ruin your skin.” Mostly I just wanted this six foot two naked idiot to get his ass inside before someone called the police. I went into the bathroom as he showered and he told me through running water that he’d gotten them from some pharmaceutical salesman he’d slept with who’d made a sales call at the nursing home he was working for. He said he’d washed the sheets from his bed and his towels twice in bleach. I said, “From the smell you’ll be lucky if they don’t disintegrate you used too much bleach, besides it’s the heat from the dryer that’ll kill them not bleach.” “I don’t care Thammy I just want to make thure they’re all dead.” He said. I just had to remind him of our conversation months before where he’d said he would never get the crabs.

After he got out of the shower and dried off he wrapped the towel around himself. I was sitting on the bathroom counter and he was standing in front of me shifting his weight nervously from one foot to the other. “Now Thammy, you know we’re good good friendth.” He started. “Yes, I know” I said. “And you know we’ve had thex loth of thimth.” He said. He was right we’d done almost everything sexually two guys could do. “Well you know I wouldn’t athk you thith if we weren’t good good friendth.” He kept repeating it until I was beginning to loose my patience. “Yes Crandall we are good friends what is it?” I asked. “Well if I bend over and thpread my cheeks, will you look in my butt to thee if I have any crabth there?” I laughed and said, “Not unless you buy me two drinks and dim the lights first.” “Thammy thith ith theriouth, I’d do it for you.” He said. I said, “Crandall I wouldn’t ask you to look in my butt crack for crabs.” He kept on pleading and I suddenly remembered what Kate’s daughter had told me. I said, “Crandall I’ve got a better solution.” He was giving me an anxious look. I continued, “Get up here on the counter and turn your back to the mirror, then bend over and spread your cheeks. The crabs will think it’s a fresh ass and jump off.” I busted out laughing and he said, “Oh Thammy you tho mean!”
He finally found another friend to take a close look at where the sun don’t shine and I got a million miles out of that story for years afterwards telling it at parties while I prissed around lisping and spraying an imaginary can of Lysol at my ass, even at parties where he was in attendance. Once someone asked him, “Why do you let him do that?” Crandall said, “Oh thath juth Thammy.”