Excerpt: The End | Dead Man's Hand

The four of us were at Hotlanta, one of the larger parties in the gay circuit. We saw and greeted the occasional individuals that we met over the years during our travels and who we would see at these events. We only hung out with our circuit friends a few times a year and we acted like we were all close friends, even though we only met and associated with one another during these parties. In Atlanta, the kicker card in our game was revealed, a play that set in motion a hopeless competition for the Latin Queen of Hearts. 


It was the typical gay circuit crowd. There were the usual party muscle boys that always attended these events and the vast room was filled wall-to-wall with beautiful shirt-less gay Adonises dancing until all hours of the morning. On the dance floor, people we had just met that weekend danced around us. Like most events that attract a lot of handsome and pretty people dancing like a bunch of peacocks that are strutting their stuff, there’s bound to be at least one, if not several, of the prancing peacocks that have their eyes set on one that has already been courted. My boyfriend Alex was a Puerto Rican with a well-defined body and he was an incredible dancer. One might easily have gotten the impression that he was a peacock from the way he was always strutting his stuff on the dance floor. Through the crowd an invading boyfriend snatcher approached. He was someone that Alex and I met on one of our many gay party junkets that we attended that year. We traveled from Chicago to Atlanta for Hotlanta…to Columbus, Ohio for the Red Party…New York for the Black Party and Gay Pride…Palm Springs for the White Party at Easter…San Francisco for Magnitude during Folsom Street Fair…Los Angeles for Labor Day LA and to South Beach in Miami for the White Party at Thanksgiving. We also attended Chicago’s very own Hearts Party held around Valentine’s Day. Alex and I spent forty thousand dollars on traveling the gay circuit that year, which included our party favors. 


I was minding my own business, trying to protect my small portion of real estate on the dance floor while enjoying my party favors. The invading boyfriend snatcher offered a bump of K, then the drug of choice. K, or Ketamine as it’s clinically called, is a dog and cat tranquilizer and it was very popular in the gay community in the nineties. The drug came in liquid form, but if you baked the liquid in the oven or microwave it was transformed into a powder-like substance. Once in powder form, you snorted it like you would snort cocaine, although in much smaller amounts— in bumps, not lines. It was fashionable to flavor your K and add vanilla or strawberry extract to make it smell and taste better. The snatcher’s offering, like so many people who come offering you something for nothing, came with a catch or in this case, a kicker. He had hoped to catch a few minutes alone with Alex, while placing or kicking me in some other dimension, better known as a k-hole—a catatonic state where you would end up if you ingested too much Ketamine in a single dosage.


When ingesting most drugs, there is an art to the recommended dosage that one can consume at a specific moment, and the dosage can also vary depending on what drug you’re consuming. Like so many drugs, the dosage that one person can tolerate may also vary from one person to another. There I was, on the dance floor at a mega gay event and for no logical reason that I can recall other than I was duped, I had what seemed to be an out of body experience. After accepting the boyfriend’s snatcher’s gift of a gratis bump of his K, I suddenly found myself standing in front of Jesus and his Disciples. Several years after this incident took place, I found myself standing before Jesus and his Disciples again, though the second time was in Milan, Italy during a trip to Europe when I viewed the actual fresco of Leonardo daVinci’s Last Supper. 


In Atlanta, immediately after I ingested the bump of K, I was transformed to a place where it seemed as if I was actually at the Last Supper with Jesus and the Apostles. A very similar scenario was playing out in my mind as it did in the actual Last Supper. I too had been betrayed—in my case, by a party friend that we had met on the circuit. The bump of K that kicked me into another dimension had been laced with acid, the old fashioned 1960’s San Francisco peace, love, sex and rock-n-roll type of acid. The snatcher failed to mention, or he deliberately failed to disclose, that he had laced his K with acid to add a kicker to its overall effect. I would’ve proceeded with more caution or possibly passed altogether on the free bump had I been forewarned about the acid in his offering. My altered state of mind may not have been so dramatic if I had been made aware that he had laced his K prior to me snorting the bump. 


“This is it?” These were the only words I could utter immediately after ingesting the drug, and in my mind I was asking Rick, “this is where I die?” It made sense that it was truly the end. My hand had been played just like Wild Bill Hickok’s hand a century earlier. Why else would I be standing in front of Jesus at the Last Supper if I was not going to die at that exact moment? I recalled that Jesus was sold out for thirty pieces of silver and I had sold myself out for single bump of K laced with acid. My mind was reeling. I felt the vision that I was experiencing must have some relevance to how Jesus was also betrayed by someone he knew. The laced K offering resulted in me becoming a pawn in the game of love. This kicker did not take part in determining the rank of the game, but it could be used to break the tie between two fags that were attracted to the same man. I felt betrayed by the boyfriend snatcher for his attempt to woo Alex away from me while I was unable to speak or move except for uttering those three words, “this is it?”