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Sunday, 29 March 2015

GAY KISSES AND LOSS OF SIGNAL



My bedroom in the hospice was very spooky. It was a rather simple room with some old piece of furniture, some black-and-white old family portraits hanging at the wall and a window facing a steep slope. The bed sheets were marked with a large cross, freshly painted with red ink. Franchino told me that the old man who used to sleep there, had died a couple of weeks before, so that I was the lucky new tenant of that bed-sit. There were times when I was supposed to sleep there, but I always managed to sneak out and spend the night in the castle. I would have never been able to sleep on someone’s deathbed.  Franchino’s permanence in Curò was coming to an end. In fact he still had just over one week to complete his 10-month social service duty. Before leaving, he made sure I had learnt some basic points to survive during my long stay there. I was told that if I wanted to go home at least two weekends per month, I needed to make sure that Mayor Bassi liked me. The best way to make him happy was to be always ready to help him and to avoid damaging the only car of the town hall that was still intact: the Panda. Franchino told me also that he had to dig the grave of the man who had died in my bed a couple weeks before. “If you make them unhappy, they’ll make you dig the graves too!” He added. When Franchino left to go back to his Venetian hometown, I started feeling lonely and lost in that tiny village on the Alps.

***

My tasks were various. Twice a week I had to axe some woods for Mrs Lombardi, a very demanding lady who was never too keen to thank me for my efforts. On a Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays afternoon I had to go with Romano for a walk. He had the “Down Syndrome” and suffered from severe articulation dysfunctions. Sporadically I had to take a few old ladies to the cemetery, to visit the graves of their beloved, who had left them behind for a hopefully more intriguing afterlife, than the life they had in the village. Those ladies were always very kind to me and they used to give me 10000-lire tips. Eventually Graziella noticed that I needed to get some friends of my own age, as the people I was spending my time with, were normally over 80. She came to me and she told me that she would have closed one eye and let me go out on that Saturday night with Tamara and Pamela. The two local girls wanted to drive to Bergamo, to go clubbing. Both of them used to work for the local post office and for this reason, trusted by the Mayor and Graziella. This trust brought the latter to extend my curfew from 11:30pm to 8am if I had spent my time with the two innocent-looking girls. It was about 11:00pm and I was waiting in front of the castle for Pamela and Tamara. As in Curò one could not get any signal from the “Telecom Italia Mobile” transmitters, I decided to take my mobile phone with me, so that I would have been able to receive all the undelivered text messages that had been sent to me in the two previous weeks. The moon was shining bright and the village was dead silent, a spooky silence interrupted only by a loud dog’s howling. Finally the car arrived in the Piazza Roma. Tamara and Pamela were inside the car and another girl named Carla was at the wheel. As soon as we left Curò Tamara took out some tiny bottles of highly alcoholic drinks from her bag. They started drinking and hysterically laughing and they gave me a bottle too. I could not believe my eyes: those girls were not innocent at all. Pamela had some joints and she gave one to each one of us. It was fun at first, but then I felt that what we were doing was not particularly safe. In fact Carla was driving stoned and drunk at a pretty high speed on a rather curvy public road. From time to time, when the space allowed, Carla pulled the parking break and make the car spinning around like a whirligig. Eventually we reached Bergamo and we stopped over to eat one of those delicious “Piadina al Prosciutto Crudo e Formaggio”. Once there Tamara and Pamela kissed each other intensively and wet. This was my first encounter with the gay hidden society of the small village on the Alps. We smoked some other grass and I started getting the same uncomfortable feeling I had experienced a few months before in Spain. When I realized that I was feeling sick and my paranoia started to dominate my brain. “I will get expelled from the Social Service department. They’ll take me to prison”. The night was long and scary, when we arrived at the castle again I was dead tired and I went straight to bed. Once again I had survived my bad experience and for the first time I realised that my brain could not accept the intake of any drugs anymore.


Thursday, 26 March 2015

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I... GOT LOST IN THE ALPS...

 
I did not have much to do after both Enrico and Dan had left for their respective countries. One sunny afternoon Maria came to knock at my door. She had just returned from a long trip in the Philippines to visit her relatives and she was very excited to tell me everything about her land. I would have not mind to spend some more time with her but suddenly my mobile phone rang. It was my mother, the letter from the Italian military office had arrived and she told me that I only had 4 days to get there.

  
PERSO SULLE ALPI:
LOST IN THE ALPS



BERLIN, GERMANY March 2006

Was können Sie über Ihren beruflichen Erfahrungen sagen?„ The German H.R. interviewer was looking at me with his icy eyes and waited for me to tell him something about my professional career. I explained him that I had lived in London for many years and that I had worked there as a technical support executive for a networking company. I had moved to Berlin about one year before and I thought it was the time for me to find myself a job. His attention shifted from my face to my Curriculum Vitae and eventually he asked me about my social service experiences in Curò.




CURÒ, ITALY May-June 1999

My parents came to pick me up at Milan Central Station on the 15th of April 1999. I had left Spain and Enrico behind and I was getting ready for my new life experience. We went to the information office and we asked how to get to Curò. “Curò, Curò, ma siete sicuri che sia in Lombardia?” No one seemed to know this place and it did not appear to be on any national map either. I was supposed to be there two days later and I still did not have a clue where this town was located. Eventually a man at the bus stop heard the conversation between me and my parents and he came out: “Io so dov’e’!” He told me that I had to take a bus to get there. I followed this kind man suggestion, I went to the bus company office and I bought a one-way ticket for the 17th of April 1999. Curò was nothing like London or Rosas, in fact it was a tiny village somewhere on the Italian Alps with about 400 inhabitants. It was 1:00pm when I arrived at the town hall, which also happened to be the castle of the village and my accommodation. mayor Bassi, a middle-aged unfriendly looking man, came to welcome me and to introduce me to the city council member who was supposed to be my other boss. “Graziella is going to supervise your job for the next 10 months, any problem you might have, you can talk to her”. She was a nice woman, not very talkative but if one had shown her respect, she would have been very understanding and caring. I insisted on the fact that although I had a driving license, I was not used to driving a car, neither in the city nor (and especially) on the mountains. Nevertheless she grabbed an old agenda, she tore off a page and she started drawing something. “This is the river. That is the first bridge. Here you must turn on the right. There you have to turn on the left…” She kept on murmuring and drawing for at least 10 minutes, eventually she looked at me again and she said: “there you go!” I guess she had not even paid attention to what I had told her. I was assigned the task to deliver some boxes of medicine to 3 old ladies, whose houses had also been drawn on that page dated 31st-of-August-1997. “That’s the day when Lady Diana died!” I remembered. I was given a Fiat Panda, I placed the map on the right seat and I started the engine. It was 3pm when I left the castle, there were no people around and in the sky some not very promising greyish clouds were pushed closer by the wind. As I was driving over the bridge, I decided to stop for a few moments, to take a look at the map again and to admire the pure water flowing in the river. Suddenly some drops of rain started falling over my head so I went back into the car and I followed the road. As soon as I turned on the right, I realized that the road was not paved and its surface was getting muddy. As the road became very curvy and steep, I started having the feeling that the map was not right after all. Suddenly the car stopped, the rear wheels were stuck in the mud and I had no choice, but getting out in the rain and try to figure out what to do next. The weather did not seem to get any better and my clothes were soaking wet. I was between the rocky wall of the mountain and a steep slope, which did not make any U-turn possible. Furthermore I had always had a terrible phobia of heights and I had spent hours of psychotherapy sessions as a kid to get rid of my vertigo problems. It was the time to act. I went looking for the branch of a tree and placed it under the right rear wheel. After a few hysterical attempts, I finally managed to get the wheel out of the mud and to drive the car away from that nightmare. It was 6pm already and I still had not delivered the medicines. In fact I decided to give up, I was too nervous, furious against the world and shivering in my wet clothes. I drove all the way back to the castle, I handed the key over to Graziella and I said. “This is the last time I am driving here!” 

***

I had two bedrooms: one was in the tower of the castle, the other one in the hospice of the village. The first one was my night heaven, the second my daily nightmare. On the evening of my first day in Curò, I was told to go to the hospice and to meet my soon-to-be ex-colleague Franchino. I knocked the door and he opened with a hilarious smile stamped on his face. There were three men in the living room. One was sitting on a wheelchair watching a turned-off television. The second one was walking around the room carrying his oxygen bottle on a 3-wheel trolley. The last was behind Franchino and he seemed very curious to get to know me: the new social service worker. I never learnt the real name of those old men: in fact each one of them had a nickname. The one on the wheelchair was “the Wolf”, because he had the habit to howl and he had some long hairs coming out from his ears. The man with the oxygen bottle was called “Little Tube”. The last one was “The Punk” because of his funny hair. The Punk came close to me and he gave me his hand. The poor man suffered from Parkinson’s disease and he was holding my hand tight and shaking it unstoppably up and down and towards him. As I noticed he was pulling my hand very close to the intimate parts of his body, Franchino gave me his first advice: “Never give him the hand: he’ll always try to make you jerking him off”. I took my hand back and I dropped the subject.


Monday, 23 March 2015

FIRST TIME IN A GAY SAUNA








ROSAS & BARCELONA, SPAIN March-April 1999

It was a sunny Spanish spring day when I arrived at Figueres station on the 20th of March 1999. I had decided to take some weeks off before the beginning of my compulsory social service. In the late nineties Italian men had the obligation to serve their country for 10 months. One could choose between two options: the military service or the social one. I had opted for the latter as I thought it most suited my needs and those of the society. Enrico arrived in Roses just a few days later. It was great seeing him again after almost two years. I was sitting on the porch when I saw a blond guy riding at a fast speed a rotten bicycle. As soon as he got closer I could recognize his radiant solar smile and his sweet blue eyes. He got off his bike, I gave him a hug and I asked him to follow me inside. The day before I had bought plenty of vodka and beer because I knew how my German friend was like. I poured him a glass of peach vodka, he took two cigarettes out of his packet, he lighted them up and he placed one of them on my lips, just like he used to do two years before. That evening Enrico and I went to visit his cousin Robert who was also there on holidays. My friend’s relative was very excited of our visit, he took us to the rear garden of his house and he asked us to wait there. A few minutes later he appeared again with a bottle of vodka and a small plastic box. Robert poured some vodka into the three glasses and we started drinking. I was curious to know what that little box contained, so I asked my friend Enrico. “It’s the Koma”, he said. I was told that “Koma” was a German light drug and Robert had brought some extra for us, so that we could have smoked it together. We rolled up three joints and after another couple of glasses we started smoking the first one. It did not seem to be that strong. The second one followed and I started feeling a little dizzy already and could not control my laughing. The last one was fatal. My friends seemed to handle that better than I possibly could. In fact I started hallucinating and laughing without control. It was around 3 a.m. when I decided it was the time for me to go, so I left my friends and I started walking towards home. The street was wide and dark, only the moon and the brightest stars could show me the way.
Eventually I noticed that a couple of trees had joined me and were walking on my side. They helped me to find my way and finally at 4 a.m. I arrived home. “Good night trees, it was very kind from you to guide me home. I will see you tomorrow!” I kissed the trees goodnight and went inside. When I opened my eyes again, it was late afternoon and finally the trees had stopped walking. Enrico and his cousin came to visit me a couple of evenings later. Robert had his magic box with him and I made sure to have plenty of alcohol at home. My two German guests lighted up two joints at the same time so that we could get stoned ever quicker. We drank, we smoked and we laughed. Enrico got his lips close to mine to blow some of the smoke from his mouth into mine. It was a great feeling to have him that close, but I had to contain myself or I could have just kissed him. Eventually Robert came up with an idea. One had to hold the smoke as long as possible. That game was not a good idea. At some point I started feeling bad. Eventually I stood up and I went to the mirror. I was as pale as a ghost and considering that I had spent two afternoons sun bathing on the beach, it was not a good sign. My stomach started aching and I had the feeling I needed to throw up. Unfortunately, no matter what, I had never been able to vomit so easily. As a matter of fact I could count the times I threw up on the fingers of one hand. Enrico and Robert were too stoned already to take care of me, so I asked them to leave. They could not be serious enough and I was starting to get really worried. The pain increased and I found myself unable to walk. I decided to go to the bathroom upstairs and I had to crawl on all fours through the living room and up the stairs. Eventually when I reached the bathroom, I laid on the floor. At that point I prayed God to give me another chance and I made the promise I would have never smoked grass again.

I was up for the whole night and in the morning the situation became a little better. I still had muscle pains but I was able to walk again and I decided to write a few pages on my experience. When on the day after I took those pages again, I started laughing about the whole thing. What I had written was completely unreadable and it seemed more like a work of modern art. The only clear sentence was: “what the fuck did I do? I promise I will never smoke grass again”.

Two days later Enrico came to visit me and I told him about my bad experience. During the next days we spent some times at the bars, we went again to the “Surf Inn” and we got to know some Spanish girls. One night he took me to one of those strip clubs where nasty looking fat women were supposed to strip for money. Luckily Enrico ran out of cash so that we did not have to hang there for too long. It was the first week of April when Dan called me on my Spanish mobile. “I will be arriving at Barcelona airport on the 4th of April at 20:00 C.E.T.” He asked me if I could come to pick him up at the airport and what my address was. The plane landed one hour late and I had the feeling we were going to miss the train back to Figueres. Finally Dan came out from the customs area and I walked towards him. He smiled, I gave him a hug, I asked him if he had had a pleasant journey and I informed him on the train connection problems we had. Only 5 minutes had gone by and my ex-boyfriend had managed already to piss me off. He started complaining about my ability to organize transport connections, as if I was responsible for the delay of his flight and for the schedule of the Spanish railways. We missed the last train by 10 minutes and we had to wait in Barcelona Sants station until 6:00am. That was definitely not the best way to start a holiday, especially with Dan. I was the kind of person, who did not care too much when facing inconvenient situations like missing a regional train. Not when I was on holidays at least. In such situations I would have taken the chance to have some fun and try to spend my time in the best way possible. I proposed to my ex to get his luggage into a locker and go to a bar or to walk around the Barri Gotic. Dan did not seem to support my idea and the conclusion was that we spent the whole night at the station. Dan had not changed a bit. Eventually the morning after we arrived in Roses, we had breakfast at one of those snack bars along the beach and I took my Taiwanese friend to have a walk around the old town. My guest had made some research before traveling to Spain and he wanted to take me to a gay sauna he had found in the Internet. On one side I did not feel like giving up on my ideals to make my selfish ex happy, but after a few days of pressure he managed to convince me. “Ok, let’s try this sauna!” I told him exhausted.

At the entrance we were given two condoms each, a towel and some lubricant. I used the towel I was given, to cover my naked body, nevertheless I decided to keep my underwear on, as I did not feel too comfortable with all those old men around. After a few minutes, Dan sneaked away, the sauna was huge and he wanted to explore it all. There were only two ways to pick up a guy, one could either walk around and search, or one could sit in one of the tiny rooms, leave the door open and wait for the right man to walk inside. At some point I started enjoying getting so much attention, but I still had to find a way, to get rid of the guys, with whom I did not want to spend my time with. My Spanish was as fluent as my English, nevertheless I decided to turn down the unwanted men with the usual: “Sorry I do not understand”. It made perfect sense, if I had answered in Italian they would have laughed at me, every Italian men would have been able to understand a Spaniard. I had to lie about my nationality to several guys, from extremely fat ones to grandfathers. Finally I saw a gorgeous bloke a few steps away from the door of my room. The guy was looking at me with interest and eventually he took courage, he got closer and he asked me in Spanish if he could come inside. “Claro que sí!” I agreed and my Spanish was fluent once again. This young man with perfect body and the cheekiest smile told me that his name was Pedro. He lived in Barcelona and he was an architecture student. He was a gentleman, masculine, romantic and he somehow felt I needed some time before getting more intimate. He took everything very slow and we talked for about 2 hours about different topics. Dan who had seen I was getting lucky and that my door was locked had not found anyone yet, so he decided to give a blowjob to an old and nasty looking man. After having some fun, I gave Pedro a deep kiss and I left with Dan.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

DIE LAUFENDEN BÄUME: THE WALKING TREES





DIE LAUFENDEN
BÄUME:
THE WALKING TREES


 












BERLIN, February 2006

The sense of emptiness had become unbearable. I could not take it anymore, time had come to give up on my reputation and I had decided that something had to happen that night at “Kino International”. I had arranged to meet Ernesto at 11:30pm in front of the “Weltzeituhr” in Alexanderplatz. This tall, handsome and strong Spanish guy, who I had got to know in the British capital, happened to be my 6th ex-boyfriend. In September 2004 he had moved from London to Berlin and I would have followed him just six months later. Ernesto was a real good friend of mine but he was not the reason of my move to Berlin. In fact I was planning to move to the German capital even before he had mentioned his future intentions. Destiny had wanted that our lives would have crossed again under the sky of a different city.

I lighted up my second cigarette and I started getting nervous. He was late again. Snowflakes were whitening the square around me for the third time on that week and the Siberian wind was blowing strongly making the flakes dance harmoniously in the air. Erny, as I used to call him affectionately, arrived 20 minutes late. We walked at a rather fast pace and we arrived at the club just before midnight. We stood outside in the queue and 10 minutes later we managed to get inside. In the main room there was a large number of girls and I had the feeling that they were not gay. I lighted up another cigarette and I asked Ernesto to follow me to the bar. At the entrance they had given us a ticket for a free shot of tequila and I could not wait any longer to get some alcohol into my stomach. Ernesto had never liked tequila so he gave me his shot too and as soon as I had drunk them both, I bought myself a beer and we left the bar to go upstairs. The first floor was simply amazing. Kino International used to be a cinema and conference hall at the time of the GDR. The sparkling crystal lamps were absolutely stunning and the GDR-style flooring reminded of those lost time when being gay there was not an option. Through the large windows one could admire the Karl Marx Allee with its historical Café Moskau, former meeting point of socialist politicians. I was telling Ernesto about my latest relationship drama when suddenly someone touched my right shoulder. It was Karl, a Czech guy, whom I had dated a few months before. Karl told us that we had ended at the wrong party, in fact the gay one was held in the room next-door. I wanted to kill my ex-boyfriend but luckily we managed to get to the other side of the club without having to pay an extra ticket.


Ernesto’s friends Anishn and Deependra were there already. The two Indian guys did not feel like having their tequila shots either, so I made use of those two other free tickets to get some extra alcohol into my stomach. I needed to get to know someone new and drinking helped me to relax and take courage, so I drank those two shots and a couple of beers just one after another. As soon as I sat on the large sofa at the side of the dance-floor, an extremely bad looking guy started staring at me. I smiled at him, then I turned my face away and I ignored him. Suddenly I crossed the glance of a guy whom I actually liked. He smiled at me, he kept on dancing and he was constantly staring at me. I could read in his eyes that he wanted to get the clothes off me. He knew exactly how he had to flirt with me and how I needed to be handled. He had to play with smiles and crossing glances, then he had to ignore me a little to get me weak and to raise my attention towards him, finally he had to come over and talk to me. In a few words I needed to be conquered and this guy could read my mind. Jerome was from Lyon, no wonder he knew how to flirt, isn’t that in the French blood and part of their genes? “Je viens de Milan mais j’habite à Berlin I told him where I was from and where I lived, he smiled again, he looked deeply into my eyes and he kissed me passionately. The night went on with the rhythm of the music and I had expected that at some point the French guy would have asked me to go to his place or would have wanted to come to mines. Unfortunately Jerome was there with a friend of his and they decided to leave just a couple of hours later. Before leaving he gave me his business card and he asked me to send him a text message. to arrange a date for that Sunday afternoon. Time was running out and I still had to find a guy to spend the night with. I was pretty drunk already, nevertheless I got myself another beer and I decided to look for my friends. I was walking around the dance-floor when an ugly and old German guy grabbed my ass and tried to kiss me. I had to fight my way out of that situation but eventually I managed to reach my friends, who had seen the scene and started making fun of me. Ernesto took my being drunk as a chance to get me to find someone to have a threesome with. We had a walk around, but there was no one we both liked, I started feeling tired and at 4:00am we decided to leave.

It was still snowing. We had just crossed the road and we were walking by Café Moskau when I spotted a guy I liked. He was on his mobile and as we were walking by him, I heard him saying: “yes babes, I love you too”. That sentence destroyed our hopes to get a threesome with him. Eventually, James, that was his name, walked faster, he reached us and he started flirting. He was from Boston and he had been living in Berlin for 5 years already. We introduced ourselves and I asked him a few more questions regarding his private life in Berlin. As I told him where I lived, James decided to come along as he said to live exactly in the same block-of-flats, only 13 floors below me. James was very straight forward, he asked me what the size of my bed was and as I told him it was 180cms by 200cms he replied: “well, there is space enough for three people!” My buddies left at 6:00am after a very hot winter night. I set the alarm for 1:00pm and I went to sleep. Nine hours later I met Jerome in front of the Rote Rathaus and he invited me for brunch to get to know me better. We talked about our lives, I told him about my future intentions and we discussed various topics, from medieval history to politics, from relationships to technologies. When I told him I could see Alexanderplatz from my flat, he took the chance to ask me if he could come over to see the view. Jerome was a perfect gentleman, he paid the bill, we walked together to my flat, he admired the view, he got slowly close to me and he kissed me softly on my lips. After all this tenderness I decided to show him a second view and I took him to my bedroom. At 8:00pm, after Jerome had left, I received a phone call from Enrico. We had not spoken in ages and it was great to talk about the past with him. Our memories went back to Rosas in 1999.