She hands me a smooth, machine-rolled stoag out of her pack of camel crushes. Behind the black mask on her face, her eyes light up and her face opens into a wide smile when I rip the filter off and throw it in the butt can.
“Did you just…?”
I light the cigarette, smile back at her and wink. “Baby, I like it raw.”
Black fedora, black suit jacket with a white pin, red long-sleeve shirt underneath. Legs crossed, my black leather shoes have the shine of newness, having rarely ventured out of my closet. My cane leans against the wooden patio bench; it’s been barely two weeks since I fell off a cliff while climbing rocks in the oregon high desert, so I’ve still got a pretty serious limp.
Makes all the sense in the world, then, for me to come out to this halloween party as an avatar of Papa Legba. Voodoo Lwa of the crossroads; Mr. Big Road, the gatekeeper, who walks with a limp because one leg is in the dreamtime. This is no mere costume, though. For this night, I will give a piece of myself over to become the spirit man.
On my face I have painted an interpretation of Legba’s veve, the symbols used to invoke the Lwa. Red and black are his colors, like a pirate. Or an anarchist. Black sun, red moon, with me the descendent of the African and Turtle Island diasporas. Spiced rum in a glass, no ice, and give me the strongest stuff you got: Sailor Jerry.
I’m out on the island–alameda, california–with Marcus, my roommate’s 23-year old nephew, who is visiting from iowa. We’re at a pub halloween party, complete with DJs and underdressed young women. We’re two of only a handful of black dudes in the club, both of us light-skinned and pretty. It’s only a matter of time. For what? Stay tuned.
I warned Marcus in advance that once I had two slugs of Jerry in my gut, I would commence to talking shit. I did not tell him that I would not be the one doing the talking, but Legba, that consummate womanizer and lover of all that is lewd, lascivious, and bawdy.
Marcus and I are sitting out on the pub’s back patio, sitting on the bench and smoking a blunt; nobody’s around to tell us otherwise. A large man comes through the back gate, dressed as a football player from Marcus’s favorite team, the Ravens. The number on the jersey is 52. Five and two is number one. That’s a sign, I tell him; the Bay Area is the place for you. But Marcus doesn’t need any signs; he’s been in love with the Bay since his plane touched the ground at the oakland airport.
Soon a couple of women wander out to smoke. One of them is very drunk, and ready to throw pussy to any dude who’s trying to catch it. She’s white and over-weight, probably under thirty but looks older. She sits down next to Marcus and starts chopping his ear. Every once in awhile he glances over at me with his eyes full of desperation to escape, but I just look away and let him, uh, enjoy her company.
Her friend is a hottie though; black hair, black mask, thick in all the right places. Both women are in the coast guard, and they’ve just recently come to alameda after being at sea in alaska for four months. Marcus is doing his best to apply his midwestern politeness to the drunk one, but every disinterested question he proposes to her sends her off on another endless ramble. Every once in awhile she glances over at me with her eyes full of desperation for attention, but I just look away and let her get back to throwing pussy at Marcus.
Without warning I slide smoothly off my seat on the bench and move to the far side of the cute one. I ask for the cigarette and she gives it to me. The blunt has dulled my ability to ape-babble, so there’s no real chance of me putting the verbal moves on this young lady; I simply can’t summon the desire to talk. Instead, I listen to her.
The women leave for another bar. The drunk one is hoping we’ll meet them over there, but there’s no chance of that. Marcus and I go back inside, where a go-go dancer dressed like Pocahontas is writhing her shapely hips on an elevated platform. Other women from the crowd take turns writhing with her, putting on a show. I am captivated by their erotic movements, and make no secret of watching them. When Pocahontas is alone again, I tell her I want to dance with her. She agrees to have a dance with me when she takes her break.
At some point my supply of rum is renewed, and I’m back on the patio. Marcus is too, talking to a dude whose wife is making out with a tall, brown-skinned Wonder Woman. I nominate myself to get in on the act, and then take my own turn tongue-dancing with the Amazonian.
I return to the dance floor to await my tryst with Pocahontas. I’m sitting on a stool next to her platform, gazing upon her sensuous body rhythms, visualizing her doing those same moves on top of me, naked. A pretty, voluptuous, and foolish young woman dressed like Beetlejuice sways over to me, and asks me who I’m dressed as. I stare at her with a big smile until she wanders away.
Finally the moment of truth arrives. Pocahontas climbs down from her platform and wraps her arms around my shoulders, bringing her body close to mine. Her hips begin to move; I catch the rhythm and move with her, perfectly in sync. She presses her body against me, our hips touching, my instant erection pressing against her leg through my pants. I lead the rhythm; my hands explore her back, her waist, her legs.
“You dance pretty good for a guy with one leg,” she says in my ear.
“You should see how well I dance with all three legs,” I say with a suggestive cackle.
A few minutes later, she says, “There are some chicks giving me nasty looks.”
“Yeah, how’d you know?”