23 August, 2012


Administrivia: Will come back around and write up the outline/story board. The tough part will be finding James' voice, since I don't really know him that well - although I have some examples to guide me; it's hard to put myself in the head of someone who doesn't equivocate every decision and just "reacts" morally. This is the last Mike vignette until I get the housecleaning done on this story, but it came to me in the shower so I had to put it down.

Mike moved into a Victorian walk-up in late summer of 1997 on Lucky Street.

The alleys between the major streets lined up: Balmy. Lucky. Treat. Balmy lucky treat.

August in San Francisco was anything but.

Mike was taking over Javier's room: a pantry with a painted concrete floor, the kind of room where you might keep a washer and a dryer, or store dry goods. There was no door, only a curtain that had been strung across the archway haphazardly.

Mike had arrived at night on the train with his only two possessions: a PC in a skeletal case, missing the outer covering (easier to pop cards in an out, or move devices around) and a duffel bag with his clothing and toiletries.

Javier was packing his stuff to leave, he'd be staying with (one of) his boyfriend(s) for a week then sneaking back to the Phillipines, his birthplace, the home of his mother and his one true love, Jorge. Javier and Jorge. How romantic?

Javier had to sneak because he was HIV+, and in 1997, the immigration embargo on the afflicted was still in effect. San Francisco had been the epicenter for AIDS/HIV in America for sometime, with it's cousin to a lesser degree in the East Village in New York, but attitudes were softening. However, it wasn't like things are today, and so Javier had to risk jail, or possibly worse, to reunite with his family and his lover.

Mike continued to think that was romantic even after, weeks later, his other roommate Nancy, a short, pixie-like dyke with large breasts and dinner plate eyes, told Mike that Javier was a liar and a coke head (worse, addicted to the then more obscure stimulant methamphetamine).

Despite the turmoil in both Javier's and Mike's lives on move-in night, the atmosphere was festive. Even though it was a Wednesday night, friends of the inhabitants of 45 Lucky gathered for drinks well into the night. Vodka poured, and alternating Prince, The Smiths, riot grrl punk and Duran Duran blared into the night as the city itself surged.

Mike sat on the mattress he inherited from Javier, drinking vodka cranberry and talking until late with Javier about his experiences as a person with the virus. Javier tolerated this precocious Mid-western boy's na├»ve questioning. 

Mike never gave a second though about what may have happened on his inherited mattress laid on cold concrete in that small, damp pantry. If only...

Mike only saw Javier once again, a week later, as he came by to pick up a few remaining things, drop off money and fight with Nancy. Javier's tweaked excitement was jarring, and Nancy reacted with resignation and sadness through what must have been one hell of a hang over after another night of late night drinking.

That was the last Mike ever heard of Javier. Javier died in 2003 loaded with pills and rum, a penniless hustler, not far from 24th and Lucky.


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