Alex Mathews

Alex Mathews – writer, bared naked dude blah blah blah

Preview of Junk: A Memoir

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The following entries are excerpts from my first novel, or rather more of a roman-a-clef, entitled Junk: A Memoir. I began writing this perhaps five years ago, and I am still trying to face rewrites and editing before I begin a search for an agent and hopefully publication. It is merely the tale of my life through the worst time of it, and hopefully through the rabbit hole.

Junk: A Memoir – Chapter 3

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I continued marching down Fifty-fourth Street, into the approaching theatre district. The people on the street had slowly morphed into a different crowd. The businessmen and women were still forging their way east, while groups of tourists began to mix among them, on their way to the latest play on Broadway. Occasionally a member of the Hassidim would walk past, heading for the subway to return to Brooklyn after another day in the Diamond Exchange.

It was nearing seven ‘o clock as I reached Broadway. The expanse of Times Square glowed majestically to the south, where crowds of people were transfixed by the flashing neon—reminding them of the largest brands of film, the hottest selling sneaker, or the cologne that would get you the best pussy. I turned and walked to the right, noticing that the glowing marquee of one of the last standing Go-Go bars on Broadway was just up ahead, between Forty-Fourth and Forty-Fifth. The city had slowly squeezed the adult bookstores, x-rated movie theatres and peep shows around Times Square into a smaller area than ever. In its heyday, the whole of Broadway in this area was nothing but legal and illegal smut—hookers strolled the streets openly, and perverts roamed about with impunity.

I approached the doorman standing in front of the ropes leading into the bar. His unmoving two hundred pound plus body let me know there would be some dialog before I was granted access to the place.

“ID,” he said sternly. I reached for my wallet and a rush of blood shot through my body. I fumbled for my driver’s license and I may have even trembled as I handed it to him. He took hold of it and studied the information on the card. I had just enough time to attempt to control my nerves as he looked back at me to verify that I was in fact the guy in the photo. He seemed satisfied and unhooked the rope from its stand, motioning me to enter the darkness of the bar.

“Cover’s ten bucks,” he told me as I walked inside the establishment.

There was a girl behind a desk waiting to take my money as my eyes began to adjust to the darkness of the club. I looked past her as I pulled a twenty from my wallet. There were a few signs posted on the wall behind her. The club’s liquor license was framed and stained yellow from age. There was a white poster with red words, informing the patrons of the rules of the road—no touching the dancers and no prostitution. Another sign said clearly that there was a two drink minimum. I gave her the twenty as she dealt one dollar bills back to me for change from a stack two-inches thick.

I scanned the place as I entered. There was a u-shaped platform in the center of the large room with seating all around it. Upon it were five girls stationed at intervals where brass poles ran almost to the ceiling. The girls were working their bodies slowly for the onlookers seated before them. I found an area with two open seats on either side and took my position. Within seconds, a girl approached me from the bar to the side of the dancer’s area, holding a round cork covered tray palm up in her left hand. I looked first at her legs, which were clad in cheap fishnet stockings. The clips of her black garter belt seemed to be hastily put on—the garters themselves were twisted as they ran up into the nether regions of her red patent leather miniskirt. Her navel was exposed and she wore a white button-down shirt tied just below her breasts. None of the buttons were done, however. A small gold-plated cross dangled in front of the visible line of her cleavage. Her lips were thick and round, covered in candy red lipstick. Her black hair was curly and drenched in some kind of gel.

“What are you having, sweetie?” she asked.

“I’ll have a Bud, please,” I said. She nodded slightly and rolled her eyes into her head as if this would store the drink order in her memory and walked over to the end of the bar. I turned my attention to the dancers. None of them struck my fancy. I looked around the perimeter of the place where tables were placed in front of mirrored walls. Gentlemen sitting with more scantily clad girls sipping brightly colored drinks, engaged in awkward flirtatious chatter, occupied several of these.

The waitress returned with two beer bottles, laying each one on a square napkin in front of me. I could feel her hovering over me, but not too closely—just enough to catch a whiff of her hair gel.

“That’ll be ten dollars,” she said to me, all business. I handed her a twenty, and watched her make change—all ones, of course. I gave her four of them and she seemed satisfied to thank me and return to some of her more lively customers. I began to nurse one of the beers as the dancer closest to me had finally milked the two guys she was working to my right out of all the dollars they were going to give up. She sauntered over in my direction, smiling as she began to cup and wiggle her breasts two-handed for me. I immediately rewarded her performance by peeling off a dollar bill from the four I had taken back from the waitress. She stepped closer, flexed her knees a bit and reached down with her thumb to pull back the elastic on her g-string. I slipped the folded bill into the waiting elastic to join the others she had collected as she snapped it into place.

Sadly, strip club sin the era before the advent and proliferation of the lap dance were like the seal and sea lion exhibit at Sea World. Toss a sardine (or in this case a dollar bill) and get a briefly happy reaction from the captive circus mammals. The short-lived response demands more sardines until the bag you got from your mom or dad is gone and it’s time to move on to the two-thirty dolphin show. I am quite sure I had more contact with the seals on my last trip to Sea World than I was going to have at this place.

Just as I was getting lost in my musings, I felt a hand softly touch the flat of my back. Leaning over me was a slim, petite girl with shoulder length blonde hair. She had a plaid schoolgirl miniskirt on, black garters, thin white stockings and shiny black platform heels. Her round breasts flowed out of her open white shirt, greeting me as I turned to her.

“Hi honey, how are you doing tonight?” she asked in a soft and soothing voice.

“Oh, I’m okay” I replied, fumbling for more words and making a concerted effort to look from up from her breasts. She sat down next to me, sliding her hand from my back to the inside of my thigh as she took her seat.

“Would you like to buy me a drink?” She asked, gently rubbing the inside of my leg as if to strengthen her offer. “My name’s Silver,” she said, placing her other hand on my back, caressing it softly.

“Sure,” I said. She motioned to my waitress, who came right over. Silver told the waitress she was going to have a drink with me. She had time to ask my name and my occupation before the waitress returned with a bright orange drink, setting it down in front of her.

“That’s twenty,” the waitress said to me. I handed her another bill and she was gone.

“So what are up to tonight?” she asked. She leaned forward, pursing her lips on the red straw jutting out of her drink. I watched as the orange liquid fell below the mouth of the curved glass. I took the opportunity to down the rest of my beer.

“I am up to no good,” I replied, doing my best to sound smooth and vaguely flirtatious.

“I like the sound of that,” Silver told me as she gently squeezed the inside of my thigh. “You’re kinda cute. I bet you could get into some trouble with a girl like me,” she giggled slightly as her voice trailed off. She took another sip of her drink and waited for my response. Actually she just sort of deflated, like a blow up doll with a leak. One second she’s giving me innuendo and the next, she’s gone to the zoo. Or Sea World.

“I bet we could, Silver. What time do you get off?” I asked just a bit too soon, breaking the brief but uncomfortable silence.

“Not till two, hon. But you can keep me company here, can’t you?” she asked. Then another half inch of orange liquid disappeared as she drank once again. I became jittery and uncomfortable at the thought of sitting with her for the next six hours or so, and I wondered how many of those twenty dollar orange drinks she could put back during that time. Seeing there was little hope that Silver would take an extracurricular interest in me, I looked for a way to escape.

“Actually, Silver, I have a party to go to tonight,” I told her. “I just stopped in for a drink before I have to be there. Maybe some other time then.”

“Okay, sweetie,” she said. “Well, it was nice talking to you. Have a nice time at your party tonight.” She stood up from her seat and walked away towards the end of the bar, immediately approaching a table with three Japanese businessmen who were no doubt glad to see her. She pitched them as she had done to me, and was soon sitting along the wall between two of them.

Before I felt the sting of her betrayal, I grabbed the second beer off the platform and gulped down part of it. I indulged in the more prudent activity of watching the dancers on the platform, and I fed the rest of my sardines into various g-strings as they came around to prey on me. I was sufficiently liquored up at this point, and the hunger to satisfy my lust was not sated. I originally thought it could be quite possible I might meet a dancer here who would be interested in coming home with me, but now I saw the futility of that. I was overcome with the sensation that my time in the bar was competing with whatever other opportunities the evening held for me. It was time to continue my quest. I quaffed the last of my beer, which tasted like water and peanuts, with renewed determination.

I left with a brief nod to the doorman, who returned the gesture and unlatched the rope from its hook to allow me out into the pale glowing green light under the large awning of the bar. I stood there momentarily, noticing that the sidewalk was much quieter now. I turned right and walked to the corner, noticing a sign about sixty feet up off the side of a ten-story building across the street on a sliver of real estate in the middle of Broadway—Laps. My curiosity genuinely piqued, I crossed the street and walked inside the door of the place. The entry to the place was only about four feet wide. There was a narrow staircase ascending at a sharp angle. To my right there was a Plexiglas display cage with a Pakistani man sitting inside on a tall stool. Behind him the walls inside were plastered with posters, magazine covers and playbills featuring explicit acts of hardcore sex and porn starlets. He welcomed me by shouting the price of admission. “Twelve dollars,” he said.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Iss moovee theater. Girls upstairs. Twelve dollars.”

I had promoted myself from average pervert to truly desperate seeker of dirty thrills. I was moving up from the relative safety of a bad titty bar to the shady realm of god knows what was going on upstairs in this pit of debauchery. Feeling like I had accomplished something, I paid the man and prepared for whatever lay ahead. He handed me a blue ticket torn from a huge roll and I was off.

I walked up the steep narrow staircase, noticing a very short man in a very cheap polyester tuxedo standing at the landing, apparently ready to take my ticket. As I neared the top of the stairs, I could hear the sounds of sexual frenzy booming from a sound system somewhere. I handed the guy my blue ticket, which he promptly tore in two and discarded into the open slot of a tall black receptacle placed next to him. I walked past him into a much wider hallway. I looked down the hallway to my left and noticed a concession stand at the very end. It was dark and there seemed to be nothing in the display cases. To my right was more hallway. On the right side were restrooms marked with glowing orange signs leading down the corridor. To the left was a large entry halfway to the end of the hallway that led into the movie theatre. Along each side of the entryway stood a line of tawdry looking women, all different shapes and sizes. They were all sizing me up as I approached the entry to the theatre. The one nearest the door on the left side walked toward me and grabbed hold of my arm. She came at me in such a hurried manner, she turned me back in the opposite direction.

“Dju like to watch movie with mi?” She asked. She was a thick Puerto Rican woman, dressed in a tight turquoise skirt with sequins, a leopard print bikini top and some kind of beaded see-through shawl around her shoulders with fringe falling over her sagging breasts.

“Sure,” I said. I was beyond getting particular. She was no Silver, but I played along. I was drunk, horny and slowly getting tired.

“You have wristband?” She asked. We had stopped in the middle of the hallway, away from her coworkers and a few feet from where I had entered the hallway.

“No, where do I get that?” I asked, hoping I wasn’t committing myself to parting with a small fortune.

She continued to lead me back over to the man in the tuxedo and told him I wanted a wristband. I paid him twenty dollars and he fastened a green band onto my wrist as the woman waited to take me into the theatre. I turned back to her, now with the proper credentials and we walked back towards where we met. She seemed to gloat at the other girls standing along the wall in the hallway, taking me by the hand to lay claim to me as we went into the flickering lights of the theatre.

The movie on the screen was pure hardcore sex. A woman was taking it from two awkward looking guys. I dated the film from sometime in the mid-seventies, judging from the hairstyles of the actors sweating and grunting on the screen before me. One had long feathered hair parted just off the center of his scalp, while the other had a huge afro of curly blonde hair and a dark moustache. The woman in the middle of the screen was a mass of flesh covering the bulk of the screen, her breasts flowed off the sides and her hairy pubis ran down the center.

My new escort chose a location near the rear of the theatre, and we waded down the narrow aisle to take a seat in the middle of the row. She urged me to sit down in the seat, twirling me around with a slight tug on my hand. I sat in the chair while she stood in front of me with her back to the screen. She took hold of my hands and inched forward slightly, her knees pushing my legs apart. She placed my hands onto her hips and inched her way up onto the cushion of the seat, resting her knees between my legs. She inched her body against mine, wriggling her torso back and forth as I held on to her waist with both hands. In front of me was the visual stimulation of the woman giving oral to the lanky man with the afro as the other man was penetrating her from underneath. The sounds of the actors’ unbridled pleasure blasted through the speakers as I became erect for my fleshy movie date.

She moved her body in a serpentine manner against me as I slid my hand from her waist up to her breast. She dropped her head into my temple, letting her hair fall in front of my face and over my chest. I fondled her breast, squeezing it tightly in my hand as my thumb and forefinger searched for her nipple. She bucked back and forth on me as my other hand pushed and pulled on her hip with her movements. She whispered a moan in my ear as I began to pinch her nipple between my fingers, rolling it over the cheap cloth of her bikini top. I wedged my fingers under the top of the brassiere, feeling her naked breast in my hand, immediately excited by the sensation of this forbidden touch. She sensed my pleasure, and her writhing into my chest and loins continued in a frenzied rhythm until I came.

I slid my hand from under her bikini and let my arms fall down to the top of her plump buttocks. My grip on her fell limp. I angled my head to the side of her chest in an effort to watch the screen. She stood up and began to adjust her skirt. I pulled a bill from my wallet and handed it to her, whispering a thank you. She walked down the row to the aisle and disappeared. I waited a moment, watching another couple engaged in a similar dance. Bored with the movie, I stood up and made my way back into the hallway. I had to pass the gauntlet of these pitiable movie dates, who all jeered at me, save for my date, who blushed a little. I raced down the stairs and back out into the street. I buttoned my overcoat and headed back to Broadway, crossed over to the east side of the street and hailed a cab.

Junk: A Memoir – Chapter 2

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I left that particular bar behind, bidding Seamus adieu, and walked out into the chill of Third Avenue heading uptown. I decided to head west at around Forty-Second and hit a couple more bars before I went to some of the strip clubs west of Seventh Avenue. A little nudity for hire might be just the thing I needed to jump-start my little celebration. I was already way past feeling the effects of the scotch as I buttoned up my overcoat and enjoyed the cold February afternoon. Walking would do me a world of good.

I had recently become interested in some of the vices available to me in New York City. Since I was getting larger checks from the agency thanks to my innovative billing scheme, I found myself with some extra cash around paydays. I had found a place I began visiting with some frequency over by the East River. It was quite an upscale club, and in its dark lounges, I had spent many an hour and many a night falling prey to all kinds of exotic ladies—all whose kindness and affection could be bought temporarily for an unreasonable price.

In addition to these kinds of establishments, I had discovered a few brothels near my apartment in the Murray Hill area of the city. Occasionally I would walk over to one of them and meet the residing Madam, who would sit me down in a waiting area, fix me a drink and have me wait momentarily while she went to fetch the ladies who were available for engagement. In minutes she would return with six or seven of her girls, whom she would introduce to me by name. As their names were called, each would step forward and twirl around to give me a complete view. They were all clad in garters, heels and usually some kind of transparent shawl. I would pick the one that suited my fancy and we would retire to one of the rooms available to me. Often times, the ladies left a bit to be desired—some were a bit on the chubby side—but often there were one or two that fit the bill nicely.

It occurred to me that a visit to a brothel might be slightly careless in light of my impending financial doom. Rather disappointed at the prospect of not being able to afford the services at my neighborhood whorehouse, a surge of helplessness washed over me that even the scotch could not dissipate. I quickly dismissed those thoughts and focused more on the walk I was taking towards the West Side.

By now many of the offices were closing their doors for the day, sending the masses of employees from various companies, corporations and conglomerates into the streets. I stared briefly at the passersby, noting both their expressions and the relative amount of pain their gazes exposed as they hurried past.

I walked uptown along Third Avenue until I hit Forty-Fourth street, and then I turned west amidst the busy commuters rushing to greet transport to their suburban refuges at Grand Central Station. I envied these captains of industry who ventured daily into the city from places like Westchester or small towns in Connecticut. Their lives were planned out perfectly – a real house with a front yard seated on a quiet tree-lined street; a wife who tended to domestic chores while their two-point-five children were all incubating in the sheltered wombs of private schools, lacrosse games, summer homes and seasonal cotillions. Their wives would no doubt be waiting in the Volvo with the family dog to meet their hero as he trotted from the platform to the waiting lines of station wagons and mini-vans.

I dismissed that reverie and kept walking in the brisk February air, looking in the windows of camera shops, shoe stores and whatever else I passed along the way. As I looked at each window display, every item I saw transported me. A new camera took me on vacation with a family I borrowed from the commuters I had passed just blocks before. A shoe store outfitted me for a successful career. A restaurant became the site for a celebration of a promotion, or my nonexistent child’s birthday. I gazed deeper into these daydreams, looking into the imaginary face of my faithful wife. She had weathered the hard times knowing my determination to succeed would reward her patience. She had stood by me as I climbed the ladder at the firm, always encouraging me to persevere, listening attentively to my complaints about the rich bastards from upstairs who would seal my fate. My exuberance increased as I played out this fabricated drama for myself. My vision became clearer as the cold wind blew into my face. Tears began to well in my eyes and the street signs seemed to pulse as I reached the corner of Fifth Avenue and Forty-Fourth Street. I felt my heart beating faster from both the pace at which I was walking and the strange world to where I had just escaped. The booze made me feel warm and served to calm my nerves a bit, but it was fading away.

As the light turned green, I crossed over to the west side of Fifth Avenue. I was still walking in the realm of midtown businesses, passing executives, couriers, young trainees and salesmen as I went. The women had changed out of their heels and put on Reebok or Nike sneakers to make their long walks home, clad in wool skirts and dark pantyhose jutting out of their overcoats as they strode away from the safety of their offices. I walked past the pushcart vendors and breathed in the smells of hot sausage and chestnuts brewing from their stainless steel contraptions. I stopped at one of these and ordered a hot dog.

I ate the hot dog rather quickly as I continued walking. I felt good about having had dinner without much hassle. Eating can be a real pain in the ass when there are other things to do, like drinking and going to strip clubs. The adrenaline rush I get when I have important plans like that kills the appetite.

I decided to stop at a Citibank on the corner of Avenue of the Americas to remove the bulk of my fortune to cover the always unknown expense of patronizing a strip club. I opened the glass door of the bank, which led into an entryway with another door about ten feet ahead. The door slowly closed behind me and the hum of the city with its rushing wind seemed to become sealed off inside the bank’s outer chamber. I felt my ears begin to relish the warmth as I reached into my wallet to get my bank card. I slipped it into the opening to the right of the next glass door and removed it as the magnetic strip registered and unlocked the door. There was a homeless man lying underneath the counter offered by the bank for endorsing deposits. In the winter months, this was prime real estate for a homeless person here in the city. After the habitual punching of the machine’s keypad, I summoned the thing to dispense two hundred sixty dollars. I mumbled my usual prayer as the machine churned, asking the gods of finance to deliver the crisp twenties without incident. Papers bearing Andrew Jackson’s headshot spit out into my waiting fingers. I turned away from the machine and glanced at the vagrant as I walked to the door. I briefly contemplated his plight as I pulled the door open to the bank’s antechamber and walked toward the exit; I wondered what circumstances in my own life could bring me to that place. Then a song played in my head:

The vagabond who’s rapping at your door.

He’s standing in the clothes that you once wore.

This somehow absolved me of my sense of guilt about the homeless, and so I walked on into the darkness of Manhattan.

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