San Francisco, April 1997
There wasn't much street cruising going on in West Hollywood, since everyone drove everywhere. But San Francisco was a walking city, so you could easily stop and talk to someone on the street, and invite them out for dates or hookups.
But the competition was fierce. Forget walking around in a muscle shirt with a gym-pumped physique -- there were a dozen bigger guys on every block. If you wanted to attract men, you needed a gimmick.
There were cowboys and ballet dancers, guys riding unicycles and skateboard, guys carrying pies and leading dogs. An Edwardian gentleman. Santa Claus.
But probably the most creative of the street cruisers was the Martian.
At least that's what we called him. He was a very tall, very muscular black guy, dressed all in white and gold, a gold medallion hanging around his neck. He looked exactly like an emissary of the Galactic Council as envisioned by a "Space Brothers" UFO cult.
None of my friends had dated or hooked up with him -- he tended to give Attitude, not speak to or make eye contact with anyone. But according to gossip, he gave his name as Darvon, with various last names: Zipp, Klaa, or Euripides. He claimed to be from either "a small planet very, very far away" or "a small galaxy near Neptune" (the nonsensical answer that Betty Hill received during her 1961 abduction).
And his apartment was full of photos of alien spaceships, strange plants that were probably extraterrestrial, a cat that responded to telepathic signals, and a regeneration booth.
This I had to see.
Although I was sure that Darvon was just spoofing, I am interested in UFOS and aliens.
And in black men.
Of course, you can't just walk up to a guy on the street and say "Your place or mine?' You need a hook of your own, something that sets you apart.
I decided to use language. Not klaatu barada nikto, the alien phrase that Michael Rennie used in The Day the Earth Stood Still -- too ordinary. Certainly nothing in the Klingon of Star Trek or the Elvish of The Lord of the Rings.
Maybe he was interested in his African heritage. How about Swahili?
A helpful anthropology student at Berkeley gave me a few phrases:
You have a nice body: Una mwili nzuri
I want to see your penis: Nataka kuona uume yako
I want to go down on you: Nami kupiga magoti
One night after the gym I saw the Martian on 18th Street, walked up to him, and tried the third phrase, which actually means "I want to kneel before you."
He smiled broadly and responded: "Wewe kuzungumza lugha ya wafalme," which I later discovered means "You speak the Language of the Kings!"
Switching to English, we discussed the origin of Swahili as a lingua franca of east African fishermen and Arab traders in the 16th century, then the great Bantu migrations, then the Cushitic languages of Ethiopia (over dinner at the Ethiopian restaurant on Valencia Street).
To my disappointment, Darvon never claimed to be an alien: he was plain old Darvon McKinley from Detroit, 32 years old, with a degree in African Studies from Wayne State University. He lived in San Francisco for two years.
"I was going for an Egyptian look," he said, "Ancient Egypt was the earliest Black civilization. But everyone thought I was an alien, so I went with it. Darvon Klaa, from a small galaxy near Neptune." He laughed.
Back at his apartment in the Mission, there were no pictures of alien spaceships or regeneration booths.
The plants were spindly and spidery, with some weird colors, but native to the tropics of central Africa, and for sale in any greenhouse.
The cat was cool. All black, with a diamond collar, named Giza. I never saw a cat before who would come when called.
The living room had no furniture except big pillows on the floor, a long, low coffee table, and a big throne-like chair. Darvon sat on the throne. I had no choice but to sit on a pillow at his feet.
"My boy will be home soon," he said, stroking Giza. "Then we can go to the bedroom."
"Your boy?" He hadn't mentioned a partner.
"Tanner. He gets off at the restaurant at 10:00. He hasn't been to college, but don't worry, he knows his place as well as you do."
"He's read his history," Darvon explains. "He knows that the Blackman built all the great civilizations while whitemen were still huddling in caves. He understands that his place is at the foot of the Blackman, like you do."
Ok, Darvon wasn't an alien -- he was a Black Supremacist! Tarik, who I visited in Norfolk last summer, was raised Black Muslim. But they disapprove of dating white men. Darvon obviously didn't mind.
What else? While Darvon changed the subject to racist portrayals of Blackmen in movies, I tried to think of other black supremacist groups. The Hebrew Israelites. The Moorish Science Temple...
No way I was going to hook up with a guy who thought white people were inferior, or with Tanner, his brainwashed "boy." I believe in racial equality! I stood to make an excuse and leave, but first I had to go to the bathroom.
While I was in the bathroom, I heard the door open and close, and a muffled conversation. Tanner! I took my time finishing, and returned to the living room to find Tanner sitting on one of the pillows at Darvon's feet: a short, slim white guy in his 20s, with a handsome round face, curly hair, and a smooth chest.
His street clothes were scattered on the floor. He was naked, except for an Egyptian-looking vest.
"I thought you got lost in there," Darvon said. "Tanner, welcome our guest."
Tanner stood, put his arms around me, and groped and kissed me. I reached down and groped his very thick Bratwurst, already aroused. Then Tanner knelt, unzipped me, and started going down on me.
Wait -- this was a weird Black supremacist cult!
"Sorry. I...um..I have to go."
"You can't leave until Tanner has finished showing you his proper place."
"I know my place," Tanner said. "At the foot of the Blackman." Saying that liturgical phrase made him even more aroused. He sat at Darvon's feet, with his legs spread so his penis was still accessible, opened the drawstring of his pants, and started kissing and licking his Kielbasa+.
"I should be going..."
Darvon leaned back and closed his eyes. "Boomer, are you sure you have to rush off? You're welcome to help Tanner with his evening duties, or if you wish, you can borrow him for awhile. He's an excellent kisser, and as you can see, quite eager to please."
Tanner looked up. "I made cookies for later."
I knelt in front of Darvon and started working on his shaft while fondling Tanner.
"Wait," Darvon said. "You forgot to..."
"I know my place, at the foot of the Blackman," I said quickly..
For penises and cookies I'll say anything, no matter how nauseating.
See also: Pushing a Shopping Cart Up Castro Street; Tarik's First White Cop