It's my 36th birthday. David, Drake the Teddy Bear Artist, Corbin the Gym Rat, Kevin the Vampire, and a few other guys have gathered in an Ethiopian restaurant. We're discussing enormous penises, dates from hell, and finally celebrity hookups.
Corbin and David tell about our hookup with Brad Pitt.
Drake tells about getting on his knees in Tony Curtis' dressing room.
Kevin the Vampire says "I can do better than that. A few years ago, when I first moved to San Francisco, I had a date with Satan."
Kevin is in mid 30s, tall and pale, with a long face, long hair, long hands, and a weird goatee, rather Satanic looking already. And there's a lot of mystery about him, a lot of paranormal. So it seems believable.
David, the former Baptist minister, stares open-mouthed. "The...the...real Satan?" he stammers.
"Well...perhaps not the real one," Kevin says. "But as close as you'd want to get."
Enid, Oklahoma, 1980s
Kevin grew up in Tulsa and then Enid, Oklahoma, two of the most dreary, depressing towns in the Bible belt, with nothing to do but watch sports and talk about girls. His parents belonged to the ultra-fundamentalist Bible Missionary Church, where everything but breathing was a sin.
"Baptists were the same way," David says.
He went through life terrified that he would commit a sin without knowing it. He used to pray for God to kill him, so he wouldn't have to die unsaved, and spend eternity in hell.
It was especially terrifying once he recognized that he was gay ("thou shalt not lie with mankind as with woman; it is an abomination") and that he was a witch ("thou shalt not suffer a witch to live").
Oh, he couldn't zap himself across time and space, or turn mortals into toads, like on Bewitched, but:
He knew what people were thinking
He could see what was going to happen in the future
He could make himself invisible. People would walk right past without noticing him, very handy for dealing with bullies and getting out of chores.
His favorite power was mind-control. It didn't always work, but sometimes, if he looked at you the right way, you would do what he wanted. His mother let him have two desserts; his teacher changed the grade on a paper; a high school jock agreed to a blow job.
A lot of high school jocks agreed to blow jobs.
"That doesn't take magical powers," Corbin says. "You're very hot. I would do you."
Kevin smiles. "How do you know that I'm not controlling you right now?"
As a teenager, he struggled valiantly to overcome his fundamentalist guilt. He forced himself to "sin," to go to movies and watch tv, to smoke and drink alcohol, to stay home from church on Sunday, to use profanity, to go to Catholic churches and Buddhist temples.
He dated a football star who later went pro, and who heterosexuals have probably heard of, but he was never sure if the jock really liked him, or if it was just his mind control.
"Skip Satan," Drake says. "Let's hear about the football player. Was he hung?"
"Mmmm...adequate for the task," Kevin replies. "I'm not much of a size queen, anyway. I'm attracted to innocence. To virginity, so to speak. I want to introduce my men to a whole new world of sensuality." He glances at me.
After college Kevin couldn't settle on a career: he dropped out of medical school after one year, tried graduate school in biology but hated it, and worked as a hospital orderly, nursing home attendant, and phlebotomist. Finally he trained as a medical technician, a job which allowed him a lot of free time to read and hook up with men.
In his ongoing attempt to rid himself of fundamentalist guilt, Kevin committed even more "sins." He tried hashish and cocaine. He read books on paganism, atheism, and New Age philosophy. He attended a Wiccan ritual. He deliberately blasphemed God, the Trinity, and Jesus Christ.
San Francisco, December 1992
In 1992, Kevin finally achieved the life-long dream of gay men everywhere: he managed to move to San Francisco. He found a job at St. Mary's Medical Center, and an apartment nearby in the Richmond district, a bit far from the Castro, but still Gay Heaven.
But even in Heaven, he worried about hell. The nagging doubt just wouldn't go away: "Is there a God who is passing judgment on me? Am I doomed to an eternity in hell?"
The Church of Satan was very popular among the youth counterculture of the 1960s. Over a million people bought copies of The Satanic Bible, and there were dozens of famous converts or well-wishers, such as the Beatles, underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger, and actress Sharon Tate, who was killed in the Charles Manson murders in 1969.
In 1975, most members of the Church of Satan left for the rival Satanic Temple of Set, and LaVey fell from the limelight. But he was still living in the Black House, still promoting his philosophy through books and magazine articles, still conducting rituals for a small group of loyal followers.
To his disappointment, Anton was not at all scary. He looked like someone's doting grandfather, tall, gaunt, bald, and smiling.
They sat in a perfectly normal-looking living room. A coffee table with a pile of People magazines. Pictures of family members on the mantle. There was even a Christmas tree, though Anton called it "a memorial to the Dying God."
He told Kevin that Satanism was about being true to your animal nature: "We are animals, not gods. We should do what pleases us, what gratifies us. Everything else is bullshit."
"What about helping others?" Kevin asked, playing the devil's advocate.
"If that's what pleases you, fine. But never do anything just because someone expects it of you. Not your mother, not your boss, not some old guy sitting on a cloud. More tea?"
"So, by that logic," Kevin said, "Satanism itself is basically bullshit."
"Exactly. I'm a stage magician, a flim-flam man. But name me one religion, philosophy, spiritual system, or ethical system that isn't bullshit. There are no gods, there are no spirits, there is no heaven and hell. There is here and now. Eating, drinking, fighting, f**king. Especially f**king."
They eventually got around to the sex. Anton wanted to top Kevin, but he settled for a blow job. On his knees in Anton's bedroom, thrusting up and down on his thin spearlike Kielbasa, Kevin was surprised to find no sense of guilt at all. Not even when Anton yelled "Ave Satanas" as he spurted down Kevin's throat.
No gods, no monsters, no heaven, no hell. Nothing but the here and now.
Anton didn't reciprocate. There was no cuddling or kissing afterwards. But still, Kevin was elated.
He left the Black House and walked through the misting rain, and looked at the Christmas lights shining red and green on California Street. Never had anything looked so beautiful.
Was Kevin Telling the Truth?
Anton LaVey was straight, but open to occasional same-sex activity. He died in 1997. His Black House has been torn down, and a condominium built on the spot.
See also: Drake on His Knees in Tony Curtis' Dressing Room; Five Three-Ways with Kevin the Vampire.