Monday, July 2, 2012

Variety, the Spice of Life excerpt by Mykola Dementiuk

In Mykola Dementiuk's Variety, the Spice of Life, giving up the old for the new means drastic changes…a new apartment, new friends, new lovers, and maybe even, a new sex change? But has he changed that much to accept these changes so readily when he knows that there are even more drastic changes waiting for him?

Variety, the Spice of Life  
eXtasy Books (September 1, 2010)
ASIN: B0042ANZ24

Was in New York City in the summer of 1970 when I had turned twenty-six, and newly arrived in Manhattan from Queens—not that far, actually another borough, but a world of difference in outlook of life. A few years ago, Oswald assassinated Kennedy while Johnson had enmeshed us in the Vietnam War as Nixon was threatening to drag us even deeper in the mire.

In the springtime, my mother had passed away, after suffering from her bad heart for many years, and I received some annuity from her insurance—not much, but two thousand dollars was a great deal in the 1970s. I had a go-nowhere job in a small paper supply company on Maiden Row, a few blocks from Wall Street, not the best or promo-table of jobs, but things seemed to be going as best as they could, if the female secretaries didn’t give me enough reasons to be mad at them. And with mom’s death, there no longer was any real purpose to remain in Queens, which was like a different country compared to what I had my sights set for, Manhattan’s Lower East Side, which was low-priced and where I had walked through its streets quite a number of times.

By 1970, the hippie-free-love era had chaotically erupted and crashed all over society. The hair on men had gotten longer and women’s dresses were becoming much shorter and freer, while the music had become psychedelic—whatever that meant.

Basically, though, no more do-wop or June-moon lyrics. Nevertheless, I still wore suits and ties to work, but on the Lower East Side neighborhood where I now lived, I was beginning to feel odd with my straight apparel. Every day, I’d take the subway downtown to work and feel comfortable there, yet in the evening take the same train home and feel out of place in those very same clothes. I wasn’t only looking odd, I was now feeling odd, too. Times were certainly changing, and pretty quickly at that.

I had found a sizable room on the top floor of a tenement on 9th Street between 1st and Avenue A, and I very much liked its hugeness—seems that the old tenant had removed the walls of his four room apartment and created one vast auditorium, which no one seemed to want to live in, except, that is, me! I loved the place, its hugeness, its vastness, that you actually could faintly hear echoes from the other side of the room as you walked through.

After I had paid her the two months’ rent in advance, Mrs. Yawolsky, the elderly Polish-Ukrainian owner, asked in her Slavic accent, “What you want big room for? You got girlfriend?”

I turned red. We were in her apartment, which served as her office on 9th Street and Avenue A—she ran a few buildings in the area in the neighborhood along with her sons who were gruff looking boys.

“No, ma’am,” I answered. Thinking of those thoughts had been a problem all my life. I lived by the rules society imposed on me—go to grade school, then high school. Afterward, find a nice job, get a girlfriend and eventually plan to marry her so as to have children and little grandchildren. What boring rot! I had other dreams and quests ever since I had known Mr. Dickey, a local Queens man who seemed to come around every now and then, taking me to amusement parks, the Bronx Zoo, Coney Island, Central Park and other places around the city. I was eighteen and Mr. Dickey took me everywhere until we stopped off and went to see a Times Square movie, a kind of exposé report on sexually aroused women—now a bit tame, but at the, time a tantalizing look at women undressing.

That’s when I had cum in my pants while sitting next to Mr. Dickey as he groped at me.

Cowardly to say the least, but I left the theater, whispering that I had to go and use the bathroom, but fleeing home where I masturbated even more that night and very often in the coming days and weeks as I thought of Mr. Dickey’s hands on me.

Well, I never talked to Mr. Dickey again, though I had seen him with other men and as the weeks and months went by, I’d let other men touch and grope me. Times Square seemed to be the place for that though. I learned that touching men could happen anywhere and I always made myself available to be touched or to touch. On Friday evenings, I’d be at a Times Square movie theater and feel some stiff man hover beside me, but that’s about all I did, going home to mother in Queens, feeling sad, angry and frustrated. It no longer made a difference how many men I sat next to because at the end of the night, I’d be taking the subway home to mother and my useless empty bed.

“No girlfriend…” I repeated, blinking my eyes and looking at Mrs. Yawolsky. “Have my job to look after,” I snuggly said, but I felt stupid as my face reddened even more.

“You must have you rent every month,” she stated in her thick Slavic accent. “Put in mailbox. No leave with sons,” she firmly added and then shut her door.

Typical mother and son disputes, I thought, well, that never occurred with my mother, the dear…

However, I was happy now and went about collecting goods I needed for the place. I bought some pots and pans with a used toaster from the thrift store on 11th Street and 1st Avenue, where many women were getting their used wardrobes and other feminine things from. I blushed and looked away. I also got a very nice table lamp that would sooth the cavernous huge room from the ceiling light bulbs which certainly brightened the huge room, yet, I felt awkward in the so suddenly lit-up open space, as though I was on display there.

On Avenue A, at Tifford’s Furniture Store on 7th Street, I found a bed for fifteen dollars—Take As Is, said their sign—and made three trips to my house, back and forth from the furniture store and one time even seeing Mrs. Yawolsky’s gruff looking sons snorting and laughing at me as I lugged up the mattress.

That Sunday afternoon, I had already started to feel edgy and nervous. I had missed the anonymous men and the groping I did with them for a few dollars or they did with me. Yet, instead of going uptown to 42nd Street, I began looking around here, downtown along 2nd or 3rd Avenues. It was a relief to be there, the people, the crowds and the movie theaters. Yes, it was as if I had returned to a safe refuge, which 3rd Avenue had become. For many weeks, I had been going there, the movie houses on various streets interspersed among the avenues, which were eagerly awaiting more moviegoers, as were the movies on 42nd Street. On 14th Street there was the Academy of Music, the Variety Photoplays, the Metropolitan and on 2nd Avenue there was the St. Marks Cinema and others, all so erect and standing tall as if awaiting release of some feature film or at least me watching one.

Then I saw him, a dream I kept in my thoughts, amongst the crowd on St. Marks Place and stepping down into the subway on 4th Avenue. A man I had been lusting after many days now. However, alas, he had disappeared down into the subway.

Ever since I saw him for the first time in the movie theaters, he seemed to be with someone else, another teasing man, or a protective older man. One time he even was with a black transvestite in a short skirt and that made me blush as I watched the two of them, the traney with very big breasts, as they giggled and skirted away. When would my day come to put my arms around him and protect him?

Still after a few hours of groping and gazing into hungry faces and onto the bodies on the screen, I left the shabby tissue-strewn Metropolitan and went home to my abode on 9th Street, where I again masturbated. Whomp… whomp…whomp… Ah, the angry peace…


Victor j. Banis said...


Smooth as silk, like rocking in a hammock on a lovely summer day - A wonderful peek into the past.

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

I'm stuck in that period, 1960s-70s, and haven't been able to get out of it, which were very nice to live through, a bit chaotic but the Best Years of Our Lives.