Monday, September 1, 2014

Red Curry Summer excerpt by Jacob Campbell

Red Curry Summer by Jacob Campbell is a step back in time and place.  This short story about a summer love affair between two twenty-something gay guys is set in 1970. The Viet Nam war was a major factor in most of us going back to graduate school to avoid the draft, and we weren’t out as “out” really wasn’t a viable option then. Secret cruising, sneaking into bath houses, smoking weed, and having to wonder what a potential mate was thinking about you between meetings—no cell phones or email to break the tension—and lasting relationships were not an option for many. It’s an autobiographical first-person piece about a special guy in a special time in the protagonist’s life, markings in time, markings in memory, love’s indelible mark upon one’s soul, and having to say goodbye.  The eternal story about love and romance..
Red Curry Summer
JMS Books (August 30, 2014)


"Hey, man, where you been?" Curry asked as he walked briskly from his convertible to my car when I drove up in the parking lot of the Mental Health Center.
Oh, nowherejust out doing some chores around my place.
"Well, everybody sure missed you, man." Curry put his arm on my shoulder and hugged me discreetly, but overtly, in the parking lot. Two of the secretaries were coming into work and ducked their heads as if to giggle to one another. "This is my last week. I dont know where the summer has gone, Curry said. "I'm going to be finished on Thursday and then I'm leaving that night to drive straight through to New Orleans."
"You only have two days left?"
Yes. Two days. I was hoping that I could spend the night with you tonight to make it special.
All my dream-state resolutions to do away with this relationship went down the drain. The very thought of losing him in two days made my heart rate go up, and my skin was immediately covered with perspiration.
"Come stay the night. Well take off early and have a good time."
"That's cool, man," Curry said. "I've been looking forward to getting back into bed with you. Youre really amazing."
I thought about how insensitive he had been, standing me up, and there was not a mention of it, not even an apology. But I was so enamored of him that I just let it all go and only could think about what I could possibly do to extend our relationship, to make it last more than these few hours left allocated to us. However, I didn't know what to do. I wanted him to stay, but my mind was blank. We entered the building and the buzz of the Mental Health Center immediately surrounded us.
"I'll see you at 10:30 in the coffee room, let you know what can happen. If you can be free, we could leave by noon and that would give us all afternoon. I'll just call in sick tomorrow if you don't have to be here." I said.
"I don't have to be here tomorrow until about twelve o'clock because that's when teachers coming to give us our certificates for this summer. Curry said. I could actually spend the afternoon and night at your placeup until almost noon tomorrow."
So here it was. It was the final deadline. It was D-Day. I had no motivation to stay in the Mental Health Center and do any work at all. I made a few necessary phone calls, told Dwayne I was having a crisis, and asked if hed cover for me just two more days. I got back in my car and spun around toward the downtown shopping area in Chattanooga to the Sport Country Western Store where I had seen some leather pants with tassels on the legs. Leather pants something like Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett might wear. They were suede cordovan, colored, tight-fitting, sexy bellbottoms. The combination of tassels all up and down the seams on the side and the bellbottoms made them perfect for dancing. I thought Id get them for myself a month or so ago, but they were way too long. When I met Curry, I could picture him in them. I knew that Curry wood be going to the discos and dancing a lot when he moved to New Orleans, the Crescent City.
It was so important to get a special going away present for Curry. When the salesman told me the price of the pants, I couldn't believe it. It was more than I made in a week. I really didn't know what to do. I had a credit card that was relatively new and only was supposed to be used for emergencies, and I decided that this was an emergency. I charged the suede bellbottom pants with the tassels, a chocolate-colored paisley shirt that accented the pants, and a cowboy belt that looked like it would glitter in the disco because it was cordovan leather covered with metallic studs that acted like little mirrors all the way around. It went with the outfit.
I knew Curry had the boots to go with this. I knew that I would never see him wear these in the disco, but I wanted him to remember me. They were so beautiful. I never bought a present like this, even for my own self.
I raced to a Thai deli. Id been researching their menu, and so I knew what I wanted. There was an entire dinner, mostly shrimp and seafood, all based on red curry. I thought this would be cool. I wanted this to be a romantic evening, and I want to express my love to Curry. I thought hed get a kick out of the meal, and maybe it would make the evening more memorable.
I kept thinking and saying to myself under my breath, my mantra, Go Ahead, Dream Big! I repeated this over and over to myself. What did it mean? Go Ahead, Dream Big?
In my mind, I knew that I was hoping that I could convince Curry to stay and to live with me. I cried, thinking about this, about how he could live with me and not have to go to New Orleans. I would make him happy. He wouldn't have to work. He could pursue his artist dreams and paint in the hills and mountains around the apartment. But I knew that he was a local boy and probably all his life wanted to get away from this place. These were all the warring thoughts in my mind that made me nearly sick with anguish as I headed for my last encounter with Curry.
I smoked a joint and rolled several for the evening. Then I dropped the tab of acid that was supposed to be really mellow sunshine and it turned out to be an ecstatic kind of experience and I felt a lot of love. A lot of feelings of grandiose magnanimous affection and caring for every creature in the world seemed to emanate from somewhere in my solar plexus. When Curry arrived, I was more than ready for him. In the darkened apartment, curtains all closed, I had candles lit and the Moody Blues were playing in the background, his favorite song Knights in White Satin." The aroma of red curry and sandalwood incense filled the apartment. I had everything in the oven on warm.
"Come on in, I said to Curry.
I shut the door behind him and I threw my arms around him. He kissed me, and I kissed him. There was a moment of blissful unification that I experienced. Sunshine was rushing through my system, and I was feeling most intensely each touch, each emotion, each tiny thing as though everything were processed through some kind of life amplification system.
Curry was carrying his knapsack with his overnight stuff, and, in one hand, he had a blue foil box that was gift-wrapped with a red ribbon. I was very curious, but I said nothing. I indicated for him to put it down on the table over in the corner by the bookshelf. That's when he noticed the gift-wrapped boxes for himself.
We had our dinner by candlelight. Then we sat on the sofa and kissed and cuddled. There was no motion to go into the bedroom to have sex. Not yet.
We opened the presents.
"Wow!," Curry said. "I've never seen any pants so beautiful in my life."
"Try them on and see how they fit."
I was extremely anxious that they were going to fit, even though I knew they were his size. I watched in anxious anticipation as he unfolded them and took his pants off, exposing his long beautiful legs. He slid into the velvet-like suede pants. They came up to his low waist, below his navel, and they buttoned snugly for a perfect fit. The shirt was also a good fit. I did what I set out to do, and I was overjoyed
"Thank you so much for this. I can't believe you bought this. This is so beautiful. I don't deserve it. Curry was clearly pleased.
"You deserve this and more. I would like to say that this is a present that I give you, and hope that you would just stay herewhere Im I mean stay here with me from now on."
Curry ducked his head and said. He reached for the cubical blue box and handed it to me. For a moment, I felt hopefulhope that there was some object in this box that indicated that Curry loved me. I unwrapped the box carefully and slowly, letting the tension build within myself. Then I opened the inner paper and found a beautiful, three-inch-tall, antique jade Buddha. It was like red jade.
"Is this jade? It looks like red jade!
"It's red jade.  I got it because you love Zen so much and because you love the color of my hair. Everyone at the Mental Health Center says youre as compassionate as the Buddha, too.
Knowing how screwed up and insane I am, I kept my mouth shut and just made humming sounds of approval.
The Buddha was absolutely amazing. It was an antique but had been cared for lovingly. It must have been over a hundred years or more old, from the markings on the base. It was of the laughing Buddha. The one where he is fat-bellied and has breasts that sag and hang down. I wondered if I seemed like a laughing Buddha to Curry. He leaned over and kissed me on the lips.
Thank you for taking care of me this summer. Ill never forget you.
This made me feel extremely good. I was glad to get such a present from him. More than the gift, I appreciated the sentiment behind it. His acknowledgement of my support made me feel better, if not somewhat categorized as utilitarian, like a professor or teacher.
I caressed the cool jade. I felt such connection with the Buddha statue. It seemed like the perfect present. I had never thought of red so much as I had since meeting Curry. Some people call that color hair ginger, but I dont see that in his hair. I see gold and red.
I took the Buddha and placed it on my handmade study desk. The little statue joined my magnifying glass, a couple of books, and a few of my pens decoratively set out. I never moved that statue from my desk except to pack to move a few times. My study desk was its home.
One thing led to another, and we wound up in bed, naked, tangled up. We made love. We took our time, and as the night wore on, so did the intensity of our lovemaking. But a surprise awaited me. When we neared our explosive climax, a devastating telltale sign that everything was terribly changed forever appeared.
Curry worked my cock so intensely that I came first, unable to hold back any more under the sensual assault. I was limp and drenched in sweat as I collapsed in his arms.
I came as Curry manipulated me with his hand. After that, something new happened.
He withdrew from me, got a towel to wipe me off, and lost his erection without having an orgasm.
At first I thought he was just tired, and it would come back. He lay down next to me, went to sleep, and slept the rest of the night. When I woke in the morning, I watched the light play on his beautiful naked body. However, his flaccid penis was a reminder to me that he had ended our relationship without, so to speak, our final consummation. The mutuality was missing. I felt the old familiar emptiness emerging from within.

1 comment:

Mick Mykola Dementiuk said...

I've been reading Jacob Campbell ever since he came out a few years ago. He is an impressive writer. Heard he's doing a big one on the bath scene of New Orleans, as it was in the 1970s & 80s. That's enough to already give me an erection!