Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Not everybody who worked out at the gym was the strongest or the best, of course. Many people came to the gym who never competed in anything.
But there were a lot of deviants.
Gene, not the powerlifter, drove cab. He was a steroid user, and he stayed big, not for competition--just for walking around. And for men. Gene was a hustler, and it was he who had established the code--he didn't kiss anyone and he only allowed himself to be pleasured. If you followed those guidelines, according to Gene, you were not gay. I heard him say that with my own ears one day in the locker room. Heads nodded in agreement as if that made sense.
Gene had a head of curly hair and a wide mouth that was usually curled into a maniac's grin. But he stayed fit and was known in certain well-to-do circles of gay men. Sometimes he considered himself a model as when he posed in a selection of underwear for a group of men in a hotel room.
When Kevin joined the gym, he was still in high school, and Gene took him "under his wing." He showed Kevin the ropes. He got him a job driving a cab, and he showed him how to hustle.
Kevin was an eager kid, and he was supernaturally strong. Seriously strong. It was surreal. He was skinny, but he was a natural power lifter. He could put up the numbers of any of the heavyweights in the gym. Once Gene introduced him to steroids, he became legendary
But Kevin was a fighter, a kickboxer. He had been training since he was a boy, and he was a real devil. His mother had married a man who abused him physically as a kid. He beat him and made him mean, and Kevin hated him. Like many of the men in the gym, Kevin had been sexually abused as well. Kevin's outlook on life was shaped early. Taking money for sex, as Gene taught him, was easy.
Something happened to Gene. I don't know what, exactly, but he had to disappear. He didn't go to prison. He was just gone. I never got the whole story. After Gene was gone, Kevin got involved with another group of people. They were Italians, and at night, they all hung around a pizza store they owned smoking cigarettes and shooting the shit like you see in movies. Kevin did some work for them here and there.
Kevin was growing up, and he was doing some business on his own. The Italians were helping. They were suppliers. But as things will, they eventually went wrong. Kevin was trying to rip off some fellows selling them powder that was not cocaine, but the fellows turned out to be cops. When they tried to arrest him, Kevin beat the fuck out of the three of them and ran away. But they knew who he was, and eventually he was arrested. They knew about his Italian connections, too, and as is their wont, the cops offered him a deal, but Kevin knew better than to take it, so he went to prison for the beatings and for selling fake drugs. But he wasn't a rat, and that meant something to the Italians.
In prison, Kevin learned Spanish and hung with his new Hispanic buddies. In prison, he said, you had to have a gang. Something happened which he never explained, but he hated "niggers" as much as anyone could. The majority of prisoners were black, he said, but they wouldn't fuck with the Hispanics because they knew that Hispanics would knife you in a second. With them, he said, he had protection.
In prison, Kevin never lifted a weight. He played tennis, he said. That was his. only exercise.
Three years later, when he was released, he was skinny. But when he came back to the gym, he didn't seem to have lost any of his strength. Kevin, apparently, ran on a different kind of juice than most of us. He was made with a different kind of fiber.
How the Italians rewarded Kevin when he got out of prison was never made public. But one thing was certain. From that point forward, Kevin had a seemingly endless supply of cocaine.