Driving. When one wasn’t trying to get laid, drink, or get into a fight, driving around was the passtime.
Probably still typical in smallish towns like the one I went to high school in. On occassion, I drive through some town or other (not even necessarily in the South) and I see cars filled with young people driving around, drag racing a bit, or going though the drive-thru at whichever national chain happens to be the popular place in that town at the time.
One night friends and I are out driving as always and we see a pickup truck filled with three men whose total IQ probably barely broke a hundred times their quantity chasing some poor creature down the street, shouting “faggot” and “cocksucker” and throwing beer bottles at it.
The creature is male though he walks with an overly effeminate swish. His name (having had the misfortune of having immigrant parents who either had not seen the Boris Karloff film or didn’t care) is Igor. He has longish hair, which only enhances his androgynous appearance.
The fact that he is a pariah not only makes him a favorable target, but ensures that should he ever try to tell anyone what is about to befall him (and has for months already and will for years to come), he will either not be believed or, lest law enforcement or local government officials be accused of being soft on gays or homosexual themselves, they will simply say they don’t care.
“Why don’t you jus’ kill y’self? Goin’ t’hayell anyways.”
Tonight, the pickup will catch him before he gets home. It isn’t the first time that happened nor will it be the last. They will catch him. The will beat, intimidate and threaten him. Then they will drive him out into the country and fuck him and/or (depending on the particular predator’s preference) force him to suck their cock.
Then he’ll be beaten again and left thirty miles from home. They’ll threaten him again just in case he decides to call the police (who will ignore him, blame him or beat him themselves should he persist).
No, he will cry uncontrollably until he reaches home at some point around sunrise.
The lesson is for all faggots: don’t let anyone know, we don’t give a shit about you. We hate you. God loves us, not you.
Years later, it’s still not safe entirely to be gay, even at the relatively enlightened college I’ve wound up at a mere forty-five minute drive from the hellish place described above.
It is after a rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet. I and some members of the cast and crew are enjoying the best thin crust pizza in town (not a national chain, but a local mom & pop).
A man—no, the King!—walks in and takes a seat at a table not far from us. We notice.
I had been told there was an Elvis impersonator in town. Except that’s not accurate: I was told there was a man who believed himself to be Elvis Presley.
“His real name is Igor.”
There cannot possibly be two poor sons-of-bitches with the same name this close together, can there? I don’t recognize him.
“Yeah, he’s from _______ down south, across the state line.”
My friend, who happens to be playing Romeo to my Friar Laurence and is something of an amazing music buff, decides he wants Elvis’ autograph.
Well, why not? The King’s been dead for many years now. Such a thing must be precious to find at this point.
When my friend returned to the table he was mildly disappointed. I was confused. He had clearly gotten the autograph.
He showed me the paper:
The only button for this story I can think of is, “Look, ma! No deus ex machina!” No firemen rescuing unconscious women in fires, no friends showing up as character witnesses to save a friend in trouble, and no acts of kindness to trouble our religious irreligiousity. Blessed be the name of hopelessness, for it is sacred.