Chapter 1 - The Real Thing
Finally, the night I had waited for all my life was here. I had just completed fourteen weeks of intensive police training, graduated from the Maryland County Police Academy and was reporting for my first shift. At twenty-three, I was in better physical condition than at any other time in my life. All of the rookies drew lots, and I drew the midnight shift for my first time out of the station house. It was time to walk the dangerous tightrope of being a gay man in the ultra-homophobic world of the police.
“Okay, everyone line up for inspection, NOW!” yelled Sergeant Rob Durkin. Everyone jumped and formed a straight line down the squad room so that the sergeant could walk past each of us looking up and down, looking for the slightest thing out of order. Uniforms had to be pressed, leather shined, shoes immaculate, and haircut perfect.
“All right, listen up for your assignments. We have the new batch of rookies assigned to us starting tonight, and I want every one of them back in one piece at 0700 hours.”
I waited in anticipation and excitement for my name to be called as the sergeant worked his way down the list and finally I heard it. “St. James, your Field Training Officer is Corporal Dave Flanders, and you both have Adam 5 tonight. Any questions? Okay, let’s hit the street and keep an eye out in the residential areas; we’ve had another rise in B&E’s.”
“St. James, draw a shotgun and meet me at the car ASAP,” Flanders yelled.
“Right away, sir,” I responded, not needing to address a corporal as sir but doing it out of academy habit. As I drew my shotgun from the police armory and checked it to be sure the chamber was clear before loading four shells into the magazine, I gave a quick look in the mirror, appraising myself once more before hitting the street. As the fluorescent light bounced off my nametag, I read “Pvt. Patrick St. James,” and it shone as brightly as my newly issued badge. I had to admit that I looked good in police uniform. I was just over six feet tall, weighing one hundred and eighty pounds, black hair, blue eyes, which were set off in a compelling way by the contrast of my blue-grey uniform.
Just then I heard Corporal Flanders yell, “St. James, get your ass out here, we don’t have all night!”
After stowing the shotgun in the self-locking rack on the dashboard, I settled in for what I hoped would be a mistake-free night for my first tour of duty.
“Okay, this is the way it’s going to be, St. James; I talk, you listen. If we hit anything heavy, you do as I tell you, and only that. If you do, you might live to see the sun come up. Now put us in service.”
“Sure, corporal,” I responded.
I picked up the mic, “Adam 5, 10-8, Flanders and St. James on board.”
“10-4, Adam 5, time 2303,” dispatch replied.
As the rest of the units went 10-8 or in service, we drove out of the police parking lot onto the streets of Prince George’s County, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. As I listened to the radio, my mind drifted back to my dreams of this day: to become a police officer in spite of being gay. I had been frightened all my life that at the moment of making it, my being gay would be discovered and I would be denied my dream of becoming a cop. After all, I had always been told that gays didn’t make good cops and would never be accepted by the other officers. I had made it through the background checks without any revelation about my sexuality, which would have been the only thing to stop me from making it. Here I was, in a police car, as a police officer – a little scared, but very happy.
“Wake up, rookie! Didn’t you hear our car number called?”
Yanked back into reality, I grabbed the mic and said, “Adam 5, go ahead.”
“Adam 5, Adam 6, take the 13F at Joe’s pool hall at 5th and Maple; report of fight involving five adults, no weapons reported”.
“10-4, in route,” I responded along with Adam 6.
“Fuck, what a way to start out the shift, another drunken pool hall fight,” growled Flanders.
The dispatcher crackled again over the radio to us and Adam 6, “Units responding to the pool hall fight, make it priority response, report of two men down and bleeding, fire department notified”.
“10-4,” I answered.
With that, the 360’s and siren went on, and traffic for the most part pulled out of our way as we now responded at increased speed. My pulse quickened as we rounded a corner near the pool hall, and we cut our siren, as did Adam 6, who was directly behind us.
As we came to a halt, Flanders said, “St. James, stay behind me and cover my ass.” He then yelled to Pfc. Delaney from the other unit, “Move up behind us.” I could hear the distant sirens of the fire department responding to our location as we entered the pool hall.
As we came through the door into the pool hall, we noticed two men at opposite ends of one pool table, both unconscious and bleeding from head wounds. No one was throwing punches now, but it had obviously been a bad one. Pool cues were broken and scattered around the floor, the cigarette machine was lying on its side, and the floor was alive with the sparkle of broken glass everywhere. As Flanders moved in to examine the two on the floor, I kept an eye on everyone standing around the wall of the pool hall. Pfc. Delaney yelled, “Everyone keep their hands where we can see ’em.” Flanders Flanders had turned to the crowd and was asking, “What happened here?” as the paramedics entered the pool hall. got on the radio and told dispatch that one man was in critical condition and that the other injured man was regaining consciousness.
His question was met with silence and blank stares.
“So, no one saw anything, is that right?” he asked.
All we heard in response were mumbles coming from the dozen or so men present.
Delaney went over to the bartender and told him quietly, “Okay, you tell me what happened.”
“I didn’t see anything – I was in the back getting another keg when the shit hit the fan,” he answered.
“Well, that’s convenient, isn’t it?” Delaney snarled.
The medics started administering first aid to the more seriously injured of the two victims on the floor who was bleeding from his head, and said they would both have to go to the hospital.
“St. James, get everyone’s name and address before anyone leaves this place, now, and make them show I.D.”
The first guy refused to give me any information.
“I’m not giving you shit, cop, and I don’t have to. We live in a free country; this ain’t Russia!”
“In that case, I’m gonna haul your ass down to the station house where you can spend the night sitting on a hard bench while we figure out who you are; how’s that?”
The guy grew less combative after thinking about the sobering prospect of where he would end up, and produced his identification.
As the injured left and we followed, I kept an eye on the room, never knowing if we would get hit with a bottle on the way out. Since we were the primary car on the call, we got stuck with the report. This meant that we had to follow the ambulance to Prince George’s County Hospital in Cheverly.
As we stood around waiting for the doctors to tell us the condition of the man who was unconscious, I looked around the waiting room. It was 0029 hours on a Friday night, and the waiting room was full of people who were drunk, hurt in domestic disputes, and those who had no doctors and used the ER for anything from coughs to gangrene.
After twenty-five minutes or so, the doctor came up to us and informed us that the more severely injured man had a concussion but was in stable condition and would be admitted to the hospital. He had lost a lot of blood and they wanted to run more tests in the morning. The other victim was treated and released once a CAT scan showed nothing of concern.
As the victim who was discharged came out into the waiting room heading for the door, I stopped him to continue the investigation.
“Excuse me, sir, but I need your information and details on what happened at the pool hall.”
The victim produced his driver’s license and said, “Things just got out of hand and a little ruckus occurred, that’s all.”
“Yes, sir, but we need to know who hit you and the other guy,” I responded.
“’Fraid I can’t help you, it all happened so quickly – I just don’t know what happened,” he responded lamely.
“You have my information, I have a bad headache and stitches and I would like to go home,” he added, pulling away.
“Fine, sir, the detectives will be in contact with you.”
Since the only thing left to do at that point was to write the report, we left the ER and went back into service. As the rookie, I would have to write the report on the incident, classified as a “crimes against persons” report, before the end of the shift.
The rest of the shift was relatively quiet with the occasional traffic stop, so I was able to finish the assault report in the car before the sun came up. As we pulled into the station house at the end of the shift, Flanders said, “Not bad for your first night, kid; check the shotgun back in and you’re done.”
By the time I got home, I was bone tired and seeing the sun come up only served to give me a headache from the anxiety of a first shift. I had no idea how I was supposed to tell my body to sleep. After taking off all my gear and clothes, I sank into the easy chair in my front room. The house was quiet and I could feel the chill of the looming autumn months that were upon us. I sat in that chair going over and over every single thing that had happened during the shift, looking for mistakes, or something that I could have done better. Generally I was pleased with the way things had gone but still felt a certain anxiety. Flanders, well, he was going to take some getting used to. He was a 6’2”, 210-pound, 38-year-old divorced man with two kids who didn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor. But the word on him among the rookies was that he was a tough cop who knew the job and that I couldn’t have pulled a better Field Training Officer.
Before I knew it, I had fallen asleep in the chair and woke up to the neighbor’s barking dog. As I looked over at the mantle clock, I was surprised to see that it was already 1745 hours, and I was still in the same chair I had sat in when I came home from the job.
I got a shower and was deciding on what to eat for dinner when the phone rang. As I answered it, I recognized the lispy voice of Benton Harker, a casual friend who just had to ask, “Well, butch, how did your first night out go?”
“It was okay, no big deal, no shootouts, nothing like that,” I answered.
“You look so hot in that uniform, Pat; I bet you have all the girls and some of the guys just drooling over you!”
“Yeah, sure Benton; it’s not like that, I assure you. So what’s up?” I asked, trying to move the conversation off my body where his line of conversation always took him.
“Oh, some of us are going out to dinner and wanted to know if you wanted to join us for Chinese?”
As I thought about the prospect of throwing something into the microwave that usually ended up tasting like tin foil, Chinese sounded pretty good.
“Sure, that would be great,” I answered. “Shall we meet at the ‘Wok’ in, say, thirty minutes?”
“Great! See you there, Pat,” Benton purred.
As I arrived at the restaurant, I saw the usual crowd already at the table with one vacant chair. Benton of course, Sandra the lesbian bookstore owner, Dean the bank manager, and Tommie, cashier by day, drag queen by night. I have to admit I was quite attracted to Dean’s smoldering good looks. His blond hair and blue eyes were the ultimate turn on for me in men. The fact that he worked out three times a week only made the package that much more erotic. But Dean was with the same guy for over three years now, and so I suppressed my lust for him and just sat down.
“Hello, all,” I said, and everyone asked me how I liked being a cop now that I was on the street. “I don’t want to talk about that right now. Let’s just eat and talk about other stuff,” I responded, wanting to forget just for a few minutes what I did for a living.
As we waited for our food to arrive, Tommie started telling us about this guy he had met last weekend.
“He saw me in the club and came up to me and asked me if I wanted a drink. Never being one to turn down a free drink, I said yes. He wasn’t a bad looking guy, a little older than my taste usually goes, but as we were talking, in comes my ex, Tim! You would think that since we still live together but have our own love lives, Tim wouldn’t be jealous anymore of guys buying me drinks. Well, he comes over to where we are standing and announces, now get this, he announces that he has crabs and that he must have gotten them from me, since I’m the only one he sleeps with! Well, my jaw hit the floor as the guy I was with bolted out the door! I had a major hissy fit, yelling and screaming at Tim in the middle of the bar, asking him why he did that? ’Course no one could hear us because the music had come back on for the next show, and I was up first. By the time I finished my number and got off the stage, Tim was gone, and wasn’t home when I got there later. I was so pissed that I could have killed him!”
Sandra stopped laughing and asked if it was true: “Did Tim have crabs?”
We all broke out laughing as Tommie turned beet red and replied with much indignity, “No!”
Tim was known to sleep around but not half as much as Tommie did. For a drag queen, Tommie seemed to be able to get almost any man that he wanted and I could only imagine it was because of the way he looked in a tight pair of jeans, instead of a dress.
We finished dinner and I said my goodbyes, promised that on my first night off we would all do something, and headed home to start getting ready for work. I had an entire ritual worked out for this process of “suiting up”.
After shaving and brushing my teeth, I put on a “cool shirt,” an undershirt that went on underneath the bullet resistant vest. The shirt had ridges, which kept the vest up off the body just a tiny bit, enough to allow air to flow underneath so that I didn’t overheat wearing the vest. I’m not sure it helped much, but any little bit of relief was welcomed. Next came the blue vest with built in chest plate, kidney and spine protectors, which I securely fastened around myself. Then came the uniform with badge, nametag, department letters on the collars, and finally the gun belt. Each officer carried a 9 mm Glock semi-automatic with fifteen rounds of hollow point ammo, with an extra two clips attached to the belt. The belt also held a pair of handcuffs, a clip for a set of keys, and a portable radio holder. Finally there was a loop for the nightstick or the PR-24, which was an evolved nightstick with many more uses and capabilities. By the time I placed all this equipment on my body, I weighed an additional fifteen pounds. I looked at the clock and saw that it was 22:14. I left for the station house, not wanting to be late for roll call, an unpardonable sin for a rookie.
As I walked into the roll call room, I sensed that something more than usual was going on and I soon saw that it was because the Chief of Police, Derwin Honeycutt, was standing in the middle of a group of lieutenants, sergeants, and a major or two. Flanders whispered over to me to sit down and to straighten my clip-on tie.
Chief Honeycutt addressed the assembled officers after being introduced by Major Hammon.
“Officers, as always it is a pleasure to be with you and to talk for a brief moment. I wanted to welcome once again our newest officers who have just graduated from the Academy and wish you the best of luck in your new careers in law enforcement. Listen to your Field Training Officers, and become skilled at what you can’t learn in books. I and the citizens of P.G. County have every confidence in you and your dedication to duty. Remember, I have an open door policy, and if you need to see me, I will be happy to talk with each of you.”
“Thank you, Chief, I know the men and women of the shift appreciate your taking the time to come here and say a few words,” said the Major.
With that, we were given the night shift BOLO reports, so that we could be on the lookout for wanted individuals, and told to hit the road.
I enjoyed hitting the invigorating night air and climbing once again into the cruiser to encounter the unknown. I put us 10-8 with dispatch, and off we went. We had a section of College Park in our beat where the University of Maryland is located, which meant kids drinking and brawling occasionally along the stretch of Route 1 that contained the college bars and clubs. Because of that, we tried to pay close attention to the area to maintain order and keep the noise down so that the neighbors who lived in that area were not disturbed. For the most part, we encountered very few problems. Tonight’s pass through the college zone revealed all quiet and kids behaving themselves.
“So Pat, tell me, you got a girl?” Flanders asked. The question I knew would come at some point had arrived and I knew I had to answer it just right.
“Not really, although I have my eye on someone I like,” I replied as I squirmed a little in my seat. In my head, I was thinking of Dean; in Flanders’s head, he was thinking of some blond chick.
“Oh, come on now Pat, you’re a good looking kid, you’re twenty-two or twenty-three years old, you obviously work out, so how come you don’t have a steady girlfriend?”
“Well, with the Academy and all, I haven’t had much time for a social life,” I replied.
“Now all that’s behind you, we need to get you fixed up so that you can have some fun; get laid once in a while, ya know?”
“Yeah, I know, but I like fixing myself up, never cared for blind dates and all that.” Just then a radio call came in ending the uncomfortable topic, at least for now.
“Adam 5, see the complainant at the Shell gas station at Hollywood and 19th St. regarding a missing dog”.
Flanders groaned as I acknowledged the call, and said, “Dog calls, my favorite, just short of ‘something’s in the attic’ calls from little ol’ ladies.”
That was the only call of the night and for once I was totally bored and drank enough 7-11 coffee to float a boat. As the bright yellow and orange sun started its morning rise, my lids got heavy, and it took everything I had to stay awake. Finally the agony ended, and I was in my car going home.
This time I went directly to bed after removing my uniform and fell asleep almost at once. Surprisingly, being bored all night made it easier to sleep at the end of the shift compared to when the shift had been busy and the night passed quickly.
I woke up about 1800 hours and heard noise coming from the kitchen area. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my off duty weapon that I kept in the nightstand next to the bed, and crept down the steps towards the kitchen. As I got closer, I heard the sound of frying and caught the smell of meat. I eased up a bit, knowing that burglars usually don’t stop to cook dinner before departing. As I swung into the kitchen, gun at the ready, I saw Tommie standing there with a pan of fried potatoes, which went straight up into the air as he screamed at the sight of me in my underwear pointing a gun at him. The potatoes went up and came down all over Tommie and he screamed again as he became covered in hot fried potatoes.
I shouted at him, “I could have shot you, you dumb ass!”
“I was only trying to be nice and fix you dinner so that you had a proper meal instead of frozen junk in a microwave!”
As I looked at the kitchen floor, which now had potatoes strewn all over it, along with an upside down frying pan, I slid down against the wall and just started laughing. The more I laughed, the madder Tommie got at me.
“I don’t think it’s one damn bit funny! You scared the hell out of me, pointing a gun at me like that.”
“Well, next time let me know that you’re planning on playing Susie homemaker so I don’t think you’re a thief! Why are you here cooking dinner, and how did you get in?”
Tommie smiled, and said, “I got your emergency key from Benton so that I could surprise you with something hot!” As he said “something hot” he looked down his body to the floor.
“Look, Tommie, you have to understand that now I’m a cop, and I have to live like a cop, and that means if I hear someone in my kitchen who is not supposed to be there, I assume the worst, so please don’t do this again.”
Tommie walked over to me and stared down at my crotch, which was bundled up nicely in my shorts.
“Can I make it up to you somehow?” he asked with a smile. I knew what he meant, and it wasn’t happening.
“No Tommie, just don’t do it again, and please clean up this mess while I get a robe on.” As I left the kitchen, I heard over my shoulder, “You don’t have to do that on my account, Pat.”
Oh yes, I did.
The rest of the workweek was fairly uneventful. I did all the reports on minor incidents that we handled as a matter of routine. I counted a total of nineteen reports for the week, which wasn’t all that bad. It was now time to relax and party for the next two days and nights. I wanted to go out to the bars and find a cutie to go home with for the evening. There is an old saying that cops are some of the horniest men around, and it’s true. Something about the job makes the male hormones work overtime, and many guys make a habit of getting laid on and off duty, including with others who are not their wives, husbands, girlfriends or boyfriends. Cops are whores, to put it bluntly. They will fuck anything that has a pulse. In my own way, I was no different. I just hunted different game than my brothers in blue, and strictly off duty. Getting laid on the job was not worth losing my job.
My first night off, I called Benton and Dean and suggested we all go out to the “Last Stop,” one of the bars in the “O” street corridor of Southeast D.C., which was filled with gay bars, bath houses, glory holes and movie theaters. My suggestion was met with universal approval and soon everyone in our little group, including Tommie the drag queen, was planning on who was driving and who wasn’t. When I got into the car with Dean, Tommie, and Michael, I asked Dean where Jim his partner was, and was told that he didn’t feel like going out.
“He can sit home if he wants; I’m tired of not doing anything fun.”
So off we went down through the winding streets of Southeast D.C. until we got to the club. Once inside, we found a packed dance floor full of cute men dancing, many with no shirts on, and drinks everywhere.
Before I knew it, Dean had handed me a Stoly Screwdriver, saying, “I want to dance with you tonight if you don’t mind,” to which I replied “sure” and smiled. A few songs later, an old time gay favorite came on, “It’s Raining Men” by the Weather Girls, and off to the dance floor with Dean I went. It was stifling hot in the club and I pulled off my tight t-shirt to make me feel cooler, but also to put me in that groove that combines music, dancing, alcohol and sex. I became one with a hundred men dancing with gleaming pecs, ripe with sweat. As I looked around, I saw a guy cruising me hard from the bar area. His eyes followed every move of my body, and I felt them burn into me like laser beams. Dean saw me notice the guy and went out of his way to bring my attention back to him on the dance floor. When the song was over, he wanted to remain and dance to the next one, but I begged off and returned to our table to take a long gulp of my drink. Before I could put my glass down, the guy who was cruising me from the bar came over to me and said, “You looked damn hot out there on the dance floor. You know how to move.”
I don’t think it was the Screwdrivers, the heat or the pounding music, but this man standing in front of me looked like he had been sent from heaven. He introduced himself as Bill, and stood about 5’11”, 165 pounds, blond hair, blue eyes, and a very large noticeable bulge in his jeans. Feeling slightly dizzy, I decided to sit down. I invited Bill to join us at the table. My friends were open jawed at how hot this visitor was and the fact that he was hitting on me.
“So, how come you’re not on the dance floor showing off your stuff?” I asked.
“Do you think I have anything to show off?” he asked with a smile.
All I could say was, “Oh yeah, no question,” while looking directly into his eyes and then involuntarily dropping them to his crotch.
Dean got up and abruptly left the table, walking over to the bar, but I didn’t pay any attention. The very handsome sexual stranger who had introduced himself captivated me.
“Well, if you’re quite recovered from the last dance, would you care to dance with me?” he asked. I didn’t reply, I just got up and we moved to the dance floor. Another oldie, “Celebrate” was playing and we cranked up our dancing, as it got hotter on the dance floor. Finally Bill took off his shirt as we danced, and I fell totally in lust with what I was seeing. There before me twisting and writhing in ecstasy was the body of Michelangelo’s David. His chest looked as if it had been chiseled out of marble with bulging biceps and a V shaped torso. I was captivated and even lost my rhythm while dancing. His body now glistened with sweat and the drops fell off his nose and chin onto the floor. My eyes fell to the treasure that was hidden with promise beneath the jeans that screamed at the stress put on them by what they contained. My eyes followed his legs down to his feet, which were in black cowboy boots. He truly was a vision of male sexuality and perfection.
I felt dizzy again, not from intoxication caused by the liquor this time but from the intoxication of Bill’s body. He saw me apprising him and smiled, took my hand and walked me off the dance floor in between the gyrating bodies of the other dancers. Instead of going back to my table, he took me to the other side of the bar. There we stood naked from the waist up, two stallions staring into each other’s eyes, assessing what lay beneath in the heart of the other. Finally I grabbed him, and kissed him full on the mouth. Bill not only did not pull back, but he forced my mouth open and inserted his tongue and tried to signal that he was the dominant one in this tryst. As he kissed deeper and harder, I grabbed his ass with both hands and found solid granite beneath the jeans. His ass was incredible and I fantasized about all the things I would do with it if given the chance. I felt myself start to grow in my own jeans, which became uncomfortable with everything so confined. I released my hold on Bill’s ass and he broke off the kiss that was draining me of every ounce of energy.
He looked down, seeing obvious interest and said, “Would you like to make love with me?” While it was a bit old fashioned, I usually never slept with a guy I had just met. But for every rule, there was an exception.
“Yeah, Bill, I’d very much like that,” and then remembered my friends who I had come into D.C. with that night. “But I can’t tonight. I rode in with friends and we have a rule that if we come in together, we go home together.”
Bill looked at me and said, “No problem, I’ll ride home with you, and then we can go to your place. Does that work?”
Before I could even think about it, I said, “Yes.”
“In the morning, I’ll take the Metro back into the city to get my car, as I live on Capitol Hill.”
I smiled and said it sounded great. We walked over to my table and Dean asked me if I was ready to go.
I told him yes, and then said, “By the way, Bill is coming with us if no one minds.” Everyone smiled except Dean who gave me and Bill an icy stare and said, “Let’s go.”
We left the bar and all piled into Tommie’s old Cadillac with Bill sitting on my lap since there were not enough seats for everyone. I certainly didn’t mind, and I figured out pretty quickly that neither did Bill, but there was almost absolute silence in the car, with only Michael making lame comments about the scenery as we went by various landmarks. I didn’t understand the tension in the air, and felt it was a little awkward for Bill. While we rode along, every once in a while Bill wiggled just a little, knowing he was sitting on top of my dick and feeling how much I was liking it. Finally he turned his head to me, and we kissed again. His lips were soft and gentle and wet with desire.