Memoirs from the foothills of Nepal to the streets of America.
Trade Secrets by J.P. Tamang
The Filching Troll of Deinal Park
The trick had been acting strangely since he picked me up in his car. Sweating, he kept asking me if I was gay, who I was “gay with,” and if I knew what AIDS was. We had driven all the way to his house, miles from the city, when he changed his mind about me. “I’m sorry,” he told me, “but I’m into feminine guys.” I looked at my outfit, athletic shorts, some basketball shoes, and a baggy button-down. I’d grown so accustomed to butching it up for tricks that I didn’t think twice about donning jock drag. I’d only been escorting in the city for a year, having spent the majority of my career standing on street corners after bar close and luring johns into alleys and back rooms under the cover of darkness.
If there was a way to turn him I wanted to find it, despite his distaste. I needed the money. I looked him over.. He was portly and pale, with liver spots and a wispy, mahogany toupee that sat on top of his balding head. His hair was so stringy, and his head so shiny, he looked like an eggshell drizzled with ham gravy. He didn’t look too scary to me. “Which house is yours?” I asked. With one outstretched finger he pointed through the windshield to the ornate stained glass in the threshold of a massive colonial that overlooked the trees in Deinal Park.
“That’s where I live,” he gloated. I realized his evaluation of me as untrustworthy trade was probably preventing him from inviting me inside. I asked him to drive me back to my neighborhood, thinking I might be able to turn him on my own turf. He stepped on the gas and made a sharp U-turn. “I’m sorry this didn’t work,” he said, “but I’ve had bad experiences with criminals. Have to hide my money in the freezer now.” He chuckled vacantly. “There’s a thousand dollars in there.”
As we headed back to the city, over the bridge that stretched across the muddy Mississippi, I watched the streetlamps pass me, lit for dusk. He brought the Cadillac to a halt behind a laundromat in my neighborhood. “Sure you don’t want to fool around?” I asked, knocking my voice up a register and pouting. I bit my lip. He began to pant. The automatic locks went down.