Kiss Me Under the Neon Lights
You’ve been zip locked into my mind ever since.
I remember you like it was yesterday. Sometimes I’ll see a tall skinny effeminate gay man swishing down the city sidewalk and I’ll remember us. I remember them honking their horns at us. They were honking at you. The more bad attention they gave you, the more of a show you put on for them. Every time we walked down that busted Las Vegas street to the corner gas station to buy black beauties and packs of cigarettes. What was that beer you were always after? Some cheap swill that I don’t think I’ve had since. (It was Steel Reserve.)
I can’t believe I put off visiting you for all of those years. I was terribly intimidated. You were a cruel Internet celebrity in the early 2000’s. I was just The Artist D. I never thought you’d like me. I didn’t think you thought much of me. It turned out you thought about me a lot. I intimidated you, because I never bought into your vicious barbs.
At that time in my life you were the only guy I flirted with who actually flirted back. In person, at least. We put on Madonna records and looked at your copy of her Sex Book. You lit incense and chain smoked while I chain drank. Your drunk neighbor came over to bum cigarettes and dance provocatively with the gays. I wanted her to leave.
We took about four hundred snapshots on my digital camera that night. A picture show of two Internet Superstars in various states of debauchery. You posed with your purple boombox while the ashes from your cigarette fell. What a bunch of provocateurs, huh? Those falling ashes are frozen in my mind.
I remember when you kissed me on the balcony under all of your red neon lights. It was like some kind of teenage fever dream come true. I was so surprised that you figured me out. “I can tell you wanted that since you got here, bitch.” You figured me out. You really did. It was a sex blur from there until we passed out. And passing out wasn’t easy for people like us. We’d wake up the next afternoon and go back to the corner store for more amphetamines. More passersby honking at your sway.
We walked to a local occult store that next day. You were big into the tarot and white witchery. You stole a four leaf clover preserved in plastic and gave it to me. I still have it. I don’t know if any guy had ever stolen anything for me before. It was kind of romantic now that I think about it.
That was it for us and we were fine with that. We were never to see each other again. There might have been a longing, but longing always does last longer. We kept in touch, but we were busy. I remember us missing each other. I remember how unhappy we both were with certain circumstances. I remember when you called me after finding out you had HIV. You were devastated. I calmed you down, but I was devastated for you too. We cried a lot. We didn’t know how HIV worked in the 21st Century.
We should have kept in touch. Of course we didn’t, because we were both too dramatic for the story to end any other way. A quick frolic, a passionate night under neon lights, a stolen totem, and that’s all folks. You called a few more times. Our conversations became strained. You called me a few days before you died and of course I didn’t answer. Of course.
When people die we zip lock them into a moment in time. They become perfection, because they can’t mess up anymore. We remember the good times and those soon overshadow the bad. They never age, just like Marilyn Monroe. They slip away piece by piece until we’re left with something few others can live up to.
You’ve been zip locked into my mind ever since. A little plastic bag of neon that survives through my curated and now perfectly smooth memories. You’re a lot like that clover in plastic. You live in a cheap plastic bubble, under neon red lights, in my head.