DNA Magazine - - CONTENT -

So I’m driv­ing at top speed along a wide and wind­ing road. Cut­ting through lus­cious green coun­try­side that rolls to­ward the hori­zon on all sides. The vast ex­panse of turf in­ter­rupted only by clus­tered ar­mies of mag­nif­i­cent trees and the oc­ca­sional house, old but grand and beau­ti­fully main­tained. I’ve got the top of the car down, the wind is in my hair. The speed is ex­hil­a­rat­ing. The sense of free­dom is em­pow­er­ing. But the soli­tude is peace­ful. I am at one with both na­ture and the ma­chine. I feel alive. And in con­trol. Well al­most. I’m ac­tu­ally curled up in the pas­sen­ger seat of @for­mer_­model’s fam­ily wagon. Her baby daugh­ter is asleep in the back. A truck has over­turned on the Illawarra high­way and traf­fic has backed up so much that even ac­cel­er­at­ing to a slow crawl gives us hope. It’s 30 de­grees out­side. But I’m wrapped in an old pash­mina. @for­mer_­model’s iPod is play­ing day spa type mu­sic. She is re­as­sur­ing me in sooth­ing tones that ev­ery­thing is gonna be okay. I am go­ing to re-hab. And she is driv­ing me. Partly be­cause I have lost my li­cence. And partly be­cause I have the shakes. I would like to be able to say that I am a hot mess. But re­ally, I’m just a mess. And I have just hung up the phone from my doc­tor. Who asked me to come and see him about my test re­sults. I ex­plained that I was “out of town for a few days” and sug­gested he just give them to me over the phone. “Oh no”, he said, “I’ll wait un­til you’re back. I’d rather see you in per­son. Just don’t have sex while you’re away.” My doc­tor is also my cousin. Which can pro­vide awk­ward­ness in some sit­u­a­tions, but on the whole en­sures an ex­tra level of care. And per­mits a cer­tain fa­mil­iar­ity that may be in­ap­pro­pri­ate in other cir­cum­stances. A surge of panic that started deep in my belly quickly spread across my whole body. Like a thou­sand tin­gling spi­ders. “Ac­tu­ally I’m away for more than a few days, so I don’t mind hear­ing them over the phone,” my qua­ver­ing voice said in as com­mand­ing a tone as it could muster. “I’d pre­fer to chat with you… face to face.” Heart about to burst through chest. “It’s fine,” I said in a way that said it was clearly not fine. “Tell me now.” Clenched teeth. “No, no, I’d rather wait.” “Well I wouldn’t!” I yelled. “Just tell me now!” “Okay, okay, calm down.” Noth­ing is guar­an­teed to make me un-calm as much as be­ing told to calm down. “I’M ON MY WAY TO RE-HAB AND I’LL BE AWAY FOR AT LEAST TWO WEEKS, SO FUCK­ING TELL ME NOW!” “Ok, then”. And he reeled them off. Sound­ing very smug in­deed. Chlamy­dia. Gon­or­rhea. Syphilis. Yup. Syphilis. Je­sus Christ. I al­ready knew I had crabs. I’d packed enough lo­tion to drown an en­tire bar­rack’s worth of the critters. Ex­ces­sive body hair, al­though at­trac­tive to many, is also at­trac­tive to these lit­tle mites. I prac­ti­cally have to bathe in Quel­lada for a week to get rid of the fuck­ers. Not to men­tion boil­ing the sheets. That I was not af­flicted with more se­ri­ous con­di­tions was a source of scant con­so­la­tion. For these other con­di­tions were se­ri­ous enough. Es­pe­cially given that, apart from the crabs, they were not go­ing to be treated un­til my re­turn home. (There was no way I’d be ad­mit­ting my­self to re-hab with: is there a chemist in the com­plex who can pre­scribe these? as I flash an emailed pre­scrip­tion list that would put Henry VIII to shame). It had also dawned on me that I was now about to be locked in a com­pound full of ad­dicts who would most prob­a­bly be gag­ging for it and I would not be able to have sex with any of them. Not. A. Sin­gle. One. And to top it all off my yelling had wo­ken the baby. So the sound of scream­ing in­fant could now be added to my litany of dis­com­forts. Nor was @for­mer_­model pleased with this lat­est turn of events. Her sooth­ing tones now turned to­wards two ag­i­tated souls, sound­ing de­cid­edly less sooth­ing. At least she’d turned off the day spa sound­track. There’s only so much Enya a nervewrack­ed ho­mo­sex­ual can cope with. It be­comes the ex­act op­po­site of re­lax­ing. Like yoga. What is it with that shit? I’m not a les­bian for fuck’s sake. Oh, look out. I’m gettin’ antsy. It’s the feel­ing of pend­ing peril that’s de­scend­ing as I am ap­proach­ing my re­cov­ery. Al­beit slowly. The traf­fic has not im­proved. But as the re­al­ity of life at my des­ti­na­tion pre­sents it­self to my ad­dled mind, I am will­ing this mo­tor­cade of doom to stop com­pletely. My re­sis­tance to what lies ahead is so overwhelmi­ng that I am ac­tu­ally push­ing back into the car seat, in some des­per­ate bid to some­how dis­ap­pear. It’s not as though I ac­tu­ally know what’s in store, but a drug-fu­elled imag­i­na­tion has quite the ca­pac­ity for melo­drama. I have seen Trainspot­ting. I’ve read Post­cards From The Edge. I un­der­stand cold turkey. Delir­ium tremens. I see a lonely cell. And a barbed fenced yard. I see empty shells of junkies. Some shuf­fling along like the walk­ing dead. Oth­ers scur­ry­ing at top speed, shifty eyes dart­ing war­ily all over. All of them tr ying to steal my stuff. I see hard­ened war­dens. And sym­pa­thetic care­givers. None of them be­liev­ing my cries of, “I’m not sup­posed to be here!” “OH GOD I CAN’T DO THIS! TURN AROUND! TAKE ME HOME!” Then sud­denly the car turned. “Thank you, thank you…” I slumped back into the seat, re­laxed for the first time in hours. On the brink of tears of both joy and re­lief. I felt sure @for­mer_­model had chucked one of her fa­mous U-turns. “I can do this bet­ter at home. I prom­ise,” I whis­pered in a daze, my eyes closed. “Don’t be ridicu­lous, dar­ling. We’re al­most there. That was the turn off.” I lurched for­ward in dis­be­lief. “NOOOOOOOOO­OOOOO!!!” “Now pull yourself to­gether. You’re 42 years old, for fuck’s sake!” And with that she pulled over, pushed me out and said: “Now go and get de-toxed.” She waved me off with a kiss blown my way. I’m sure she said, “I love you”. But I’m not con­vinced that she meant it. And then the fi­nal blow. I picked up my Longchamp and turned to go in­side. That sign. It’s a joke. It’s a holo­gram. “Wel­come to the Last Re­sort. Thank you for not smok­ing.” In­sta­gram: ur­ban_homo Twit­ter: @ur­ban_ho­mo_dna Face­book: Ur­ban_homo

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