SECTION SEVEN

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COLUMN SEVENTY-TWO, JUNE 1, 2002
(Copyright 2002 Al Aronowitz)

TOE SUCKING NIGHT AT THE VAULT

'the essence of human sexuality is to do what comes naturally?And if sex is instinctual, then even strange  sex cannot be considered a deviance??
---
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Kosher Sex

Amy La Shay was interesting when I met her.

It was the end of an extremely hot, late April heat wave and I had tickets to see three of the loudest bands in creation that week.   Monday was the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Tuesday, the Swans.  My ears were ringing mercilessly.  No ear plug in the world could compete with the decibel level that I had endured in two days? worth of show going.  The piece de resistance was the Butthole Surfer show on Thursday.

They rented out one of those old theatres right on 42nd Street, just west of Times Square.  My old college roommate Schwa had gotten tickets for us.  He loved all the bands that traversed the trash aesthetic from the Sun City Girls to the Screaming Erudites.   He had a special place in his heart for the Butties and I had to say that I had that same portion in my heart reserved for their sort of sleaze---ever since I had seen the ad for their first EP in the back of a comic book in my bedroom when I was 12.  (Any band whose logo is a clown throwing the world the bird was okay in my book.  It was around the same time I started screaming beat poems over whatever noise or blare I could find.  The books that week were Queer and Junkie by Burroughs.  My poor mother.  What she must have thought.)

However, I was unprepared for the onslaught that followed.  That is putting it VERY, VERY mildly.  Gibby, shirtless with beer belly hanging over, danced the way you would imagine a psychophrenic casualty of the Lysergic Acid Wars of the late "60s East Village who has been consigned to Bellevue, getting the best in psychiatric help that city of New York can offer, would.  Coupled by the onslaught of two drummers that may or may not have been playing the same song, the band noise and the multi-media presentation of something that looked like a documentary of botched abortions; I'm still not sure, actually, I found a wall and stayed there, my eyes getting larger as the show reached it's raunchy cum shot: a cover of  The One I Love by REM  with the world's ugliest Go-Go girls.

The last note rang out and hovered in the feedback drench red carpet and faded glamour.  Gibby picked one of the girls, threw her over his shoulder, started to spank her and walked off into the back stage area.  The lights came up and everyone gathered their belongings and headed for the exits. 

I walked out and found a street that had tourists intermingling with crack whores, crack dealers, the assorted pimp wannabes and the police in charge of the whole lot of them.  To the right, 8th Ave and the supermarket of porn, decadence, sleaze.  The Lion King was playing across the street, next to the Disney Super Store.  Then I noticed the heat, mixing with the New York air, coating my whole being.  Naturally, I freaked.

I did what any other conscientious New Yorker would do.  I ran down 7th Avenue screaming at the top of my lungs---?I?m going to be an Accountant, a Businessman, ANYTHING BUT AN ARTIST?--- I looked over to my left as I past the empty lot at 41st and 7th and there was Schwa running with me step for step.  He was screaming something about Investment Banking being the normative route for him to take.  Film School could wait FOREVER.

By the time we hit the Garden and 33rd Street, things had begun to calm down.  We had stopped running and we stopped to look around.  What we needed was a drink or some sort nervous system depressive.  12-18 year old Scotch was perhaps the key.  However, who knew who might be after us.  We needed a cab and a safe place; clean, well lit and no artists in residence.  We settled for a cab to the East Side and the Stock and Tankard on 37th and 3rd.    A Yuppie bar in the grandest English Wannabe tradition.  We would have nothing in common with anyone.  We would know no one.  It would be safe. 

Amy was there with friends.  One of whom was from Liverpool, NY, the hometown of young Schwa, and he seemed to calm down as the first few sips of the Langanvulen began to hit.  Amy was wearing a simple black linen dress with a string of pearls.  Her light brown hair was back in a ponytail and she held her Amstel Light bottle in delicate small hands.  The usual small talk ensued: where are you from (She was from Rhode Island), what do you do etc.  She was so normal, from a normal home---everything!  Wow!  How did I get so lucky?

"Where were you guys tonight??

"Um, at a concert."

"Was it fun??

'sure.  Sure. A blast."-- I looked over my right shoulder.  I never should have sat with my back to the door.

"Are you expecting anybody??

"No.  It was a rough night."  I smiled down at the ground.

"Oh, you're so cute.  A rough night at a concert and you look worried!"

" Look worried, sweetheart? I feel turned under the rocks."

'thank you.  90-degree weather and a small venue make for a rough time."

"Did you say you were a music writer??

"Yes."

"Were you covering this concert for someone??

"No, No.  It was a tableau that I just don't have the words for right now."

'that's nice.  Who do you write for??  Actually, I was glad that she moved on from that comment.  How do you explain to such a straight-laced girl about the psychological trauma that I had just endured?   On the other hand, maybe she had no clue as to the definition of the word tableau.

"Anyone that will pay.  I'm easy like that." 

She smiled and moved her hair behind her ears.  The small talk continued.  The freakiness, the queasiness began to subside.  She told me about her job as an Account Executive for Grey Advertising and the accounts she covered, the long hours she worked.  Taking notes in meetings, helping out with special events


His first impression:
'I think
I just met my wife'


for the Yuppies pseudo-execs and their ilk.  How the power brokers that be had no knowledge of Middle America and felt that everything that they said and did in New York/LA was to be the end all and be all of the Cultural American Experience.

And so, after several Scotches each, Schwa and I made our way home.  Schwa happy to find another Liverpudlian in the city and me with the phone number of the ever-lovely Amy La Shay.

"You got her number."  Schwa asked as the 30s melted away.

"Pretty girl, down to earth in a Corporate WASPy way, sitting in a Murray Hill bar who can put up with a punk guy who has just had his whole life sent into a tizzy due to sensory overload of the Buttie variety?  Then she gives me her number and tells me that I am nice and we should get together sometime soon because she feels it would be fun?  Schwa, I think I just met my wife."

"What you need Zola is sleep."

'true.  But next time, I am not taking any Mini-White Crosses that you have lying around."

The next day I got up and the feeling in the pit of my stomach was that of anxiety.  What happened last night?  Unfortunately, in a night  filled with errors and general clamoring for redemption from what is the reality of the tortured existence of a sullied-in-the-grooves-Butthole-Surfer-fan, I chose the wrong liquor.  Borboun, schmuck, borboun.  The drink for the man that needs to forget. 

Then I came across Amy's number and it seemed like the night was not all for naught.  I called her and we arranged to meet later that night at a Happy Hour in the 50s on 2nd Avenue.  That set a pattern of meeting that went on for a couple of days.  A drink here, a Happy Hour there.  It was pleasant, getting to know her like that.  I finally kissed her two days later and that seemed to break the cycle of anxiety that had a hold over me since the concert.

The inexplicable came a day later.

Ms. La Shay's phone call came from a bar that I used to hang out in the West Village called the Riviera Caf?, at the cross roads of 10th, 4th and 7th Avenue South. 

"Alex??

"Amy."

"Meet me at the Village Idiot.  I mean, are you doing anything right now??

"It looks like I'm meeting you at the Village Idiot."

"You know where that is??

"14th and 9th."

"You know so much about the city.  I think that's really sexy.  It really turns me on."

"Well, you know me.  A store house of useless knowledge."

She laughed.

"Alex, wear clean socks, K??

"No problem."

I changed my socks, located my keys among the ruin that is my desk and wondered if she knew something about my feet that I didn't.

The Village Idiot was a notorious Lower East Side bar that was closed for sanitary reasons in the early "90s.  The owner, a colorful drunk named Tommy, then moved the bar to the far west side on the border line between Chelsea and the West Village.  Altogether more apropos for a bar that was known to have been a Merchant Marine bar back in the late "40s.  (No one, however, was able to explain to me how Merchant Marines got from Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea to 1st Avenue and 10th Street.)  Now, instead of the wannabe punks, brave NYU kids, various junkies and Eastern European lushes that made up the surrounding tenements, Tommy's clientele was going to be the leftover of the Merchant Marine class, Transvestite whores, run down old Hippies, Blacks, Puerto Ricans and Irish gangsters from the Chelsea ghetto.  Mixed with the NYU students, tourists and locals that wandered in to see the scantily clad women run around and serve all those that would buy them a drink. 

All in all, I was curious why a young lady like Amy would want to be involved with a place like this?   

"Alex!!!?  She screamed as I walked in the door.  It was impossible to miss her in this morass of scum and drunks and Yuppies from the Upper West Side slumming.  The usual New York uniform of black or gray had been discarded.  She was wearing a red and blue striped blouse with white cuffs held together by silver heart cufflinks.  A blue skirt, blue flats and the same string of pearls from the nights before.

'sweetie.  You look very nice."  I gave her a kiss.  I could smell the beer on her breath.  My guess is that she?d been out for at least 3 hours straight, drinking.

'thank you.  Before you order your scotch??

"Beer."

"Or beer.  You are so cute, Alex.  I want to know if you're up for an adventure."

"An adventure?  Sure, why not."

"Good!" Her face just lit up. "It's one of the things that I really like about you.  You are so open to new things.  You are a free spirit.  I think it's so cool."

'thank you." I smiled.  She hugged me and kissed me on the cheek, then bent over and picked up a brown paper bag.

"What's that?? I asked while she hugged it to her chest.

"Where we're going is BYOB, so in the hope that you would go with me, I went and picked up some beer.  I hope you like Heineken."

"Fine.  Fine with me."

"GREAT!!"

Diagonally across the intersection on the southwest corner of the Avenue is a triangle building that now houses some old sweatshop type companies and the loft type Pioneers that demanded the most space available to a New Yorker.


Did you
ever get
your toes sucked?


They are willing to brave the danger, not to mention smell of the neighborhood in order to live that television New York existence.  The bottom level of this Flatiron monster, reigning over the gates to 10th Avenues? Hell, is taken up by a club called an adult sex club called The Vault.  Like most folk, my entire knowledge of this place is culled from the Madonna book SEX and a friend of mine, Steve, who would come here for Nothing On Underneath Night.  He would invite me to come with him but, honestly, it never appealed to me.  Voyeurism is best left to the 90-year-old bitch across the way.

But now, I was looking down at a wonderfully cute twenty-something WASPy brunette sucking on the toes of my left foot.  I watched her move her hair around as if it was my cock she was licking.  The string of pearls would become visible if just for a moment and then disappear again. 

"Your toes are just perfect!!! Perfect to suck.  They're so long."  She ran her tongue around the ball of my big toe and smiled up at me.  I was sitting on a couch working on the caps of two bottles of Heineken with a key.  Yes, so NYU but Amy forgot to bring a bottle opener and I was going to need these beers before the night was over.

Amy bobbed up for air.  "It turns me on so much to suck on a man's toes."   Then back down again. 

"Here you go."  I said, handing her her beer.

'thanks."  She took the beer with her small left hand and slowly poured some down my foot.

"HEY!?  My voice shot up into Peter Brady land.  "I?m ticklish."

'sorry.  I love the taste of Heineken on toes."  She went back to work.

Looking around, I was surprised by the crowd; men and women sucking each other's toes in various permutations.  The soft moans and quiet slogans of encouragement could be heard and I was beginning to get a little freaked.  Not so much by the crowd, but Amy.  I hadn't even used my tongue to attempt to find her tonsils and here she was sucking on my toes.  I felt cheap.  I threw back the Heineken and opened another.  Within 20 minutes, I had thrown back 2 and " beers and the inevitable had set in.

"Excuse me, Amy.  I have to go to the bathroom."

She righted the pearls and settled them to her breast bone. "Okay sweetie."  She came up to my lap and kissed her way up to my lips. "Come back soon.  I'm getting hot.  So very hot."

"As soon as I can."  The maneuver had the intended sexual effect.  I got up slowly and moved my jeans into the appropriate covering position and looked around for my shoe.  I found it on the right side of the bag, put it on with a loose knot and went off to find the bathroom.  I tried not to look to either side.  God forbid what I might see.  The main thing that popped into my find was a whip with a feather tied to the other end.  Tease, tickle and beat all at the same time.

The bathroom itself was at the end of a long black corridor.  It had a red MEN in nondescript lettering on the door.  Once I was in, I was surprised by how bright it was inside.  Five stalls, all occupied and five urinals were on opposite sides of one another down in the rear of the area.  There were only three vanities, all with mirrors and hand cranked paper towel things on the walls.  They were from


Pease piss
on me!
Please!


Wisconsin Paper Ltd.  The same as my Elementary, Middle and High Schools back in the Midwest.

That's when I noticed him.

Average build, average height.  He wore a grungy gray sweatshirt and pants.  He was grabbing at the four men standing at the urinals and screaming "PISS ON ME!!?   They all shrugged him off and continued in their merry urination.

"PISS ON ME!?  He grabbed the front of my shirt with both of his hands and slid down to his knees.

"Jesus, get away from me, you freak."  I slapped his hands off me.

"PISS ON ME!?  He sat there on his knees and tried to attach himself to my thigh.

"Have some self-respect, you fucking freak."

One of the stalls opened up but I was still trying to shake this fuck off of me so I was slow.  Some guy came in behind me and ran into the stall, slamming the door behind him.

"PISS ON ME!"

One of the urinals opened up I was free of him but someone else who walked in got to that one first as well.  The Heineken were, by this time, causing me to be desperate.  I needed to go and I needed to go NOW.  I could just see my bladder explode all over the wall.  Although, I got the feeling that in this place, that would be a normal everyday occurrence.

The only urine receptacle left was the fifth urinal on the far wall.  I figured what the hell.  I would arrange my body so that my back was to this guy and I was known to have a vicious back kick when I was younger.

"PISS ON ME!"

I left that request alone and went over to my pissing spot and began the ceremony.  When next I looked down, I had a mound of gray sweats across my urinal.

"PISS ON ME! PLEASE, PISS ON ME!"

Now I saw why this urinal was passed up by the toe sucking hordes; it offered easy access from the side.  Therefore, this freak was able to slide in. Well, when in Sodom, due as the Sodomites.  Better him than my pants.

"Yeah, THANK YOU!. Yes."  He said as the clear stream hit him on the shoulder. "Watch the hair, though."

'sure.  No Problem."  There is etiquette to being pissed on.  Who knew?  I aimed up and down his body and in a few short seconds, I was done.

"Don't for forget the shake."

'sorry.  My fault."

The remaining drops hit his waist and I put myself away and went over to wash my hands. 

As I left and went back to Amy and her particular kink, I was becoming aware that this was a weird sort of respite from Kansas.  Then I nearly fell on my nose.

"Jesus, I'm sorry."

"Watch where you're going! Fucking freak."  Some guy Queens sounding very guy said.  I looked down to find what looked to be a transvestite from Little West 12th Street on his right foot, hand in his crotch.

"If you only knew."  I got up and made my way back to Amy

"Did you have fun??  She said, smiling at me as I sat down.  She took off my shoe.

"I wouldn't put it like that."

"Oh, you men.  You really seem to like the bathroom, taking the paper with you all the time."  She poured more beer on my foot and went back to work.

"Excuse me, sir."  Another voice, vaguely familiar said.

I looked up to see the guy that I pissed on standing there in a black single breasted Armani suit and a white silk shirt, holding a brown gym bag.

"I'd like to thank you for pissing on me."  He offered his hand that now had three gold rings on it and I took it, reluctantly.  I was too shocked to do anything else.  "I think it was very good for me and I hope that we can do it again sometime."

"Uh."

"Have a nice night."  He moved to the exit and I sat there.  Shocked and in utter disbelief.

"Umm, Alex, can I have another Heineken, please??  Amy smiled cutely, straightening her string of pearls.

"Here."

'thanks.  I see you've met Carl."

"You know this guy? What did you do, squat on him??

"No.  He's an Executive V.P. at Grey.  He's a very nice guy."  V.P. of what, Water Sports? She poured the beer on my toes and went to work once again.  And to think, this time last week I wanted to work in the relative safety of Corporate America.  I looked down at her sweet face and tongue going at my toes. 

How am I going to respect myself in the morning?  I wondered.  ##

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