PUNK: Lonesome American Memoirs

11. Rolling Queens

When there was nowhere else to go, I moved back to San Francisco. I’d worn out my welcome. Everywhere I turned to look I found at least one person who I had gone home with, fucked them in the ass, and then stolen their record collection. There was usually more than one. Blank looking college students, housewives, doctors, random drivers, people sitting in caf?ɬ�s, or walking down the street were all terrible reminders that it was time to get out of here. I didn’t even remember anyone’s name anymore. I was all washed up.

I moved, meaning I took my jacket and plastic bag with a couple t-shirts in it, to Fillmore and Hayes. There was a bus driver and her son Paul who lived in a nine room flat on the second floor. Each of the rooms was disgusting. The front room was piled up with furniture, dirty clothes, lamps, end tables and broken things in cardboard boxes. There were also mysterious piles of cat shit in various stages of decomposition ranging from fresh and smelly to while and flaky. I never saw the cat, but its gifts were a sign that it was still alive and eating something. The next room was even worse. It was impossible to get into the next three rooms. The place was in really bad shape.

I made an arrangement with the bus driver that I would clean out one room a month in exchange for my rent while I figured out some way to pay my way in San Francisco. My cushy job of handing out flyers for twenty bucks a day, and a rent-free trailer was an unbeatable deal that didn’t prepare me for life in the big city. So my arrangements here were perfect. There were six rooms to clean. That gave me six months of free rent. I figured that should be enough time to get it together.

Paul and I would get high in the morning, take food from the corner market below the flat on credit, and then spend the afternoons on Polk street watching people walk by. Polk street was something different in nineteen eighty. Today the back sides of Nob Hill, and the Marina have established a high rent stronghold of restaurants, bars, and shops. To the south, the tenderloin has moved in. Though there are still growing cafes and various shops down there, its pretty much an annex of the armpit of San Francisco. But in nineteen eighty Polk Street was wide-awake. Leather shops, restaurants, gift stores, magazine kiosks, diners, and head shops blossomed and thrived. Day and night there was always a crowd. Men walking the streets, alone or in pairs, perusing the goods for sale.

Paul and I would sit together at a little diner at California and Polk, drink coffee and eat slices of pie and watch the queens parade up and down the street. One day Paul asked me if I’d ever slept with a guy.

“Why?” I asked. Defensive.

“Never mind, I was just asking.”

“No.” I insisted. “Why?”

“Have you ever rolled a queen?” He asked. Looking down and scratching his head.

“What’s that?”

“You know, gone home with an old guy and ripped him off.”

“No.” I said, but I was really curious. To be totally straight up here, I sorta thought Paul was going to make the move on me. And I was hoping he would because then I’d have been able to move into his room and not have to clean up anymore.

“It’s easy.” He explained, fixing his eyes on a telephone pole across the street. “You just act as cute as you can. And when you go home with them, ‘Blaam!‘”

“Just like that?”

“Hell yes. They’re fags, right? What are they gonna do?”

We laughed it up. For some reason it never seems to occur to stupid straight guys that gay men are men. That they work out a lot, while most straight men don’t. That they live in a comparatively supportive and interested community of people. Somehow the idea of a “gay guy” equals some frail little panty waste in the minds of overweight men who have yet to explore any frontiers beyond a beer can, and the girl they liked in high school.

“But then what do we do with the stuff?”

“What do you mean?”

“What do we do with the stuff we steal?” I was getting down to the mechanics of this. If we were really going to try it, I wanted to be sure we weren’t gonna get busted. SFPD sucked. They weren’t as easily persuaded or manipulated as the UC Berkeley Campus cops had been.

“I got a friend who will buy whatever get from us.” Paul was still peering through his watery little eyes at the pole across the street.

“All right. Cool.”


We sat there a while longer. I was sizing up everyone in the diner. Checking out all the men as they passed by. I could take him. Shit I could probably take both of them. Yeah, this was a great idea. It was gonna be cool.

After a while an older couple came into the diner and sat across from us. We were at the counter, and they were at the table across the isle. One was wearing a periwinkle blue dress shirt and leather pants. He had close-cropped grey hair with a light beard. The other one had a plaid shirt on, leather pants and a handlebar mustache. He was wearing mirrored sunglasses and a leather motorcycle hat.

Paul and I sort of shifted, and started shaking our legs nervously. He twinkled at me and said, “I think this is it.” But then we just sat there some more. The afternoon sun blazing in through the window, reflecting up off the black and white checked floor.

I was fishing around in my jacket, looking for a smoke, when the older guy put his hand on my shoulder.

“Hi.” he said, smiling sweetly at me.

“Hey.” I said looking up into his big, broad face.

“Can we buy you and your friend a hamburger?”

I looked over at the guy in the leather hat, and he smiled casually, nodding his head up and down. I looked over my shoulder at Paul and we gestured that yes, indeed they could buy us hamburgers.

“Sure.” I said.

Both men got up and joined us at the counter. The one with the sunglasses sat next to Paul, and the guy in the blue shirt stayed where he was.

“What are you two up to today?” Asked my date.

“Oh, we were maybe looking for you.” Said Paul. And then he kicked me under the table.

“Ohhh…” Said his date.

Mine smiled kindly, giving my shoulder a little squeeze, and said “I see…”

He ordered four hamburgers, and sat down on the stool next to me. He set out his cigarettes, and a Bic lighter with one of those metal cases that have a chunk of turquoise set into it. He was wearing a lot of rings, and they seemed to cut the blood off from his fingers as he picked up the pack, slipped a Salem 100 into his mouth, grasped the lighter and lit it.

“Would you like a cigarette?”

“Naw, I got one.”

“I see…”

Paul and the other guy started talking. They were very hush hush and his date seemed to giggle a lot. He was very girly. Or at least more like what I’d expected him to be like. My date was strong, and fatherly. He breathed hard through his nose and smiled a lot.

The man began to absentmindedly fondle my shirt. He was checking me for filth. I was filthy. The inside of my t-shirt was black with a month of sweat and grime. I didn’t have ring around the collar, I had ring around the body.

“Well I’ll tell you one thing young man,” said my date. “You are going to need a clean shirt.”

I nodded.

“It’s always a good idea to have a clean shirt. Why are you wearing that awful thing?”

“I don’t have any money.”

“Oh you poor dear.” And he paused, looking around the diner. “Well, I’ll tell you what. How about you come back to my house and we get you cleaned up?”

“Do you have a washer and dryer?”

My date laughed through his nostrils, I could feel the warm air on my face.

“No honey, I don’t. But I do have a nice clean shirt that would fit you.”

“Ah… OK.”

He gave me another warm squeeze. I was getting comfortable.

We sat quietly waiting for the hamburgers to arrive. Paul and his date were talking about S and M. I leaned over toward them and listened.

“Do you do S and M?” Asked my date.

“Sure. We’ll do anything you want.”

“Oh, I see…” He leaned back a little. “Are you two a couple?”

Everyone was waiting for my answer. I felt nervous again. I felt like my answer here would make or break the deal. I wasn’t sure what the right thing to say was. If I answered yes, it meant that we were definitely gay. And hopefully this would reassure them. But that also meant that we were a couple. Like a couple and anything they had been hoping to accomplish might not come together based on our relationship. But then if I said no, that meant that we were hustlers. A team of hustlers. This might arouse suspicion. I couldn’t decide. So I turned to Paul and said “I don’t know are we a couple?

Paul smiled and casually says, “Yeah, sure we are.”

“I see..” says my date again. That was starting to bug me. That and his breathing all over me.

“We aren’t coming between anything here are we?” Says the guy with the hat coyly.

“Oh no.” Says Paul. “We’re up for anything.”

“Well then let’s go.


We got up, collected our things and made for the door. My date paid the check, and I realized we hadn’t gotten our hamburgers yet. The waiter said something about coffee and pie. My date clarified. I admit that we hadn’t paid. He paid for everything, and we were out the door.

On the street I felt more comfortable. I was a little bit taller than this guy, and a lot taller than the other one. My date put his arm around me. We walked a few blocks south. Paul was kissing his date, and they were flirting a lot. Laughing. My date was a lot more intense. He was watching me carefully. He seemed almost concerned about me.

“You know.” He said, looking straight into my eyes as we arrived at what seemed to be the doorway of his apartment building. “Last night a very close friend of my was jumped in this alley.”

We gasp.

“Yes. He was helping some young people and they jumped him. I spent half the night with him in the hospital.”

“Oh my God!” I yelped, starting to affect a little queeny tone in my voice. “That’s terrible! Is he ok?”

“Yes, thank God. He’s fine. But I’ll tell you those hoods didn’t get away without a fight.”


“I believe he cut one or two of them.”

“Fuck, that’s awful.”

“It’s a crime is what it is.”

We all agreed that it was a terrible and shocking shame. That there ought to be a law, or some more protection for older men trying to meet and take special care of young boys under fifteen out in the cold city streets. These men were only trying to help. And it was just shameless that young people nowadays could take advantage of such an act of kindness. Simply shameless.

My date pulled out his keys and unlocked the door. We walked up a cheerful set of stairs to another door. He opened it, and we entered into the kitchen of a large second floor flat. Everything was very clean. The kitchen was spotless apart from one crafty looking mug in the sink. There was some mail on the table, and a bowl of fruit in the center. The curtains were light green with little fleur de lys along the bottom. The whole house smelled of soap and wax.

“Would you like me to get you that clean shirt?”


He smiled and took off his jacket, hanging it neatly on the back of one of the chairs.

“You know…” He looks up at me. “There’s really no point in getting you a clean shirt if you’re only going to put it back on that dirty little body of yours.” He is turned on. I can see his hard on. He’s got a pretty big cock. He’s mine. I can tell. He is practically drooling for me, and I am getting more nellie by the minute. “Do you wanna take a bath? I can draw one up for you?”

“Oh, that’d be great.”

“Don’t go anywhere…” and with one more snort of air through his nostrils he leaves the room.

Paul and his date had gone into the front room. Some music started playing. What is that music? I didn’t like it whatever it was. Oh, I know, that’s fucking Bruce Springsteen. What the fuck is the matter with these people? Bruce-lame-ass-Springsteen? Please.

My date came back into the kitchen, softly humming along to the music. He smiled at me, and set a folded shirt on the kitchen table. He set a purple towel and a nail file down next to the shirt and asked if I wanted to sit down.

“No thanks.”

“I see…”

“Well, take your jacket off and stay a while.”

“I’m cool.”

He smiled, but I know he was afraid I was going to leave. I could just tell.

“Let me go check the bath.” He said busily. “Would you like to come with me?”

The bathroom was smaller than the rest of the house. It was dark and there was no toilet. Only a tub against the wall, and a sink under the window. There was a scale on the floor beside the door.

“Where’s the toilet?”

“Oh, of course. It’s right down the hall on your left.”

I walked down the hall, looking into each room as I passed. Two bedrooms, a study, and a little room with a toilet and a sink. I went in and closed the door. While I was relieving myself I read the ingredients on the H.O.T. Lube container. They had three kinds of lubricant on the top of the toilet. There was a small stack of leather magazines on the floor beside the toilet. They had what looked like crumbs on them.

My excited date knocked on the door. “Everything all right in there?”



I zipped up my pants, and pulled my knife out of my jacket. I carried a pretty scary looking switchblade. It wasn’t really a threatening weapon. Anyone who’s ever had a Mexican made switchblade knows that while they may be big, and they may be pretty, the mechanism just doesn’t have what you need in an emergency. The knife was for effect, to save my ass in the event of a crowd, or in case I needed to be flashy for some reason. Stubbies responded to flash. They ran.

I opened the door and walked out into the hall. From where I was I could see that Paul was laying back on the couch, and his date was sucking him off. Paul’s eyes were closed. I watched for a while until I saw the sperm begin to slide out of the guy’s mouth and mingle with his drool and flow out over his knuckles. I slipped the knife back into my jacket pocket.



The Dead Boys ‘Sonic Reducer’


Table of contents
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18, Chapter 19, Chapter 20, Chapter 21, Chapter 22, Chapter 23, Chapter 24
Musicology, Errata