A Brief Affair
ADULT: A convivial visit from a used underwear collector leads to Barry Lowe and his friend rummaging through the laundry hamper.
The Monday after Mardi Gras, the intercom buzzes and a voice yells, “How the fuck are ya, ya old pervert?”
I know I haven’t weathered the years all that well but Vernon... well, let’s just say we all called him Verna back when, a name he shared with my plump wrinkled old granny and the person standing before me... put a grey wig on him and call him Nan.
“So,” he said looking around the apartment like a real estate appraiser, “You moved to Mascotia Gardens? Who would have dreamed all those years ago when we used to go to gay dances at Coronation Hall that you’d end up living just down the road?” About the same number of people who would have guessed that Verna would end up retiring in a wealthy middle age to an oldies’ enclave on the North Coast where grass clippings didn’t mean something you compost but rather something that was exchanged into little ziplock plastic bags. I thought it but didn’t say it.
Not that Vern was a smoker, although he did have a fine collection of zip lock bags but their contents were not fridgeable. After a few pleasantries in the guise of catching up, Vern opened his backpack to reveal his latest prizes. Three in all, carefully labelled with name, place and date. The only thing missing was the ubiquitous Polaroid photo carefully stapled to the front.
“Get with it, old boy. Polaroids are so Andy Warhol. So last century. I’ve gone digital.”
So saying he brought up a pic of an extremely attractive young lad on his mobile phone.
“Yum,” I admired. Dark good looks and the body of an Adonis. “Just my type.” I looked at the undies the spunk was wearing and then at the same pair carefully sealed inside the plastic bag.
“I know what you’re thinking,” he said.
I doubted it.
“How does someone who looks like Jabba The Hutt manage to pull such cute trade?” he said.
Vern didn’t so much look like Jabba The Hutt as Jabba The Whole Fucking Apartment Building. Shame really as he’d been as hot as hell in his twenties when we used to go cruising together. Wealth and indolence had done the rest.
“I’m afraid the cashless society is not so cashless in some quarters,” he sighed, then brightened almost immediately. “But when you’ve got as much as I do you might as well spend it on a few luxuries.”
The luxuries he had in mind were hot men, from twinks to muscle bears, who would then part with their undies. He had a preference for briefs because they collected more juice from around the groin.
“This one,” he said excitedly, showing me a blond honey who looked to be in his thirties and was a wall of chest furred muscle, “He was so off his face I didn’t have to pay him.”
It was lucky Vern got them to pose in the collected underwear because these days no one would have believed him.
“How many does that make now?” I asked of his collection.
“Pushing the five hundred mark.”
His wardrobe must be rank.
“I’m visiting guys from my past to get the last few to make the half century and you know, you and I did it—”
“If you think I’ve kept a pair of briefs from forty years ago, you’ve got to be kidding. Besides, no photo.”
“I have photos of you from back then. Please, it’s a dream of mine to round out the collection.”
I saw no harm in it. We both went to the laundry hamper to see what was available. There was no way he wanted a clean pair. Vern sniffed a few, screwing his nose up at my choice of underwear, finally settling on a pair of tight crimson boxers.
“Nice,” he said.
So somewhere on the North Coast, secreted in a plastic bag, is a pair of dirty red underpants with my photograph attached. Pity the pair he took belonged to Wally.