Dougie Doodles and the Enchanted Gay Bar
by Alvin Orloff
Once upon a time in the foggy, faraway land of San Francisco, there was an enchanted gay bar where none of the patrons ever said anything sensible, wore anything decent, or went home alone. Legend had it that a powerful witch by the name of Janis Joplin had once gone drinking there and, charmed by patron’s joie de vivre, leapt up on the bar to serenade them with a magic song. Ever since, it had been the loudest, crudest, darkest, strangest, and all around most alarming nightspot in all of Christendom. Despite (or perhaps because of) these qualities, it was considerably more fun than any of the nice bars where nobody got high in the coat-check room or committed sodomy behind the ice machine.
One day, a cabal of repressed, self-loathing wizards from one of the more tedious local taverns got into a jealous snit and cast an evil curse on the enchanted gay bar: half the patrons were doomed to die horribly before the next Oscars—just a few months hence. When the bar’s patrons received the wizards’ bitchy letter informing them of the curse, they affected not to care. “So we’ll die young,” they said, with insouciant flips of their youthful locks. “So what? Who wants to be a wrinkle queen anyway?”
This pretense of courage continued even after a popular rent boy froze to death while playing Ms. Pacman, frost covering his skin with a whitish sheen and tiny icicles hanging off his ears and nose. A week later, a few people admitted to some slight dismay when a disco queen imploded on the dance floor, his body shriveling up like fruit left in the sun till there was nothing left but sequins and dust. And when a slumming billionaire burst into flame whilst trying to seduce a go-go dancer, the bar descended into a barely subdued panic.Some of the regulars began staying home, hoping the curse wouldn’t affect them so long as they remained in their hovels watching videos and eating pizza. “Call us just as soon as it’s over!” they suggested with bright, nervous smiles. Others, more favorably disposed to drama, refused to leave the bar for any reason and had to live on cocktail olives and complimentary peanuts. “We don’t want to miss a single minute of this,” they enthused. Still others came and went as usual, but ratcheted up the level of frenzy by a notch or six. Competitive perversion, hysterical glibness, and quasi-religious ecstasy (as well as the other kind) became epidemic. Some wags claimed the bar was even more fun than it had been before the nasty old curse.
Into this ghastly scene walked a young lad by the name of Dougie Doodles. Like most of the bar’s patrons, he came from a godforsaken Hellhole on the wrong side of the rainbow and was only too glad to find a place where nobody expected much of him beyond looking wicked cute.
“Hey, what’s up?” asked Dougie of no one in particular.
A regular by the name of Simon, dashingly dressed in a blue blazer with an impeccably folded cravat, turned to Dougie and explained, “A cabal of evil wizards, jealous of our joie de vivre, has cursed this, our enchanted gay bar, and we’re dropping off like teenagers in a Friday The Thirteenth sequel. Many have fled in horror, but those of us who remain find our fears mounting ominously, for no one has yet discovered a way to halt the specter of death that stalks us as the lions of the Serengeti stalk the wild gazelles.”
“Will you buy me a drink?” asked Dougie with a winsome smile.
“Surely, my dear boy!” said Simon, who knew full well that in buying a drink,one buys an audience. He purchased the boy a Singapore Sling and began a longwinded monologue on the perils of sunshine, waterbeds, and reggae music. As the night wore on, Simon purchased Dougie a Sex on the Beach, then a Kamikaze, after which a Long Island Iced Tea, and finally a Blue Moon.
“Wowee zowee!” thought Dougie as he drank and drank, “This Simon character doesn’t seem half-bad for a decrepit old geezer. Truly, this enchanted gay bar is an awesome place for an under-appreciated youth like myself in spite of the terrible curse. I mean, what with all these cocktails and all.”
Simultaneously Simon thought, “Surely this enchanted gay bar is still a blissful haven in life’s sea of sorrows despite the unnaturally high mortality rate, for here one can still ensnare a boy comely enough to be used in television advertisements with the simple outlay of sixty-two dollars worth of liquor.”
That night Dougie went home to Simon’s microscopic apartment and never left except to accompany his new benefactor to the enchanted bar each evening. While other regulars slurred their words, danced the hoochie coochie, and thought nothing of crawling around on all fours if the spirit (or spirits) so moved them, Simon spent each night sitting primly on his barstool imbibing liqueurs and spouting witty, bitter epigrams. “What a perfect gentleman my Simon is,” thought Dougie.
Over the next few weeks, Dougie noticed that the regulars were given to surreptitiously making goo-goo eyes at him. Whenever this happened he stared at the floor to hide his blushing boyish face. Simon affected not to notice this until one night, as he was railing against the fake wood paneling, home mortgage deductions, and roast beef, he snapped, “Dear boy, I know being the youngest and prettiest thing in a bar where youth and beauty are valued beyond emeralds and rubies must be terribly diverting, but would you be so good as to pay attention to me while I’m expostulating?” Before Dougie could respond, a nearby hoochie coochie dancer exploded, splattering sticky, bloody, gooey body parts all over them. “Eeek!” shrieked Simon, fainting off his barstool.
“Jeez, shrieking eek’s not a very dudely reaction,” thought Dougie disapprovingly. While the bartender tried to revive Simon with brandy and cocaine,Dougie went to the bathroom to wash off the gore. There he discovered a Viking, fully six-foot-three, with long, braided, blond hair and icy blue eyes.
“Let me help you clean up,” said the Viking, whipping the boy’s clothes off and ravishing him with kisses. Before Dougie could have said his name, he found himself in a nearby alley engaged in an act explicitly forbidden by the Book of Leviticus. The great hulking Norseman seemed to know secrets about Dougie’s body of which Dougie himself was unaware, and the boy convulsed with pleasure. When the carnal delirium subsided, Dougie said, “Wowee Zowee, that was fun! What was that?” (For you see, Simon had always been too glamorously repressed to touch Dougie, and the boy was a virgin.)
“That was sex,” said the Viking as he zipped up his trousers. “That’s the reason most everyone comes here night after night instead of working proper jobs or raising families.”
“I love you,” said Dougie. And with that, the Viking melted. Not melted as in falling in love with Dougie in return, but literally due to the annoying curse.
“Yikes!” thought Dougie, “this places is giving me the heebie-jeebies. I’m gonna find me a bar where everyone isn’t always melting and blowing up and imploding and stuff.” And so, without even bidding Simon good-bye, Dougie wandered off into the fog.
For forty days and forty nights he went from bar to bar, looking for one that suited his fancy. Alas, each and every one of the unenchanted bars lacked zest. And if there was anything more depressing than zestlessness, Dougie sure didn’t know what it was. Finally, in desperation, Dougie headed for Sleaze Street where zest was reputedly plentiful. There, amidst pool halls, whiskey bars, pawnshops, and some really quite excellent and reasonably priced Vietnamese restaurants, he discovered some wayward waifs. A few sat huddled on the hard, cement sidewalks morosely smoking cigarettes and cursing fate. Others perched in trees hooting like chimpanzees, their eyes as wild as madmen’s. Still others, alone and mysterious, darted betwixt cars and shadows. “I guess this is sort of zesty,” thought Dougie. Almost immediately a handsome moppet, albeit one possessed of a stare vacant enough to frighten tourists, spied Dougie and skateboarded over. “I’m Hector,” he said.
“I’m Dougie,” replied Dougie. Without another word the boys fell into a dumpster and made love with furious abandon. Once finished, they clambered out onto the sidewalk, tucking in their shirts, running their fingers through their hair, and smiling sheepishly.
“So, whadaya wanna do now?” asked Dougie.
“I dunno, what do you wanna do?” asked Hector.
“I dunno,” said Dougie, The pair lapsed into a deafening silence.
“What you children need,” said an enterprising salesman, on surveying their lethargic forms slumped in the gutter, “is some oblivion.”
“Sure, whatever,” Hector and Dougie said, hardly bothering to glance up. The reader of these pages scarcely needs be told the oblivion provided was deceptively affordable, but that the boys loved it and were quickly enslaved by their need for more, available only at a premium price. The pair (as is customary in such situations) took up residence in a fleabag hotel and began fleecing geezers at nearby watering holes to pay for their ruinously expensive habit. Hector resented the work. “All this hustling seriously cuts into my TV time,” he groused. “If it weren’t for the thrill of schtupping my darling Dougie I’d leave in a New York minute.” Dougie, on the other hand, was content. “This is livin’!” he crowed often and loudly.
It seemed a lifetime, yet it was only a few months, before oblivion use ravaged the boys’ exquisite looks. They went from handsome to average to interesting to not-so-very-interesting. Scrounging money for oblivion became near impossible. ”This is no fun anymore,” said Hector. “I’m going to community college to learn the skills I need to become a professional systems analyst. Ciao, Dougie.” Dougie bewailed his fate. “All I wanted was non-stop sensual delight with no accompanying risk or effort, and now I’m stranded in a substandard hotel room with nothing to eat but Top Ramen and a television that doesn’t even get channel two. This is so totally unfair!” Then he chanced to think of his former life with Simon. “That was sort of OK,” he thought, and he ran fast as his enfeebled legs would carry him back to the enchanted gay bar.
As it was the day before the Oscars, Dougie found the place considerably thinned out. The few remaining patrons were histrionically depressed, all except Simon, who sat on his old stool holding forth on the evils of white chocolate, secretarial work, and temperance. On seeing Dougie, he interrupted his disquisition to murmur, “Dear Dougie, is that you?” Dougie nodded and Simon cried out, “First you disappear without warning, then you return without your astounding good looks. Whatever is the meaning of this?”
“Well, I learned a valuable lesson…” began Dougie. Before he could finish his sentence, however, the dreadful curse hit. Dougie’s body transmogrified into a cloud of pink cotton candy and he was dead.