Reading Room

Gays of Our Lives

by Nola Bywater

The Gays Of Our Lives 1 (Homer's Folly) By Nola Bywater

Hi all, welcome to Bon Jour 69 Place. Or, as we call it BJ69. My name is Nick Nicholas I will be your tour guide, for this episode at least. I live in apartment 1a. Odd numbers are up here and all the addresses have an a in them. It is my job to acquaint you with our little, um, ah, well lets say family for now. There are a total of nine apartments, seven full. The tenants of 7a and 8a ran off together to go to a rock festival in Arizona. Not the musical type either.

I could tell you about the BJ69 Birthday Party. Deirdre Quenelle, AKA DQ was doing a number by the pool when she broke her heel. Well the ole girl did a back flip into the pool. Made it all the way across doing a backstroke one-handed without spilling her martini. Actually, Deirdre tells that one much better. All that flair and nails ya know. Two pumps up on that one Deirdre! I know, I'll tell you about the mailboxes. You see, there is something unique about each box and a reason why.

One morning I was laying by the pool and noticed Homer Forbe, no joke, (resident of 2a), go past trying to hide a paint can and brush. Homer is my downstairs neighbor, we don't exactly get along. He hates my music and I hate his Bowling For Dollars. Anyway, it's not that he's a homophobe, he's just so anal. So I was naturally suspicious. "What ya doing Homer", I asked. His curt reply was in his usual style, "You'll find out, (grunt)" Oh well I decided I wasn't going to be bothered.

After getting enough of the warm sun I decided to check the mail and grab a shower. Our mailboxes are all in a neat line in the arch under Kerwin's apartment, He's the manager. I was thumbing through the usual assortment of coupon books, JC Penny ads, the cable bill, when I noticed a black blur above my mailbox. Right above was written FAG. Of course the black paint was still damp. At first I was surprised and had a minor nelly attack. Only a slight screech came out before the brilliance hit. "Thank you Homer", I yelled. "Now all my friends will know which apartment is mine!"

I raced up to my apartment to get my acrylic paint set and brushes. I decided to do a rainbow boxed background around Homer's title. This took most of the afternoon. I stood there looking at my completed work and I must admit was pleased. The unmistakable click of Deirdre's mules could be heard entering the arch. "Girl, you didn't have to put up a sign, we know", she cackled as she checked her mail. She stepped back and looked at my box then hers, sighed and said, "You know you might have an idea there Nick Nick. Maybe I should put something regal above my box." I was good, and did not touch that line. She strutted off explaining that she would return.

As I started to clean up my mess Vicki Laughton,(apartment 4a), marched in. Her briefcase hit the floor as did her jaw when she saw my artwork. "I don't know if we should put such things over our mailboxes Nick. It is so negative, we are the example we set you know.", she stated sternly. I sighed this time answering, "Vicki, I know it's politically incorrect, but it's what I am, you don't have to put lesbian over your mailbox if you don't want to ya know. The word is only as powerful as we make it." Vicki was obviously flustered, not at decorating but the content. It now was a battle of wills. "Well Nick, if that is how you perceive yourself, then just go ahead and advertise." she said over her shoulder as she walked out. I yelled after, "I didn't think of that, but if it works I'll let ya know!"

About that time Deirdre tapped back into the arch with an armload. I was curious, "What ya got DQ?" As she set her things down she explained that she wasn't being left out. I was amazed as I watched Deirdre decoupage a print of her most recent title above her mailbox. It read in bold script type, Miss Everlasting, after the bar where she won the title. Above the decoupage she hot glued a rather large chunk of rhinestones which resembled a crown. She stood back, clapping her hands and snickered, "There's royalty in the house, girl."

Within a week, just about everyone had started to work on their box so to speak. That is everyone except Homer. Kerwin had even done his management thing and set down rules we had to follow. Even Vicki got in on the act. A very simple and discreet MS in plain black lettering stood boldly above her mailbox. It was as if it were a complex project or something. Everyday we would meet and discuss the added artwork. As we giggled and made great noises about our accomplishment, Homer sat and watched from his apartment window, drinking his beer and mumbling, "They still didn't notice me."

Hope you liked my story. Come back and visit or maybe you might even be interested in 7a or 8a. We would love to have ya!

Check back for the next installment.