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TheCunningLinguist
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 My First Encounter With AIDS
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My First Encounter with AIDS
A true story written and edited by WCB IV and published by
“Life of Debauchery”

Orlando, Florida.
1982.

……or was it 1983?

He can’t recall the exact date, but even to this day, the 41 year old man remembers exactly what he was doing at around 8 pm when the report of a “strange and deadly cancer among male homosexuals” first appeared on his family’s TV screen.

A six year old boy with sea green eyes and a mop of cotton blonde hair is sitting together with his mother and father in the living room of their lakeside condominium; all three are enjoying a dinner of Caesar salad, freshly baked bread and savory lasagna. The warm glow from the television projects a collage of dancing shadows and flickering colors on the walls, ceiling and furniture of an otherwise dark interior. ABC news anchor Bernhard Shaw, sporting a trademark 70’s afro and mustache, describes “A new disease with characteristic skin lesions about the size of a quarter, which doctors have identified as Kaposi’s sarcoma”. Then, a pair of wrinkled hands with long, boney fingers is displayed in a medical photo that was probably one of the first of its kind. The hands are covered in purple spots so large and numerous they resemble the hide of a rare and primitive animal on the verge of extinction. “Giraffe”, the young boy shouts out loud as his mother does her best to explain what the word “homosexual” means.

Bernard Shaw mumbles something about “pneumonia” in the background.

“Yeah”, the boy's father adds, as he nods his head at Bernie, “It’s nothing for those fags to have an orgy with 10 or 15 different men in one night!”

The boy finishes eating his supper and wanders off to bed.

Today, the front doors of almost every major shopping mall open, automatically. Back in 1982, opening doors was accomplished by hand. After the announcement that a “gay plague” was spreading throughout New York and San Francisco, opening doors became a highly unpleasant and worrisome task.

Dad reaches into his pocket and pulls out the cotton hankie he has been carrying around all day. Holding open the door to the mall’s main entrance, he motions for his family to walk inside the building. “Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water in the restroom,” my mother remarks, “and before you get home, throw that damn hankie in the garbage!” The boy loved going to the mall where Sbarro Pizza and Aladdin’s Castle arcade awaited his indulgence. There were a few games he was pretty good at like Dig-Dug and Pac-man and then there were the games that were hard as fuck like Missile Command, Asteroids and Defender, better suited to adult reflexes.

Stepping across the threshold between the smothering blanket of humidity outside and the cool, inviting air condition in the plaza, the boy makes his way past his father.

The Florida Mall is the largest shopping venue in Central Florida and one of the largest single story malls in the United States. To a child of 6, the entire place looks endlessly intriguing, the way an explorer views the exciting potential in every twist and turn of an ancient cavern. Incentives and advertisements grab the boy’s attention; the sight of new clothes, the smell of new foods, the sound of new songs from groups like Duran Duran and The Eurhythmics pouring out of music stores.

Holding his mother’s hand, the young boy turns a corner; about 15 paces straight ahead, the greatest horror he will encounter for years to come lies waiting like a venomous serpent in a tall patch of grass.

What drew the boy’s attention first was the chill air that one typically feels when stepping into a deli or wine cellar. A sign above the front entrance reads, “Ole’ Heidelberg German Café” in fancy, medieval letters. Looking off to his right, the boy’s gaze falls upon the profile of a man sitting alone at a small, round coffee table. The stranger is so emaciated and gray from pallor it would be difficult, even for a grownup, to judge his true age. What happened next can’t easily be explained; perhaps it was an intuition, a basic survival instinct honed by a preoccupation with death. Sensing the boy’s presence, the solitary man rotates his head in a manner that is so slow and deliberate the boy feels as though he is observing the movement of cold, dead machinery rather than the animation anything living. Two sets of eyes lock together in macabre unison and the boy’s long, causal stride is suddenly reduced to a concrete halt. Beneath the man’s receding patch of brown hair, a face with skeletal cheekbones and hollow eye sockets is illuminated by the dim, overhead lighting inside the café.

Purple KS lesions swarm the man’s pale complexion.

The boy’s mind flashes back to the previous week’s TV news broadcast and the pair of creepy, blemished hands he remembered so vividly hits him again like a bolt of pure, white electricity. The boy’s eyes widen, enormously, and in a whirlwind panic, he responds to the man’s vacant expression in a manner that is equally sinister. Dropping into a defensive squat like a midget gunman or martial artist, the boy dart’s his right arm and index finger out towards the human monstrosity staring back at him, “Look mom, it’s one of those people”, he shouts, hysterically. The man loses all composure, wrinkling his face and grimacing like an angry demon or some junkyard dog tenaciously defending a scrap of meat. Writhing in his chair, the man performs a series of quick, snapping motions with his head and unleashes a torrent of silent obscenities under his breath. Passersby turn to satisfy their curiosity; a few giggle, gasp or roll their eyes at the boy’s audacity; others cringe at the man’s grotesque appearance and oddball behavior.

The boy feels a sudden grip around his skinny bicep and a hard jerk to the left. “Get your ass over here,” the boy’s father growls. Sensing the discipline in his father’s voice and reeling from a sickening mixture of shock, fear and anger, the boy decides to extend a lewd farewell to the man with AIDS. Redirecting his attention towards the café, the boy hardens his eyes into stormy swirls of aquamarine and drags his right index finger from one corner of his neck to the other in a throat cutting gesture. This has more effect than the boy could have possibly imagined. The man’s rage is instantly replaced by a look of sheer, haunting terror. In those last few moments, the boy became something more to the man than just another curious observer; he became an omen, a messenger of inevitability, the embodiment of death. As the boy walked away with his father still tugging at his arm, he left the man in the café alone to ponder the horrible fate which surely awaited him.

The boy’s punishment never came. At first, the boy thought he was in serious trouble but later realized his father had only been afraid for his safety. As usual, the father awarded his son $10 cash for making good grades and staying out of trouble in school that week. The boy eagerly accepted the money and spent the next few hours playing arcade games in Aladdin’s Castle.

The man with AIDS spent the last few months of his life slowly rotting away in agony.

THE END. yltype.gif


Last edited by TheCunningLinguist on 06/11/17 10:37pm, edited 2 times in total
Post 06/11/17 08:42pm
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Wolfbitch
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Was the little boy you?

I remember the first time I heard of AIDS--I was reading the New York Times and they had an extensive article about it. Scared the shit out of me because I knew I had two gay brothers.

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Yes, you who must leave everything that you cannot control
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul
Well, I've been where you're hanging, I think I can see how you're pinned
When you're not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you've sinned
Post 06/11/17 10:00pm
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BigW
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Back then I thought "they" deserved it.After all,I along with 10's of million would gleefully call them faggots and other nasty names.Slowly over the years as I became more educated to the plight of our gay brothers,I stared to developed some empathyI now feel very stupid for the way I acted.I'm very happy to say I'm pro gay rights and for jumping for joy when the Iowa Supreme Court declared that gays had the same right to get married in our state as the hetro did.
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Post 06/11/17 10:44pm
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TheCunningLinguist
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quote:
Originally posted by Wolfbitch
Was the little boy you?

I remember the first time I heard of AIDS--I was reading the New York Times and they had an extensive article about it. Scared the shit out of me because I knew I had two gay brothers.


Yes, the little boy was me, and I was so scared I damn near pissed my pants right there in front of "Ole' Heidelberg's" café. stunned.gif
Post 06/11/17 10:52pm
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Riotgear
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quote:
Originally posted by BigW
Back then I thought "they" deserved it.After all,I along with 10's of million would gleefully call them faggots and other nasty names.Slowly over the years as I became more educated to the plight of our gay brothers,I stared to developed some empathyI now feel very stupid for the way I acted.I'm very happy to say I'm pro gay rights and for jumping for joy when the Iowa Supreme Court declared that gays had the same right to get married in our state as the hetro did.


Obviously, you hate God.
Post 06/11/17 10:54pm
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BigW
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quote:
Originally posted by Riotgear
Obviously, you hate God.


I would rather rule in Hell than serve in Heaven fingers.gif

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Post 06/12/17 06:54pm
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Wolfbitch
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quote:
Originally posted by TheCunningLinguist
Yes, the little boy was me, and I was so scared I damn near pissed my pants right there in front of "Ole' Heidelberg's" café. stunned.gif


AIDS was first presented in the press--including in the New York Times--as a frightening and very very scary untreatable thing. I'm of the opinion that it took Rock Hudson's AIDS illness and Elizabeth Taylor standing by him, holding his hand and treating him like a human being, that began to lift the stigma.

_________________
Sisters of Mercy -- Leonard Cohen

Yes, you who must leave everything that you cannot control
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul
Well, I've been where you're hanging, I think I can see how you're pinned
When you're not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you've sinned
Post 06/12/17 10:18pm
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TheCunningLinguist
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quote:
Originally posted by Wolfbitch
AIDS was first presented in the press--including in the New York Times--as a frightening and very very scary untreatable thing. I'm of the opinion that it took Rock Hudson's AIDS illness and Elizabeth Taylor standing by him, holding his hand and treating him like a human being, that began to lift the stigma.


Also, President Reagan personally called Rock Hudson in the hospital and consoled him after his return from Paris because no one in the government really gave a shit (liberal or conservative) until a rich, powerful celebrity lie dying of AIDS. No one, least of all the President of the United States wanted to "appear" unsympathetic. Incidentally, the safety protocol for hospital staff who handled AIDS patients in 1985 was the same protocol for highly virulent, infectious disease (patient quarantine with double barrier protection [eye goggles, 2 caps, 2 gowns, 2 masks and 2 shoe coverings followed by the incineration of all barriers and double hand washing JUST TO WALK INTO THE FUCKING ROOM!) anxious.gif

Now, someone please tell me I wasn't supposed to be sacred shitless as a kid.


Last edited by TheCunningLinguist on 06/16/17 10:37am, edited 2 times in total
Post 06/14/17 11:16am
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draven
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In the early 1980's when it became 'Media-worthy' in the UK we were informed that only gay men and drug addicts caught it. However it seemed a bit discriminate to me even in them days , because any politician or influential person who died of the symptoms was always touted as 'died of unknown causes' but ordinary working or middle class people who contracted the disease were dismembered by the media at every given chance and called a plague on society.
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Post 06/15/17 04:57pm
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Wolfbitch
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I swear, it wasn't until I opened my big mouth that I got an answer to "But why don't executives who frequent hookers get it?"

The answer--no word of a lie?

"Oh please, those are all white men."

_________________
Sisters of Mercy -- Leonard Cohen

Yes, you who must leave everything that you cannot control
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul
Well, I've been where you're hanging, I think I can see how you're pinned
When you're not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you've sinned
Post 06/15/17 05:12pm
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TheCunningLinguist
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I notice no one on this thread expressed any complements about my writing ability upset.gif
Post 06/16/17 05:17pm
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Wolfbitch
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When we have to say nice things (and your writing would make us have to do that), we get real shy like the assholes we are.
_________________
Sisters of Mercy -- Leonard Cohen

Yes, you who must leave everything that you cannot control
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul
Well, I've been where you're hanging, I think I can see how you're pinned
When you're not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you've sinned
Post 06/16/17 06:47pm
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TheCunningLinguist
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quote:
Originally posted by Wolfbitch
When we have to say nice things (and your writing would make us have to do that), we get real shy like the assholes we are.



lmao.gif HOOOLLLYYY FUCKING SHIT!
Ok, you win this one.
On to the next thread.
Post 06/16/17 08:34pm
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Morticia
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quote:
Originally posted by TheCunningLinguist
I notice no one on this thread expressed any complements about my writing ability upset.gif


Too long to read. My attention span is not that long.

I had a cousin who died of AIDS. The ironic thing about it was that I seemed to be the only one in the family who knew he was gay. Came as I great shock to his mom and siblings.

I miss him. He was a nice guy and a great cousin.

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Post 06/17/17 12:35am
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