“Wanna cum over rn?” “alright.”
Jonathan was a couple blocks away. I asked him about parking, and pulled into his apartment complex, trying to find spot 47. A kid yelled at me to get out of my car, when he aimed at my car on his scooter. I found spot 47. I exited my car, in a dim yellow light, seeing broken glass and pills next to my car.
I texted him that I found his apartment and waited outside. He looked out a window, asking “Blake, Blake?” and I said “hi,” but I didn’t think he heard, nor saw me, so I sent him a message: “I just saw ya.” And he opened the door and walked down, saying that his aunt was staying there, but she was asleep.
“Can we get cigarettes?” he said, and began to talk about scoring section 8 housing—taking $1500 off of his rent per month, and how he was unemployed because of his depression. He was trying to get unemployment money for his depression. But normally, he worked at Disney. And he mentioned his boyfriend, who cheated on him, but Jonathan also cheated on his boyfriend (here I was)—I guess there was a lot of hypocrisy going on. And so we walked out while he told me about living in a shelter—or was it a halfway house? —and always getting robbed, until he and his boyfriend came across this housing. His boyfriend’s appendix burst, and he was in the hospital getting his appendix removed right now, though. So he was free to have me over, because his boyfriend wouldn’t know about it, and his aunt wouldn’t snitch. We walked to the gas station to buy cigarettes, while he told me about the blatant stealing and the tweakers in the shelter he lived in, and asked me if I was gay. “You don’t look gay,” he said, and I said, “I am,” showing him my pride watch.
“An ally would have that too, but they’re probably a bit bisexual,” he said.
“As Honey Boo Boo says, everyone’s a little gay.”
“That’s totally true.”
Jonathan walked up to the counter and asked for Newports. He knew the cashier, referring to her by her name, but she still asked for ID. “I don’t have it,” he said, mentioning that it was stolen. “You know I’m thirty-four,” he said, and she did, in fact, know his age, and I stood there wondering “wow this guy looks like he’s in his early twenties.” So we left, and he turned around and we went to the 7/11 across the street, “because they won’t care,” he said, while he told me about how his ID got stolen by his neighbor on parole, who used the ID to buy meth, but the police caught him and threw him back in jail, calling Jonathan to tell him to pick his ID up in Tustin. Jonathan did not want to go to Tustin, so we walked into the 7/11 and he made small talk with this cashier friend, whose 5-year-old daughter had just gotten out of the hospital, and she let him buy the cigarettes. She even gave him her lighter. We walked back, and I thought, “this is not my scene,” but I was here out of curiosity.
Along the way, I told him about my religious studies degree, about how it was more anthropological and sociological (that conversation that I always have), and he talked about how Christianity caused the fall of the Roman Empire (lol that’s definitely a take, I said, because I do not believe in single causes, but he took single causes more seriously).
He opened the door to his place, and the air was dense with cigarette smell, with his aunt passed out on the couch. We snuck into his room, and the smell was better there. And he told me to put my shoes in a little cubbie so that I would not lose them, while he lit a cigarette in the room (“goodbye security deposit,” he had said earlier), playing music videos on his TV from tiktok songs. He began to talk about how his boyfriend had yelled at him for making $200 hooking up, until he showed his boyfriend the money; or how his boyfriend caught his last hookup and screamed at him; or how he caught his boyfriend hooking up in the living room the other day; or how his boyfriend tried a threesome and enjoyed it for once; or how he’d buy women’s clothing and sell himself as a cuddle buddy to people in South Orange County and make a lot of money. “I know my boyfriend sounds awful, but he’s a really sweet guy. I’m just complaining a lot right now. He’s never pulled a knife on me…although I wouldn’t be surprised if he did…” and his aunt knocked on the door; he gestured up (“where??” I thought because there was nowhere to go) and he talked to his aunt through a sliver in the door. “Do you have to go to the bathroom?” he asked me, and I said yes, so he went out to talk to his aunt while I walked to the bathroom.
I walked back in the room and he was still out, so I looked at his bookshelf. A couple of college textbooks. The Bible, but one of those churchy youth-group versions. His first drug experience, meth, was at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
He came back in with a bowl of fruity pebbles. He loves Fruity Pebbles, he said: that’s the way to win him over. I told him that I wasn’t feeling great and that I should probably go, and he wanted to know why and what caused it, and I said, “I only had a milkshake for dinner” (which was the truth!), “so my stomach isn’t doing great and I’m crashing from the sugar” (which was not true, although I was losing energy fast). But he continued, mentioning that he got his undergrad degree in math. “Or was it meth?” he said, but seeing the textbooks on his shelf, it was definitely math degree, but noticing his mannerisms, maybe he double majored. His aunt enters the room to use his bathroom, and covers her eyes while repeating “I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care,” and Jonathan says, “Blake is really chill!” Jonathan turns to me and says, “she’s the SHIT,” and she leaves. He looks at me and says, “let me just do a psychic reading before you go!”
He mentions he’s a psychic and sees spiritual entities following his friends. “I don’t understand why people believe in angels, but not darkness,” he explained. “When I’m completely sober, not high on meth or anything, I’ll see dark entities following people, with red eyes and everything, about to possess them. And they look at me, with a face that says, ‘don’t fuck with me, I’m about to possess this person,’ and so I don’t really do anything.”
I ask him how that works. How is it that you see these entities, and how do you do psychic readings. He says he’s an Aquarius. They’re more sensitive to the spiritual world, apparently.
I keep asking him how he does the psychic readings. He does tarot, he says, but his decks keep getting stolen. His boyfriend even threw one out but promised to buy Jonathan another one. He never has. “That’s not so surprising,” I said, and he laughed.
And he asked me if I was okay with Tarot, because I had told him that I grew up Christian, and I said “yeah, I don’t really believe or disbelieve in it, but if it’s helpful that’s cool.” He told me that Tarot actually corresponds with Christianity, especially the astrological affinities that are built into the Bible (they’re not literally there, but they’re hidden in Ezekiel and stuff).
And he begins to summarize Exodus in detail, promising that it has to do with his Tarot reading, relating it to Kabbalah, etymologies of “Rosh, rot, roth,” etc. (All a lot of work to establish tentative etymological links.) He jumbles some of the details of Exodus, and I think of how silly it is that he’s describing Exodus in detail to me, but botching some of the details. I want to cut him off, but I’m also waiting for his connection to Tarot, so he keeps rambling. Nearly an hour passes by. I teach him the word “henotheistic,” which is about all I’ve really contributed for the night. He asks me if I’m a henotheist, and I say, “I don’t really know, I’m pretty apathetic,” and he says that he’s probably a henotheist. He begins to read my Tarot, but first tries to establish my life-path number, so that he can translate Numerology into Tarot, I think. Apparently, my life-path number corresponds to my astrological rising sign: 8, LEO.
“Do you feel like you have,” according to the Wikipedia entry for the strength Tarot card, “Power, energy, action, courage, magnanimity, success, and honor?” and I say, “well not really, maybe courage,” and he notes that my hair looks kind-of like a lion, which is in the Tarot card for strength. “Well, I think you’re courageous, and have these qualities,” he says, and I think of how I haven’t said very much at all the entire time.
He begins the reading and describes things that I’ve heard from other psychic-type people, and I feel somewhat seen, even if it’s all a fiction. Something about being honest about my emotions, like brutally honest with people, but also incredibly secretive. He tells me I’m going to be financially successful, which seems to be what all the psychic people say to me, and I think “I’ve chosen all of my interests to avoid selling out to money, like a monk,” so I wonder how unfamiliar my life would be to me if this reading came true. He asked if he could grab my crotch as payment for the reading, and I said, “sure,” and wanted to leave, so I told him that my stomach was hurting and that I needed to go.
He mentioned that one of his friends stole his meth pipe, and he wants it back but with meth in it to make up for the theft. We make out for a very fast moment, and I leave.