The Beat (the book)

The Beat
Chapter ONE

Sean McNeil

Aaron Russell
Jonathan Stewart

Heart Beats

The bass was so strong it made my chest vibrate as I walked by one of the fifteen foot high speakers. Tonight I was at The World a large club in the South of Market area of downtown San Francisco. I don’t come over to the city very often, but this was one of those weekends when I made that 30-minute long pilgrimage. I usually was out on any given Friday, but usually back in my neck of the woods, some twenty-two miles from here in Walnut Creek.

I never understood why I came out to these places. They all seemed to be the same in The City. Large, too loud to talk, or too crowded to move around, too smoky to breathe, and never a soul willing to come up and talk to you, even if it was just to meet. Was this just a symptom of The City or was this something that you find everywhere. I knew it wasn’t everywhere because as often as I had been out in Walnut Creek I never got quite the same feeling as I did in the city.

There is a feeling that I get when I am in the City, it is of desperation, a need not to be the only one to leave without some little boy toy on their arm, or warped around them in some one night stand bliss. I frankly like the idea of going home alone. I guess that I’m a romantic; I still like the idea of dating. I know this puts me in the minority but quite frankly I don’t care. Even so, I still have to hear it from all my friends, but that’s okay.

I was standing on the second step of three that lead to nowhere but a wall. It gave me a great view of the dance floor, that went on for at least 50 feet across and at least 75 feet back. The energy was great tonight, it is only 10:45 and already the dance floor is packed, with many male couples doing ever forms of dance known to man. It always amazed me how in looking at a group this large, some of the crowd would be jumping around to the beat of the music, but there would always be a small group of people who could never quite get the right beat. I was once told by a friend of mine that he thought that these people were dancing to the words in the songs and not the beat. Now in some ways that did make sense, but since so much of the music that was being played tonight had no words I was still in a trance as to what these people were following.

As I looked across the packed floor, the thought hit me, that I could possibly spot about half of these people Sunday, as I would be walking down the middle of Market Street in San Francisco’s Freedom Day Celebration. The thought kind of overwhelmed me. The fact that this place was packed at only 10:45 was a testament to the number of people who make the annual pilgrimage to this weekend of all weekends. I must admit I knew I was not going to have as much fun this year as in year’s past. I had recently broken up with my boyfriend of almost six years this past January and I was still trying to get used to a new house and new area and the new friends that I had met. It was difficult to keep in touch with the old friends as much. They were now becoming more and more a part of the “after the divorce”, a group of friends that would talk to my ex and not me. I never thought that this would happen. But it was true that as you moved on so did the rest of the world.

I had taken this Friday as well as the next Monday and Tuesday off from my job. In some ways, I knew this was going to be a mistake, but I did it every year. The pile of DLT backup tapes that would be on my desk would probably be a mile high. Not to mention the inbox of my E-mail, which even on a slow day gets at least 25 messages. I had just been promoted to the Assistant Director of Network operation and was at the office all the time it seemed. I knew that this weekend was a necessary diversion from the hell that was work. Don’t get me wrong I loved what I do, and had been doing for the past 6 years in the Computer Department of CAL-Systems Petroleum Inc., it’s just that you need a break every now and then, and I was not good about taking vacations like I should, that was always my boyfriends job of getting me to go on vacation. This one weekend of diversion usually stood as my only time off for the year without him.

I spotted this guy with his shirt off, something I never do, not because of my body but I just don’t have the nerve, dancing in the middle of the floor, I had the feeling that the person that he was dancing with was not his other half. Something about the way the way that they were interacting when they came in said to me that they were just friends. He was not one of these looks like a model type, but the way he is put together is so attractive I can’t help but stare at him. I’m sure it’s my imagination, but sometimes I think that he is staring back. He is about my height five eleven, with a body that is mostly God-given, but you could tell he also did his time in the gym, as I did, to maintain what he had, I hated going but I knew I had to. He had dirty brown hair with the top and front longer than the sides, so as he danced he had to constantly flip his head and move it out-of-the-way with his hand. Every time he lifted his arm to pull it back, I got the best shot of his nicely developed arms.

Why I was even looking at this guy. This guy was so beyond me, he was the cliché type I thought the total rave white party go-go boy type. I know what you’re thinking, “you don’t even know him”, that might be true but I know these clubs and how so many of the people are in them.

There were the regular club groups that come in with their friends and won’t talk to anyone outside of their circle of friends. Makes you wonder how they all met up. Then there are the guys that just know that they are so good-looking that they don’t have to look around, they know someone will come up to them. And most of the time he has to fend off some of the most cliché people before that other perfect looker in the room and him are off for a night of wild and passionate were the regular club groups that come in with their friends and won’t talk to anyone outside of their circle of friends. Makes you wonder how they all met up. Then there are the guys that just know that they are so good-looking that they don’t have to look around, they know someone will come up to them. And most of the time he has to fend off some of the most cliché people before that other perfect looker in the room and him are off for a night of wild and passionate sex.

Not that I am ugly or anything. At twenty-seven, I am still carded when I buy cigarettes, I only smoke when I go out to the clubs, and it is sometimes a real ordeal to get into a club. I was told by this guy at one club one night that my ID was fake, and that he was not going to let me in. The only reason that he let us in is he saw the wallet size copy of my diploma from CAL and my friend Rob also carries his, the guard had seen his and asked him if I was twenty-seven. Rob got a little smile on his face but then he said yes and that he thought that I was only fifteen or sixteen when we first meet in college, I was twenty when we meet. That along with my Nautilus Card my CAL Student ID, and that fact that I was getting pissed finally got us in the club.
I like the fact that I have a baby face, I mean my dad looks my age and I am the baby of the family. He’s forty-nine, so I just know that when I am his age I will probably look great, as long as I keep working out, no beer gut here.

Oh well… even with this face, I won’t get to even talk to him. But it is only Friday, there are four days left to my weekend. With over 400,000 people expected to be at the celebration on Sunday, I could only hope that there would be someone out there for me even if it was for only one night.

I don’t really like the one-night stand thing, but in the past six months of being single, it seemed that the only people who I was meeting were not into “the relationship thing”. This was always their line the next day. After spending the whole day with that person and having a great day, or date them for a week they would get all funny and that was that.

Now there are times when having so many one niter is not that great because I live in a suburban town, a very large but still small town. It is a city of approximately sixty-six thousand, but it can have the feeling at times of a town of only six hundred. It is a great place to live but it can also be the smallest city in the world. Well at least the gay population, and believe me there is a rather large population of us out there. I had started to get the reputation of the weekend, Don Juan. And yes you’re right, I am first to admit it, if one of my friends seems to have a different date every weekend, I would not be too kind with the names I would create for them.

I must admit that I’m not very good with the dating thing. I mean I never really dated Aaron, that’s the boyfriend I broke up with. We meet in College and never had to go through that dating thing.

We meet one night after a meeting of the Lesbian and Gay Alliance at CAL. On this night most of the membership was not happy with the members on the board and it was not a pleasant scene. After over an hour and a half of people yelling and screaming at one another, the meeting let out without anything being resolved, except that nothing was resolved.

After every meeting, there was a Coffee and dessert stop at one of the cafés near the campus, to which most of the people at the meet would meet up later to continue the “discussion” that took place before. I didn’t know very many gay people on campus mainly because I had only come out to myself in the first part of my Junior year in school. I thought that this would be a great way to get to know other gay people around the campus. As it turned out most of the people who went to these meetings were not what you would call a normal lot, these people were more your political anarchist type, you know the types that think all form of government is against them, and I do mean all.

On this particular night Robert Bookman, we call him Rob, one of the few people who I met that was not a total right-winger, and I went to the after meeting, more to be around the other gay people than to talk with them. There is something about being in a room full of gay people, in an otherwise straight place, that is just great. We got our Café Mocha’s and looked for a suitable seat that was not in the middle of the still ongoing discussion. We found a space towards the back and then we progressed to talk about the meeting.
“Well… Dude, what did you think of that cat fight?” Rob asked me.

“Sometimes I think, why do these guys get so into this shit. I mean what a waste of time.” I said.

“You think that was something, you should’ve been at the meeting a year ago when they impeached the President of the board. Dude, they were ready to kill one another. I got the hell out of there after only fifteen minutes of listening to them go at it. At one point I thought for sure there was going to be a major brawl.” Rob Said, with a look of mock horror on his face.

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