Finnegan sat in an armless vinyl chair
in his apartment. The aluminum legs were
twisted out of shape, and they etched a
jagged groove into the parquet wood floor. He
slowly ate soggy Cheerios from a bowl that
was precariously resting on his enormous lap.
With each spoonful, some sugary milk
dribbled down his chin and plopped onto his
turtleneck sweater. The smell of greasy
pizza oozed in through his open window and a
Spanish soap opera was blaring on the
Figueroa sat on the couch engrossed
with the soap opera. Hector was Roger's Home
Health Attendant, and he had been with Roger
for three years now. As Roger's psychosis
progressed to the point of near total
disability, Hector voluntarily moved himself
into Roger's apartment. This was a mutually
beneficial arrangement. Roger received the
help that he desperately needed, and in
return Hector got a free place to stay in the
Village. This situation was actually a large
sacrifice on behalf of Hector, who under
ordinary circumstances would have been much
happier pursuing the bohemian gay lifestyle
offered by Greenwich Village.
ahead girl! You tell him. You're too good
for him anyway. Damn Latino men, freakin'
macho pricks!" Hector commented to an actress
in a short skirt on the television.
looked briefly at Hector, then quickly
turned his attention back to the bowl of
Cheerios in his lap. A few runaway Cheerios
managed to elude Roger's spoon, evasively
floating away from him in the warm milk.
No, No!" Hector shrieked, and sprang out
of his seat. He skipped and bounced around
the living room as if he was on the verge of
urination. After all the theatrics were
finished, Hector fell to his knees
exasperated in front of the television set.
He shook his head disapprovingly. "You
stupid, stupid slut." Then dejectedly hung
his head. The actress was now kissing the
'macho prick' with smoldering Latino passion.
After a few startled blinks, Roger reverted
back to an empty stare, and continued to
dribble his mushy dinner until all of the
Cheerios were eaten.
was a suspense building interruption in
the program for a commercial break. Hector
leaned onto his elbows, putting his rear into
the air, and tried to forward the VCR. He had
videotaped his favorite soap opera today
because Roger's appointment with Doctor Lolly
conflicted with the show. Whispering Spanish
obscenities, he attempted to locate the
resumption of the soap opera by employing a
nonsensical cocktail of forward, reverse and
pause. Hector was having a considerable
amount of difficulty with this, and somehow
he found himself back at the kissing scene.
He shifted back onto his knees momentarily,
looked confusingly at the picture, and with
a brief scratch of his crew-cutted head, he
was on all fours again.
shaved his entire body this morning
and then liberally applied a banana-butter
skin lotion afterwards. He still stank, and
his hairless legs shimmered in the light of
the flickering television set. He was
wearing tight jean shorts, a white tank-top
and shiny black combat boots. Roger was
beginning to feel nauseous. The visions were
coming. He dropped his spoon into the empty
bowl, and Hector quickly snapped his head
finished already, Roj?" he lisped.
suddenly realized that he had
forwarded the VCR too much. "Ay!" he said,
and haphazardly pushed buttons to stop the
tape. After a series of dainty pokes, the
television set crashed into a deafening snow
pattern. He fumbled around the buttons on the
television set, and finally found the volume
control. He lowered the volume with
repetitive taps, and then turned to look at
Roger. Roger had made quite a mess of
Finnegan...My little dribble-puss."
swaggered over to Roger and removed
the empty cereal bowl from his lap. Roger's
dungarees were dampened with overspilled milk
and fragmented Cheerios.
that your dinner, Roger...Or are you just
happy to see me?" Hector pointed to Roger's
groin, and Roger listlessly looked down.
took the bowl into the kitchen, and
tossed it into the sink. He turned on the
faucet, and ran a dry towel under the cold
water. After twisting the water out of the
dishrag, he returned to Roger with the cold
what are we gonna do about this?"
offered no response and Hector
continued. "I wear my most fabulous outfit
today, and your handsome doctor didn't even
notice me. What's a girl to do, Roger? Should
I go in drag next time?"
visions were mounting in Roger. "Maybe
you should stop, Hector. Just stop." he
said, and turned his head away from Hector.
turned to look squarely into Hector's
eyes. He saw the unmerciful face of death
again. Hector was dying, but he was
completely unaware of this. Images of Hector
in a leather G- string, kissing men much
older than himself flashed through Roger's
mind. There was an indoor pool. The pool was
infested with naked men, and their cheerful
voices echoed off the sweating walls. Hector
was intoxicated by their exuberance, and he
unwittingly dove into this chlorinated soup
of disease. He paddled around for a while,
and playfully splashed some of his friends.
Holding his nose, he dipped his head back and
then pushed the hair off of his face. He
wiped the water from his eyes, and swam to a
ladder at the side of the pool. He climbed up
the slippery chrome steps, and grabbed a
towel from the bench. The men in the pool
were no longer smiling and chatting. There
was only silence and water. Hector was
covered with a vulgar film, and he could not
scrub it off. He asked for help, but most of
the men swam to the other side of the pool
and watched. Then there was blood. Hector
began bleeding from the rectum, and a thin
crimson river of blood streaked down his
thigh and onto the tiled pool deck. Hector
started panicking. A growing purple cancer
spread across his face and then down his
throat. The cancer quickly choked him, and
soon his entire face was eggplant purple. His
eyeballs began to swell.
face is changing Hector. Don't go in
the pool! Your eyes are gonna get big, and
you need help now Hector! Stay away from the
pool." Roger begged his only friend.
no pool here, Roger. You see a pool?
I can't even swim, Roj..." There was no
response. "...Roger?" Hector waved a hand in
front of Roger's eyes.
was something growing in Hector's head.
It was still small, but it was indeed
something sinister. Roger closed his eyes
again in an attempt to abort the disturbing
imagery, but the malignant visions
continued. Suddenly, Hector was lying in a
hospital bed, alone and unshaven. His eyes
were bulging, and they no longer moved in
concert with one another. He was emaciated,
and there was only a thin layer of parched
skin covering his skeletal body. He turned
his head slowly to the right, and pursed his
lips. His face began to twitch, then his arm
and then his leg. This progressed to frank
convulsion. Hector's eyes became huge and
tight almost popping out of his skull.
Roger, if you're gonna play nonsense
with me all day, then you'll get no dessert
after dinner. I'm gonna go shower
now...okay?" Hector wiped Roger's mouth one
last time and headed back to the kitchen. He
turned the faucet on and rinsed the Cheerios
and milk into the sink.
please..." Roger softly cried as the
visions of Hector's death receded.
turned the faucet off. "Roger?...Did
you say something?"
did not hear him, and he laid the
dishrag over the faucet, and left the
kitchen. Walking toward the bathroom, he
affectionately rubbed Roger's prickly head as
bathroom was small and cramped. Hector
looked into the mirror, but he did not
notice the small patch of purple skin that
was hidden in his hairline. There was a small
radio on top of the toilet tank, and he
flipped it on. It was tuned to a local
Spanish station, and there was an
advertisement for El diario playing. A fast
talking Spanish deejay soon returned and spun
a festive salsa tune. Hector started to
dance, turned on the faucet and wet his face
with the warm water. He picked up the
shaving cream, and turned the volume up on
the radio. Using the can of shaving cream as
a makeshift maraca, he rhythmically shook it
to the distinct Latino beat. He closed the
door and began to howl the lyrics as he
sat motionless for a few moments, then
he rose and shuffled over to the open
window. The dusky street was littered with
people. A woman who lived across the street
was parallel parking her Toyota. Her back
and her buttocks hurt, and she cringed as she
turned in her seat. Her husband beat her
horribly last night. She feared for her
children, and she feared for herself. Her
back was covered with bruises. Some old, some
new. One of them was weeping a clear fluid,
and Roger knew all of this, but he couldn't
men were walking closely together on the
sidewalk. One of the men was very sick like
Hector. The other was sick also, but to a
much less degree. Both men had ghostly
shadows following them. The shadows were
primitive and violent in nature, and they
savagely climbed all over the two men. A few
buildings up ahead, there was a man exiting a
taxi. He had a new job, and he was very
uncomfortable in his new suit. There was a
small girl rollerblading on the sidewalk,
and she zipped by the man in the suit. Her
skates occasionally got stuck on pebbles and
cracks in the concrete, and she came close to
falling several times. Her knees had small
scrapes on them, but they stung her only a
little bit. Roger closed his eyes and began
to weep. In a few years this little girl
will be raped and beaten in Central Park. The
story will become a media sensation, and
receive national attention.
Central Park Rollerblade Rape" Roger
placed his hand on the window screen and
watched the girl skate down the block until
she turned the corner. There was a brown
sedan waiting at the red light. The two men
inside watched the girl while they chatted
casually about pornography. Around the block,
two young boys were just molested in a seedy
studio apartment. They each clutched a few
candy bars in their small hands, standing
only in their underwear. They huddled closely
to one another, feeling cold and violated.
take your candy, boys." Roger said.
pulled the canvas shade down and pushed
it firmly into the window. He turned back
into the living room, and it was much darker
now. He could no longer take these visions,
and tears poured down his pimpled cheeks. He
heard strange voices talking to him. They
talked to him and about him. There were two
demonic shadows hiding in the corner by the
bathroom. They were waiting for Hector to
get out of the shower. Roger was distraught
and frightened, and for the first time in
four years he fled the apartment alone.
was almost finished shaving when he
heard the apartment door slam. He turned the
volume on the radio a little lower, and
drained the frothy water from the sink.
There was no response. He wiped
the shaving cream residue from his face, and
turned the radio off. He listened carefully,
but there was no sound from the apartment.
Hector wrapped a flowered towel around his
waist and opened the bathroom door. He peered
into the darkened living room.