torsdag 6. januar 2011

Luis builds a shrine to Marylyn Monroe

A short but true story from prehistoric times (Rotterdam 1976):

Luis builds a shrine to Marylyn Monroe

(or: “Every man walks his own way” Suriname Jensen)

In the beginning:

A crazy chase at the Spanish Pension.

Up and down the emergency stairway,
in and out of kitchens and rooms.

Jensen with a pistol, Luis with the look of death and pervasive feminine anguish.

A pink blur transmutated from the staircase, through my opened door and materialised on the edge of my bed, visibly shaking with fear.

“Save my life!” He screeched in his tinny effeminate Germanic English, “he's going to kill me!”

“I'll kill that pervert! That fucking Austrian homo!” roared Jensen, as he appeared pistol in hand at the top of the stairs.

“Is he in there?” he yelled, as his transfixed stare tried to penetrate me and take in the contents of my room.

A broom stood at the entrance, an impulse made me pick it up and place it diagonally across the door to bar the way.

Broom against gun, the foolishness of the gesture only began to sink in as he approached and stood directly in front of me, face contorted with anger, emotions in full flow and incapable of control.

Was I really risking my life for this whimsy, effeminate Austrian poof who revelled in stealing my pink pillowcases?

I couldn't believe it...........

I began to talk rapidly about Jensen’s favourite subject, philosophy. At least that is how he himself would describe it. He would write down what he considered great philosophical observations on bits of paper and pin them to the kitchen wall. His latest, and the one he considered probably the deepest observation of his life, read; "Every man walks his own way."

"Jensen", I said, tightening my grip on the broomstick and pressing it against his chest. "Remember, every man walks his own way. Even Luis. You must accept that other people have other ways of living their life."

This, I discovered, was the worst thing I could have said. As it so happened his piece of paper with these illuminating words, hanging on the wall over the kitchen table, had been given a slight, though as it would now seem, fatal addition. Someone had added a sentence. The philosophical text now read; "Every man walks his own way. Especially Luis!" alluding to the feminine way Luis wiggled his buttocks to ensure that nobody mistook his sexual preferences.

Jensen, it transpired, thought that Luis had defaced his words of wisdom.

It had in fact been me!

Jensen lunged forward, "Let me pass, I’ll teach him to take the piss out of me, I'll kill the bastard pervert!"
Luckily for both Luis, and me, the delaying tactic had worked. A siren sounded in the street outside, the screeching of brakes and thud of heavy boots on the stairs, announced the arrival of the police.

In the middle:
Not long after Luis joined a Christian sect. They had convinced him that they would (with the help of the Lord) cure him of his homosexuality. He insisted that I be with him to experience his newfound way of life and benefit from the Lords wisdom. I refused as insistently as his persistent pleading (my close familial experience with Jehovas Witnesses had thought me to steer clear of Christian sects).

But in the end, as it seemed the only way to be quit his persistent bickering, I consented to visit his sect.


The sect leader greeted me, smiled a sickly born again smile, and staring intensely into my eyes began;

"My friend, you have such deep and understanding eyes. Surely you have met with the Lord at some stage in your life…….. I feel an intelligent and searching mind is with us today…….. I sense a little doubt also, am I right? Don't be afraid, open up. Share your doubts with us.........”

This is where the formula normally paid off. The victim, unsure, insecure, a little uncomfortable at being the object of everyone’s attention, and of course not a little flattered by the implications of the speakers apparently sincere observations, would soften. Standing defenceless, open to suggestion and sliding unperceivably into that glaze eyed, uncritical condition of true believer. Converted, confounded, confabulated or just plain conned!

"Bollocks!!" came the reply. The delicate bubble of anticipation burst, confusion entered the minds of the gathered throng.

I rose up, kicked my chair as hard as I could to the floor, and with the maximum aire of contempt that I could muster, stormed out of the room. Luis ran after me, hanging on to my shirtsleeve in a futile effort to hinder my departure. Pleading that I didn't understand, that they were sincere and that I must give them another chance. "Bollocks!" I repeated as I reached the door and walked rapidly into the street.

In the end:

There was a knock on the door. I opened it and Luis, looking emaciated and thoroughly unwell, entered the room. “Can you lend me some money,” he asked in his squeaky voice.

"Why? What’s up? You look really bad."

The story unfolded.......................

Luis had been given the job of cleaning the meeting rooms for the Christian sect. He had given up homosexuality, and would henceforth dedicate his life to following the Lord and converting as many lost souls as possible to joining him on the righteous path. (Though he had reluctantly given up on me after the sect leaders had instructed him that I was a lost cause).

But in the divine sphere of faith and redemption, the murky, soiled vices of earthly temptation are only thinly kept at bay. One evening, as Luis washed the dishes, the leader of the sect, who had stayed behind after the faithful had departed, approached him from behind. The devils hand was at work!

Tempted no doubt by the sensuous movement of Luis’s firm little buttocks as he scrubbed the cups and plates, the elder took a firm grip on his trousers and pulled them, underpants and all, with a jerking forceful movement, down to his knees. Unzipping his own trousers, he pressed the petrified Luis over the kitchen sink, and proceeded to press his penis between Luis’s tightening buttocks.

Luis went berserk, he chased the elder from the premises, and smashing everything his slight physique was capable of, left the place a half hour later looking like ground zero.

For Luis there was absolutely nothing left to live for! The next day he withdrew all his money from the bank, and after purchasing two pink candles and candlesticks, a bunch of red roses, a vase and some very strong sleeping tablets, donated the remainder to a non-Christian charity for orphaned children in the Third World.

Luis returned to the Spanish Pension, gathered together all his earthly belongings, minus a gold framed photograph of Marylyn Monroe, and gave them all to the local Seamen’s Mission. He then made his way to the University Hospital in Rotterdam, sneaked into the toilets and locked himself in a cubicle. He took down the toilet seat, sat himself down and proceeded to take out the contents of his carrier bag.

He laid a small rectangular silk cloth (pink) on the tiled floor, placed the two pink candles in their candlesticks at the two outermost corners of the cloth nearest him. Next he took out the vase, unlocked the cubicle door and listened intensely. When he was sure no one was in the vicinity, he sneaked noiselessly out, filled the vase at the sink and returned, locking the door rapidly behind him. He removed the paper from the roses, crumpled it up, lifted the seat and dropped it into the toilet bowl. He placed the flowers in the vase a little to the left of centre of the cloth. After arranging them tenderly he took the gold-framed photograph of Marylyn Monroe and placed it in the centre on the back edge of the cloth.

The shrine was complete, the ceremony could begin.

Luis pinned a note to his shirt donating his organs to medical science. He took a comb from his pocket and groomed his hair for the last time. He plucked up Marylyn’s photograph, kissed her tenderly on her ruby red lips, replaced her on the cloth, hesitated, then rearranged the roses in the vase. His eyes were wet with tears, soon, maybe, he would be together with her in a new world free from vice and betrayal. He unscrewed the top of the flask of sleeping pills and swallowed the lot in one gulp.


A day and a half later Luis awoke and thought he was in Heaven. All around him was an effervescent brightness. Shining whiteness.

But as his eyes began to focus he recognised the white tiled walls of the hospital toilet. His head was heavy and dizzy and he felt a gnawing emptiness in this stomach. Hunger! He hadn’t eaten for nearly two days, and he’d given away all his money! This wasn’t Heaven, it was Hell!

He left the toilets and walked unsteadily along the corridor where he came across a nurse pushing a trolley. He couldn’t believe his eyes, the trolley was full of food, dinners for the patients. He continued to follow the nurse at a safe distance, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible (not an easy task for Luis the gay exhibitionist). The nurse took two plates and disappeared into a ward. Without thinking twice Luis lunged forward, took two plates himself and ran in panicked ecstasy back to his toilet refuge. There, witnessed only by a pouting Marylyn Monroe, he devoured the two meals so fast he almost didn’t taste their contents, fearful that the nurse would discover his criminal deed, find him and return the meals to their rightful owners.

And now here he was, on my doorstep, asking to borrow some money.

An Afterword:
Jensen was never released again, presumably deported back to Surinam. Nobody knew and nobody seemed to care.

Luis, after paying me back the money he borrowed, travelled back to Austria to try and pick up the pieces of his shattered life. People often asked after him, but nobody had any answers. Maybe he came out too soon, on the threshold of the “GayRevolution”, we can only hope that he survived long enough to enjoy the acceptance of his sexual predilection as a positive, not perverse way of living.

As for the Christian sect? Well, as long as there is pain in this world there will always be those who exploit it. May they rot in Hell!