Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Sex In A Cheap Austin Flophouse

I used to live in a rundown dormitory in Austin back in the Seventies, probably for no longer than a year. It wasn't a school dormitory or a fraternity house, though probably it had been in years long gone. I wonder if it still exists? The building is bound to have become a firetrap and been condemned by now; it was already a flophouse in my time. Maybe there's a shopping center there now or a Weight-Loss Center or a State Agency for the eradication of smokers and other riff-raff. The Flophouse was about two blocks east of Guadalupe Street (aka The Drag) at about 27th street. It was in the approximate neighborhood of "Dirty's hamburger joint" (real name, Martin's Kum-back Place). It was near Hemphill Park, which was both a street and a city park. Maybe some of those landmarks are still there, I haven't passed that way for years now.

Perverts, Misfits and Oddballs

I can't remember the real name of that flophouse or even if it ever had a name. Surely it was called something, but my brain draws a blank. Let's just call it The Flophouse. All sorts of transients and impoverished UT students lived there, though there was never a full house. There were a couple of older-than-average college fellows who carried out the duties of management, but who they worked for was never known to me. I probably only had a marginal interest in it. It cost about $35 a month, had a communal bathroom and shower room like at a school gymnasium or a Federal prison. Whether any perverts lived there, I couldn't say because we all had such different schedules that I can barely recall ever seeing anyone in the bathing facilities when I was there. In fact, I seldom saw such a gang of misfits and oddballs give one another such a wide berth. All but the newest residents joined in the silent agreement that we wouldn't make trouble or otherwise shit where we lived.

Communists, Lawyers, and Woebegone Types

There were a few student communists and socialists, some failed lawyers, various near-vagrants, down-and-out intellectual/artistic types, and at least one Scientologist who lived there. The Scientologist was likeable, though he seemed unduly self-satisfied about his religion, and that's how I've thought of Scientologists ever since, since I've never met another one. My friend Bernie (whom I talked about in a previous post) lived there briefly, but he decided it was too expensive for him. People came and went all the time I was there. It was a wonder there wasn't more instability and crime in the building, but maybe it was just that so few of us had anything to covet or that would be valuable in a pawnshop.

The Accommodations

There was a giant "study room" in which each man had a cubicle, though some had appropriated two or more extra ones, since there were more cubicles than there ever were residents. Some Apeman in this tolerant and anti-authoritarian environment was allowed to keep a spider monkey there. Fortunately, neither of these primates lived on my wing. The monkey ordinarily wore a diaper and was kept on a leash, but sometimes the monkey would get loose from the dithering Apeman, shed the diaper, and swing from the rafters with fecal pellets dropping down on the desks. Instantly a chorus of voices from people studying began hollering to the Apeman what things they were going to do to him with telephone poles and razor blades and enemas. They were a crude bunch. The complication about the liberated monkey was that the Apeman, when he finally showed up, was barely any more talented than the rest of us at catching the excited excreting spider monkey. Take my advice, never live with any animal that can shit on you from above!

The other accommodations for the 30 to 40 occupants (strung out over three sleeping wings, one wing per floor level) included one giant wooden closet for all your worldly possessions plus a bunk bed, high or low. The bunks were separated into wholly isolated compartments, except on the side where you get into bed. Mine was a top bunk. Most people, for purposes of whatever kind of sex they had in there, had tacked up bed sheets or other materials to provide themselves a modicum of privacy. A modicum, indeed.

Now For The Sex Scene

This leads, I suppose, to the incident of most interest. I was awakened one night by the plaintive sounds of a child or a small dog in pain. For some reason, it sounded like it was coming from the outdoor courtyard one flight down. Though the small covered window in my bunk would only crank open to a small degree, I opened it that small bit and peeked out. There was no sign of anyone there. I closed the window and studied the notion for a while. It was very disconcerting to think someone was being cruel to a child or animal. It finally dawned on me, though, that I'd been listening to one of the lowest-volume, yet not at all inaudible, female orgasms I'd ever encountered, I hurried stuck my head out of bed and looked both ways down the barely-lit corridor. Who knows? I figured, if she were moaning to that degree, maybe I'd see a pair of feet doing something like going through the motions of riding a bicycle or something. But I didn't see anything.

I was mainly curious to identify by motion or sound which bunk all this sex was coming from so that I could identify the happy fellow the next day. Maybe I'd even figure out who the joyful moaner was! But no such luck. I never did find out who was doing all that cryptic moaning and furtive fucking that night. I never heard it a second time. I never heard anyone mention the blissful fuckers. Maybe he moved out to live with her in some less crowded and oppressive abode. I'm fairly certain that I would have. I'd have moved in with her in a New York minute, and I'm only judging by the sounds she made. At that time, in my twenties, I became fascinated with and can recall to this day the faces (or even just the gorgeous view of a woman walking away) of various women, seen only once and who were complete strangers to me—but I never became so transfixed by a woman whom I never saw at all. Whew!

Excuse me while I go pant a little for old time's sake.

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