He was in his 20s, tall, slim, blond, very pale. Not my usual type, but he had a handsome, almost angelic face, and he looked...lost. Everyone was giving him major attitude.
"Poor guy wandered into the wrong bar," I told Kevin.
He looked around. "Who do you mean?"
I pointed. "The cute twink in the brown jacket?"
He peered into the crowd. "Sorry, I can't pick him out. But cruise him, if you like. I'll be more than willing to share anyone you find attractive."
Too late -- a drunken muscle bear with thick bear-hair on his chest and shoulders had already approached. He had skipped the conversation stage of cruising, moving immediately into groping. The twink looked uncomfortable, even frightened. Didn't he know how to give Attitude?
"Didn't know you spoken for," the muscle bear growled. He dislodged his hand from the boy's crotch and loped off.
"Thanks for saving me. I'm Mickey." (Not the leatherman who never left South of Market -- another Mickey.)
"Boomer." I tried to hug him, but he stiffened -- not interested? Instead, he held out a slim hand to be shaken.
Yes, his hand was warm to the touch.
"I don't go to gay bars much, and I don't know the rules yet. I thought if I just stood quietly, I'd be invisible."
"That's funny, it worked on my friend over there. I tried to point you as 'the cute guy in the brown jacket,' but he couldn't see you. Would you mind coming over so I can introduce you?"
I led him to where Kevin was standing. "Introducing Mickey, the Amazing Invisible Boy!"
Kevin stared, visibly frightened. "Um...very nice to meet you. Boomer, could I borrow you for a moment to discuss that project?"
He pulled me out of earshot. "You're out of your league with this one, Boomer. Better leave him alone."
"No, but...it's difficult to explain. He's dangerous."
"He looks harmless to me. A little lonely, and kind of starved for affection. Why don't we invite him home?"
"No sharing tonight, sorry -- um, I'm not feeling well. And I'd advise you to pick someone else. I have to be running along now."
You never abandon someone in the midst of cruising -- it's just not done. But Kevin did.
It would pay to be prudent, of course, and not invite Mickey home instantly, so I took him to a Thai place on Folsom.
Yes, he ate.
And asked him the usual precautionary questions. Mickey was eager to talk.
I asked about the stain on his shirt. He said it was probably spaghetti sauce, but he didn't remember where he got it.
It was starting to get dark. "I have to get to the station soon," Mickey said, looking apprehensively out the window. "The last train to Hayward leaves at 7:00 pm."
"Oh...I was hoping we could spend more time together. Why don't you come back to my place and spend the night? I'll spring for breakfast in the morning, and then put you on the BART."
He looked hesitant. "You're sure it won't be any trouble? I snore."
Back at my apartment, he took off his jacket and draped it on a kitchen chair. We watched Nick Freno, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, The X-Files, some old sitcoms on Nick at Night, ate ice cream, and talked, talked, cuddled, kissed, and talked.
Mickey wasn't out to anyone, and hadn't had sex with anyone but a high school friend. He turned 21 a few days ago. On a whim he took BART across the Bay, got off at the 16th Street Station, and looked for the nearest gay bar. That turned out to be the Eagle.
Finally it was midnight, past my bedtime. "I have to get up early," I said, "So we should go to bed. We don't have to do anything, if you don't want. We can just cuddle."
Mickey kissed me on the cheek. "You're the first guy I met with who didn't try to push me into the bedroom right away, But I have to go home now." He stood and walked around the couch toward the door.
"BART's closed. You'll have to spend the night..." I began. But he was gone!
I ran back and checked the bedroom and bathroom. No. Mickey had just vanished.
In retrospect, there were some weird things about him.
1. His invisibility.
2. Kevin's warning.
3. There aren't any junior colleges anymore. They're community colleges.
4. Who in the computer age studies to be a bookkeeper?
5. He didn't know how to use a VCR.
6. He had never seen The Simpsons.
7. That weird stain, like a blood stain.
8. This was his first time in a gay bar, but he had taken several guys home before.
Had I been making out with a ghost? Maybe a boy who came to the City for his 21st birthday, was killed in a hate crime, and ever after has been trying to find his way home.
What would have happened if I insisted on bedroom activities?
The next day I called Kevin. He said, "I was just jealous that you were so into that Cute Young Thing. I'm sorry that my attempt to scare you away made you hallucinate."
By the way, I couldn't do a "Vanishing Hitchhiker" thing: Mickey took his jacket with him.
See also: The Leatherman Who Never Left South of Market