Spirituality in an Erotic Novel? Damn Right!
Being brought up a Lutheran and now a devout agnostic, l didn’t plan to have a spiritual side in my latest erotic gay novel, “For The Love Of Samuel,” and l’m still surprised where it came from. Simply put, my book is a story of love lost and love found, set in contemporary New York City and Fort Lauderdale, where an aging fifty one year old gay man, after a series of romantic missteps, finds in the magical prowess of the dog tag of a long dead Civil War soldier a chance at eternal youth and the love of his life. The dog tag will not bestow eternal life, but as long as its wearer has or have had love in his life, he will physically become the same age as the soldier whose dog tag he wears died, in this case Samuel Evans, my fictional soldier who dies of his war wounds at twenty one.
As my protagonist Billy Veleber begins his transformation over the course of one weekend from middle age to youth when he puts on the dog tag, he experiences a not un-God like empowerment as he visits a local bathhouse:
I’m in the sauna with nothing on but my steel cock ring. And my boots. I never venture in barefoot. STD’s are one thing – catching athlete’s foot or Legionnaires Disease can be a bitch.
I let the steam overtake me, as sweat drips down, like the mighty Congo, down the crease in my chest, down my abs to my groin and my legs, down my shoulders and back to the crack of my ass. I celebrate and rejoice in my man stink.
I’m alone at first but then they come, one by one, the lame and the fat and the jock, the young and the old, the pretty and the homely, as they come to worship at my feet. Who cares what they look like in the shadows of the steam? They’re all a blur like the condensation on the sauna door.
As the perfect suitor, I let them suck me and rim me and feed off the sweat of my body like those cannibalistic kids did to that poor character in “Suddenly Last Summer.”
And as the perfect host, I let them bathe and nourish in my cum, and feel my stiff, thick dick deep inside them.
All those years of benign contentment with Gus, I almost forget the axiom that drove me, ruled me as a gay young man:
To be desired is to be loved, and to be loved is to be worshipped.
If that’s true, my penis, my beautiful born again penis, this weapon of empowerment and pleasure and lust and wonder is their new God.
Who says God is dead? He’s right here in all His glory in the sauna room in Manhattan’s Chelsea Baths
Later in the book, his first night in Fort Lauderdale in a shabby motel, Billy begins to regret how he is wasting this gift, that he repeatedly describes as Samuel’s “life force,” as some non-stoppable sex machine, and even invokes the Christ figure concept:
Where am I going?
What is all this?
Ever since I put the medallion on, I’ve used men and they’ve used me.
Have all I become is a fucking machine like the ones you can buy from the online sex toy stores?
Did I inherit the life force of that brave young soldier who died so long ago just so my penis can become a carnival side show?
I may look twenty one but this medallion of Samuel’s did not buy you life eternal, so no matter how I figure it, the real me, the middle aged me, doesn’t have a lifetime to find the real love, the true and honest love of another man.
Maybe if I yank this damn thing off my neck, I’d wake up and smell reality for what it is.
That most of us never find anyone.
But I can’t, IT won’t let me, the image in the mirror of a virile, yes, fucken handsome young man named William Conrad Veleber.
I need to find a job, something, but without an ID with a smiling 21 year old Billy and not a tired 51 year old William, I’m nowhere.
Sure, I can become a rentboy and I’m damn certain I’d be good at it.
But I owe Samuel, my Samuel, in a fucken strange way my Christ – and I’m no religious freak – who died so I could live the most coveted part of any person’s life over, more than that.
Abandoning Manhattan, Billy flicks off to Fort Lauderdale where he meets that love of his life, Dare, an ex-New York City cop who was thrown off the force after he was caught attempting to rape one of his male arrests in the back of his squad car, and who now is the mastermind behind a giant theft ring fleecing older wealthy gay men. Dare knows nothing of Billy’s ruse, and when the police get wind of his scheme, and Dare is forced to flee to Bayonne, New Jersey and his sister’s house, Billy must also hide from the law and does that by taking off his dog tag and in the space of a few days becoming the old Billy. When he eventually finds out where Dare is hiding, he grabs the next Amtrak back to New York but realizes he must re-become the Billy Dare knows. He puts on the medallion a second time and has a spiritual experience:
This time it’s not just a super charged caffeine jolt that hits me like the first time. . Suddenly… my heart is beating so hard it’s going to pop out of my chest or just stop from sheer exhaustion, I gasp for breath, as I fly around the room, my arms wings, and Dare and I are pressing as close together as any two human beings can, till I can feel my bones shattering inside me. I look deep into his eyes as he stares deep into mine, and at that moment, at that very instant, I know I have seen God.
To paraphrase my own character, God is not dead but very much alive in my book of erotic gay romance, “For The Love of Samuel.”
“For the Love Of Samuel” is now on sale as an ebook on Amazon.