Thursday, September 2, 2010

Devo Diary Chapter 18

Rollerboy Part 4

Oct 2000

One evening as I am sitting home alone as usual and pretending to study while watching TV, my usual diet of Simpsons and Star Trek re-runs is interrupted by the premier of some new sci fi show. I watch it anyway, because I'm a sucker for most sci fi, especially if the main character is a kick-ass girl.
And she is pretty kick-ass, even if the unknown teenage actress delivers her lines like she's in a high school production of Bladerunner. It's great campy fun.
Ever since college, I have kept in touch with my two best friends, Kara and Nam, by writing a long, rambling SF story with them over email. The rule is there are no rules--we just take turns writing installments, each trying to top the other in craziness. It's mostly a parody mash-up of X-Files and kung-fu movies, but every once in a while, we like to think we stumble on a particularly brilliant scene or turn of phrase.
Watching this show feels like the writers have been reading our emails. It's like this show was made just for me. Even the setting is kind of how I like to imagine Raser City, cooler and more futuristically noir-ish than it actually is. In reality, the homeless people here are just crackheads, not transgenic superhumans.
So I'm getting more and more into this show when about halfway through, the main guy character (who's pretty good looking) appears in a scene seated in a desk chair. For some reason, the subconscious part of my brain thinks, "wheelchair." I don't know why, I just get a really clear mental image of him in a wheelchair. This happens to me occasionally, imaging a fictional character as disabled, but usually there's never anything to it. The character is clearly not disabled, the conscious part of my mind reasons. I just have wheelchairs on my mind since I started seeing Rollerboy.
But then--whoa, no way! At the very end of the show, that same character gets shot and becomes paralyzed. And judging by the previews, they're not going to pull out some bullshit futuristic cure. He's going to be in a wheelchair for real.
I'm freaking out. The first thing I do is call Nam and Kara. Being on Eastern time, they've already seen it a few hours ago.
"Oh my god!"
"I can't believe it!"
The conversation goes on like this for a while. Nam wonders if the writers really could have seen our emails somehow, and curses them for getting their story out before we could. Kara laughs evilly, enjoying my devogasm over the ending.
The next day at school, I ask my new friend Sarah what she thinks. "Did you see that new show last night, Dark Angel?"
"Yeah, it seemed kinda... bad," she sniffs. I think that's awfully high and mighty for someone who frequently brags about how her sister runs a major online fan site for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I know better than to criticize St. Buff. And I have to admit, Dark Angel is bad. But it's also awesome.
In the following weeks it just gets better and better. I am obsessed with Logan. Even Rollerboy is watching, to my delight. I wouldn't have pegged him as a sci fi fan. He isn't, really, but he will watch anything with guns and explosions, which Dark Angel has. Also Jessica Alba's leather-clad ass. After each new episode, I call him and we make fun of the stupid rehab scenes together. It's nice to finally have some common interest with him. It's even nicer that when the hot scenes with Logan and Max crank up my devo desires, I have an actual Rollerboy of my own. For the first time I feel like I can actually enjoy scratching that itch, instead of being driven mad with longing and frustration.
Which is great, but at other times I have serious doubts about Rollerboy. Every night, I stare at myself in the mirror as I brush my teeth, actually I have to turn around because the mirror is behind the sink, another sign of how badly my apartment is designed. Anyway, I stare in the poorly-placed mirror and wonder what the hell I am doing with a moody manchild who lives three hours away, with whom I have nothing in common. I'm twenty-seven years old. Isn't it time I gave up casual sex and settled down? I mean, I really do want to get married and have kids. That's always been my ultimate goal. But at the same time, I have these crazy strong devotee obsessions urging me on, and I can't say no. I can't say no because the sex is really, really good.
This thing with Rollerboy is starting to seem like a relationship. Each time he comes over, I get a little better at getting him up and down the driveway. It's still terrifying, but slightly less so. He adjusts the camber of his wheels, making them a little less wide, so he can fit in between the bookcase and the bed. Just barely, but he makes it. He actually stays the night. The fact that he can't reach the bathroom is not that bad--he just clamps off his leg bag, I empty it into the toilet and throw it away, while he attaches a new one.
The very first time he sleeps over, I accidentally kick open the green valve at the bottom of the bag. He feels it happen and starts freaking out. I sit up and close the valve, no biggie. It was mostly empty anyway, and I don't see evidence that any leaked out. Maybe a few drops at most. I lay down again, but he's still upset.
"Oh please," I say. "You think you're the first guy to pee in my bed?"
"No way. Really?"
"Yes, really, and he was able-bodied too. Don't worry about it. These things happen." That seems to calm him down. The bedwetter was Buttboy, of course. I don't mention that it happened when he went to sleep shit-faced drunk. But my reaction was the same. It was only a tiny bit, and it didn't really bother me.
I know the reason Rollerboy freaks over a little pee out is not just because of the disability, loss of control thing, but because he's a germophobe. When he was a teenager, he used to do meth and spend hours scrubbing the bathroom floor with a toothbrush or something. Since his accident, he quit the drugs but some of the obsessive cleaning habits remain. Ironically, his palms are always black with dirt, even though he washes them often.
He uses the kitchen sink to wash his hands at my place. The only drawback is he can't take a shower, which he doesn't like. He hates to feel dirty. The first time he stays over, I help him wash his hair in the sink, but eventually he decides it's too much trouble.
We still haven't had tab-A-in-slot-B sex-sex yet. It's taking a little while for him to get to the doctor to get the Viagra prescription, but in the meantime we stick to oral sex, which is fine by me. More than fine, I actually prefer it. And when I say "prefer," I mean I fucking love it because he's so great at it. And he's adventurous. I tell him a little about my SM adventures, and he's willing to try. He's not into the pain, and I would never spank him, because it could lead to a dangerous pressure sore. But he likes to play rough, like I do. He lets me put the handcuffs on him and kiss him and tease him all over.
His only condition is that he gets to reciprocate. He eyes my leather paddle hanging on a hook just above the bed.
"I want to spank you with that," he says.
"Ok, if you can get it down, you can hit me with it."
He pulls himself up, using one hand hooked under a thigh for leverage. Sitting up in the bed with his legs straight out in front of him and one arm out for balance, he reaches for the paddle. He can just about reach it, but he can't push it up high enough to get the strap off the hook.
At first we're both laughing but as he tries over and over, I can see him start to get genuinely frustrated. A tiny voice in my head says maybe this isn't such a good idea. But a much louder voice says this is fucking hot. I let it go on, probably longer than I should, watching as he pushes at it again and again, trying to get it to come off the hook.
Finally, I stand up on the bed, take down the paddle and hand it to him. But he can't really grip it, even squeezing it between both hands, so he can't hit hard enough to make a slapping noise. Eventually he throws it on the floor, unimpressed. I let him spank my bare ass with his hand, which he clearly enjoys much more. It doesn't really hurt, but it makes a satisfying cracking noise, so I let him continue as long as he likes. I figure he earned it.

The next weekend, I drive up to Rollerboy's apartment for the first time. I've put it off as long as I could--I really don't want to go back to Bessemer, partly because it's three hours away and I hate to drive, and partly because it still reminds me of Buttboy. But if I want this relationship with Rollerboy to work, I can't keep making him come to me every time.
The drive out there sucks just as much as I was expecting. It's long and boring, and also stressful. I'm filled with dread every time I have to pass a truck or locate the right exit. As I'm staring at the road with a death-grip on the steering wheel, I wonder what the hell I'm doing. It's amazing the lengths we will go to just to get laid. Why couldn't I find someone closer? Why I am I dating yet another dude in fucking Bessemer?
Actually Rollerboy lives in East Bessemer, a shitty suburb almost an hour from the main city. As I approach his exit, I see a car go by with a bumper sticker that says "Evolution is Science Fiction." Yeay. At least I'm far from where Buttboy used to live, so I'm not literally repeating the exact same journey.
I drive through the sprawling apartment complex, trying hard not to be too judgmental of the soulless blocks of beige buildings. This is exactly the kind of place I have always avoided living myself. But Rollerboy lives here because it's accessible and the management accepts Section 8. When those are your limitations, you can't be too picky. Anyway it's better than living with his mother.
His apartment is a one bedroom on the ground floor, boxy with bare white walls. The only decoration is a beer mirror. An extra wheelchair is parked by the sofa, and in the bedroom, I see a standing frame covered with dust and laundry. The whole apartment smells vaguely like a hospital: disinfectant, latex and a very faint undercurrent of urine. The wall-to-wall carpet is dingy gray, worn down with wheel tracks in the hall and doorways. He waves self-consciously at the stains liberally dotting carpet in the living room area.
"That's what I get for dating some chick with a kid," he says bitterly. I know one of his exes was a stripper, but they broke up a while ago. He's been living here for over five years.
I ask to use the bathroom, but he hesitates. "There's a, um, thing, I can't move it..."
"It's fine," I say, because there's no way I can go the whole weekend without using the toilet. I march into the bathroom despite his protests. The thing he was referring to is a raised padded seat with handles positioned over the toilet. The regular seat has been removed to make room for it, so I can't just move it out of the way. I don't see why I can't sit on it too. Actually it's rather comfy.
His bed is super comfy too. It has a layer of egg crate foam on top, so it's nice and soft. We don't waste any time. He finally got the prescription filled. As we're waiting for the blue pill to kick in, we lay on the bed together, first cuddling, then wrestling, play-fighting like puppies. He likes that I don't treat him like an invalid, and I like that we can roll around and get rough. I flip him over just by pushing on his elbow.
"Hey, how do you know how to do that?" he exclaims. "That's, like, specialized nurse knowledge."
I laugh. "I used to be a candy striper."
"No way!"
"It's true. I was way too young, only thirteen, but I had the uniform and everything." He gets really into this fantasy of me as a hot little teenage mini-nurse, and I let him, because it's fun. Way more fun than the truth, which is that I was nerdy beyond belief--glasses, braces, a little pudgy. Even so, fifty year old men would hit on me shamelessly. Senile old women thought I was their granddaughter. I saw horrors every day that cured me of ever wanting to be a nurse. Yeah, it's definitely better to forget the real experience and focus on the fantasy.
So there we are, rolling around, I'm play biting at his shoulders and ears, and he's spanking me with his weak hand. He pushes me onto my back and pulls himself on top of me, practically smothering me, but it feels so good, him sprawled over me and me wrapping my legs around his. I wish we could have sex this way, but it's impossible.
After about thirty minutes, like clockwork, he gets an erection.
"Ok, so what do I do?" I ask, after I've put the condom on him.
"Just, you know, get on," he says, like he can't believe he has to tell me.
It's a little awkward, with me on top and having to do all the moving. I'm going to have to start working out, so my legs get stronger. I get a good rhythm going for a while, and he rubs his thumb up against me for some added friction. It feels really good, and he seems to be enjoying it too, even though he says he can't fully feel it, especially with the condom.
I go as long as I can, but it's eventually I collapse next to him, sweaty and sore, my legs aching.
"Sorry," I say. I feel bad for not making him come, but he reassures me that it doesn't happen every time.
"It doesn't matter," he says. "Anyway it's just a reflex. I don't get that feeling of release, not like before."
"But was it ok? I felt kinda dumb, bouncing around with my boobs flying everywhere."
"What are you talking about? That was hot."
"Why do you think every episode of The Man Show ends with girls jumping on trampolines? Dudes like that. It's hot," he says emphatically. It gives me a little thrill when he says it like that. Even though he said it in an impersonal way, I know he means "I like you. You're hot."
I still can hardly believe how lucky I am to have found him, and not only that, but that he actually likes me back. This is worth it, I decide. The long drive, struggling with our crappy apartments, all the little insecurities and personality differences, none of that matters. I'm going to make this relationship work.

A few days later, I open my email to find a message from Lee. It's been months since we started talking over email about creating our own website, for devotees of disabled men. For a while, it seemed like nothing was going to happen. I've been super busy with moving and starting school, and ok, spending all my free time with Rollerboy, so I haven't exactly been in close contact.
Anyway out of the blue, Lee sends me the URL to the site he created, which he calls Paradevo. I'm so excited I nearly jump out of my desk chair. So far it's not much more than a domain name; it's still pretty empty, but already the design is better than one Cindy did.
In a rush, I type out a welcome statement and a list of frequently asked questions. I've spent so much time talking over these things with various people online. It's nice to finally distill all my thoughts down, to really spell out what being  a devotee means to me. I email the files to Lee and he posts them right away.
That part is easy, but we're stumped coming up with other content. What I want to do is have a page for book and movie reviews, and another page for media alerts. We could let people know when there is a new movie or TV show coming out with a disabled guy character. I wouldn't even have known about Dark Angel if I hadn't watched it by accident. How sad would it be if I had missed it? I spend hours as a kid trawling through the TV listings, looking for anything related to disability. It would have been so much easier if there were a central database with that information.
But Lee doesn't seem interested in that idea. The book and movie reviews are fine; he creates a page and I start writing content. But the media alerts page somehow never materializes. He's much more interested in posting pictures and stories.
I'm not so thrilled with the idea of posting pictures. There's the issue of consent. Where are these photos coming from? And also it's hard to make a picture site really worthwhile. After looking at a photo once or at most two to three times, I'm over it and looking for something new. Most sites only have a handful of photos that are never updated. The sites that have more take forever to load, and even there, after a while you've seen them all.
Lee posts a bunch of photos anyway, including some ES ones, which I think is creepy. But whatever, it's his site. I don't want to argue too much. I don't really look at the photos too carefully.
He also sends me a story he's written, gay erotica with a quad. He's thinking of posting it and wants my opinion. I read through it with a critical eye, now that I consider myself an expert on quad sex. The actual sex is not that realistic, with the quad guy getting an erection just from looking at the other hot guy. But the part that really bugs me is that he supposedly broke his neck but he can still move one finger.
"It doesn't work that way," I explain in a very long-winded email. "Paralysis doesn't gradually go in stages from the shoulders down to the fingers. That's not the way the nerves work. It's the opposite--he would be able to move his arm but not his fingers." I go on to explain the physiology behind SCI in great detail.
"I don't care," Lee replies stubbornly. "It's my fantasy and I can do what I want."
He's got me there. I argue a bit more, because I know I am technically correct, damn it. He posts the story anyway, and I have to admit, it's fucking hot. Hot enough to go in the wank bank, despite the objections of my rational mind. Score one for fantasy, I guess.


  1. Really great episode! I love all the detail, and as always, great writing.

  2. I've had that experience too of thinking of a character in a wheelchair just because he's sitting down. I did it once with a book I was reading and, in the same way, I had no idea why I did it in that moment with that character, but he turned out to actually be in a wheelchair in the story! (The Westing Game)

    Your writing is so hot. You know how to slow down and really describe things as they are happening, i.e., showing and not just telling. A rare talent, actually.

    I used to insist on realism in my stories and now I'm leaning more towards fantasy and whatever works is fine. Sometimes in the middle of fantasizing I start thinking too rationally and I have to say over and over again to myself, "It doesn't matter if it could really happen, it only matters if it works. Who cares why it works?"

    1. Thank you Ruth and Pepper!!

      OMG The Westing Game! I loved that book so much when I was a kid. I forgot about the wheeler character though, I guess it was only mildly devvy for me. But I'm glad I'm not the only one seeing phantom wheelers, haha.

      As for Lee's story, I was going to link to it but I couldn't find it in the archives. Maybe he never posted that one? I can't remember. But he said he got that "quad moves just one finger" detail from the Bone Collector. Seriously, so much bad information out there.

    2. The realism issue is one reason why I much prefer having a magical disability in my stories.