Sacre Santae

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

It was after midnight when the phone rang. I listened in as my husband took the call. He started in french and quickly switched to a strangled breed of english, simplified even by his standards. I wondered who it could be. As the conversation progressed, I picked up from his exclamations and quick response that this was not a friendly call. This was urgent.

As soon as he put down the receiver, he turned to me and said, "do you know who that was? "I shrugged. “It’s Santae.”

Santae…. Scary. A mad irresponsible sexual tourist who covers up his devious persona with alarming levels of ineptitude. A man who could make Columbo look like Condoleeza Rice. He’s rather short, pudgy, very messy teeth, laughing mouth and childish eyes. We met him at our old art school, where he had driven the whole administrative department to distraction with his antics, saying yes to everything so that nothing was sure by contradiction. I like his films, the last one of which was based on Dante’s Inferno. He filmed three naked rugby men in various greek poses, being swarmed by 3D gears and throbbing canyons. It was both awful and hilarious at the same time. Thoroughly Santae.

He had called us from the hospital, where he had just been let out. He wouldn’t tell us what the story was, but he needed to come over and “change.” A few minutes later, I opened the door to check and heard his blundering steps on the floor above me. His face was stitched up on one side, and his tank top and pants were splattered with blood. The white pillowcase he clutched in one hand was soaked with blood. We gave him fresh clothes, a towel, and made a bed.

Bit by bit, the story came out. Apparently, he was supposed to have moved at the beginning of this month. He had been busy, so his stuff was still there. Then the landlady’s friend came over and smashed a bottle in his face. He went to the police station with his story, after which they phoned the aggressor. When Santae got back to his apartment, he was beaten up, again.

And now he was here.

But, I’m not telling the whole story. In fact, Santae is exactly the type of boy who pushes his luck as hard as it will go. When we were still in the north, he stayed over at our place for one week once after a similar altercation involving boys who lived on his street. Somehow, Arab boys always like to punch his face. Sometimes, I just think his gay-dar is off and that the font of his problems is simply his predeliction for groping straight boys.

We showed him to his room and went back to ours. I wanted to lie down and relax, having hooked up my radio to the US Open. Suddenly, Santae was back at the door, and he came over and sat on the bed.

“oh oh oh, I wanted to talk to you… ha ha… haven’t talked to you in a long time.”

There’s a reason for that. When I lived in the north, he once stayed over at my house for over a week. I realized at that point what a miser and a mooch he was. I mean he just wouldn’t pay for anything except frozen pizzas, which nobody else could stomach but him. He never seemed to be able to be left alone, and was always around for dinner-times/tea-times… eating and eating and blathering on, knocking on doors.

He was sitting on my bed, asking about me. I gave in. We tried to talk: I asked him about his summer. He talked for a long time about Tarot cards, which he collects, being touched by God while swimming in the Jordan river, and then sex. And once he was on the subject, he just couldn’t get off.

“I went to Petra. Ha ha… the boys are very beautiful there.”
“Petra, it’s in Jordan right.”
“Yeah. I had sex in the temple.”
“You had sex in the temple.”
“Ha Ha… yeah, sex in the temple. You have to be careful. Everybody is looking for sex at the temple…. I want to tell you something, but it’s a bit shocking. I had sex with ten men.”
“Ten men?”
“Ten men, in the temple.”
“Ten men, in the temple. I had sex with them.”
“Oh, all at the same time or at different intervals?”
“Ten men, in three days.”
“Three days.”
“Yeah, I had sex for three days, ten different men.”

“But I’m shy… I don’t let them get inside me. They just look at my body and jerk off.”

Right. Anybody who jerks off to Santae’s torso is a sexual deviant. But still. Then he went on and on about rugby men, men in Turkey, how excited he would be to visit the Czech Republic, on and on…

“I am doing research.”
“You certainly like your fieldwork.”
“I am going everywhere where there are gay men and finding out about them. So far, I like Turkish men the best… If they are beautiful, I touch them… If they are not so beautiful but big and long then I….

At some point, I had to cut him off. The husband was sleeping on the bed and Santae was creeping ever closer, staring adoringly down at him. Santae seemed to be working towards some point, or at working himself up. Luckily, he’s good-natured and I threw him out. After which, I stretched lazily down and the husband popped his eyes open and laughed.

“Sacre Santae.”