This story is a work of fiction,
the product of the author's imagination, any similarities to people or events
is purely coincidental.
My name is Ricky Gordon, I
am a senior in high school and an All-American running back for Robinson High
in Berkeley, CA. I am considered the best high school running back in
the country. I am also a point guard on the basketball team. I
have letters for each sport. College scouts from all over the country
are trying to recruit me for their football or basketball programs.
I harbor a dark secret.
I am on the downlow. Ever since I was a little boy, I found myself attracted
to men. When I used to leaf through magazines, I was drawn to the male models
in the advertisements instead of the female models.
The only person who knows
my secret is my childhood friend and teammate Grier. He doesn’t
have a problem with it because he is also on the downlow. I found out
about Grier by accident, I went under his bed to pull out some weights, imagine
my surprise when I pulled out a stack of gay porn magazines.
Grier says, we are really
not gay because we have beautiful girlfriends and we just use men for sex.
I don’t know if I buy this explanation because I am totally attracted
to men. Although I care for my girlfriend, I could never love her like
I would love a man. It is so much pressure on men, especially popular men, to
be surrounded by beautiful women. I could lose future scholarships and
future endorsements if my sexuality was known, it would be career suicide.
"DOWNLOW: BASED IN SAN FRANCISCO"
45 seconds left in the game,
Robinson High has the ball, trailing by 3 points. They are out of field
goal range. The hand-off is to All-American, Ricky Gordon, he hits the
hole fast, evading tackles and running over linemen, he’s at the 30, 20,
10, Touchdown!! Robinson High wins the State Championship. Gordon is hoisted
on the shoulders of his teammates as they celebrate on the field.
Later that evening, Ricky’s
teammate and best friend Grier hosted a party since his parents were on a cruise.
Ricky arrived with his girlfriend, head cheerleader and beauty queen,
Porsche Anderson. Ricky and Porsche were also the Homecoming King and
Queen. They were treated like royalty, Ricky resembled a Black Greek God
and Porsche resembled a Black Goddess. Everyone congratulated Ricky on
his touchdown run.
Porsche took to the dance
floor with her fellow cheerleaders, they did a mean routine to a couple of Usher
tunes. Everyone gathered around to cheer them on. All of the men
were lusting after Porsche, as she did her sexy cheerleader/dance moves.
After the party ended, Grier
and his girlfriend Francessca (Porsche’s best friend) joined Ricky and
Porsche for breakfast at an 24-hour diner.
The guys talked football and
the girls talked makeup and fashion. After breakfast, the guys told the
girls, we’re going to play billiards, Porsche said, at 3 a.m. in the morning?
Ricky shot Grier a nervous glance and said, we know a place on University Avenue
that stays open all night. Francessca spoke up, you better not be cheating
on us because we will find out, Ricky smiled and said, both of you know better
After they dropped the girls
off, they went to a park in Berkeley, despite the late hour, the park was jammed
with cars. Grier saw two males lingering, he motioned for both of them
to come over to the car. After small talk, both men got in the backseat.
Grier turned to Ricky in the front seat and said, let the real celebration
They arrived at Grier’s
house. They watched videos and played cards. After a few beers, Ricky
started groping one of the guys and Grier was openly kissing the other guy.
Ricky took his guy into a bedroom downstairs while Grier went upstairs
with his date. Ricky was so caught up in the moment, he didn’t use
a condom, he hated condoms; he liked raw sex.
The next morning, after the
guys left, Ricky and Grier went to the post office where Ricky had a discreet
P.O. Box. Ricky got his mail and returned to the car. He ripped opened
a package containing gay porn magazines. He and Grier spent the next thirty
minutes lusting over the male centerfolds.
Later that evening, they went
out for pizza with their girlfriends. After pizza, Porsche and Ricky went
to a hotel. Despite her beauty, Porsche always had to initiate the first
move, Ricky was the only man she had been with who seemed disinterested in sex,
he barely achieved an erection. He acted like it was a chore to have sex
with her. When she asked him about it, he denied her accusations.
Grier and Francessca had an
active sex life, Grier had a strong sex drive and he was constantly pestering
Francessca for sex.
At school on Monday, Ricky
was treated like the BMOC (Big Man On Campus) as he strutted around in his lettered
jacket. Later in the day, the votes were tallied, Ricky was voted the
most handsome and most popular guy on campus, Porsche was voted most beautiful
and most popular female on campus. They were the golden couple.
Kenny was an openly gay student
at the same high school. The jocks teased him relentlessly. Grier was
especially cruel. Later that day, Grier and Ricky encountered Kenny in
an isolated stairwell. Grier started winking at him and Ricky grabbed
his ass. Kenny pushed them away and kept walking.
Later that day, Kenny ran
into Porsche and Francessca, he told them, your boyfriends are not the men they
pretend to be. Porsche demanded to know, what he meant? Don’t
be disrespecting our men. Kenny didn’t answer. Francessca
said, ignore him, he just mad they ain’t gay, he wish he could pull men
like that, he hatin. As Kenny walked away, he thought to himself, I just
don’t understand, the entire student body knows I’m HIV-positive
yet Grier has propositioned me on several occasions for sex. From the
reactions of Porsche and Francessca, he rationalized, it’s best to keep
my mouth shut, no one believes a gay teen over a popular jock.
After school, Ricky and Grier
drove up to Pleasanton to see their girlfriends compete in the National Cheerleading
championships. They won.
They all returned to Berkeley
and went shopping at the boutiques on Telegraph Avenue, across from the U.C.
Berkeley campus. Afterwards, they went to a burger joint. Porsche informed everyone
that her cousin Brian was relocating to Berkeley from Mississippi, he was arriving
over the weekend. He was moving to the bay area because San Francisco
was more tolerate of homosexuals, Brian was gay.
Grier said, keep that fag
away from us. Porsche shot Grier a mean look and asked him to never refer to
Brian as a fag in her presence. She got up and stormed out, Ricky followed.
Later, Grier called Porsche on her cell phone and apologized, she accepted
Brian arrived in the bay area,
with the money he had saved, he moved into an apartment in the Castro district.
Brian had kept in touch with a few San Francisco gay men he had met over
the Internet while he lived in Mississippi. His first night in town, he
went out with his Internet buddies Ken and Matt. He loved the gay friendly attitude
of San Francisco.
Brian loved to gossip, during
the day, he and Porsche kept the phone lines busy gossiping about various celebrities
they had crushes on. Porsche also told Brian about how fine her boyfriend
was, Brian said, I don’t think you have ever told me his name, you always
refer to him as my ‘fine man,’ and you told me he was a famous high
school football player; but you have never told me his name, what is his name?
Before Porsche could answer, the other line beeped and Porsche got off the phone
Over the next few weeks, Brian
got a job at an Adult Gay Bookstore in San Francisco. Before long, he
was a permanent fixture on the gay scene.
Meanwhile, across town, Ricky
and Grier were visiting their favorite gay website. This website allowed
gay men to shade their city and state, you would post a message requesting sex
in your area and then you would wait for responses. Ricky and Grier sifted
through the responses and chose two men they agreed to meet at a local hotel.
The next day, they drove up
to Reno for football camp. Ricky and Grier’s gaydar’s went off when
they met a couple of players. They traded numbers. Their downlow
circle was expanding.
When they returned to the
bay area, Ricky talked Grier into giving a discreet downlow party, they would
invite the football players they met and hire some male escorts.
It was Friday night. Brian
got off work and met up with Nate and Matt. That evening, both men told Brian
that they were male escorts. They were booked for a party but Nate couldn’t
make it because of a family emergency, would Brian be willing to go in his place,
he would be paid $200 plus tips, Brian eagerly agreed.
Brian and Matt arrived at
the party in Berkeley. The two guys giving the party were gorgeous, with
tight bodies. The one they called Ricky left and returned with pizzas,
hot wings and cases of beers.
The doorbell rung, two more
guys arrived with ecstasy. Grier put in a gay porn tape. The guys passed
out the ecstasy and the mood changed. Ricky asked Brian and Matt to do a strip
They got up, they began dancing
suggestively, the guys cheered them on as they took off their shirts and unzipped
their pants. Before they could finish, Ricky grabbed Brian and Grier led Matt
into a bedroom. The ecstasy had such an effect on Ricky, he felt invincible
and didn’t use a condom again, after sex with Brian, he and Grier traded
partners, Ricky ended up having sex with Matt as well. The other two guys
never came out of the downstairs bedroom.
The next morning, Ricky offered
to give Brian and Matt a ride into San Francisco since he was headed that way.
He dropped Matt off first, Brian asked him to drop him off at his job.
Ricky had never been in a
24-hour adult gay bookstore, he went in the back, there were holes drilled into
the bathroom stall walls, on the side. While Brian was behind the cash
register out front. Ricky unzipped his pants, took out his penis and put it
through one of the holes. Someone anonymously on the other side of the
wall, sucked him off.
Ricky met Porsche for lunch
and told her that he had decided to accept a full football scholarship to a
college in Berkeley, he wanted to be near her and his family, Grier also received
a full scholarship to the same college. When she suggested they spend
some private time together because her parents were gone for the weekend, he
changed the subject, mumbled that he had somewhere to be and left, he forgot
his keys. Just then, the phone rung, it was Brian, Porsche and Brian agreed
to meet up in an hour.
She met up with Brian at Lake
Merritt in Oakland. As soon as Brian arrived, Porsche’s cell phone
rung, it was Ricky, he asked her is she had his keys, she said yes, she told
him that she was at the lake. He said he would meet her there.
Porsche and Brian walked to
a deli and got some chicken and potato salad and brought it back to the lake
to eat. They were gossiping and eating when Ricky arrived. Brian
noticed him first and said goddamn, what is he doing here, is he stalking me?
Porsche asked, what are you talking about? Brian said, he had my ass last
night, him and some other dude gave a downlow party.
Porsche turned pale and shouted,
stop lying. Brian said, isn’t his name Ricky and doesn’t he
have a birthmark just above his pubic hair, how the hell would I know that if
I was lying? The pit of her stomach sunk Porsche stood up and said, Ricky
is my boyfriend. Brian was shocked.
Ricky recognized Brian and
stopped in his tracks, Porsche was frantic, she ran up to Ricky and slapped
him, she told him, that’s my cousin over there, he told me everything.
She called Ricky all kind of faggots and sexual deviants. Ricky
tried to deny the accusations but Porsche could tell he was lying. Suddenly
he grabbed her by the hand and led her to an isolated area of the lake. Meanwhile,
Brian hailed a cab and left.
Ricky said, please listen.
Yes, I admit it, I am gay, always have been, I care for you and love you as
a friend but I could never be in love with you. Porsche started crying
and started screaming, you lying bastard, you could have infected me with AIDS,
he wiped her tears and said, no, you always insisted I use a condom with you
and our sex life was never really active.
Listen, I am going to make
this up to you. If you keep my secret, I will make you a NFL wife. I will
bestow riches on you, you will never have to work and you can have a man on
the side to satisfy you sexually, we don’t ever have to sleep together
again. Think about it.
If you say yes, make sure
your cousin doesn’t reveal my secret to anyone. Porsche looked at
him incredulously without responding, instead, she asked, I want to know one
thing, is Grier also on the downlow? Ricky looked away, Porsche said,
I have to tell Francessca, Ricky said, do it in an indirect way.
Later that evening, Francessca
received an email sent via an anonymous remailer (the recipient can’t
tell who sent the email). The email advised Francessca to get tested for
the HIV virus. She was shaken after she read the email, what was this
email implying? She would make an appointment for a HIV test. She tested
negative. She considered the email a cruel hoax. She never mentioned
it to Grier.
All evening, Ricky was edgy
and jumpy. He jumped in his car and went to San Francisco. He parked
his car in an alley, next to the bookstore.
Brian got off work late, it
was dark and raining, the street was deserted. Ricky was there to confront
Brian said, man, stay away
from me, you have ruined my relationship with my cousin. I can’t
stand you downlow brothas, always denying what you are. Get the fuck away
Ricky forced him into the
alley and said, I am only here for one reason, promise me that you will not
reveal my secret to anyone else, I have too much to lose. Brian said,
fuck you! Haven’t you caused enough hurt with your secrets and if you
infected Porsche, you won’t have to wait for AIDS to kill you because
I will personally kill your black lying ass.
Ricky snapped and hit him
in the face, Brian punched him hard in the stomach, Ricky became angry and took
out a pocket-knife and began stabbing him until he stopped breathing.
Ricky left Brian, ran to his
car and sped off, he was a nervous wreck, thinking, oh god, what have I done,
I have killed a man. He looked in his rearview mirror during the whole
The next day, Ricky was nervous
and looking out the window, expecting the police to arrive, they never did.
That evening, Porsche called,
she was crying, the police had found Brian, stabbed to death in an alley next
to his job. No witnesses or suspects. The cops are classifying the
killing as a gay slaying and they don’t seem too interested in solving
the murder. Ricky told her, I’m on my way over.
Ricky arrived and gave his
condolences. He took Porsche out to dinner, he was very caring and attentive.
Ricky accompanied Porsche
to Brian’s funeral. Afterwards, he and Grier went to a gay bathhouse
The summer was underway. Ricky
and Grier underwent a conditioning program to stay in shape. They wanted
to be in top form when they reported to college training camp.
Six months was up, time to
get tested. Ricky knew the routine. Blood was drawn. He would get
his results in two weeks.
Two weeks later, he returned
to get his results. Went into a conference room with a doctor. This
time the results were different, Ricky was positive. He was devastated.
He shut himself off from the
world. No one could get in touch with him until Porsche and Grier ambushed
They wanted to know what was
wrong, he tried to brush them off, they refused to leave, he finally confided
in them, he was HIV positive. Porsche started crying and saying, oh my
god, over and over. Grier was speechless.
Ricky urged Porsche to get
tested, he informed Grier that his football career was over, he wouldn’t
be attending college, he planned to inform the coaches at the end of the week,
he would make up some excuse.
Before they left, he asked
them not to reveal his status to anyone, they nodded in agreement. When
Porsche and Grier got outside, Grier said, you seemed devastated in there, which
is expected, but you didn’t seem shocked? Porsche said, because
I knew, just like I know about your downlow ass. Grier was stunned, Porsche
continued, why don’t you stop leading Francessca on if you like men. Grier
told her, you don’t understand, I’m not really gay and stay out
of my business and you better not mention anything to Francessca, if you do,
I will let everyone know about Ricky’s status and everyone will assume
you are infected and stop associating with you. Porsche slapped him and
said, you sick no good bastard, don’t ever come near me again.
Grier lied and told Francessca
that Porsche came on to him, Francessca believed him and stopped associating
Porsche tested negative and
Grier distanced himself from Ricky. Although Porsche called Ricky periodically
to check on him, she never visited him again.
Grier went to college and
made a name for himself on the gridiron. He was one of the top receivers
in the collegiate ranks. Ricky enjoyed reading about him but he was hurt
that Grier wouldn’t return his calls.
Grier was drafted in the first
Meanwhile, Ricky relocated
to Sacramento. He gained weight, guzzled beer all day and worked in a
warehouse at night. While surfing the Internet, he came across a disturbing
trend called barebacking.
Barebacking is a subculture
of HIV-positive gay men who have sex with HIV-negative gay men. These
thrill seeking negative men ‘try to get infected’ by the positive
gay men, they love playing Russian roulette with their lives. Ricky read
a “Rolling Stone” article which claimed, the men seeking HIV infection
consider the virus “liquid gold.” This intrigued Ricky.
Ricky noticed, there were
a few barebacking chapters scattered across the country, one was in San Francisco,
Ricky planned to attend the next function.
Ricky arrived at the barebacking
event. Numerous men were lined up to sleep with him after they found out
his HIV-positive status. He missed this type of affection since he had tested
positive. He happily indulged.
Ricky became a regular at
these events. He didn’t know how many men he infected but they didn’t
seem to care, they considered him a “gift giver.”
At each event, more and more
men came out. After one event, Ricky returned home depressed and asked
himself. What kind of life am I leading? I killed a man but am
too much of a coward to turn myself in, I feel like a mass murderer when I return
home from the barebacking parties and I take up to twenty pills a day to control
Ricky finished off a full
six-pack, he staggered to his desk and pulled out a 9mm, he closed his eyes
tight and pointed the gun at his head, he slowly pulled the trigger. He
His death made national headlines.
Grier read about Ricky’s
death, he sadly laid down the newspaper and leaned over and kissed his male
While his lover was taking
a shower, Grier took out his cell phone and called his wife Francessca.
Darling, I am running late. When I arrive home, I will take you and the
baby out to dinner. I love you.
By: Myra Panache
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