Chris Rawls's Journal
Written by Beth

4 January

A new year. I'm not sure that I'm ready. I looked at last year's resolutions--it's almost too depressing. For example, I'd thought I would . . .

1. Spend less time at the restaurant.

This one died before it was born, because the day after I made it, three waiters and a bartender quit. And by the time I'd stopped taking orders and fixing drinks, it was already too late--I'd practically been living in the place.

2. Spend more time with Mom.

I couldn't do it. I meant to, I really did . . . but Christ.

3. Get out more--date someone.

Laughable, just laughable.

0 for 3. I'm not even going to try again. It's too damned painful to be earnest about things you know you're probably going to fuck up.

5 January

A dead man in the Zodiac's dumpster: a hate crime. This year's off to a great start indeed.

I can't believe this, I can't---

Trying to remember the last thing I said to Alan. I think I was teasing him about his new kid--wasn't I? Or maybe something about the menu . . . I can't remember. I just hope that I was kind--that I was good to him. Not like that would make a huge difference or anything, but still.

I can't believe he's dead--and I can't get the image of his body out of my mind, particularly now that I know it was him. No one, no one should have to be found in that condition--no one should be defiled that way. It makes my blood boil just to think of it, and I'm going . . . I'm going to kill those policemen if they don't take this case seriously and find out who did this to him. They seemed okay . . . the cute one in particular . . . but still. It's just so hard to trust cops.

In fact, I can't think of many out gay men my age who haven't had at least one fucked-up experience with the police. And my own stories would be considered embarrassingly tame, but to me, they're still awful. Like getting caught kissing Todd Bradson outside my hometown movie theater at 3 a.m. We were only teenagers--15? 16?--and it was an earnest and sweet kind of kissing, but they treated us like we were the most revolting screw-ups in the universe. The disgust in their eyes; the contempt in their voices; the laughter. They didn't arrest us--just made fools of us, made sure to humiliate and to frighten us. I can still hear their stupid comments: "Fucking faggots. Goddamn queers. Perverts." I'd laugh in the face of anyone who said that to me now, but at the time, it was terrifying. I remember longing to hold Todd's hand, to touch him, to get some sort of comfort . . . but I couldn't, for certain not when the cops were yelling at us, and not even as we drove home.
The two of us were so frightened--the cops had threatened to tell our parents, our teachers--everyone in the damn town--if they ever saw us together again. It's hard to remember for sure, but I think . . . I think that was the last time I ever went out with Todd. Could that be? Could I have been so spineless? Jesus. High school was such a nightmare.

Okay, but that was a long time ago, and things are better, and today I sat next to two very carefully polite and neutral cops who assured me that they work all cases the same way. So I think I'll hold off going down to the station to join the protestors for now, at least. And besides, the cute one . .. Det. Bayliss? . . . I don't know. I got a feeling--a closet case, maybe? I mean, he knew about the other recent hate crimes; he didn't seem shocked when I mentioned Alan's hustlers; and he was wearing that great tie. And when I teased him about it, when I--admit it--flirted a bit with him, he wasn't bothered. I don't know about him--I can't tell yet. I'm going to have to see him again to figure it out.

Sam is in the guest room--I should go in and check on him in a while. He's so . . . weakened, diminished by this. It hurts even to look at him. God, please never let me lose someone in that way. . . . I think I'm going to ask him to stay with me for a while--just until he's back on his feet, until the funeral is over. In all honesty, Alan was always my favorite of the two, but still. Poor, poor Sam.

6 January

I'm not sure how safe I feel at the restaurant any more. No one's said anything out loud, but I know that we're all thinking about it. What's to prevent it from happening again--what's to prevent the asshole who did this from coming right into the front door and just gunning down a few people? Why the fuck can't it be safe to be gay? Why is this country stuck in the Stone Age?

Shit. I should--I've got to have a staff meeting about this. I can't have people quitting over this, and we really do need to talk about it.

--Upgrade security system?
--Buddy system?
--Self-defense classes?
--Better lighting for alley out back
--Security guard???

And something has to be done about that spot--about the dumpster. I don't know what. I mean, a shrine to Alan? Seems too fucked up. But I want . . . I want--for the restaurant, and for myself-- to rehabilitate his memory. I mean, he was so much more than a broken body, but the body is all that anyone can think about right now. I want to . . . I want his memory to be reinstated in a better way. Talk to Sam about this when he comes home.

--memorial service?
--special meal at Zodiac in honor of A?
--Does Sam need money???

7 January

The cute detective (remember TIM. Tim Bayliss) came back today. They caught the guy who did it; he's in jail and he'll go to prison. It's so fucked up that he was pretending to be gay . . . or that he was and couldn't deal with it. That's the absolute worst thing about homophobia--it makes you hurt yourself, it makes you hurt others, it--

I think that Tim, Detective Bayliss, Timothy, Timmy, might be. Might. It's still hard to tell. . . . Such lovely hazel eyes, and such a mouth . . . Jesus. And he's long and lean and just--

I thought he looked at me that way, I really did.

I told him about the memorial service on Friday at the Zodiac. He said he'd try to come. Maybe I could talk to him. Maybe afterward. . . .

Stop it.

8 January

Minister's bullshit. Sam insisted.
Sam's eulogy
Annette to sing
Open mike--people come up to share memories
Collection plate--$$$ for GLAAD

I want it to be right--I want it to be something Alan would have liked. I think . . . I hope I've got it. Jesus Christ. It's not like I haven't had enough experience planning memorial services. Jack, Robert, Tom . . . AIDS . . . What's the worse death--Alan's or theirs? I'm an ass even to ask the question.

If Annette fucks up that song . . . if she comes in wasted, I'm going to drag her dragged-up, drugged-out ass out of the fucking restaurant and throw her into the street. She can hold it together for one evening. She'd better.

9 January


I think the service was good. Annette clean. Lots of crying. Sam hugged me--I think he was trying to tell me thanks.

And He came. He came, and he wore non-detective clothes, and he was just beautiful. And he seemed respectful, and he seemed calm, and he seemed at ease, and it's true that no one knows him, so if he is gay then he's definitely closeted, but still. How can I blame him? Cops sure as hell aren't the most enlightened group of people in the world.

We had a strange but interesting conversation. It was . . . I went over there to talk to him after the service since he was, rather unbelievably, alone. (I guess it is rather bad taste to cruise at a memorial--everyone else was far better behaved than I.) He said that he'd really liked the service and that it seemed like Alan had been loved. And then he started to talk about his father's death, which was, I gathered, several years ago, but it still seemed to bother him. They didn't get along; he felt nothing at the time; he's still infuriated at his dad and upset with himself for not having tried harder to get along with him. When he talked about his father, Tim paused a lot--looking for the right words, I guess, or still trying to figure out how he feels. And he gestured broadly, and he kept looking down. It's almost as if expression is painful for him when he's trying to discuss something that upsets him. But then he switched topics and started off on the longest and sweetest rambling story about himself and Frank--something about an argument over fried eggs that turned into a contest . . . etc.
Very free-form and very charming, but I didn't get to hear it all because Noreen interrupted us to tell me that we needed more wine. And when I got back from selecting and then opening a new case, and then solving the ten thousand little problems that had arisen in the kitchen, he was gone.

That's enough. We raised almost $500.00 in Alan's name for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Please let that money do something worthwhile. And wherever he is, please let Alan be at peace.

10 January

9:00 a.m.

I just realized that I'm never going to see Tim again. The case is over, the memorial service is over, and we have absolutely no reason to talk to each other beyond that.

Goddammit. It's too soon--I haven't figured anything out about him, and I haven't talked enough to him to know for sure if he feels interested in me, or if I'm interested in him on more than a physical level. But if I don't talk to him, if I don't go do it now, it'll all be over and then I'll never know. But Jesus- -the only place I know where to find him is at the police station. I can see the headlines in COPS WEEKLY already: "Faggot Fairy Walks into BPD, Asks Upstanding Detective Out to Dinner." I kind of like it, actually . . .