She calls me Benhamin all the time now; I call her Georgy Girl. Her kids are grown and flown. She sleeps with Mexican cooks. They send her free frozen margaritas and free food during Friday Happy Hour. These men take care of her. She takes care of them.
When she finds out I am gay, we attempt gurl talk. She tells me about her gay marriage. She married for the money, she a citizen, he a gay Hispano. She likes to talk about her boyfriends. We develop a common thread.
We have a lot of fun assigning nicknames to the priests. Father Barnabas has a beard, so he is known as Barbas for a while. Barbas becomes Barabas. Father Al is from the deep south, even plays banjo, and performs bluegrass. His complexion is so white we call him Father Cloro, as in Clorox. And Father Charles is from the outskirts of London. He always said he trusted no one, a trait leftover from Colonial Britain. That is the stereotype of Londoners. We call him Father Blanco, that is his English last name, Father Charles White.
One lunch, I see her and Carlos, the maintenance man, inside the nearby porn shops. I wave to them, wondering, Georgy Girl has cojones, works at a church, and takes a lunch break at a peep show place? Together with Macho Carlos?
Later I ask them why they were in there. Their response, they ask me to get the condoms. Carlos and Georgy Girl say they need lots. I ask them, "What do you need so many for? Never mind."
Carlos is Peruvian, also married with children, all grown up now.
Carlos says, “What we were doing in the porno place last Thursday when you saw us at lunch, we were looking for condoms.”
“And they did not have any?”
“Siii, they have, they have! Muy caro! Too expensive, my friend. And I need the doble X size.”
Georgy Girl interrupts, “ Benhamin, me too, I need the doble X size!”
“’Sus, Marya, Yosep, " I reply. That's Filipino slang for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Latinos get it because it is based on Spanish.
I stop by the Gay Center on 13th Street. It used to be a regular school, then a middle school for troubled gay teens. Now it is The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Questioning, and everything else under the sun Center. Condoms there are handed out free. On my way to work, I grab a bunch, rainbow colors, for my knapsack. Georgina is having coffee in the laundry room. "Look what I have, goodies." There must have been dozens in the knapsack, maybe five dozen. Later that day, Carlos corners me and says, "Benhamin, can you give me some more condoms? Georgina, she gives me only 3.”
“Carlos, she has at least 30 condoms.”
"I know she has a lot. She says she needs them all for her boyfriend's birthday."
"Yeah, right. Is she going to blow them up and decorate her apartment? Sus, Marya, Yosep!”
Ben Umayam moved to NYC to write the Great American Filipino Gay Short Story. He worked for political pollsters, then became a fancy hotel chef and then retired. He is working that short story again. He was recently published by Querencia Anthology Autumn 2022, The Phare, BULL, Down in the Dirt, Metaworker, Ligeia, EthelZine, Lotus-eaters, 34th Parallel, Digging Through The Fat, Anak Sastra, Corvus Review, and others. Ben recommends the Mighty Mehal Foundation.