It took years to change my mind about homosexuals because when I was a kid, my mom would save her money to take my brother and me on a swan boat ride in the Boston Public Gardens. I don’t recall the cost, but it was only chump change to most. For my mom though, it was the highlight of her dull life, and the cost to her should have been prohibitive. But, she’d imagine she was Cleopatra on her royal barge in the multi passenger boat shaped like a swan and paddled round and round the pond by a guy pumping pedals as though riding a bicycle. Beautiful flowers and trees surrounded the pond and spread throughout the gardens.
One time she spent every dime to go on another ride around the pond and we had no carfare for the streetcar home.
“We’ll stay here until eleven o’clock at night. Your father gets off work then, and we’ll meet him and get money so we can go home.”
My Dad worked at a hotel downtown, so we sat to wait for his shift to end. Night time quickly came and as a boy of eight, I was thrilled to be in this spooky place after dark. When night fell, women all prettied up strolled around the park wearing fancy clothes.
“How beautiful they’re dressed,” my mom exclaimed, “See how erect they are when they walk? I can tell by watching them that they are all well-bred,” She rambled on and on about the qualities of these women.
One gorgeous woman stopped to talk with my Mom.
“What adorable boys you have. May I sit and chat?” She sat between Tony and me as she spoke with my Mom about flowers and trees.
Tony looked at me with wonder in his eyes. Here was a woman who smelled like flowers, not like rotten meat that all the ladies in our neighborhood did. As she spoke with my Mom, her hand gently rubbed the bare part of my leg. I wore shorts as was the fashion for boys in those days.
“My name is Tracy,” the lady said in her husky voice that I was thrilled to hear. “Can I show your son the magic tree?” she said to my Mom.
I could see my Mom was flattered to have this well-dressed woman paying attention to us.
“Sure honey, but don’t be gone long. I’m waiting for my husband. He walks this way after work every day.
I Jumped up. What a treat, to be shown a magic tree.
The lady took her hand from my leg and took my hand in hers.
“Come on little Joey, I’m going to show you something that you’ll enjoy.”
We walked through the trees and she found her way through a heavy growth of bushes and there was a clearing in the middle, but there wasn’t a tree in sight.
“Where’s the magic tree?” I said with disappointment in my voice.
“It’s right here.”
She pulled down my shorts and put her hand on my Wee Wee and rubbed up and down. She dropped to her knees and kissed it and then ran her tongue around it like she was eating an ice cream cone.
“Where’s the magic tree?” I cried.
“Right here,” she held my wee wee in her hand and it had grown to three times its normal size. “See how it has magically grown?”
I believed in magic and couldn’t wait to tell my brother about the magic performed on me. Tracy continued her magic for ten minutes or so and then led the way from the bushes in time for me to hear my mother yelling at my father.
“I saw you walking with that girl you cheating son-of-a-bitch.”
“You don’t understand honey, these aren’t women walking around here, they’re men dressed up, and they think they’re prettier than any woman.”
“Don’t give me that shit,” my Mom yelled, “I believe what I saw.”
I ran up to my Dad at that minute, too excited to listen to them argue any longer.
“Dad, Dad,” I said, “Tracy showed me how to magically grow my tree.”
He turned at my words and his eyes settled on Tracy. His face hardened into a tight evil looking mask. Tracy turned to run, but my Dad was swift and caught her by the neck.
“Okay, sweetheart,” he said to my Mom, “Believe your eyes.” He began undressing Tracy who modestly begged, “Please, not in front of the boys?”
My Dad’s hard right to her mouth knocked out two of Tracy’s teeth. I wondered if her magic would still work. He ripped off her top and she wore a bra. When he took it off we saw it was stuffed with socks, He yanked her skirt off and then grabbed hold of her underwear.
“Focus your eyes on this,” he said looking at my Mom.
Tony and I sat silently watching the show and not understanding what was happening. My dad tore Tracy’s panties off and we all saw she wasn’t a woman, but a man.
“You see? He said to my Mom.
I could hardly believe what I saw. I quit believing in magic right then, and when my Dad took money from Tracy’s purse and gave it to my Mom, I knew people like Tracy were there for me to hunt. So when I grew to be twelve, I started my new career, of robbing these wannabe women of what they had. I had learned that because they’re queer, it was all right. Why even the cops looked away when I did the deed.