Every city has one.
None admit it, either by not marking it on maps, by removing signs directing visitors towards it or not scheduling it on the municipal garbage routes. Hoping in some vain way, if the trash built up high enough and the stench became so overpowering, it would have no other option but to vacate.
It never does.
A property even rats and cockroaches avoid because they consider themselves too evolved to visit, let alone live there.
In this case, it was the Lakeside Bridal Hotel. Someone somewhere assumed that adding Bridal to the name would make it a honeymoon destination.
They were wrong.
The Lakeside Bridal Hotel in North Etobicoke, on the outskirts of Toronto, between Mississauga and the big city, but far enough away from the population to protect the general public from their ilk, was the long abandoned, yet operating, overnight residence enterprise.
A fifty-two room motel, upgraded to hotel for tax purposes in the nineties, with a good view of the industrial district and smelling of recycling from the neighbouring biological trash compaction plant specializing in mostly rotting waste and food stuffs, later transported to the outskirts of Markham, owned by the same hotel family.
A once popular destination in the sixties, known for its New Year’s Galas, holiday event parties and unique celebrations, brought down by the test of time and lack of interest.
Time and the competing core city locations, on subway routes, with council approvals and grant monies directed to the newer, posh and celebrity-filled establishments, left this small motel, now hotel, to fend for itself.
Needless to say, this was not one of its strongpoints.
Expired foliage, dead ivy, worn and broken bricks and dirty windows made the place seem shadowed and dark, like even sunlight avoided staying too long, almost as if the sun too felt its own heat could not scorch off the stink.
The owners of the motel, now hotel, cared about only one thing more than upkeep. Their preciously billed hourly rates for the local prostitutes.
That and garbage disposal.
They hotel had overnight rates, but few stayed that long.
As the eldest son once put it, the scum have to go somewhere for privacy, so it might as well be here. They have some money after all.
They charged the same for an hourly rate as a week rate, which was considered a strange business acumen, but as the son put it, hourly customers rarely filled out comment cards. But he didn’t want rooms empty either.
But for one Gregory Lesfrud, Greg to the volunteers at the local food bank, it was the place he called home.
Not that anyone else would accept him.
Lesfrud stood at six foot tall, with short tightly curled brown hair, pale skin, and yellow green eyes with black beady pupils. He sported a firm body build, almost healthy, but he seemed out of balance, having disproportionate arms, his left, thin and gamely, and his right, almost muscly, tight with sinews and tendons. He was not considered a handsome man, but not ugly either. He had a large round face pockmarked by teenage acne, yet smooth like a cherub. A bubble shaped nose, flat and pressed, broken several times, and a large set of lips which appeared to always be puckered.
He could look ready for all eternity, but no one would ever kiss him, intentionally anyway.
Lesfrud remembered once, a hot little number, a federal agent for CEPA, Canada’s Environment Protection Agency, who attended once to do an inspection of the property due to its proximity to the trash plant nearby to check for contagions.
As the agent was departing in disgust, she bumped into Lesfrud. She said to him, assuming he was visiting, this place was not a hazard to the city, only to those ‘dumb enough to stay here.’
In fact, Lesfrud was one of the hotel’s longest tenants. Four years by his count. Not that brand loyalty meant much here.
He was informed by management, a thin reed like man, five-four with brush cut red hair, who the customers called `Sticks,’ that residents were guaranteed no services and no perks.
You stayed for the roof, not the customer service.
The hotel had a maid, a cheap illegal one, but her responsibility lay with the hourly rooms, keeping marks wiped off mirrors, streaks off tabletops, sheets dried but not washed, and any blood mopped up.
These rooms had to be ready at a moment’s notice.
Lesfrud crossed paths with her once and offered her fifty dollars to clean his room.
She replied, somewhat shocked, with what little English she spoke, “Rather I die than touch that pig pit.” This was followed by a quick sign of the cross.
He was almost impressed with what words she chose to learn while working here.
He never saw her again.
She avoided that wing of the hotel like the plague, as she probably believed she could contract it there.
But Lesfrud was not offended.
He had little concern for such minor dalliances.
Being insulted, displeased or shocked only delayed him from his one true love.
His one driving force, almost a mania, which laid out the groundwork of his entire life, from childhood to now. And it was that same love that led to his current state of affairs.
Gregory Lesfrud was a masturbator, tried and true.
However he made a special point, to those who asked, few did, he was not some deviant or pervert, not one of those compulsive ones who found themselves reaching into their pants unconsciously, groping for any pleasure they could and finding satisfaction whenever the thought struck them.
No. He just loved himself more than anyone else did.
And why should he not express that love.
He later learned, it was simply timing he had to master.
Gregory considered himself a tempered masturbator now.
He controlled what he wanted and when he wanted it.
Regardless of what the world around him thought.
Even as a child, long after his father left home, his mother, whose sole dedication to the crack pipe superseded all things material, from food to work, from school to child care, from affection to even abuse, nothing mattered. And it was that sweet precious smoke which led a young Lesfrud to finding his mom draped around her apartment, hung over the couch, lying on tabletops, asleep in the bathtub, always with a puddle of puke nearby, her eyes glazed over in glossy pleasure, wheezing slightly, but most importantly, buck naked.
They could not afford cable, and with a naked woman in front of him all the time, regardless of his relation to her, he was turned on, so what’s a boy to do?
And so his self-pleasuring was born.
For all the control he had now, his current lifestyle took years to master, a decade to supress his cravings, honing his craft, speeding up his maintenance and perfecting it.
Many a job was lost, homes evicted from, friends avoiding him, stores banning him from entry, restaurants refusing to serve him and even public transit preventing him from using the facilities. Always a result of having been caught, again and again, due to his weak nature in youth, and labelling him forever in the eyes of the constabulary as a ‘Perv.’
Something he felt was now fixed by his iron-clad self-control.
But as a result of his misguided youth of indiscretions, he was now a permanent registered sex offender in Canada.
He argued the branded ’Scarlett Letter’ was misplaced upon him in court. He had tried to explain to the judge, and the courtroom, even one scowling court clerk recording the proceedings. He was simply at the side of the road, satisfying himself, after listening to a very hot radio broadcast. He had absolutely no idea the elementary school was there, at recess, with kids at play.
To give him one point of credit, he honestly didn’t.
But the judge, the prosecutor, the public defender, and even the school security guard, the one who dragged him from the car and broke his nose that time, never accepted his story as gospel.
An albatross he forever had to bear and one he honestly felt laid cruelly upon him only for loving himself too much.
Though forced to live in solitude, he liked the company, it never upset him too much. His welfare cheques arrived on time and his minimal needs were easy to fill. Mostly by him.
He did have some problems. One being a mobile Sex Offender App for smartphones, for only ninety-nine cents, which when installed, logged into and activated a very comprehensive database for the public, with GPS positioning, showing residents all the freaks and sex criminals, himself among them, within fifty miles of their homes.
It offered people his face, his address and his case history.
He never really cared what other people thought, as very few frequented the hotel, but whenever something went wrong in the neighbourhood, damn if he wasn’t the first door the cops knocked on.
Not tonight though.
His apartment consisted of two rooms. One part bathroom / part kitchen with inexpensive tiles and laminate countertops and one part bedroom slash living room. His furniture included a twenty-six inch tube television, a single wing-backed plaid chair, worn and ripped, and a wooden dining tray placed before a black poker stool for eating. There was a queen sized bed with fitted yellow sheets and a long torn quilt, seeming to bleed stuffing, like cotton candy at a carnival but soiled by stains, ones even he could never explain, and not of his own creation. To each side, twin night tables, with lamps, no shades, and a red digital clock which blinked frequently, resetting itself constantly.
Not that his calendar was filled with appointments.
Lesfrud turned to his clock. Eleven pm.
In the centre of his bed, hand on his balls, under the flap of his jogging pants, his other hand on the remote, held together with electrical tape, he turned on the television.
He had three channels to choose from; cartoons, public access and news, the free ones.
But as always, he found it.
And his favourite reporter was on.
He didn’t care what her name was as within seconds, he already had envisioned her naked on the screen. Her mouth puckering open and closed, inviting him forward as she broadcasted, for him and him alone.
He looked to his night table. On it was a large bottle of lubricant, dispensed from a pump activated nozzle and to the left, a box of unused tissues and a pile of soiled ones.
He smiled. He knew he had to throw them away eventually, but knowing a part of himself was in them, made him nostalgic as it were, so he tended to keep them, for a little while anyway.
Never more than a day or two as they were replaced by fresher batches.
No one complained.
It wasn’t like the place was kept clean by the maid or anything.
Even for fifty bucks.
He returned to the news. He listened for a second or two.
She was blubbering on about a failed actor and an interview scheduled for the coming weekend. Something about ’Gay porn and riding crack highs.”
Lesfrud thought, ’Maybe my mom knew him.’
He quickly muted it.
Her moving lips were enough. He already had fantasized her in front of him, on his bed, bare as the day she was born, rubbing her breasts as she provided the news, her body affixed into a permanent doggy position, leaning forward to take his maleness into her mouth.
He reached forward and to the right, and with one quick and practised gesture, filled his palm with cream. Once properly coated, his hand smothered in lotion moved down his bare and hairy stomach, almost like he was sneaking up on himself.
Oh Annabelle, he thought.
He started to smile as a warm rush of blood flushed down his body to his privates.
‘Annabelle’ he muttered aloud to his empty room.
He grasped himself with authority, ready to take himself into drive with the stick shift of his body, for that quick race to the finish, when…
A bloodcurdling scream resonated from out of nowhere.
Echoing and bouncing off the walls, from corner to corner, like a bellow in the Grand Canyon, filling the entire room as though someone was falling to their death.
Long and penetrating.
Lesfrud felt this blood run cold. His heart actually skipped a beat.
And oddly, the screech was not one of terror or fright.
Lesfrud felt, it was more primal, animalistic in nature, filled with pain, yet soaked with a rage so pure and unbridled, Victor Frankenstein himself would have killed his experiment on the table had it wailed in such a manner.
A deep resonating fury spewed forth from the bowels of Hell itself.
And the strangest thing of all, in Lesfrud’s mind, the voice belonged to a man.
Lesfrud turned to the barren wall of his room, sun-bleached by the morning dawn, marked by what appeared to once have been a painting or a poster once hung to hide the chipping.
He glared at the wall very disconcerted.
His neighbour was the source of that howl.
Unlike the Ontario Building Code required, the walls of the hotel were not of uniform thickness with a double drywall layer to prevent fire or sound from penetrating.
If you threw a pin at it, Lesfrud theorized, it would shoot through and impale the person behind it.
As the scream dissipated, it was quickly followed by a venom filled rant, one so cold and hate filled, Lesfrud felt empathy towards the target.
“You unconscionable whore!” It snarled.
Lesfrud looked down at his once proud member, nothing more than a dying flower in a garden and no more stable than a spaghetti noodle in a pasta buffet, drooped over his hand in lost existence.
Anger welled up in Lesfrud.
Whatever had happened in the next room was dampening his love life.
Regardless of it’s singularity.
Lesfrud waited a minute, to ensure whatever started it, was over.
He turned back to the television. Luckily Annabelle was still there. Showing off her big perky breasts, her dress flowing forward, opening and closing for the camera, or maybe it was in his mind. Seconds later, her dress dropped away. Her big smile, motioning him toward her.
Closed Captioning had activated.
It now read, ‘ANNABELLE: WEATHERS AND I WILL DISCUSS HIS FALLS FROM GRACE, MANY TIMES, TO….’
Lesfrud closed his eyes. He had little concern for her current events, as for him, her lust was all that mattered.
She was back in his room, still naked, holding a black whip with electro tassels, ones which shocked as it struck.
Lesfrud wanted to be zapped, oh so very badly. He felt his confidence returning, warmth filling his loins, Annabelle doing her job in his mind, his flesh hardening like ice on a winter day, but hot and fleshy.
His hand gripped again, tight over the controller like a video gamer ready to pull that all-nighter and slay the dragon, even if he only needed two minutes and three seconds. His best time.
He settled back, energy taking over his right arm when….
The walls of his room shook, struck as it were, by something unseen. Shockwaves and tremors like a minor earthquake vibrated his room. A glass in the kitchen fell off the counter and clattered to the floor, bouncing and rolling to a stop at the trim. Plastic after all.
Only the best for the Lakeside Bridal Hotel.
Obviously something heavy had been thrown, filled by several smaller pieces, that or it had shattered, this being ascertained by the crashing behind the wall followed by lots of sounds thereafter, things scattering everywhere.
No breaking through the wall though. A few puffs of dust, but not strong enough to penetrate.
Maybe Lesfrud’s assumption the wall was paper thin was not as well considered as he thought.
But in that brief few seconds, he realized, his manliness, his personal leaning Tower of Pisa was now nothing more than a ruined pile of crumpled bricks and mortar in a dark furry field. Hanging over his grip like a museum rope, with nothing behind it but an empty pedestal.
Same neighbour, same freak out, this time he was using physical objects instead of his voice, scaring the life out of him.
Lesfrud was pissed, mostly at himself for being distracted, but also at his neighbour who couldn’t keep it together, for at least two minutes and three seconds.
Man, what did I pay $125 a week for anyway?
He would have called front desk had he a phone.
Lesfrud waited a few seconds.
Maybe his neighbour was done.
God he hoped so.
Turning back to the screen, luckily Annabelle had not abandoned him. God he loved the news. Always someone dying or getting arrested. Now she was laughing. Talking with her co-anchor, a blond haired man with too perfect a face, too blue a set of eyes and too carved a chin.
More text along the bottom, something about WEATHERS and DESTRUCTION.
Maybe a tornado warning or something.
It didn`t matter. She had already turned from her co-host to gaze at Lesfrud. News no longer mattered. She desired only to make Greg`s dreams come true. She spoke directly to him, licking her lips, her hands opening up to take all of his fleshy shaft into her own.
He knew, she knew, he was ready.
His magic wand was ready to cast a wet and juicy spell.
An explosion of sound, almost like a tray of dishes being thrown into a fireplace. Glass shattered, metal banged, something popped and hissed.
Again, from his neighbour in the next room.
This was followed by, “Oh, I’ll be there Bitch!! You’ll regret the day you fucked with me!”
Enough was enough.
Since Lesfrud could no longer hear the television through the walls, he had to assume the room adjacent had shattered the console.
How bad could the show have been?
Lesfrud looked down. His personal Staff of Ra was nothing more than a fireman’s hose ready for the flames.
Three strikes and you’re out.
Lesfrud was in motion, pulling his loose fitting track pants up, no briefs or jockeys beneath, allowing his sweat stained T-Shirt to fall back over his hairy navel as he stormed for the door.
With one brutal pull, almost tearing the panel from the hinges, Lesfrud blasted into the hall, his bare feet skittering along the dirty carpet, his fists opening and closing. In seconds, he had reached his neighbour’s door.
He smacked it with enough force, it nearly fell inward from the frame. The wood layered panels vibrated from top to bottom, giving a drum-like ‘rhomb-boom-boom’ from within the core of the hollow door.
Silence permeated from the room.
Lesfrud was not buying. “Open the fucking door asshole or I’ll open it for you!”
More silence, but he could hear the occupant inside weighing his options. Within a moment, he heard footsteps approaching. No shuffling or timid scuffs, like whoever it was, had a quiet confidence in his step.
The door opened slowly at first and then quickly as Lesfrud put his weight into it, thrusting it back into the room, momentarily causing the man to move back.
Not off balance, or clumsily, like he was adjusting his position.
The man who answered looked out, calm and relaxed, unlike what Lesfrud heard moments before.
He was a relatively well built man, clean shaven face, attractive almost, fairly tall with short sandy brown hair, brushed neatly, and wearing a black turtleneck, slacks and grey socks. No shoes or slippers. His eyes were deep and penetrating, yet somewhat devoid of something.
Lesfrud could not put his finger on what.
Lesfrud looked past the man, reviewing his room. He saw a mirror image of his own. Obviously management chose the same interior decorator for all.
The rest of the décor though was unexpected as it appeared to be filled from wall to wall with props, plastic cases, boxes and wooden crates. Two racks, large iron ones for heavy support, filled with coats, suits, shirts, pants and the like. On the bed, equally large piles of clothes, some men’s, some woman’s, some quite expensive while others cheap and tawdry all nicely folded and cleaned.
Lesfrud spotted the busted television. Beside it was a makeup kit, one of many in the room, only this one was upside down. This was obviously the item that hit the wall as the nicks in the paint matched the whitened edges on the box.
The wall was dusted by patches of blush, blobs of cover up, of numerous colours and eye shadow. On the floor, everywhere, were make-up wedges, lipsticks, and what seemed like rubber pieces of skin. Behind the box were hair pieces, wigs and other unrecognizable things. And the place also had a heavy odour of glue.
And suddenly Lesfrud knew.
A fucking faggot!
With all the dresses he saw, he was likely a big transvestite to boot.
Lesfrud prided himself on his detective skills. Had he not been a registered sex offender, he was sure he would have been a great cop.
‘My faggot neighbour was probably watching a DVD on how to make himself into a chick and he wasn’t doing it right. And faggots are always emotional and shit, so he was having a hissy fit. Problem is his temper tantrum is fucking up my night!’
And because Lesfrud had things to do, for at least three minutes, he wanted his neighbour to finish his prettying up quietly.
Lesfrud stepped into the room with authority, getting directly into the little faggot’s personal space, using his imposing size to make his presence known.
He did this in high school. At least before he was expelled for bullying.
He knew he had to show this little faggot who the real man was.
He jabbed his middle finger, with its slightly chewed fingernail, until it pressed hard into the centre of the man’s chest. Globules of lotion spattered down and trickled down the man’s shirt, soaking in.
The man stood firm, not shirking away. Though he could smell the lotion now permeating his clothes, he never wavered. He took a step back, not to regain a semblance of order, but merely to reposition himself. The entire time, his ironclad stare remained locked on Lesfrud’s eyes.
Lesfrud didn’t notice. He had a beer or two, artificially boosting his somewhat stern confidence and powering demeanor.
From the many times his nose was broken, Lesfrud never learned, or remembered for that matter before all the fights he had, to discern the difference between possible danger and real danger. Was he simply hovering over a wolf’s pen baiting the teeth and claws as all they did was growl and snap? Or was he twanging away on a spider’s web until the eight legged landlord lunged forth from its cave?
Luckily, all the man did was nod his head, maintaining his composure.
Lesfrud spoke first. “Listen here Fruitcake.” He gestured around the room to show how he figured him out so easily.
The man with a casual glance seemed to pick up on what had been surmised. He looked back to Lesfrud and the man’s shoulders sagged a touch, his wrists and arms loosened, his eyes fluttered and his voice raised an octave. He replied with a light lisp. “I don’t appreciate name calling.” He said it with a slight tremor, like this was a man not used to confrontation, yet his steely gaze seemed to hide something, something deep beneath the surface.
But Lesfrud never noticed such things.
This might explain all the broken noses.
Lesfrud continued, “I’m going back to my room.” He jammed his finger into the man’s chest again, letting it stay there, pushing harder and getting deeper into the man’s abode.
The man seemed to let himself get pushed back, like he was suddenly a weaker man than he was.
Lesfrud knew, ’Damn faggots.’ “If I hear one more fucking peep or whatever the fuck you do in this room…” Lesfrud gestured with his free hand, keeping his cream soaked finger pressed into the man’s chest. “Then I promise you, when I come back, I’m coming back with a leg off my table and I’m going to jamb it so far up your ass, you’ll be useless to your boyfriend for months.”
He swore the man smirked. ‘Bet you like the thought of that faggot!’
Lesfrud scowled hard, he was a real man after all.
The man nodded his understanding.
Lesfrud sensed victory. “You don’t want to see my face again tonight.”
The man acquiesced to Lesfrud. He let his gaze settle downward, a sign of respect and defeat. But as he did so, he seemed to compose himself. The man then replied, with soft, yet quiet conviction, the lisp still there. “You have my apologies.”
Lesfrud cut him off, maintaining authority. “I don’t want your fucking apologies. I want your fucking silence.”
The man nodded. “This, you shall have.”
Lesfrud, feeling in control, stepped back, “If I have to come back here…”
The man raised his palm gesturing for peace and interrupting Lesfrud before he could continue. “Let me assure you, as one man to another…”
“You will never see this face again.”
Lesfrud was taking great pleasure in him having won.
The man stepped back and eloquently closed the door.
Lesfrud heard the deadbolts reengage.
Followed by silence.
Lesfrud smirked from ear to ear. He was king. He put the little faggot in his place and suddenly, he was turned on.
He found himself running again, this time, back to his room.
And for such a victory, it was time to reward himself.
In the best way he knew how.