Battle Scars

Big John hustles on the streets of Montrose. He's been there since he was 13. For now, there's no plan B.

And the gay-bashers.

One night John was walking past the apartment of a guy he knew -- who, incidentally, liked to wrap people up in cellophane and put them in coffins -- when a truckload of dudes rolled up.

"These two guys jump out of the back, and one of them's got a chain hanging out of his hand and one of them's got a bat," he says.

Bat Boy took a swing at him, but John managed to deflect the hit with his forearm, knocking the weapon out of the guy's hand. He then picked it up and started beating the shit out of Chain Male.

"I waylaid him," he says.

Big John's a tough dude, and it's easy to believe this story is true, but his fuck-yeah attitude is also what eventually landed him in trouble.

At the age of 19, he got busted robbing a drug dealer -- "No one was supposed to get hurt" -- and ended up going away five years for aggravated assault. He went back shortly after that for a drug charge.

When he got out four years later, the Montrose had changed. A lot of his old haunts were gone and a lot of new town houses had popped up.

And his sugar daddy had died.


This is getting old./ I can't break these chains that I hold./ My body's growing cold./ There's nothing left of this mind or soul./ Addiction needs a pacifier./ The buzz of this poison is taking me higher.

We're back in the dive bar, and Big John, when he's not busy kicking my ass at pool, is singing along to Three Doors Down's "Loser," a song I've never particularly liked but which he apparently loves. He's even got its four-digit code on the jukebox memorized.

We came here after our sweaty search for Stoney, looking to sip some beers and hang out in the a/c. And it was all pretty chill until John went to the bathroom and came back energized. Now he's banging balls around the table, rarely missing his mark.

The dude can put it in the hole.

"So are you gay, straight or bi?" he asks me, and I tell him I have a girlfriend.

And he tells me about his ex-wife.

They have two daughters together, both conceived when they were teenagers, the first one before John was even old enough to drive. His mother-in-law raised the girls; he and his wife were too busy growing up themselves to be able to handle it.

"I'm not a proud man, and I'll tell you why, because I haven't been a father to my children," he says.

John and his wife were officially divorced in 2000, while they were both serving time. He says his mom-in-law saw it best to forge her daughter's signature on the papers.

"If I would've tried to stay with my wife after we got out, it would've been till death do us part," he says. "That bitch would've killed me or I would've killed her."

One of the last times he saw his ex, John says, she asked him for a little action, even though she had genital warts and hepatitis C. He did it, knowing full well what the consequences could be.

He says he always tells his johns about the hep.

"I'm really honest and straight up about that, because I wouldn't want anybody giving me anything. I don't want it on my conscience."

But his honesty extends only so far.

"If I'm on a date with one of these older guys who doesn't appreciate any drug activity and doesn't really want to see that, I'm not going to rub it in their faces," he says. " 'Let's go have sex so I can get high' -- they don't want to hear that shit. It really turns them off."

I ask him how often he hooks up, and he says, "Whenever they have money."

I ask him how much is enough, and he says, "Usually I'm not even going to go home and spend the night with somebody for less than a hundred. Like, I'm not a bottom at all. It's not that anything can't be bought, you know, I'm not going to lie and say I never have, but, uh, I don't get offered that very much."

What he does get offered is just about everything else. Maybe someone wants to get jacked off in the bathroom. Maybe someone else wants to get sucked off in the yard. And maybe someone else wants Big John to bang his wife while he and her slave watch from separate closets, after which John and the husband will watch while wife and slave go at it with large black dildos.

It happens.

"But I try to get it in bed if I can," he says.

"There's no shortage of people who would want to make me their lover, man, but I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to blow smoke up someone's ass and go, 'Oh, yeah. My dingle feels weird. I'll be waiting for you, Daddy.' I'm not going to do any of that shit. I get bored easy."

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