— Originally published in Honcho magazine - September, 1993 —
Tough guys and hard dicks!
It's only a part-time job, only a part-time job, I kept repeating as I parked my car in the lot under the entrance to the North Bronx Criminal Detention Center.
Just six months ago, with my master's degree for social work in hand, I'd made the crucial mistake of thinking the New York job market was brimming with opportunities for an eager beaver Midwesterner like me to Make A Difference. I'd relocated from Ohio to a small apartment in Brooklyn, got an entry-level desk job in a local social services office, and promptly burned out on the thirty cases I was given. Although all my clients had "disabilities," most of them were disabled by controlled substances and alcohol, had criminal records and were, in my not-so-humble opinion, beyond hope. When I turned in my resignation, my department manager barely flinched.
"Whether or not you think there is nothing more you can do to help these people," she scowled, "your job here is about as good as it gets for inner city social workers. Maybe your expectations were too high. After all, this is New York City, young man, not Columbus." She sighed, a world-weary woman who could have been anywhere between thirty-five and fifty. Her appraising look caught me by surprise, as if she were seeing me for the first time. "You are bright and energetic;' she said. "Have you ever thought about the criminal courts? You'd work individually with convicted felons-far fewer than the cases you have now." She jotted down a phone number. "Call this man. He's in charge of personnel at the North Bronx Criminal Detention Center. They've always got jobs open for social workers."
So there I was, hired after my first interview, starting part-time a job few other social workers wanted at a salary most of my colleagues would laugh at. But the case load was a lot lighter--I had three clients--and it was never, never boring.
In a nutshell, my responsibility was to work with guys whose release was imminent, attempting to shoehorn them back into civilian life with minimal adjustment. Not surprisingly, my three clients--Mario, Denzel and Fabio--were a little withholding in the beginning; after all, I was white--they were black or Hispanic--and they immediately distrusted white people. Caucasians like me (read: the judicial system), they believed, were responsible for putting them behind bars in the first place. My first few weeks at the detention center were grueling. Mario Hernandez, my first client, was a twenty-four-year-old Dominican, convicted of armed robbery. He'd been incarcerated two years prior and sentenced to five years, but parole was being granted three years early due to good behavior.
Mario was a rough-hewn Hispanic, with heavy-lidded dark eyes, full lips and a distinctive scar that ran from the bottom of his nose through his upper lip and down the right side of his face. He was street-smart and immediately distrustful of me. I began with the standard interview introduction:
"My name is Scott Wentworth, and I am your social worker. We will be working together to help you get back on your feet when you leave the detention center." I handed him a series of background information forms to complete. "Do you have any questions?"
"No," he mumbled, looking at the papers. "One thing, though. I, um, I can't read." He pushed the information forms back across the desk.
My next client, Denzel, was a muscular thirty-three year old black man from Jamaica. He'd been convicted five years past for selling crack cocaine, and had served his full sentence. I'd been forewarned that he was not exactly a model prisoner. Denzel was more likely to speak through actions than words. When I asked him what kind of work he thought he'd be interested in after leaving the detention center, he farted emphatically and smiled at me.
So it was with some relief that I began working with Fabio, a twenty-one year old Cuban-American convicted two years before of assault and battery. He had assisted in the burglary of a bodega, and pushed the store owner through a plate glass window.
"I didn't mean to hurt him," he explained, claiming the proprietor of the bodega blocked his way out of the store; thus, he was forced to shove him, and the man "accidentally fell" through the glass. That sounded a bit farfetched, but it hardly mattered at that point. Fabio was due to be released in three weeks.
Whereas Mario and Denzel were aloof and diffident, Fabio was more than willing to cooperate in order to hasten his release. "I want to get back to real life, Mr. Wentworth," he said earnestly. "I don't wanna ever have to go back to prison." I believed him.
During the next two weeks, I found myself increasingly attracted to Fabio, and forced myself to appear distant. But his gregarious nature, In contrast to my other clients, was a welcome respite from the cynicism and despair I'd become accustomed to in social work. For one thing, Fabio truly seemed interested in getting his life back on track. Prior to his arrest, he'd held down two menial jobs while attending night school in accounting. Going back to school and getting his degree, he told me, was his top priority. Fabio had also told me he had two children, although he was not married to their mother. The family lived with Fabio's parents in a canyon of housing projects in the South Bronx with the unlikely name Serenity Hills.
While incarcerated, Fabio had developed both his mind and body. He told me he loved to read, and had devoured almost every book in the prison's small library. He'd also spent a lot of time working out in the facility's weight room, and his powerfully built body was hard to ignore. Although he was around my height--five-nine--Fabio's broad shoulders and proud pectorals gave him the impression of being a much larger man. He had a small waist that contrasted sharply with his swollen thighs and hard little buttocks. Then there was that pouch between his legs which, even in his prison fatigues, sagged with the weight of its load. That load was beginning to become an obsession with me, despite my feigned inattentiveness.
Fabio's physique, however, was no match for his face, which was at that boy-man stage of young adulthood. Admittedly, I'm the kind of guy that appraises bodies first, and a knock-out torso can, in my opinion, make up for a so-so face. But Fabio's good looks were impossible to ignore. His head was shaped like an upturned triangle, with a sharp cleft chin and a broad, high forehead shagged with straight jet-black hair. His face looked baby-soft, and I doubted a razor had touched those caramel-colored cheeks. When he laughed, which was often, he revealed an even row of very white teeth through a pair of tantalizingly ripe lips. I was lost.
"Yo, Mr. Wentworth," Fabio said to me one day as we were nearing his release. "When we gonna go work out together?"
I was startled at his question, and at first thought he was joking. Although Fabio and I had talked occasionally about weight training--I, too, am into body building--I'd never considered he might want to work out with me--or work me out, for that matter.
"Well, let's make a deal," I suggested. "We get you settled back into your apartment, find you a job, keep you out of trouble, and then we'll work out. How's that sound?"
"Sounds like an awful lotta work just to push around weights with a white guy," Fabio said, laughing once again and smiling wickedly.
Fabio's first week out of jail was predictably bumpy. When I visited his parents' one-bedroom apartment in Serenity Hills, it seemed inconceivable to me that six people could live there. Fabio's mother and father shared the bedroom while his common-law wife, Inez, and his two small boys slept in the living room. I suggested that once Fabio found work, he might prefer getting his own apartment.
"No way, man," he objected. "I love having all my family together under the same roof" As if to underscore the point, he grabbed his two-year-old son off the daybed and hugged him tightly. "Especially after not having been with them for so long."
During the next several months I settled into my job at the North Bronx Criminal Detention Center. As old clients would be released, I would be assigned others. Not surprisingly, I watched a few of them slide back out into the streets and into trouble again. Denzel was the first. One day I arrived at work to find a note on my desk: "IMPORTANT: call Criminal Court in Manhattan. Ask to speak to Sergeant Sweeny."
When I phoned, the voice on the other end was gruff and to the point.
"Yeah, we picked up one of your clients, Denzel Jackson, for possession of twenty vials of crack with intent to sell."
Shit, I thought, another casualty to add to my growing roster of failed rehabilitations.
"He's right here," Sweeny continued. "Do you want to talk to him?"
"Sure," I said, trying to sound matter-of-fact while feeling of wave of depression wash over me.
"How's it hangin', Mr. Wentworth?" Denzel said.
"Pretty low. And speaking of low, you've got your belly to the boards now, Denzel. What do you want me to do?"
"Mr. W, can you front me bail? I'll pay you back, promise."
"Don't you have a sister in Brooklyn?" I said, incredulous that he'd ask me to loan him money.
"Yeah, but she's knocked up and on maternity leave. You know I'm good for my word, Mr. W. Please, I'm begging, man."
When I'd hung up, I felt strangely calm. I refused to give him the money, and his fate was now, once again, back in the hands of the courts. This time, there'd be no reduction of time for good behavior. Denzel was looking at ten years, easy.
Later that same day, I had to make my monthly stop at Fabio's to check how he was doing. Inez answered the door; her eyes looked puffy, as if she'd been crying.
"Hi, Mr. Wentworth," she said through streaked mascara.
"He ain't here," she said, sniffling. "He's gone."
"What? Where?" Please God, I prayed, don't let him become another probation casualty. I stuck my head through the door. The apartment was a wreck. Furniture was overturned and the boys were making a racket.
"The son of a bitch," Inez blurted, tears streaming freely now. "He says he don't want to be a husband and a father. Says he wants his freedom. And then he says he don't love me no more, and he packs a suitcase and leaves."
"Where'd he go, Inez? Please, he's already in violation ofhis probation. He could go back to jail."
"I hope he does," she said, shaking. She regained her composure after a moment. "The Y. He used to go there whenever we had a fight. But if you find him, tell him he is not wanted by his family anymore!" She slammed the door in my face.
The closest Y I could find was in midtown Manhattan on West Thirty-Fourth Street. I flashed my Social Services badge at the reception desk attendant and he reluctantly looked up Fabio's name in the registry. I took a complaining elevator to a disinfectant-reeking hallway and knocked on the door of room 4B.
Fabio, wearing only a pair of white bikini briefs, did not appear at all surprised to see me. I found his nonchalance perturbing. "Que pasa, Mr. Wentworth," he said, almost warmly.
"Looking to go back in the brig, Fabio?" I said evenly, stepping into his shabby room and shutting the door behind me. An open suitcase rested on top of a small cot. I sat down on the bed and sighed.
"Wanna tell me what happened?"
He looked confused, then troubled. "I can't live there--I don't wanna be with Inez anymore." He rubbed his joint, clearly visible through the fabric of his briefs. "She don't give me nothin'."
"No pussy. She don't give me no pussy."
"Gee, Fabio, I wish I could be more sympathetic," I said, "but you were in jail two years without pussy, save for an occasional conjugal visit. Maybe Inez is just uncomfortable right now."
"I had lots of pussy in jail. Ass pussy." He rubbed his dick again. It was getting hard enough that the head had pushed itself over the elastic waistband. I could see a clear pearl of jism bubbling invitingly just inside his piss-hole. In spite of myself, I sprung a woody of my own and shifted uncomfortably, trying not to call attention to it.
"I have to take a leak," I said, rising, wobbling on weak knees. As I walked past him, Fabio pulled out his dick and whacked it in my direction.
"Wanna suck?" he said simply. The cum pearl had grown and dripped slowly southward, down his ripe, veiny shaft.
On the mice-chewed carpet of that crummy YMCA bedroom we had the kind of rough sex I'd always imagined heterosexual men engaged in behind bars. Fabio pulled my pants down around my shoes, leaving my button-down shirt flapping over my exposed buttocks. He reached around and stuck a thick middle finger into my asshole.
"Mmm," he moaned appreciatively. "That's mine, Mr. Wentworth. Mi culo."
He gave my ass a playful smack. Then he pushed me down to my knees and wiped that big hard dick across my cheek.
"Lick it," he ordered.
Then he was sitting on the edge of the cot, his briefs off, feeding me his long pinga, playing with my ears and talking dirty en Espanol. Every time I began to gag on his cock, he'd pull out a little until I got used to his size, then slowly plugged the corona deeper and deeper down my throat. At one point, he began bucking, but because his dick was so deeply lodged in my throat, I didn't realize he was cumming. After he pulled out, I tasted his semen.
Hardly missing a beat, his dick only slightly limp, he pulled me up next to him, pushed the suitcase off the bed, and kissed me passionately. I felt his tongue slobber down my throat, where his cock had been, and wondered if he was tasting his own juices. He groaned all the time he was kissing me, and it only served to increase my desire.
I let Fabio push my face into the pillows, my naked backside to him. He pulled me up on my knees so my ass was pointing skyward. Preparing for an anal assault, I was surprised to feel his tongue licking and jabbing my hole. Then he hawked up a wad of saliva and spat it on the bull's-eye. A moment later his dick was entering me, stretching my ass wide apart.
"Let me fuck you good," he said. "Don't struggle." I wondered how many other guys he'd said that to in the North Bronx Criminal Detention Center.
Fabio's fuck lasted a good solid hour. He seemed determined to create new positions. I wished we'd had a wall mirror so I could have watched his cock scissor into me from every conceivable angle. The one that finally got me off was when he sat on top of me, dick buried deep in my butt, and slowly turned all the way around, corkscrewing himself into my very soul. My prostate was on fire, and I climaxed into the sheets without touching myself. Even then, it was a good half-hour before that Cuban stud pulled out, jacked his ten-inch boner in my face, and came all over me. Exhausted, Fabio flopped down next to me and promptly fell asleep.
I cleaned up in the bathroom, wondering how the hell I was gonna explain this to my supervisor in the Bronx. I checked my messages, only to find that Mario Hernandez, my first parolee, had been arrested, again for armed robbery. When I put down the phone and looked over at a sleeping Fabio, I felt an overwhelming sense of loss. Everyone of my clients had violated their parole. Two were bound for the Bronx detention center once again; one was only a breath away from another conviction. I dressed and crept out of the room. If Fabio wanted to find me, he had my phone number.
Two weeks later, I finally heard from him.
"Hi, Mr. W. Guess where I am?"
"Hopefully, not back in jail. Why haven't you called me? We have an appointment every Monday at noon, or have you forgotten?"
"I'm back home with Inez. Everything's okay now, man. Don't worry."
"Everything's not okay, Fabio. You can't just cavalierly violate your probation every time you have a fight with your girlfriend. I have to write this up as an infraction." Somehow, I was waiting for him to mention our YMCA escapade. Nothing.
"C'mon, man." His accent was getting to me. "I like you." That did it. I had to make a decision. I hung up and called my supervisor requesting that Fabio be transferred to another social worker. ''I'm just too busy for him right now," I explained. "He's doing okay, but he needs closer supervision than I'm able to provide."
One summer afternoon about a year later, I happened to be in the South Bronx, looking in on another recent parolee who happened to live in the Serenity Hills projects. On a whim, I looked up Fabio. Once again Inez answered the door when I buzzed.
"What do you want?" she said bluntly.
"Just curious about Fabio," I said. "How's everything."
From behind the door I could hear a mid-afternoon soap opera and the boys fighting with each other in Spanish.
"Is this some kind of a joke?" she said. Then, noticing my confusion, she sighed. "Fabio's dead. Shot in the head by a fucking crack addict. Thanks for all your help."
I barely heard the door shut in my face, but I felt the ghostly slap of Fabio's hand across it. Yo, Mr. Wentworth. When we gonna work out together? His deep Spanish voice echoed through my brain as I recalled the lost ecstasy of his cock inside me one desperate night in a seedy bedroom of that West Side.
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