I hate fucking disability, and I'd
never pretend it's just a little inconvenience.

-Ed Gallagher

 

JOHNNY IN THE SPOT

Ed Gallagher, disabled gay activist, media man, and writer, has a lot to say, no doubt about it. He talks about depression, suicide, what it was like to be in the closet, what it's like now to be a quad.

According to journalist Ben Mattlin's
December 1999 profile in SPINEWIRE

(www2.spinewire.com),
Ed Gallagher,'the Suicide Guy,'
Ed didn't use to be so loquacious. At the age of 27, in 1985, the University of Pittsburgh graduate—who was such an accomplished football player that he tried out for the New York Jets—tried killing himself by diving off the Kensico Dam in Valhalla, NY, about 30 miles north of New York City. Instead, he broke his neck.

These days Ed can choose when and where he speaks: He travels the High School Circuit to talk to kids, he's got a TV talk show and his own nonprofit foundation, and now he's got a novel, JOHNNY IN THE SPOT.

 

Three Excerpts from
JOHNNY IN THE SPOT by Ed Gallagher

ONE:THE PRESENT

I'm downing my brew real slowly for reasons of the rip-off price, plus to linger longer and see what's up. I sometimes wonder what I'm doing at night spots like this. I despise the smoke, but don't know of better environments to meet sexy men who possess similar attractions. Whatever. I may like the boys as well as them, but that's where all similarities end.

Sexually, I'm out of my league, if whomever I might meet is obsessed with performance. I'm not into competition with these able-bodied guys. I think I know what I can and can't handle. Flirting is one thing; bare-ass sharing is another. I've done it many times in the last fifteen years, but never got near the point of putting my mind and body off-duty to attempt intimate pleasure for pleasure's sake. I don't know. I've never spent sexual time with another SCI dude. Maybe I should respond to some personal ads, or write one myself.

When I see certain guys rolling around, I can sincerely be attracted. Intimacy with a guy like me would save us both from explaining about what we can and can't do sexually. We're familiar with the bodily scene. Something to pursue, but only recreationally. Will that ever change? Men over thirty-five usually don't tempt me, for whatever reason. Rick was the first and last. But that was different. As you know.

TWO:THE PAST
(Before Johnny's spinal cord injury)

He looked at the white door, and pushed it shut. His bulging green eyes were inches away from my browns as his lips, the color of a raw wiener, surrounded by a dazzling array of blond, brown, and red stubble, nestled near mine. His curly dark blond hair, crowned with a thick ring of plastic thorns, was full of life and covered most of his reddened ears.

I was trembling, and he noticed. He massaged my shoulder with a forceful left arm. His strong hand sprouted dirty blonde and white hairs highlighted with gold and silver costume jewelry for this Herculean affair. I inhaled its fine, sweaty odor, tasting and swallowing whatever I invisibly could. Ned brushed his noble Greek nose against mine. His right-ringed fingers and palm remained glued to the closed pine. This prevented any intrusion.

"Relax, relax. It's what we both need," he whispered. I was feeling hot, excited, and ambivalent as I gazed at his spectacular eyes. "But I ..." Before anything else came out of my mouth, his tasty tongue came in, painting mine with a salivary assault that I never wanted to end. Nothing like Donna's wet kissing. His adrenaline bolted into heated action as he slipped his sweeping tongue downward to my bare nipples, licking, tickling, teasing them with such hungry ferocity that my loomed bulge blossomed in no time. I could not see his jewels through the toga, yet felt my way there, cupping a steamy hand on his loosely jock strapped balls. I maneuvered to feel the most that I could handle of his pouched prick. No plastic prison for that dong of his!

"Yeah, do it. Play with it. Play with it," he cooed, in-between mopping his mouth and tongue on mine with the dedication of a high Mr. Clean. I got rougher with my hand. He began breathing real hard. His body tensed, and he planted his slippery lips onto the nape of my neck. It drove me absolutely wild. I became even more enthusiastic with my manual dexterity. His thunderous groan and moan was sufficiently muffled. I surmised that the desired outcome, so to speak, was thrillingly achieved. A few moments of body to body silence with light stroking here, there, everywhere. My cock was up and ready.

Suddenly, he shoved me briskly to the side. Ned snorted like a pleased pig and fell in love with the mirror. "Good ... aaah ... good. Hah. Get dressed, huh?" he snapped, turning from the glass. He wore an ugly frown. "Huh?" I protested, in astonishment. "You heard me." "But Ned, I-" "Shut up and get dressed, I said."

He was too huge too resist. I sighed disappointedly, and bent over for my shirt.

"And cut that shit, too," he growled. An authoritative, warning tone. I was perplexed beyond belief, but there was no use in trying to discuss the issue there.

"All right, all right," I moaned, a bit too indignantly for his liking. He spat into the yellow head, then grabbed my limp neck around its Adam's apple. I ceased breathing out of shock and near strangulation as two heavy knocks on the other side hit the door.

 

THREE:THE PRESENT

This month is winding down the same as last, and I'm getting increasingly wound up. The damn miserable climate of February doesn't make going out a joy either; that's a weak excuse though. I don't think I'm desperate for only that type of contact, but I do know that making some kind of intimate connection with outer as well as inner life is mandatory.

This freaking feeling consistently kicks and screams inside my hammered gut every day and night, violently demanding to be born or hatched, whatever the case may be. Rose Johnny's baby, perhaps? Maybe it's time to keep on playing, but also search for some lasting food for that big, hungry, fighting voice. Maybe, I said… You know, I'm not trying to be a wise guy. If I come off in an offensively defensive or defensively offensive manner, it's mainly because I have a big problem letting someone in too close. Intimacy is certainly not one of my strong points in the social skills department, especially in so-called romance.

As far as I'm concerned, detachment equals survival (do I even want to?). Like Simon & Garfunkel used to wail, "I have my books ... and my poetry to protect me ... I am shielded here in my aaaaaarmor." Throw in the stereo, TV, VCR, some tapes, chips, soda, and a bolted door, and you have the manufactured paradise of a jail built and guarded by Johnny Spokain.

Am I contradicting what I wrote in the prior paragraph? Who knows? The human mind is a complex instrument, anyway. I'm still learning to play it better. How about you? Now, thinking of instruments to handle ... I do like guys, but the idea of settling down with some dude and playing house, giving each other flowers on Valentine's Day, cooking dinner, doing laundry and shopping together still borders on too much sissy-sharing for me. Guess I've still got too much Archie Bunker crap of my own inside which I better find ways of dumping.

Carrie finishes scrubbing my required parts and ventures into the kitchen to commence preparing tonight's meal consisting of two round Grand Union chicken patties sprinkled with garlic powder and black pepper married to five tablespoon's worth of Hungry Jack instant mashed potatoes and a medium-sized salad of iceberg lettuce, yellowed celery, and a few whole radishes, so that during these lean mean days I have something hot and cool in my kisser.

She's singing again. I hold the snaky shower hose with my right hand and position the well-hung nozzle before my face, shutting my brown eyes and squirting and spurting the hot liquid turned on high and forceful all over my open mug and beckoning body. Since I get the warning that a urination is coming, I proceed to gently tap the bladder area below my navel with my left fist to accelerate the gushing of my urinary geyser.

Like I said, I can feel deep inside my bladder and balls, so fortunately I'm tipped off biologically when the time is fast approaching to get pissed off, literally. Very strange, not feeling my cock outside, but that hot, mildly stinging sensation inside is quite real. I hate it all.

But at least feeling something within gives me a little more control than some other guys and dolls have in this weird game.

.

JOHNNY IN THE SPOT is available in "electronic library" format at www.1stbooks.com, and in traditional paperback format from www. amazon.com. Or call 1-800-839-8640 to order direct.

ED GALLAGHER (Aliv2thriv@aol.com) is Executive Director of Alive To Thrive Inc. You can reach him in New Rochelle, NY at 914-576-0355.