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52 - Panthers

Max had the sleeves of his shirt cut off, and that was probably the first thing I noticed about him when he walked up that night. His arms were lean and ropey with muscle, the kind of definition you get if you´re a musician. I imagined him carrying an electric guitar case in one hand, or maybe hauling out speakers from a tour bus, or maybe hitting drums in a punk band at CBGB´s. Or maybe he did vinyasa yoga, which seemed to be what more and more people were talking  about these days: cramming into that tiny smelly studio on 2nd Avenue near 10th Street to breathe and sweat towards nirvana with the guy who ran Life Cafe in Alphabet City. Whatever. When he moved, Max´s body shifted the air with grace and animal intensity, and it looked like he got his muscles from doing something. His physique was a welcome change from  those beefed-up “Chelsea boys,” who seemed to spend every possible waking minute working out at the gym, trying to prove how healthy they were in the age of AIDS. 


Max also had a mohawk. Not sticking up, like some punk from the ´70s, but just a stripe of black hair, obviously dyed, and laying heavy on his head from a recent shower. The heat and humidity was always brutal this time of year, but 1991 felt to be especially awful that night. There were beads of sweat above his ears, and I had an impulse to wipe it off his skull with my hand, or lick it off with my tongue. I wondered what his skin felt or tasted like, and I wanted to get closer to him to see if I could catch some of his scent.. When he caught me looking at him, I immediately bent down towards the pavement, suddenly interested in making sure the shoelaces on my Doc Martens were tight enough. Even though we were in the last days of the summer in New York, Max and I and everyone else on Patrol were all wearing jeans and combat boots. If anything went down tonight, none of us wanted to be wearing shorts.


6120 words (MM)


Cover art by Robert Flynt

IG: robertflyntfoto

52 - Panthers

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