As fog drifted below Twin Peaks and downhill into the valley over Victorian rooftops and the tiptop of Castro Theatre marquee peeking in and out of fog sweeping over the white city, Abel Erikson, a middle-aged man, stood at the window of his living room at the top of Pemberton steps recalling it was exactly three years ago he left Charleston and returned permanently to live in San Francisco with a boyfriend.
The boyfriend, now a young man of twenty-three, was fully insured and not at home. He knew precisely where he was, knew all about his amorous recreation and men in the Castro commanding him back to Cherrywood Hotel to sip acid punch. Thoughts of that were disconcerting. He was jealous and swung around. On top of the sideboard were two decanters, one full of gin, the other brandy. He glanced anxiously around the room. No one was around. He wiped his thick brow realizing he could do it.
He hurried across the Tibetan rug, his mouth watering to taste. He slammed the ice bucket lid on the counter. Readied gin and vermouth. And then the problem that had made him feel less than a man came back to him. He wanted to scream.