There was this guy who used to cruise me at the laudromat near my house. New Orleans, early 1990s. He was kind of cute in a rough art trade sorta way and one day I did really want to go home and smoke a joint with him. So I did.
His front step was piled with old phone books. The back/only entrance to his house was a narrow path through a maze of hedges. Once inside it was comfortable, but disconnected, unidentifiable, a set from a Kubrick movie. Long couch, clean lines. 70s vibe but it was the 90s. He kept offering cocktails, I asked for a water, he lit the week's biggest joint. We smoked.
He asked me about being alone. I had recently moved to the city. How it felt. Did I miss anyone? Did they miss me? How often did we talk?
He set up his slideshow of his photos as we smoked the enormous joint he'd had at the ready. This was early 90s, slides were not on a computer. He pulled a screen down from the ceiling and rolled out a projector.
The photos went from parks and trees and plants and other outside images to increasingly claustrophobic and disturbing images. Narrow hallways, close-ups of handcuffs and drills. Finally a shot from behind of a man approaching a doorway in a long hallway. The man in the hall is holding a hammer, the man in the bed is lying asleep naked in the sheets. My host calls it "The Arrival of Holy Justice" and I bolt up, gotta go, sorry! Seeya at the laundromat!
He asked if I was sure I didn't want to sit and stay to wait out my dizziness. Thing was, I was only slightly dizzy. I'd inhaled moderately and declined the beverages he'd offered, except half a glass of water. But he kept asking: are you sure you aren't dizzy?
I gave him a peck on the lips and stumbled out. Tried to follow the maze but eventually I just burst through the hedge toward a streetlight, through another yard.
I'm certain if one variable was changed he would have murdered me. No doubt he wanted to, but I'm an impractical kill. Six and a half feet tall, over 200 pounds. If I'd passed out I'd be in his freezer or mulch, but he wasn't going to attack me outright. Without question, my size and my legendary tolerance of drugs is the only thing that allowed me to escape.
NOLA police wouldn't even enter that neighborhood at the time, so I never reported anything, not that there was anything concrete to report. I still expect to read a story about a bunch of dude bodies found in a courtyard just northeast of the Marigny someday.