For those that don’t know “unclockable” means you are so masculine nobody knows you get down with men. Nobody can read you like a clock and tell what time it is.

I guess I’m failing. I’m no longer unclockable.

I got off from work on my part-time job Friday night and took the commuter train home. I was bone tired, just looking forward to laying in my bed and snoring. Several guys had been texting me all day but I was not feeling the need for sex. Even Immanuel has to rest.

It was an hour before my train came so I got a fish fillet from McDonald’s and hopped on the phone and called up my buddy “Rex” to gossip while I ate. I’ve gotten to the point where I discuss other gay dudes openly, so maybe I was overheard. Because the next thing I knew he walked up to me.

“Hey man, how you doing,” he asked. He was a brown skin dude with slightly curly brown hair and a clean shaven face. He wore trendy looking glasses — you know the kind with the rectangular rims. His jeans were stylish and he had a handsome, mellow face but if you looked closely things were not quite right.

Like his fingersnails were a little long and dirty. And he looked more tired than I did.

“Look, are you homeless? Do you want some change?” I answered, slightly surprised he had walked up on me without my noticing. Guess I was a little too into my phone convo.

Then he told me his story. He was a drug dealer who had just got out of jail for violating his parole. His kidneys were failing because he had untreated high blood pressure and he needed to go to his regular dialysis treatment. He had just $3 which he had spent on food at McDonalds. Could I buy his train ticket home?

I may be a freak but I try to be a good Christian. If someone asks me for something and I got it I will give it to them because honestly God has blessed me and continues to bless me and I know I will get it back. So I went to a ticket machine and got him a one-way fare back to his hometown.

“Wow man, that’s so nice of you. I really appreciate it. You’re a good man.”

I expected “Earl” to just walk away, happy he found a sucker. But he kept following me around talking about his life. How he had made $10,000 a day when the drug dealing was hot and how he had gone to prison and gotten divorced from his wife and was living with his Mom back in the hood, most of the luxury and bling now long gone.

Then he reached over and adjusted my collar so it stuck up just right above my jacket lapel. And I thought to myself, “An straight man wouldn’t do that. I bet this nigger is down-low.”

But I said nothing.

We got on the train and sat together. I was not traveling as far as he was. He kept asking me pointed, too-personal questions. Was I married or separated? Who did I live with? Did I have kids?

So I started asking him personal questions back.

“Look Earl. I notice you have healed over scabs on the back of your hands and your hands are puffy. You use drugs yourself? Are you shooting into the veins on your hands?”

“Well, Immanuel I used to shoot heroin and cocaine but I’ve been clean for months now. Plus I can’t do that shit cuz I’m on dialysis. My hands and feet are still swollen because I just got out of jail and I need dialysis to clean my system. I made an appointment to go tomorrow.”

The train continued to roll through the dark countryside and he kept talking.

“Look, I want you to come up and hang with me some time,” he said. “I go to a club called ‘Cheeks.'”

“Cheeks,” I thought to myself. “Ain’t that a gay club?” 

Then he just came out and asked the question that hung in the air. “Immanuel, do you fuck around?”

I smiled. My radar was right. Asking a guy if he “fucks around” are code words for asking if he is down-low.

“Yeah, I do. But how did you know?”

“Dude, you walked in McDonalds and I instantly starting looking at you because you’re a fine ass black nigga. You know that shit. Dudes must be telling you. And then I heard your voice. You have a nice voice but there is something in it that gave me a clue.”

“You just don’t talk, Immanuel. You speak.”

“Why don’t you roll with me Immanuel. I could date a nigga like you and make you happy.”

Earl told me he was a top who loved to fuck but could get fuck sometimes. Or he just liked to lay with a dude and kiss and caress and do oral. He had been married awhile and then had a male lover. When he went to prison for drug dealing he fucked around with one dude in prison but didn’t go buck wildwith all those dudes in there.

“You had to keep your business tight,” he said, explaining that if other inmates found out how you got down you could end up getting gang-raped or the shit beaten out of you. Still, he said gay sex in prison was rampant although few guys were the open, queeny type.

We promised to keep in touch and we even talked by phone later that evening. But we come from two different worlds so I don’t know if we will become good friends. He is an ex-hustler in his late 30s and I’m an ex-married, middled aged black guy. Plus something about him made me think he still dabbled in drugs, although he would only admit he liked weed every now and then.

But he said he still sometimes dreamed about getting back in “the game.” I remember someone told me there was a gay drug dealer on HBO’s “The Wire.” I never really watched that show but the way Earl talked made me think about that character.

I called my buddy Rex back the next day to tell him what happened at the train station.

“Damn man, if that guy could tell I was gay I must be slipping,” I said kiddingly.

“No Immanuel, you were talking about a lot of gay stuff before he came on to you so he probably overheard you,” Rex answered. “Even I was about to warn you about being careful what you say in public on yoru cell phone because you don’t know who is around you.”

Guess I better follow that advice.


  1. Anonymous

    I thought downlow men “recognized” each other. I thought you all had your own code language and could look into each other's eyes and know. Don't many downlow men hookup by meeting at places like gas stations and gyms? Maybe that's how he knew???

  2. Man, I have spent the last 12 hours reading your blog. I took a nap then continued my reading. You got a good blog. Reminds me of mine. I could almost hear the sounds and smell the air while reading some of your posts. Keep it up. This has fed my sexual soul.

  3. @Anonymous: You're correct. That train station has a bathroom that is known as a “cruise spot” where gay men go to hook up. Of course stuff happens in gyms. However, black guys look at each other all the time and usually greet each other with “Hey brother” on the street. That's just how blacks usually roll. You have to really get into a conversation to figure out whether I guy is down-low or not. And that's what happened with Earl and me.

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