A young man's strange erotic journey around the globe

One Year After

Part I - Until the Bitter End

Chapter 1 – Writing’s Like Takin a Shit

Chapter 1 – Writing’s Like Takin a Shit For me, writing’s a lot like takin a shit. It’s not somethin I really like doin, but it’s somethin that’s just gotta get done, ya know what I mean? Sometimes I pinch ‘em off clean and it’s not a big deal, but more often than not it’s […]

Chapter 2 – First Dissed, Then Discharged

Chapter 2 – First Dissed, Then Discharged After seven months on active duty – all of which were spent in military training environments – I was released from the Air Force in early October 2018. I was thirty-years-old at the time. It felt good to be out. Retrospectively…I mean, you wouldn’t think someone would have […]

Chapter 3 – Somethin Callin Me Back Home

Chapter 3 – Somethin Callin Me Back Home My return to Chicago in October of 2018’d been the first time I’d seen my dad since my family came down to Texas for my graduation from Air Force basic training back in May of the same year. It was also the first time I’d seen him […]

Chapter 4 – The Man I Know as Miles

Chapter 4 – The Man I Know as Miles My dad loved to go for walks in the woods near our house. “Getting miles” is what he referred to the activity as. “I’m gonna go get a couple miles,” he’d say just after his morning shower, with his keys in his hand, ready to head […]

Chapter 5 – Worried Sick and Pissed Off

Chapter 5 – Worried Sick and Pissed Off In spite of working together for many years and having an infinite amount of love in my heart for the guy, my relationship with my dad wasn’t the best. Sometimes I’d get really frustrated with him. Well, actually, a lot of the time I would. But rarely […]

Chapter 6 – A New Hip for My Man

Chapter 6 – A New Hip for My Man I got back from my trip to Afghanistan in mid-August of 2019 and made my dad aware of my return. “How was your trip?” he asked. “Good,” I said. I’m not sure he even knew where I went. Or if he did, whatever curiosity he had […]

Chapter 7 – Our Last Christmas

Chapter 7 – Our Last Christmas In the weeks following my dad’s December 10th hip replacement surgery, I remember him being pretty depressed. He’d do a little physical therapy in the morning then lay on the couch most of the day watching the MLB network and smoking cigs in the little cove at the bottom […]

Chapter 8 – So Close Yet So Distant

Chapter 8 – So Close Yet So Distant There was this one gutter cleaning season back in the days when I was away at college when my dad was going through a really bad depression. He was too fucked up to do anything or to face anybody. He couldn’t get off the couch to go […]

Chapter 9 – Taking the World by Storm

Chapter 9 – Taking the World by Storm I arrived in Seville on January 12th of 2020 and started walking northbound on the Via de la Plata route of the Camino de Santiago a few days later. A couple weeks into the 38-day, thousand-plus kilometer trek – it was a day or two after Kobe […]

Chapter 10 – Miles in the Time of Coronavirus

Chapter 10 – Miles in the Time of Coronavirus It had to have been more than five years back already when one of my oldest buddies from childhood went to the Cubs-Sox game here in Chicago and sent me a text of the discovery he’d made in the bathroom at Comiskey or US Cellular or […]

Chapter 11 – Capping Things Off

Chapter 11 – Capping Things Off One time when I was away traveling, someone asked my dad exactly where I was traveling to and he had no idea. So his response was, “Probably on some godforsaken island.” That said, sometime while I was away on the godforsaken islands of Spain and the West Bank during […]

Chapter 12 – That Fateful Day

Chapter 12 – That Fateful Day My dad and I worked together for three final days before he suffered a fatal stroke on Mother’s Day of 2020. After doing a triage of what jobs we felt needed to be done most urgently, since it isn’t just a matter of aesthetics as is the case with […]

Chapter 13 – Goodbye

Chapter 13 – Goodbye Everyone slept like shit Sunday night. With Dad hooked up to a machine in the hospital and it unclear if he’d survive or not and – if he’d survive – how inert of a vegetable he’d be reduced to by the major stroke he suffered, sound sleep and sweet dreams were […]

Part II - Life After Death

Chapter 14 – Blast from the Past

Chapter 14 – Blast from the Past My dad was a Chicago Cubs fan. A big one. And the only one from the house he grew up in where he was one of eight children. The rest were all Sox fans. I remember watching these games on TV with my dad since I was a […]

Chapter 15 – Big Boys Ain’t Supposed to Cry

Chapter 15 – Big Boys Ain’t Supposed to Cry One of the doctors from Resurrection Hospital called us on the evening of Monday, May 11th to let us know my father passed away shortly after being taken off the respirator. We were sitting in a big circle in the living room looking at old photos. […]

Chapter 16 – Dad on the Scratch Sheet

Chapter 16 – Dad on the Scratch Sheet My dad’s side of the family is 100% Irish. My grandma’s parents were born in County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland and, although they chose to emigrate and start a new life here in Chicago, many of their relatives didn’t and remained back in the […]

Chapter 17 – Far Out!

Chapter 17 – Far Out! In the spring, a lot of people’s gutters tend to get jammed up. A lot of trees drop buds and seeds at a very rapid rate this time of year – most notably maple trees with all those spinney little helicopter seeds – which can easily plug up people’s downspouts […]

Chapter 18 – Lieutenant Dan vs. a McGrease Fire

Chapter 18 – Lieutenant Dan vs. a McGrease Fire I’d say that pretty much every night during the whole first week after my dad’s passing, we all crowded around the TV and watched old home videos that my mom and sister had dug up outta their storage space. Among other stuff, there was quite a […]

Chapter 19 – A Real Pain in the Neck

Chapter 19 – A Real Pain in the Neck I don’t know how well my parents used to communicate when I was a little kid, but for the past fifteen or so years whenever my mom tried to talk with my dad about anything serious like the bills or finances or doing projects around the […]

Chapter 20 – The Service

Chapter 20 – The Service During the height of covid, I don’t know whose idea it was to start doin all these drive-by birthday celebrations, but the concept caught on like wildfire. All throughout the spring and summer of 2020, I’d hear nonstop horn-honking somewhere in the distance and instinctively knew that it had to […]

Chapter 21 – Tim and Dad Attend a Wake

Chapter 21 – Tim and Dad Attend a Wake Attending my dad’s service made me think of the time that he and I had once gone to the wrong wake. Err…I don’t know if that’s the right way to phrase it. Maybe I’ll say the time that he and I went to a wake when […]

Chapter 22 – Scattering Dad

Chapter 22 – Scattering Dad I’d say that outta all the calls we received from my dad’s old friends in the few days after his death, the most interesting and meaningful one had been from this guy named Fitz who grew up with my dad around Our Lady of Victory Parish in the Jeff Park […]

Chapter 23 – I’m Not Well

Chapter 23 – I’m Not Well I’d say that that whole summer of 2020 right after my dad died, if I had to characterize my overall mental state during that time frame, I’d label myself as not well. Of course, the only medicine that was gonna do me any good was a hefty dosage of […]

Chapter 24 – He’s Everywhere

Chapter 24 – He’s Everywhere It doesn’t matter what I’m doin or where I go, I always end up thinkin about my dad. He’s everywhere. I see him wearin a sleeveless Cubs shirt, standin along the third base line on the bigger of the two ball fields every time I’m walkin through Pioneer Park. I […]

Chapter 25 – Dad’s Crew

Chapter 25 – Dad’s Crew As a kid growin up, I always looked up to my dad and the fireman buddies of his that he’d wash windows with. I always thought those guys were the coolest. I thought they were the shit, the cat’s pajamas, the bee’s knees – all those things. It felt like […]

Chapter 26 – The Strange Evolution of Human Sexuality

Chapter 26 – The Strange Evolution of Human Sexuality I think I started regularly jackin off when I was in like fifth or sixth grade – so eleven years old, we’ll say? Since then, since my days as a newcummer to the wanking game, I’d hafta say the longest I’d gone without touching myself was […]

Chapter 27 – I Came Into Some Money Recently

Chapter 27 – I Came Into Some Money Recently I’d like to start off here by sayin that if you think this chapter has anything to do with some sort of inheritance I’d received from my father after his passing, lemme stop you right there. That’s not what this is about. I didn’t get anything […]

Chapter 28 – Peeping Tim

Chapter 28 – Peeping Tim After having outed myself as a pervert and a male chauvinist in the previous two chapters, it feels like a good time to tell the story of when some lady had accused me of being a peeping tom while out with my dad cleaning gutters. But first things first – […]

Chapter 29 – Catchin Up With Mikey

Chapter 29 – Catchin Up With Mikey The last time I’d seen my buddy Mike before the start of the pandemic had been in late December of 2019 when I met up with him and three more of our buddies from growin up over at the Chipotle in Park Ridge. Over the years, as tends […]

Chapter 30 – A Few of the City’s Bravest

Chapter 30 – A Few of the City’s Bravest My dad used to have this one window washing customer that we liked to call “Porno Boy.” I think both him and his wife have been dead for at least five years now. I mean, they were both pretty old – like, probably in their early […]

Chapter 31 – Unforgivable

Chapter 31 – Unforgivable In 1962, in his classic hit “Blowin’ a Buncha Dudes,” the great Bob Dyldo posed the timeless question, “How many loads must a man chow down, before the world will call him a fag?” This is a great question. And the answer, my friend – I can tell you from experience […]

Chapter 32 – Almost Quitters

Chapter 32 – Almost Quitters Any time the temps in Chicago would reach the 90s and any of us would bitch – or not necessarily even bitch, but just mention – about how hot it is out in front of my dad, he’d say somethin like, “Yeah, it’s pretty hot out. But it’s nothin like […]

Chapter 33 – If You Can’t Beat Him, Join Him

Chapter 33 – If You Can’t Beat Him, Join Him I think it was sometime in mid-July when we got a letter in the mail from Gift of Hope, the organ and tissue donation agency with whom we’d spoken right around the time of my dad’s death. At this point, I’d pretty much forgotten about […]

Chapter 34 – Takin Some Time to Listen

Chapter 34 – Takin Some Time to Listen A couple years ago, my buddy Pete was tellin me this story of when he was at a house party in college, and this other dude that everybody calls Moose randomly started yellin that they should have a shirt-eating contest. The guy said, “I bet I could […]

Chapter 35 – Could This Be My Calling?

Chapter 35 – Could This Be My Calling? They say that not all those who wander are lost. They also say that the older you get, the more confident and self-assured you become. I don’t think that either of these statements holds particularly true for me. I think that a lot of the traveling I’ve […]

Chapter 36 – I’m So Offended

Chapter 36 – I’m So Offended Most of ‘em are really nice people, but some of my dad’s window washing and gutter cleaning customers are a pain in the fuckin ass. Like for example, towards the end of October 2020, I showed up at this outside-only window job and rang the bell to tell the […]

Chapter 37 – The Big Man Takes a Tumble

Chapter 37 – The Big Man Takes a Tumble Before gutter season 2020, the last time I’d spoken with my old college roommate Tommy’d been sometime back in August when I reached out and asked if I could put him as a reference for some of the suburban fire departments I’d been applying to at […]

Chapter 38 – How I Spent My Off-Season

Chapter 38 – How I Spent My Off-Season I’d say that overall, gutter season 2020 went quite smoothly. Although there had been that tumble that I talked about in the last chapter, the rest of the season went without serious injury and we managed to get all 337 jobs – that was the official total […]

Chapter 39 – What Easter Means to Me

Chapter 39 – What Easter Means to Me During times when Mom and Dad were getting along, they were great at keepin us kids entertained. I remember when I was real little back at our old house – so like, seven or younger – they’d sometimes set this blanket out on the living room carpet […]

Chapter 40 – One Year After

Chapter 40 – One Year After In my family, we like to “celebrate” fractional birthdays. When I say celebrate, I mean my siblings, my parents and I send texts to one another sayin stupid shit like, “Happy half-birthday!” or “Check out my man, 5/12ths birthday boy!” or “Has anyone ever called you fractional birthday girl […]