Bobby and the Aversion Therapist

Bobby carries a unique sense of self that functions independently of the rest of me.

His job was to figure out how to survive into adulthood.

To survive, Bobby had to hide his intellect.

He adopted a thick geechie accent.

He was tough and not afraid of his Mother.

His goal was to get away from her and his first strategy was to force a psychiatrist to commit him.

He decided that he would use the systems lies about “queers” to his advantage.

But he wasn’t prepared for how the ‘system’ treated ‘queers’ in

Bobby writes:

“One day I found a book called, “By Reason of Insanity.

It was all about this guy who goes crazy and kills his wife.

He is sent to the loony bin so he can go sane and stand trial for murder.

Most of the book was about the people he meets in the hospital.

Some of the people scream and see things that ain’t there.

But the hospital also had food and schools.

I thought hell, check it out!

I got Grandma to convince Momma to take me to see a shrink.

I said I had a “Three Faces of Eve” thing goin’ on, an at that time, I thought I was telling a lie.

Grandma called Momma right away an Momma jumped.

The psychiatrist Momma took me to was scrawny.

He looked like Mr. Spock from “Star Trek”: “Is there anything  you’d like to tell me about yourself, bobby.”

“Yeh–I think I’m queer.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Well–” I looked up at him and blushed, “I think about boys when I-you know.”

And that got me sent up.

The shrink told Momma that I needed to go to the state hospital for “observation.”

I got all excited since that seemed almost as good as going to New York.


The hospital had a place for kids.

It was a tall red brick building with locks on every door.

When Momma an’ me got there, Momma suddenly got very polite, and she  gave me permission to smoke.

When the doctor came to meet us, she acted all scared, like she was talking to Grandma.

“Ya’all treat my baby good!” she cried.

Then she called me darling, and left.


This hospital was nothing like the one in my book.

It was all shiny inside and Muzac played all day long through little loudspeakers in the ceiling.

Everyone looked numb.

I made friends with this other queer who was a year older than me.

He was a rich kid who went on and on about how he hoped the doctors could turn him straight.

Here I was, fifteen and already out.

I thought this kid was crazy and said so!

“Listen!” I said, “That ain’t never gonna happen. So get over it!”

Well he hauled off and slapped me!

Then he got so upset about slapping me he started to cry.

A nurse came over to give him some pills.

She gave me an evil look.

Like I had picked up that boy’s hand and slapped myself!

I thought she’d like me better if she had to give me some pills, so I asked for some.

“Why do you think you need medication, Bobby?”

“I think I’m seein’ people that ain’t really there.”

“Be sure you tell that to your doctor.”


“Tell me a little something about your childhood.” the doctor said.

“Well it ain’t over yet!” I said.

“True enough.” he smiled. “Why do you think you’re here?”

“I guess ’cause I’m queer.” I answered. “Howcum you ain’t got no people screamin’ around here?”

He smiled again. “Do you feel like screaming?”


That shrink really thought I was crazy.

Now I knew I wasn’t, but I reminded myself that for these folks, queer was the same thing.

When Momma came to visit she always put on the good behavior that she wore for Grandma.

I said, “Momma! These people gonna do some kinda shock treatment on me!”

“They’ll do what they can to make you better.” she said. “I hope you’re smokin’ like I said you could.”

I was in deep water for screwing that rich kid.

A month passed.

“Whut if yew had relations with a man an’ caught the clap in yore mouth?” The social worker asked me one day, like I already had it.

“You can get that from eatin’ pussy!” I said,  “Why don’t you people calm down an’ let me go home?”

That rich kid told me all about the therapy the doctors was doing on him.

“First, they strap you inna chair with your weenie hanging out. Then they put glue on it and stick wires to it. Then they show you pictures of hot dudes an’ shock the piss outta you if you so much as sigh!”

Now, Momma had to understand how bad that was!

“Lissen up!” I said at her next visit. “These shrinks is gonna “lectrocute me!”

“They say they only use a lil’ “lectricity, darlin’.”

“And how would you like it if every time you sat onna barstool some one zapped you off?”

Momma got that dark look she always got when she wanted to hit me.

“Have a little respect for your Momma!” She said in a tight but polite tone of voice.


“Do you want Bobby to be a hama-sect-ual?” The shrink asked Momma at the treatment meeting.

“He was always a tad girlish, but I have always maintained that it is important for men to be men.

“Let em fry my dick off, ” I said, “see what kind of man I’ll be then!”

“The shrink ignored me.

“I think that Bobby can be cured. These deviant behaviors are not set until adulthood.”

“But I don’t wanna get cured!” I said. “I ain’t got nothin’ to cure!

I glared at Momma.

She sat there like the best little girl in the world.

Then I knew what I had to do.

“Momma! You let this fool shock me an’ I’ll call Grandma and tell her all about you. Every. Thing.”

Momma blushed.

She looked down and twisted her wedding ring.

Then she looked up at the doctor with such wide, innocent looking brown eyes:

“I do want what’s best for Bobby. But it’s such a big decision! I think I should consult with his Father first.”


(c) Rob Goldstein 1985-2018


His obvious filthy macho

His wandering gaze above the crowd

His arms are long,  he rocks his son

His legs are lean and smooth

His trench coat is long

His shredded jeans–

He stubs out his cigarette

and boards the train.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015





Switching Stations: Snagged on a Run in the Hosiery of Time


Tonight’s Cast of Characters:

John Steed as Captain Mach 10
Zsa Zsa Gabor as Leesa
Newt Gingrich as Queen Stretchmark I
Sean Hannity as Simp the Oracle
Clint Eastwood as Gore Vidal and
Gomer Pye U.S.M.C. as Aryan #5

Illustration based on a digital photograph staged in virtual reality that depicts a male and female avatar dressed in star-fleet costumes posing side by side
Captain Mach 10 with First mate, Trish

Stardate 90210.1. Dear Diary, the Chachka entered the arousing Areola Nebula at 0.100 and now we are trapped in a rope of unknown origin. I’ve ordered First Mate Leesa to steady the helm: she does her best:

Leesa: The ship won’t steer, dah-ling!

Mach Ten: What kind of rope is this?

Leesa: Humidity reads high, dah-ling!

Mach Ten: So sheer! So snug! Change course 32º mark nine zero two one zero!

Leesa: Course changed 32º mark nine zero two one zero, dah-ling.

(A horn blares followed by the sound of a crash. Leesa and Mach Ten reel from one side of the ship to the other. All goes quiet; we see Leesa’s breasts followed by a wide-angle shot of the Chachka’s interior. The decor is Chinese modern with a great big Chinese coffee table to accent a huge coral sofa with bright green cushions.  The helm is really just an alcove with a curved wall.)

Leesa: (tugs the hem of her uniform) Humidity reads normal, dah-ling.

Mach Ten: (Opens a quadraphonic space-map.) Where in the Areola are we?

Leesa: (Her beauty is unperturbed) Let me see, Dah-ling. (She pours herself over the map) I think we are in the Rayon Belt.

(The ship is suddenly filled with the sound of screeching  feedback followed by the amplified voice of Queen Stretch Mark I.)

Illustration based on a photo staged in virtual reality that depicts an African-American Avatar as the character of Queen Stretchmark I.
Queen Stretchmark I


Mach Ten: (Shaking his fist) YOU LIBERTINE TYRANT!


I’ve always been a bit bi-curious about this Queen, Dah-ling.

Mach Ten: She’s seductive and deadly. We’d best do as she says

(Chimes. Aryan#5 appears on deck.)

  Mach Ten: Oh the pain, the pain…

(Petroleum waves crash onto a Lycra shore. White spandex clouds drift above a rubber mountain. Cut to the Queens Throne room. Snow white carpets make a stunning background for pie-crust tables. Corner cabinets, all chiseled out and painted a lovely pink show off wedge wood and Chinese things. There are couches with deep soft cushions in which one can curl up and get lost. To the Queen’s left is Simp the Oracle; to her right is Gore Vidal. both men wear nothing but bicycle tights. Enter Aryan#5 with Leesa; an arm laced behind her back, a lock of blond hair lingers on her forehead to suggest a struggle.)


Illustration based on a photo staged in virtual reality that depicts an African-American Avatar as the character of Aryan #5
Aryan #5

Aryan #5: Howdy ur Haighness!

Queen Stretchmark I: Where is the male?

Aryan #5: He’s a feisty little feller–

Leesa: No! Oh Pleaze, dahling! These silk cords, they feel so tight!

Queen Stretchmark I: Silence! Why have you come to my planet?

Leesa: You trapped us in a huge pair of cheap intergalactic stockings
and brought us here you silly old queen!

Queen: Ha! You’ve come to bring reason to my planet! Reason kills!
Kill them!

Leesa: Getta clue, dahling! We’re the most unreasonable species in
the universe.

(Simp the Oracle giggles and winks at Leesa; Leesa winks back)

Gore Vidal: My dear, I think you were snagged on a run in the hosiery of time.

Leesa: (Rolls her eyes) Thank you for stealing my line!

Queen Stretchmark I: Call the male!

Aryan #5: Su-prise, su-prise, su-prise!

Queen Stretchmark I: (In a determined whisper) He’ll play dress up! I’ll make him!

To be continued….

Illustration based on a photo staged in virtual reality that depicts my alternates, Bobby and Matthew watching the physical me read Antonin Artaud
Next Week on Mach 10

Next week on ‘Mach Ten’:

Mach Ten: How is it you people speak English?

Aryan  24:  We’re so smart ur species little pea pickin’ brains couldn’t understand
us so’s when the Queen got here we scanned his brain and saw what was in it.

Mr. Haney: What you see is what you think, Mr. Mach Ten! Hey! Can ah interest you
in a book?

(c) Rob Goldstein 2018 All Rights Reserved







Born Into a Carnival of Souls

Here are a few words I’ve seen scrawled in the alleys of San Francisco’s
Mission District:

We can’t know what we won’t comprehend.

We can’t stop the damage we won’t believe we cause.

These are the crazies, the dregs of the earth, the losers, and every other demeaning and dismissive word used to dismiss the powerless who suffer
the worst of the GOP’s abuses of power.

These people can’t afford to vote their conscience because they’re dying from the lousy choices of people who can.

I saw this scrawled on a wall in late 2016: Why do u want 2 Kill me?

That’s a damned good question.

A mind that ain’t inquisitive really doesn’t got
shit to live for if you can’t explore the
realms of thought you ought not test lest
you be chomped up, like a pop rock, stopped for a
bead from the weed lady, thought it was the bomb
Really wasn’t nuttin but a bag of strong palms

A human ain’t a human if he doesn’t make mistakes
And the name of this song is Swan Lake