I leapt to Bobby Lee’s side, picked at the foil, pulled out a packet of lube, and watched as several packets of lube fell out of Bobby Lee’s pocket onto the floor of the train. There were five packets that fell to the ground and two that he juggled between his hands. I screamed at the sight.
“How much lube do you need tonight!?” I said.
Now every respectable gay bar had a giant jar full of condoms, and even some had a jar of lube to go along with the condoms, and it wasn’t an odd thing to sometimes (cough) put an open palm into the jar of condoms and take out a handful of condoms to last for months. One time I looked at the price of condoms in a Duane Reade and almost had a heart attack. I have no idea how straight people do it. Anyway, it was a little strange for one to dip your hand into the bowl of lube, you might even say it was a little gauche. Any self respecting ‘mo in the city, no matter how poor, had to have a bottle of lube in their room. Hooking up with someone, going home with them, only to have them fumble around with a packet of lube they got from the bar, while your legs are in the air—mind you—would be something of a mood killer. Bobby Lee steadied himself while holding two packets of lube in each hand, and stood right up, calmly opened one of the packets, and flung the lube at me. It flew in an arch from Bobby Lee’s hands straight to my face. I extended my palms out to catch some of it, but most of it landed on my forehead. Naturally, I screamed, picked up a lube packet from the floor, opened it, and flung it at Bobby Lee, who squealed in horror. Mario ducked away, but Luis grabbed a packet and started flinging lube in my general direction. Some of the globs of lube fell on Jason, who was mostly shielding himself in the corner of the train, steadying himself on a pole that was quickly becoming slippery. I aimed my remaining packet of lube at Luis and Bobby Lee, but they started tearing open more packets and rushed me in order to try and smear my jeans with lube. I let out a scream and ran towards the middle of the subway, which is when I noticed that the passengers on the subway had quietly rushed away from us, some of them choosing to push out of the doors at the previous stop, and the rest filling together at the very end of the train cart.
“Alright I give,” I said to Bobby Lee and Luis with my hands raised above my head. I let the packet of lube fall to the floor.
“Don’t try it again, par’dner,” Bobby Lee said, resorting to that weird cowpoke dialect he sometimes put on.
Luis let out a terrible whoop, and threw the remaining glob of lube that was oozing out of his fist directly towards Mario who was standing right behind him. Mario let out a hearty fuck you in response. I let my body fall on a subway seat, winded, but with a smile on my face. I wasn’t exactly happy that we had made a spectacle of ourselves, but I was drunk enough to feel good and full of energy from our fight. Sometimes it wasn’t such a bad thing to freak people out, to inconvenience them, to make them aware of the swelling ranks in your group, and to claim half of the train as ours, lube and all. Maybe I was thinking about gangs and how they work, how intimidation can be a way to let out frustration, or maybe I wasn’t thinking at all.