In the summer of 1995 my cousin flew from LA to dance at ShowWorld in Times Square. Her loyal following packed the legendary porno parlor to see Sherri's stage acrobatics and the veteran XXX actress earned good money selling underwear and signed posters. By week’s end my cousin had cleared over $3000, but the tips came at a cost.
“I wish I could dance in bare feet,” Sherri complained in her dressing room. "These stilettos feel like spikes."
“They make your legs look great.” I had attended two shows and each time had been amazed by Sherri's expertise on the steel pole. “Plus your crowd loves the look.
“So I’m stuck with the heels.”
Thankfully pleasing the audience required little more than taking off her clothes.
Saturday night the lithe brunette put on three extra shows and I picked her up at ShowWorld at midnight.
“That's it. I'm done.” Sherri packed her costumes and hurried from the theater through a crush of fans hoping to get lucky with their favorite actress. She blew them kisses and we jumped into a taxi.
Normally Sherri liked to chill after a show at a bar.
This evening she leaned forward and told the driver to take us to my apartment on East 10th Street.
“You don’t mind, if we call it a night.” She yanked off her heels and put on sneakers, sighing with relief. “I have a few days off before my shows in Philly. We’ve been invited to Fire Island. You want to go?”
“Of course.” I hadn’t been to the barrier island in more than ten years. The weatherman was predicting temperatures in the high 90s for the next three days and I could use a break from the city. "Where we staying?"
“We’re guests of Rachelle Fly.” Sherri rolled down the window. The night air was hot and the people on the sidewalks melted from the breathless heat, but after the long years in LA Sherri still loved the smell of Nw York in the summer. It reminded her of being young.
“I know her.” The overweight stripper was Cable TV’s famed XXX spokesperson. “Not really know her, but I watched her show. Your promos are on all the time.”
“That’s not what she says.” Sherri stared out the window.
"At least a couple of times a night."
“Rachelle says never and that she doesn’t owe me any residuals. Her husband does the books and Shelley went to jail for fraud.”
“So this is a business trip?”
"Always good to have a little muscle, but this will be pleasure too.” Sherri lived in LA. She loved the sea and sun. “Her husband’s a schmuck, but also very connected to the Mafia. I’ll deal with them in my own way. You're just insurance. Against Shelley, not anyone else."
“Good.” I had retired from working nightclubs the previous year and my last fight was a long time ago.
“So we have an early night and get going in the morning, because tomorrow is going to be a hot one.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Back at my place Sherri undressed and lay in bed.
“Aren’t you going to sleep with me?” She turned the big fan onto top power.
“No, it’s too hot.” There was another reason and she knew it. “I’ll sleep on the couch. See you in the morning.”
I lay on the sofa with a small fan blowing hot air over my body.
Her snoring was tolerable with wads of wet paper stuck in my ears, although one of my neighbors shouted to get the truck out of gear.
I woke with the dawn and showered off the night’s sweat.
My cousin got up and stood by the tub with a towel wrapped around her body.
“Hurry up. I feel like an overcooked pizza.”
“I’ll be a second.” I ducked under the lukewarm water and dreamed of swimming in the Atlantic.
“You ever think about getting AC?” Sherri dropped the towel. Her body was fit.
“The hot doesn’t bother me.” Heat waves in New York lasted a few days instead of the entire summer in North Hollywood. I stepped out of the bath and handed the spray nozzle to Sherri.
You want to soap my back."
"Okay." I got back into the bath.
"I love Splish-Splash."
Thirty minutes later we caught a taxi on 1st Avenue to Penn Station and boarded an ACed train to the farthest reaches of Long Island and points in between.
Two men eyed Sherri.
They probably had seen her on Robin Fly's promos for S & M.
At Patchogue a shuttle bus brought us to the ferry.
The ride across the tranquil bay lasted a half-hour.
A thin line of green grew on the horizon.
"Fire Island doesn't belong to New York or America." Sherri stood at the prow.
"This boat trip is magic."
"Like leaving the rest of the world behind."
"I hope that's still true."
We stepped off the ferry at Cherry Grave. Vacationeers greeted their guests. There was no sign of Rachelle.
“I know the way to her house.” Sherri slung a small bag over her shoulder. For once she was traveling light.
“It doesn’t look like it’s changed much since 1978,” I said, although many of the land-bound passengers seemed gay. "Well, maybe a little."
Back in the 70s Cherry Grove was synonymous with a decadent gay lifestyle; anonymous sex in the pine groves, one-hour stands in the hotels, and orgies in the beach houses.
“Fire Island hasn’t changed, but the people who come here have.” Sherri and I had lost scores of friends to AIDS and the seaside Sodom had been devastated by the epidemic.
“Same as the West Village.” The dying homosexuals had sold their beloved beach shacks to friends, family, and strangers, however the beach life remained free and open.
The island was devoid of 7/11s and fast food. Most people cooked at home.
There were no cars. Wooden walkways connected the communities. For longer trips residents hired a water taxi.
Rachelle’s cottage was on the beach.
Sherri told me to play nice, as we approached the two-story bungalow surrounded by a high wooden wall.
“Her husband is very jealous of men.”
“She was a porno actress.” Promiscuity was a virtue in the trade.
“That was back then and now she’s married to him, so she can only have affairs with women, because he likes to watch. If he caught her with a man, then she'd be out on the street. Everything she has belongs to him."
“I’ll play nice then.”
The ocean was a clear cool blue. Waves thundered on the shore. A few people lay on beach blankets protected from the blazing sun by umbrellas. I was glad to have a hat.
Sherri pushed open the door in the wall and called out, “Anyone home?”
“Only us naked people.”
Rachelle stepped out of the house stark naked. Flabby flesh overlapped her extended belly. The squat forty year-old was thirty pounds over her prime.
Two small dogs yapped at her heels.
“Excuse my state of undress, but I never wear anything on the island.” Rachelle bear-hugged my cousin.
“I might go naked myself.” I nodded to our hostess without really looking at her. She was a sore sight for my eyes.
“Be careful of the sun. It’s brutal this time of year.” Rachelle was tanned the color of a worn football. I returned to ignoring me and said, “Sherri, I'm so glad you could come out.”
“The city is hell.” Sharon dropped her bag on the deck and stripped off her tee-shirt and shorts.
"What do you think?"
She posed for Rachelle.
“Those hours in the gym," sighed the older woman, as she caressed Sherri’s body and then eyed me suspiciously. “So this is your cousin?”
“Yeah, on her father’s side.” Sherri and I have been calling ourselves family for years to save time about how we met playing pinball at an East Village after-hour bar. Even we got tired of our old stories, mostly because we were trying to outrun our pasts.
“I can’t see family resemblance.” Robin squinted to examine my face.
Depending on the light my face resembled either an Irish cop or Yankee sailor.
“We’re almost twins.” Sherri moved beside me. She had been adopted out of Napoli and her blood was my exact opposite.
Rachelle didn’t buy that excuse, but it was too late to disinvite me, so she said, “Come on inside.”
The house had been designed in the 70s. The gleaming mirrors of the white walls were a homage to that era of narcissism.
"Lovely place," complimented Sherri, who stripped off her shirt and shorts with skill.
“I bought the house from a man who found it too sad.” Rachelle led us through the living room. "Too many ghosts."
"But not for you."
I can live with them, if they can live with me. Same as my puppies."
The dogs nipped at my legs, as if they were under her command.
"So I noticed."
She showed us our rooms.
“Of course you could sleep in one bed, if you’re kissing cousins.”
“Two bedrooms will be fine.” I was the guest of a guest and sleep was impossible with Sherri's epic snoring three inches from my ears.
“Make yourselves a home,” Rachelle said to Sherri.
“When on Fire Island, do as the Fire Islanders do.”
"How's the beach?"
"Same as ever."
"Some things never change."
I stripped off my clothes and accompanied the two women to the beach.
We sat on folding chairs under umbrellas.
A naked man with a beaded necklaces, a long beard and a even longer penis waved to Rachelle with a gnarled wooden staff.
"That's Moishe. He lives in the pines and hasn't been to the mainland for years."
"Nice crank for an old guy," commented Sherri.
"You're only as old as the woman you're with," Rachelle caressed Sherri's arm.
They talked business. Rachelle’s husband was in the city. I didn’t need to hear this conversation and I swam in the ocean. Every minute in the cold Atlantic surf dropped my body temperature. I should have been paying more attention to the sun, but I loved the waves.
Emerging from the sea I picked up my towel.
Sherri and Rachelle had retreated to the beach house.
Moishe was walking back from his destination. I nodded to him.
He pointed his staff at my ass and said, "Ouch."
"Too much sun?"
He grunted yes and I hurried off the beach.
At the entrance to the deck I washed off the sand with a hose. Sherri and Rachelle were in the pool with a video camera recording their conversation.. I toweled dry in the shade.
"Oh, my," laughed Sherri.
Your ass is lobster red."
"Moishe said the same thing."
"He spoke? He never speaks." Rachelle seemed upset by my interaction with Moishe almsot as if the
"Not so much spoke a grumbled a few syllable."
I touched my bum. It hurt to the touch.
“Did you shower before coming into the house?” Rachelle demanded with a harsh sharpness.
“Yes, with soap too.”
“Just checking.” The ex-stripper was succeeding in making me feel unwanted and she continued her ungraciousness throughout the rest of the day.
I could do no right.
The sand on the floor came from me, not her dogs.
When I nearly shattered my kneecap on a low glass table sitting down for dinner, she screamed at my clumsiness.
"Be more careful."
She served me a small potion of salad, as if I should be on a diet.
When I told my cousin about how Fire Island had been formed by the Ice Age glaciers, Rachelle sat down with her arms folded across her flapjack breasts and her bulbous belly gracelessly hanging over her crotch.
Her eyes simmered with disdain.
I was her public enemy # 1.
That evening Sherri and I whispered in her bedroom.
The thin walls of the beach bungalow were not conducive to privacy.
“Rachelle’s not very nice.”
“She doesn’t like men.”
“I figured that from the constant inquisition. I’ll stay out of her way.”
"Not a bad idea."
The next day I looked in the fridge for food.
There was none.
Rachelle had hidden it somewhere.
Swearing under my breath I left the house and laid out my towel underneath the pines without taking off my clothes.
When Moishe passed, he shook his head.
"Clothing is optional. So is nakedness."
I hated the locals.
Sherri came looking for me.
“You shouldn't be out here.” Her body glowed with a LA golden tan.
“The pines should be protecting me.
“The sun is bouncing off the sand.” She scooped up a handful, "The remains of a glacier."
“They should a mile high here. Only 15,000 years ago."
I was estimating the numbers.
"You have breakfast?"
"How? Rachelle hid the food."
"I can’t go back to the house.”
“I know. It’ll only be another few days.”
“Where’s her husband?”
“So 'she' can't write a check?” I refrained from calling Rachelle a name.
“I’m getting my money one way or the other.” Sherri wasn’t returning empty-handed to New York.
"Let's built us a hut."
We erected a tent from driftwood and torn sails. It was my home for the day.
As the sun descend in the west, Moishe roamed the high tide mark.
Seeing Sherri his penis grew erect to an obscene size accompanied by a satyr's leer and Schmoses licked his lips before wandering down the beach.
“Did you see that?” Sherri exclaimed with horror.
“Not easy to miss it?” A horse would have been jealous of his manhood.
“He shouldn't be called Moishe, but Schmoses of the Greying Bush,” Sherri renamed the tramp.
“Carrying the staff of Schmoses.” I raised my forearm.
That evening we joked about Schmoses at the dinner table. Rachelle found no humor in our humor.
“The man has a name. It's Moishe."”
“I gave him a new one.” Sherri wasn’t taking any crap from the fat woman and raised her glass. "It fits his unearthly shank of flesh. Here's to the Staff of Schmoses."
Rachelle deserted the table.
Sherri and I drank another bottle of wine.
We swam in the pool.
There was no light from Rachelle's bedroom.
"She must be dreaming of Schmoses."
"And his staff."
We laughed quietly and later went to our separate rooms.
"You sure?" asked Sherri at her door.
"I'm almost tempted, but my skin is too tender."
Sherri slid into the opening.
"I won't be rough with you."
"And she wasn't.
We rose before the dawn.
I threw on a long sleeved white shirt and shorts.
I beachcombed for jetsam.
Moishe appeared in the distance and I abandoned the shells and whelps.
The beach debris belonged to him.
We nodded to each other in passing.
The old hermit wasn't talkative, but neither was I.
I opted against breakfast with Rachelle and walked over to the beach landing to have bacon and eggs.
Upon my return Rachelle emerged from her house and came to the edge of the water. Moishe joined her.She held Moishe's hand and the two vanished into the pines.
For a long time.
I sat in the shade of the beach hut.
Sherri came out of the house.
"No money. She said she never shows the ads."
"I told her my friends saw them."
"Friends meaning me?"
"Well, guess I should pack my bags."
"Have you seen Rachelle?"
"Yes, she went into the pines with Schmoses."
"Like to have sex?"
"Looked that way to me. Schmoses was in full bloom."
"The magic of video."
Sherri grabbed my hand and we ran to the house. She didn't bother to brush the sand off her feet. neither did I.
My cousin picked up the small video camera and said, "Follow me."
We tracked Rachelle's and Schmoses' footprint into the piney grove.
It was easier to follow their cries and we hid behind a bush from where Sherri shot them in coitus.
It was like watching a Neanderthal have sex with a walrus. After a few minutes Sherri nudged me and whispered, "I think I have enough."
Back at the house I drank a bottle of Rachelle’s best wine to obliterate the image.
An hour later Rachelle and Sherri had a fight about money.
My cousin held up a camera.
“I got it all on film. You and Schmoses. Your old man doesn’t mind you going with girls, but I know how he feels about you going with men. Your choice. Pay me or pay the price.”
“That’s blackmail.” Rachelle took out a checkbook.
“I like to think of it more as an early trick or treat.”
We caught the last boat to the mainland. The ferry ride was a relief from the hot dunes.
"Did you really give her the video of Rachelle and Schmoses?"
"Not one, but I sold her, didn't I?" Sherri smiled with feline pleasure.
"I guess even the naked have something to hide."
I never saw Rachelle again and I almost forgot about Schmoses until reading a BBC article how the Biblical Moses had received the 10 Commandments from Yahweh while high on psychedelic drugs, since the concoctions from bark of the acacia tree were an essential ingredient for religious rites in biblical times and I now understood the mysteries of Schmoses lay entirely on his staff.
His cock was really long and not only does Schmoses live, but his schlong grows longer with each telling of the tale.
Such was the power of the staff of Schmoses.