By Anna Merlan
By Roy Edroso
By Carolyn Hughes
By Chuck Strouse
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Weinstein
By Tessa Stuart
Larry enjoyed sex, but still found the emotional bond lacking. While Larry started studying mass communications at Lehman, he also started hosting a show called Special People Special Issues (SPSI) on BronxNet, a public access TV station located on Lehman's campus. Though the show focused on disabled issues, he saw it as his ticket to a career, to the real world, to fill Larry King's chair. To the girls Larry dates, who often depend on Social Security checks, a steady job like his looks appealing. Larry felt used; all the girls he dated wanted him for what he could give them and not for who he was. Like Breakstone Sour Cream, who was sour, always thinking of herselftalking about her aches and pains and never asking how his day was. He spent one hundred bucks of his rent money on her in one nightsteaks at Applebee's, a movie, and a couple Alice Cooper albums at F.Y.E. before sending her home on the bus. Who's going to take care of him? He can't be with a woman who can't take care of herself, who's needy, who's bumping into stuff, who just wants to have sex and can't talk about anything important. He's got enough of his own issues to worry about. Wouldn't it be great to be taken care of, to have someone cook a dinner for him, to give him a little cash to spend? He's giving so much, but getting nothing back in return. The thoughts reel in his head, making him frustrated. There's so much to say and no one to listen, so he starts talking out loud on the streets and leaving extra-long messages on voice-mail systems. He's not crazy; he knows what he's doing. The love he can give is pure. Even though the "disabled" label follows him around, the word doesn't mean his merchandise is a bad brand.
Depressed and frustrated, Larry would find momentary bliss while watching hardcore porn or going to strip clubs. The practice began in his early twenties, but became exacerbated in his mid-twenties to early thirties. He amassed a collection of 800 videos and DVDs. His taste was wide and his purchases often experimental; once he bought a film focusing on women with their long-schlonged horses. He estimates his porn library, plus all the stops at peep shows and strip joints, cost him more than $9,000. When he was 21, his father died of a heart attack. In such moments of stress, Larry would try to lose himself in sex. The very next day, he stole his mother's credit card, called a phone-sex line, and talked hot and heavy with a woman for a three-hour session, forgetting his pain and fears. The call came to $1,200 on his mourning mother's monthly bill. There was some yelling, but that didn't stop him. Larry continued making phone calls to 1-800 numbers until he realized that some were recordings; no matter how crass and sexy a lady could be, he'd only pay to speak to somebody who knew a breathing soul was on the other line. He wasn't about to be fooled by a machine.
In his mid-twenties, Larry's mother remarried and became sick, suffering from nervous breakdowns. Larry moved out. He found an affordable place on City Island, but was soon kicked out when the pipes broke. He'd been throwing pork grease down the sink for months; the place flooded with fecal matter. He moved to a respite home; it's government subsidized for a maximum stay of two months. Larry stayed at one for four years and another for two years because he couldn't get his finances straight. He started going to strip clubs. Boys he knew from his social group for the disabled showed him where the good ones were. He went to Empire Erotica to expand his porn collection and for a treat: the peep shows, blowing one to three hundred dollars during each downtown jaunt. He started going to Paradise Club on 33rd Street. In those dark rooms, the dancers wanted him. He was in the so-called normal world and all he needed was a dollar bill to be accepted. The girls didn't believe in rejection. They didn't grimace or curl their upper lips at him or at the Hugo Boss cologne, so thick you'd think he'd submerged himself in the bottle. Larry could forget, in a cum-soaked daze, why it was that life was so unfair. One day he remembers being so pissed off and alone that he cashed his Social Security check, close to $850, paid a couple bills and then took the remaining $500 to Flashdancers, a gentlemen's club in Manhattan. A lap dance, a couple drinks, and two hand jobs later, Larry was penniless and aloneemptier than he had been on the 4 train, on the way there, just a few hours before.
Part of Larry's disability is trusting people because he wants to be near them, not because they're worthy. One of the respite staff members took Larry out for pizza. He called her Collard Greens because she was a Southern woman with thick thighs and ample breasts. She took Larry to her house and had sex. When they were finished, Collard Greens and her son asked Larry for $80. They said they were poor and needed it for things like groceries. Larry complied; he gave the $80 and continued coming once a week for the next three months, doling out the money each time they had intercourse. It wasn't prostitution; she wasn't a prostitute. She needed the money and Larry needed the closeness. Eventually the head staff member of the respite found out and fired Collard Greens. Larry ceased getting Southern comfort.