To Friends of Dean,
I didn't know Dean Johnson. Until this summer, I had no idea who he was. But one week end in early August, my boyfriend and I went to the Belvedere, a clothes-optional guest house on Fire Island that looks like something Cecil Beaton might have designed for Liberace during a bad acid trip.
On our first (only) afternoon there, one guy who was just monstrous (and monstrously hung) was lounging in the pool, making sympathetic noises about the blackflies. No one was being particularly formal, so I don't recall his name, but I believe this was Dean. He hung out with us in the pool and the hot tub, chatting about his work as a singer and a concert promoter and part-time escort. None of this information was offered as boast or aggression; these were simply the things he did. Maybe sex was on the table, but he wasn't pushy about it.
Unless you're an aficianado of decaying camp, The Belvedere isn't good for much except hooking up, and that night the pickings were slim. As it happened, Dean was staying in the room right beside ours. He had his door open and we chatted about the horrible heat (he lent us his fan) and storms of mosquitoes (he lent me his bug spray). He said he'd just been on the phone to a client--maybe in Paris?--and that they were falling in love. I felt very shy around this man, but I also liked him; he had an edge but he wasn't frightening like some of the tweakers out there. There was something comforting about him, the way all big men can be comforting when they don't take advantage of their size to be intimidating...
It was an unbearably hot night, the bugs fussed in the air, and a terrible storm blew in our open door and soaked the rug. At around two in the morning, I heard the unmistakable noises of someone being pleasured. At around three, I got up to pee and Dean said he'd just blown one of the hotel's maintenance guys. He seemed to think this was the perfectly sleazy and ironic and hilarious and perfect, and I agreed.
It's terrible to think that this big man I saw only a few weeks ago and laughed with and shared mosquito repellent with is gone. I wanted to write this (sorry if boring) note to his friends, because he was a person who, even in that small period of time, left an impression.