Gaybangin'

Our night shift explores the rowdy gay gangsta hip-hop scene

"All tops, no bottoms," I exclaim to Jett. Everyone's masculine -- male and female.

"To the untrained eye," she tells me. "It's too loud. Let's go outside."

The parking lot is like a block party. Clusters of men and women stand about. Past them, near the adjacent storefronts, homies squat in front of open lowriders talking to their hook-ups. Could be someone's dealing tonight, though I don't see what changes hands. A police cruiser rolls by, but the esses are unperturbed. The cop car keeps rolling.

We strike up a conversation with Scrub, a muscular Hispanic with a blank expression, bling-bling around his neck, and a plaid shirt, white undershirt peeking through. I weigh in at 300 pounds, but Scrub looks like he could use me as his own personal sock puppet. Scrub's in a good mood tonight, though. He's happy to give us the 411 on Incognito. Explains he's been coming here for 10 years.

"People tell me this is a gay gangbanger club," I say. "Is there gang activity in here?"

"No, no. Just one faggot fighting over the other. Or one dyke fighting the other one."

"Is that why all the security?"

"That's because Lynn is one of the hardest owners in town," he says, pokerfaced. "She knows her shit." He points her out as she's now checking IDs at the door. Fuck, it's Sergeant Carter!

"She'll come down on people?" I say, gulping.

"Real hard. People get banned. Never to be welcome back again. But I never do anything bad," he says, grinning. "I'm always good."

A twinge of irony in my voice, I remark, "Can't see you breaking the law."

Jett elbows me in the kidney. Hard.

I gasp, "What do you do for a living?"

"I'm a floral designer for special occasions," he says, suddenly twittering. "I do weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs. Wedding parties are the biggest, I guess."

Eyebrow cocked at Jett, I say, "Funny, I wouldn't have picked you for a florist."

Nervously, Jett chimes in, "What kind of flowers do you use?"

"Silk flowers," he gushes. "I do fresh, too, but people ask for the silk, because they last longer and keep throughout the year."

"So," Jett continues. "Uh, what do you look for in a, uh, guy?"

"A little bit masculine. I like Chicano, black, white. I'm not prejudicial. But I don't meet anyone here. The clientele is too young. I'm looking for someone who's stable. And no uglies."

It must be hard for Scrub here, since, judging from tonight's clientele, Incognito's the ugly capital of Phoenix.

After Scrub, we run into Nancy, 24, a Laotian-American who's on the prowl.

"I'm here to check out the girls," says Nancy, in red Lacoste golf shirt and white cloth cap. "I like 'em femmy. Femmy, tall and skinny."

Boy, are you in the wrong place, honey.

"So, where do you make your millions?"

"Millions, that's a laugh. I work at the gay Costco, 44th Street and Oak."

"There's a gay Costco?!" I ask.

"Sure is. My managers are gay, my co-workers are gay and I'm gay. They're as gay as can be," she says.

"Do people get discounts on booty there?"

"Maybe," she says, grinning. "A lot of gay guys shop there. And gay girls."

Jett's got a "date" waiting at home, so we move on to the jailbait lingering about. It seems most everybody's from Chavez High, which several folks tell us is P-town's gay high school. First a gay Costco, now a gay high school. What's next, a gay governor?

One of the squirts, a 16-year-old Spanish street princess by the name of Jessica, is especially proud of the fact that she's picked up bitches as old as 30.

"I tell them how old I am," she says. "My last relationship was two years. She was 21 when we met."

Wild, wacky stuff.

Jett gives me a wedgie. She's really impatient to go now. But I spy a fellow I've just got to talk to.

Carlos, 25, is dressed in baggy jeans with a long wallet-chain -- zoot suit-style. The tongues are hanging out of his brogans, and his chapeau is worn to the side. He's got a mustache and goatee, pierced ears and thumb rings. If you didn't know better, you'd think he'd been an extra in American Me.

Turns out, he's a dancer. Figures. He says he's moving to L.A. because "that's where dancers go."

Trying to be helpful, I offer, "I hear most dancers go to West Hollywood." I stare to see if he gets it that WeHo is gay L.A.

Caught up in his dream, he doesn't even hear me. "I know I've got something, and I'm working on it. I want it so bad. I've got to do it."

Someone cue the theme for Fame.

I wish Carlos luck, bid Incognito and Jett adieu, and head out in search of the gay Krispy Kreme.

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