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The Man Who Could be Hung
By Hayward Hawks Marcus

"Whoever called it necking was a poor judge of anatomy."
Groucho Marx

The Great Byron 1890's Bazaar was great indeed -- or at least it was for me. An outdoor festival coordinated by entrepreneurial bohemians, it happened during the summer of 1972 and was set in the dusty hills fifty miles east of San Francisco, at the defunct Byron Hot Springs resort. This centenarian spa -- once an elegant architectural grand dame -- had attracted wealthy and famous world travelers in her yesteryear heyday, but, much like a prim Victorian lady, had fallen out of favor during the swinging sixties, and was of little use to the current owners except as fairgrounds for a themed event such as the Bazaar.

Bedizened with 1890's trappings, the Bazaar was hung throughout with red, white and blue bunting, and this patriotic frippery seemed a bit out of place amongst the anti-establishment, anti-Nixon peaceniks and flower children who were running the shebang. Still, most of these social fringe participants presented the crowds with a somewhat straitlaced representation of nineteenth century Americana. All vendors and hawkers had repackaged themselves and their saleable items in pseudo-vintage wrappings. Unshaven earth mothers costumed themselves in the long gowns and parasols of their suffragist grandmothers, but eschewed corsets and hairpins to keep their freak flags and bosoms liberated. Hippies sporting curly waxed mustaches pedaled dangerously tall antique bicycles with front wheels as high as their pot-headed riders. Entertaining the masses on several open air stages were San Francisco's finest motley gangs of musicians, hoofers, and street performers, rounded up from squalid North Beach dives and Haight Ashbury communes -- silent mimes and barking sideshow men, sultry flamenco and jiggly belly dancers, twangy bluegrass troupes and brass bands squawking out John Phillip Sousa's Favorite Hits.

And then there was me, publicly billed as The Lovely Olivia. I was pulchritudinous stage dressing and perpetually smiling cohort to William Wizard; a master of prestidigitation, legerdemain, or, for those of you who don't like long words, magic!

I was barely fourteen years old, and had just embarked on my career as magician's assistant. William Wizard was my mother's current boyfriend and my reluctant chaperone during the weekends that we worked the Bazaar. We traveled together in his car from San Jose and camped over at the fairgrounds on Saturday nights, and William had the unenviable task of keeping me out of trouble. I may have been fourteen, but I had just sprouted a body like that of a mature eighteen-year-old and, as I paraded myself through the ersatz 1890's throng in an olive-green bathing suit-like costume, legs clad hip to ankle only in black fishnets, I discovered my new power to turn male heads.

My very first weekend there, I was smitten by the charms of an older man of twenty-four, a thespian by the name of Richard Kelly. Dark-haired and possessed of a sensuous, mellifluous voice, Richard's act was titled, Abraxas, the Man Who Could Be Hung. A macabre performance that would have fascinated the Victorians, Abraxas was condemned to die for killing a man over the woman he loved. Led by an executioner to the gallows, his hands tied behind his back, he strode bravely to his doom while a band droned a slow dirge. Stepping onto a stool, a noose was placed over his handsome head and tightened around his throat, and a curtain drawn to obscure the upper part of his body. After a long, nerve battering drum roll, the stool was kicked violently away. Abraxas struggled frantically for an interminable moment while we watched, breathless, until he finally fell limp. His lifeless legs swung eerily to and fro, the only sound came from his hempen necktie as it creaked with his weight against the wooden gibbet. The connection between mock death and sex was visceral. Audiences gasped, and wondered aloud. I fell in love.

I had caught Richard's attention as well, although he had no idea that I was only fourteen. We flirted whenever we met, and I saw in his eyes a mysterious glint absent from the eyes of the eighth grade boys I knew. This eye sparkle of Mr. Kelly's caused me to have romantic daydreams, wherein Richard would lead me down a sun-specked path to the edge of a tinkling creek, and lay soft kisses over my face and neck. Beyond this, my daydream became vague and nondescript. The bare fact was that I had no idea what adults did with each other once kissing had commenced.

My puerile naiveté did not last through the course of the Bazaar, however. One bright Sunday morning, just as the fairgrounds were opening, I was searching for my diary that I'd stashed with my gear inside William's dilapidated Honda. Not finding it in my bag, I began to hunt through the usual collection of fast food containers, magical gimmicks, and unpaid bills that carpeted the floor of his car. As my hands pawed beneath the seats, I was lost in romantic Richard reverie, my idyllic innocence intact, when I suddenly pulled a paperback out from among the old combs and candy wrappers. The cover not only caught both my eyes, but it changed how I saw through them forever.

NICE GIRLS DON'T SWALLOW CUM ON SUNDAYS it declared, in large white letters against a bright pink background. Beneath its blaring font, a naked nymphet performed an act upon a male protuberance that may have ultimately led her to do exactly what it was you wouldn't do should it happen to be Sunday, and you were a nice girl. And, as if this weren't enough, inside were more photos of things nice girls didn't do on Sundays, complete with erotic commentary, of course. It even had a glossary of lewd sexual terms to answer my immediate question about what this cum stuff was. I was transfixed. Facing the stark, graphic truth about human sexual congress, I was repulsed, embarrassed, and thoroughly fascinated.

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