Mykola Dementiuk deserves the title of the Bard of Times Square. He captures the spirit of a world that was like few others have been able to do and he so with all of the grittiness and atmosphere that we once knew the area. Our hero here is Billy, a boy/man of unbridle sexuality and the object of lust by both sexes. Men and women want him and he wants them. Sexually, Billy is an anomaly. He cannot be labeled according to gender. With Rebecca, his girlfriend, he is all man yet when he is with a man and cross dressed, he is all woman. People desire him and do not hide the fact and some will even die because of him.
By chance, he met Rebecca and decided to go along with helping her steal from her older boyfriend. But Billy, with all of his charm and good looks, lacks smarts. He and Rebecca rob the man and leave his dead body (they found him dead) and money does strange things to Billy. It makes him want sex and so begins to take Rebecca but that is only an appetizer for the meal to come. Just as the love-making is over, two of Billy’s friends appear and both Billy and Rebecca each take one of the two men. However, the friends discover the money and a fight ensues from which only one will survive to tell the story.
Dementiuk can really tell a story and this one will relatively short still manages to have larger than life characters and wonderful description.
Dementiuk’s Times Square is the one that was and which probably will never be again. However, it lives through the author’s words.One of the beauties of Dementiuk’s work is that we never know what to expect. The location remains the same but the characters and situations change.
If you see the words “Times Square”, you can be pretty sure you are reading something by Mykola (Mick) Dementiuk and I must admit, I have become quite a fan of his writings. You know he must be good, he won a Lambda. Dementiuk tells the kinds of stories that pull in you in and hold you and it is fun to remember Times Square for what it once was—a sleazy place when instant sex and gratification was quickly found. There were empty hallways and buildings to be used for sex and in the 60’s were the time of the dirty movie houses and the stripper bars right in downtown New York just minutes from Broadway.
Such is the subject of this collection of stories and as you read you can almost smell the way the area smelled—stale sex, drugs and humanity that knew a better time Dementiuk tells it like it was in all of its candor and eroticism. There are not pretty stories but they are stories of the way it was and whether we like what was or not, it is part of our history and we should know about it. Times Square was dirty; filthy in fact not just in appearance but what went on there and Dementiuk holds nothing back His details, his characters, his plots are very real and he writes with honesty. He should not be missed.