Hemoglobin Goblins

How do people play with blood in public? Jack Boulware counts ze vays.

In that scene, rather than biting the neck of the woman, the vampire opens his chest and allows her to drink from him.

"In what was mostly a penny dreadful, that was one of the few hints back in the original novel of the kind of depth and passion that comes part and parcel with blood," he says.

Clark claims to have won awards for journalism in high school and at Rutgers University. Then, he says, he worked at Dow Jones News Service in Manhattan. After the stock market suffered the Black Monday crash in 1987, he took a Hustler magazine into the company's lavishly appointed restroom and masturbated three times. "It was just so great, watching the whole military-industrial complex crashing around me! I made sure to not rinse the shower afterwards."

Playing in a band after hours, Clark says, he developed a heroin habit that would propel him into the nether regions of the Lower East Side. He eventually cleaned up enough to land a job covering the sexual underground for Screw. An increasing interest in the fringes meant that he soon would be hired to perform S/M scenes in clubs -- for $100 and an open bar tab. The financial drain of New York brought him to San Francisco. His columns for The Spectator the past two years are a frequently controversial first-person exploration of the local sex biz, and on the side he writes novels and edits anthologies. His parents are completely accepting of his career, he says, although he acknowledges that they might "think I'm kinda nutty."

After another of many rounds of beers, Clark insists on making a religious point:

"All the people in this book are merely seeking to emulate Jesus Christ, whose blood washed away the sins of the world. Or maybe just their own sins. Everybody's gotta start somewhere."

Clark goes on to describe his most profound blood experience. It occurred at a book release party for his first novel, The Wet Forever, held in 1993 at a New York sex club called Paddles. The cover photo of the book was of his girlfriend Jean, a prostitute and singer in his band who had committed suicide by jumping out a window. Consumed with guilt over failing to prevent her death, Clark needed to process the pain somehow. He says he allowed his new girlfriend, dressed as a Catholic schoolgirl, to lash him to a wooden crucifix. To the astonishment of the club, she then pulled out a scalpel and carved a big cross into his chest.

"I was both trying to expunge my guilt and at the same time take myself back bodily. Half of me was living in this other world where Jean still was alive. The place was insane. This was far beyond the S/M there. I went into God knows what galaxy. It was fabulous."

In the audience that night was an artist named Steven Johnson Leyba.

May 3, 1997. Blowup dolls hang from the ceiling of the San Francisco Mart South of Market. Male and female strippers gyrate for the likes of the mayor, city supervisors, San Francisco 49ers executives, and the usual second-string political suckerfish who habitually trail in the wake of such events. Jack Davis, the city's premier heart-for-hire political bulldog, the mastermind behind the last two mayoral elections, is turning 50 in high style.

The bars are flowing, music blares, colognes mingle with perfumes and the sweat of caterers. Off in one corner huddles vampire novelist and blood-sports performer Danielle Willis, wearing a Pocahontas dress, shivering under a coat. Two days earlier she had been in a Walnut Creek recovery house, her parents standing around her bed, trying to convince her to stay in the East Bay to kick her heroin habit. But she has refused their advice, and braved the elements tonight to honor a previous commitment -- to strap on a Jack Daniel's bottle and sodomize the bloodied backside of artist Rev. Steven Johnson Leyba in celebration of a birthday. After all, what are friends for?

Most of San Francisco and much of the rest of the world knows what happened next. The infamous Apache Whiskey Rite commences. A dominatrix named Mistress Izabella Sol cuts a satanic pentagram into Leyba's bare back, pees on it and him, and scoops the blood-and-urine mess into a bowl. Leyba slurps from it, but before he can finish performing a satanic curse on the politicians assembled at the party, his microphone is cut off.

Willis sodomizes him nevertheless. The cast is congratulated by the drunken crowd. Union workers ask Mistress Izabella if the group would be interested in performing at their Christmas party. David Aaron Clark, who has videotaped the scenario, shares a laugh with Sheriff Michael Hennessey, then hoists Willis upon his shoulders, her crotch in his face, and the two hit the dance floor to the strains of AC/DC's "Back in Black." Leyba is invited up in front of the entire party by Jack Davis, where, wrapped in an American flag, he is allowed to finish his curse.

Within days the bloody affair is the subject of front-page articles in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today. Still photos from the Whiskey Rite appear on CNN, the offending images discreetly masked with black boxes. Saturday Night Live's Norm MacDonald includes a joke about the party on "Weekend Update." Discussion threads appear in the alt.satanism Internet news group.

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