“Mike Jones tells his story with such simplicity, unguarded openness and vulnerability that you feel like you know him and would like to know him better,” says actress Judith Light, in an advance promo testimonial.
OK so far. Let’s open up the book. Whoa! Talk about cutting right to the chase! We’re immediately introduced to the guy who calls himself “Art from Kansas City.”
“Within minutes, the man with the light brown hair lay naked on my massage table. Silhouetted by the light from just one candle, he lay on his stomach with his arms at his sides … He was both excited and nervous about what was going to happen…”
Yes, barely six months after the male escort from Denver brought Pastor Ted Haggard to his knees for the last time, Jones’ expose is ready to hit the bookstores. And to call it a bit of a potboiler is a monumental understatement. Do we really need to know the guy this well?
We’re all familiar with the story: Haggard, the anti-gay president of the 30-million member National Association of Evangelicals; close pal of George W.; leader of the mega New Life Church in Colorado Springs – and his alter-ego “Art” (Haggard’s middle name is Arthur) who allegedly likes to go to Denver about once a month to visit Jones, snort a little meth and get a little $200-a-pop homo-erotic lovin’.
Jones promised his expose would be heavy on the details – and boy does he deliver! There’s lots of French kissing, crotch nuzzling, porn-watching (evolving from the vanilla porn where the guys “giggle a lot,” to the hard-core man sex stuff). There is “Art”‘s little canvas bag full of sex toys, and how he pays to watch Jones having sex with another man. How he prefers just one tea candle.
There are the tender parts, where he says stuff to Jones like, “I feel like we made a connection,” and how “Art” really gets a kick out of trying on Jones’ “Stars ‘n’ Stripes” thong. Interwoven through the book are chapters about Jones; his childhood, his family – particularly his beloved mother, who died last year – and growing up in Colorado and becoming a bodybuilder and male escort. There is the weirdness of the meth – and how excited it seemed to make “Art.” Over time, “Art” emotionally gets needier.
And for some reason, “Art” always seems to “scurry” to the bathroom afterward.
He never bounds off to the bathroom. He never lopes, he never saunters, he never strolls, he never strides. He never ambles or totters or sprints or scampers or darts or dashes to the bathroom. He never crawls.
No, “Art” scurries, it seems, just about every time. Needless to stay, the description really sticks with you.
The exceedingly good news, however, is that, Jones never, ever describes Haggard as “a pouting sex kitten” sitting “athwart” his chest.
One day, the previously oblivious Jones is watching TV during a workout at the gym, and on comes “Art” – who Jones immediately recognizes as Haggard. He gets madder and madder about the hypocrisy of the evangelical preacher lying on his massage table. Haggard was, at the time, a vocal supporter of Colorado’s Amendment 43, to restrict marriage to between a man and woman only.
So Jones eventually decides to commit the ultimate no-no in male escorthood and out his client, for the greater good. He peddles his story around, to Channel 9 and to Westword, without much luck at first. Then he goes on the Peter Boyles show and to use just one more tired clich