Happy Ending

Text by Calvin Corvidian
Photography by Marek Procházka
Cover image from 'Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit' featuring a model we're not allowed to name in case his boyfriend finds out he posed nude.

‘Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit’ by Calvin Corvidian is quite possibly the first ever English as a Second Language book that you don’t have to pretend to be straight to read. Calvin, who is both a teacher of other ESL teachers and lifelong student of languages, set out to write a novelette with learner levels in mind, and one directed specifically at gay guys.

And what an entertaining textbook it is! His cheeky gay soap opera, which revolves around a clique of bitchy, predatory gays in the Czech Republic, is as witty as it is instructive, basking in the pleasures of a colloquial Euro-English, and maybe even giving you a hard on.

In the extract below, the student/cleaner, Ivana, attempts to help sharpen the verbal skills of her closet case boyfriend, Dan, who is the book’s primary object of desire.

Chapter 8: Ivana Starts Teaching Dan English

‘Open the book to page 47. What is on the page?’
‘A picture.’
‘Is it a photo, a drawing, or a painting?’
‘Good. A photo. What was my question?’
‘There is a painting or photo?’
‘No. Start with the verb.’
‘Is there a photo?’
‘That’s better. But there were three things.’
‘Is there a photo, a painting, a … What was other?’
‘What was the other thing?’ she corrects him. ‘A drawing.’
‘Is there a photo, a drawing, or a painting?’
‘OK. Tell me five things you can see in the photo.’
‘Two men.’
‘Yes, there are two men.’
‘There are furniture.’
‘Furniture is uncountable…’
‘There is furniture.’
‘Good. There is some furniture. Can you name the items?’
‘Bed. There is a bed. There is a chair. There is a … something with mirror.’
‘Wardrobe with mirror. Through mirror we see a little woman.’
‘There is a wardrobe with a mirror. Good. And we can see a small woman in the mirror. Repeat after me.’ Ivana said each phrase and Dan repeated it.
‘Anything else?’
‘There is a coat on the mirror.’
‘Good. It’s hanging on…’
‘There is a coat hanging on the mirror. And a tree. And fireplace.’
‘And there is a plant and a fireplace.’
‘It is very luxury.’
‘It looks very luxurious. Like Casey’s flat?’
‘No much.’
Not much. Describe one of the men in the picture.’
‘He lies on bed. Maybe sleeping. Has only swimmers.’
‘He is lying on the bed. He might be sleeping. He is wearing only swimmers.’
‘He is about 30. Beautiful.’
‘Do you think he is beautiful?’
‘Very sexy. Maybe model.’
‘Do you think he is sexy?
‘Yes. He lies on bed very sexy.’
‘He is lying on the bed very sexily,’ she said, a little annoyed.
‘Think you too?’
‘Don’t you think so?’
‘You said questions start with verbs.’
‘That is for auxiliary verbs and modals. With full verbs, you need to use some form of do. What are the auxiliary verbs?’
Be and have and do.’
‘And what are the modals?’
‘Can, could, will, would, shall, should, may, might, and must.’
‘Very good. So think is a full verb. When you make a question with a full verb, you need to use some form of do at the beginning, then the subject, then the verb. For example, I think the other man is his brother. Make a question.’
‘No, he is not.’
‘You have to ask me that question. Do you …’
‘Do you think other man his brother?’
‘Not bad. Do you think the other man is his brother?’
‘No. It is same man at different time. Before lie down.’
‘Do you think the other man is the same man at a different time? Before he lay down?’
‘No. But it’s possible.’
‘Tell me about the other man.’
‘He stands.’
‘He is standing. Use ing forms.’
‘The other man is standing. He is wearing swimmers too. Only swimmers. He looks at sleeping man.’
‘Good. He is looking at the sleeping man. Is he sexy, too?’
‘He looks like sleeping man, so he is beautiful and very sexy, too.’
‘Maybe they are going to have sex.’
‘That can be amazing.’
‘That would be amazing.’
‘That would be amazing. Two beautiful men have sex.’
‘Use the ing form.’
‘Two beautiful men having beautiful sex. Together.’
‘How can that be beautiful? Two men!’
‘Don’t questions start with verbs?’
‘Not if they start with wh words. For example …?’
‘Who, what, where, when, why, which, and how.’
‘Very good. What was my question?’
‘How can that be beautiful?’
‘Yes. Two men! You mean like Casey?’
‘Casey is only one man.’
‘But he has sex with men. Do you think that that is OK?’
‘Of course. You see magazines in flat. Artistic, no?’
‘Yes, I saw the magazines in his flat. And yes, they were good photos. But the idea of two men in love, well, doesn’t that bother you?’
‘Not at all. Sex and love not the same. Anyway, one my teachers at school loved me.’
‘You had sex with a teacher?’
‘Verb first?’
‘No. I am shocked, so I making a statement. But … did you have sex with a teacher?’
‘No, but I knew his eyes always watch me in special way. Other little things, too.’
‘Like what?’
‘He is PE teacher. He took a shower and looked my body all over. Hungry eyes. Can I say hungry eyes?’
‘I’m not sure, but I understand. Too well. That is disgusting. Horrible. Terrible.’
‘No it not. He has beautiful body and always very nice to me. He make me sexy too. It was a fun.’
‘Dan. I don’t want to talk about this any more. It is not a nice topic. Who is the woman we can see in the mirror?’
‘She help at home. Clean.’
‘Is she a cleaner?’
‘Yes, a cleaner.’
‘How do you know?’
‘She wears for cleaning.’
‘She is dressed for cleaning. Like me at Casey’s.’
‘She wears clothes. Sorry, is wearing clothes. You is akt.’
‘Very funny. Akt is a German word. I was naked. Is the cleaner wearing a uniform?’
‘Maybe. The swimmers are.’
‘Are what?’
‘Wearing uniform.’
‘What is she doing?’
‘She is looking at standing man through, sorry in, the mirror and he looks at her too.’
‘They are looking at each other in the mirror.’
‘Standing man waiting that she go away.’
‘You wait for someone to do something. He is waiting for her to go away.’
‘And then he will go to his boyfriend.’
‘What? In the teacher’s book it said that they are Olympic swimmers. They can’t be boyfriends.’
‘Why not?’
‘Olympic swimmers aren’t like that.’
‘Anyone can be “like that”.’
‘Even you? Even me?’
‘Is possible.’
It is possible.’
‘So you agree.’
‘Dan, what are you saying?’
‘Funny picture. In true, I was fucking the cleaner, and the boss find us like so.’
‘Yes, very funny. I had not thought of it like that. Casey caught us in the act.’
Akt is a German word. Do you mean naked?’
‘No, we were caught in the act. He saw us doing something we shouldn’t have been doing.’
‘And here the cleaner catches them before the act.’
‘Rubbish. Nonsense. They are not going to do that. Anyway, I would like my job back.’
‘Did you ask Casey?’
‘Yes, at the opera. But he said he’s found someone else.’
‘He is very fast.’
‘I was surprised when he said ‘he’.’
‘Maybe a student? All students need money.’
‘But boys cannot do housework. That is why Casey needs a female cleaner. He doesn’t have any women in his life.’
‘Not even a cleaner!’
‘Maybe he knows someone else who needs a cleaner. I could work for someone else.’
‘But you are a bad girl. You take boyfriend into flat. Fuck in his bed. He cannot say to another man that you are good.’
‘Do you think it is my fault?’
‘Of course. You know it was wrong.’
‘Dan. You’re making me angry.’
‘What can I say?’
‘I just want your support.’
‘I support. But Casey can stop your work if he not like it. In picture, men live in flat together. They can fuck any time. But in Casey’s flat, I can’t be there.’
‘If you like the idea of these men fucking so much, why don’t you go and clean for Casey?’
‘Is good idea.’

Do check out Calvin Corvidian’s ‘Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit’, which is available in both paperback and electronic book formats over at Lulu.com.