David and the Lion’s Den: Chapters
Story and Character Guide
What’s ‘David and the Lion’s Den’?
It’s my quirky, character-driven mystery novel set in Greenwich Village during the worst of the HIV Plague Years. David and a gang of only-in-New York personalities walk a path that leads to intense friendship and love, to the creation of gorgeous but wrenching art, and to the unraveling of a series of horrific events that nobody sees, not even as they happen. Because sometimes what you’re looking at isn’t what you see.
It all starts with David’s insensitive first sentence:
I slouched on the old fashioned park bench and tried not to stare at the hooker. She sat across from me in the shade of a ragged potted palm, tearing tiny pieces off a deli sandwich and popping them in her mouth to avoid smearing the wax caked on her lips.
- David — A 23-year-old fine art painter from Kansas, trying to make it in Chelsea and the Village of late-1980s New York.
- Jill — A slightly older young woman whose couch David crashes on. She’s “cool and hot, thick and curvy during an era when waif-thin was the fashion.”
- Hilda — A beloved Village fixture in her late 80s — with a past that leaves David fascinated and repulsed. Every time he thinks he understands her, she shocks him again.
- Carla — In her own words, Mistress Carla is New York’s “oldest working crossing-dressing dominatrix prostitute.” She and Hilda are close friends. David doesn’t understand why Carla seems to look out for him.
- Richard — Another of Hilda’s close friends, Richard is a retired Madison Avenue ad man. He becomes David’s first fan, introducing him to movers and shakers in the Soho gallery scene.
- Howie — His calling in life is bartending. He’s the life of the party and the beating moral heart of the novel. David falls in love with Howie without realizing it.
- Raphael — A “preternaturally beautiful” youth, Raphael is aggressively bisexual and not adverse to taking pecuniary advantage of his looks. He’s also painfully shy and doesn’t have a friend in the world, something David doesn’t realize until it’s far too late.
- The Colombian Boy — This mysterious character haunts the corners of the story. He first appears as a starving, freezing, 14-year-old immigrant. When his tale intersects with the main story, David’s life and art spin out of control.