This work of fiction is dedicated to Lisa
a Canadian peninsula, 1937
I was never told why exactly our people came to this land. Some say it was to escape the Civil War that many feared would last forever and we'd never know peace. Others say it was to start a religion that ultimately failed to take hold. We were a region without faith -- possibly because of the abominations that inhabited the lush valley in the middle of the island. The soil was rich, black and crops grew well but no one dared to raise livestock because the abominations would snatch them up for food. They were giants, near sixty feet tall. Some of them had two eyes and some just had one. It was said that one should never look into their eyes because they would steal your soul. I'd heard the tale that my own father had wandered too close to the valley in a stupor. Some say he'd been hypnotized, but my own Mama told me he had simply 'taken to drink' and just disappeared during a blizzard. . No one would go near the valley out of fear and also because of the stench from their waste.
My mother sold her canned vegetables and berries in town along with her handmade quilts and such. Near her shop was old Mrs. Silven who sold jewelry and was known as an oracle. She could predict things. She's the one who warned my mother to keep a close eye on me. "He's a boy, Hannah. Boys are daring and foolhardy and this one.." she pointed a gnarled finger at me and looked into my straw-colored eyes "..this one is drawn to the valley." Mama thought her a kook, but still kept a close watch on me. I was strangely drawn to the valley. The smell was no worse that some others I had smelled. I'd never seen one of the giants before and really wanted to at least catch a glimpse. Mama believed in God who was some giant man in the sky that I'd never seen. There were giant men here who could be seen -- why were they were not worthy of worship? That's the other thing...there were only male giants on the island. No females. According to the old woman, the added stench in the air was from the rotting bodies of giants who were succumbing to sickness. "They harpoon each other in their backsides which causes them to take sick and die. It comes from the unnatural acts. Sinning against nature brought about their plaque." Mama and the old witch thought they'd all be gone from the valley in a year's time. I hoped not. I was older now and had found ways to sneak off every chance I got. I smoked hand-rolled cigarettes on my walks to the valley. I could hear them at times, but still hadn't see one.
One Summer, Mama took to her bed with a sickness of her own. Her heart had always been weak and she went through bad spells. I tended her shop and her garden and made her meals. The rest of my time was spent in the valley. There was an ice cold creek running through the bottom and rumor had it there was a little waterfall somewhere nearby. I pretended to be in search of that, but I wanted to see the giants, see them committing unnatural acts with each other. What I finally found though was a giant's corpse. He had died lying down on crushed trees and boulders. He hadn't been dead long and only had a slight, sweet smell of rot. I saw a raggedy coyote approach the body and sniff it carefully. I wanted to chase it away. If only I'd brought my rifle. And then a giant hand reached down and snatched away the unlucky predator. Standing nearby was a living giant who had been waiting by the body, using it for bait to attract food. At least they weren't cannibals, as had been rumored. The living giant smelled worse than the dead one. He had moss growing between his enormous toes and actual toadstools on his toenails . And then he finally saw me. Was I done for? I'd bring my rifle and hunt game for this GOD. I told Him as much with my mind, He was naked of course. He reached down and grasped me lightly with one hand. I could look down at the tops of trees when he lift me up to his face. He looked right at me with eyes the size of large crates. I didn't care if He took my soul with the stare. I wasn't using it for much anyway. He stuck out an enormous red, pointed tongue and licked my chest. It was softer and not nearly as rough as one might imagine. It was a test as well as a taste. If He ate me, I believe it would only be painful for a second, maybe less. He smiled with a mouth full of jagged teeth that were mostly rotted. I inhaled the vile smell of his breath as if it were holy incense. Hot and humid. He then set me down at His feet. I bowed my head and vowed my allegiance to Him for eternity. And then he made water which washed me completely as it shot me right on my scalp. I understood I was being baptized. It strangely didn't have much of a smell. Or else my sense of smell had been deadened by His other odors. He turned and left, making a new path through the ruined brush and downed trees. I was unable to move for a minute or more. Maybe many minutes more. I was new.
I took a short swim in the creek even though it was washing away some of the holy Man Water away. Mama could smell anything, weak heart or not. And old Mrs. Silven was tending to her and she'd know what I'd done. She was part Indian and knew all about root doctorin', herbs, teas and such. I'd avoid her as much as possible. She'd sense my recent conversion and worry Mama's poor heart. I took the long way home so my clothes could dry some. I was barefoot - so at least I didn't have socks or shoes to worry about. It was a hot Summer day and I was nearly dry as when I left from the homestead. No Mrs. Silven when I got home, but Mama was callin' for me.
"Boy -- bring me a cold wet cloth for my head. I must be almost mended because I no longer feelin' chilly. You been swimming? I smell the water."
"Yes, M'am. I went for a dip in the pond out back."
"Careful of snapper turtles -- they'll bite the toes clean off your feet. Did you tend the garden?" I hadn't.
"Not yet. Let me fetch you that wet cloth first." I fetched a cloth and soaked it in the cold well water, wrung it out and brought it back to put across her forehead.
"You want some Supper, Ma?"
"No. Mrs. Silven brought over a concoction made from plants and the web of some special spider. It made me feel stronger but my appetite id completely gone. I'll be able to get up tomorrow."
"Good. I might be going out to camp with Luke and Jim tonight. Will you be fine here without me?"
"Yes. Have fun. But come here." She took my hand. "You're a man now, Joseph. I know you crave adventure and new things. Please have a care about the bad things in this world. You've strayed from the Lord and I can't make you come back. But know I pray for you always."
"I'll tend to the garden now, Mama." She sighed heavily as I left her room.
I checked the garden for weeds and grubs. It was thriving in the hot sun and regular rainfall. Was I just imagining it -- or were the gourds getting bigger and riper as I stood near them? The tomatoes too. No. I'd been blessed. That's why the valley was so lush and verdant -- God, Gods lived there. I hadn't strayed from the Lord, Mama. I'd found Him/Them. The strawberries were huge. Getting bigger, redder before my eyes. Thank you for this abundance, Giant Gods. I went back inside to tell Mama that the berries and tomatoes were nearly ready to harvest.
"'Tis not possible, Joseph. It's too early." I took her hand to spread my blessed powers to her heart. "
"You'll soon be well enough to check for yourself." and she suddenly gasped.
"Yes. I want to see. Now. I am feeling perfect." I helped her up and we out to the garden while she she was still her nightgown. "I'll be! 'Tis a miracle!"
"I was going to eat some bread with cured ham before I left. Want to join me?"
"I do! I surely do!"
I prepared us some plates of crusty bread and chunks of ham. Cheese would have been good too, but the price was too dear just now. Mama ate everything on her plate. She had her color back. I helped her to the chair where she liked to read by the light of a kerosene lamp.
"It might get colder tonight, Son. Take some matchsticks from the kitchen and build a fire if you have to. This hot spell can't last forever. Take one of Grandmother Tarsie's old blankets too. Just please be careful." I wouldn't just be careful, Mama -- I'd be cared for. I packed my rucksack and headed to town first. I stopped behind Jim's papa's shop and purchased some moonshine he brewed. I knew my own father took to drink and it killed him eventually. But I hankered for some tonight. I was immortal now.
I wore shoes this time. I'd be mindful of my God's droppings by just smelling for them. I made it down to the creek just as the sun had set. I found where the previous giant had made a path. Did He want me to follow it? I chose a spot to build a bonfire. I gathered some kindling from nearby. Summer storms had dropped many limbs, thin branches and sticks. Those plus some dry, dead brush made starting a bonfire fairly easy. It grew brighter and larger than I'd thought. This would draw Them to me. I sat near the luxurious warmth of the flames and drank some of the moonshine. I wasn't hard on my tongue or my throat - but it hit my belly like a grenade. I fought to breathe. I smoked my last cigarette and took another sip. Maybe They were fearful of fire. Maybe They were all deep in slumber. I drank more and wished I'd brought another cigarette.
The sounds. They were coming this way. I heard trees falling under The weight of Their heavy, strong feet came crashing toward the fire. I'd see all of them at last. There were six or seven of Them. Standing near me - plus two more on the other side of the creek. I knelt down in plain sight, praying, sending them my mental promises of devotion and servitude. They didn't talk exactly -- it sounded like barks and hoots. I think the giant I'd met earlier was the one who picked me up and started passing me around to the others. Their hands were rough and Their long, nails tore my clothes to shreds. Each of them drank in my soul through Their eyes (two of Them only had one eye). I was happy to feed them. Their voices became murmurs. I was put down again and They each started to pleasuring Themselves with Their hands. I got undressed completely and stood naked before them . I knew seed would rain down on me. I had so many cuts on my body from Their nails. I was willing to sacrifice as much blood as I had in me to Them. It didn't take long for a large puddle of holy sperm to land on me. It was heavy and knocked me to the ground. It smelled wonderful. More kept falling and splattering on my prostate body. I just couldn't believe how much weight each drop carried. One of the spurts nearly put out the fire. There was white/gray/milky puddles all around me. My open wounds were exposed to it and it must have gotten deep inside me; it felt like the force of life itself. I sat down and rubbed Their goo with my hands. I swear as I held a pool of it in my pal close to the flames, I could see thousands of tiny baby minnows wiggling around. I used a finger to coat it well and buggered my own back-end hole with it. Why? It felt like it's something They wanted me to do. My Gods were watching me. I needed to sit now. I settled down into a puddle of Their living liquid. The fire was keeping it comfortably warm. I opened the rucksack and dug out the mason jar full of moonshine and drank some lethal gulps. It further warmed me. They were still around me. I knew somehow They wanted to protect me as I slept. Maybe They'd watch the fire in case it spread out of control. I s'pose it was possible They didn't want me wash off Their fertile gift in the creek. I wouldn't dare. I let the fire dry it to a crust as I slowly drank myself to a dreamless slumber. I woke to the sound of thunder. It usually rained much later in the morning. I felt the first drop fall. My clothes were but shreds now. I'd walk home and just tell Mama the others had pranked me. What I hated most was that the rain was starting to wash Their seed off of me. it was becoming lumpy paste as it slid off. I took shelter in an old, rotting barn to wait out the heaviest of the downpour. One of my wounds was still somewhat opened. But the rest had scabbed over nicely with no sign of infection. It occurred to me that I could heal myself -- but what of the virus within me? I'd welcome it and its devastation. None of my Gods last night seemed ill. The rain was lighter now. I finished the moonshine as the sun came up. Mama always said that when the sun shone while it rained - the devil's daughter was getting married. Such nonsense. All of my gift from the Giants had washed away and I was soaking wet by the time I made it home. I hurried inside and the house was quiet as a tomb. I cracked Mama's door a bit and saw that she was sleeping soundly. Her breathing was much better and I knew she's be up soon.
I got dressed in all new clothes Mama had made for me and put on my old pair of shoes. No sooner did I go to the kitchen to start a fire in the stove than Mama walked in with her dressing gown on. "When did you get back, Son?"
"Just now. I changed to go run the shop for you."
"It's Sunday, Joseph. The Lord's day. Where's your new shoes?"
"I was pranked by the boys and Luke hid them somewhere. I was going to go look for them after tending the garden."
"You do the gardening now while I make us some breakfast. The shoes can wait."
I couldn't believe how many ripe tomatoes were ready to be picked. I filled my arms with ten of them and went back inside. "Look, Mama!"
"Lord be! It's an early harvest! Let me chop a few and we'll have them with eggs and sausage. Also toast if you want."
"I'm not too hungry right now."
"But you always love breakfast. Let me touch your forehead. Oh no! You've got a fever! You took in too much night air and got caught in the cold rain. It's just a little sickening is all. I'll brew tea."
I left her to busy with the kettle and fled the house. I knew I could be dying. I was a smaller, weaker man than They were. Perhaps I was being claimed for the same eternity They shared. I stopped to spill what little was in my stomach. My fever was climbing still higher. I would not have much time before weakness would take my legs from beneath me. I'd be well soon. They would heal me -- unless I had the same sickness they had. But perhaps because I was a mere mortal, I could be healed. Perhaps I would become one of Them.
I sat on the creek bank. The rains had made the water level rise. It sparkled and begged to be tasted. My fever was spiking. I called to Them, prayed to Them. I lay back on the soft mud and closed my eyes. I felt Them coming before hearing the trees breaking. They were in a hurry. My salvation had arrived. Amen.
Note from Toon: One of my first reprimands on BZ was because I posted a bug-chasing story that contained some chem references. It was me not knowing the rules and it was also lazy writing. I didn't think the story through ahead of time, and added the "and then he drugged me" part just to get to the ending. I never forgot the original idea for the story and I hope I've matured enough as a member and as a storyteller to finally get it right.
THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION
1999 - some city in the Midwest
Hi. I'm Danny. I tried to go by 'Dan' for the longest time, but I guess I must just look like a Danny because nobody could ever call me anything else. Another thing about me is I'm gay. I used to blame Mr. Rogers because he was the one who said he liked me just how I was. So I always thought it was okay that I'd rather be a girl than a boy. I had two much older sisters and used to envy their lives. The clothes, the makeup, the way they laughed with their friends and the boys...THE BOYS! who showed up at our door every other night. They shared a room and I was never supposed to go in there, but I always did because I loved looking at all their perfect stuff. I once tried on a tiny little bit of their perfume and got nailed for it (I maybe put on more than a 'tiny' bit) I got in trouble so bad and also spanked -- just for being who I was. Mr Rogers would never ever spank me. So I stayed in the closet, trying to never want to be a girl ever again. I stayed very much pretending to be boy until my college years when I finally just admitted the gay part of me was real and wouldn't go away.
Another thing about me is that I'm either dumb or just have dumb luck. Possibly both. I chose journalism as a major and entered the workforce just as every newspaper in the country had cut its staff to the bone. Cable news and the fucking internet was killing my opportunities. The big local paper didn't even have any openings in the mail room. I finally landed a crummy position as a copy & paste guy for one of the town's free alternative weeklies. You know the type -- lots of 'scene news', concerts, local bands and city hall corruption. Luckily it was liberal and anarchist in tone. The staff was a bunch of people not much older than me and at least four of them were openly gay. I adapted right away and got along with the editor/owner (Ed) really well. It didn't pay much but my parents and the one sister who still liked me helped me stay afloat those first few months. I lived in a very shitty apartment - but so did everybody I worked with. Except Ed. We brought in tons of ad revenue because it was free and everybody read it. We made a shit-load of money from the personal ads which catered to every sexual appetite. I remember having lunch with Ed once and we talked about everything.
"I wish I was gay -- there are so many guys looking to hook up with no strings attached." Ed was an idiot sometimes.
"It's not all that great. Be glad with the hand you were dealt. I was thinking of placing an ad myself, strings optional."
"Don't. No offense, Danny, but you are so young and would be easy prey for all the weirdos out there. Why don't you and Lance meet up for a drink sometime?"
"He lives in my building - that would be too weird. You know I'm a journalism grad, right?"
"Look - I've tried to explain it to you already. You're too new here and don't know 'the scene' yet. You don't know the clubs, the local bands, the art galleries...all that."
"What about features? I could pitch you some ideas, some spec pieces."
"OK. Let's meet next week and you pitch me some ideas that will knock my socks off."
"Well, it's Friday. I guess you'll be leaving early - especially since it's Halloween. I'd be surprised if half the office is still there when we go back. You kids."
He was right. I suppose they could all claim they were 'chasing a lead' or some shit like that. Lucky bastards. Thank God Lance was gone too. I didn't need Ed trying to initiate something between he and I. I was once alone with him and he asked if I dyed my hair and wore colored contacts. He said he asked because he'd never seen such a perfect Aryan specimen before. What do you say to that? 'Thank you'?? I got my blonde hair and blue eyes from my mom who is mostly Irish. Fuck him anyway.
I stayed at work because I had no real big plans even though I'd always loved Halloween. My only weekend plans were to get stoned and listen to some new CD's. Same as old. The only person left by 5:00 was this friendly fat girl named Lana who claimed she was named after Lana Turner. I had to swallow my laughter but most other people couldn't. She was a notorious flirt and I couldn't be stuck with just her for another fifteen minutes. I took off.
Ed was right. I hadn't really bothered to explore the city. I'd start now. Right now. There was this ratty little bar I passed on the way home every day. I'll stop. There might not be a story there, but there were surely some characters there. It would be a start. There was plenty of parking because it was so early. I got carded the second I got in the door. The doorman was at least nice about it. There'd soon come a time when I'd never be asked for I.D. again because we all age -- if we're lucky.
"You're lucky, kiddo...at six we start charging a dollar cover to anybody not in a costume tonight.
"I'm going as Tab Hunter."
"What's that?" I laughed and handed him a dollar anyway. He might be a good source some day. You never know.
I didn't even know what the name of this place was but there was a rainbow flag on the wall behind the bar. OK. My first gay bar. The bartender was a bald guy who smiled but looked at me like I was lost. "Happy Halloween. young man. Where's your costume?" I wasn't going to try the Tab Hunter joke again.
"Not my thing. Where's yours?"
"I'm going as Earl, a grumpy old bastard whose back and feet hurt like hell."
"Well done. I'll take a Bud draw."
It was well past happy hour before the crowd started getting larger. I'd nursed my beers slowly because there's no way I could afford a DUI. And then I saw the first one. The patrons here were mostly skinny, unwashed guys not much older than me. The one who sat next to me had a cotton pad and surgical tape wrapped around his inner arm. Drugs? Drugs weren't a new story. Maybe he was injured somehow. The wound dressing looked hospital fresh, very professional.
"Were you hurt? What happened?"
"Buy me a shot of jack and I'll tell you."
I ordered one for him and one for me. What the hell, right? I'd never tried whiskey before.
I downed it and turned the glass upside down - just like he did. "So what happened?"
"Some guy paid me fifty bucks to cut me. It's his thing I guess. Hardly hurt at all."
Oh, there was a story here.
"What does he do with the blood? Or does he just get off cutting?" I'd never heard of such a thing.
"Every piece of information is gonna cost you another shot." Well, there was an ATM on one end of the bar. It might be worth it.
"Hold on - I'll be right back."
I went to the bathroom as fast as I could and then took out 50 bucks from the machine. On my way back, I saw another grungy guy with another big bandage on his arm - in a different spot, closer to his wrist. I stumbled onto something. For sure.
I sat next to the same guy and asked him if he knew the other wounded customer. He pointed to his empty glass.
"Two more shots, Earl."
"Yeah. I know him. You could say we work together. He goes to see the same freak I do, gives a little blood."
"But you don't know why or what he does with the blood?"
"Look, man. I really can't tell you much else. But you can suck my dick for twenty bucks. Check it out." He pulled out a greasy penis that I wouldn't touch with Rubbermaid gloves on ." WHAP! Earl slapped the dumb kid on the side of the head so loud it caught the whole bar's attention.
"I've already warned you about that shit, Randy. Now get the hell out of here!!" The doorman was right there immediately to escort the dude away. Earl looked at me. "Sorry to disturb you, young man. I put up with a lot here, but hustlers get in my fuckin' nerves. This place is a little too close to the bus station. That's the problem."
"I was asking him about the cut on his arm. Some freaky guy pays to cut him to bleed."
"Yeah. I see 'em here all the time. Fucker probably uses the same knife to do it. Why do you care? You some kind of humanitarian or somethin'? A liberal"
"I'm a reporter. He really wasn't good for too much information. Do you know anything about it."
"I know some of it. If I tell you anything BUT, you can't ever use my name or the name of this pub."
"What IS the name of this place? You don't even have a sign out front,"
"Well, it used to be called Ernie's Place, but Ernie passed on and left it to his son. He agreed to keep the place open but not with the same name because he's an Ernie Jr. and some kind of asshole, We ain't decided on a new name yet."
"OK. For a really nice tip, tell me what you know about the guy who cuts these kids." Earl poured us some tall glasses that were half filled with jack and ice and then coke added on top.
I left him a twenty. "Well, I hear a lot. I may wear a hearing aid, but it's an expensive one and I catch a lot more than these jerks think I do. This weirdo is some rich artist who lives in one one of those big expensive lofts they built not far from here. He prefers the blood of young, drugged up hustlers. I guess he doesn't suck their dicks or do anything sexual with them - just collects their blood...and then mixes it with paint for his fuckin' art!"
"You're shittin' me."
"No. Ain't this some kind of shit world Clinton left us?"
"How can I find this artist?"
"That I don't know. But I think Jerry knows. The bouncer. He's pretty busy right now, but he'll be able to tell you more when it slows down. This ain't exactly gonna be the hot spot on a night like this. We got a pool table and a couple of pinball games over there. They're all working tonight -- which is a big fuckin' miracle in my book." I got a few bucks worth of quarters and left him another five buck tip. I guess I could eat sandwiches from home for lunch all next month. I had honed my pinball skills in the college dorm I lived in for two years. Everybody else was getting laid and going to keg parties while I just played whatever game they had in the student lounge. I could basically make two bucks in quarters last all night if I had to, I was familiar with both games and was in the process of tallying up high scores when one of the bandage guys approached to ask if he could play me.
"Sure." I'd already won a bunch of free games, so what the hell? He wasn't very good as I took stock of him. He looked a little unwashed, but not too bad. Almost cute.
"You won. His name is Salvador. I can't tell you how to find him. That would be putting me in danger -- which I don't need any more of. Let's just say he's close to here." Just then Earl came by with a fresh pitcher of beer for me.
"Don't waste your time, Greg -- he ain't buyin' and you sure as hell ain't sellin' in here. Move along."
"I'm gone. Gotta get back to work anyway."
"You do that." We watched him walk out the door. "Listen, kid... I know you're tryin' to be Brenda Starr or whatever, but nothin' good can come from talking to them types. It's starting to slow down a little. Come on back to the bar and wait for Jerry." I had like five bucks worth of free games left and it was only midnight. "Leave the games - I won't charge you for the beer. AND give you a shot of whatever." Well, OK then. It really had emptied out a lot. I guess this was another one of those 'starting-off bars' - you come here first for a cheap buzz and then move on to bigger and better clubs. That or they were locals just looking to drown their sorrows.
Earl laid down a shot of something red. "It's a Hot Damn. Most popular shot we sell." It was like swallowing a mixture of Big Red gum and Draino. I tried my best not to make a face.
"I think I've hit my limit, Earl. I haven't even eaten any dinner today."
"It's OK. One more shot and you'll get your second wind, How far away do you live? Suburbs?"
"It's only about five blocks from here, but my car..."
"Jerry has a sticker he'll put on your windshield. I can even have Jose walk you home if you don't feel safe. Big Mexican kid who stocks the cooler and cleans up. He'll be here by 2. Here- have some pretzels." I dug into them with the gusto of a starving man.
"You sure you don't know anything else about this guy who cuts up hustlers?"
"Oh - I was gonna tell you one thing I overheard once. This freak lives in one of them lofts over on Grant. You know -- it used to be a factory or something but they made these giant apartments on each floor. Imagine paying over a thousand bucks each month to live in one big room?"
"You don't know which one?"
"No. But it's a good location to find all the hustlers around here. Here's my thinking -- you should just let this go. Anybody with money like that can probably have you killed."
It was pretty weird alright. Maybe it wasn't worth it just to get a slightly better paying job at a free alternative paper. But still -- there was something about it that captivated me, possibly turned me on. Maybe all this time in the closet had warped me beyond repair. Somewhere Mr. Rogers was shaking head in disappointment. Was he even still alive? No idea.
Jerry joined us. He was the typical ex-con-looking muscle dude you always see manning the door at dive bars. Tattoos, shaved head and various scars. "Hey Jerry - the kid here has been maybe over-served a little and his car is still in the lot. Can you go put the yellow sticker on it so he can leave it overnight?"
"No problem." He was a friendly sort of thug. "But I need a drink. I'm parched."
I bought us all pitchers of beer which Earl gave me a great discount on. "So - Earl tells me you might know something about that guy, that artist guy who pays hustlers to give blood."
"Goddamn Earl! All I know he came in here once. I guess he was "shopping". He looked like pure evil, man. A tall dude dressed in black with an energy that was black as well. Not young, not old...hard to tell his exact age. He seemed sick to me...in every way. The thing I remember most is the neatly trimmed beard and mustache that looked like the devil himself . He left with some piece of trash and never came back. Why the hell are you so interested?"
"I'm a reporter -- well, I'm trying to be one. My boss wants me to find a really good story. I think this might be it."
It was pretty much just the three of us left. Some stragglers who had clearly partied all night would peek in, look around and stumble back away out into the night. "You two need to look prettier", Earl joked. "Fuckin' Hell -- Jose is here early. He knows I let him drink free before he starts work, but I guess he wants a little more...fat bastard. The door opened and in walked a large Hispanic male who was nearly as wide as he was tall. He kept his eyes to the floor as he walked toward us. Very shy. I recognized that mannerism in myself at times. Eye contact could be a problem for me too.
He sat on the other empty stool next to me. A big silent lump.
"Now we got us a party!" I was drunk. "C'mon guys - it's Halloween !"
Earl looked at me and shook his head.
"Why don't you go show Jerry where your car is and he can sticker it. Do it now before you forget what it looks like."
Jerry helped me up and we went out the front door. I thought I was walking just fine but He kept one arm around my shoulders as we walked to the lot. Mine was an 88 Subaru, piece of shit that nobody would steal. I didn't know it at the time, but I'd parked right under a bright security light. It looked like last prize on the worst game show of all time. Jerry slapped a little round, neon yellow sticker on the driver's side window.
"Hold on, Danny Boy. I got something for you. Don't look at it now.."He shoved it brazenly down into my right front pocket. "Some underage punk had gave it to me accidentally when I asked for id. It's the freak's business card. It's all gobbledy-gook, but you're a reporter. Don't try to figure it out tonight. Look - also promise me you won't go see him alone. Take somebody with you. Take me with you. I can kick anybody's ass. Promise me you won't go alone."
"Yes." That wasn't really an answer, I guess. And then I kissed him. I just felt like it.
"Whoa. I swing that way sometimes. but you're pretty out of it. Don't try making out with Jose when he walks you home." He laughed like I'd never consider it but I probably would.
Earl was unplugging the games when we got back. It was barely even 1. I guess he wasn't expecting much business tonight. I was technically the only customer left.
"Hey Earl! Three more Hot Damns!"
"Already waiting for you and the guys along with the drinks you already ordered. But then you gotta scram. Deal?"
"Yes." I went to the ATM one more time so I could pay and leave a really nice tip.
I sat down in my spot between the two big guys and all was right with the world. I understood why people became alcoholics--because it's so much fun.
"Jose was a real gentleman -- he wouldn't touch his free booze until you two got back." Earl gave a quick look at Jerry, wondering.
I was freely talking about nonsense and they were all nice enough to listen. And then I got double vision and knew I needed to go home. You pay the price for fun.
Earl looked at me. "Want me to call you a cab, kid?"
I tried to focus. 'No, no -- that would just keep you here longer. It's only five blocks. I can do it." I put all the money I had left on the bar and stood up. Yeah - I could do this. I wasn't that far gone.
"Go with him, Jose. Get him home and then get your fat ass back here. Fast."
The night air was nice, just chilly enough to wake me up. Jose made me walk slow and kept a hand on my back.
"Why do you let him talk to you like that, Jose? Call you names and shit?" I felt him shrug.
"I'm fat. I've known that my whole life. I can't get too mad at somebody telling the truth."
"It's rude. I think you're handsome."
"Because you're polite -- a drunk, polite idiot. I heard about you trying to find that cutter guy. That's stupid."
"Yeah. I just want to be a reporter, Maybe too much."
"There are other stories in this shit town. I got two brothers in prison and one in the ground, Gang shit."
"Man, I'm sorry."
"I buried my anger and sadness with food. That's what I do."
I had nothing to say -- so I just stopped and hugged him. He hugged back. We were standing next to a little park. There was a trash can with a fire in it. A cowardly little bit of Halloween vandalism.
"Let's go in here for a minute."
"You gotta hurl?"
I just walked a little ways past the fire and Jose followed. He seemed concerned. I just held him again and gave him a huge kiss on his perfect lips. He liked it so much that he wrapped me in his arms and squeezed the life out of me. It was the kiss that never ended. Then he stopped and looked at me. The fire flames made him look like a movie star. He really was handsome under all that grief and blubber. I unzipped his jeans and took his fat, stubby little dick out. It was rock hard. I just got down on my knees and sucked it passionately. He kneaded the back of my head and humped my face. In less than a minute he shot a big load in my mouth. It didn't taste like anything. I guess the booze had killed my taste buds. I fell when I tried to stand back up. He caught me by the arm and helped me stand.
"Wow. I wasn't expecting that, Dan."
"Neither was I."
He zipped himself up. "It's not just because you're drunk, is it?"
I had to answer him honestly. "I might not have been so bold if I was sober, but I would have still wanted to. I've never done that. Ever. I had my first kiss already -- with Jerry. This was another first."
"So when you wake up tomorrow, you won't regret this?"
"I'm sure I'll regret drinking so much, but not this part."
"Good. Because it was my first time too. I'd like to see you again. Think you'd ...that we could date maybe?" I took his hand.
"Yes, Jose. I'd like that." I really meant it. He was still breathing heavily after his orgasm.
"Can I have your number?"
"I don't have a pen. Do you?"
"No. Can you come back to the bar tomorrow -- around 11?"
"Sure. I promise I'll just drink Cokes"
We walked hand in hand all the way to my building. "Wait. You live here?"
"My sister Mara lives here too! She's on the third floor."
"I'm on the eighth, #801."
"Cool. How 'bout I drop by and pick you up for a late lunch. Around 2?"
I watched him walk away and missed him already. Once I got back inside my apartment, I raced to the bathroom and started puking before I could even lift the toilet seat. It was red and smelled like Hot Damn. And it just kept coming. I was so tired and yet there's no way I could make it out of this bathroom. After I was sure I had nothing left to get rid of, my stomach decided to just heave all the nothing. I'd never do this again. I finally just slept right there on the floor, shoes and all my clothes on. Never again. NEVER! I swore.
I actually didn't feel all that terrible when I woke up -- just thirsty. I kept Gatorade on hand always, not because I exercised or anything. I just liked the taste. I knew it was good for hangovers because of a roommate I had in college who was a major party animal. I sat on my little kitchen stool and drank a full bottle. I thought of the previous night. Of Jose. Of the bandaged kids. Of the bar with no name. Jerry. Hot Damn. (shudder) Oh wait! That card in my jeans. I retrieved it and looked at it as I helped myself to another Gatorade. It was glossy black with red typography. It said "Larva Sod" which was an obvious anagram for 'Salvador' - but the phone number looked too weird, not local. I needed to eat something. I ate a dry bowl of Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch and followed it up with a hot cup of instant coffee. I took a long shower and put on some boxers. I looked at the card again. Not a local number...except if you looked at it backwards. Then it started with this city's area code, followed by the same prefix as mine and then it became a local number. Pretty lazy and easy if he was trying to be all mysterious. I'd have more cereal and another cup of coffee. It wasn't even noon yet. November 1st.
I dialed the number. A few rings later, a woman answered "Gallery. This is Valerie..." I swear it was Julie Andrews herself.
"Yes. Hello. (I needed to sound like a rich guy) I'm an art collector and I'd like to see Salvador's work."
"It's by appointment only and I'm afraid the earliest I can get you in Wednesday at 3 PM."
"I see. That would work on my end. I'll Be there, Can I have the address please? Ring the buzzer at the door of 311 Westbury . It's in the old garment district. And your name? "
"Daniel Sherwood." That sounded like a rich man's name, to me it did.
"See you next week, Mr. Sherwood. Have a most pleasant day." CLICK
I scribbled the address down on a post-it. OK. I would pitch the idea to ED as soon as he had a spare minute. I was excited, not scared at all. I'd go alone too. I'd just never mention it to the guys at Nameless Bar. Speaking of which -- there were still three hours to kill before Jose got here. Wait - did he say 1 or 2? I'd be ready by 1 just in case I got dressed and went to the grocery store. I'd use a credit card I kept for emergencies. I'd call home tomorrow and make up some reason I needed a little extra this month. I bought some basics along with two six-packs of Corona...it seemed like Jose would like it.
We had our late lunch at Applebee's because that was his favorite place. He was a little sweaty and unkempt because he did yard work during the day. Leaf blowing, raking, mulching. He made a comment or two about how he couldn't believe I still remembered everything from last night and still wanted to be with him.
"You didn't eat much, Dan. Are you nervous?"
"Maybe. I've never been on a date before."
"Me either. I'm a virgin -- but I want to have sex with you."
"I want that too, Jose. Neither of us will know what's what, but we can figure it out together."
We had sex. I'd never bothered to buy condoms or lube because I hadn't seen this day coming anytime soon. His size made it awkward and clumsy. It felt like one of those giant rubber bounce houses was on top of me. It only hurt a little and he came fast. It was not memorable sex, but I have to say that I'm glad it happened for both of us,My futon really got a workout -- I couldn't wait to get a bigger place and have an actual bed. He was breathing heavily.
"Did you like it?"
"Yes, Jose. It was perfect. Thank you."
"Mind if I take a nap right here. And hold you? You could probably use some rest too." Oh yes.
His cum was inside me and it made me feel complete somehow. I loved the heat from his body, his smell, his calloused feet on my leg. I drifted off, dreaming of blood. Not a nightmare.
I went back to No Name Bar on Saturday. It was later than I'd meant to go. Jose kept me busy for hours. He loved blow jobs more than anything else. I found out I had a thing for armpits and sweat. It was all so new for both of us.
"Well hello again, Danny Boy! You sure kept Jose out late this morning. You didn't? With that fat piece of shit?
"Be nice to him -- he's gone through shit you can't imagine. No. Nothing happened. I just had to puke a couple of times. He waited."
He looked taken aback. Hurt. I wish I'd never kissed him. "Sorry, man. It's pretty crowded tonight. There are three of them cut scumbags here already. Remember you promised not to go to that guy without me?"
"Yeah. I couldn't make sense of the shit on that business card. The number doesn't work. Weird."
Earl was tending bar again and almost in a good mood. I guess everybody's glad to see a good tipper. I'd walked here wearing a windbreaker. "Well -- you're looking better than I thought you would. Oh - and I know you and that fat piece of shit did something last night."
"Stop calling him that. I mean it. All he did was wait while I puked my guts out in that little park,,,and again when I had to puke again three minutes later. "
"Yeah -- I know that big smile he couldn't get off his face for an hour. Watching some kid vomit always cheers me right up." He gave me a rum and coke on the house. Making amends, I guess. "I'm sorry. I'll be nicer to him -- he's actually a decent guy."
"Thanks. I like him a lot. Just give him a break with all the fat jokes."
"I'm not one to judge. I'm 68 fuckin' years old and married to a woman with a face like a boot. I love her though."
"Hopefully I can meet her some day." He smiled and nodded.
"Jerry tells me there's some of those cut kids here again tonight. I'm not going to let this story go, Earl."
"I knew that too. Well -- one of them is actually pretty normal. Never had no problems with him. Seems decent and pretty together. He's looking to play pool with somebody. Name's Benny. Short guy red hair. See him?"
Yeah -- I suck at pool but give me two bucks in quarters."
I walked right up to this guy who had to be around my age - maybe younger. "Benny? Hi. I'm Dan. You up for a game?" He gave off a good vibe.
"Well yes! You're the reporter, right?" Goddamn Earl.
"Hardly. I want to be one. But now I just do paste-up for 'Urban Rag'. I'm so intrigued by this Salvador guy. Let's play." I put in fifty cents into the slot thingy. "You rack 'em (I had no idea how to) and picked out a cue stick that looked straight. I chalked the tip like I even knew what that was supposed to do.
"You break." What? I was so clueless when it came to this game.
So I gave it a try -- and actually pocketed two striped balls with that first shot. I kept making lucky shot after lucky shot. Miracle! He ultimately beat me, but I hadn't embarrassed myself. "Good game." I hadn't said that since little league baseball when I was 10. Now THAT I really sucked at.
"Let's take a break. I need to tell you something."
"Sure. Let me go get us some drinks."
"Nah. I'll just share your pitcher- if that's OK."
"You sure? You won. I should buy you you a fresh drink."
"NO. Just sit while I talk." He looked serious. "Let this go, Danny. If you're intrigued with Salvador already -- you''ll be a goner when you meet him. He casts a spell. He is a powerful presence."
"Have you given him blood?"
"Not anymore. I work the escort game now and pays just to fuck me. I have AIDS now. I can't prove it was him who gave it to me -- but I just know it was."
"I have an appointment to view his gallery on Wednesday."
"DON'T GO! I mean it. Chase another story. I'll let you interview me --I can talk about the sex trade. How I was molested by my stepfather when I was nine and for seven years after that when I poisoned him with antifreeze in his scotch."
"Wow. I'm sorry, Benny. I may take you up on that. Let me write my number down and give it to you. Call anytime. I don't have a cell phone yet, but I'd like to talk with you." I made sure I had a pen and mini notebook in my back packet. I gave me my number and he gave his. Just then Jose walked in -- a full hour before he was supposed to.
"Cool. I gotta go work now." He got up to leave and shook my hand. I wanted to hug him but Jose was glaring at me like I was already committing some kind of crime. Jealous. Shit!
"My fella is here." Benny left.
Jose walked over and seemed ready to explode -- "Having fun? Do you have something going with that motherfucker?"
"No! It's not like that. He knows more about that freak artist who paints with blood. I was just working on a possible story. He's a hustler with HIV."
"I told you to drop that shit! I swear -- I love you, but I'll kill you before I let you pursue this any further." He stuck out his chin. "Or I could have you killed. It's not like I don't know people."
"Relax, Jose. I'd never do anything to mess up what we have." I acted insulted. Pouted.
"Sorry. Kiss me now -- in front of everybody." I did. He worked a tongue into my mouth and there were some jeers and hoots from the crowd. It was so wonderful to have his massive body next to mine. He calmed down. Pacified.
"Don't get crazy on me, Jose."
"I'm sorry. I just...I can't lose the one good thing in my life. The best thing. I'm Latin -- you gotta understand we are passionate."
"Gotcha. Let's go sit at the bar. Give Earl a hard time.."
When we got there, Earl was smiling and shaking his head. "I knew it. It's not even 10:30 and Jose is already here. You guys hooked up. That sure as fuck came out of left field!"
"Get me a Bud and refill his pitcher. NO Hot Damns."
"Fine. If you guys are going to do anything tonight, make sure This...make sure Jose is back by 2." He kept shaking his head. "I just don't get it."
We drank fast - and got the hell out of there. I left Earl a ten dollar bill and practically drug Jose out the door. I would always love holding his big, chubby hand. I tried to peel off the sticker from my window but only got about half of it off. Fuck it. We got in and peeled out.
"Wait. Stop here. Pull into this drive." It was the park again.
"You sure? We're almost back to my place."
"This is our spot. Will you suck me again?" Well, duh. Of course I would. He had already pulled it out - that fat little mushroom was as perfect as I remember. He was hard and oozing already. I dove for it and we repeated the scene from less than 24 hours ago. Only this time he was more urgent and I actually tasted the semen this time. Salty and organic. And a little sweet. Perfect in a way I could never really explain with words. He was breathing so heavily again.
"Let's go chill at my place for awhile. We can watch TV and drink some Coronas. Sound good?"
"Sounds wonderful, Dan."
We walked in and he made himself right at home. My poor futon creaked under his weight. It wouldn't last much longer if we stayed together. Fuck it -- maybe I'd suggest having sex on the floor. I was about to turn on the TV when Jose interrupted me... "No. Play some of your music for me. I can a learn a lot about you from hearing your stuff." I fetched us two beers while thinking long and hard about what I'd play. He'd already taken off his shoes when I returned. I liked that he felt comfortable enough to do that.
"I'll play you the first CD I ever bought. This chick from Sound Warehouse just sensed I'd dig it. The group is called Frazier Chorus -- it's the only one they ever released -- as far I know. It'd called 'Cloud Eight'. I used to listen to this after getting completely baked with the headphones on."
"It's perfect. How old were you?"
"I love this music. I brought the weed this time. There's hash oil in it...so we'll take it slow." He pulled out a little baggie of weed and I loaded the bowl of my bong. And we smoked and kissed. The music sounded better and better. I was rubbing his socked feet and then we were kissing again. I could feel his heart beat against mine. We were in synch. Yep -- this was love. I mean, it had to be love, right? I just couldn't get enough of his body heat. "I want you to fuck me this time." Well - it was worth a shot. I was not exactly hung, but my dick was bigger than his. I grabbed this Vaseline moisturizing lotion I'd put on sunburns before. I always burned with the least little bit of Summer sun. Jose had already positioned himself on the floor.
"I figured it would be easier this way." He'd stripped down to just his socks and so did I. His ass was huge. My first move was to get down behind him, pull apart those giant cheeks and plant my tongue in his pink hole. It smelled and tasted like a pond down there...but I was into it, as was he. He kept arching his back and moaned as I let my tongue wander as far as it could go stretch. I stopped liking it after a few minutes and rubbed lotion on my boner and a generous amount on his hole. It was as hot as a blast furnace inside of him. "Go slow, Dan." Oh, I would....mainly because I had no idea what I was doing. It felt good in there, even though he made a few grunts of pain. I went easier and slower. He said something in Spanish between gasps. I guess he was liking it. I was enjoying it to, but so many things told me if I came in him, we'd have completed a connection that could never really sever it. He came right there on my carpet -- and I just pretended to. We pulled apart and just lie together and breathed heavily with smiles on our faces.
"Well, I guess we've popped each other's cherries." He seemed deliriously happy about that.
"Yeah." Neither of us could know had no how badly I'd betray him within the next seven days.
On Monday morning. I cornered Ed and told him I wanted to meet with him sometime that day. He agreed we'd have a lunch meeting because his day was mostly packed. "I'll order us a couple of subs from that place across the street,"
I'd written everything I had down on a legal pad. He wanted his socks knocked off? We'd see.
We sat in his office and ate our sandwiches, talked a little football until I pulled out my legal pad. "Oh boy -- here it comes. Don't tell me you tracked down some stories over the weekend."
"I did. Three different stories, and I'll save the best for last."
He finished the rest of his Italian sub in two bites. "OK. Shoot."
"First - there's a gay bar in down that was named after the owner, but he died and left it to his son who was a Junior and doesn't want his name on the place. He's greedy enough to scrape whatever profits even those he's some kind of uptight Christian. So it's currently unnamed. Maybe we could have a contest or something. I mean, that could be fun."
He didn't seem that impressed. "Maybe if it was a strip club, it could go somewhere. We'll sit on that one for awhile."
"It attracts a lot of young gay hustlers. I could do a piece on their lives - get a look inside the sex trade."
"Hmmm. We've done something about that before - but that was back when crack was the worst drug out there. Now there's so many different drugs, worse drugs. Let me think on that one for a bit. Would you be willing to go undercover as a hustler?"
"Maybe. That sounds like it could be dangerous though."
"Yeah -- but it's something to consider. Some day."
"OK. This next idea is for a human interest piece. I met a guy, Hispanic guy who's lost two brothers to the prison system because of gang activity -- and another one was killed. Anyway, this guy is morbidly obese because he consumes food before grief can consume him,"
"Yeah! Now that's good! Do you think we could get him to agree to be photographed?"
"Probably. I can ask him."
"Even if it's just a shot from the back standing at his brother's grave. How fat is he?"
"About your height, at least 330 pounds, maybe more."
"Is he a friend you just met?"
"Yeah -- so much of what I found is connected to my neighborhood. I just stopped at the bar with no name and the stories found me."
"See? I told you to just get out and explore the city."
"One more -- there's an artist on town who paints with blood. Human blood that's not his own. He pays street hustlers, homeless kids to 'donate'. I've talked to a few of them bit they're too scared to give me too many details. BUT - I got hold of one his business cards that I had to decode because he's just so, so mysterious, I guess. Anyway - I've got a 3 PM appointment to see his gallery on Wednesday. I'll need that afternoon off."
"YES! THAT'S IT! Hell, Danny -- take the whole day off - with pay - turn something good in and I'll put you on the writing staff immediately." I beamed. "Think you can get some photos?"
"Not right away. I'm posing as a rich trust fund kid who collects art." Ed suddenly looked doubtful.
"Do you have the wardrobe to pull that off?"
"I've got the clothes I wore to my graduation -- they might not be stylish now. No idea."
"Here's a company credit card. Take Lance with you and go pick some stuff a rich kid would wear. This is too good a lead for you to blow it by wearing cheap clothes. I'll give you both the afternoon off. Let me talk to him first. Keep all receipts."
Wow. I sorta all the sudden had a expense account. Things were looking up. Well Lance and I drove over to Damien's in the suburbs. "Thing is -- you have to wear these clothes casually because you live a life of leisure. If you're wearing two hundred leather loafers and just act as if you were wearing flip-flops from Wal-Mart. Everything should be loose and look expensive. You need to act like you don't care." 200 dollar shoes?
"Think I can pull this off?"
"You look the part. You're handsome and speak very well. I won't ask why you're posing because Ed told me not to pry. Hold your nose up a little and try to look down on whoever you're talking to." There's a type who sees dollar signs when they see that. "
We racked up almost 900 dollars worth of stuff -- including some hair products and ridiculously expensive cologne. I had begun to feel rich as I carried the shopping bags out to the parking lot.
"Well, Lance -- we've got the rest of the day off. Want to grab a drink somewhere?"
"You'll like it. It's the bar with no name and it's where I found some great characters -- including a boyfriend."
"Wow. Let's go. I haven't been laid in two weeks."Two Weeks? Try 22 years. "Wait -- this place? It's a pit. Don't hustlers and drug addicts come here? No thanks."
"What do you want, Lance? A fancy martini or some interesting local people?" He had to admit I had him there.
It was business as usual when we walked in. A few old regulars and dirty street kids. No Jerry, but Earl was tending bar. God, did he ever go home?
"Well...what have we here? You move on from Jose already?" He was smirking.
"Earl - this is Lance. We work together. He's a real reporter."
"So I could call Jose and tell him you're here?"
"Sure. Go ahead. I want Lance to meet him anyway." Earl arched an eyebrow and made us our drinks.
Lance leaned closer -- whispered, "A Mexican? Is he part of the story?"
"Not really. We're dating. Earl doesn't know me that well yet, He hardly trusts anybody."
There were hustlers here, but none of them were wearing bandages. They left us alone. "So you're into Latins? Is that why you never asked me out?"
"What? No. We work together and live in the same building -- that could be a disaster,"
"Yeah. Maybe. I tend to just go for it and not worry about consequences."
"That's kind of my attitude going into this story."
"Found the seeds of it right here."
Earl came over and asked if we needed a refill. "And hey, Mr. Reporter -- I got a fake shoulder courtesy of North Vietnam. Hold on -- I just two of them punks go into the women's room together." That was against the rules...big time.
Lance was plum amazed. "You were right about this place, Danny."
"But we should really get back and get those clothes out of the bags so they won't smell so new,"
"Good idea. Should I hang them up or leave them just laying around like I don't care?"
"Wear them to bed tonight, sleep in them and then take them off in the morning and hang them up. Do you smoke?"
"Just a little weed sometimes."
"Really? Can I come smoke some with you?"
"Sure." I wasn't the least bit attracted to him and, plus, I think I was in love with my big ol' Jose. I was pretty sure. Almost 100% sure.
We got back to my place and he admired what I had done with the tiny studio apartment. He probably had a bigger layout than this. I'd upgrade if I got the reporter job. I put in a tape I'd recorded the movie Blue Velvet on. I loved watching David Lynch films when I was stoned.
"Go put on the new duds on -- including the socks and shoes. I promise I won't peek."
I went to the bathroom and put everything on. The shoes were a little uncomfortable. I'd told him I was somewhere in the 10 to 11 range. Should have gotten the 11's. When I returned, Lance had to marvel at his own great taste. He was smoking a cigarette. "Got an ashtray?"
"Hold on..." I went to the kitchen and fished out an empty Coke can from the trash. "This will have to do."
"So ghetto - love it!"
We smoked a bowl or two as we watched this fucked -up movie. He seemed to be moving too close and I just didn't trust my capacity for lust anymore. "You're pretty cool, Lance. But I'm seeing somebody.
"Yeah - I know. I just get super horny when I'm baked. It's cool."
"Thanks for helping me out today."
He left me about five of his cigarettes. "All rich kids smoke." Made sense.
And then he was gone. I sat there and smoked one of them and watched the rest of the movie. I heard a rustle outside my door. When I opened it, there was Jose taping a note to my door. "Oh. You're home! And look at those clothes!Wow."
"Yeah. I had a job interview today." I hated having to lie to this totally honest man, but it wouldn't be the last time..
"Cool. I was babysitting for Mara while she ran errands and I...here." Hr handed me the note. It was a crudely-drawn heart with 'Jose and Dan Forever' written inside. I'd keep that forever. "Have you been smoking in here?"
"Yeah -- it's a habit I picked back up again recently." He pulled out a pack of Merits out of his pocket.
"I smoke too, but never wanted you to know." That was sweet, I guess. God, his poor heart. I needed to worry about that.
"I just don't have an ashtray yet. I've been using this can." He lit one of his smokes me.
"You look so nice. Can we go out somewhere so I can show you off? I want Mama to meet you. And you can see my room."
"Let's go! Let's take my truck. I've got a lawnmower in the back and - no offense - but this ain't a great neighborhood."
"Yeah. I know."
We got into his old, dented white truck. He immediately lit another cigarette and offered me one. "You're gonna love my Mama -- and I know she'll love you. She knows I'm gay, but we never talk about it. Nervous?"
"About meeting your mom? A little."
"It will be so fine -- don't worry. She hated that I was alone."
"Why do you have a lawnmower? It's November."
"It chops up the dead leaves and helps fertilize the grass." Ah. I guess that made total sense.
We arrived at his fairly normal two-story house. Two little twin girls greeted us at the door, They hugged his legs and then looked me up and down. They were so cute. "Mia, Josephine -- this is Dan. He's a friend." They hugged me too. So this is what is like to have a family you loved. "Miguel is probably down in my room playing Sega. He's a pill."
His mom was in the kitchen cooking something that smelled wonderful. "Mama -- I want you to meet someone." She turned around and regarded me with half-closed eyelids.
"It's a pleasure to meet you. You're just as beautiful as Jose said you were." She smiled widely and gave me a huge embrace.
"So handsome! You must eat supper with us. I need another grownup to talk to. Jose is always in his room and the kids are always fighting. Thank God I'm going through the change -- no more babies!"
"I was the baby of my family. Probably an accident."
"No, no. Just a surprise." I loved this family already. "Now go - I have to finish in here. I'll call you when the food is ready."
We went down to Jose's room in the basement. It was pretty nice. There was a preteen boy - 11 or 12, playing the hell out of some video game. "Miguel. Pause that shit and meet my friend."
Another beautiful kid. He was miffed and turned around to say a quick hello. "Is it your boyfriend???"
"Go do your homework, cabrone."
He left angrily and then it was just Jose and I. We embraced and I inhaled his musky, sweaty man smell. I was getting addicted to it. I wanted to get him naked again.
"Mama won't be done cooking for another hour. Want to fool around a little?"
"Okay - but I want to tell you something -- I'd rather fuck you than the other way around. That alright?"
"Absolutely. You're good at it." We got naked and he fucked me like a mad man. I loved the idea of his seed inside of me. It felt right. He glistened with sweat and panted,
"I love your ass, Dan. It feels so good in there."
"You have a talented dick, Jose."
"We better get dressed now, Supper will be ready soon, Hungry?"
"Not really - but it smells so good."
"Eat as much as you can, please. Mama takes great pride in her cooking. She really likes you."
Dinner (what I called the evening meal) was delicious. I ate as much as I could, but not nearly as much as Jose did.
"That was great, Miss Martinez. I need to walk some of some of this off."
"Yes, yes. You boys go have fun. I'll get the girls to help me clean up."
We went back down to Jose's room. I thought we were going to have round two, but he was changing clothes. "I want to go show you off in those clothes some more. My aunt owns a cantina here in town, not far. It's not gay but somebody in my family is always there."
I met his aunt and two of his cousins and we had some tequilas. Every single relative of his was beautiful. Jose wanted to go to no name bar. He could drink for free and kiss there. Well -- second time in one day. What the hell? Sure. I doubted very much that these clothes would smell new by Wednesday. Shit. I needed to be careful not to say a single word about any of that. Jerry was at the door and was still being cold towards me, towards us. It wasn't that busy. Earl was nice enough not to mention seeing me already once already today. "Look at you dressed all fancy. Jose here can drink for free, but you I gotta charge you."
"I'll pay if he has to," Jose offered.
"Goddamn it, kids. I'll charge you both half price."
I'd really liked the tequila we'd had already. I ordered two with beer chasers.
"Uh oh. Don't tell me you like tequila now?! Be careful. My dad liked it too much and I think it's why Mama eventually kicked him out of the house. I haven't seen him in ten years."
"Don't worry, Babe. I'm too invested in my career -- and you -- to waste my life away."
"Oh look. One of those victims of the cutter is here. I'm so glad you're letting that go. I was worried."
Man, I sucked. I was already withholding information stuff from him. Big stuff.
We moved to a little table because Earl tended not like to see public affection right there at the bar. We kissed openly. I only regret the hateful glare we were getting from Jerry. "Let's go, Jose. It's been a long day and I have work in the morning."
"Aww. Really? One more drink and a cigarette. Please?"
"OK." I really had to give him that much after lying to his face. I really liked smoking. I hoped it wasn't going to become a habit. Too expensive.
We got back to my place and I gave him a quick blow job. I couldn't get enough of his pure, all-natural life milk. I told him as much.
Tomorrow would be a Tuesday...and then Wednesday
I kind of don't remember much about Tuesday. I'd always kind of thought of Wednesday as an unlucky day -- mainly because I always had to think twice about how to spell it. Lance and I went out for smoke breaks on the rusty fire escape. "Did you sleep with the clothes on last night?"
"Nope. Didn't have to. I went to two bars and put them in a pile while I had sex. I hung them up and they look just perfectly abused now."
"Tell me about your guy."
"He's the sweetest man on Earth. Genuine. But he's...heavy."
"Yeah. Very much so, but I don't use that word."
That's pretty all that was noteworthy about my Tuesday. Oh, I talked with Jose on the phone and he sort of invited himself over. He fucked me, sweat all over me and left. OK. I had the next 17 hours to kill before my appointment tomorrow. I decided to smoke a lot of weed and listen to Depeche Mode with the headphones on. I really couldn't believe the bad review 'Rolling Stone' gave this CD. Violator was genius. It meshed with a good buzz so perfectly. I drifted off somewhere around four in the morning.
I woke up around 10 am. Shit. Why couldn't I have woken up with only an hour left to get ready. I showered and used all the beauty products Lance had suggested. My hair looked ridiculously good. I got dressed in the new-ish clothes. I couldn't pace any more. I decided to leave the apartment at noon. I drove by the address. I shuddered for whatever reason. I needed to calm down. I saw a sports bar called 'Innings' (or something like that). I parked on the street. They'd have bar food and tons of TVs. I could kill a couple of hours here. Lance had warned me not to show up too early. "Rich dudes are always late and drunk by mid-afternoon. They don't have jobs." Done and done.
I ate a plate of loaded nachos and watched the one TV that wasn't playing ESPN. Some game show. I would kick so much ass on one of these shows. No brag, but I would. Their tequila was a better brand than any I've tasted so far. the dudes here were all talking about the upcoming Sunday football games as I ate and got a little drunk...just a little.
The food made me feel better. I still had an hour left. I joined the guys at the bar. You never knew where you'd find a story. I ordered another tequila and pretended to be straight. Every single person there was smoking. I lit one from the pack Jose left behind the night before. I didn't belong here, but I still had an hour to kill. The bartender turned his attention to me "You gotta college team, kid?
"Nebraska". Groans from the other guys. I just knew it was a college with a good team.
"Best keep that under your hat. What can I get ya?"
"Tequila. House brand."
The conversations here were boring as hell. What the fuck was "fantasy football"? They were really into arguing about their "leagues". No stories here...just boring straight man shit. I used to have teen crushes on those jock types in high school, but it was never enough to get me interested in sports. It was Wednesday but they were all watching highlights from Monday Night's game - like it even mattered.
"You're new here. What do you do?"
"I'm a reporter for the alternative weekly."
"That free one? With all the gay shit in it?"
"It's mostly about the local music scene. I cover actual news stories."
"Oh yeah? There was a dead hooker found a few blocks from here. Strangled with the very necklace she was wearing -- or else it cut her throat, something like that. Paper never covered it."
"Does that happen a lot around here?" He shrugged.
"If it was the work of a serial killer -- then I would cover it."
"Yeah -- I see." Less than 40 minutes to go. I must be developing a higher tolerance for alcohol because I only felt slightly buzzed. I tried not to think about how important this appointment could be to my future. I had to be cool.
"One more tequila, and a pitcher of Miller Lite."
"Comin' up." I couldn't stop fiddling around with the gold bracelet Lance had lent me to wear. I was not a jewelry person.
"Thanks, man. Nice place you got here."
"You think? It does OK."
I had one of my mini notebooks and a palm-sized pen in my front pocket. I really should buy one of those tiny tape recorders. I'd put that on my Christmas list. Also a cell phone. I just hated the idea of always being available. 24/7. Jose had one because of his landscaping work.
I was finally getting slightly drunk and decided it was close enough to 3 to leave. One more cigarette and a trip to the bathroom and I'd be good to go. I peed and stood in front of the mirror and took a look at my pretend self. The clothes looked just unkempt enough, but my hair was not messy enough. I put a palm full of water through it. OK. Better. I looked as close to a rich kid as I ever would. The shoes were finally stretching out a little. I walked out and let the chilly Autumn air wake me up and put some color in my cheeks. And there I was. Not Dan or Danny -- Daniel was here. I pressed the buzzer and waited.
"Yes?" It was Julie Andrews again.
"Daniel Sherwood. I have an appointment."
"Yes. I see. Come on up to the fifth floor. I'll be waiting." The door clicked. I was in. The elevator was an old, iffy freight lift that was very David Lynch. The whole building was. I practiced my bored look as I made sure my fly was closed.
"Mr. Sherwood?" There she was. She didn't look anything like Julie Andrews. She was dressed like a spinster librarian with glasses and a bun in her white hair. She also didn't seem the least bit pleasant. I could give that attitude right back to her. She unlocked a door and let me in to the gallery space. Impressive. "Of course there's no photography allowed." There were no prices on anything - because rich people just bought whatever they wanted without caring about trivial things like cost. "At this end, we still have a few of Salvador's earliest pieces."
They were distinctively rust-colored, an ominous brown that I guess blood dries into. "Most of those were done before he started mixing blood with oil paints. As we move to the right, you'll see the colors get richer and more defined."
"Yes. I see that." I tried to look bored - even though the man obviously had talent. Every single canvas was done in shades of red.
"Just early this year, he began to get more abstract. weird red you'd never see in a Sherwin Williams store. 'Hustler blood' was all I could think.
"I like this much more, but I believe I'd like something done with my own blood. Something personal. Does he do commissions?"
"They may be arranged, if his schedule can be freed up. I'll have to talk to him first."
"I see. It's for a gift." Her portable phone rang. "One moment please. Feel free to look around." She answered it with her Julie Andrews voice. "Gallery. This is Valerie. Yes, Mrs. Mallory... oh. Oh! Well...yes, yes. I understand. Of course. I'm not sure." She moved back out into the hall. It was about then that I heard the music. Loud metal music. I followed it to another door at the far left end of the loft. I wondered if Salvador was actually in there, working. I chanced it. It was another huge room that had a plastic tarp on the floor and many opened tubes of paint. The music was godawful shit that I thought Nirvana had killed off already. Salvador was wearing a painter's smock. And nothing else. I could see his bare ass. He didn't see me, but moved to turn the music off.
"Ah - the art collector is here."
"I'm sorry to disturb you."
He turned to face me. He was astonishingly handsome. Jet black hair and a neat little mustache and goatee that Lucifer himself only wishes he could have. "You aren't a patron of the arts and you're not wealthy. You fooled Valerie, though. That's not easy to do. You were just drawn here, drawn to me."
"No...I..I mean, I just...." Damn. I was busted. "Look -- I'm a wanna-be reporter and I'd like to do a story about you."
"Want it bad enough to give me some blood?" Oh fuck no!
"I bet you have that ice cold Northern European blood - which is not easy to find around here."
"OK. I'll do it. Now?"
"No. Can you come back later tonight? Around 10?"
Valerie burst in. "Mr. Sherwood! This is not allowed! I'm so sorry, Salvador!"
"Go mind those receipts, Valerie. We're discussing business." She harrumphed and left abruptly.
"But first...mind if I make one small cut? Just to see the color, maybe have a taste."
"Uh..." This better get me a better job somehow. "OK."
"I'll let you photograph me --even if it's just a silhouette. I have a fantastic camera. We'll talk more tonight."
"OK, But not too deep -- and somewhere I can hide it."
"How about a little nick on the cheek? You can say you sneezed while you were shaving. That OK?" No.
"I guess. As long as you use a fresh blade. And only make a little cut."
"I use Exacto blades -- you can watch me put in a new blade. Smart. I like that." I watched him take a fresh blade from a little plastic box and he replaced the old one with it. Was I actually going to let him do this?
"Just a small cut, OK?"
"Absolutely. Mr. Sherwood." And then he made a quick little jab on my cheek and I barely felt it. He collected the drips in a small glass vial. There are a lot of little blood vessels on the face and the little tiny cut bled a lot and wasn't clotting anytime fast. "Beautiful! It's so pure." He then leaned down and licked the fresh wound on my face, I'd never agreed to that! Fuck! "Mm... you've smoked some weed recently and drank alcohol very recently. You don't use drugs -- not a virgin. " Was this guy a vampire or something?
"You can taste all that??"
"Oh yes. My sense of smell, taste and vision are very refined."
"OK. Do you, um, have a band-aid you let me put on." He fetched one and I hoped no blood had gotten on my shirt.
"See you at 10 tonight. Valerie won't be here. It'll be just us."
I left and walked back to where my car was parked. As much as I wanted to stop at No Name, I couldn't. I was wearing the same clothes as I was on Monday. Plus -- even though the shaving accident excuse would probably fly, I'd met my quota of lies for the past couple of days. I knew I'd have to probably find a way to avoid Jose. We were having sex almost every night before his shift. Another lie would have to happen. There were messages on my machine but I just wanted to take a nap. I took off the shoes and lied down on the futon. I didn't wake up until it was almost 8 PM. Phone.
"Hey! I been trying to reach you all day. What's up?"
"I'm sick -- stayed home in bed today." I actually did feel a little unwell right then.
"Oh no! What's wrong?"
"Sore throat, coughing...no fever. It's just a bad cold."
"Oh man. It's about that time of year I guess. Can I bring you anything?"
"No. I hope you don't get it too."
"OK. Call me tomorrow. Just rest and drink some fluids. Good night, Dan. I love you."
"Me too, Bye."
While I was on a roll, I'd call Ed.
"Hey! I left you a message. I was worried. How did it go?"
"Well...I'm part of the story now." He audibly gasped. "He'll give me an interview if I agree to give him some of blood. It's later tonight. I can also score photos that he wants final approval of."
"Holy SHIT, Danny! Are you sure about this? Will you be safe? I mean - look, if you want to drop this now, I'll let you do the fat guy story."
"Yeah -- I'm part of that story too."
"Oh man ...Danny...I mean...."
"Look, it's fine. I'll be OK. But I may be in late tomorrow."
"Take the day off. Get rest, scribble some stuff down and try not get too personally involved with your work. You're just like I was back in the day --and it nearly killed me."
I hung up. And wanted to shower and get ready. I could just dress as myself this time. There was no need to pretend for Salvador's sake. I was ready. I sat in front of the TV and opened the bottle of Mexican wine Jose had bought over the other night. I knew nothing about wine, but it wasn't bad. I'd chilled it even though I didn't know if I was supposed to. Some of them were supposed to be warm I suppose. I had fresh mini notebook in my pocket. I smoked two cigarettes and checked myself in the bathroom mirror. The bleeding had stopped on my cheek and was barely noticeable. I could always let some designer stubble grow in. I'd look like the other trendy dudes in the office.
I needed to go. Even though I still had 45 minutes to go. No Fear.
I was early again. I'd parked at that same random sports bar to have a few drinks. I'd put this on the company account. Small crowd again, but different bartender. Same insanely boring hetero talk. this new barkeep carded me. Asked me if I had a college team too.
"M.U. for football, K.U. for basketball." (I went to Creighton and had no idea where they were in the standings -- or if they even had sports teams)
"No way - you can't have the best of both worlds -- pick a state, kid!" Fuck him. I ordered some double shots of Captain Morgan rum and handed him the card. "Want to run a tab?"
"Yeah. What time is it?"
"8:50. Got a hot date later?" Sorta
"No. Not exactly." I wanted a really healthy buzz by 10 -- and I needed to calm down. I know one thing: I was not going to let him lick the cut he made on me. That had to be somewhat unsafe -- the human mouth was full of bad-ass bacteria. I'd brought a little box of my own razor blades from home. I only ever shaved with a traditional razor. Those electric shavers just didn't do a good enough job. I kept getting them for Christmas from different family members, but always re-gifted them eventually.
"Damn, Kid! You some kind of camel or something? You're supposed to sip rum, not down it like beer." Fuck him twice. He had no idea what lie ahead for me. I got out my little notebook and looked at all the questions I'd thought to ask. I'd done some internet research and discovered Salvador wasn't the only artist who painted with blood. There were more than a few, but he was the only one I'd found who used other people's blood - and the only one who mixed it with regular oil paint (that I could find). I underlined a few key words and added some thoughts. I had to get this right. The bartender handed me a tall glass this time. It was a rum and coke, with a 'heavy pour'. "It's almost 9:30....what's that? Your diary?"
"No. I just take notes all the time. I'm a reporter." That still wasn't exactly true. But after tonight.... I just hated how easily I could lie these days. I remember ,as a kid, thinking only kids lied. Adults just wouldn't, couldn't tell a fib. Kids are dumb. I was numb but had work to do -- I'd get there early. So what? I was no longer 'Mr. Daniel Sherwood". Just Danny. Punk. asshole, wanna-be reporter. I buzzed the door. Silence. Then I heard a harried voice answer...
"Daniel? You're a little early and I've got somebody here. Can you..? Oh never mind -- come on up. I'll leave the door unlocked." It buzzed. Maybe he had another 'donor' up there. This was usually about the time I'd started seeing them filter into No Name. Why was I jealous? Simple - I was very much attracted to this demonic vampire freak. Not in love. Just ... just something else.
I went inside the gallery space and saw Salvador and some grungy kid sitting together,forehead to forehead. The hustler kid was bawling his eyes out and Salvador was saying quiet, comforting words to him and gently putting some gentle pressure on his bandaged forearm. "Sh, Sh. You need to go home and relax.Don't smoke any more T tonight and stay off the street. They'll all be waiting for you tomorrow. Take those iron pills I gave you and maybe some B-12." The scummy kid was still crying, but tried to compose himself. I'd never seen such a tough-looking dude show so much vulnerability. I pretended to be interested on one of the paintings. You can pretty much hear everything in one of these big spacious lofts. Had the hustler freaked? About the cut? Or was it the drugs he had probably taken? I had no idea what 'T' was. It could be smoked was all I knew so far. I needed to ask Salvador. I needed to know so much. The guy left. We were alone at last. I felt my dick harden.
"Lose your shoes and socks -- we're going back to the studio and there's paint on the floor. If you step in anything, you'll know it right away...and you won't track it back out here. Old painter's secret." I was a little embarrassed about my feet. I needed to take better care of them. His bare feet were extra long and looked very groomed. "Actually -- get completely naked and I'll give you the gifts I got for you." Oh no. Get naked in front of this guy?? I wasn't ashamed of my body. I was lean and had a fairly nice penis -- that I wish wasn't so erect. 'Gifts'. I'd eventually get one more than I bargained for, and only know about it a few weeks later.
"Does this excite you a little?" Don't be embarrassed. Let's go on back to the studio. I just left my clothes and shoes there on the floor. Was I supposed to bring them? The cold air was going to kill my boner for sure.
The work area was covered with a new plastic tarp with paint spills everywhere..,god, I hoped it was paint and not blood. "Here" he held out a paint-spattered flannel shirt. "You look a little cold. And then we'll get started. I'm guessing you don't want the cut on your arm. I can do it on your upper thigh -- it'll be easy enough to conceal under your boxers."
"What about the interview?"
"After. I have some surprises for you after we cut." Well...It's not like I had a lot of options here.
"Oh. Should I stand?" Was this all really happening?
"Yes! Blood flows downward, thanks to gravity. I won't need to cut so deeply. I'll have to be careful -- your femoral artery is down in that area. Now I'm really wanting to use some arterial blood eventually because it's more bluish. But I can't take that risk. Not with you. Do you have a lover, Danny?"
"Yes. He doesn't know anything about this. We're still new to each other. My first boyfriend."
"Yeah -- how did you..." Forget it -- he was some kind of weird psychic freak.
"Try to stand still. I have to be careful in this area." Shit. I'd left my fancy new razor blades in my jeans pocket. "Do you have more clean exacto blades?"
"I still have the one I used on you earlier. All washed and everything. Still sharp as hell. I even accidentally cut my thumb with it as I dried it off. Why wasn't I smart enough to ask if he'd washed it again? With alcohol? I didn't think of too many other things except -- maybe I should get the hell out of here.
"OK." My boner was rising again. I loved that was kneeling down with a knife in his hand. I stayed as still as I could. This cut hurt more than the one he made on my cheek. He went deeper. and I felt the warm blood start flowing down my cold bare leg.
"Uh oh. That maybe went too deep. Stay put." He collected several glass vials of the gushing blood and of course put his mouth on the cut and sucked dome up. I was still wasn't OK with that. "Saliva is a natural coagulant. This won't last. I didn't hit the artery. This is why I usually use the guys' arms and wrists."
"Wow. Did I just lose too much blood? I'm dizzy."
"No - less than a pint. Or about just about a pint. I'll get you some juice and cookies in a second. Hold this cloth over the cut and put some pressure on it. Let me go get you some of your gifts, He came back with two boxes, his fancy camera and two folders. "I have my own darkroom and took some pictures of the gallery, the studio and myself -- partially shadowed and distorted in an antique mirror. That old glass that warps everything. These are for your story. The other photos are for you -- and just you, Not for publication. I put the appropriate negatives. in the photos folder that can be published. I'm keeping the other negatives. Don't look at them now.Now - open this box. It was a tiny little recorder - just what I'd wanted. "I know you like to write in your little notebook, but I talk a lot and I talk fast. This will be easier to transcribe for your article.
"Wow. Thank you so much, Salvador. I still have my notebook with questions written in it. This is perfect!"
It's got a fresh cassette in it as well as new batteries. You're all set. Okay....open the other one. It was a mini digital camera. "That's for you to use next time. You have a computer, right? With a USB port?"
"Three of them."
"Nice. You look pale -- let me get you some juice and some Oreos." Gross.
"Let me check you out for paint and blood. Lift your feet up. OK. Your cut is already clotting." We can go out to the gallery and have a seat. I was still naked. I sat on a sofa as he got me the promised glass of orange juice and a handful of cookies. I was hungrier and thirstier than I thought. I needed it too. I felt stronger. "Need the bathroom? It's right past the studio door. I went. But I didn't really have to go. Nothing came out from either end. I was still deathly pale, but I was usually looked too white anyway. I came back out and Salvador was sitting on the couch -- totally naked. Stimulating himself. Shit! OK. It's not like I didn't want this to go further - but I needed my interview.
"Whoa -- you are one confident man, Salvador!"
"I'll behave -- for now. I recorded some personal thoughts already. You can listen later. Let's get started."
"OK. When did you first get interested in painting with blood?"
"Call it a fetish. I love the life force and I think most art is too cold. Blood painting is warm. I used to just use my own blood, but it was too personal -- I started asking others to donate blood - friends, lovers. family. It freed me up creatively. But blood changes color because of the iron content. It also flakes off unless you use a fixative. I was selling my work while still in school. I got interested in using strangers' blood. The easiest donors were these street kids who had drugs and disease in their system. It makes a difference in texture and color. I got inspired. Bit it still rusted and flaked. So I began to mix the blood with oil paint -- which stays around for centuries. Obviously. I still like the color red. So do my customers."
"Do you feel like it's reckless to paint with blood when there are some serious blood-borne diseases out there?"
"Possibly. I don't like the word 'reckless'...I prefer to call it 'daring'. I need to be as brave as the young men who volunteer to let me cut them. I've had the AIDS virus for ten years -- from my own activities unrelated to art --and some of the paintings you've seen in the gallery are tainted -- but the virus dies quickly outside the body. I don't use drugs, but I do get a secondhand high when I smell or taste chemical blood. Turn off the recorder."
"Are you scared now?"
"No -- Yes. A little. I'm new to sex. I was a virgin until this past weekend. I think I'm in love with the guy."
"Love is as dangerous as sex, Daniel. OK. Turn the recording on again." He stood up and his dick and hairy torso were beautiful and in plain view. "I'm going to paint now as we talk. I hope you don't mind -- you are inspiring me. He put his smock on and left the room. That furry ass of his was so perfect. He came back with a new bottle of wine and a corkscrew. It's still corked so you know I didn't put anything in it. Some guys assume I'm going to drug them, but that's not my style. I understand their distrust." He mixed a vial of my fresh blood with a small amount of crimson paint. " I only had 50/50 luck with uncorking wine bottled on my own, but I couldn't fuck this up in front of him.
"What? Oh - no. We can just take swigs from the bottle if you're comfortable with that?" Yes. No. Oh fuck it.
I took a generous gulp from the very dry red wine. He was already painting on the fresh canvass. "Is seduction part of your work?"
"It's possibly part of this one - but not usually. I'm just sourcing materials for art."
"Do you consider your work ethical?"
"I hate that word. Nothing is 100 % ethical. Vegetarians make such a big deal about their 'cruelty-fee' diets, but tons of tiny animals are killed when grains and vegetables are harvested. Rodents and such. Is that ethical?" He was talking in circles and I needed to reign this in. But then he had the brilliant idea of cutting his own groin and mixing his blood in with mine. I involuntarily shuddered.
"When and why did you start going abstract with your artwork?"
"Earlier this year. I felt like brushes were putting too much distance between me and the canvas. I started finger-painting like a pre-school kid. It was a revelation!" His groin was still bleeding. It was alarming. "The work progressed towards abstraction just by not using traditional tools.
"You might need to tend to your cut, Salvador."
"Perhaps...in a bit. I'm just too into this now. This piece will not be for sale!" He added some dark blue. Making violet.
"Do you see yourself working with blood forever? Is this your permanent medium?"
"I don't know -- that's a very good question. It will always involve something provocative -- I once considered using snake venom mixed with blood. Or doing something 3-D, sculpture or something. Right now - I'm still so drawn to blood for now. I'm always thinking of new ways to incorporate it. These street kids are using different drugs now. Opiates are really intriguing to me currently. The blood is a little lazy - which is why yours is so unique. It's lively and clean but chilled like glacial water. I once tried mixing urine with paint but there was no life in the art. And it was just too distasteful to my eye."
"Why do you think people are so drawn to your paintings?"
"Some people are just morbid -- like those people who bought John Wayne Gacy's paintings that he makes on death row. I think even Dahmer's father sold some terrible drawings and wrote a book. Some weirdos are just always looking for something new, something dark. Other's are just attracted to me -- to a kind of danger they think I represent. I'm actually harmless, but it's easier to just take their money and let them think whatever they want." I drank more of the wine but Salvador hadn't touched it. I guess maybe he saw a little bit on concern on my face because he walked over and took a long swag. His large penis was half erect. I just reached over and touched it. I just had to. "I've got an idea. Come with me." I didn't even think twice about following him. He had me stand at the easel and gave me the blood/paint. "This will be my first collaboration. Paint something - go with what's already there and carry it for a while. There are brushes over there or you can use your fingers, whatever. I put my index finger directly on his dripping wound. I held to my lips. "What's it taste like, Danny?"
"Passion. Hot, risky passion."
"Go with that."
I painted using just his blood and then with some of the maroon paint. My own cut was still dripping a little and I added that too. I added all three liquids. and reached what I thought was a natural stopping point. He was impressed. "Done! I love your instincts! I guess writing and painting are very similar. We just finished the first the first chapter in our story. Together." It looked like a piece of organ meat to me, but of course I didn't say that." And then we were kissing passionately His fully hard dick was rubbing against mine and I reached around a grabbed his furry butt. He took my face in his hands. "Are you sure?"
No."Very!" He brought me down to the floor and mounted my body. Our bloody, paint spattered naked bodies merged and he entered me. I wasn't thinking this through very well - we were just just making another creation, still collaborating. This way more painful than when Jose first nailed me with his stubby little member, nut I was infinitely more turned on. That makes a difference as it turns out. I wanted him in me deeper and deeper despite the pain. He was jabbing away the same he stabbed his fingers directly onto the canvas. Art was being made inside of me. I should remember to write that phrasing down.
"I'm signing it now...I'm coming!! He heaved as he shot a hot load deep into my guts. I wouldn't need a test to confirm I was now infected. I was a walking, talking, writing work of art. The way I lived my life from here on would be different. He stayed inside me as his dick got soft. "Want the shower first?"
"Yeah -- do you have hydrogen peroxide?"
"No! That makes the cut heal slower. Use soap and warm water. Not too hot. You don't have anything in your hair, but some of the paint may be hard to get off your skin. I've got a special mixture of stuff you can use on that later. It's a little hard on your skin - so use some moisturizer afterwards. I'll send you home with everything you'll need. What are you thinking?
"Only good things, Salvador. Only good things." He grinned at me and I finally saw the glowing light behind his 'evil' disguise. We hugged again. And then I showered. When I came out of the shower, all clean (on the outside at least) Salvador was trying to extract the blood and semen mix I'd left in the spot where my ass was during sex.
"You don't mind if I use this, do you?"
"No. Not at all."
"I've got clients from Italy flying in tomorrow morning. Think we could meet again on Friday? After 6 PM? This new painting of ours will be ready for you to take home."
"Wow! Thanks! Sure. Think you get some quotes from these clients? Maybe a photo? I can messenger some release forms to Valerie first thing in the morning."
"No. I've already got all kinds of legal forms on hand. I even signed some for the photos in the one folder. Remember -- those other photos are for you only. Don't share them or reproduce them in any way--not that you would. I'm lawyered up, man. You can understand why,
"Yes. Well, I've got a story to work on. It's almost 1."
"Read all the instructions and learn to use it. It shouldn't be that difficult for a smart guy like you."
"I appreciate all this, Salvador."
"That's another thing. My real is Simon. Simon Goldman. I chose to go by Salvador when I was in art school. I'm 40 years old."
"What would you prefer to be called by my me?"
I just kissed him and left. "See you on Friday."
I was too wired to go straight home. I had tomorrow off -- but a lot of work to do. No way could I go back to No Name. I could probably never go there again. I'd have to lose that place, I'd have to lose sweet Jose, his wonderful family and my negative HIV status. Things would change now. I went back to the sports bar and there was a different bartender working. I couldn't drink tequila ever again now so I ordered a pitcher of beer, got some quarters and went to play some pinball. Jose had probably called me to see if I was feeling better. Maybe he was hoping I'd be well enough to host him again before his shift began. I couldn't. I had my lover's virus replicating inside my bloodstream -- even sucking his dick was not 100% safe now. People think playing mindless games is just mindless and an escape from reality don't understand that, yes - it does occupy the detail-oriented part of your brain while the rest of your mind is processing other things. It's also true when you're drawing or writing and even when you're washing dishes. The mind is most active when you're in the deepest stage of sleep. I bet my lover knew that already.
I finished my third beer and decided to call it a night. I wanted to look at the photos and listen to the tape. Was it still recording while we had sex? I drove home without incident even though I knew I'd never pass a breathalyzer test just then. Messages from Jose, Mom and Ed. All of them were probably worried, but it was a little too late for that. I wouldn't start the story or listen to the tape until I'd had a good sleep. But I would look at the photos he'd taken just for me. The first few were gorgeous photos of his face and torso. A couple of shots of his hard dick with every single vein, pore and pubic hair shown in glorious detail.
I didn't beat off or even attempt to read up on the digital camera. I just slept. Let it all work itself out in the my dreams.
GIFTED BY A GUEST!
I’m Jimmy, 18, and on the varsity swim team at school. My older brother, Jeff, had this acquaintance named Chris that needed a place to stay. Apparently, he was HIV-positive and his parents had tossed him out. He was gonna stay with us until a bed in the local shelter opened up. The thing is…the only spare bed in the house is in MY room, so he got to sleep with me. I remember…as I was getting undressed for bed, he was staring at me kinda funny…like a wolf looks at a lamb!
I woke up suddenly! My bedclothes had been pulled down and this guy was tugging off the briefs that I sleep in. I jerked upright.
I blurted, “What in the fuck are you…?”
He clamped a hand over my mouth and pushed me back flat on the mattress.
“I’m sorry!” he hissed. “I just GOTTA do this! I’m SO FUCKING HORNY. Ever since I saw you get undressed, I just KNEW that I had to have you.”
He stuffed my briefs into my mouth and his hands roamed my body, stroking and kneading my flesh. I didn’t really know what to do, so I just lay there.
“Fucking SWEET,” he breathed! His mouth descended on first one nipple and then the other. I couldn’t help but feel turned on. He moved down my chest and belly until his lips grazed my cock! Naturally, my dick began to swell. Chris took it in his mouth and brought me to full erection.
Chris looked up at me and grinned.
“Now comes the GOOD PART!”
Gifted by a Guest!
He placed his hands under my knees and hoisted them up, pushing them back toward my chest. His face dove into my exposed hole and his tongue did wonderful things, making me moan & squirm. He crawled up between my legs, forcing them apart, until I could feel the head of his cock poking at the entrance to my hole. It felt wet and slippery so he must have been leaking quite a lot of pre-cum.
He gazed in my eyes and said, “I can’t wait any longer. Just relax, Baby! You’re gonna love it!”
He pulled the underwear from my mouth and began kissing me passionately. He hunched his hips once, twice, then three time and he was all the way inside me. I could only look up at him questioningly as his dick began a slow piston motion…in and out…in and out.
He crooned in my ear, “It’s gonna be OK, Baby! This is gonna be the best fuck you ever get!”
With that, he settled into a steady fuck pace for a while and I got lost in the rhythm of his stroking and the hushed sounds of two men in heat! I had accepted my fate and was just enjoying the myriad sensations coming from my first poz fuck.
Eventually, all good things come to an end, and so Chris shifted gear, picked up his speed and soon was gasping, “I’m gonna cum! I’M GONNA CUM!!!”
I got scared and cautioned him, “Quiet! You’re gonna wake the house up!” I grabbed a pillow and held it in front of his face.
His hips locked against me ass and he yelled triumphantly into the pillow, “YES!!!”
He bucked repeatedly and then collapsed on top of me, exhausted. At some point I must have shot my load, too, because there was a wet patch of sticky sperm between us on our bellies.
My eyes filled with tears as I thought, “What have I done? How did I let this happen to me?”
Chris looked down at me and said, Thanks, Baby! That was GREAT! I really needed to do that!”
I noticed that, in addition to being dismayed by the events, I had been turned on. So much so that wondered if this might happen again.
Chris must have been reading my thoughts, for he said, “Tonight we can take our time, Baby! How does a long, slow poz fuck sound to you?”
The All-Natural Massage
I answered his ad offering 1-hour massages. The address provided was for a small house in a quiet neighborhood on the west side. I guess he worked out of his home. When I rang the bell there was a pause and then the door opened.
“Hi! I’m Ken. You must be Cliff! Come on in!”
The well-proportioned man, standing in front of me on bare feet, was quite good-looking! He had a deep tan, curly blond hair and a ready smile. He was wearing only a gauzy tank top and a pair of white terrycloth shorts. As my gaze surreptitiously travelled down his body, I could tell that he wasn’t wearing any underwear. His cock and balls kept shifting beneath the soft fabric, their outline clearly visible.
He led me down a short hallway and through a doorway at the end.
“I use this room for my massage studio,” he said.
The room was simply furnished with a couple of chairs, a floor lamp and, on a table in the corner, soothing music emanated from a CD player. The pleasing smell of sweet incense hung in the air. In the center of the room stood a large sturdy massage table covered with a clean white sheet.
Ken asked me to get undressed and said I could put my clothes on one of the chairs. “You can keep your briefs on, if you like.”
I felt a little shy, but did as he instructed.
“Hop up onto the table,” he said! “Just lie on your stomach and relax! You told me on the phone that you’ve never had a massage before. You’re gonna be in for a real treat!”
As I got comfortable, he told me that he’d been a licensed masseur for over 10 years. His style, he explained, could be summed up in one word: “natural.”
“Yep! Natural oils, natural scents, natural touch. Nothing could be finer!”
To my surprise, he then removed his shorts and shirt. He stood naked before me. His cock, framed by a large bush of dense, curly black hair, bobbed mere inches from my face. It seemed to be swelling slightly, as if happy to be set free. I guessed that, when fully erect, it would probably be pretty big. What seemed to be a clear drop of pre-cum glistened on the very tip. Sagging heavily behind his penis, two large egg-shaped balls swayed back and forth, suspended in a soft hairy sac.
“I like to be nude when I’m working…naked as the day I was born. It feels more natural, more right. Nothing like the feel of bare skin! I hope you don’t mind!”
I didn’t know what to say…so I didn’t say anything!
He started the session, massaging my feet and legs, working his way up along my body. His touch felt wonderful. His experienced hands kneaded and stroked my cares away.
“That’s it,” he said. “Just let yourself go! Let your aches and cares and inhibitions slip away.”
I gave myself over to the pleasure of his touch. He had me turn over onto my back and resumed his efforts on my body, once again working his way up from my feet. Magic fingers! Did that sound too corny?
He then disclosed, “By the way… I’m HIV-positive. I hope that’s not a problem for you.”
“I guess that’s OK,” I stammered.
“You know, of course,” he added, “that my virus can only be transmitted by an exchange of bodily fluids such as blood or semen, not by the touch of bare flesh on flesh. Besides, even if I was to fuck someone right here on the table, there’s no guarantee they’d catch my bug in just one try.”
“Do you take that daily PrEP?” I enquired. “Doesn’t that keep your viral load in check?”
He laughed! “I wouldn’t use that stuff if you PAID ME! I hardly ever get tested, but my count is usually pretty high! For better or worse, I’d rather keep healthy the natural way. I follow a strict dietary & exercise regimen every day.”
“Yeah!” he continued. “Natural’s the only way to go. Hell, I even have sex naturally. You won’t find any condoms around here!”
This sure sounded risky to me, but I didn’t think it was my place to say anything.
He interrupted my thoughts. “Here! Lift up your hips for a minute!” Without much hesitation, I did as I was told. Ken grasped my briefs by the waistband and with one sharp tug, they were down to my knees. “I bet that’s a bit more comfortable!”
One of his hands cupped my nuts. “Mmmm! Nice balls you got there,” he said as he gently rolled them around in the palm of his hand.
He grinned and asked, “What kind of seed you got in here anyway? Negative?” I BLUSHED!
“I KNEW it! So…These balls are full of neg seed? That’s kinda hot! You know…my poz hands…all over your neg body.”
His talk was getting me both flustered and, at the same time, turned on. My dick inched across my belly as it began to grow.
Ken smiled! “Maybe we should get you out of these briefs. I’m thinking, they’ll just get in the way.” He pulled them off, tossing them on the chair with the rest of my clothes.
I wanted to question his actions, but Ken just shook his head. “Don’t worry,” he said! “I do this all the time.”
He went back to fondling my testicles, gently rolling and tugging on them. By now, my cock was fully erect. I was embarrassed that my excitement was so obvious.
One of Ken’s fingers found my sphincter. At first it made little circles, but soon the tip started nudging and poking, seeking admission. “You’re awfully tight down here, Cliff. I’m going see if can get you to loosen up a little!”
I guess I started to get nervous. Everything seemed to be happening so fast. I tried to sit up, but he placed his hands on my shoulders and eased me back down again. “Don’t worry, Baby! I know just the thing to totally relax you.”
He leaned forward and engulfed my straining cock in his mouth. His wet lips fastened on the shaft and his tongue started swirling around the sensitive head.
“How’s that feel, now? Better? I thought so. You know…your body is VERY responsive. Your penis is so fucking stiff.” With that, he resumed his oral attentions. Suddenly, I became aware that his probing finger had found its way up inside me. He pulled away and looked at me.
“You know…my finger…my POZ finger…has penetrated your butt. Technically, my virus is now…INSIDE YOU! What do you think…does that turn you ON?”
To my utter shame, my body stiffened, my hips bucked and, without even being touched, my dick began to gush sperm.
Ken leered and said, “Yeah! That’s what I thought! Deep down, your body knows what it wants!”
He bent forward and took my spurting penis back into his mouth. “Mmmm!”
After he had drained me and lapped up the spilled seed, he gazed at me and said, “You know…lots of my clients have gotten turned on by thoughts like that…just like you did. Hell…I’ve had clients get SO HOT they actually BEGGED me to fuck them…fuck them right here on the table…despite knowing I would probably knock them up. I mean, I hardly ever go ahead and actually do it, but once in a while…you know…a guy like me has needs too! I wanna get laid…just like the next guy!”
I wanted to protest but his lips sealed over mine, his tongue snaking into my mouth, dueling with mine…distracting me…confusing me.
Ken returned to my cock, kissing and licking at it. Amazingly, I got hard again almost instantly!
“Ready for more, I see,” he said, smirking. “Mmmm! Just the way I like it.” His head descended on my rigid shaft. For the next 20 minutes or so, he kept me right on the edge, several times backing off when he felt my body tighten in anticipation of cumming again. I felt lost in a haze of sexual stimulation!
At some point, something shifted in the mood. Somehow, I could tell that the focus was shifting away from my needs over to Ken’s.
I looked at him as his mouth came off my cock, ropes of his saliva dripping down onto me. His face took on an odd expression. “I think you’re ready, Baby! It’s time to have some fun!”
He went to the foot of the table and, grasping my ankles, he started to raise my legs. “I’m gonna get up on the table with you! That’ll make things a lot easier.” As he climbed up, his shoulders naturally began pushing my legs back, forcing my knees down against my chest.
He kept looking into my eyes, telling me it was going to be OK. “This is what you want, Baby…and I’m going to give it to you!”
I wanted to resist but he kept kissing away my protests. I could feel his cock bobbing against my hole, his dickhead leaving a slippery trail of goo. I knew that he was trying push into me, but, stiff as he was, his cock kept slipping, owing to the copious amounts of pre-cum that was leaking all over.
Here I was, on the verge of letting a total stranger fuck me, knowing that he would end up filling me with his toxic ejaculate. Panicking, I started to struggle.
“Hey!” he barked! “You want me to have to get a little rough? Is that it? You want it rough?”
“No!” I whimpered! And with that, my resistance vanished. I was ready to submit.
“Please!” I implored. Again and again I said the word, not sure exactly what I was begging for. “PLEASE!”
My body surrendered as well as my spirit. My hole, which had been clamped tight as a last defense, now opened, giving him full permission to enter me. I could feel his girth as he slid in, stopping only when he could penetrate no further.
He sighed in satisfaction. “I can’t last as long as I used to, but I can still get the job done. You might not convert, but if you do, you’re gonna love having a part of me growing inside you.”
“Please!” There was that word again!
Ken started up a nice and easy pistoning motion. “Fuck, yeah! Skin on skin! All-natural…just the way it’s supposed to be…just the way I like it! Fuck! You being NEGATIVE…me being POSITIVE…that makes it SO HOT, don’t you think?”
He lowered his mouth and pressed his lips tightly to mine, cutting off any possibility of my answering that question.
He settled into the slow steady rocking motion with his hips. He breathed into my ear, “I’m in no hurry, Baby!” Occasionally, he’d rotate or grind his hips so I was always aware of his large cock as it moved within me. The constant repetition mesmerized me to the point where my thoughts and worries ebbed away. As the repetitive power of the fuck took hold of my senses, I lost track of time.
Ken’s voice drifted in from somewhere. “Is this what you want, Baby? I need you to tell me!”
I moaned in response.
He said, “Say ‘Yes!’ I want to hear you say ‘yes!’”
I moaned again! Louder this time!
I opened my eyes and looked up at him, felt him deep inside me. “Yes!” I said. “Please…YES!”