HUSTLER by Caleb

 

 

Part 1

 

I looked at my watch as I climbed the stairs to Pete’s bedroom.  I noticed that the sun was already coming up – the sky to the east was a blaze of gold.  I ground my teeth.  The bastard always liked to sleep late, but on this of all days ….  I paused outside his bedroom and coughed discreetly.  I heard a rumbling grunt from inside and I took that as an invitation to enter.  I went straight to the window and whipped back the drapes, letting the rising sun’s light pour in.  There was a muffled “Oh shit!” from the piled up bed linen. 

            “Come on,” I said heartlessly, “Get up.  You know you can’t afford to be late today.”

            “Piss off, “ he mumbled and tried to roll over to get back to sleep.

I was too quick for him.  “No you don’t,” I said and ruthlessly pulled all the bed covers off him.  I saw then there was not one but TWO bodies in the bed.

            “Bloody hell,” I muttered and went to the wardrobe to select clothes for him to wear.  Pete was sitting on the side of the bed, yawning hugely.

            “Did you get any sleep last night?” I said as sarcastically as I could.  He looked at the sleeping body beside him.  “Not much.” And then he scratched his balls. He gave a sigh and said, “Coffee?”

            “Ready downstairs.  You have your shower and get dressed as quickly as you can.”  He scowled and staggered towards the bathroom.  I heard the sound of his pissing, while I sorted out his clothes and lay them over the back of a chair. The shower started up and the body in the bed muttered and continued sleeping.  I sidled up to the bathroom. “What about Sleeping Beauty?” although I knew the answer to that already.

            He poked his head around the shower curtain. “Could you get rid of him when I’m gone?  Pay him off, but not too much.”

            I was disgusted.  “Fuck, Pete.  Not another hustler.  One day, you’ll stick your cock in one trash can too many.”

            He drew back the shower curtain, leered at me, and mimed wanking his cock.  I couldn’t help but grin.

            “OK,” I said, “but you get a move on.  It’s a long drive and this is one day you don’t want to keep Bernie waiting.”

            “He’s my fuckin’ agent.  He’s paid to wait.”

“Not today,” I said firmly. “He’s taken a lot of trouble to set up this picture deal, and the least you can do is show your appreciation for his efforts.”

            “Yes mother,” he said with mock meekness as he toweled himself dry.

Much as loved to watch his beautiful naked body, I hurried downstairs.  The phone rang and I snatched it up.

            “Dan.  Is he up yet?”

“Nearly ready to go, Bernie. You’ll have him within the hour.”

            “You’re a good man, Dan.  The bastard doesn’t deserve you.”

“Thanks Bernie.  I accept cheques.”

            Bernie gave a dry laugh.  “Just make sure he’s here.” And he hung up.

 

Pete came clattering down the steps, strapping on his watch as he came.

“Are you sure about these clothes?” he asked.

            “You look great,” I said as I handed him a cup of coffee.  “Neat but not gaudy.”  He gulped the coffee and I threw him the car keys.

            “Take the Spider,” I said, “I have to take the Porsche to be serviced.”

He thrust the coffee cup at me and dashed to the door, where he stopped, turned and faced me and slowly put on his sunglasses.  “Thanks dude.” He said, flashing his famous movie star smile.

            I just snorted. “Go!” I said pointing to the door.

 

  I listened as the sports car roared down the drive and silence reigned.  With a sigh, I sat down. I was only thirty-two and I felt a hundred years old.  I poured myself a cup of coffee and sipped it in calm silence.  I looked at the clock.  Fifteen minutes to get him up and out of the house.  Not bad.  I mentally reviewed what I had to do for the day, and suddenly remembered there was one job that demanded immediate attention.

 

I climbed the stairs again and entered the bedroom.

 

The sleeper, a husky young guy, had spread out and really looked innocent.  He was very very beautiful.  Pale muscled body and long gold hair, tousled like the archetype gay farm boy.  I tried to assess how much this piece of ass would cost my employer.  Another thought: this hustler couldn’t be very experienced if he didn’t get the cash up front.  Ah well.  I started picking up the discarded clothing off the floor, sorting out Pete’s and the hustler’s.  The contrast in the clothing was obvious.  Pete’s were all designer labels; bought on the recommendation of that harpy he called his stylist.  This guy’s, on the other hand, were rather sad: cheap, worn and ripped, even grubby.  His shoes were worn to the point of disintegration and his cotton socks had holes in them.  I started to feel sorry for the guy and on an impulse, gathered them all up and took them down to the washing machine.

            I left the machine chugging away and went up to the bedroom again.  I gently shook the guy.

“Hey,” I said. “Wake up.”

 

He sat up, startled and wide-awake.  He looked around, mystified, and then looked back at me.  “Who’re you?” he said.  I was shocked by his eyes: bright cornflower blue.  They had to be contacts – but no. How could he afford colored contacts?

            “I’m Dan,” I said, “I work here.”  I smiled at him.

“Where’s – where’s – um – the other guy?”  I chuckled inwardly at that.  He’s forgotten Pete’s name already.

            “He had to go.  Work.  New film.”

“He’s a movie star?  Shee-it!  No kiddin’?”   He’s very good, I thought.  Got the innocent farm-boy down pat.

            “Nope,” I said, “He’s a movie star.  Peter Nevin.”

He laughed.  “Well, hot damn!  A movie star!  Are you a movie star too?”

            Oh pull-ease!! This was taking the act too far!  I kept smiling but my eyes were dissecting him.

“Do I look like a movie star?” I said.

He shrugged.  “Maybe.”  I laughed.  My face has never been my fortune.

 “Nice try,” I said.  He looked puzzled.

“So,” I said, “Are you going to get up?”  He looked flustered and slid out of bed and stood there naked, looking around.

 

I was stunned by his magnificent beauty.

 

“Where’s my clothes?”  he said accusingly.  I shook my head.

  “Oh, sorry,”  I said,  “ I took them.  They’re in the washing machine.”

He flushed. “You didn’t have to do that.”

            “No trouble,”  I said,  “While you’re waiting, you can have a shower.  I’ll get you something to wear.”

He smiled shyly.  “I’d like a shower.  Jizz is running down my legs.”

 I gasped.  Too much information!

“Shower’s in there,” and I pointed to the bathroom.  He padded across to the shower.  I watched his magnificent butt as it retreated from me.  He was right.  I could see the shiny wetness on the backs of his thighs.  Fuck!  Didn’t Pete wear a condom?

            I was instantly erect, and I had to give myself a mental shake.  He’s a hustler, I told myself.  You can’t afford him.

 

I rummaged through Pete’s clothes cupboard.  Pete had a vast quantity of clothes that he almost never wore.  I selected a couple of pairs of jocks to start with, two t-shirts and a pair of board shorts that I knew Pete didn’t like.  I judged the size to be about right, although this guy was a lot more muscular than Pete.

            I quickly made the bed and laid out the clothes on it.

I heard him singing in a flat, off-key but happy way.  He appeared at the door toweling his huge genitals. He saw the clothes on the bed and exclaimed, “Shee-it!  Are these for me?”

“Yep,” I said, “You can keep them.  When yours are dry, I’ll pack them up for you.  Now, are you hungry?  Do you want some breakfast?”

He looked surprised, then broke into a big grin.  “That’s mighty nice of you, Dan.  Breakfast would be real good.  Thanks. I ain’t et for a couple of days.”

            I was instantly suspicious but there wasn’t any guile about him. God, he’s good, I thought.  I stared at him, but he was unconscious of my scrutiny.  He was happily trying to shove his ample package into the front of his new jocks.  I watched him as he donned the board shorts and a T-shirt, and I indicated that he follow me.

 

As we descended to the kitchen, I asked, “What’s your name?”

There was a pause and then he said, firmly, “Skip.”

            Skip!  No one’s called Skip!

“What’s your real name?”

A very long pause.   “Henry.” He said in a small voice.  I glanced at him.  He was blushing and hanging his head, giving every indication of being ashamed at being caught out in a shabby lie.  In spite of myself, I was touched.

            I said gently, “What do you want me to call you?  Henry or Skip?”  He looked up and this time flushed with pleasure.  “I like Skip,” he said.

            “OK.  So Skip,” I said, “What do you want for breakfast?”

He looked shy again.  “Just whatever you think, Dan.”

            He does shy very well, I thought.

“How about some bacon and eggs, and I’ll fry some onions and a couple of tomatoes and there’s some mushrooms left over from last night.  And there’s orange juice and coffee if you want it…. Or tea,” I added as an afterthought.

He gaped.  “Shee-it.  That sounds swell, Dan.”    Swell?  He actually said “swell”?

            I bustled about, throwing the food into a pan.  I looked at Skip and decided on four eggs.  He sat at the table and was watching me with those amazing eyes, like a dog watching me unwrap a bar of chocolate.  I began to revise my opinion slightly.  Maybe he hadn’t eaten for a couple of days.

            “Where are you from, Skip?”  He looked like a schoolboy.

“Oklahoma,” he said with the classic Oklahoma drawl.

“Not been in LA long, have you?” I said.

“Nope.  Only a month.”  Our conversation lapsed while I cooked the food.

“Where you from, Dan?”  That question surprised me.  “You’re not from LA either.”

“How do you know that?” I was suddenly curious.

“You talk funny.”

 I bridled slightly, then my sense of the ridiculous got the better of me.  There wasn’t an ounce of malice in him.

“You’re right,” I said, ”I’m from Australia.”  I looked at him. “You know where that is?”

“Yep. Um -  Put another shrimp on the barbie..”  in a very very bad Australian accent.

I laughed out loud and he laughed along with me.

“Prawn,” I said.

“What?”

“In Australia it’s a prawn, not a shrimp.”

“OK,” he said, “put another prawn on the barbie.”

I laughed again, and again he laughed with me.  “Oh stop, stop,” I said, chortling, “Paul Hogan you ain’t.”  I kept giggling as I served the food on to his plate, and he attacked it with relish.

 

My laughter died as I watched him.  I suddenly knew this beautiful guy was no hustler. He really was an innocent and it would be only a matter of time before he was exploited, corrupted and destroyed – destroyed as surely as if he stood on the railroad tracks as an express thundered towards him.  My heart ached for him.  Pete wanted me to do his dirty work – to throw him into gutter after he’d used him up.  Fuck and damn Pete for putting me in this position.

 

I went to the desk in the office.  “Eat up, “ I called out to him, “I’ve just got something to do.”  I sat at the desk and pulled out the cash tin.  I was at a loss for a moment about how much to pay him.  I couldn’t help but think of the miserable state of his clothes and the way he was attacking the food.  God, I thought, I’m a sucker.  I sighed and counted out fifteen hundred dollars.  Then, as an after thought, I added another five hundred.  I could always juggle the housekeeping, and if Pete got shitty – highly unlikely: he would have forgotten last night’s fuck by now – I could always replace it out of my own pocket.  I tucked the notes into an envelope and discreetly placed it by Skip as he wolfed his food.

 

He stopped eating as he looked at the envelope.  “What’s this?”

I felt strangely ashamed.  “For you, Skip.  For services rendered – and for discretion.  Your clothes should be dry by now.  I’ll bundle them up for you.” And I escaped to the laundry.  I was muttering curses on Pete’s head as I folded the clothes. Skip filled the doorway.

“Fuck you Dan.  I ain’t no hoo-er!” He tossed the envelope on the tiled floor.

 

I looked at him levelly.  It was time he learned the facts of life.

 

“We’re all whores in Hollywood, Skip – one way or another – from the cheapest two-bit hooker right up to the snootiest rich-bitch who marries for power.  Movie stars, producers, even the technicians who make the movies happen. Whores, one and all.”

“Yeah, but you ain’t no hoo-er!”

 

That got to me, and I started to get angry.

            “Oh, I’m a whore, Skip.  Believe it.  I’m pissing away my life dancing attendance of the most self-centered, cold-hearted cunt you could ever wish to meet. I feed him, I pimp for him, I make sure he keeps his appointments, I juggle his schedules, I clean up after him, and yes, I’ve even wiped his bum on occasions, and if I’m a good boy, a very good boy, he lets me suck his cock from time to time when he’s too lazy to pick-up street trash or even to jerk off.  And for this he pays me money  - lots and lots and lots of money!  Yes, I’m a whore, Skip.  A fucking big one.”

 

            I was shaking with anger and I bent down and picked up the envelope and held it out to him.  “Take the money, Skip.  You need it more than he does.”  I thrust the money into his hand and stomped out of the laundry, carrying the clothes I had savagely folded.  Why was I so angry?  Then I realized.  Skip’s innocence had made me feel the chains that bound me: chains of gold and lust that I had forged myself.

            I sat down exhausted, suddenly filled with sadness and regret.

 

“Dan …..”  I looked up.  Skip stood across the room looking lost.  He said softly, “You can fuck me if you want.”

Oh God!  He was trying to comfort me and was offering the only thing he had.

  I took a deep breath and returned to the present.  “I think, Skip, you’ve been fucked too much.  I don’t want to add to your woes.”

            He was indignant.  “Hey, I’m clean!”

I closed my eyes.  God spare me from such innocence!

I gave a cynical snort.  “That’s not what I meant.  And that reminds me..” I added sternly.  “Never NEVER let a guy fuck you without a condom.  And you wear one too when you’re fucking a strange arse-hole.”

            He looked a bit shame-faced.  “I don’t like wearing ‘em.  They’re always too tight.  They strangle me.”

“No one likes wearing rubbers, Skip, but you’ve got to do it.  I’ve seen too many of my friends waste away till they die.  If you can’t find big ones, I’ll give you a pack of mine.”

            His eyes twinkled. “You got a big cock?”  My lips twitched as I tried to keep my face looking stern.  He really was enchanting.

“Let’s change the subject,” I said. “I have to go into LA to drop off the Porsche.  I can give you a lift if you’d like.”

            His eyes sparkled. “Shee-it! I reckon.  Thanks Dan.”

“Can you drive?”

”Fuckin’ A! You’d let me drive it?”

“If you want to… well, maybe not in the city, but till we get there… yeah.”

            He was like a kid with the promise of a visit to Disneyland.  He raced back to the breakfast room and gulped down a cup of coffee.  I darted into my room and rummaged around till I found an unopened pack of jumbo-sized condoms.  Unopened.  Typical! 

            I gathered up my wallet and car keys and went into the breakfast room.  I tossed the condoms on the table and said, “Here.  These will fit a horse.”

            He snapped back with, “Hey.  Just my size!”  I couldn’t help laughing, and he laughed too.  He shoved them in his back pocket and said, “Thanks Dan.  You’re real nice.”

 

            Yep.  That’s me.  Mr. Nice.  Mr. Fuckin’  Nice.

 

“One more thing,” I said, as I took out a business card, and scribbled on the back of it. “Now listen carefully.  This is my cell number.  I never turn my cell off and I keep it with me always.  If you’re in any sort of trouble, you ring me.  Any time.  I mean ANY time.  I’ll answer the call, even if I’m taking a dump.  Any time.  Got it?”

            He nodded solemnly and read the name on the card. “Daniel…Radcliffe?”

 

I sighed.  “Any joke you feel like making has already been made a thousand times.”  He looked puzzled and carefully slid the card into his sock.

“OK,” I said, “Finished?”   He nodded.  “Good!  Gather up your clothes and follow me.”

 

When I threw open the garage, Skip made orgasmic noises as he saw the Porsche.  “Fuckin’ A!”  I backed it out and then got out and invited him into the driver’s seat.  As I got in the other side, he was stroking the wheel in an act of worship.  I watched him, amused, for several minutes then said, “Take her out, Mr. Scott.”

            He grinned and said, “Aye, aye, Capt’n,” in a (terrible) Scot’s accent, and we roared off down the driveway, scattering gravel everywhere.

            He was laughing madly and letting out loud cowboy whoops as we careered through the suburban streets and on to the freeway.  He accelerated still whooping and the miles flew by.  All too soon the city loomed in the distance and I tapped him on the shoulder and indicated for him to pull over.  He nodded and swung over to the verge and screeched to a halt.  There was irate beeping from the cars behind, but Skip stood up in the car and gave them the finger.

            We swapped sides and Skip was panting with excitement and his amazing eyes were shining.  “Thanks Dan, “ he said, “That was unbelievable.  I’ll never forget it as long as I live.”

            I pulled out into the traffic and proceeded at a more sedate pace.  His words struck home and I realized, with a pang, that soon I would never see him again.  His was still laughing and whooping, and yelling at the other cars on the freeway. I, on the other hand, found myself getting more and more solemn.  Feeling a knot in my stomach, I took an off ramp and in a couple of minutes pulled up at the destination I had chosen for him.

            He was serious. He looked at me.  “Thanks Dan.  For everything.”  He got out and looked around.  “Where are we?”

            “It’s the bus station, Skip.”  He stared at me as the implication sunk in.  He suddenly looked frightened.

            “Go home, Skip,” I said. “Go back to Oklahoma.  Go back to Mom and Pop and apple pie.  Go back to your hometown. Go back to the high school buddy who used to fuck you.  Go back to your friends and where everyone knows you.  Go back to where they call you Henry.”  Without another word, I roared off, leaving him standing forlorn and alone.

 

                                    And the wind stung my eyes.

 

           

Part 2

 

I puttered back up the freeway in a small, unostentatious sedan courtesy of Michael Malloy – Mechanic to the Stars.  This car was me – solid, dependable, safe and totally anonymous.  Much as I liked to drive the Porsche, I knew in my heart of hearts that I belonged in a car like this, while my brain of brains told me to snap out of it, and look on the bright side.  I had a great job even though I was fed-up with Pete’s tantrums. But I had more money than I knew what to do with – money that was piling up at an alarming rate in several bank accounts – and I was, in my own way, at the hub of action in this town. 

 

My cell rang merrily.

“Danny boy….” Loud and happy.

“All signed then, Pete?”

“You got it.  And the money…woo! With this flick I’ll be up there with the best …Cruise, Roberts, you name it….”

            “Well, congratulations are in order.  Congratulations.”

A pause.  “What’s wrong with you?”

I sighed.  “Not a thing,” I said.  “So.  I suppose a party is called for?”

“Fuckin’ A!”

            That expression again.

“Um.. Dan..”

            “Yes Pete?”

“Um.. Speaking of a party, there’ll be one or two people coming back tonight to celebrate the good news..”

            “No sweat, Pete.  Everything’s underway.  About eight tonight?”

“Right on.  You’re amazing.  How did you know?  Did Bernie call you?”

            I gave a humorless laugh. “It wasn’t hard to guess, Pete.  In this town, you’ve got to think ahead.”

            “Well, I don’t know how you do it.  What would I do without you?”

I snapped the phone shut.  What indeed?

 

Nicole Kidman was standing by the buffet wolfing down canapés.  I squeezed my way through the yelling crowd, maneuvering the tray of drinks I carried, and I stood behind her.

“You’ll get fat,” I said.  She jumped and laughed and said, “God, I’m starving.  I haven’t eaten all day.”  I smiled and offered her a drink.  She looked at the tray and sighed and said, “ I can’t….”

I looked around.  “Is he here?  I didn’t see him come in.”

She nodded towards her husband who was chatting to two big-breasted blondes.

“Don’t worry.  I’ll have the waiters keep an eye on him.  They’ll head him off at the pass with soda water .”

“Thanks Dan.” She looked around. “You know, you throw a bloody good party.  That prick doesn’t deserve you.”

I laughed.  “That’s the second time today someone said that to me.”

            She said, raising a cynical eyebrow, “You don’t think God might be trying to tell you something? Listen Dan.  If ever you get sick of the bullshit, you’ve got a job with me for as long as you want.  You can name your price.” 

I was touched.  “Thanks, Nick.  I reckon I’ve just about had enough, but I think when I leave, I’d go back to Australia.”

She perked up. “Oh, we’re going back to Brisbane for Christmas, to spend it with Keith’s family.”

            “Lucky you.  Lately, I find I’m missing Australia a lot.”

Someone drunkenly screamed, “Nicole!”

  I looked around. “Hark,” I said, “The call of the wild! I believe that’s for you, madam. I think I’d better get back to work.  Have fun.”

 

The party dragged on for hours.  People were screaming with laughter, jumping in and out of the swimming pool, passing out in the oddest places and blatantly coupling in full view of everyone else.  At about two in the morning, I took a respite in the privacy of my office and sat nursing a small scotch, feeling exhausted and emotionally drained.  My cell rang.  This time it sounded strident.  I groaned.  Someone can’t find the place – lost in the wilds of Pasadena.

 

I flipped it open. “Yep?”

A hesitant voice. “Dan?”

 Shit. The adrenalin surged through me.  I sat bolt upright.

“Skip? Is that you?”

  

…And why the hell aren’t you on a bus in Nevada somewhere?

 

“You said I could call you anytime…anytime, you said.”

“Don’t worry about it, Skip.  Don’t worry about it.  Where are you?”

“I got into a fight and.. and the cops picked me up … and put me in jail…”

 

            Please God, not jail.  The low-life will have a feeding frenzy.

 

“Dan, I don’t know what to do…”  He sounded close to tears. “They let me have one phone call.”

“OK, Skip, OK.  Calm down.  Take a deep breath and calm down.  Now.  You’re in a precinct lock-up, right?  In a police station?”

“Yeah.. yeah..”

“Which station, Skip?  Just tell me which station, Skip, and I’ll come right down and bail you out.”

“Um …. I don’t know..”

“ OK.  There’s a cop standing beside you?”

“Yeah.”

“Now.  First. What’s your last name, Skip?”

“Um.. Collins.”  I couldn’t help grinning.  Henry Collins – it was so ordinary.

“Good.  Now hand the phone to the cop and tell him your lawyer wants to talk to him.  Got it?”

“Yeah.”  He sounded relieved.  There was a lot of muttering in the background and a deep gruff voice answered, “Hooperman.”

“Officer, where are you holding my client?  I want to come down and bail him out.”

“Seventy-seventh Street, sir.”

“Thanks, officer.  I’ll be down within the hour. Could I speak to my client again?”

The phone was handed back to Skip.

“Dan?”

“I’ll be right down.  Skip, you’ll be OK.”

“Thanks, Dan. I don’t know how…”  I cut him short.

“Now none of that.  Just you sit tight. I’ll be there before you know it.”  And I snapped the phone shut.

I sprang into action. I sped back to the party and looked wildly around.  There was Sol Bernstein in a lip lock with a minor starlet who looked vaguely familiar.  I pushed my way through the throng and grabbed him by him coat collar and forcibly separated them.

Sol wriggled like a fish on a hook, spluttering and complaining loudly.  “Jesus fuckin’ Christ, Dan.  What the fuck are you doing?”

I was ruthless.  “I need a lawyer.  Now!  In my office.”  I bundled him through the throng and pushed him into the office and slammed the door.

He pulled away from me, and shrugged in his suit to straighten it.  “Christ, Dan,” he said, “I’ve never seen you like this.  What’s the matter?”

“I’ve got to bail a guy out of jail. Now.  How do I do it?”

He was instantly all lawyer – the famous Sol Bernstein, the hardest nosed lawyer in Hollywood.  He assessed me with gimlet eyes through rimless glasses.

            “What’s he done?”

I tried to calm down but couldn’t. “I don’t know.  Street fighting.  Brawling.  Something like that.”

            He looked at me with an unreadable expression.  “Possession?”

“No.”  I was indignant, but then I thought of all that money. “Well …. No.  No way.”

Sol said quietly, “Who is he, Dan?”

 

            This was coming perilously close to a secret I wasn’t ready to admit to anyone, even myself.

 

“He’s a …. He’s a hustler that…. That I picked up.”

Sol just raised an amused eyebrow.  “You?  Mr. Nice Guy?.”  I looked him in the eyes, uncertain what to say..

 

Sol said, “Come on, Dan.  This isn’t the first time you’ve had to clean up after that prick.  Are you afraid this hustler will spill the beans?”

            I stirred, almost ready to confess all.  “Sol…..”

Sol raised a hand. “Say no more,” he said, “Now. Firstly, you’ll need money.”

            I was comforted by his businesslike approach.  “No problem, “I said, ”Cheque?”

            He just looked at me.

“Right.  No cheque.  Credit card?”

            “That will do.”

“So,” I said as I shoved my wallet into my pocket, “I’m ready.  I can’t thank you enough, Sol.”

            “Just a minute.”

“What?”

            “You’re an alien, right?”

“Do I have pointy ears?  What the hell are you talking about?”

            “I mean, you’re not a citizen of the United States?”

“Well, no, but I have a green card.”

            “Not good enough.  You have to be a citizen…. To sign the papers.”

“Shit,” I said, “I never thought of that.”  I looked at him. “OK.  You’re coming with me.”

He grinned a shark-like grin. “You got it.  Where’s he held?”

            “Um.  Seventy-seventh Street.”

He grimaced. “Rough!  Haven’t been down there for a while.” 

            I felt urgency pressing.  “You know it? Good.  We’ll go in your car.”  And I pushed him out the door.

 We made our way through the party throng. I heard Pete call. “Hey Danny..”

            I turned irritably.  “What?”

“Where the fuck are you off to?”

            I pushed Sol towards the back door.  “Have another drink, Pete. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.”

 

            We got into Sol’s car – a BMW.  Nice.

As we slid through the night, Sol asked, “What’s Peter Nevin done to earn loyalty like yours?”

I didn’t answer.  I was too busy worrying about what might be happening to Skip. He continued, ”I sure could use loyalty like that.  If ever you …”  I interrupted him.

            “Sorry Sol, but I can’t think about that now.”

Sol was surprised.  “Hey, you’re really rattled.  This guy must be important.”

Important?

“Yes, Sol,” I said quietly, “he’s very important.”  I stared out at the sleeping city flicking past.  “Can we go any faster?”

 

For a police station with the reputation it had, the Seventy-seventh Street was surprisingly clean and tidy.  I don’t know what I expected.  Fort Apache, the Bronx, I suppose.  Sol was obviously in his element.  He whispered to me as we approached the reception desk, “What’s his name?”

            “Henry Collins,” I whispered back.

“And the police officer?”

            “Hooperman.”

Without missing a beat, Sol said to the duty sergeant, a cadaverous looking tall guy, “Good evening, sergeant.  My name is Bernstein.  I’m a lawyer and I’ve come to post bail for a client of mine Henry Collins.”

            “Bernstein?”  The duty sergeant said, “Sol Bernstein?”

“That’s right.  We were in contact with an officer Hooperman earlier tonight, when my client exercised his right to a phone call.”

            “It’s Sergeant Hooperman, and you’re talking to him.  Bernstein, eh?  You’re pretty famous.  We don’t usually get famous people in here.”

            I snapped, “ You can get his autograph later.  Where’s Henry?”

Sol turned and glared at me, forcing me to silence.

            The sergeant gave me a long stony look. “Who’s this?”

“He a friend of my client’s. Understandably, he’s a little worried.”

The sergeant gave me a cold, fish-like stare.

 “The blonde fag,” he emphasized the word, “is locked up in a holding cell out back.  He’s right handy with his fists… took two of my guys to bring him in. Not bad for a fag.”

I swallowed hard.  “Can I see him?”

            He didn’t take his eyes off me.  “Hey Jackson…” he yelled.

A voice from across the room answered, “Sarge!”

            “Take this guy to the cells to see his good friend – the blonde fag.  Stay with him!”

I muttered “Thanks,” and turned and followed the other cop. As I left, I heard Sol say,” Now sergeant, about the bail…”

 

The holding cells smelt of bad liquor, stale sweat and piss.  There were a lot of men milling about in them.  They all looked thuggish and frightening. At first, I didn’t see Skip but I heard a strangled cry, ”Dan!”  Skip came barreling through the crowd and clung to the bars, “Dan, Dan!”

            The other prisoners took up the cry in mocking effeminate voices, “Dan, Dan.”

            I was so relieved to see him.  I went up to him and placed my hands on his.  “How you holding up, mate?”

  He looked terrible.  His face was cut with clotted blood around the wounds.  Great welts and bruises discolored his face.  His clothes were torn and his knuckles skinned.

            He smiled, painfully, and his eyes glowed.  “I’m good, now that you’re here.  Thanks for coming, Dan.”

One of the Latino thugs with a grubby bandana round his head, mimicked him. “Yeah thanks for cummin’ Dan!” And he gave a mad cackle.

            My voice shook.  “Hang in there, mate,” I said to Skip. “We’ll get you out as soon as we can.”  I had to force myself to turn to leave.

 The Latino came to the bars.  “Hey, Blondie,” he yelled, “Where’s your fag friend come from? He talks funny.” 

            I turned and looked at him.  “I’m not surprised you don’t recognize my accent,” I said, “It’s called Educated.” And I left the cells looking back at Skip, who followed me with anxious eyes.

 

Back in the reception area of the station, I wended my way through crowds of drunks, prostitutes and cops.  Sol saw me coming and raised his hand to me, making the universal gesture for money – rubbing his thumb across the pads of his fingers.  I hurried to the desk and presented my credit card.  Sergeant Hooperman, he of the tombstone face, processed it efficiently and presented the docket to me to sign.

 I saw him read my name and he suddenly gave a wolfish smile: “Did Harry Potter find his school chum well and happy?”

            I’d heard many jokes about my name and, in spite of this being the worst I had heard, it stung.

            “Not happy, no.”  I said, “and not very well.  Not surprising, considering his treatment.”  Hooperman clamped his jaws shut, and keeping a fish eye on me, suddenly yelled, “Jackson!”

            “Yes sarge.”

“Bring up the fag!”  He kept looking at me, challenging me to comment.  I smiled bleakly and said, “Thank you, sergeant.”

            Sol supervised the final paperwork, signing and countersigning.  I paced about, till finally, finally, Skip appeared under escort, carrying his pathetic bundle of possessions – his clothes, once newly washed, now stained and dirty from being trampled in the gutter.  He looked eager and terrified, both at the same time, as though he knew his ordeal was almost over and at the same time couldn’t believe it.

            I moved over to him, never taking my eyes off him.  I met him halfway across the room, put an arm around his shoulders and led him straight to the door, to quit that loathsome place.  He never took his eyes off my face, letting me lead him where I would.  I was grimly resolute in taking him outside, and I swept him to the kerb outside.  Sol followed and as we paused by the street, Sol said, “Wait here.  I’ll get the car.” And he was gone.

 

Only then did I look into Skip’s face.  He was looking at me with such trust and such …. Love!

 

 Dear God!  All my life I had longed for a man to look at me in exactly that way and I realized that this was the moment.  Now.  The moment when I had found my true love, my soul mate.  And in that moment I knew I could never let him go.

 

            Sol’s BMW purred smoothly to a halt beside us.  I opened the back door, pushed Skip in and slid in beside him.  I automatically put an arm around him and he, with a sigh, put his cheek to my chest.  Sol turned round and looked at us over the back of the front seats. He regarded us without comment for a couple of minutes then said quietly, “Where to?”

 

I gnawed my bottom lip and absently stroked Skip’s silky hair.  “It will have to be back to Pasadena, I guess.  I can’t think of any place else.”  Sol continued to look at us, the lights of passing cars flashing on his glasses.  I became aware of his scrutiny and said, “What?”

He smiled a little knowing smile.  “Mother of Abraham,” he said, “I never thought I would live to see it.”

 I gave a self-conscious snort and said, “Home, James, and don’t spare the horses.”  He turned back and started driving. I heard him giggling quietly.

 

“Sol,” I said, “what’s the joke?”

He laughed. “Just promise me I can be there when the shit hits the fan.  Ol’ Penis Pete is going to have conniptions.  One of his fucks coming home to roost.  Jeezus! “  And he laughed some more.

  I didn’t say anything.  I knew he was right.  Pete would be a complete and utter cunt if he thought that he had to accept any responsibility for his fucking around. 

 

We drove back in silence.  Skip had burrowed his face into my chest, and I thought he had fallen asleep.

            Sol suddenly said, “Can I ask you something, Dan?”

“Ask.”

            “Why this guy?”

“What?”

“You could have your pick of almost any guy in Hollywood.”

 

I felt my ears going red. “Come on, Sol,” I said, “That’s bullshit, and you know it.  I’ve got a face only a mother could love.  Physical beauty is what everyone is wants.”

            “You may say that, but I don’t think you believe it.  Let me tell you, Dan, you’ve got something that’s prized way above mere beauty.  You’ve got power, and best of all, you’ve got brains.  I saw Kidman talking to you earlier tonight.  She asked you to come and work for her, didn’t she?  She’s no fool. She knows to the last cent what you’d be worth to her, and besides… you’re a really nice guy.  That’s fuckin’ rare – fuckin’ rare. That’s worth any money she might pay you.”

 

I felt really embarrassed. “And your point is….?”

 

“Why this guy… this loser? There are a million of him in Hollywood – country hicks, mostly good-looking and all with stars in their eyes (God help them!).  They’re a dime a dozen. Most end up the same way.  Sucking cocks to get cash to eat, and working their passages along the Boulevard.”

 

“Like me…” I murmured.

 

Sol was diverted momentarily.  “No kiddin’? Well, fuck me dead!  I’d never have guessed.”

            “I never got to the Boulevard, Sol, but I was well on the way, till I sucked Pete’s cock.  In those days, he wasn’t famous. Just starting out.  He took me home and I never left.  You could say he rescued me.  He had a heart then …. or maybe I just thought he had.”

Sol said dryly, “If you thought that, you were so wrong.”

 

I just said, “Yes, I was wrong.”  And I didn’t say anything more.  I was remembering - remembering the hurt, the disillusionment, and the finality of  switching off my emotions.

 

 After a while, Sol asked, “So what is it about this guy?  He’s nothing special.”

 

“He’s special, Sol. Believe me.”

            “Why?”

 

“Because he doesn’t care about the power. Because he doesn’t understand how I use my position and how I grease the wheels for Pete, and wouldn’t care if he did understand it. Because he doesn’t see the pock-marked face.  He just sees ….. me.”

 

Skip stirred and looked up at me. I felt a large hand slide down my flank and softly cup my cock and balls.  I gently pushed his head back to my chest,

 

“And the funny thing is,” I added cheerfully, “I only met him this morning.”

 

Sol muttered, “Christ, Dan, you’ve got it bad.”

 

 

We slowly drove up the drive.  The party was still going, but the crowd had thinned appreciably.  Sol stopped the car with the engine idling.  “Are you going inside?” he asked.

“Not immediately.  Could you swing to the right and take the drive down the side of the house and round the back.”

Sol nodded and the car silently cruised down the shadowy drive.

“Where are we going?”

“The old stables at the back.”

Skip sat up and peered out.  “You got horses?” He said with interest.

I smiled. “No.  Previous owners had them, I think.  Pete had the stables converted into garages for the cars.  There’s a little flat over the garages.  You can stay there for the time being.”

            Skip said, “What’s a flat?”

Sol muttered, “Jesus!”

 

I glared at the back of Sol’s head. “Like an apartment.  Well, only a couple of rooms really.  Ok Sol, you can pull up here.”

The car gently slid to a halt.  Skip gingerly got out and looked around.  I followed, but Sol stayed in the car.

“Wow,” said Skip, “this is fuckin” cool.”

 I pointed to the outside stair case.  “Skip.  See the stairs over there.  Would you mind just waiting over there.  I want to talk to Sol.”

“No sweat,” said Skip and turned to Sol.  “Thanks Sol for everything.”  Sol nodded to him and Skip carefully ambled over to the building.

 

Sol said, “Are you really sure about this hayseed?”

            I grinned. “I’m sure.”

“Country can lose its charm very quickly, you know.”

            “I’m a country boy myself, Sol.  Scratch any Australian and you’ll find Country underneath.”

Sol grunted, “Maybe.  Now listen.  The arraignment is in three days. He’s got to face some fairly serious charges, but with a little luck, I think I can get him off with a hefty fine, which you’ll probably have to pay.  Don’t let him out of your sight or you’ll lose a bundle.  I’ll keep the paperwork and I’ll phone you between now and then with the details of his court appearance.”

“On my cell, please Sol.  Not the house phone.”

            “Gotcha.”

A weight was lifted from my mind.  “I gotta thank you, Sol.  I couldn’t have done it without you.  I owe you big-time.”

            Sol grinned his shark-like grin.  “Yes you do. And I’ll extract it from you.  I believe a pound of flesh is the traditional fee.”

I laughed.  “Thanks for all your trouble, Shylock.  By the way.  Send your bill to me personally, not to Pete.”

            Sol started the motor. “There won’t be any fee.  Consider it a freebie.  It’s about time you had a break.”

 

I was touched. “Fuck!  Thanks Sol.  Now I really do owe you.  It’s nice to have my troubles disappear.”

Sol gave a dry laugh. “Sweetheart, if I’m any judge, your troubles are just beginning.”

 

I watched as his car disappeared down the drive, and fumbling for my keys, I turned back to Skip.  Skip grabbed me and began a frenzy of kissing, all over my face and neck.  Shit!  I was being attacked by a Brokeback Mountain Kissing Monster!

            “Hey,” I cried, somewhat muffled, “Hey.  Slow down!  Slow down!”

He broke away, panting.  “I thought.. I thought…”

            “It’s OK,” I assured him, “But first things first.  Let’s find you a place to crash.”  I preceded him up the stairs.  He couldn’t keep his hands off me and was playing with my arse as we went up.  How strange it felt, that a man should desire me so much!

 

I opened the door to the flat, and switched on the light.  It all came flooding back to me – the plans I had had for this little space, until Pete… 

The rooms were very stuffy, and I hurried to open the windows to air the place.

            Skip looked round in wonder.  “Hey, this place is cool.  Who lives here?”

I grinned. “You do, for a little while.”  I knew it could never be permanent.  I looked at Skip carefully.  The extent of his cuts and bruising was appalling.

I said,  “Skip. You’d better get out of those clothes.”  His eyes lit up and he said, “Yeah!!” and started stripping off the ragged remnants of his clothes.  I could see he was hugely erect.

I laughed at his child-like eagerness.  “Skip, no … no!”

His chagrin was almost ludicrous.  “Don’t you want to fuck me?”

            “Skip, I don’t want to hurt you.”

Skip managed to look smug, even with his badly battered face. “It’s cool, Dan. Guys have been corn holing me since I was about ten.”  Dear God!  “There ain’t a cock born that I can’t take.”

 

That comment aroused me to granite hardness.  I sighed.  “Skip, you’re badly bruised and cut about.  I have to put something on your wounds. …other than my sweaty hairy body. “ He grinned.

            I added, “The cuts might get infected. Now. You take a shower. In there. You might have to let the water run a bit to clean out the pipes.  There aren’t any towels here.  So I’ll go and get some towels and some bed linen. Then we’ll have a look at dressing those wounds. OK?”

 

He nodded and continued getting out of his clothes. I smiled at his difficulty in maneuvering the board shorts around his enormous insistent erection.  A nice picture to take with me as I crossed the yard and entered the house.

 The party definitely had the feeling of winding up. People were standing around in small groups chatting and drinking. The music had died down.   All the revelry of the early night had dissipated. Pete was nowhere to be seen. Nicole waved to me from across the room and she and Keith came over to me.

“We’re just going,” she said, “Keith’s got a meeting…” she looked at her watch and laughed, “… soon.” Then she kissed me on the cheek and gave me an arch look.  “Congratulations,” she said.

Fucking Sol!

Keith hugged me and said, “Thanks for the party, mate.”  Then he whispered in my ear,  “Fuck him till he can’t put his legs together.”  He smiled a dirty smile.

            “Bloody hell!”  I said.  “Does the whole world know?”

Nicole laughed.  “By now, I’d say all the LA Australian ex-pats and maybe a few others ,” she said gaily, “All except…” and she rolled her eyes in the direction of Pete’s bedroom.  “No one’s had the balls to tell him. ‘Bye.”

 

            Well, thank God for small mercies.

 

I had a few words with the caterers and, gathering up some sheets, blankets, a towel and a first-aid kit, I slipped out, back to the stables.

Skip was still in the shower when I returned. I smiled at his grunts of pain and his exclamations of “Fuck!” and “Ow!” as the hot water softened his bruises and opened the cuts.

 

He saw me and turned off the shower.  I tossed him the towel and started making up the bed.  When I’d finished, he was standing there  - naked with his cock like a steel spike.  Bloody hell, he was enormous.  I thought my cock was big, but his had to be bigger.  I smiled at the sudden vision of the both of us comparing our cocks.

I indicated for him to approach, and as he stood by the bed, I started slowly smearing antiseptic cream on his many cuts, starting at his feet and moving upward.  He watched with interest, occasionally grimacing as the cream stung.  When I got to his balls, I fingered them gently and asked, “Were you kicked in the balls?” He just shook his head.  I was relieved, and moved upward, turning him round as I did so.  His beautiful arse cheeks had a large ugly purple bruise.  I pushed into his kidneys.

            “Does that hurt?” I asked. He said “Nope.”  Thank God for that, I thought.

 

Most of the cuts and bruising seemed to be above his waist.  I liberally smeared the cream over all the cuts and when I came to his face, I had him sit on the side of the bed so I could get easier access.  His eyes never left my face as I gently caressed the cream into the many cuts.  I found myself getting emotional that someone would deliberately damage such perfection.

 

He shyly reached out and began fingering my painful erection through my trousers.  I didn’t stop him.  His fingers felt like they belonged there.  I took one hand after the other, putting the cream on the painfully skinned knuckles.  As I took each hand, the other would take up the act of caressing me.

 

Finally I finished, I wiped my hands and stood in front of Skip, while he still fingered my erection.  Looking him in the eyes, I slid my hand down and reached his enormous cock.  With just a thumb and a finger I gently slipped back his foreskin and rolled my thumb round and round over the end of his massive knob, all the time looking into his eyes.  Round and round.  Round and round, slicked up by the steady discharge from the tip.

            Skip subtly adjusted his body, pushing his genitals towards me and upward to meet my hand.  He began to breathe raggedly through his open mouth.  Then he leant forward and pushed his face into my belly.  I felt his hot breath through the shirt fabric.  I bent over and kissed the top of his head, pressing my mouth into his damp golden hair, all the while rubbing round and round.  We stayed like that for about thirty seconds then he grunted breathily and my hand was cover with hot goo.  He kept pumping it out, shuddering all the while.  When the gushing had subsided, he started giggling, his face still pressed into my abs.

            “I think your name should be Henry Hair-Trigger,” I whispered and laughed at the silly joke and he giggled with me.  I reached for the towel and wiped my hand, and, when he stood up, I did the same to his belly and thighs.  There was a lot to clean up.  His fingers were busy too, undressing me, efficiently unbuttoning my shirt, unbuckling my belt and unzipping my fly. He began nuzzling into the base of my throat and, with a large hand, squeezing and rubbing my rock-hard package that strained at the cotton of my jocks.

            Then he sank back on the bed and spread his legs.  In a frenzy, I ripped off the rest of my clothes, hopping around as I removed my shoes and socks. I stood stark naked, my knees pressed to the side of the bed.  Skip had somehow found his – my - unopened packet of condoms.  I laughed at the absurdity of it – he waved the pack of condoms I had given him before.  He said, “They took all my money, but they didn’t get these. “ I smiled as he grinned in triumph.  I mounted the bed and knelt between his spread thighs.  He ripped a condom open with his teeth, and then said, “A guy I knew told me to always make sure that when a guy fucked me, he wore a rubber.” And he sniggered as he gently rolled it on my rampant cock.  He then lay back, hooked his heels behind me, in the small of my back and opened his great muscled arms to receive me.

            “I want to look at you when you fuck me,” he said simply.

I smiled. “I want to look at you too,” I said, ”even though you look like shit.”

            He smiled as I lowered myself and lay on him, our faces practically touching. I did not have to look, or to fumble, or to wiggle my pelvis. My cock slid straight into his hole in one long smooth movement, right to the hilt. Had he already greased his arse-hole in preparation for this moment?  No matter. My cock was gripped right along its length in a hot, velvet-soft grasp. He gave a long sigh of utter contentment and wrapped his arms around me. There was no awkwardness about our coupling; no elbows, no limbs in the wrong place, no pinched flesh, no pain.  Our bodies melded together as though they had been created as one. And on an expanding cloud of love and lust, I fucked him.

 

* * * * *

 

We lay in each other’s arms murmuring softly.

            “Skip,” I asked, ”why didn’t you go back to Oklahoma?”

He answered simply. “I can’t never go back, Dan.  They run me outta town.”

            “For being gay?”  It seemed hard to believe.

“Partly.  But mostly ‘cos they caught me being fucked by the preacher’s son.  Preacher got up and told everyone I was a …. evil influence. Leastways, that’s what he said.  Didn’t tell ‘em he’d been fuckin’ me too, though.  So my paw threw me out.  That’s why I can’t go back…. “ Then he gently fondled me. “Besides, I wanted to see you again.”

 

* * * * *

 

I awoke to the sound of chirping birds.  The sunlight was streaming in one of the windows on to the bed.  I lay still, flat on my back.  Skip was sound asleep his head on my chest – his favorite position, it seemed.  His warm breath tickled the hairs on my chest.  I became aware that one of his large hands was cupping my genitals.  I smiled.  Even in sleep, he seemed loath to let me go.

            Trying to move as little as possible, I looked around the room.  My eyes immediately saw the three discarded condoms on the bathroom floor, just inside the door.  What was it some wag had named them: the skins of the fruits of love?

Three of them!  Whoa!  Not bad for a man over thirty!  The room seemed to have a golden glow: euphoria of the morning after, or just the sunlight?  Ah well.  Time to get up; time to organize the rest of my life.

            I slid from the bed, trying not to wake Skip.  Fortunately, he was sleeping like the dead, so I was able to retrieve my jocks.  I scrambled into them and, gathering up the rest of my clothes, I crossed the yard to the main house, to my own bathroom where I had a shower, washing away the encrustations of Skip’s massive ejaculations.

            Much refreshed, I did a little tidying up after last night’s party.  Cleaners had been hired to do the main work, but I wanted to check first that no valuables had be left about by the drunken revelers.  This done, I adjourned to my office to tidy up all outstanding paperwork and finally to type out my letter of resignation.  It was a difficult job.  I did not want to sound resentful or delighted to be going, but still, it had to be implacably final.

While I was tapping away on my computer, I heard “Daaaan!  Where the fuck are you?”

            The master of the house had risen.

I called out, “In the office, Pete.”  I continued typing.  Pete appeared in the doorway, stark naked and scratching his balls.

            “Any coffee?”

“I’ll make some in a minute.  Just finish this first.”

            “What’s that?”

“A letter.”

            “Who to?”

“You.”   Pete laughed.

            “What is it?  Your resignation?”

I signed the print out, folded it, and handed it to him.

            “Actually, yes, it is.”

He just laughed.  “Yeah, right.”  He didn’t take the letter.

            I went into the kitchen, and laid the letter on the kitchen bench.  “I’ll make the coffee now.”  I moved around the kitchen, as Pete watched me, his manner becoming slowly surly.

            “You can’t fuckin’ resign.” He said.

“You think not?” I said

            “After all I’ve fuckin’ done for you..”

“Yes, “ I agreed cordially, “And after all I’ve fuckin’ done for you.”

            “What’s wrong with you?  Where did you go last night?”

“Out.” I said succinctly.

            He started steaming.  “Where out?”

“On a private matter.”

            “You don’t have any private matters!  What’s happened to you?”

I grinned at him.  “I got laid.”

“Bullshit!” he exploded, “who’d fuck you?”

“Does it matter?  Coffee’s ready.”  I poured the hot water into the plunger, then, while he watched me in glowering silence, I poured him a cup, and held it out to him. He backhanded my out-stretched hand, and sent the cup flying across the room, spilling the hot coffee and shattering against the refrigerator.

            “I don’t want your fuckin’ coffee!” he screamed. 

I moved to my room, saying as I passed him, “You’ll have to clean that up your-self.  I don’t work here any more.”

            “Where the fuck are you going?” He yelled at me.

I turned and faced him at the door of my bedroom.  “I’m going to pack.  I’ll be out of here as soon as I can. Oh, and put some clothes on.. you’re lucky you didn’t scald your dick with the hot coffee.”

            He gaped at me. “What the fuck’s got into you?”

I didn’t answer, but started throwing clothes into my suitcases , by the armful. He kept staring at me while I raced around gather up my meager belongings. Not much to show for eight years!

            “It’s that fuckin’ Kidman bitch, isn’t it?  I saw her talking to you last night.  What’s she done? Offered you a job? Yeah, that’s it.  She’s had the knives out for me for a long time, ever since I …”  He paused, remembering.

            “… Tried to stick your fingers up her twat?” He shut his mouth tightly.   “Yes, as a matter of fact, she did offer me a job, and I refused.”

            He laughed, a very ugly noise. “What are you holding out for?  Till she says that lush of a husband of hers will bend over and spread his cheeks for you?”

I looked at him steadily.  “That was low, even for you.”

            He was stunned.  “Even for …. Who the hell do you think you’re talking to, you supercilious piece of shit?” He spat out. “You seem to forget who I am and how much you owe me!  If it wasn’t for me you’d still be in that gay bar, schlepping drinks and sucking cocks for your rent money on your knees in the piss trough!”

 

            I looked at him in wonder.  His beautiful face was red and contorted with hate and spite, with flecks of spittle at the corners of his mouth.

            Beauty is but skin deep: Ugly is to the bone!

However could I have thought he was beautiful? And in my mind I heard the sound of chains shattering – the red chains of Lust, and the gold chains of Avarice – shattering, never to be reforged.

 

I clicked the suitcases shut and pushed past him. I went to the kitchen and threw my bundle of house keys on the bench.  I turned to him and said, “You’ll find everything’s up to date.  You’ll have to pay the bills for last night’s party .. and, oh, the Porsche has to be picked up. You’ll find the paperwork in the office.

            For the first time, Pete began to look worried.  “For Crissake, Dan….”

 

 And with impeccable timing, Skip appeared and said, “I sure am hungry, Dan.  Is there anything to eat?”

 

            Pete stared at him with the horror of growing recognition, then turned to me and screamed,  “What the fuck is he doing here?”

“This is Skip,” I said, “You remember him, Pete – well, maybe not his face.”

Skip grinned and held out a large hand to Pete.  “Hi,” he said, “Pleased to meet you.  We met a couple of nights ago when you fucked me.”

            I couldn’t help laughing at the absurdity of the situation.  Pete choked and snarled at me.

            “What is this?  Some kind of fuckin’ shake-down?”

“Not at all,” I said. “Skip’s coming with me.”

            Pete gave a loud  laugh.

“What?  You and him? This is how you got laid.  This piece of cheap Kentucky Fried Pig Swill?  You stirred my porridge?”

            I started to get angry. He was not going to hurt Skip.

“Cut it out Pete!”  I said fiercely.

“Ooo, cut it out Pete!” he mocked.  “You always were a loser, you pathetic fuckin’ fag.  So what did he do, declare undying love? And you believed it?”  He hooted with savage derision.

 

I looked at Skip, and I realized something.  I had not said anything to Skip who   was looking bewildered, and my heart gave a lurch.  I had just presumed. I suddenly felt like I was balancing on a precipice. 

I put down the suitcases I was carrying, and took a deep breath.  I looked Skip in the face.

 

“Skip,” I said, “Henry.  All my life I have been looking for someone – someone I could love unconditionally; someone with whom I could share my life.  I believe, I truly believe that in you, I have found him.  Skip ….. Henry …..I want to become part of your life, and I want you to become part of mine. I want to wake each morning with you beside me. I want to stand beside you every day of my life and to march beside you, step for step to the beat of the same drum. Will you come with me?  We none of us know what the future holds, but, if you agree to join me, to love me, I make you this promise now that you will never live to regret that decision.”

 

Time seemed suspended for a moment.  Then the most amazing change came over Skip.  He slowly became radiant – incandescent – with love and happiness. He answered simply, with wonderful formality.

“Dan …. Mr. Radcliffe … I would be mighty honored to spend the rest of my life with you.”

I felt I would burst with happiness.  All I could do was grin foolishly and stare at Skip.

“Bring on the fuckin’ violins,”  was Pete’s jeering laugh.  “And where the fuck do you think you’re going?  Who’ll have you, you pathetic pock-marked fag?  When I’ve finished with you, no-one will touch you. There he goes, they’ll snigger,  the fag who couldn’t stick his cock into  anything better than a clapped out hick hustler!”

 

                        And Skip hit him – squarely, one punch on the nose.

Pete fell back to the floor, squealing, his nose bleeding profusely all over his naked chest.

            “He hit me! That fuckin’ fag hit me! Shit! My face.  He damaged my face.”

I stood over him.  “You’ll live.”  I said heartlessly.

            He stared up at me and in his eyes I could see the shift from spite to something deeper, nastier, more malignant.

 

“I’ll get you for this,” he ground out.  “One day when you’re not expecting it, I’ll get you, and you’ll know it was me.  So keep eyes in the back of your head, you and that hill-billy pillow biter…”

 

The time for laughter was past.  “Now listen to me, and listen carefully.” I said quietly. “Within six months of working for you, I knew exactly what kind of creature you are.  Do you really think that I could be so foolish, so unbelievably stupid as not to prepare for the inevitability of this moment?”

 

He snarled, “What the fuck are you talking about?”

 

“For nearly eight years I’ve been collecting information on all your dealings, papers, and tapes and the odd video, all safely locked away where you can’t get at them.  You try anything, even one hint of some sort of reprisal against me or Skip, and I start singing – to the tabloids, to all of Hollywood and finally to the IRS.  You even think of starting some stupid vendetta and the world will know of your lifestyle, how you screwed and fucked your way to where you are now, and how you’ve been systematically defrauding the government.  When I’ve finished with you, you won’t even be able to get a job hawking your butt-hole on the mid-night shift in Shanghai Mary’s tart shop in Chi-Chi Costanango.”

 

He turned white to the lips.  “You wouldn’t dare!” he whispered.

 

I said, “Try me!” and I picked up the suitcases. “Come on, Henry. Time to go.”

He reached for one of the suitcases.  “I’ll take that.”

            I laughed.  “No, you won’t.”  I said gaily,  “I think you’ve broken the skin on your knuckles again.”  And we left the house.

Skip said, “I like you calling me Henry.”

            “Then Henry it is, m’lad.”

“Are we going in the Porsche again.”

            I grinned.  “Alas no.  I don’t own it.  There’s our transport.” And I pointed to the courtesy car from Michael Malloy – Mechanic to the Stars.

            Skip said, “It looks like my paw’s car.”

“Don’t be too disappointed.  I’ll buy us a Porsche when we get settled.”

 

                                    And my heart was singing.

 

 


If you'd like to send feedback to the author please use the comment box below.
You can send your comment anonymously if you'd like.  Thank you.

An anonymous comment
Name:
e-mail:
Send a carbon copy to your address
Subject: