You would think that aid workers in war ravaged countries would be of a certain type. That they’d have compassion or a vocation for helping people. Assumptions like that are speculative. Graham is the living proof it is not necessarily true.
A bit overweight and not being tall gave him a rounded appearance, definitely no rock star or super model, but he was well liked and amiable.
Graham had worked all over the world with UNHCR, from Africa to South America, and now Syria. At forty five, he'd seen refugee camps by the dozen. The desolation, the poverty and the need, all blew over him like the wind across the desert.
Each camp he saw these days as just another opportunity. An occasion for him to indulge his predilection for young boys, and sometimes even to profit from that vice. He knew how to operate in perfect safety. Safety that is, for himself.
Graham had contacts, he knew who was who in the organisation. You don't work for nearly twenty years without getting to know your bosses, and co-workers. He had a tight circle of acquaintances who were of the same pre-disposition as himself, that is to say, they had an eye for boys.
Amar and Graham knew each other. They made a sort of contract just a couple of months after Amar arrived. Graham's relationship with Amar was strictly business. He liked his boys younger. Helping Graham was beneficial for Amar, very beneficial.
It was Graham who got Amar the tent, designated it for unaccompanied minors, males only. This he had easily justified given the customs of the country they were in. There was a similar tent for girls. Graham put Amar in charge, appointed him monitor. He became responsible for overseeing those in the tent.
Amar received the blankets, sleeping bags, winter clothes, even extra food from Graham. In return Amar took certain of the younger boys either to Graham personally or to someone he knew. For things to run smoothly of course, Amar, Mohmmad, or Nizar, the three older boys had to first test the new arrivals.
It was a horrible reality of life in the camp. For Amar it was part of the contract, Mohmmad seemed to particularly enjoy it; and said once that it was akin to breaking in wild horses. Nazir on the other hand just saw to it that things ran smoothly.
Sometimes the young boys who ended up in the camp had experience. It wasn't uncommon for boys to be used for sex. You might think in a Muslim country homosexuality was forbidden, but you have to understand the culture. Boys who were without facial hair were deemed not to have reached sexual maturity. In a country where sex with a woman was strictly after marriage, young unmarried men, and even older and sometimes married men, sought out boys for sex.
Amar stopped when he caught sight of Graham walking across the camp. He quickened his pace pulling Samir along with him. Graham looked like he might be busy, as he was striding down the avenue between the tents with purpose.
Nevertheless, he stopped when he saw Amar approaching. He waited for him to draw close. A smile crossed his face when he saw the young boy with him, that smile Amar took note of.
"So who have you got here Amar?" Graham asked.
"He's new, just arrived yesterday."
Graham's eyes were fixed on Samir as he asked him, "What are you called?"
Amar quickly told Graham, "He doesn't speak."
"Hmm, the silent type."
Amar watched Graham's reactions. He knew the man had eyes for the boy, that much was obvious; but was the boy too old?
There was a silence between them. Samir glanced at Graham, but only when he wasn’t looking; a feeling of dread came over him.
Amar had seen all this before and Graham’s desire was as clear as daylight. He decided to push his chance. Moving closer to Graham he spoke very quietly in his ear. "He's a virgin," Amar whispered, "Well if you discount last night."
Graham's interest deepened. With his eyes on Samir, he whispered, "You fucked him, you naughty boy."
Amar grinned, "His arse was so tight I had to force it in."
"You didn't harm him I hope?" Graham asked.
"No, of course not," Amar replied. "I got him ready for you, but he'll still need your special skills."
Graham was almost drooling at the thought Amar had planted in his brain. "Why don't you both drop by tonight, and..." he paused. He was thinking maybe Amar could leave the boy, but the problem was he was very busy.
"I'll see you both tonight." He was excited thinking about the new boy and what he could do with him.
He might turn out either to be one of those boys who liked it, or one who needed to be persuaded. Graham enjoyed it either way. "I have to go," Graham said, and walked on in a hurry.
Amar took Samir back with him to the tent. All the boys were up now. Some where outside kicking a ball around. Samir didn't pay much attention to them, he was thinking about the man Amar had been talking to, a European, not an Arab.
That afternoon the boys cooked a stew of vegetables, rice, and some bits of mutton. They had themselves organised around a brazier like the drum from this morning, with a large pot slung over it. A few of the boys took turns to stir the pot. Samir looked on, noting for the first time that there must be about ten boys ranging in ages from a couple much younger, up to about his age and beyond. Amar, Mohmmad, and Nazir, must be all around the same age, older, but not by a lot.
When the food was ready a couple of the boys went to fetch bowls which they handed out to everyone. Nazir had a large ladle and was in charge of filling the bowls as the boys presented them. Next to him one of the younger boys handed out pieces of bread from a sack on the floor.
Samir waited his turn, but was not happy to find Mohmmad next to him. "Wait till I get you," the older boy spoke quietly so only Samir would hear him. "I'll give it you good and proper." He smacked Samir's bum really hard and moved off to push his way into the front of the queue.
Nazir didn’t like Mohammad. He’d seen Mohmmad talk to and slap the new boy, but he said nothing. Nazir never swapped boys like the other two sometimes did. He liked Anas, who liked him, and he’d stopped Amar on the occasion he’d tried to share Anas with others. Amar knew better than to try that again.
Amar had already eaten and disappeared off somewhere. Samir was left alone. When all the boys had finished and the tea had been brewed and drunk, Samir was joined by Nazir and Anas. He guessed Anas to be about his age. Both boys seemed nice enough, but Samir trusted no one. It crossed his mind that he might end up with Nazir and take Anas's place.
"What's your name?" Anas asked almost shyly.
Samir saw Anas had put his arm around Nazir's waist. Nazir looked down and smiled. If ever two boys were in love, Samir thought, then these two must be. It was just the way they were with each other, the special looks. A feeling emanated from the pair like radio waves. You only had to tune in to hear it.
Samir still had the feeling that Amar was using him and whilst he saw these two were different, that meant nothing for him. He wondered why they had come over. He was fine on his own.
"We've been here... together, since the end of the summer," Anas announced, hanging on the word together and making the statement with pride.
Samir smiled, he couldn't help himself, their feelings for one another were infectious. Anas smiled back.
Nazir watched and hugged his friend, but there was sadness in Nazir's eyes. He hated to see the hurt in the young boy opposite, but what could he do, the boy didn't even speak!
It's odd how feelings can pass between people without words. The three boys spent the whole afternoon together. Sitting around at first, but when Nazir and Anas stood up, and Nazir beckoned to Samir to come, he stood up and walked with them. Just wandering around the camp together, there was nothing much else to do. Samir was starting to get to know his way around.
Amar found Samir back at the tent. It was evening and getting dark. He told the boy they were going to visit Graham. Samir glared coldly, but followed him. Amar knew that look. He’d seen it twice now; the defiant spirit in the new boy. It reminded him of himself, but he was determined not to let emotions get in the way of business, and his dreams.
Amar wanted to get away from here some day, he wanted to go to Europe. It was his goal, and Graham could be his ticket out. He'd seen Graham take one boy away with him; that was not long after he had arrived at the camp. He knew Graham would never get him all the way to Europe, but if he could get across the border to Turkey, that would be the first step.
Amar saw the light was on in the portacabin, so he knocked. The door opened, the light from inside illuminated the darkness. "Come in, come in," Graham said, and the two boys stepped up and into the cabin.
It was bright and warm inside, spartan, but still a lot better than the tent. There was a small sofa, a bed, kitchen, and he supposed toilet and shower. Samir gazed about him, avoiding eye contact with Graham, but taking in everything he saw.
Graham took Samir’s avoidance to be shyness, which he found attractive. Graham had a lot of experience, and knew that often the shy ones were the most exciting. Once he used his skill to introduce them to their own sexuality and the pleasure it could afford, those shy boys could turn out to be raging sex machines.
Graham indicated that the boys should sit on the sofa. He went to the kitchen to pick up the glass of whiskey he’d poured earlier. Returning, he sat down on the remaining chair, next to the door. Samir watched him, then looked away, staring at his feet.
"Do you want me to leave him?" Amar asked.
Graham didn't reply immediately. He had to leave early in the morning to go to the border to meet an aid shipment. He thought about what Amar had said earlier, that it was the young boy's first time last night.
Amar waited for an answer. Graham sipped his whiskey and enjoyed the slight burn as the liquor glided down his throat. He was devouring the young boy opposite with his eyes. He felt a warmth and stirring in his groin. Yes, he wanted the boy, but he reflected, the pleasure is so much more with the wait.
He beckoned Amar, who stood up and crossed the couple of paces to be next to him. Graham pulled him down towards him. Amar could smell the whiskey on his breath when he spoke. "Not tonight," he said quietly. "Perhaps in a day or two."
Samir watched the scene intently, even if he couldn't quite hear or understand what they were saying. He knew they were discussing him, and they weren't talking about his welfare. The thought suddenly entered his head that he had become a prostitute. That's what he was now, that's what they were talking about. He felt sick. His stomach felt queasy. He swallowed hard.
Graham tugged on Amar's arm, gripping him tightly. "I don't want you letting that Mohmmad near him, you hear me?" Amar nodded.
"And you," Graham continued, "you look after him and... my boy, treat him right." Then he winked. "But a little gentle running in could do no harm." He let go of Amar's arm. "Gentle, mind you," he said as Amar stood up.
Amar gestured to Samir to follow him as he moved to leave. Samir stood and the two boys went out into the chill darkness.
"Be good boys," Graham called after them and smiled. He shut the door, picked up his whiskey and sat back down on the sofa. As he sipped the liquor from his tumbler, he held it up admiring the deep yellow hue, turning the glass in his hand.
It was a very fine single malt that his friend Edmund had given him, a gift of appreciation for services rendered. That observation brought his thoughts full circle back to the young boy who had just left with Amar. Perhaps, he reflected, he should pass the boy on to Edmund who he was sure would like the goods.
He got up and went over to the kitchen, poured himself another large whiskey and settled back on the sofa. Edmund's tastes were different from his own. No, that's not quite true, they both appreciated the same type of boy, but what Edmund would do with them was not Graham's cup of tea.
He sipped the whiskey, it was having it's effect. He wouldn't talk to Edmund just yet. He would see how the boy was first. Graham knew that Edmund liked the feisty ones. He got off on taming them.
Yes, he would be patient, best to wait and see.