Monday, June 24, 2019

Stranger than Fiction

Two men sit near the fountain in Bryant Park, one spring afternoon. Their metal chairs are pulled close; the men incline toward each other, rapt in a low-spoken conversation that cannot be heard over the plashing of the water. Anyone sitting nearby—the tourists with their Fifth Avenue shopping bags, the lone businessmen staring at their phones over a sandwich, the office women in their smart casual wear spearing takeout salads with plastic forks—might assume the men to be lovers, so cocooned are they in their own world.

They’re both tall, these men. Six foot three and six foot four. One is older, bearded, handsome in a modest way, gray at the temples and the corners of his chin. The younger, taller man has a square face with an even more sharply geometric jaw; he looks as if he’s been willed into being from soft, pale clay by a clumsy and inexperienced sculptor. When he leans back in his seat for a moment to stretch, he resembles a golem, hulking and lumbering, a shaped construction, not quite finished. Or perhaps someone might imagine him a throwback to a taller, more ancient race, a race with facial planes set at alien angles from our own. Lazily, with his enormous hands, he reaches for a cardboard coffee cup from the table to his side. He leans in again to speak. His lips are mere millimeters away from the older man’s ear. They move, barely aspirating their message.

The older man listens. He sits back, but only slightly. Their faces are close. So close. They must breathe each other’s air; surely they feel their own heat reflecting from the other’s skin. They could kiss without moving.

Now the older man nods, and stands. When he extends his hand, the younger man hands him the cup, then reclines in his metal chair with his Neanderthal hands resting on his stomach. In the direction of Forty-Second the older man disappears.

He returns five minutes later. Now he proffers the coffee cup to his friend. As the young man snaps off the plastic lid to peer inside, the older man takes his seat. His errand is rewarded by a smile that transforms the young man’s face from golem to angel; the youth leans forward, whispers something into his ear, and kisses him, gently, on the cheek.

The youth raises the cup to his lips and takes a sip. It must be to his liking, for he chugs down the contents, raising the cardboard container high in order to drain the last drops. Then he leans back into his seat, letting his arm rest on its back. There’s a cocky smirk on his face, now. For a long moment on that cool spring afternoon, the two sit there, drinking each other in. Basking in each other’s smiles. Saying nothing, and not needing to speak.

I first encountered Christopher fifteen years ago. I still lived in Michigan; he was a student at one of the state universities. I need to meet you, sir, he wrote on Manhunt. You are everything I’ve ever wished for in a man.

When I told him I was flattered, he escalated his desires. I need you to dominate me. I need you to strip me, to tower over me, naked at your feet. I need to soak in your urine. I need to feed on your piss, and make it part of me. I need to suck your dick and take your seed, then have you piss directly down my throat. Please say that it’s okay for me to feel the way I do, sir. I need you.

Well. I'm susceptible to being objectified, especially in such a flattering way. Christopher recognized that our distance was an impediment—and our timing was off, as he would be graduating and moving out of the state in less than three months. But please allow me to continue fantasizing about you, sir, he would beg. You are everything I’ve ever wanted, in looks and attitude.

Christopher was an aspiring writer; I was just about to have my first book published. I write from life, he told me, when first I asked what projects he was undertaking. I don’t write memoir, but my life feeds my fiction. Just like you should feed me your piss, sir. I’d laugh, flattered by his sexual banter, and try to steer the topic back to more high-minded things like the love of writing we both shared. Somehow, though, he would always end up begging for more photos of my dick. I’d find myself hardening to his dirty talk, and allow him to flatter and cajole me.

After his graduation, Christopher moved back home, deep in farm territory. We kept in touch, vaguely, on social media. I followed his adventures abroad as he moved to Eastern Europe to teach, and to work on his novel; I cheered for his success when he began to review other people’s books online. From time to time, he’d send me quick messages. I still think of you. I visit your Manhunt profile just to look at your photos, and dream about that hard cock filling me with your piss, he’d say.
I’d ask how his novel was coming. Fine. But not as fine as your engorged meat would look spewing its urine all over my skin.

I moved to the East Coast; Christopher remained in the midwest. But then one day I received a message. I’m coming to New York, he told me. My novel is being published. Can I meet you?

Could he meet me? Of course he could meet me, I told him. I offered to take him out to lunch, to celebrate. We made a date of it, at an upscale pizza restaurant that’s a favorite of mine. Over lunch we talked—high-minded things, at first. His struggles with his editor. The excitement he felt over his first novel’s publication. What lay in the future for him.

His novel, he told me, was of a young man’s strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk—or at least, that’s as much of the plot I could absorb, as when he explained it to me over pizza, under the table the sole of his foot pressed insistently on the hard bulge in my pants. His was a tale of dark, sexual obsession, anyway, based on a relationship he’d experienced while he’d lived abroad. “It’s about an aspiring writer teaching in Eastern Europe who falls for . . . well, I guess you could call him rough trade. The man is older and straight, but willing to let the writer suck his dick when the writer pays enough. The writer follows . . . well, I guess you could call it stalking . . . he stalks the straight man around Europe. The climax is when the straight man beats the writer and steals all his money after making him perform oral sex.”

“And this novel—it’s based on a relationship of yours,” I said later, after lunch, as we exited a Starbucks and began strolling up Fifth Avenue in the direction of the public library. Christopher agreed that it was. “How closely based?”


“Was the real other man older, and straight?”

“He identified as straight. He was older.”

I thought for a moment. “Did you pay him?”

With a wry grin, Christopher admitted, “I paid him a lot.”

“Did you . . . follow him around Europe?”

“I stalked him.” I’d avoided using the s-word, full of judgement it might have been, but here it was, out in the open.

I looked sideways at him, then. I had one last question to ask. “Did he beat you? Please tell me you didn’t let yourself get beaten.”

He shrugged. “My stories are from life. I live my stories.”

He hadn’t answered my question. Then again, he had.

I attempted to change the subject. “What’s your next book to be?” I wondered.

Again, he shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ll have to live some more, and see.” He, too, was anxious for a shift in topic. Hands in his pockets, he nudged me with his shoulder. “I really like spending time with you. Don’t go yet. Let’s sit somewhere and talk for a while.”

I nodded, feeling the warmth between us. “I’d like that a lot. Bryant Park’s up ahead. Want to find a table and sit for a while?”

“I want more than that.” But he skirted the library with me, and together we found a table near the fountain.

It’s a year later. I’m sitting in an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, near the back of an assembly of chairs in the store’s largest wing. The store would be closed in another ten months, but that news is yet to come. Tonight it’s abuzz with patrons. Perhaps forty people surround me, listening attentively to Hilton Als introduce Christopher, with fulsome praise for his newly-released novel. Hilton Als. Award-winning critic Hilton fucking Als is introducing my friend, I think, glowing. How amazing a journey is that?

Christopher takes the stage. He towers over the little podium, an ungainly giant looming over a child’s prop. He acknowledges Als, nods at the audience to thank them for their applause, and clears his throat. In a halting, quiet voice, he begins to read.

I recognize this passage immediately. I haven’t read it yet, although the book was auto-delivered on publication to my Kindle a day or two before. I recognize the premise because Christopher described it to me the previous spring. The American writer and the scowling object of his obsession are alone in a room. The dark-featured man shoves the American to his knees, and unbuckles his black market 501s. He forces the American to taste his dick, its foreskin ripe from piss and unwashed juices. Hungrily the American obeys, but some impulse impels him to pull away. The man in the 501s seizes the writer’s wrist so violently that the American cries out in pain. A slap across the face. Another. Through tears, the American parts his lips to finish what he started.

The audience listens respectfully, perhaps taken aback by the explicitness of the passage. Many hold their hands before their mouths to convey an expression of deep thought, their eyes fixed on the floor, or just below the podium. I, on the other hand, am perhaps feeling too deeply the war of wills my friend is describing in his soft monotone. When Christopher reads about his character being slapped yet again after he has swallowed the trade’s semen, all I can think about is a fire-red handprint marking Christopher’s porcelain skin; when the writer is forced down onto the bed and beaten, over and over, by the man’s angry fists, all I picture is how the bruises must have looked on Christopher’s face and body. Finally when, in a sudden turn-around of feeling, the trick pleads like a boy with the writer to forgive him and never to abandon him, I have to struggle against the impulse to fly to Eastern Europe and track down this son of a bitch, especially when the last thing his fictional counterpart does is to rifle through the writer’s wallet before stalking out the door with the writer’s promise and his cash.

At the conclusion of the reading, Christopher raises his head. His blue eyes peer out at the audience as if surprised we’re still here. He thanks us with a hasty nod. An employee of the bookstore asks people to line up for the book signing.

I already own an electronic version, but I intend to buy a physical copy of the novel as well, so I can have it autographed. I’m near the back of the line. There’s only one woman behind me, in fact, glancing at her watch. Patiently I wait as closer to the table I draw. I’m not talking to anyone else in the queue. I have plenty of time to observe Christopher as he signs book after book, and makes casual chat with each person who’s come out to see him. I get the impression he’s genuinely surprised at the attention. He makes eye contact with everyone as he hands back their inscribed copies. From time to time, he graces them with one of his goofy grins, or with a trademark dazzling smile. Those smiles animate his crooked face. I would do anything to see him smile at me that way.

Finally, after a long half-hour, it’s my turn…and he smiles when he recognizes my face. My heart beats a little faster as I draw near. By now, I’m the actual last person; the woman who’d been behind me had given up, fifteen minutes before. “Oh my god,” he says, rising. We lean over the table and hug. When he realizes there’s no one else left, he abandons his post entirely and walks around to join me. “I did not see you in the audience.”

“I’m so proud of you,” I tell him. I hope he knows how much I mean the words. I cannot think of anyone of whom I’ve been prouder.

He leans in close. “What you should be proud of is that massive cock of yours,” he murmurs directly into my ear. “I need to feel it sliding down my throat. I need it pissing directly into my gut.”

I laugh, but I’m a little taken aback by the deflect. I was just getting over the rawness of the abusive sex scene he’d just shared with the bookstore patrons, and a little shocked he could shift gears so quickly into sexual aggressiveness. But of course, he’s lived with that scene for a long time, at this point; he’s written it and edited it, and edited again, and has looked it after his copy editor has edited it. It’s raw to me, but at this point rote to him, I reason. I know how the cycle of publishing renders the written word overfamiliar.

He’s still murmuring into my ear as he scrawls something into my book and hands it back to me. “I wish I could have you over tonight, so you could open my throat with that enormous dick, but I’m staying at Jason’s.” He nods in the direction of an Asian-American young man his own age, who’s chatting with a group of other late twenty-somethings near the entrance. I recognize him. He’s another author. “I don’t think he’d appreciate me worshiping that fat dong and letting you hose me down with that horse-stream of piss in the middle of his living room.”

I look at the book’s title page. Christopher has inscribed my name, and followed it with the words, What I want to say won’t fit on this page. Thanks for coming. Christopher. What in the world is that dedication supposed to mean, I wonder? The words sound handsome enough. Yet do they really mean anything?

“Hey,” says Christopher in my ear. “A bunch of us are going to grab a drink.” I perk up. Perhaps an invitation is in the offing. I deflate just as quickly, when he continues his thought. “Maybe after my friends and I are done, I can catch up with you again and we can go somewhere.”

“Where, Christopher?” I ask. I probably sound more testy than I intend, but I can’t help myself. The group of young people waiting nearby have been shooting questioning glances our way. Clearly they’re anxious to start their revelry. Some of their faces I’ve seen in Christopher’s social media. A few are authors with one whole book apiece to their names. They’re the hot young voices of LGBT letters today, or something like that. Hot in a literary sense, anyway. There’s not one I’d swipe right on. “Where exactly would we go?”

Okay, so I’m not part of his elite little social circle. Am I such a troll I can’t be asked out for drinks? Why am I not even introduced as a friend? Is it my age? Am I dressed badly? Am I an embarrassment? How? I’ve got more writing credits to my name than all these whelps put together.

He’s trying to smooth over the situation. His voice is sweet and soothing in my ear. “I don’t know. Maybe you could hang out somewhere on your own and then meet me late, near the bar. We could find a parking garage or something. An alley. I don’t care. I just want to get that cock of yours down my throat. Then you can finish me off with your piss. Come on. Say yes.”

As he hisses his serpent’s song, wearing a smile all the while, I’m staring at the dedication he’s written. What I want to say won’t fit on this page. What I want to say, right now, can’t even come out of my mouth. Minutes ago I’d felt so proud of this kid. I’d reveled in every decibel of applause he’d wrung from his captive audience. I’d been proud of him for years, from the time he was a college student, through his adventures abroad, from the time he got his agent to this very evening, on the publication of his first novel. Every step of the way, I’d been the beaming father figure urging him on.
Now, though, I grapple with a new certainty. I was never central enough to think I'd been Christopher’s mentor, but I’d certainly fancied myself a colleague. We were players in the same game. In that moment, though, something struck me. Every interaction we’d ever had, when I would try to talk with him about writing, he’d always drag the conversation back around to my cock. I’d accept the flattery, smile and laugh it off and try again to converse like a peer. He’d ignore anything I said and beg for my piss.

To Christopher, I wasn’t an avuncular compatriot in wordsmithing. To Christopher, I wasn’t even—and for the first time in a decade I allowed to think the words—a friend. To Christopher, I was a big alpha cock. I was a bladder of warm piss. I was a dark sexual obsession to someone who collected sexual obsessions like Pok√©mon.

You don’t pull your sexual obsession out into the light for others to examine. You don’t invite him to some noisy Brooklyn brewery with your little friends. Sexual obsessions lurk in dark alleyways, waiting to waylay a successful author on his way back to his buddy Jason’s sofa, on the night of his ultimate triumph. Sexual obsessions push a bright young genius on the cusp of wild literary success to his knees in a parking garage stairwell, to drench the writer’s pressed jeans and crisp, ironed shirt with a fire hose dick.

I live my stories was my friend’s credo. To Christopher, I was a character in some plot he was formulating—a minor shadow in some potential future novel about a writer with a dark sexual need for degradation. I wasn’t a friend or a colleague. Not a mentor. Not an advisor. I’d never be someone he turned to for advice, or for kudos, or for a sofa when he visited the city. Fuck, I wasn’t even a real person. I was merely an actor in the drama he was concocting in that cranium of his, and one with a severely limited role, at that.

“I need to get back home,” I say, and stammer out something about the last trains back to the suburbs.

His eyes measure me for a moment. The light in them flickers out. His smile vanishes. “We’ll catch up,” he tells me.

I nod, and shove my second copy of his novel into my bag as I blindly stumble past his friends for the door.

What does it mean, to live one’s stories?

I’m sitting on a bench in the Borough Hall station, waiting for the train. A whole section of century-old tiles have fallen from the mosaic overhead; what remains reads BOROU ALL. I’m glad, this late at night, that no one’s around to see me now. My face must be poker red after my conversation with Christopher, minutes before. Shame, from not being good enough, for not being highbrow enough to hobnob with the likes of Hilton Als and the smart literary set. Embarrassment, for assuming my friendship with Christopher was something substantial. Anger, for time wasted. Despite my self-pity, though, I can’t stop thinking about this question.

I write a lot about my life. I chronicle what happens to me. I resurrect memories from the past. Arranging experience into memoir, sharing oneself with others, are noble arts, I think. I look for stories in the time that’s passed, the people I’ve met, the conversations and encounters that fill my days. I try to make sense of the ebb and flow of coincidences, to discern patterns, from the tangles time weaves as I dance through it. When I sit down to sort my life into sentences and paragraphs, I’ll use literary techniques in the distilling; I’ll condense conversations, I’ll streamline the action. But I hew true to what happened, I summon yet don't much alter the things that were said and the feelings I had. What I don’t do is to manipulate my life and the people in it in order to achieve a outcome that suits a story I want to craft.

Tonight, I suspect Christopher does.

I don’t deny chasing stories when I can. Two roads diverge in a yellow wood, and chances are I’ll take the one that looks like it might yield a tale to tell later. I am always wanting to see what happens next, and next after that. Christopher, however. I now had a mental image of Christopher as a giant, looming over a drafting table covered by scale stage set models—one maquette decorated like a bookstore with rows of metal folding chairs arranged in rows, a cut-out cardboard podium from which juts a bent paper-clip microphone. Small paper cut-outs represent the people; all but one sport blank faces. The exception, standing in the back, has a penciled-in beard.

Another maquette. This one of a dark alley. Christopher slouches a duplicate of the tall bearded paper doll against a concrete wall in the shadows; he arranges a spotlight above upon the even taller stand-in for the writer, hesitating in a pool of white and casting a long shadow behind, as he pauses at the alley’s black mouth. A third, earlier scale model sits to the side: a city block. A classical building, a library twin lions guarding its staircases, has been erected from foam board and glue at one end; behind it, a park with a large square of green open space and a miniature baroque fountain. The same two cut-out miniature men sit close to each other at a table nearby.

Had Christopher, in each scene we’d shared, taken me like a paper doll and trotted me exactly where he’d wanted me? To him, was I nothing but the dirty old pervert in his own bildungsroman? I suspected so. I was of many among his real-life sexual obsessions, perhaps fodder for a future tale along the lines of his first novel.

In the quiet sanctity of that subway station, I wondered about the other people in Christopher’s life. How far had he gone for his art? Did Christopher use his smiles and sheer will to keep his hustler returning for scene after bitter scene? Did he calculate exactly how many euros to withdraw and leave in his wallet, one night he knew it would be plundered, weighing a theoretical balance between satisfying his so-called straight lover, without breaking his own bank account? Awful as it was even to think—did he practice in his mind just what cruel thing to say, to compel a man to strike him?

If any or all these things were true, is that the only difference between high art, and mere chronicle—the author’s manipulation?

Perhaps I’m overreacting. I draw out my phone and pause before thumbing out a text to Christopher. I'd like to talk sometime. Maybe this week, while you’re still here?

Perhaps he’s not at the bar yet, or his author chums are boring him, for he writes back almost instantly. How about you talk while I’m between your thighs with your big dick in my mouth.

That’s not really a conversation, though, I tell him.

If you come in my mouth, I might be ready to talk.

My thumbs stab out a reply. It seems as if the only part of me you find desirable is between my legs.

There’s a moment before he writes back. I guess I’m accepting it will never happen, he says.

A train announces its impending arrival, first with a distant horn and the rattle of its cars, and then with a gleam of its headlights piercing the black depths of the uptown tunnel. I stand, and during the moments the train pulls into the tunnel and draws to a stop, I tap out another message. I'm enormously flattered you seem to find me sexually magnetic. If you were to set out to seduce me in person (and we had a place to go), you'd succeed. If you perceive resistance, it's only because I prefer my sexual encounters to arise from the moment, rather than adhere to a predetermined scene. It's not from lack of attraction.

I hit send, and wait. I wait for a reply all the way back to Grand Central.

I wait for it on the commuter train home.

I wait for a reply all the next day, and the whole week he’s in town.

Three years later, and I’m still waiting.

I was a paper cut-out in a maquette that refused to stand where placed, a disobedient actor who turned down the bit part he was offered. I haven’t heard from Christopher since.

Two men sit near the fountain in Bryant Park, one spring afternoon. Their metal chairs are pulled close; the men incline toward each other in conversation. Anyone sitting nearby—the park custodians sweeping leaves and debris from the sidewalks, the couples walking their miniature dogs, the old men strategizing at chess across the way—might assume the men are lovers, so cocooned in their own world are they.

The younger and taller of the men, his eyes blue, his lips drawn into an impossibly wide smile, leans forward so that his mouth is millimeters away from the older man’s ear. The young man’s smooth cheek grazes the older man’s beard so lightly it seems more warmth than actual touch. He inhales, then holds his breath for a moment before whispering. “I can’t take my eyes off the bulge in your pants.”

The words, barely aspirated, tickle and tease. The older man’s heart beats more quickly in response; perhaps he shifts in his chair to ease the tightening in his trousers. He wets his lips, but says nothing.

“What wouldn’t I give to have you in my mouth right now,” says the young man. It’s cruel, what he’s doing. No good can come of his promises. The younger man stays with a friend when he visits the city, while the older man lives too far away. “Sucking you. Licking you from stem to stern. Slobbering over your enormous . . . rigid . . . dripping . . . fat cock.”

His cheek still tingling with proximity, the older man swallows hard. “Why are you torturing me?” His voice is low. It trembles.

They barely have to turn their heads to make eye contact. “Maybe you’re the one torturing me,” says the younger man. He rotates the Starbucks cup in his hands. “I’ve finished my coffee. But I’m still thirsty.”

The older man sits back, just slightly, enough to look his companion in the eye. Their faces are close. So close. They must breathe each other’s air. They could kiss without moving. “Are you saying—?”

“I’m thirsty,” repeats the young man, his eyes unwavering as each stares at the other.

Now the older man nods, and stands. When he extends his hand, the younger man hands him the cup, then reclines, his Neanderthal hands resting on his stomach. In the direction of Forty-Second the older man disappears. He strides toward the stone building that houses the public facilities, keeping pace to the thudding of his heart. Even at this early hour of the afternoon, there’s a line outside the women’s restroom door, but none for the men’s side.

Once inside, he waves his hand beneath the faucet to set the water in motion. He rinses out both the white cardboard and its plastic lid, once, twice, sniffing to see how much of a coffee aroma is left. Then he strides to the urinals, sets the cup on top of the urinal’s ledge, and unzips. Perfunctory partitions divide the porcelain fixtures, but when the older man reaches for the open cup and brings it with his hand down into the urinal basin, the man next to him glances over. Then he averts his eyes, minding his own business in his best New Yorker fashion, or at least a reasonable approximation. The older man finishes his business in the cup, affixes the lid, and strides back to the basins to wash his hands.

Five minutes have passed by the time he returns to the table by the fountain. He holds out the coffee cup, which still radiates a body temperature warmth against his hand, then sits. The younger man spreads wide his knees, pries open the lid, and peers within. When he looks back up at the older man, there’s light and heat in his eyes. He bestows on the older man one of those dazzling smiles, making the older man feel all in an instant loved, and desired, and yes—young again. As the youth sets aside the lid on the table, he leans in. “I am going to relish every drop of you,” he whispers.

He kisses his benefactor on the cheek. Surely, the older man thinks, the imprint of those lips will leave a permanent mark, hot and moist and red.

Cup raised, the young man downs its contents. When finished, he taps the bottom of the container to release any final, reluctant drops. When he leans forward again, his breath is ranker, more acrid. “Delicious,” he whispers. “Look what you made me do.”

The older man is too flustered to reply. He’s betrayed by his pounding heart, his shortness of breath, his increasing hardness, the hormones coursing through his veins. He works his lips, but nothing comes out. Instead, he watches his young friend lean back in his chair smugly to consider the empty Starbucks cup, and in his own head replays the youth’s last words.

Look what you made me do.

It should have been the older man’s line.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


“Monster.” The man is kneeling on the floor as he speaks, hands on his thighs, back erect. His eyes are transfixed several feet away, between my spread legs. From time to time, though, his glance attempts to meet mine, to garner approval. “Gargantuan.”

I’m sitting buck-naked in the hotel room’s armchair. It’s an high-backed, period replica with a hard seat that’s about as relaxing as an iron maiden. But my comfort isn’t what’s important, here. What matters is the view I’m providing—sitting there with my knees wide apart, my meat pulsing against the palm of my hand. He can’t take his eyes off it . . . but neither can I. There’s a naked man on the floor in front of me, but I deliberately pay him zero consideration. I focus on my dick, my rock-hard, red dick. It’s the main attraction. Anything he might be saying, I’m telling him through my inattention, is just background noise.

“Colossal,” he says, flicking his eyes to my face. “Titan.” He’s hoping for approval. I don’t intend to give it to him. Not yet.

He’s a handsome fellow. Worked-out biceps. Deep chest, with a trail of fur leading down his abdomen to where his dick stands at attention. A couple of times his right hand wanders between his thighs so he can pleasure himself. When that happens, I use the top of my foot to punt it away. He should know better.

Pre-cum is beading at my dick’s tip. With my right hand, I squeeze tight my inches, making them redder, fuller. With the left, I dip my index finger into the clear fluid, pulling it up to my mouth. Its tendril of slime stretches, diminishes, then snaps right as I shove my finger in my mouth. With gratification I notice that he unconsciously licks his lips.

He’s parched. “Monumental,” he rasps, adding to his thesaurus of compliments. He amends, “Sir.”

Still not paying attention to him. My left hand now chokes my cock, as the right grabs and pulls at my nuts. I let out a little sigh of satisfaction.

The man starts to rise from his kneeling position. “May I…?”

For the first time in several moments, I break out of my absorption and stare directly at him. Slowly, I shake my head. My foot lifts. Settles on his shoulder. Pushes him back down upon his haunches. Then I return my attention to my silent self-pleasure.

He offers no resistance to my direction. When his hand jerks, I think he’s going to touch himself again, but with discipline he plants it firmly on his leg again. He understands his assignment: to observe, and to yearn.

Denying him what he wants—well, that’s what he wants, isn’t it? I sized that up immediately when he contacted me, when he made the arrangements to host me in this expensive midtown hotel. He could’ve picked any dank and dismal location, but he wanted to impress with his taste. He wanted to impress with his carefully-chosen, understated but expensive clothing, which I’d made him remove while I pretended not to watch. With the wine he’d brought, in case I wanted any. He’s a man used to casually gratifying himself with his credit card, or thrilling others with that Hollywood smile. And I have no intention of giving him what he wants.

Not immediately. Not yet. He needs to work for it, a little.

The sound of his swallowing is plainly audible as he attempts to moisten his dry throat. “I bet you get any hole you want, with that cock.” I make no reply. There’s a silence before he tries again. “I bet I’m not the only one to pay for a chance to touch that monster.”

Our eyes lock. I’m still stroking, but I acknowledge the statement.

“Fuck. I didn’t think so. You deserve fags emptying their accounts for that weapon.” I’m pretty sure he can tell this line of talk is turning me on; my dick is already rigid, but it visibly swells at his words. “You could have anyone you wanted, and you said yes to me.”

I return my attention to the throbbing sexmeat in the palm of my hand. I lift a fist, spit into it, and slather the slickness over my length. I’m not particularly fond of this form of lubricant for masturbation, but I am fully aware of how good it must look from his perspective, down there on the floor.

From the corner of my eye, I can tell the show is having its intended effect. His stubby uncut dick points upward; his shoulders snap back. He raises a hand to run it through his short blond hair. “Shit.”

Again I meet his glance. My dick surrounded by my fist, I point it in his direction. He stares first at it, then at me, then at it again. Is it an invitation? Am I ready to let him have what he’s so anxious for?

Tentatively he leans forward, ready to service me.

I, however, thwart him. Before he can connect with me, I raise my foot again, and shove his shoulder to the floor. He flops prone before me on the hotel carpet, face down. When he looks up again, I’ve got my dick in one hand and my phone in the other. “Please,” he whispers.

But fuck, I’m busy with my emails. Or Grindr. Or maybe I’m watching cat videos on YouTube. Who knows? I’m putting on a good show of it, anyway. He doesn’t deserve to know my business. He just needs to know it’s not him—yet. I’ve got one foot on the back of his neck, and the other on top of his head, holding him down to the floor as I pay him absolutely no nevermind.

“I’ll do anything.”

I look around the phone’s screen, as if mildly interested in what he’s got to say.

“Anything,” he promises, grateful for my slight attention.

I kick him upward and over, onto his back. I plant my right foot onto his chest. He attempts to grab it, but I boot his hands away. When he’s finally still, I lift my left foot and bring it down onto his face.

He knows exactly what to do. I feel the tickle of his lips against my sole. Then he’s lapping at the bottom of my foot with broad, wet lengths of his tongue. When he seizes my foot again, I allow it; the man angles my heel so that his lips can encompass it. Sheer sensation overwhelms that area of my body as he greedily nibbles, licks, and chews his way around my foot. I angle my ankle so he can attempt to take my toes into his mouth, but it doesn’t work. He flops onto his belly again to service one foot while the other rests on the back of his neck. At last I put down my phone.

After long minutes of him pleasuring my left foot, he takes it between his hands and kneads the flesh. He looks up at me for validation. I’m still stroking my dick, but I don’t have to feign or exaggerate my expression. He’s making me feel good. I starre him in the eye. Nod.

That’s all he needs to commence servicing the other foot.

For a wordless half-hour or more he lies there on the hotel floor, groveling, writhing as he makes love to my feet. First one, then the other, then back again. I know he’s using the opportunity to grind his own dick into the plush carpeting, to ease the tension building in his own nuts. But he’s not attempting to grab himself. All his focus is on me.

As it should be.

Finally I remove my feet from his face. I prod him with a toe, flick a finger, to have him resume his kneeling position. He knows something’s going to happen. Will it be what he most wants?

He clears his throat. Runs his hand once more through his messy hair. Dares to speak. “Please?”

But no. Not yet.

I point my index and middle finger in his direction. Raise them twice. The motion clearly orders him to rise, and he obeys. When his hands automatically slide in front of his hips to hide his nakedness—a newly self-conscious Adam trembling before his God in front of the Tree of Life—I shake my head. His hands drop again to his side.

I circle my index finger in the air, slowly. He turns. I have him stop when he’s facing away, though allow him to look at me over his shoulder. Still stroking, I pleasure myself while I admire his firm buttocks, his thick thighs. A fantastic Chinese dragon covers his left shoulder in colorful inks. His shoulders are broad. He is, as I’ve said, a handsome man.

There’s a helpless expression in his eyes. I recognize it. It’s the look that a thousand and more men have given me, the moment they realize that I honestly, truly, see them. That I’m aroused not by some fantasy on an app, or a flawless shirtless selfie they’ve managed to pull off—no, but by the reality of them, the here and now of them as they stand naked and exposed before me. I can tell by the liquid aspect of his eyes, the unconscious parting of his lips, that he realizes I am turned on not by the sight of my own dick, but by him. By his ass. By the curve of his hips. By his presence before me. Most of all, by the potential of pleasure I see in him, in this very moment.

He turns to face me. Slowly, carefully, not breaking the contact we’re making in our held glance, he lowers himself to his knees.

Once more, he licks his lips. Clears his throat. Asks softly, “Please, sir? Have I earned it?”

I pause to give the question the consideration it deserves.

Then this time—this time, I nod.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


I’m surprised by the fauxhawk covering the middle third of his skull. It’s a soft landing strip of copper-colored down, a number three buzz surrounded by pink skin on either side. When I step into his cabin and let the door slam shut behind me, this young man takes me into his arms and lays his head upon my chest as he hugs me tightly.

I haven’t met him before. We haven’t even communicated much. The most that’s passed between us were a couple of texts on Scruff, when our cruise ship made land at Puerto Rico and our phones began connecting to our home services again. You’re hot. Want to come fuck me at 3 pm? he’d asked.

You’re hot too. Sure, I’d said.

And now he’s cradling me like I’m his long-lost dad. Well, his long-lost dirty dad, at least. I’m both touched and aroused. My right hand holds him tight; my left hand strokes the racing stripe of hair. After a long minute, I lift up his chin and raise his mouth to mine. Our kiss is deep, and satisfying, and long.

He’s a handsome man. Early thirties. Deep blue eyes. Fair skin. Beefy, in a worked-out way. He maneuvers me down the short hallway and into his cabin with his arms still encircling my rib cage, our mouths fixed upon each other’s. We’re able to navigate the short distance by rocking stiff-legged from side to side, like two Ken dolls a child is pretending to make waltz. When he shoves me onto the mattress, I’m scarcely all the way down when he lunges on top of me, his arms planted above my head, his mouth still hungrily kissing mine.

Have I neglected to mention he’d greeted me wearing only a Nasty Pig jock? Well, I’ve been so consumed by his kissing that I scarcely noticed myself, until now. He’s one of those men with a naturally-smooth body—or at least, I’m not detecting any shaving stubble. My hands wander from his firm pectorals down to his glutes. His ass is spectacularly round and full. I can feel the hardness of his cock, and the heat of it, as he grinds into my pelvic bone. My own dick is just as rigid, though it lies at an angle almost perpendicular to his. The weight of him, his rhythmic thrusting, his insistent pressure…it’s all working to make me desire him as much as he obviously desires me.

He rolls over and thrusts his hands beneath a pillow over his head. “Take off your clothes,” he begs.
What can I do but obey? My flip-flops hadn’t even made it as far as the bed. The only other things I’m wearing are a pair of sweat shorts that I wriggle out of and let fly off my foot across the room, and a tee that I rip off and throw onto the cabin floor. I roll on top of him and press myself against the man, skin against skin. We kiss again, my tongue deeply plundering his mouth. He grunts with pleasure. His legs lift; my erection batters against his crack as I mock-thrust against him. Without warning, he employs his weight to once again flip me onto my back.

“I need that cock,” he announces, and I watch as he shimmies himself down between my legs. His arms, which had been off to the sides, quickly bury themselves beneath my butt. His mouth opens to engulf me.

But as he swiftly and expertly swallows my cock, part of my brain distances itself from the proceedings. Usually I pride myself on remaining totally in the sexual moment. But there’s enough of a disconnect that my brain suddenly switches off of erotic autopilot—for I pride myself as well for being a good observer. And didn’t I observe, in that last swift motion, that this man was missing one of his hands?

It’s impossible to tell now; both his forearms are buried beneath my backside. Mentally I review every grappling position in which the two of us had so far engaged. He’d flung his arms around me when I’d entered; he’d kept his hands out of view and over my head when I’d been on the mattress. When he’d been on his back, they’d artfully been covered by a pillow. Only in that moment when he’d gone down between my legs had I noticed that he was missing his right hand at the wrist. Nowhere in his Scruff profile had he mentioned such a thing.

Nor was I really certain, honestly, that he needed to. Why did it have to be a big deal? Some gay men have occupied so much of their lifespans and their mental real estate attempting to seem normal, to fit in, to blend when they should pop, that any deviance to their agenda of homogeneity sends them into a tizzy. The wrong look, the wrong weight, a selfie taken at Wendy’s instead of the gym—I could well imagine how freaked out a shallow man might be about an absent body part.

Did my fauxhawked friend hope that I simply wouldn’t notice? Was he so practiced and expert at concealment that he’d gotten away with his partners not noticing before? In no way does he need any of my pity. Yet pity isn’t what I’m feeling for him. Not for his injury, not for his lack, at least. I feel angry that someone, sometime, had embarrassed him about himself. I feel dismay that he has the compulsion to hide.

Honestly, though, I’m not able to formulate much of a coherent response in the moment, because the fucker’s mouth is making my dick feel so damned good.

“Let me eat your hole,” I suggest.

In a flash he maneuvers himself into a kneeling position, keeping me firmly on his left side so that I can’t see his right arm as it swings swiftly into place beneath the pillow. I kneel behind him, planting my lips onto the smooth pucker he presents. It relaxes and blossoms on my tongue as I lap at it. “You like that,” I state, and am rewarded an answer in groans.

I drag the unused pillow beneath his hips and rim him for several minutes, giving him pleasure just as he’d given it to me moments before. I’m rough and relentless at times as I gnaw at this private place with vigor, or abrade it with my short beard. At other points I’m romantic, making out with the hole to let it know how very badly I desire it. The pink tip of his cock, angled down and to the side, peeks out of the stretchy fabric of his jock. Its slit glistens with sticky fluid.

At last I rise and plant my knees between his. I raise my palm and spit in it, then smooth the slickness over my meat. His hips rise in anticipation; when I begin to slide inside his warm chute, he murmurs obscenities into the pillow. “Just enjoy it,” I whisper.

“I am,” he promises. “Oh god, I really am.”

I’m in. He’s well-fucked, this one; there’s barely any resistance, all the way down. I pause when I reach the base, then pull apart those globes and force myself in an extra half-inch. His back is arched; his neck as well, as he lifts his head to let out a mighty sob of pleasure.

“Right there,” he whispers. “Right…right there. Oh god, you’re hitting that spot I love.”

“You want to sit on it?” I murmur. “I’ll get in real deep if you sit on it.”

I sense some hesitation. Maybe he’s wondering how he can once more hide his right arm; maybe he’s plotting the combination of moves he’ll use, the vectors that will have to come into play for the concealment. But it’s bullshit. If he wants that spot hit, he needs to let me deploy him into a position in which I can hit that spot over and over again.

“Sit on it,” I order.

I turn over on my back, and prop up my head with some pillows. He turns himself over, right arm held out of sight behind his back. Then, as I hold my cock upright, he straddles me and lowers himself down. His eyes close as he sinks onto me.

“Yes” I whisper. It feels right. It feels good.

He must be feeling good, himself. When he’s fully down on me, his head jerks back once more to let me know I’ve found that spot again. I hold my hands to his chest and let his weight fall upon them. He’s still angling his arm awkwardly to keep it out of sight. To me it’s obvious that the charade is interfering with his ultimate enjoyment.

“Come here,” I whisper. I take his left hand in my right, then raise my left hand in the same position. He responds by trying to lean forward and plant his right arm over my head, but it’s a bumbling angle that lessens the pleasure for us both. Finally, I push him back upright. I hold out my left hand, cupped, as I thrust inside him. Then, when his eyes close and he loses himself a little in the pleasure of my big dick so deep within, I take hold of his right forearm. Our fingers are entwined to my right; he’s finally no longer concealing anything and resting in my grasp, on my left. Our eyes meet.

“You like this?” I ask him.

He nods. “Yes.”

“Is this what you want?”

“Yes sir,” he says.

Even though he’s on top of me, I’m still the one doing the work. I thrust upward with my hips as I support him with my hands and upper thighs; his dick throbs. His jock becomes wetter with every thrust. The man gazes down at me through slitted eyelids as I stare at him squarely on. I gauge my thrusts by his every little reaction, banging harder when I sense he needs it, slowing down when I get too close. It’s impossible to hold off forever, though. “Are you ready for my load?” I ask, finally.

His fingers tighten around my right hand. “I’ve been ready since you walked through the door, sir.”

There’s such a look of need in his eyes that I can’t hold off any more. My fingers clutch at his hand and arm tightly as I let loose. I’m still jetting into him when I untangle my right hand from his and claw open his jock. His short cock is slicker than even mine, all from his own precum; I close a fist around it and force him into climax with just a few short strokes.

Both of us are breathing heavily when the sexual haze subsides. He sinks down onto my dick and, as I raise my hips once more, collapses on top of my body. Still connected, ass to cock, my sperm making his insides slippery, we make out in languorous fashion.

After a very long minute, he lifts his head and strokes my hair. “I really like you,” he says.

“I really like you, too,” I tell him.

Nothing more needs to be said. We understand each other.

Monday, March 11, 2019

A Sloth of Bears

After midnight, the busiest part of the ship isn’t the Lido buffet, or the party happening poolside, or the piano bar across from the casino. Most of the traffic take place in a spot that’s the darkest and most remote. Men hike to the forward part of the vessel, climb the stairs up from Deck 11, and wander to the ship's uppermost level. Hands in pockets, their paces slow and meandering, as if they've merely decided to take an evening stroll, adventure-seekers saunter to the railing in front, where clusters of strangers already congregate in small groups.

The Dick Deck, they call it. Every cruise ship has one when there's a gay charter aboard. During the daytime this adults-only area is reserved for nude sunbathing. Nothing overlooks this space; it can't be stumbled upon accidentally. On this cruise, where nearly every cabin is occupied by gay men, it's our unofficial after-hours public play space. Someone has grabbed beach towels to wrap around the low-lying lights designed ordinarily to cast an atmospheric glow on the boards underfoot. There are no floodlights; the back half of the ship is obscured. Save for the Milky Way above and the occasional glow of a phone or watch, this area is nearly completely dark.

Men cluster near the door of a stairwell that leads down to the Crow's Nest bar, a deck below. After sunset, the crew piled the sunbathing lounge chairs in a neat heap next to the stair. A fit, muscular older guy sprawls face-down on top of that stack, legs open, wearing nothing but a pair of sneakers. His clothes lie in a pile on the planks. He groans noisily—someone has stepped up to the deck chairs and applied his mouth to the man's ass, which lies right at face level. I don't find the guy doing the rimming especially attractive, but my opinion doesn't matter. The older man writhes and bucks so vigorously from the attention that the stack of chairs begin to scrape and inch noisily across the deck.

I'm standing about a dozen feet away, alone, leaning against the rail. I could join the group that's milling around the deck chairs, but inserting myself in the midst of the action isn't really my style. I'm dressed to cruise, though—a pair of shorts with no underwear beneath, a dark tee, sneakers. I'm not hard, but my dick is full enough to form a noticeable bulge beneath the thin fabric draped over it. The group surrounding the chairs swells in size as more men amble into this dark, all-male space; they're craning necks to see the action, looking around to see if anyone else wants to start something. I'm not surprised when nothing happens among the crush of bodies. Men come in two stripes: those who instigate sex, and those who hope proximity to sex will lend them an allure they don't have. The men in that anonymous pack are mostly the latter.

I'm one of the former. It would be easy enough to go over and grab a hand and put it to my crotch, to take a handful of ass and watch whatever fellow I clutch groan with gratitude. Those pickings are too easy, though. So I summon my patience, and rest my elbows on the railing at the small of my back, and wait.

It's not long before a man appears from the direction of the spa stairwell who catches my eye. Tall guy—even taller than I am. Maybe six-four, six-five. Beefy. Furry. A long beard that ends mid-ribcage. Nice face. He's a big slab of bear, this one. I like the look. He's wearing an unbuttoned flowered Hawaiian shirt that reveals a mass of chest hair, yellow shorts, and a pair of flip-flops. My eyes follow him as he paces with obvious interest to the gang by the deck chairs. He takes a glance, looks around the crowd, then detaches to walk in my direction.

Our eyes lock. I nod. He smiles in return. It's one of those goofy grins I find instantly endearing, but he glides past and walks on. While the sloppy sounds of butt-munching and the muscled older guy's grunting continues to my left, I watch the big bear stride over to the quiet end of the deck. Up at the stars he stares, as if taking a quiet moment. Then he turns, leans against the rail, and looks my way.

I meet his gaze. It doesn't take long for him to react. He pushes himself from the rail and begins—oh so casually—to stroll back my way. He smiles again as he passes, closer this time. Then rests his behind on the railing about four feet from where I stand.

Wasting no time, I slide over next to him. In turn, he closes the gap of mere inches between us by easing his hip next to mine. My hand reaches for his package; I cup his balls firmly, feel a few inches of hardness spring to life. He rubs one palm against my stiff dick beneath my shorts, and cups a hand to the back of my head to pull me close. Our lips meet. His tongue invades my mouth. My free hand explores the fur beneath his open shirt, and squeezes one of the metal bars that piece his nipples.

“Do you have a room?” he growls in my ear. I shake my head. Again his beard tickles my neck as he murmurs, “I do, but maybe you're not the kind of guy who goes to a strange man's room.”

The comment makes me laugh. “I'm the kind of guy who loves going to a strange man's room.”

“Well c'mon then.” He grabs my hand in his paw and tugs me in the direction of the stairs. When we're in the light, and walking down, he asks my name. We exchange introductions. “Rob, huh? Now I gotta use it three times so I can remember.” He's got a slight Southern drawl, even though he's just told me he's from Colorado. “All right, one: I can't wait to get into Rob's pants.”

We're at the elevators, now. The doors open; he's still holding my hands like we're sixth-grade boyfriends. A couple of men smile at us as we step inside. They've obviously been to the green-themed poolside party above; they're dressed like the Lucky Charms leprechaun, only with more spangles and higher panty lines.

“Two,” says my bear, once we’re inside. He pushes the number of his floor. “From what I felt up there, Rob has a mighty big dick and I can't wait to get it down my throat.”

“Who's Rob?” asks one of the leprechauns with obvious interest.

“This hung motherfucker right here,” says the bear, swinging our clasped hands like he owns me.
“And he's all mine, bitches.” The leprechauns burst out into laughter. One of them eyes my shorts with speculation.

I'm flustered, but only a little. My new friend is so amiably goofy that all I really can do is laugh along with them.

“Yep,” he's saying to the party-goers. “You two boys think about me choking on Rob's big hog in about five minutes, because down my throat is where that huge dong is gonna be. Hey! That's number three!” he crows.

All four of us are chuckling when the bear and I stumble out of the elevator. One of us is a little more red than the others. The bear knows I'm charmed, though. He leads me toward the ship's aft by the hand, obviously tickled at his choice of trick. I'm flattered he's so pleased. When he rests his head on my shoulder, like we're lovebirds, it's all I can do to conceal the boner pointing in the general direction of Cuba.

He's got an inside cabin. It's tidy enough, but the first thing that catches my eye is the jumbo squirt bottle of Gun Oil by the bed. This dude is ready for something. I kick off my sneakers. When I turn to face him, the bear is looking me with a shit-eating grin on his face. “Grrrrrr,” he says.

His eyes are bluer than mine. I knew he was tall. I didn't realize, until we were walking down that hall together, that he was taller than even I. How much does he weigh? Two-fifty? Thereabouts? Whatever it is, he's solid through and through. He puffs up his chest and takes two steps forward to square off with me like we're wrestlers sizing each other up before a championship match. “I'm gonna enjoy taking you down, mister,” he says in a low voice.

“You’re gonna take me down?” I reply, not breaking my stare.

His hands yank my shorts to the floor. I'm not wearing anything underneath, so my dick springs out, then bounces. Roughly he wrests my shirt over my neck. The bear’s eyes glint as he shoves me onto his bed.

“You don't know what you've gotten yourself into, son,” he says to my sprawled form. Those short of his are being held up by a belt that he unbuckles and slides out of its loops. It's so slow and deliberate an act that my heart pounds a little faster. “Daddy is going to treat you like the real bad boy you are. Y'hear?”

“Yes sir,” I respond. I mean, I've got to be a good five to ten years older than this guy, but I'm not going to object to being the boy for a couple of hours.

His shorts fall to the floor. He's wearing a much-used Bike jock, more gray than white. He pulls off the Hawaiian shirt he's been wearing all this time, swings it around a finger like a cocky son-of-a-bitch, and lets it fly. It lands on the little desk in the opposite corner. “I think I might just fuck that little boyhole of yours,” he says. He still has the belt in his hands, the leather doubled over. “Yeah. I think daddy is going to spank that little ass, then breed it deep. You want that, son?”

I hadn't exactly envisioned this encounter going quite in this direction, but what the fuck. I'm having fun. I've haven't had a dick up my ass in half a decade or more. Let's run with it and see where it goes, I figure. Good sex—the best sex—is like comedy improv. And the first rule of improv is never to shut down what your creative partner suggests. In both sex and comedy, partners say yes to what's suggested. They build upon what the other brings to the scene.

So I say: “I want what dad wants. Sir.”

“Damn right you do, son,” he barks. “Now, let dad choke on that cock you got. That monster meat you got from my side of the family.”

I'd felt the bear's erection up on the Dick Deck. If I'd gotten my monster meat from his side of the family, it must've skipped a generation, I think. But like a good boy I keep my opinions to myself.

Besides, the only thing coming out of my mouth right now are groans and gasps—this guy is making good on his promise to take my big hog down his gullet. There's no choking, though. He swallows my eight inches whole, nuzzling the base with his lips and nose after it has slipped without effort down his throat. “Fuck,” I manage to grunt out. I try to lift myself up to watch what he's doing, but without breaking the rhythm of his deep-throating, he shoves me back into the pillows.

It's only after a good five minutes of him swallowing me whole that he disengages and rises to his feet. “Here,” he says, as he walks over to the desk where he'd thrown his shirt. He picks up a silver rectangular gadget, takes a moment to fiddle with its buttons, and hands it to me. It's a point-and-shoot camera. “I want some photos of me with this god-damned masterpiece in my mouth.” Then he's back to work.

I take a number of shots, with and without flash, of him staring into the lens with hunger. My god-damned masterpiece is nowhere to be seen in any of them; it's all the way down his throat the entire time. Whenever I attempt to set the camera down, he grunts and gestures for me to take more photos. Thirty, forty, fifty shots click by.

Finally he allows me to set aside the point-and-shoot. “Now I'm gonna eat that beautiful ass, son,” he growls. “Get you ready for fuckin'. On your knees, boy.”

I obey. He positions me near the bottom of the bed with my knees spread and my face in the pillow.
“God damn. Lookit that pucker.” The dirtier he talks, the more of a drawl he affects. Then again, I’m a little like that, myself. “Arch your back, son. Show off that bubble butt.”

I don’t in the least have a bubble butt, and at my advanced age I’m no longer certain my back actually can arch any longer, but I do my best.

“Fuck yeah,” he says, giving my ass a light slap. “That’s the way to make a man want to fuckin’ rape you. Cocktease. Little faggot hole. Wiggle it.” Again, I obey. “Put your hands on your ass and pull it apart for me. Now, boy. Fuck yeah. Gotta get some shots of that!”

What is he—? Oh shit. He’s taking shots of me spreading my hole. Welp. Might as well look good on camera. I arch my back and show it off, chagrined slightly that I’m getting even harder doing it.

The man lets loose a rumbling note of appreciation deep from his chest. “Makin’ daddy rock hard here. Gotta taste it.” I gasp as his tongue flicks against my hole. His beard scrapes and grinds into the sensitive skin, making me catch my breath. “You like that, don’t you, little faggot. Big ol’ man eatin' that pussy of yours.”

“Yes sir,” I wheeze into the pillow.

“What’s that?” he barks before chewing on my hole again.

“Yes sir!”

I might be in a daze—it’s been a while since anyone ate my hole, much less made me put it on display—but I can swear I hear the faint mechanical click of a card key in the cabin door. “Fuck,” says the bear. “My husband’s back.” A hundred thoughts pulse through my brain in the milliseconds following that statement, all of them dire. But the bear follows up with, “Don’t worry, he’ll like what I’ve brought home. Don’t move, boy.”

The cabin door opens. I hear footsteps and the jingling of metal. And there I am, face down, on my knees, ass up at the bed’s edge, my fingers clawing at the edges of my hole to expose it. “Look what I got, honey,” says the bear to someone unknown.

“Looks mighty good,” I hear a deep voice rumble. Unlike his husband, the newcomer lacks a Southern twang. “Looks ready to fuck.”

In my head I’m calculating the unlikelihood of being able to take two dicks in my hole sequentially, when it’s been eons since I’ve had even one. But then I hear a third voice say, “Why don’t we all have a shot.”

And a fourth voice says, “I wouldn’t mind wettin’ my dick in that.”

Oh, crap. This situation has gotten thoroughly out of hand. I know plenty of bottoms who would love to be gang-banged by a bunch of bears, but what had begun as a situation for which I was game has, in the space of thirty seconds, turned into something for which I wasn’t in the least prepared.

I’m beginning to panic slightly when I feel a pair of hands on my waist. They pivot me onto my back. Someone lifts my hips and slides a pillow underneath. A slightly older gentleman, gray-haired, muscular, bearded, wearing a lime pair of spandex shorts and a tank top, leans down to kiss me. A younger bear in Kelly green from shorts to tee kneels down and begins licking my hole. A very tanned and bearded older man kneels on the bed beside me and starts to twist my nipples.

And my bear, my Southern daddy, kneels opposite to deep-throat my cock again.
“Take turns on this little bitch’s ass,” says the man twisting my nipples. I could have pointed out, if my mouth hadn’t been occupied by a stranger’s tongue, that I was taller and larger than any of them save the Southern bear, but I’m already squirming with too much sensation to really protest. Each man has his area of concentration—mouth, nipples, dick, hole—and they’re all lavishing me with attention. All at once, it’s both too much—and yet not enough.

The gray-haired man removes his lips from mine and begins to pull down his spandex. The man twisting my tits takes over kissing until the gray-haired fellow knees straddle my head. He lifts me up to suck an uncut fat six-incher, only half-hard, sporting a thick Prince Albert.

I’m being pushed close to the edge by the sheer amount of attention I’m getting. “Use this,” I hear my bear say as my chest begins to heave with more vigor. The man torturing my nipples bounces the mattress as he stands up, but someone—I think the man whose dick is in my mouth—takes over nipple duty. I hear clicking noises, and see an occasional bright flash. That motherfucker is taking more photos of me being worked over by the other three bears.

“Come on, baby,” says the bear I’d picked up on the Dick Deck. “Shoot for daddy.” His fist clutches tight around my meat as he jacks up and down the distended wet flesh. I couldn’t hold back if I’d wanted. From my core I feel lava surge through my balls and up the shaft. “Fuck! Look at that hog shoot!” the bear roars, as the others grunt in appreciation. For a moment, all noise recedes as I shudder and convulse from the orgasm. Two jets of semen land somewhere on my belly, but the bear buries my inches into his throat once again to catch the rest. Whimpering, my jerky agitations subside. Suddenly the nipple-twisting becomes painful.

“That’s the way my boy does it. Just like I taught him,” announces the bear. I shiver at the sensation of his rough tongue lapping up the cum on my belly. “Atta boy, son.” The fellow above me pulls his semi-hard dick from my mouth.

“Shit,” I stammer. “I’ve never….”

“Never what?” asks my bear.

His husband chuckles. “Never been molested by a sloth of bears, he means.”

“A what of what?

“It’s a collective noun.” The gray-haired man shrugs. “I don’t know how I know that.”

“That’s what I meant,” I agree. “Fuck, that was…intense.”

The men all laugh at once. “Worth it for that sweet load, son,” says my bear. He and the man in spandex pull me up to the top of the bed and cuddle me between them. The other two pile in on either side. The man who’d originally assigned himself to twist my nipples hands back my bear his camera.

“Selfie time,” says the bear. He makes all of us crowd in and smile up at the ceiling as we take an exhausted last couple of photos.

I leave about ten minutes later, when I feel like I can walk again. It’s not until I get back to my own cabin in those wee hours of the morning that I realize I’ve forgotten to give the bear my email address so I can I get copies of some of those photos for myself. Oh well, I think. I can do it when I see them around the ship, later in the week.

The odd thing is, though, that I never see any of those guys again. And I never get to see the shots either I or they took.

So if anyone out there happens to see some badly-lit photos of me on all fours spreading my pasty ass for the world to see…let me know, would you?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Feed Me, Burp Me, Hose Me Down

“Oh my god.” I can’t see the man around the corner, but I’m pretty certain that anyone in a two-hundred-foot radius can hear his light tenor. “Oh my god,” he repeats. “Listen to what this says: I’m a little stinker. I make bigger loads than anyone!

A chorus of laughter erupts from the other unseen gay guys who surround the speaker in this little store. I’m in a portside tourist shop on the island of Grand Turk—the first port of call on my week-long vacation cruise. It’s apparent that this section of the island isn’t accustomed to much tourist traffic; only two ships are stopping here the entire week. Though the little mall built next to the docks is neat and cheerful, the stores here don’t offer much in the way of the typical Diamonds International chains, or those inexplicably popular t-shirts that change color in the sunlight. Even the duty-free shop is a wan little affair, only missing a sign that reads, Hey, we know you’ll do better at any other port, but while you’re here….

And this little shop, this tiny purveyor of tourist claptrap and the oddest and endiest of odds and ends, sells some of the most perverse objects ever. I’ve been looking for something fun and colorful as a souvenir for the friend feeding my cats while I’m away, but in this little emporium there’s precious little from which to choose. I’ve already rejected the crudely-painted objects purporting to be ashtrays, since all of which have been sculpted into convex domes that would seem to repel ashes to the table, rather than collect them. I’ve rifled through a plastic milk jug of Grand Turk refrigerator magnets of varying tackiness, only to discover that the so-called magnetic strip on the back don’t actually adhere to the empty rotating iron magnet stand sitting next to them. The colorful images of tropical flowers printed on a dispirited rack of tees have all been printed askew, at a Dutch angle.

In fact, everything in this strange establishment looks as if it has been purchased at a deep discount well below wholesale from some tropical island factory seconds bin. Or perhaps, made in the dark by amateurs who, guerilla-like, had snuck into a tchotchkes factory after night and couldn’t quite work out how to operate the machinery.

Then there are the bibs. I’m fixated before an entire wall of cheap plastic bibs in garish neons when the unseen man caterwauls again, “I make bigger loads than anyone!”

I’m not really paying attention to him. Each bib has a slogan printed—again, slightly off level—in crude block letters on its front. I love daddy cuz he treats me right! reads one. Another has been emblazoned with, I might look tiny, but I’m a mighty big boy underneath!

I’ve actually been staring at all these bibs (and there are a hell of a lot of them, since I don’t exactly know who would ever buy them) for a couple of minutes. I’m trying to figure out if it’s just me, or whether there was something a little—I don’t know—off about these damned things.

“Oh my gawwwwwd,” drawls a deep Southern bear within eyeshot. He’s a massive man with tree trunk legs stuffed into combat boots, his belly bulging out a tee sporting a glitter-farting unicorn. Apparently the display of bibs extends around the corner, because he’s plucked one in a cornea-searing shade of pink from the wall to display to his gaggle of bear friends. “Spank me hard and put me to bed.” His group bursts once more into hilarious laughter.

No. It’s not just me.

Daddy hugs and kisses me best,” reads the first guy. “Why are these thingies all about daddies? Don’t they hang around babies’ necks or something?”

Want me to stop crying? Shove something good in my mouth. God daaaaaamn!” hoots the Southern bear.

Mommy made me, but daddy spanks me. Y’all, this is some seriously deep-level weird Freudian shit,” says the first guy.

“I’m-a gonna have to buy me a bunch of these.” The Southern bear grabs several in his paws. “Oo, I like this one: Feed me, burp me, hose me down.

Two of his friends dissolve into hysterics. “Hose me down!” says one. “It’s like they made these especially for gay men.”

“You mean, it’s like they made these just for you.”

“Y’all, they did make them just for me,” says the bear as he lays a bib against his chest, like he’s trying it on for size. “This one that says Open wide and swallow is going to be my outfit to the tea dance tomorrow, I swear.”

“Buy it,” someone urges. “Buy it! It’s the best!”

“Yeah, you can’t top that one.”

That’s when I make my appearance. I’ve been quietly laughing along with them, mostly out of view, but now I step out and brandish a bib from my side of the display. “No,” I announced with authority, holding aloft my prize. “This one is the best.”

The Southern bear narrows his eyes and reads aloud my proffered bib. “My hands might be tiny but I can still wrap them around daddy.” His eyes met mine and widened. “Oh. My. God.”

The other bears crowd around the corner to see the bib for themselves. They whoop and holler their amusement so loudly that other men from the cruise start poking their heads through the open doors to see what’s so funny.

“Gimme that,” say the bear, snatching the hanger from my hand. “Please. Unless you want it for yourself, that is.”

“All yours,” I grin.

The following day, at the afternoon tea party back on the ship, I spy the Southern bear dancing in the crowd with his friends. He catches my eye and waves at where I stand on the balcony above. Then he backs away to a clear spot to show off what he’s wearing. Somehow he has jerry-rigged a whole mess of bibs into a poncho of sorts; it’s multi-colored, painful to the eyes, and covered with slogans that probably had been intended innocently enough, but to a mass of gay men would seem like the worst (and best) kind of double-entendres. The one I’d showed him is in the dead center.

Well, I think to myself, at least that weird little shop made money from the tourists that morning.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Our Town

I came of age in a sleepy little Southern outpost where a neon-lit Mr. Peanut shop was the grand attraction of our downtown Broad Street. Tobacco warehouses perfumed the streets of my neighborhood with the heavy scent of drying leaves; some neighbors (though not the kind you’d want to know, as my mother would sniff) still hung Confederate flags over their front stoops, or plastered Confederate decals on their trucks. It was the kind of town in which your fourth-grade teacher had been your older brother’s fourth-grade teacher, and might have been the fourth grade teacher of your mother or father, years ago. In our town, people cut their own lawns, kept decent hours, and were gossiped about if they didn’t belong to a local place of worship. Jewish families weren’t common, though everybody knew whom to ask about keeping kosher when you’d invite them to dinner; Catholics were incredibly rare.

And gays didn’t exist at all.

Growing up in the nineteen-sixties and seventies—all the way through college in the early eighties, even—I didn’t know a single soul who identified as bi or gay. From the age of twelve until I moved away in my early twenties, hundreds of adult men reached beneath rusting restroom partitions to guide my hands to their genitals; hundreds more slid their throbbing dicks through gloryholes in park rest areas or college men’s rooms into my appreciative throat or ass. Countless guys fucked me in the woods, in their apartments, in the beds they shared with their wives, on their sofas and in the back seats of their cars. But the moment seed stopped oozing from their shafts, once they’d zipped up and brushed off their slacks and checked their hair in the mirror, those men went into denial. They hadn’t met me. They hadn’t used me. If I encountered them in the market or drug store, or passed them in the aisle at the Presbyterian church we attended, our eyes wouldn’t even meet. Those men went back to their wives and families without a second thought, or to their lives as confirmed bachelors who hadn’t yet met the right Southern girl.

In those times (and I say these words in all seriousness) gay men were as fabled as unicorns: rare creatures of which everyone knew, but no one had ever seen. Maybe they existed in cities like New York or San Francisco…though if they did, they wouldn’t be the kind of folk anyone from my town would want to know. Gays were unclean; they were the lowest vermin of a demimonde that never could exist in a moral and upstanding municipality like our town. Gays were the mincing femmes who, thank the good lord, shot themselves at the conclusions of the modern movies in which they appeared, or at least had the decency not to protest their beatings by the square-jawed real men against whom they compared so poorly. Lesbians? Well, they were a different story. Everyone in my middle school knew our band teacher was a lesbo, and of course the girls’ gym teacher was one too, so they had to be girlfriends, right? Especially when for the school talent shows the gym teacher would always play “Killing Me Softly” on her guitar while the band teacher warbled? That was cute.

Gay men were just…ick.

Growing up in this environment, I always felt like an outsider, an alien attempting to decipher the society in which he had landed, or a juvenile anthropologist living among natives who were unaware that their culture was slowly dying. Men were having sex with me daily, I reasoned. Gay sex. Man on man, dick in hole, cum-splattering, boner-pleasing, dude-to-dude sex—and yet none of them thought of themselves as homos. How could this be?

Night after night I’d see the same faces in the parks. I’d encounter the same hands and tools beneath the stall partitions. Yet somehow, each and every one of these fellows managed to disassociate the things they did in these private, all-male spaces, with whom they were in their everyday lives. Even men I knew who lived together and butt-fucked after dark never copped to being gay. They would have been mortified being conceived as anything other than best friends who cohabitated to save on rent. Except when their pants dropped in private, they weren’t fags, and never would be.

When I was a kid, a man in a public place touched me for the first time; he rubbed the back of his hand on the bulge of my pants and, when it responded and grew at his touch, didn't relent. That man gave me more than my first real secret to keep: he gifted me with consciousness. From him I received the breathtaking insight of a ten-year-old that the real world spins on a very different axis from what my elders pretended. With one touch, suddenly I discerned that these were the storybook myths of monogamy and fidelity and normalcy that adults attempted to preserve; yet this was what happened when a boy would make a man’s pulse quicken and his inches rigid.

I knew I was one of those fabled beasts…an honest-to-god homosexual. My neighbors might have spent summer mornings kneeling in their flowerbeds to eradicate pesky chickweed with tugging and mulching, but I knew with the conviction of raw instinct that my feelings—though equally undesirable—wouldn’t be so easily uprooted, much less camouflaged. My realization, made so young, was sobering. Frightening, even. I assumed my life would be spent playing the same game as all the closeted men around me—dirty deeds done behind closed doors and in the shadows, the illusion of clean living in light of day.

Perhaps I’d have the self-satisfaction of knowing I wasn’t living a hypocrisy. But who would appreciate it? Whom could I tell? I was a ten-year-old, a twelve-year-old, a sixteen-year-old facing a certainty of decades alone, of never telling my love—of sitting upon a monument, smiling at grief. More than once I imagined my reward at the end of a long life of concealment and self-denial to be passing away on my deathbed with a saintly countenance, happy that I hadn’t burdened anyone with my uncleanliness.

But even at ten, twelve, sixteen, I had the maturity to know something: the dismal future I imagined was only half a life at best. It wasn’t for me. I didn’t intend ever to buy into the insanity.

For years I’ve congratulated myself for avoiding the trap of my upbringing in that repressive time, in that backward place. I struggled through my teens without buying into the lie that my sexual orientation made me less than human, worthy only of a lifetime of loneliness and a real man’s fist in my face. When I hit college and many of my virginal peers were wrestling with their feelings for other men and whether or not they should act on them, I was happily bouncing from bed to faculty bed. After graduation, I left that little town where I grew up and moved to a big city.

There I abandoned that stupid vision of a lifetime of keeping my mouth zipped about my desires. I knew what I was. I was okay with my desires. I met other individuals who actually admitted they were gay. I read books by gay men, saw movies about gay life. After years of occupation by a repressive heterosexual regime, my life was liberated. I could mold it into any form I liked. Free at last, and with none of the baggage of my upbringing.

At least, that’s been the narrative I’ve told myself over the years. My whole adult identity has been based on the notion that early on I’d seen through the bullshit and had the fortitude and persistence to avoid it—that I’d completely bypassed the trap of self-loathing and avoided internalizing the homophobia that was my childhood norm. I’ve always congratulated myself on surviving with so little baggage. Happy endings all around.

And yet….

I was having one of those moments early in the month. You know the kind. We’ve all been there. I had one of those moments in which I was idly wondering why my life wasn’t more. Make no mistake—I’m happy. I have a nice home. I’ve accomplished a great deal in my career and gone further than most who aspire to it. Artistically, I feel in control of my abilities and skills. Still, I was thinking, there could be more. I could be wealthier. Better known. More popular. I could be mainstream. I’ve never been mainstream. Why was that, exactly?

One part of me instantly pinpointed part of the reason: I simply don’t like talking openly about my work, and therefore I’ve always been lackluster when it comes to anything involving promotion. I’m a great public speaker, and really love addressing groups big and small, but only when it comes to abstract topics that aren’t specifically about me or my work. Want me to give a talk about trends in literature? I’m there. Need me to run a workshop with aspiring creative artists that’ll help them hone their skills? Count me in, baby. But ask me to make an appearance as the creator of so-and-so, or request that I appear before a group of high school kids to discuss one of my works, though? Or just ask me in casual conversation what I’m working on now? Ouch. Suddenly I’m clutching my shirt closed, staring and the floor, and murmuring, Oh, I couldn’t do that. No one would be interested.

Why the fuck was that, I wondered?

The entirely reasonable side of myself replied, It’s because they’d find out your secret, of course.

Secret? What secret? You mean that stupid fear all creators harbor that nothing we do is truly worthwhile?

No, dummy, said the logician within. Well sure, partly that. But I meant that old, old secret of yours. The one you’d rather carry with you to your dying day. You’re afraid of being exposed. Remember?

Oh, did I ever remember. I had total recall of that little ten-year-old from the early nineteen-seventies, the self-denying junior saint, determined to clutch the secret of of his sexuality unto his deathbed. The kid who was convinced he’d never be close to anyone because he was queer. The child who truly believed he’d never find anyone to love.

Sure, my life has changed for the better since then. I’ve taken many people to my heart. I’ve formed friendships that have endured and flourished because of my sexuality, not despite it. Who I am and with whom I share my passion is a fundamental part of how and why I create. As much as I believe my sexuality, in all its wild forms, is very much at the forefront of who I am as a person and a creator…I realize now there’s still a ten-year-old huddled within, frightened of people finding out too much.

I thought I’d escaped my upbringing. All along, there’s sometimes been a fearful little kid inside, warning me not to push too far. Not to be found out.

The notion made sense. In high school and college, whenever I’d been pushed to consider a future vocation, I’d always reacted with anxiety and denial. I was the most foot-dragging young person never to cross the threshold of a campus vocational center. To what kind of livelihood could a faggot like me aspire, though? I wasn’t suited for business. Politics was out. Most of the career paths my mom seemed to envision for me—chef, writer, musician—seemed to be almost an acknowledgement she’d someone birthed a queer unsuited for anything truly masculine.

Most of my twenties were an exercise in refusing to believe I could ever be anything successful, anything famous. I refused to dream big because of my dread of sharing the personal, publicly.

When I allowed my father to steer me into his own career path, that of the college academic, what most appealed to me was the scholar’s monastic seclusion—a vision of myself at some midwestern farm school, teaching small classes, pursuing my own studies. Isolated. No trouble to anyone. And that’s been the most startling part of my recent revelation. Without realizing, without consciously thinking the words, ever since I was a kid with my first sexual secret, I’ve harbored an aspiration not ever to be anyone’s problem.

Let’s be real. Keeping out of the way shouldn’t be a fucking life goal.

Sure, my path has veered wildly from what I envisioned in my adolescence. I left academe because I found it too confining and because I wanted to carve a new path. There are plenty of people close to me who understand what kind of sexual being I am. I won’t expire on my deathbed with a never-spoken secret. I’m lucky to live in a transformative time in which I don’t have to cower in shadows. I realize now, though, that as liberated as I have always envisioned myself, there’s one handicap I never shed or even considered.

It’s that tiny unconscious impulse of mine, the pulling back, the tugging of the coattails, whenever I’m asked or encouraged or expected to put myself out there. Not too much, some part of me thinks, deep within. Keep it to yourself.

Maybe it’s late for new year’s resolutions. Perhaps I’m a little too far in my life to veer off in a new direction once again. There’s the slightest chance, though, that my newfound determination to shed the shackles of my past is the best kind of course correction. I’d like to think that from now on, in the course of my career, I’m confronted with opportunities to share of myself, I won’t be letting that scared little kid from an uptight Southern town make my decisions. I’ll be taking the wheel with my own two hands, and steering myself not backward, but forward.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Brute

He’s so much bigger than I.

I’m not yet a good judge of a man’s weight, but even my untrained pubescent eye can tell this brute must weigh two-fifty, two sixty. Solid bulk, too. Not flab. If my pick-up gets a mind to pin me, I'm not going anywhere. I’ll be lucky if anyone can hear me cry for help.

He grunts as his rod bores deep into my hole. The mushroom head stretching me wide is so fat and pronounced that it dominates his dick’s silhouette; it’s freakishly large. He’s got a belly like a Buddha and a chest covered in fur that’s more pepper than salt. Round shoulders, spotted by freckles. His nipples are broad and flat, copper-colored pennies pressing against pecs that usually fill out a crisp, starched white shirt.

He’d been wearing one of those shirts when I’d met him in front of Willey Drugs a half-hour before. It’s the summer of 1977; I'm between seventh and eighth grades. I’m old enough, in my parents’ eyes, to spend my free time as I like. They're unaware that what I like is cock in my holes. In my sleepy Northside neighborhood, it’s easy enough to get. I could head up the Boulevard toward the river, where the men and mosquitos both buzz in the evening shade. I can head the opposite direction toward my usual park, and spend a few hours in the woods kneeling and bending for anonymous dick.

Or I could do as I’d done, this sultry and humid evening, and leisurely ride my ten-speed down Bellevue, where the huzz of cicadas high in the oaks drowns the prime time sounds of family televisions and hi-fis. I’d pedaled with my back erect, balance perfect, no hands on the handlebars. An old madras short-sleeved sport shirt of my dad’s flapped open to reveal my skinny chest; my favorite pair of bright yellow OP corduroy shorts were cut high across my upper thighs, as all shorts are this year.

I’d felt attractive and provocative, in my scrawny twink way, and it had showed as I strolled casually by the Belle Bakery. My bulldog of a man had sat casually on a bench between Willey’s and the tiny grocery next door, staying cool in the shade, drinking a Brownie from its glass bottle. I’d felt his eyes glittering in my direction as I sauntered by, though I kept my gaze straight ahead and ignored him . . . for now. How many evenings did he sat upon that bench, in the chance I’d appear? I’d never seen him at Bryan Park, even though it was less than a mile away. That particular summer, he seemed always to be waiting for me, whenever I chose Bellevue as my destination.

Past the pharmacy I strolled, my bike wheels clicking with every step. If Johnson’s Hardware had been open I might have stopped for a Clark bar. Instead, I lingered at the 7-Up vending machine in front of the Bi-Rite Market. The man who’d stared at me still had bought his Brownie from this machine. My preference, however, was for a grape Nehi. I pressed coins into the slot, pushed a button, and was rewarded by a clunk as the bottle crashed against the dispenser at the bottom.
He had watched me without comment as I pried off the bottle cap on the machine’s cap opener and taken a slug of the sweet, strongly-carbonated brew. I’d wiped my lips with the back of my arm, aware that the action showed off my torso. My bike wheels clicking again, I’d casually made my way to the bench that straddled a change of paint where the brick wall turned from pharmacy to market. He relaxed on the Bi-Rite side; I eased past and occupied the spot in front of Willey’s.

I’d sat silently gulping swigs of Nehi. Our courtship was always thus. “You want to come home with me?” he’d said at last.

Without even looking at him, I’d finished the last dregs from my bottle. Then I’d nodded, risen, and thrown one leg over the bar of my ten-speed. Once he’d eased his hulk into his sedan, I'd pedalled behind him across Brook Road to his house, a mere three blocks away.

On Bellevue Avenue I’d been a brazen boy. Parading my half-naked self. Teasing this Bluto with my Olive Oyl body. In his house, though—that’s where he’s in total control. He could do anything to me, once that front door is shut. No one would know.

I always ended up nude on my back in the guest bedroom, just like now, my hole on display, legs held high and apart, my ankles in his hands. He grips me so roughly that I know, just like previous encounters with him that summer, I’ll wake up in the morning sporting red marks I’ll have to cover for days with white tube socks.

This brute has fucked me, what, eight times over the last couple of months? Twelve? More than that, surely. I’ve lost count. He’s never even shared his name. All I know is that he always wears slacks and white briefs and shiny black socks like my dad, and the crisp bleached shirt of a bookkeeper or businessman. From the ring he sports, I know he’s married. Going by the lacrosse sticks and assortment of sneakers in the mudroom, I’m guessing that he’s got kids. Maybe I even go to school with one of them. And I know whenever I head to Bellevue at dusk, that summer, he's always waiting.

He doesn’t kiss. He doesn’t tolerate foreplay. He always orders me to strip and lay down on my back. He’ll kneel and eat my ass, but it’s more for expedience than for either of our pleasure—he wants my pussy as wet as possible for a dick that’s almost grotesque in its proportions. Off comes his shirt and wife beater. Down drop his pants. Wearing nothing but his socks, he’ll first drive home two fingers, and then his tool, deep into my tight hole.

And I love it, of course. Cock is what I’m made for. It’s not the prettiest dick I’ve had, not by a long shot. But I’m giving this guy pleasure, and he’ll soon be giving me cum. That’s enough immediate certainty to make my little world revolve on its axis. He’s swearing softly under his breath, trying to keep the noise down in a way every parent might recognize who’s ever attempted to make his domestic lovemaking silent.

I’m rock hard, though I’m not touching myself. I’ll masturbate furiously in the privacy of my bedroom at home, later. For now, this encounter is about him. This barrel-chested Buddha. This business man, this married man, this dad. All about the pleasure his cock takes with every hurtful thrust into my throbbing hole. Sweat is covering his red face, which deepens in shade as he grows closer to climax. When he releases, finally, relentlessly, it’s with a choke and a shudder. Cum gushes from his meat into me. It's so copious that it starts leaking from my cunt onto the towels he’s laid down to catch the slop.

There’s a pause. He pulls out. The man has brought a roll of toilet paper into the guest bedroom that he now unspools and uses to dab and clean his softening dick. When he’s done, he throws the roll at me so it lands on the mattress. I lower my sore legs to the floor, but make no motion to clean up. Instead, I watch him pull up first his shorts from the puddle they’ve made on the floor, then his slacks. He’s stuffing his thick arms into his undershirt when I hear terrible words come from my mouth.

“Do you like me?”

Oh fuck. I didn’t mean to ask that question.

All during seventh grade I’d annoyed my mother to distraction with those words. Do you like me? Over and over again when we were together, it would spill out of my mouth. I never asked my father. I didn’t ask friends. Only my mother. Do you like me? I’d say, while she was watching television. Do you like me? after dinner, when we were cleaning dishes together. Do you like me? when she’d remind me to return a library book, or inquire if I needed anything at the store, or (god forbid) if she would ask me if anything was wrong.

Seventh grade had been rough for me. It’s an age when kids are at their most vicious and hurtful to each other. I’d borne the brunt of a lot of teasing about my clothing. I was growing an inch a month, it sometimes felt, shooting out of clothes more quickly than we could buy them. My pants legs always seemed to have such elevated hems that wherever I walked in school, I’d be greeted with remarks about my high-waters. If I managed to get trousers that fell to an appropriate length, my mom would have bought bell-bottoms of such volume that my feet would be invisible. I was teased for having greasy hair, for being a four-eyes, for occasionally carrying my schoolbooks with a crooked arm in front of my torso like a girl, instead of straight-armed and down at my side like a boy. Groups of cruel seventh-grade girls would listen in on extensions as one of them would telephone me at home and pretend to flirt and ask to be my girlfriend, just to see if I’d respond. (I’d hang up instead.)

I never felt liked. I never felt accepted. It was a year in which, among my peers, I couldn’t seem to do anything right.

And yet, seventh grade was the first full school year in which I was sexually active. When I’d sit in a stall in a cruisy men’s room and suck dick through glory holes or through the open stall door, adults didn’t care if my pant hems hovered above my ankles. The men bending me over in the toilets and breeding my hole without a word didn’t tease me about my looks or my vocabulary. Nobody lining up to shove his dick into my cum-sloppy hole at dusk, where I’d lie on a park picnic table waiting for all comers, gave a shit how much higher my grades were than theirs.

The men fucking me made me feel wanted. I knew from the loads I collected that I was doing things right. Having sex with older men granted me a competence and an acceptance that I craved.

That left being liked. Do you like me?

I lay awake one night last week, haunted by why I had asked this question over and over again of my poor mother. It’s funny how little I care now. The concept of being liked carries next to no weight in my day-to-day life. People liking you should be a nice little bonus—not a lifetime goal. Don’t like me in a professional sense? That’s fine. I might not like you either. I just need you to be able to work with me. Don’t like me as a teacher? That’s a pity, but it doesn’t make my counsel any less valid. Don’t like me on social media? You’re under no obligation to follow me, so spend your time on something you enjoy. Don’t like me on Grindr? Don't message me. I won't notice.

But oh. How much it matters to me in 1977, this utopian dream of being liked. To seventh-grade me, being liked is antidote to all my ills. If everyone liked me, I reckon, no one would tease me. No one would try to think up cruel tricks to play after school. If only I were liked, all those seventh-grade cruel impulses awakened by seventh-grade hormones would evaporate. I could stop feeling as if the world’s hateful eyes were constantly on me, judging and passing sentence.

So I’d ask my mother that question over and over again, I suspect, because I already knew her answer. I relied on her comfort. I don’t know what she thought of my insecurity, that summer. I don’t know how much I irritated her. But every time, calm and reasonable, she’d reply, Of course I like you. Still, my need for reassurance must have been worrying. I had a bad habit of repeating the question, two, three times a day, without thinking.

And here it tumbles out, on this hot summer night, in the guest bedroom of a man who has fucked me often, but whom still I barely knew.

“Do you like me?”

The words dangle in the air between us. I would give anything in my life—untold amounts of cash, anything I owned—I would do anything to take them back again. My need, my secret vulnerability, spills out into the open.

For the first time, I recognize the question for the poison it really is.

He repeats the question as if it’s left a foul scent in the air. “Do I like you?”

He’s almost fully clothed. I’m still naked, covered in sweat and semen, sitting on the mattress edge. My legs are long for my age, but they don’t yet touch the floor. When I look into his eyes, they’re hostile. I’ve inadvertently crossed a line here, without even meaning. Hastily, I avert my glance downward.

“Do I like you?” His voice sounds angry as well. There’s a quickening in my heartbeat. My latent alert systems spring into action. I’m in danger here. Once again, it strikes me: He’s so much bigger than I. Two hundred and sixty pounds of bulk and muscle. If he gets a mind to pin me, I'm not going anywhere.

I'll be lucky if anyone can hear me cry for help.

My eyes dart around the bedroom floor to find my clothing. My breath rasps as I dive for my underpants. “Who the fuck do you think you are?” I’ve never heard his voice like this. Big. Booming. We’d always spoken in murmurs during our pick-ups and encounters. “You think you’re my wife or something? You think you’re my girlfriend? Cause I fuck you?

“No,” I say. “Sorry.” I have my shorts on now. I shimmy into my dad’s college madras and begin buttoning the buttons. Only my socks and sneakers to go.

“You ain’t nobody. You’re just a god-damned little cocksucker. You’re nothing but a cocksucking faggot. Fuck. Fuck! I swear to God, you tell anyone about this—” he waves his arms around to indicate what we’ve spent the last half-hour doing. He pounds one fist into the palm of his other hand, face grimacing. “Mmmm! I’ll punch that face in. I will find you, and I will fucking beat you, until you can’t say nothing to nobody no more. You got that, faggot?”

This man could so easily follow through on his threats, I realize. Time seems to be slowing down. This is the stuff of nightmare. Anything more I say, anything more I do, could trigger his physical rage. But damn it, I can’t make my left sneaker go on my foot. My fingers are too numb and frozen to work the laces. Heart pounding, I shove my foot in three-quarters of the way and hope it’s enough to stay put. I need to make my getaway. Now. “Got it,” I mumble. When I stand, I’m hopping. Doesn’t matter. I’m mobile.

“You better not say a fucking thing to none of your fag friends!” I hear from behind me as I stumble out of the guest bedroom. I’m finally out the front door and the porch steps, at last shoving my shoe on properly, when he punctuates his threat by slamming the upstairs guest bedroom with such ferocity that I can feel the vibrations downstairs and outside.

When I reach home a few minutes later, I’m trembling. I wheel my bicycle down the back stairwell into our cellar. It’s after dark, but my late arrival home doesn’t get reaction from my family. My dad is at the dining table, which he’s covered with his papers and files and transformed into a miniature office. He’s studying one of his maps, and doesn’t look up as I pass. My mom lies on the sofa in the living room, watching television. “Nice ride?” she asks.

“Hot night,” I bark, barreling through. When I slither up the stairs, does she even notice how badly I stink of semen and fear?

In the shower I attempt to let the warm water cleanse away the evening’s shame. I’m still trembling; my mind is speeding through all the possible other ways that scenario might have played out. None of them are good. Even later in bed, I lie awake in the dark, terrified by what I’d brought upon myself.

I never saw the brute after that night. I avoided Bellevue Avenue altogether for a while. When I did return, I didn’t find him waiting on that bench. I wish I could say I never again asked my mom that unnecessary question. The bad habit, though, was too ingrained; the question slipped from my lips the very next day. Once uttered, though, I once more recognized how idiotic such an innocuous question was. Gradually, with mindfulness, it slipped out less and less. By the end of the summer, I’d stopped asking it altogether.

As I said, I lay awake last week revisiting this evening in my distant past. After midnight, as someone slumbered next to me, I flushed with decades-old shame at the memory. It was a child’s shame. I still felt a child’s emotional pain throbbing from behind my shut eyelids.

The silence and still and the dark worked a certain clarity on me, though. For forty years I’d blamed myself for what happened that summer night. But my adult self stiffened with astonishment when, for the first time, the truth occurred to me: I’d only asked a simple question.

I hadn’t asked the married guy if he loved me. I hadn’t asked him to step outside his sexual comfort zone. I hadn’t forced him to kiss me. I’d not attempted to persuade him to leave his wife for a thirteen-year-old boy. I hadn’t stepped outside the bounds of his hospitality and stolen any of his property, or asked about his family, or shit on his guest bedspread. All I’d done was to ask a single, dumb question: Do you like me?

The guy could have said, ‘Sure, kid.’ Easy as that. He could have just chuckled and shrugged it off. He could’ve gone to the bathroom, pretended he hadn’t heard. Anything else the brute could have done would have been sane in comparison. Instead, he chose to go off on me, to threaten me. A grown man in his late thirties or very early forties decided to threaten to beat a naked thirteen-year-old boy to a pulp, just for a stupid question.

That is not normal.

This was a man who was accustomed to receiving his sexual gratification from me. We didn’t fuck just once. Not twice. He’d picked me up multiple times. He’d waited for me nights, when no one was home, and hoped I'd arrive and give up my hole to alleviate the pressures of his life. He’d used me—just as men these days sometimes use my blog—to escape the humdrum and to take a walk on the wild side of sleepy little Bellevue Avenue.

What kind of man extracts pleasure from someone, selfishly and without reciprocation, and then in return unleashes nothing but rage? A monster of its own creation, that’s what.

This fellow detonated with guilt and shame and self-loathing that had been building up for god knows how long. He’d constructed a cage for himself; he wore his starched white shirt as a prison uniform of conformity. The only times he got to break out of that prison, an hour at a time, was when some skinny little boy who barely had his pubes decided it was worth his time to grab a grape Nehi.

Nothing a kid can say can be a trigger for that kind of volcano. He’d been ready to erupt for a very long time.

Being able to set aside this disgraceful memory after so long was a relief. I could forgive myself for my heedlessness, for being a mere child. There are a lot of times, perhaps even most, when it pays to remember something about these explosions. The people who come at us the hardest, with the most anger, with the most self-loathing—that anger and self-loathing is actually directed at themselves.

In their ears, even an unspoken do you like me sounds like, do I like myself?

Usually, they don’t care for the answer.