My parents only owned one electric fan, when I was growing up. It was monstrous. No window in the house could accommodate it. Constructed of industrial-grade metals and older than Satan, it was almost too heavy to be picked up by a single person. On hot nights when we needed the air circulated, my father and I would lug it to the top of the second story stairs attach an extension cord or two to its oddly-short plug, and string the line into one of the bathrooms. Once plugged in, it only took a single flick of the metal switch to turn the thing on.
I don’t see switches like that very much these days—the old fashioned kind, an exclamation point of rounded metal angled into a circular base. Despite the hulk of the fan itself, all it really took to turn it on was the slightest of pressures, the stroke of an index finger, the slightest of rubs. Instantly the fan would roar into life, shuddering and shaking and blasting air down the stairwell. It was like the testing wind tunnel for a military base. Anything that happened to come into the path of that furious stream was simply wafted away. We couldn’t hold conversations once the thing was going. It was simply impossible to be heard over that wild, crazy thundering. Somehow, though, it managed to make the house a little cooler. And we slept through it.
These days I tend to think of my sexuality as on a constant low temperature, a stew kept on the simmer setting of a stove’s back burner, ready to be brought to a boil at a moment’s notice. Back in my late teens, though, I used to think of my sexual urges like I thought of that tiny metal switch. One slight, even inadvertent flick, and it would come roaring to life.
I can’t think of a better example than after my freshman year of college. I spent most of my college career working in an ice cream store off the beaten path in the tourist town surrounding my school, but in the summer after my freshman year I returned home and lived with my parents and worked at a large amusement park a few miles north of the city. It wasn’t a bad minimum wage job, on the whole, especially as I’d chosen to work in a shop, operating on the logic that there would be air conditioning inside them. There were regular nights after the park shut down, when the management would feed the kids working there pizza and pop and keep a couple of the roller coasters running until the wee hours of the morning. And of course, my admission was free on my days off.
But there were certain indignities as well. The regular lie detector tests were a bitch. We were treated like interchangeable cogs in a vast machine, and could find ourselves pressed into sudden service as a Hanna-Barbera character in a mascot costume, or slinging Belgian waffles with chocolate sauce, without much warning (or experience). And chief among those disgraces were the uniforms we had to wear. As a shop boy on International Street, as my section of the park was named because it lay at the bottom of a scale replica of the Eiffel Tower, mine wasn’t so bad. I wore a pair of khaki slacks, a day-glo yellow shirt, and a khaki-colored vest. The material was a solid, itchy, one-hundred-percent polyester, though. Itchy, and on a hot Virginia day, very much like wearing from ankles to neck an outfit made out of a plastic painting tarp.
Nothing could have been more calculated to make me feel less sexy. True, I got to work in air conditioning some of the time, but with our doors constantly opening and closing, it wasn’t that cool. I had to be pleasant to customers who would’ve made Mother Theresa snappish. My shifts sometimes started at eight in the morning and didn’t end until after eleven. The entire time I was in that park, I felt sweaty, annoyed, and bedraggled. The last thing I was ever thinking about, believe it or not, was sex.
One night I was working a late shift in the dreaded mug room—a chamber of the Spanish Shop filled with decidedly un-Iberian coffee mugs printed either with roses or old Model T cars, that sported names at the top. Keeping the mug room alphabetized and stocked could be a nightmare at the best of times. It was also weirdly popular with the park visitors, particularly those who needed a last-minute gift or souvenir.
For hours I’d been ringing up mug after damned mug, along with the occasional T-shirt or hand-crafted pewter replica statue of the Eiffel Tower, at my register. It was dark outside. My eyes were bleary. My feet hurt. The curve at the base of my spine ached. I wanted to sit down, or lie down, or crawl back to my car and sleep in the back seat. Most of the back part of the park had closed by this point, and the remaining park-goers had crowded into International Street to finish their shopping and wait for the fireworks over the Tower. It was a little hectic, and I was wearing thing.
“Enjoy the rest of your stay,” I kept saying automatically, over and over, with every purchase. I didn’t really mean it. I said it because I was supposed to. “Enjoy the rest of your stay,” I’d mutter to the little kids spending their allowance on something cheap and tacky. I said it to the women who bought Model T mugs for their husbands, brothers, and uncles and explain to me which was for whom. I said it to the tired, and to those who genuinely seemed to have enjoyed their day in the park. “Enjoy the rest of your stay,” I said.
“I will,” said a deep voice, as I handed the man his bag. And then his hand closed over mine.
Usually when people took their bags from me, they didn’t make contact. Occasionally I’d feel the brush of a finger, or the side of my hand might collide with a customer’s. This man, however, didn’t collide. His big, masculine fingers closed over the top of where my hand gripped his package. They squeezed. Startled, I looked up into his eyes. “Hi,” he said.
I hadn’t looked at him at all during the transaction—not when he’d brought me his purchase, not when he’d paid. I looked at him now, though, and found myself staring into his brown eyes, taking in his floppy hair, his thick, almost handlebar mustache. He was in his late thirties or early forties, and sported a wedding ring on his finger, but he was definitely an attractive man.
Just like that, no matter how unsexy I was feeling at that very moment, he flipped that little switch in me. Like my parents’ enormous fan, my libido roared to life, loud and clattering and impossible to ignore. Every ache I had vanished. Every complaint of the day evaporated. I didn’t feel tired, or annoyed. I’d gone from one end of the spectrum to the other, from frumpy to fuck-me in a second flat.
“Hi,” he repeated.
“Hi,” I said bad, aware that I was staring.
I hadn’t been aware, however, that his hand was still over mine. After a quick application of pressure, he let go of my fingers and took his package. “The family’s waiting for the fireworks,” he said. “I hear they’re good?” I asserted in a stammering way that they were. “I don’t suppose you get a break anytime soon,” he said, cool as could be.
My shift was actually at an end the moment our doors closed and the fireworks began. I still had several minutes and customers to get through before then, though. “There,” I said, pointing to a gate right outside the shop door. “If you wait there, until ten. . . .”
He nodded, then let loose a conspiratorial smile that crinkled his eyes, making me want him even more.
I don’t know how I made it through the last twenty minutes of my shift, boner stretching down the right leg of my polyester slacks as it was, and sexual energy making the hairs on my arms stand on end. My mind had been numb all day, a heavy gray sponge distended and soggy. Now I was alert, alive, and raring to go. When the ten o’clock chimes rang through the streets and the Spanish Shop doors closed, I grabbed my cash drawer and ran back to my managers to cash out. Then I exited through the back, and made my way around the building.
Most of the markets on International Street were in two-story buildings, though only the bottom floors contained shops. Upstairs, behind gaily-painted balconies and iron trellises decorated to look European, was mostly stock storage. The gate where I’d told the man to wait for me had a door in it that allowed access to a stairwell that led to a room where our shop kept a massive warehouse of tissue-paper flowers made by church craft clubs across the state for three cents apiece, that we resold for six dollars. Since no one in his right mind would ever want to steal tissue-paper flowers, that room was always kept locked. Occasionally one of us would use it to eat lunch (but, given the flammable nature of the merchandise within, never smoke). Usually, though, it was simply too oppressively hot up there to linger long.
But it was quiet, and relatively safe, and dark. That’s all I needed, for a few minutes.
My friend was waiting by the fence, arms crossed, hips slanted to the side. I unlatched the gate from the inside and beckoned him in. After taking a quick look around the crowd, he slipped through the fence and into the shadows with me. The fireworks show was pretty spectacular, but it wasn’t very lengthy. Since the guards would begin ushering people out the moment they were done, I knew we didn’t have much time.
By the time we were in the paper flower warehouse, my dick was not only back to being rock hard, but had left a puddle of cum on my thigh. So was the man. Without a word he dropped his bag onto the cement floor and immediately began unbuckling his shorts. I was on the knees of my polyester khakis in a hot second, gobbling down the meat behind his zipper before it was even completely unleashed. I remember he smelled of sweat and a hot day in the park, but I didn’t care. That switch he’d flipped a few minutes before had turned me into such a voracious slut for his dick that he could’ve been covered in cheese and I would have cleaned it off gladly.
He was clearly unused to having a boy my age between his legs—or at least that’s what I gathered by the way he kept running his fingers through my very long hair and murmuring, “I can’t believe we’re doing this . . . you’re young enough to be my kid . . . I can’t believe. . . .” Outside, beyond the cracked door that was admitting the only breath of cool air into the musty storeroom, the fireworks had started. I could hear their fanfare in the distance, beyond the Eiffel Tower. They were second in volume, it seemed, to the thundering of my heart within my ribcage. It pounded for escape, seeming to grow louder with every passing second.
My dick felt so hard that it might burst; I didn’t dare touch myself for shooting too quickly. I didn’t know what this man had done in his sexual career. I didn’t know what he was into. I didn’t care. I wanted him in my ass. While I sucked, I worked fingers into my mouth and rubbed the spare saliva on my ass. I’d always been a naturally clean bottom, in my teens and twenties; I was counting on that to make sure I kept his dick relatively speck-free. When I could taste copious amounts of pre-cum flowing from the tip of his short, fat cock, I got back up to my feet and turned around to brace myself on one of the triangular easels holding the flowers.
He knew what to do. I’d never found many men in Virginia who needed instructions, when they saw my seventeen-year-old ass up and poised for cock. He spat on his dick and shoved in me roughly, not really caring whether I was enjoying it or not. I was, for the record. I was in heat. He was, too. I didn’t know what had possessed me to hold my hand like that, in the middle of the Spanish Shop. I didn’t care. The only thing I knew was the sound of fireworks in the distance, the razor-sharp thrust of his dick inside me, and a heat so heavy and thick it was like a fiberglass blanket. My own dick swung and raked against the wooden brace of the easel as he banged into me, fucking me like a dog.
Neither of us lasted long. I came first, my semen landing on one of the paper flowers and through the chicken wire holding it onto the easel, then down to the floor. He shot shortly after, loading my guts with his seed. We both paused for a moment. We both panted.
Then he was yanking up his shorts and stuffing his dick back inside, in a hurried panic. The fireworks were reaching their loud and explosive climax, moments after we’d already had ours, and my married stranger had to get back to his family before it was all over. Once he was arranged, he grabbed his bag and pulled open the door that led back down to the little side yard behind the fence. “Wait a couple of minutes before you come out,” was all he said in parting. He seemed guarded. Maybe even embarrassed that he'd fucked some strange shop boy in a fit of excitement. Then he disappeared without a word more.
I had rivulets of sweat running down my face and into my eyes. He didn’t hear my grunt of agreement, as he left. I pulled up my pants and tried to clean myself up a bit. My clothes were soaked with sweat; it felt as if I’d fallen into the fountains in the middle of International Street. I waited a couple of minutes, exited the building, and took a very long and slow walk back to the employee quarters so I could change and hand over my uniform to be cleaned.
I drove home with a big, goofy grin on my face. Drained and hot as I’d been in that sweatbox, I still felt energized. Alive. Vibrating and still thrumming with life, in fact.
And all it had taken was one slight flick of that switch.