I've chosen the bar because I know it. I know how to drive there, I know where to park. It's a dive where I've hung out on Monday nights to drink and sing and eat greasy French fries served by a bartender with twin sleeves of ink that cover his arms like a tight-fitting shirt. It's a little place on on a river, right under the freeway, built from an ancient barge. It's dark and humid inside, and always smells of the steamed clams they serve on large, mismatched plates, accompanied by jugs of drawn butter.
I like the place because it's unpretentious. The karaoke singers there are not that great, so my own modest talent of staying vaguely on pitch while bellowing loudly when it's my turn for the mic makes me seem like a fucking rock star. But mostly I like the people watching. It's a spot the likes of which I didn't know existed, where straight people meet for drinks when they're meeting for the first time. I've eavesdropped on a married man and a woman who was definitely not his wife meet there after she answered his Craigslist ad; they had a couple of vodka-and-tonics and left for a motel shortly after. It's a place where drunken former frat boys down beers and shots and park their foreheads on the shoulders of pretty girls, to get an eyeful of cleavage. It's a straight drive pickup bar, pretty basically, and for my purposes this night, it suits me just fine.
He's waiting at the bar for me—the landscaper, the man who pays me cash to jack off for him. He's dressed in a pair of super-tight designer jeans and, despite the fact that it's a nippy night outside, a blinding white polo shirt embroidered with his company's name. In that shirt he would have been visible in any crowd, , but he stands up to stare at me, anxious for me to notice him. He's so clean-cut. With that physique, those slight laugh lines around his eyes, his square jaw, his stern forehead, he looks like a model from a J.C. Penney's father's day catalog.
I'm wearing a pair of dark jeans, a dress shirt open two buttons, a casual blazer. The heels of my boots hook on the stool's lowest rung when I slide into the seat he's been saving for me. "I'm glad you came," he says. There's a nervous energy to him that I'm getting used to. He doesn't crack smiles easily, this one. "You have any problems getting away from home?"
He's stuck out his right hand. I proffer mine in return. When we separate, I find he's left a flattened roll of bills in my palm. Smooth. I don't count them. I'm fairly confident that he wouldn't try to cheat me. Instead I put my payment into my inside blazer pocket. "Nah," I say, looking for the bartender.
I order a beer. I don't like beer. I don't drink it willingly. But beer's what he's ordered. It's a man's drink. A married daddy's drink. He slips the bartender a five when it arrives, and nods him off. "You been here before?" he asks.
"Couple of times." I'm curious why the small talk, why he wanted to meet in a public place at all. Twice already I've been in the back of his van with my pants unzipped, letting him stare at my dick and put his mouth on my nuts. Meeting in a bar for a drink seems like a definite step backwards.
He doesn't leave me long to wonder, though. "So I just kinda wanted to get to know you," he said. "Wanted to know what makes you. You know. Tick." I take a swig of the beer and swallow while I stare at him, saying nothing. "Actually I was kind of worried I might've pissed you off or something." I raised my eyebrows. "Because of last time."
I shook my head. "Last time?"
The noise in the bar is actually pretty considerable. The restaurant half of the little barge is full up. Even the larger tables have laughing parties around them, and are clogged with steamers and empty bottles and glasses. He leaned in close. "I said you were good looking."
"Oh yeah," I said, taking another swing of beer and shrugging, like that was no big deal. "We're good on that."
"Okay, cool, cool. Just wanted to make sure."
We're interrupted then, by one of the women working her way up and down the bar. I'd seen her there on Monday nights. She's one of the cougar-types who swoons whenever I sing Duran Duran—a forty-something Kardashian wannabe with denim painted over her ample rear end and dark hair cascading down her shoulders. "Oh my god, are you singing tonight?" she asks, when she sees me. "Wait, it's not karaoke night. If I was blond I'd be a dumb blonde," she laughed, putting a flirtatious hand on my wrist and batting her eyes at my friend.
He's watching me closely. I know he likes the illusion that I'm totally straight, save with him, or with any man who offers me enough money to show my junk. He needs that illusion to do the things he wants to do. This woman, this chick, is helping me out tonight. I smirk at her. "I'll be here next week," I promise. "Whatever you want, I'll sing for you."
"Whatever I want?" She's drunk, unsurprisingly. She leans in closer to me. "I like the sound of that. I might pick out something wicked hard."
"Well, show me next Monday how wicked you get," I said, grinning. I added, "See you then."
She leaves, trailing perfume and stray hairs behind. The landscaper's jaw is twitching. "You fucked her?"
I try adopting a Mona Lisa smile, a half-answer that would acknowledge nothing yet imply volumes. It might have worked. "How often you fuck your wife with that thing?" he says in my ear. The odd buzzing of his breath, the movement of his lips against my lobe, is the most intimate we've been yet—and it's happening here, in a bar full of people. "Did she get it in the last week?"
I nod. It's a lie, all of it. But I nod, because it's what he wants to believe.
"Last night? Wednesday? Tuesday?" I'm thinking he's going to work his way back through all seven days, but when he says, "This morning? This afternoon?" I nod again. "Fuck. This afternoon? You still got her pussy juices on you?"
I barely move my head, but I nod. I'm like a sphinx. A beer-drinking, lying sphinx. I hadn't fucked that afternoon. But it's not what he wants to hear.
"Fuck," he says again. He spits out the word several times, shifting on his stool. "Fuck. That's hot. That's hot. I would give you two hundred more dollars right now if you let me put my hand down those pants of yours and get a hold of that baby-making tool."
I hate this beer, but it gives me an excuse not to meet his eyes. I'm hard in my pants. If our glances locked, I'd lose my resolve not to invite him back to his van right there and then. "You got the two hundred?" I ask, as if it's the money and the money alone that interests me.
"I gave you what I had, except for some drink money."
"Oh well," I said, implying he was going to miss out. The money he'd given me had been only for my time spent meeting him for drinks. Not for any favors. And for this kind of guy, the kind of man who needed a cash exchange to justify his man-to-man encounters, I wasn't giving a freebie.
"You need to get off? You building up another load in there?" I don't respond to his question. I'm acting as if now I know he's out of big bills, I had better things to do with my time. I'm eyeing the MILF who'd talked to me earlier. He's watching me, connecting the direction of my gaze with that cheap mass of hair and scent. "You like her, don't you."
It's not a question. It's a statement. It's a statement I don't answer. I've made the landscaper jealous. I wonder if he feels it like a flame in his chest, inextinguishable, impossible to overlook or ignore. If so, I'm doing what I need to do. "Come on," I tell him putting my half-finished brew onto the bar. I stand up and jerk my head. He hesitates for a second, then downs the rest of his mug until there's little left than suds.
Past the waitresses and the bar crowd waiting for our seats we push, through the front door and out into the packed parking lot. We're just two guys who've met for drinks and were seeming to head back to our cars, then to our homes and families. Instead, I take him to where the bar's lot adjoins the larger, empty lot where in the daytime commuters park their cars to take the train into Manhattan. We step over the metal railing, over the weeds growing in the cracked asphalt, and head into the shadows.
This lot's beneath the 95 overpass. There's a secluded spot at its far end, beneath the mighty pillars supporting the highway far overhead where two men who've had a few too many beers might reasonably go to pee. Sheltered by concrete on one side and overhead, and by the water on the other, it's almost quiet out there. Quieter than the bar, certainly.
I unzip. I've got on no underwear; I have to dig out my dick from the denim, it's so hard. When he rushes to touch it, I turn away, step aside slightly. He hasn't paid for that. I stand there with my legs separated, dick in my right hand, left thumb protecting my nuts from the bite of my zipper. And I stroke.
I can hear his breathing as he watches me in the near-darkness. There's enough light from the bar's lot to see what's going on, but barely. "I bet it smells like her," he says. "Can I smell your fingers?"
I allow it. His hands are surprisingly warm around mine as he pulls them to his nose.
"Fuck, I can smell her," he says.
Which just goes to show the power of a vivid imagination.
I retrieve my hand and curl it around my hard meat again. This man arouses me. I like showing off for him. He's standing close enough to me that I can smell the beer on his breath, and feel his body heat against my right shoulder, my side, behind me. But he doesn't touch me again. Instead, he stands there silently while I beat myself. It's too dark to show off well, but I can grunt. And I can sigh. And I can murmur Oh yeah and Fuck from time to time.
"I'm gonna come," I tell him. Then I make good on the warning. Several ropes of cum fly and twist from my dick, landing on the invisible ground below. I've got sperm all over the back of my hand when I'm done. I make a show of trying to flick it off. "Shouldn't have done that," is all I say when I'm zipping myself up again.
"Fuck, no, I'm glad you did! That was hot!"
He tries to follow me back to my car, which is parked nearby, but I tell him to wait a minute until I've pulled away before emerging from the shadows. He instantly understands. There's really no one around to question why two men might be in the parking lot's far end together, but thinking we're sharing a secret excites him.
I'm about eight feet away when he says, in an exaggerated whisper, "Hey buddy. She's real lucky."
Does he mean the cougar in the bar? Or the picture he has in his head of an apple-cheeked, freshly-fucked wife? In the end, I don't need to know. I pause, acknowledge the compliment with a semi-salute, and head back to my car.