“Play that one about, ‘Trudy’s glad you got your arms around her.’ That’s a great song.”
“Mitch, I’ve spent the last hour playing and need a break.”
Once they got to the apartment, Mitch had headed to the fridge for a beer. The long drive made him thirsty. Kevin hadn’t expected his first night to be a command performance for Mitch. Therese had gone to bed hours ago.
When he took the guitar out, it was to play Mitch his new number. That new number stretched out to hours. Not that he minded, but he wanted more of Toronto than the view from Mitch’s twenty-third-floor balcony.
“We gotta get a demo made of you, man. Reminds me of Jagger. A man’s voice. There’s this guy who comes to Ten Pennies. Says he’s some sort of agent or booker. We’ll make sure he hears you. ‘Cause that voice of yours is fan-fuckin’-tastic.”
“Yeah, well thanks, but it needs sleep.”
“Just one more. That one you wrote ‘bout Trudy. She’s Deb isn’t she? Come on fess up.”
Kevin blushed. “So what if she is …”
When he first wrote the song it went: “Trudy’s Dad, I got my arms around him, in a love to take us to tomorrow.” The girl in the song was Deb Trask and the Dad was her Dad, Shep, and Kevin’s crush on him was the reason he had left the east coast. ‘Dad’ became ‘glad,’ ‘him’ changed to ‘her,’ in the first rewrite.
He knew Deb from school and he didn’t pay attention to her till one day he ran into her with her Dad, Shep. Shep wasn’t the first man he’d been sexually attracted to, but was the first one he had opportunity pursue. If two years spent not getting caught staring can be called pursuit.
He took Deb on a snowmobile run the very next day. Deb had three sisters, two older, one younger. Kevin became the boy in their family. That he and Deb were meant for each other was obvious to everyone.
Shep had encouraged him to learn the guitar and to sing. He prodded Kevin into his first gig at a local variety show. To Kevin’s own dad music was a waste of time, when he ought to learn a trade or pay more attention to his chores around their house.
Yet, the fact that Kevin had a family and future suited everyone all the same. The Trasks owned the local service station, and Kevin began to work there after school to learn auto mechanics first-hand. It earned him a first class mechanic’s certificate. It was clear he’d marry into a great business.
Kevin became more drawn to Shep. To the point where Deb once asked if he liked her father more than he liked his own. His Dad was a pretty decent guy, but Kevin didn’t know how to explain the truth.
When Kevin announced that he intended to go to Toronto, Shep was as surprised as Kevin’s own Dad. If he stayed on the east coast, he’d either kill himself or be killed when they found out his secret.
Cocksucker and faggot were words used to hurt anyone. No one believed the person they called fag was one, but it was the ideal insult. He made sure no one suspected it applied to him.
Deb was a simple way to avoid that with the bonus of Shep as a great arouser. When he made out with Deb, all he had to do was imagine her Dad in greasy coveralls and he was hard.
He didn’t hide his arousal from Deb, but when she encouraged him to go further he didn’t. His explanation that he respected her and didn’t want to do anything foolish, was the right thing to say. Fooled her and kept her at the same time.
In the past year, physical closeness to Shep at the garage had become too painful. As they worked together under a car, his eyes went from the car chassis to Shep’s chest. Kevin’s fantasy was to reach out, pretend to wipe oil off Shep’s work clothes and rub down to his balls.
Deb knew he was unhappy, and when Kevin broke the news about his move she thought it was because he didn’t love her. How could he tell her that it was her Dad he wanted?
“What are you thinking about, sport?” Mitch broke Kevin’s reverie. “Reminded you about Deb, did I? Don’t worry. If she loves you she’ll wait, and if not she’ll be hopping the first hard cock that comes her way.”
“Yeah right.” And so will I. So will I.
David had drifted inot a light sleep on the couch when someone sat next to him.
“Too bad you woke up. We were going to do your nails.” Mark laughed. “Been here long?”
David glanced at his watch. “About half an hour. Nice place to relax.”
He and Mark had lived in the same building till Mark moved last year to one of the easy-to-maintain bachelors in a complex of mostly HIV patients. Since his diagnosis four years ago, Mark had closed his law firm and removed all stress from his life.
“Plants have positive energy. One of the day nurses has been bringing all the power plants in to this room.”
“Something to do with healing spirits. Please don’t tell anyone. We’d rather they thought medical science was working and not mystic powers.”
“Must have been a good meeting for you to be so full of it.”
“It was, but as they say, any meeting is a good meeting. Without those recovery guys,” Mark teared up, “I probably wouldn’t have lasted this long.”
David and Mark had been friends for about eleven years, but he didn’t known much how booze and pills were in charge till Mark got sober. Several years ago he had disappeared for a month, and then was back bright and shiny, clean and sober. The difference was remarkable.
So remarkable that many of Mark’s playmates didn’t recognize him, or as Mark put it, didn’t want to think themselves as damaged as he was.
“The new drug cocktail is helping too,” Mark went on. “It’s been about a week and I can feel it working in me. Those little protease inhibitors swimming around in my blood. Strip-teasing the HIV into blowing its load before it can do any more damage.”
“Now that’s what I call a powerful visualization.”
“Yves helped me with it. He could help me with a lot more than that if I had my way. Mm mm mm.”
Yves walked up the steps of his house. The lights were on in the other half of the duplex. Sometimes he dropped in on Luke and Steven, but tonight he’d attend to his own life.
From inside the front passage he saw his three Lucite and gold Leo’s as they gleamed in the street light that fell on the mantel piece. It was no accident that the first things anyone who came in his front door saw were these three “Writer of the Year” awards.
Over them was Station Five of the Stations of the Cross. Carved in walnut with inlays of light pine and reddish rosewood, it depicted Simon of Cyrene helping Jesus bear the cross. It was a reminder to Yves that help is always present, that without divine help he never would have won his awards, and that to help others was to experience his own divinity.
A big plus was the detail the carver had given the near nude torsos of Christ and Simon. Rugged, bearded men, who used all their physical strength to survive for the power of God. A synthesis of sex and spirit, carved by someone whose love of the male form matched Yves’. Perfect, except for the wisps of cloth carved to cover their privates.
The Leo’s were for his work as a news producer and writer at the CBC. But when heads rolled for budget cuts the awards didn’t help him hold on to his job. Not that he tried to hold on very tight, and his screaming match with the then Prime Minister over funds for HIV research didn’t show his impartiality in a favorable light. To call the Prime Minister a gutless, spineless asshole was its own reward and more than worth it.
Yves crossed himself and knelt before the mantel, grateful that the awards gave him a golden handshake to pay off the house and allowed him not to work until he chose. In the past three years, he hadn’t done much till he accepted an advance to write this book about cock.
He grabbed a cola from the fridge and went to his study at the back of the second floor of the house. The desk with his computer overlooked a fitful wildflower garden. He turned the computer on and went to his bedroom to undress.
He rubbed the pop can’s cold perspiration on the small of his bare back and sat at the monitor. Rather than start in right away, he checked his phone messages:
“Hi Yves. It’s David Walters. We … uh … bumped into each other earlier tonight. I … uh … well … I’d love to talk to you about .. um … what you wanted to talk about. You can reach me at 387-5293 after, say, six tomorrow night. Bye.”
Yves played the message a couple of times to figure out what was the sound in the background.
He checked his e-mail and there was another response to his cock survey.
Like the idea of this. Here’s something off the top of my uh …. head ….
My mother taught me to call my cock a “goober”. I HATED that name and was always mortified when my mother used it either privately or in public. I thought it was the most stupid name because the television character on The Andy Griffith Show, played by Jim Nabors, was named Goober. I thought it was funny when I learned Jim Nabors was gay and my mother had always called cocks “Goobers.”
Good luck, DK Prino.”
Yves had posted the survey on various sites and often didn’t know where a response originated from. As he read this one, he looked for the perfect cock talk like he once used to look for the perfect cock. As if the man with the perfect thoughts about his dick would be the perfect man for him.
After two hundred plus, he hadn’t found the right way to start, but these near anonymous e-mail responses were the most productive. Less guarded and probably more honest. They might be the work of twelve-year-old girls and he’d never know. But that was part of the territory.
As he sometimes joked, “It puts the terror back into territory.” With his final draft due in a week, terror was in the way the cursor blink pulsed up and down his spine.
“Go on, call him.”
“Mark, I couldn’t.” David feigned fear. “He’ll think …”
“He’ll think you want to talk about cock.”
Mark punched in the numbers. “Why put it off?”
“Stop that right now.” David pictured Yves’ heavy-set body wrapped around his thin compliant flesh.
“It’s ringing.” Mark handed the phone to him.
“‘Ello you ‘ave reached Yves LaPointe. Please leave a message and I’ll get back directly. Thank you for calling.”
David hadn’t noticed the French accent earlier. “Hi Yves. It’s David Walters. We … uh … bumped into each other earlier tonight. I … uh … well … I’d love to talk to you about .. um … what you wanted to talk about. You can reach me at 387-5293 after, say, six tomorrow night. Bye.”
Throughout this Mark muffled his giggles with a pillow.
“Happy now Mark?”
“Not as happy you’ll be. That man has amazing hands.”
“And an accent. ‘Ello dis is Yves LaPointe.’” David exaggerated Yves message. “I do like a man with a thick accent.”
Kevin stepped out to the balcony. Mitch had a corner apartment with a view of Toronto, though it didn’t face the lake or take in the CN Tower. It was a two-bedroom apartment where Kevin would have his own room.
He had got Mitch to bed about ten minutes earlier, and finally had some silent solitude. A few scant hours ago he was an east coast kid and now he was big city boy.
He leaned over the rail to see more of the city. Almost cloudless, the lights of the skyline merged with the stars.
Pressed against the cool of the balcony he stiffened in anticipation. He opened his fly. His hand moved along his dick and as his come formed and moved, he breathed deep to pull those lights into him, to pull himself through the air into the lights.
He strained on tip toes, his come shot out, cleared the balcony rail and flew into the night to join the stars.
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