City of Valleys – 12  



Steven watched Luke cash out the last customers. On Pride eve they closed early to give the staff a chance to get enough sleep for the next day. Head chef Curtis took the final lock up to stay late to do prep work for Sunday brunch.

  Steven wheeled in his bike and Curtis locked the doors. He and Luke pushed through the throngs to the bank on the corner.

“This is one night I feel safe making a deposit.” Luke rejoined Steven outside the bank. “What are you in the mood for?”

“Peace and quiet.”

“Sounds good to me.”

“Luke?” Steven wanted to talk about Tim but didn’t know how to start.

“Yes, love?”

“We … uh … did the kiss for the first time today.” 

“How’d it go?”

“Not bad.”

They walked through the park to the car.

“Not bad doesn’t sound good. His breath stunk?”

“No. It was weird. Kissing another guy like that.”

“You’ve kissed men before.”

“Yes, but none since we’ve been together.”

“None! I find that hard to believe.”

“You know what I mean. None in a ….”

“This was the nude stuff?”


“Did you get nekkid?”


“How was that? Was the rest of him as pasty as his face?”

“Yeah. But it was …”

“My God! He popped a boner!” Luke laughed. “Didn’t he?”

“Not exactly.”

“You popped one!” Luke continued to laugh. “Be careful, you’ll put an eye out yet with that thing.”

“Luke, it isn’t funny. I think Tim has feelings for me. I’m not sure what to do.”

Luke stopped to check for the car keys.

“Tell him to piss off faggot.” A voice came from the shadows between the houses. Three men stepped into the street light. One tapped his palm with a length of wood.


Kevin went up the stairs of his fourth bar that night. The dance floor was packed. The music was loud, the smoke was thick, and the floor sticky under foot.

A song started. The chunky quick organ with faster piano on top of it went to his feet and forced him to the dance floor. A wild uncontrolled sax underlined a strong female vocal that repeated “Set yourself free.” The sax grabbed him by the crotch, and his legs pumped like pistons into the music, his hips moved by the swarm of men around him. 

A swarm that pulsed together as one. 


“What do you want?” Luke asked. “Money?”

“That’ll do for starters and the keys to your car.” The guy with the stick growled. At his nod they all moved. Luke and Steven had no time to react.

The first punch caught Steven in the cheek. He tasted blood. He braced against a car and kicked out with his right foot, caught the guy in the stomach. As he glanced to Luke another blow caught him in the stomach. He doubled over to the thud of wood on flesh.


Once he saw that he’d get nowhere with Kevin, David went home. He didn’t like his puppy-in-need-of-affection feeling. Kevin made him ache to hold, to touch, to love, to own, but he couldn’t let himself appear vulnerable to someone he had just met. 

His answer machine blinked. A message from Robert Ing.

“David. You witnessed what happened at Big E’s this evening. If you value your future you will never design another garment for that fucking cow. If you do, you are dead in this town. Trust me.”

By the cold tone of voice Robert meant every word.


Steven pushed from the car, head-butted the man in front of him. As the guy fell Steven jerked up hard, fists first, to send the man sprawling. 

Luke was curled in a ball on the ground to protect his head while the other two men kicked him. With an angry roar, Steven raced at them. They turned on him.

“Faggots should never fight back. Pisses us off.”

Steven was grabbed from behind. The other two stepped at him.


Yves finished his coffee. The energy around him became more frantic than festive. People were intent to prove they had a great time with as much noise and glitter as possible. It was as if they they wanted to reduce “queer” to the flash of a sequin or a silver chain.

All he had to show for his gay life was a pink plastic whistle on a string draped around his neck. An apt symbol, one that responds only when put it in your mouth.

He went out, walked a block from the crowd to hail a cab. He saw two guys punch someone held by a third. He blew his whistle loud and ran to help.

“I knew these steel toes would find the right asshole sooner or later.” He kicked out at the back of one of the punchers. The guy dropped like a stone.

He grabbed the other and whacked him with the back of his hand. The blow sent the man into the front of a car. There was a satisfying crack as the man’s head slammed into the windshield.

The third man dropped the guy he held and took off.


Steven heard a distant whistle. Next he fell into the arms of a heavy set man. After a deep breath he recognized Yves, “Yves! Thank God! We were goners.”

“Good t’ing I wore my sheet kickers.”

“I’m okay. Check Luke.”

Luke lay in a pool of blood. Yves knelt to check his pulse.

“He’s alive.”

Steven started to cry. He threw up.

“I got a cell phone. I’ll call the cops.”

Steven shivered and looked at Luke while Yves called. 


Kevin sat on the front steps of the Inn to take off his sneakers. His feet and ankles ached from the dance floor. His socks, drenched in sweat, smelt of the cologne in his shoes. 

He stretched out under the clear sky and took in the sounds of the city. An ambulance flashed past in full siren and lights. After a brief panic he found his keys in his back pocket. 

The house was silent except for the air conditioner whirr. It was like he was fifteen sneaking home. He held his breath and tip-toed up the stairs. He winced at each squeak. In his room he breathed again.

In the dim of the bedside lamp, he peeled off his wet shorts and wrung his Leafs t-shirt over the sink. The socks and undies he had rinsed out earlier were dry.

In a hot shower, he dropped his cut-offs and t-shirt into the water underfoot. He smelt cigarette smoke on his flesh and tasted the salt of his own sweat. He washed the smells of the bar off him and felt the slither of bodies around his.

God, he had loved dancing with men. Not that he danced with any one in particular. A couple of guys had caught him between them on the dance floor. One pressed him from the front while the other rocked him from behind. The memory got him hard.

He went to get his towel. Someone sat on the bed. 

“What the …”

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you.”

It was Paul. His tattoos swirled in the faint light.

“How …”

“You forgot to lock the door. I knocked and it opened. Honest. You were in the shower and didn’t hear me. Let me dry you off.”

Kevin stepped back.

“Don’t worry. I won’t bite. Unless you want me to.”

“But …”

“Yes, I know, I have a lover. Robert won’t be home for hours. He knows I mess around.” He reassured as he dried Kevin’s back. “Enjoy your first night?” 

“Some of it. Especially this part.”

“I’m glad. I didn’t mean to sneak up on you, but you left Big E’s so fast. I wanted to give you a bar tour.”

“I managed that on my own.”

“Yes, I took you for an enterprising lad when grabbed the spot light this afternoon.”

“Thanks. Made it was easy to get Robert to let me do a few numbers at Big E’s. How could he say no “No” in front of people gushing about how good I was?”

“You’re even more enterprising than I expected.” Paul sam just as his unshaved chin scraped between Kevin’s shoulder blades and down to the small of his back. Paul pushed him forward and his lips moved along the crack of his ass. Kevin pulled away, but Paul held firm.

Kevin had never imagined this as sex but it was wonderful. His body relaxed as he gave into it. He moaned. Paul bit his ass cheeks before he stood. He pressed Kevin against the doorway. Paul’s body was against his. Skin to skin. 

“Feels good?” Paul whispered.

“Uh huh.”

They faced each other. They kissed. Paul’s cock beside his sent shivers up his spine.

Kevin moved them toward the bed.

“Not shy either, are we?” Paul laughed.

They rolled on the bed. Paul on top, then Kevin on top. They lay on their backs to catch their breath.

“First time?”

“Almost. There was some guy this afternoon. He … like … did me and got rid of me. I must have did something he didn’t like. I don’t know what.”

“Don’t worry. There are lots of guys who only want to tear off a piece.”

Their faces were inches apart. He traced Paul’s tattoos with one hand. 

“There’s lots to learn.” His fingers plucked Paul’s pubic hair.

“You want it don’t you.”

“Want what?” Kevin wanted Paul’s cock but was ashamed to admit it. That was sex. That was gay sex. To let a guy do you was one thing, but to do another guy made you a queer. He was gay, but now that he had the chance to be one he was afraid. What if he didn’t like it? What if he wasn’t queer?

“Go on.” Paul nudged Kevin. “You want my cock.”

Kevin leaned forward. Paul’s cock was suddenly there. It smelled of flesh and heat and sweat and spunk. The head was slick with pre-come. He brushed his tongue along the shaft, his nose in Paul’s balls breathed deep.

Intoxicated by the nearness of another man, he gingerly tasted cock for the first time. Not what he expected, but he liked it. Paul pushed his cock into Kevin’s mouth.

Kevin moved up and down slow. His cock was in Paul’s mouth. He stopped to enjoy the sensation. Then he continued.

He enjoyed the full-mouth feel that both satisfied and demanded. As he sucked and Paul sucked him, he had the sense of wholeness that he sometimes had when he sang. Harmony and excitement at the same time.

Paul’s hips pushed quicker in and out of Kevin’s mouth. He spread Kevin’s legs and sipped his head between them.

  “Keep sucking baby!” Paul implored while he kissed and licked Kevin’s ass. “So sweet. So perfect.”

Kevin’s cock pressed on Paul’s chest and pushed back and forth. He took Paul’s cock deeper into his mouth as he came.

“Sit up baby. On my face.” Paul pulled Kevin’s ass to him. He jerked himself off as his frantic tongue dug around.

Hard again, Kevin began to jerk himself. As Paul’s come erupted, it hit Kevin in the face, Paul bit his ass cheeks harder and harder. He came a moment later.

He rolled off Paul.

“Good?” Paul asked.

“Better than I dreamed. And me?”

“Fine. You got a nice cock and a sweet ass. What else could I ask for? If Robert sucked my dick like that, I wouldn’t be messing around.”

“I see.” Kevin didn’t contradict.

“Don’t get me wrong. Robert is super. One of the most affectionate guys I’ve met, and honest. But it’s always fuck fuck fuck. Not that I mind fucking him, but sometimes I want … you know what I like.”

“Uh huh. I think I’d like to wash my face.”

Kevin kissed him before he went to the washroom. How could he ever go back to Mitch’s. Back to what? He had sucked cock and he had enjoyed it. After tonight there was no way to go back. 

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City of Valleys 11 



“Oh!! Miss Ing Thing?” A cackle came from the dark on one side. Tisu Trauma climbed on stage. She wore a distressed wig with beer cans for curlers and a tattered pink nylon robe thrown over a lime green flannel night dress.

“If it isn’t the darling, daring, Achoo Mama.”

“Good heels, Ing girl. We are almost eye-to-eye.”

“I know how you love getting down on your knees.”

“Good thing there was sale on knee pads at the Gardens.” Tisu lifted her nightgown to reveal goalie pads underneath.

“Oh my my!” Miss Ing feigned surprise. “How do you get grass stains off those?”

“The same way you get ass stains off your face, darling.”

“Evian water!!”

“The girls have all chipped in to buy you a little something to show our deep, deep esteem and respect for you, Miss Ing Thing. Bring the offering forward.”

“I’d say you shouldn’t have, but I’d be lying.”

“Not the first time. Strange though, nothing on you grows when you lie.”

“Unlike your gut, my pet.”

“Be a doll and close your eyes.”

“Anything for you, Blanch.” 

Tisu leaned to her accomplice, flipped open the box she held, and took out a cream pie.

“Here you are, dear Thing!” she screamed. Tisu held the back of Robert’s head and rotated the pie in his face. “I’m sorry we didn’t have time to bake broken glass into it.”

The crowd roared, and Tisu Trauma and her henchmen made a fast escape from the bar.

“You fucking cow! I’ll get you for this!” Robert wiped pie from his face. He smiled to the audience. “So much for the improvised portion of our program. Luckily I have someone who will blot out this horrifying spectacle. I have for your delectation a new, recently discovered by me, talent. Kevin McLeod.”

Kevin got on the stage. He squinted in the lights.

“Okay Kevin. It’s your party.”

The music for “It’s My Party” started. As he sang it was Georgie, not Judy, who wore his ring. It was followed by the natural sequel “It’s Georgie’s Turn to Cry.” 

David was caught off-guard by how comfortable Kevin was. No self-consciousness and complete sincerity in what he sang. He brought an urgency to the songs that made them genuine, not kitsch queer lampoons.

Kevin left the stage, and Miss Ing reappeared in his leather police woman persona. Extra pointy breasts, tight black skirt, lots of chains and platform shoes that had jail bars for heels.

“I hope this one is pie proof. If not,” his night-stick opened into an umbrella, “I’m ready.”

David followed Kevin as he left the bar, but by the time he’d made his own way through the crowd, he didn’t see Kevin anywhere.

Perhaps it’s just as well. When a dog catches the car, what can he do with it?

Mark detached himself from a group in front of Java Squared.

“David, you’re looking a little lost.” 

“Nights like this I feel like one in many millions. Each year it gets bigger and bolder.”

“And drunker too. It’s sad to see so many equate gay pride with getting drunk and stoned. Such a waste.”

“I suppose getting ripped on extra slow espresso isn’t as morally bad?”

“At least in the morning I get to remember who I had sex with the night before.”

“Or the afternoon before?” David leapt at this chance for a casual mention of his conquest of Yves.


“The ten year old … this afternoon.”

“Right.” Mark winced at the age crack. “I don’t go for chicken but this one was eager. I was sitting there and he almost jumped my bone in the park. You were with someone.”

“Yves.” David implied as much as he could. “How was he?”

“Young. Too young to be on the loose. Came as soon as I got his fly down and took off without so much as thank you ma’am.”

“How callow. Yves was a gentleman.”

“You and Yves?”

“Mais oui, mon cher. No eat and run there.”

“No wonder you are all aglow.”

“Yes, his accent is thicker than it appears.”

David wanted to confess the glow was from seeing Kevin, but couldn’t indulge in schoolgirl emotions. Although he and Mark had been friends for some time, he didn’t understand someone who was gay but didn’t drink. What was a life centered around draughty rooms in community centers? 

“I suppose we’ll be seeing spectacular garments of yours in the parade tomorrow?” 

“A couple.”

As they talked neither paid full attention to the other, but searched the crowd for that someone to unlock the night and maybe the future for them. 


Yves exited a taxi on a side street behind the Community Center. Bare-chested in a black leather vest and a kilt with nothing under it, he wasn’t up to public transit.

He had no idea what clan his tartan represented, but the deep reds and greens meant it was a hunter tartan. Fresh polished black boots with green socks completed his look. Cell-phone tucked in the sporran.

The kilt was his one concession to fashion. He avoided anything that might stereotype his sexuality. Leather vests, once something rough and tumble, were now something every gay man had to own. Much like the deck shoes and smart sweater of the past.

It was also an easy nod to drag without the worry of the right wig and heels to match. Bare flesh allowed people to project on to him and not have to read anything from his t-shirt. He wanted people to see him as someone comfortable with his body. 

He walked through the park behind the Community Centre to the AIDS memorial. Roses, ribbons or small teddy bears were wedged by various names.

  Out of the park, he was in the thick of things. Differing cliques were faced off against each other. Each protected its territorial bar with attitude. There was “Bart’s” the leather bar that barred leather transies as too fem and pretty boys as too pretty. “The Brook” was the preppie bar that didn’t acknowledge anyone not in the right shoes. 

“Big E’s,” famous for Miss Ing Thing and her drag shows, drew a cross-section but if you were too old, too obvious, or too extreme you were shunned. “Big E’s” was in a feud with “Papa Wiggie’s” where Tisu Trauma ruled. The feud was more p.r. than real enmity.

“Dream Catcher” was the one lesbian bar on the strip that had managed to last for a few years, despite its strict women only policy.

  For a community there were a lot of enemy camps with land mines of taste to explode to leave the uninformed ignored and unaware of why. With so many out in one place, he was surprised at the civility that was maintained. 

He stopped at Java Squared for a coffee. He would have gone farther to Tencity, but didn’t want to face any more of the factions without caffeine to gird his spirits.

Outside, he joined Mark and David. He had enjoyed David that afternoon but was tongue-tied now. This was the awkward social stuff that was never taught in school. He couldn’t write a Queer 101 book till he had finished the research.

“Nipples suit you.” Mark pinched Yves’ left nipple. “And what do we have here?” He flipped the kilt. “Oooh, an eyeful and a mouth full too, or so I hear.”

The way Mark directed this last remark at David told Yves that he knew about their encounter. Should he be amused, flattered or annoyed? David and Mark were friends, so it wasn’t out of line for David to talk about him, but Yves was uncomfortable that he had. Worse, Mark joked about it.

It was this sort of confusion that made him shy. How can you trust when you don’t know who or what to trust? 

“Mark, shut your mouth, please. If you aren’t embarrassing Yves you are certainly making me blush.”

“David must have been saying good things because my ears weren’t burning.”

“It’s not your ears …”

“Mark, keep this up you’ll be making an amend to both of us.”

“Sorry David. Didn’t know I was stepping on your skirt.” He drew David aside and appeared to make a more sincere apology, then turned to Yves. “Too much coffee. I hope I didn’t say anything that would you know … between you two …”

“Don’t worry.” Yves replied.

“I gotta run. I’m manning the Gays and Lesbians in Recovery table tomorrow afternoon. I want to be fresh faced and cheerful to bug the shit out of these guys.” Mark waved in the direction of the bars. “There’s nothing like being proud without a hangover that makes you wish you were fucking dead at the same time. Bye.”

“Plans for tomorrow?” 

“I’m looking after Jake. He’s made his own float for the parade.”

“You march in the parade before?”

“A few times. The first time was an amazing experience. All those people along Yonge street cheering you on. For a moment I was on top of the world and safe in it. You?”

“Not yet. It’s enough to see Robert parading my invention for him and … ” David broke off. “Hey Kevin!” 

A young man stopped confused.

“Over here!” David waved.

The confused look lessened. “Uh … Hi.”

“David Walters? We met at Robert’s garden party.” 

“Right. I didn’t expect anyone to call my name here.”

“Yves, meet Kevin. Kevin, Yves.”

“Your first pride day?” Yves asked.

“Can you tell?”

“Those eyes tell everyone.” Yves was amused by the eager awe in Kevin’s eyes as they went from one group of men to another. “Like a kid in a candy shop.”

“Wait till you hear him sing. He did some ancient Leslie Gore numbers at Big E’s and made them sound like … like … the emotional high points of Cats.”

“Paul helped.” Kevin blushed. “We ran over them a couple of times at the Inn. I never learned words so fast in my life.”

David gazed at Kevin in the way Yves recognized as a man smitten. Kevin was so full of the newness of gay life around him that he was unaware of any vibe that came from David.

Had he ever felt that way? Had anyone felt that way about him? Both trains of thought depressed him.

“Time to push on.”

“Sorry about Mark.” David kissed Yves quick on the mouth. “Call?”

“Sure.” Yves walked away from something he wanted to understand, but was afraid he’d never get the chance to experience.

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City Of Valleys – 10 



He finished his salad and went over to Philip for a couple of burgers.

“Thank God. None of these guys are willing to be seen eating fried food in public. The only meat they’d admit to eating is this.” He jabbed the flipper at Kevin’s crotch. “These are the ladies who lunch on laddies.”

Kevin returned to the porch rail to eat his burgers and observe. His anxiety disappeared as he ate. People arrived and departed, kissed, hugged. A few looked his way but none approached.

A young guy with tattoos that spilled out of his shorts and unbuttoned shirt, came over. “Paul,” he introduced himself. “And you are?”

“Kevin. Room 224.”

“Right. Robert booted out those pushy Yanks. I can see why he took you in. Talk is that you are my replacement.”


“That’s all right. Robert has a wandering eye. Not usually for the innocent though.”

“Innocent? What do you mean?”

“Those cut-offs, that Leafs t-shirt, bare feet. Closest thing to an All-Canadian Tom Sawyer I’ve seen. Interesting bait.”


“Christ! You are an innocent. Sorry. Be warned. Dress like a newspaper boy and people will treat you like one. What do you do?”

“I’m a singer.” Kevin was confident. “Looking for an agent. You think there’s one here?”

“Could be. Robert knows all sorts.”

They walked over to the sound system. Kevin began to flip through the various cds.

“You think Karaoke would go over here?” 


“Why not?” Kevin handed Paul a cd.

“Born to Be Wild? Sure you want to do this?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“The party does need a break from Robert. I’ll intro and then it’s up to you.”

Paul popped in the cd & lined up the track. He nodded to Kevin.

“Ladies and … I guess there are no biological females here, but I digress. We have a fresh new talent to introduce. Enjoy.” He pressed play.

As the music started Kevin froze, on instinct alone sang in key, at the right point. The back of the house was a good sound board for his voice. As he sang, he got into the song. Once he surrendered to the music he didn’t worry about who watched him. With a hip swivel, he tore into the final chorus.

“Fuck man!” Paul shouted. “You can sing.”

“Evan sign him up for your you next musical.” 

After a breath, Kevin started another song without music. A Gaelic sea shanty about a sailor who longed for home and then his joy to be back there. His voice soared skyward, propelled by his joy to be there. 


The air-conditioner chill made Yves pull his blanket closer around him. Through half-opened open eyes, he saw Jake at the end of his bed. He wasn’t surprised to see him there. 

He lifted the covers to invite Jake to enter the warmth of his bed and the comfort of his body. Jake didn’t move. He looked at the bed. His head moved while the rest of him was still.

“Don’t stand there,” Yves whispered. “It’s cold out there. Get in. What are you waiting for?”

Jake stepped from the bed to the window. He opened the blinds to allow moonlight and street sounds to roll into the room. He beckoned for Yves to see what he saw.

“Oh all right.” Yves went to the window. “What is it?”

Jake nodded out the window. In the yard Yves saw David Vance, Andrew Welch and his springer spaniel Skuller.

“How … Skuller was run over by that semi.”He muttered.

He turned to Jake but Jake was gone. Jake was in the yard. In the moonlight, he tossed a stick to Skuller. David and Andrew waved to him. They were two men at the hospice who had died the first year Yves worked there.

Skuller barked. The bark was in his left ear, and as the dog’s tongue tickled him, he reached to brush it away. The alarm went off.

Yves bolted awake. He was in his bed, not at the window. He  tried to hold the dream. He recollected fragments – Jake, Skuller, but that was all.

When he got home after his unexpected tumble with David, he set the alarm for nine-fifteen p.m. and dropped into his bed. He’d need extra sleep to get through tonight. 

Naked he went into his study and fumbled with the switch for his computer. E-mail was a part of his routine that he had missed to help Jake. 

He logged on, and sure enough there was another response to his survey, along with an attachment. The responder had edited the questionnaire to suit his own needs.

Hi There Yves:

I hope this is what you were looking for, if not just ask & I’ll tell you all you want to know.

Age: 40/ occupation: constant companion & playmate 

country: USA/ gay

CUT: have fantasized about foreskin restoration –

THICK: 2 inch diameter ring fits around the base, & a 1 3/4 inch ring slides along the shaft when erect –

LENGTH: from pubic bone to tip when erect: 8 inches –

NO BENDS: curves ever so slightly to the right, from wearing it down the right leg of my jeans –

MUSHROOM HEAD: flares nicely at the bottom –

SATINY SKIN: soft & pliant, lube for extended play –

ANGLE VARIABLE: depending on temperature & level of excitement – varies from 30 degrees up from vertical to 20 degrees down from vertical –

BAG VARIABLE: depending on temperature, etc – like to use a ball-stretcher on occasion, stretching the balls down as far as possible, love to have my balls tugged during sex –

No scars, tattoos or piercings, but at one time considered a frenum piercing with a ring just behind the head.

I think the most frequent term was ‘dick’ among my circle of playmates – became aware of it at an early age, and used to play show-me-yours-and-I’ll-show-you-mine games with the neighborhood boys at age 4 –

Emotional thoughts – opinions – judgments – fears – likes – dislikes

When I was first discovering the gay world, I wanted someone special – It seemed I would never find anyone, & when I would come home alone & lie awake in bed, I would think “Why isn’t there someone out there that would like to come home with me?” Since then I have become less cock-oriented, & am a little put off by people who treat me as just some guy with a dick – although I do like comments on its size during sex play – 

I am an exhibitionist, & get a charge out of the possibility of being caught having sex or being naked where I shouldn’t be.  I have to admit that I dress in jeans that show it off to its best advantage to attract attention – If you’ve got it, flaunt it – I hope people enjoy looking as much as I like the attention.

There have been a few times when I would suddenly think “Boy, I’d sure hate to lose my dick … what would I ever do without it?”  I just can’t imagine what life would be like if I didn’t have it – 

Thanks for asking: Biteabear

The signature meant it was from the on-line group for bears and admirers. What he wanted was there. The start with physical elements led the answerers into the emotional areas.

As he had written in the conclusion of the manuscript: “For the most part, even those men who were unhappy with their equipment were happy to have the opportunity to talk about their equipment. Although gay men were more articulate about their judgments, all men, gay and straight, had the same general view. Men who like to answer surveys may have different views than the general male population.” 

In the attachment were two photos of Biteabear’s cock. From the angle of the first, Biteabear had taken the picture himself. Odd light cast deep shadows around a firm erection that thrust out of a solid nest of dark pubic hair. In the other picture, a bearded guy grinned in the woods with his jeans open to release his cock erect into the wilderness. 

He shut down the computer and looked over the monitor into the night. Here he was, ready for what? He’d had a full afternoon with David that they both had promised to repeat. But that promise wasn’t an invitation to anything more than sex. Not that he wanted a soul mate, but he longed for something more than fuck buddy.

He had a few close friendships and some delightful sexual relationships, but had never meet a man who combined the two. That sexual-spiritual thing was so elusive he doubted it existed.

The Saturday night in Pride weekend meant things became louder, while more bad drag scampered around. The city blocked the streets in the gay ghetto to cars. It meant fewer heterosexual thrill seekers and less chance another poor drag queen would get a spike heel caught in a manhole and be crushed under the wheels of a car.

The greater number of available men didn’t translate into greater opportunities for spiritual connections. The more the opportunities, the more people held on to the hope that if this one was attractive the next one was a better. 

“Ah, sweet mystery of love,” he sang as he opened his closet for bait to wear. 


Near 11, David had been in a TV trance since he got back from Robert’s garden party. He flipped channels for anything to hold his attention. He muted the sound, and the din came from the street. A block away and fifteen stories up, the sounds of celebrations reached him. Did he want stay to here, safe and vegetative?

At the garden party he’d spoken with Evan Daniels about costumes for his new production. The chance to do almost normal clothes appealed to him. After the challenges of Miss Ing Thing and Tisu Trauma, ordinary was a snap.

The pad beside him had quick sketches that had come to him from Evan’s description of the plot, but a full script would arrive tomorrow. Once he’d read it, he would have a clear idea of what the characters wanted as opposed to what Evan wanted.

The heart-stopping boy was a shock. Kevin McLeod. A plain name and perfect. It was difficult to listen to Evan when Kevin was in view. The boy had talent and though David didn’t understand the words, Gaelic they were informed later, he felt the emotion Kevin brought to them. For the rest of the party his eyes wandered to Kevin. After the song, it wasn’t easy to get closer, as the kid now had a whole fan club.

Robert announced that Kevin would do a number that night at Big E’s. Even dedicated stage-whore queens like to squeeze in a fresh young butch boy to sing a number. Another song was reason enough to venture into the night.

Silk shirt, raw linen shorts, sandals, and he was set. He nodded to a few acquaintances as he walked to Church Street. The streets from the Community Center down to the Gardens had been blocked off and were full of people. 

When he read the phrase “gay community,” his mind’s eye saw all types of men and women together, in the open and in front of each other. Drag queens, stone butch leather dykes, serious Marxist college queers, lipstick lesbians, clownish radical Faeries, gender-fuck bearded men in school girl pinafores – all shared the streets with each other. Conservative types like himself were the ones out of place.

He was drawn into the energy that surrounded him. If he wasn’t a part of any one faction, he was a part of the stream they were all a part of. This was his family, his gay community, and he was at home, at ease and at one amongst them.

The line up at Big E’s wasn’t too long. The smoke in the bar wasn’t bad, but the sound volume was a bone-crusher. He had to jot his drink order on a napkin.

Robert wore the ABBA outfit David had made a couple of years ago. Shimmery silvers with three extra heads on jet-wing spread shoulders made Robert into all of ABBA. He lip-synced Dancing Queen. In his left hand he squeezed a rubber ball that pumped the mouths of the three heads so they sang too.

David scanned the crowd for Kevin. Through the smoke and stage lights, it was difficult to make out much. Robert’s number came to a close.

“Thank you so little. Your applause doesn’t mean as much to me as your worship. Like the Titanic, not only does my heart go on but I look forward to going down on …  I mean with several crewmen before the dawn.”

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City Of Valleys – 9 



“True. Besides I must get into this. It is so nice to have one outfit I don’t have to crawl under or climb a chair to jump into.” Robert gave a visible shiver of pleasure as he put the dress on. 

“The collar may take some getting used to.” David zipped the dress. “It is …” 

“Oh, honey child. It is perfection. To have a gown that doesn’t need heels is a treat. Though I will be wearing roller blades. I did tell you that, didn’t I? I’ll have a couple of gallant studs guide me like a real float.” Robert did a little twirl. The tips of the collar brushed the ceiling.

“There is at least another foot in the collar curls.”

“If it isn’t too windy. I don’t want to be the Flying Nun.”

“Don’t lie, Miss Thing, if you could fly, you would.”

“I’m having people over around six for a first peek at my Pride Day regalia. Do join us.” He took off the dress and put it into a garment bag. “Important people are going to be there.”

“Not all your old tricks again.”

“That was last night. I gotta run. Baby needs pantyhose.”

Once Robert was gone, the apartment was empty with no propeller dress to fill half the place. Despite his smallness Robert took up most of the room. 

David took a breath. He had been on the run since the news of Bookies closure. As he sat, his butt reminded him of Yves. He reached for the phone to call Mark when the door buzzer sounded again.

It was Tisu Trauma, aka Greg Lange. Unlike Robert, Greg was large. David had never seen him in anything that wasn’t about to burst at the seams. To design for him without a mention of the blunt truth about his bigness was a challenge. Though size was a big part of his routine, he didn’t abide anyone but himself mentioning it.

“I saw Bitch Ing scamper up the street and figured you must be in. My special ready?”

“See for yourself,” David whisked off its crepe cover.

“Oh! David,” Greg teared up. “It is divine.” He kissed David’s finger tips. “These are a gift from Saint Velcro.”

For his stage work, Greg concentrated on frumpish, anti-glamour costumes whose non-fit was part of the look. David was sure he could combine that trash attitude with actual glamour. This jungle print, faux-fur ensemble had come to him in a dream. The sad truth was that no costume could make Greg as thin as he had been in the dream.

“Is the world ready for a new me?” He rubbed the leopard cuffs on his cheek. “It isn’t too Cats?”

“Would I put you in tights? I’ll see you around noon tomorrow at Wiggie’s for any final work.”

“Thank you again David. Here’s the final payment.”

David accepted the money. “Thank you.”

“The best five hundred bucks I spent. Oooh I want to wear it home. But I can’t. Not without a wig.”

“Or heels. One thing I respect about drag is the hell of heels.”

“Sweetie, heels are my life.” Greg give a flourish as he flung the door open. “Toodles.” 

Peace and quiet at last. David slumped on the sofa. How did he find time for a real job? Perhaps the black queen of fashion isn’t a dream? 


Steven was numb and stunned by his encounter with Tim. Since he’d met Luke, he had been monogamous. Before that, he hadn’t played around much, as men reacted to the size of his penis rather than to anything else.

He had been caught in the paradox where he enjoyed the attention his size caused, but was disappointed that it was only size that interested many men. Luke was different. In fact, it was when Steven had brought it up that Luke had made any reference to size. His response was to challenge Steven to separate his Asian looks from who Luke was.

Steven made the shower hotter and hotter to burn off the memory of Tim’s mouth. The sight of Tim as he blew him brought back memories. 

Memories of Chuck Peters. It was one Saturday, a few weeks after Steven’s thirteenth birthday. Some of the guys at baseball that afternoon had joked about jacking off and explained what it was and what to expect. When he got home, he went to the bathroom to try it. 

His Dad had the same several guys over most Saturdays to booze it up, play cards, or watch whatever game there was on TV. Steve said Hi to them and raced up to the bathroom, but it was occupied. He couldn’t wait for his Dad’s pals to clear out but they often hung around till their wives phoned for them. His Mom called it the Thomas Family Adult Daycare. But she liked the jokes and flirtation that went on. 

He shut his bedroom door and sat on the edge of his bed. He got his jeans and undies down to his knees and did what the guys had described. Hold your pecker tight and push up and down till it was hard. He squeezed harder and moved his hand faster. A tingle built up in his nuts. 

“Oh yeah! Beat that fucker.” Chuck Peters, one of his Dad’s buds, stepped into the room. “That is sure a fine dick for a boy your age. Near big as mine even.” Chuck took out his own.

Steven stared at it.

“Don’t stop boy. Jerk that dick of yours.” 

Steven’s erection had disappeared.

“Did I scare away your woodie?” Chuck knelt. He smelled of cigarettes, beer and gum. “I’ll whistle it back.” He stuck his gum under the bed and took Steven’s dick in his mouth. While he sucked he jerk his own cock. Once he came, he gave Steven five bucks for his promise not to tell.

Over the next couple of years, Chuck made opportunities for Steven to hear his whistle. Steven enjoyed the sex, but he didn’t like the the fear and shame that Chuck brought. 

When his cock matured before the rest of him, Steven was sure it was because of the attention it got from Chuck. Chuck panicked the one time he had tried to reciprocate. He didn’t want to make Steven into what he was. By the time he was seventeen, Steven knew what he was. It was also the year that Chuck got arrested for sex with boys younger than Steven.

His Dad sat him in the living-room and asked if Chuck had ever touched him, because if he had it was okay, and there was a therapist who would help Steven, and on and on. The more concerned his father became, the more Steven denied anything had happened. Denied to himself that he was in any way like that dirty cocksucker his Dad raged on about.

He jumped on his bike to go downtown. How or what to tell Luke about Tim? When he’d met Luke, there was no other man for him. What told him that was something he couldn’t describe. For one, Luke had an open, honest, unapologetic love of sex itself. No secrets or unmentionableness about it.

He got to Lubba’s with ten minutes to spare. 

Luke followed him into the change room. “How was rehearsal?” 

“Good. If we keep getting this good the show will be a hit.” Steven got out of his street clothes. He drew Luke to kiss him.

“Luke, I love you so much.”

“Must be going real well. Now get dressed before we start cooking in here.” Luke left.

Steven sat to tie his shoes. Paul came in.

“How you doing?” Steven asked.

“If nothing else, this prepares me for emerg. I’ve been warned that’s the worst park of  become a doctor, and also the best part. Either way my calves are killing me.” 

“You get used to it.”

“That your show we’re promoting all over the place?” Paul sat and massaged his calves.

“Yep. Had to fight with Miss Ing to get wall space.”

“Must be wild having two divas under one roof.”

“Luckily we are queens on two different stages.” 

Paul peeled off his clothes. The knot tattoo flowed beneath his underwear and down his calves in an entwined leaf, branch and roses design. Paul stood to shake baby powder into his underwear as he rubbed his balls.

“Like what you see?” He displayed his tattoos.

“Is there an answer to that that doesn’t get me in trouble?” Steven ducked out the door. 

“Table three, Steven.” Luke called.

“Thanks.” He breathed a sigh of relief. For the rest of the night he didn’t have to worry about more than what wine goes best with the catch of the day.


Kevin walked up the stairs at the Inn Ing. What had he done that Mark was so eager to get rid of him? To be a clumsy oaf and kick the coffee table over was probably not on any list of “How To Land A Man.” In his room, he lay on the bed. 

The ceiling was pale blue. Gold and silver swirls of stars darted to the corners. The recollection of Mark got him hard. He pushed off his runners and caught a whiff of his socks.

“Damn!” He put the pieces together. Clumsy and with feet that stunk out loud. No wonder he couldn’t wait to get rid of me.

He hadn’t showered before he snuck out of Mitch’s, and he smelled how sweaty he was. Worse, he had only his spare Leafs t-shirt as he hadn’t planned to be out overnight. If he rinsed his undies and socks they wouldn’t be dry enough to wear till morning. That meant one thing: he’d have to shop.

He put his runners back on, checked that he had some cash, and left his room. He went to Yonge Street and into the first clothing store he passed. Socks and underwear came only in three packs. In a rack of t-shirts he found a black one that said, in white print, “Real men eat men.” He had to have it, but could he face the clerk with something queer? He folded it to let just the price tag show. The clerk rang his things in without a second glance.

There was soap and shampoo in his bathroom along with tiny glass vials of cologne. He dripped a few drops from one into each of his sneakers. In the shower he rinsed out his worn t-shirt while he squished his socks and underwear underfoot.

He stood naked in front of the window to enjoy the breeze. Along with laughter and chatter came the smell of the barbecue. Several people were in the backyard. 

Philip flipped burgers on a gas barbecue, while Robert Ing fanned himself and pointed to details on costumes that were suspended from the eaves of the back porch.

This was the garden party that Robert had mentioned. Did he want to be with more strangers? The smell of hamburgers melted his fears. He put on his spare t-shirt and cut-offs. He left the offensive sneakers in the open air by the window.

With some apprehension, he went down to the back of the house. The cool of the kitchen floor was welcome to his bare feet. He stood a moment at the back door. All these people knew each other so well, it made him want to retreat.

Hell, I’ve faced crowds of drunks at Ten Pennies who were more dangerous than these guys.

He pushed the door open and strode into the sun.

“Ah, 224, so glad you decided to join us,” Robert called. “Introduce yourself.”

His toes squirmed in the grass as the guests looked at him.

“Evan Daniels.” A bald man extended his hand. “I do hope 224 is your room number and not your number in Robert’s roster of conquests.”

“Room …”

“Ah good. I’ll discreetly spread the word so other’s won’t be afraid you are the latest boy.”

When Evan said boy, Kevin suppressed a small anger. Mark had called him a boy a few times and he was sick of it. He was as much a man as any of them.

“What do you do?”

“I … uh …” Kevin wasn’t sure what to reply. No one had asked him such a question.

“By ‘do’ I mean professionally,” Evan went on. “I, for example, am a director. Live theatre. Thicket Theatre? Perhaps you’ve heard of me?”

“Sorry. I …” Kevin blushed.

“How wonderful. Someone who doesn’t know me.”

“Evan, honey, you don’t know yourself.” Robert stepped between them. “Come with me Evan. I’d like you to meet David Walters. He designs all my gowns. He is pure genius, and I’m sure he’d be perfect for your new show. You do need a designer. Street clothes are so tired on stage.”

Kevin made his way over to a picnic table covered with salads, sandwiches, fresh fruit, with a punch bowl in the middle. He piled some potato salad on a plate and leaned against the porch rail to eat. How to answer the “What do you?” question because with a director there, there might even be an agent some sort. Construction or automotive engineer wouldn’t do. He was a performer, a singer. Not the whole truth but not a lie either.

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City of Valleys – 8 



As they walked along, Kevin told Mark things that he had never told anyone. To have a gay man to listen to him gave Kevin his first real chance to release stuff he had bottled up.

“I’m not boring you with all this?” Kevin asked.

“Not at all. Shep never suspected you had the hots for him?”

“I sure as hell hope not. If I thought he knew, I don’t know if I could face him. I was the son he never had and …”

“You think it would disappoint him? If he cares for you it might not matter at all.”

“Not on the East Coast.” Kevin didn’t have the words to explain his fear.  

“You have a big little world in front of you.”

They stopped at street lights and Mark waved to a couple of guys on the opposite corner. 

“This bed and breakfast is pretty decent.” Mark stopped at a large, three-story, red-brick house with an extensive front garden. “The Inn Ing is owned by Miss Ing Thing. You might have missed the dozens of posters we passed for her big show tonight.”

“Missing thing?”

“Robert Ing. Miss – Ing – Thing. A stage name. Big money from the Pacific Rim or some such. She’s not a bad sort. I’ll wait here.” Mark sat on a bench under a tree in the garden.

The steps were a little tacky from a recent coat of deep green paint. He rang the bell. The door wasn’t locked. He pushed it open.

“Hello?” He called out to be heard over the clamour of dance music and television chatter.

“In here.” A voice came from a side room. “I hope you’ve brought the …” An Asian man on a chair caught sight of him. “Well, sweetness, what can I do for you?”

The man wore a ballooning blue satin dress that reminded Kevin of Gone With the Wind. Another man knelt with a glue gun to fasten fabric roses to the hem.

“I was … uh … looking for a room.”

“Honey, you are in luck.” The man in the dress hopped down with a firm grip on the hoop hem to keep it off the ground. “I ordinarily wear a pair of eighty-three inch platforms to keep this from trailing. We kicked out an American couple this morning. This place is strictly no smoking. They knew that when we booked them and they can complain to all the fucking embassies they want. I will not have smoking in my house. Even I have to go outside to smoke. You don’t smoke do you? One look at that skin of yours tells me you don’t. You don’t shave yet either do you. Ha ha. A little joke. My, but you are young. Do your parents know you’re here? Do you have a note from Gramma? Will that be cash? I’m a little bit wired, as they say, for more than sound. Clark!” He took a breath. “I’m Robert Ing, your host and hostess. Clark! Where is he? Bad help is hard to find. Oh right, he’s clearing out after those ugly Americans. Philip, be a dear. Put that gun down and register this young man. You are in luck, as we were totally booked till I had to single-handedly toss those Yanks out.”

“Uh … thank you …” Kevin slipped off his runner and took out his credit card.

“Dad know you have this?” Robert passed the card through the scanner. “Just for tonight?”

“It’s mine! And yes, just for tonight.”

“A young man of means. You’ll go far. Philip, see if 224 is ready. It has a darling view of the back yard. We’ll be having drinks out there around six tonight, if you’d care to join us. Please do. There’s nothing like a fresh face to set off a garden party. You’ll get an exclusive sneak peek at my costumes for the parade tomorrow.”

Philip took Kevin up to the room. It was simple, spare and crisp. Shades of blue. A big bed, a tiny dresser and washroom. Kevin dropped his backpack on the bed, splashed water on his face, locked the door and went downstairs. To his relief, Mark was still outside.

“Must be a mad house in there. Robert sees herself as the unofficial Queen of Toronto. Ignoring the fact that there are several other pretenders to that throne.”

“Yes he .. I mean she … did seem … wired for more than sound.” 

Mark’s apartment was compact. It had little mottoes over the light switches. On the fridge one read “HALT: Are You Too Horny Angry Lonely or Tired?” 

Mark handed him a beer and had a can of pop can for himself.

“I’m merely horny.” Mark laughed.

“I’m not taking your last one?”

“I … uh … don’t drink. No booze, no drugs. You don’t mind.”

“Why would I mind?”

“Many guys are more interested in drugs.”

Kevin sat on the sofa. “Not this guy.”

“I keep beer in the fridge just to offer … like … asking someone up for a beer makes more sense than, say, asking them up for a diet coke.” Mark sat beside him and put his pop on the coffee table.

Kevin put his beer next to it and draped his arms across the back of the couch and let his knees fall apart. Mark ran his hand along Kevin’s thigh. Kevin put his hand on Mark’s head and brought their mouths together. 

He kissed a man for the first time. A man who kissed him back, wanted him. One of Kevin’s fears was that men would have no interest in his body and would use him to get themselves off. Men who did that weren’t really queers.

His tongue darted in Mark’s mouth as Mark’s tongue did the same in his. He liked the way Mark’s hands moved over his body, rolled his t-shirt up, opened his belt buckle, unzipped his fly and touched his pubic hair then cock.

He tried to mirror what Mark did. Their quick frantic movements came to a stop once Mark’s mouth found his cock. Kevin slumped to allow more of his cock to fill Mark’s mouth. His leg jerked and kicked the coffee table. Drinks spilt to the floor.

“Shit!” He tried to get up.

“Don’t worry I’ve cleaned up worse spills, and if this is really your first blow job, I want to enjoy every drop.” 

Mark pushed him back and worked Kevin’s shorts and underwear down. Kevin pushed his runners off and got out of his shorts.

Mark slid to the floor and made Kevin lie on the couch. He parted Kevin’s legs and licked his balls before he returned to suck. With one hand Mark played with himself. The other he slipped under to tease Kevin’s butt.

Kevin breathed in gulps, rubbed Mark’s shoulders as he rocked into his mouth. As Mark’s thumb twitched his butt, he tried to drive it in while he drove his cock deeper into Mark’s throat.

Kevin was lifted out of himself, of his sense of who he was. His come rocketed into Mark’s mouth.

Mark didn’t move away as he tried to swallow it. He took his mouth away and spat some of the come into his hand, smeared it on to his own cock. He leaned back to jerk till small beads of sperm appeared on the head.

“Whew!” Mark slumped. “That’s what I call taking a load off.”

Kevin merged with the sofa, heavy and light at the same time. He dropped one hand down to cup the Mark’s calf. “Wow! That was …”

Mark stood, kissed Kevin. “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”

A man, this man, had touched him, had wanted him sexually, had accepted him sexually, and he wanted to thank him, to love him.

“I better get this cleaned up.”

“Don’t bother. You run along. Maybe we’ll run into each other over the weekend.”

Kevin put his clothes on. Had he done something wrong?

Mark went to door. “That was great. You got a nice cock. We’ll have to do this again sometime. Don’t forget I know where you’re staying.” He opened the door. “The elevator is around that corner.” He kissed Kevin on the mouth. Kevin held him. Mark pushed away. “Now scoot and have a great weekend.”

Kevin didn’t remember what Mark’s cock looked like, what it felt like. His own was sticky in his underwear. On the way down he hoped the sinking sensation was the elevator.


David had to flush twice to get the condom to disappear. When he had followed his impulse to invite Yves up for sex, he didn’t intend it go so far. When he saw Mark with the young man who had stopped his heart at Rainbow Books, it caught him off guard. He was familiar enough with Mark’s sexual habits to be certain they weren’t together to take the air. 

Aware of Mark’s yen for Yves, David jumped at the chance to bed him. Now he had to let Mark know. What was the point if the person one wanted to suffer didn’t know?

Once the condom was gone, David stepped into the shower. He was grateful that Yves had his own life to attend to. Once they had finished there was no awkward ruse to get him out of the apartment. 

The touch of Yves’ hands on his flesh was something he had never experienced before. Warm and cool at the same time, with an energy that penetrated him right to the bone. He wanted to rest wrapped in Yves arms for hours.

As he rubbed the soap over his body, he tingled where Yves’ hands had been. If it weren’t for those hands, he wouldn’t have let Yves fuck him. Yves had the perfect cock for that though. Smallish head wrapped tight in foreskin atop a thick solid shaft. That smallness made the initial entry easier.

He soaped his butt and relished the memory, and anticipated when he could recount it to Mark. They’d have to have coffee soon.

Out of the shower, he walked to the living room as he dried, his naked body in full view of anyone in the opposite apartment complex who happened to look. The buzzer rang. 

“Who is it?”

“Who do you think, darling, Pizza Palace?”


“Right first try. I’m here for my final fitting.”

“You are early.”

“I know. I know. I can’t wait.”

David buzzed him in. He put on loose linen pants and a clean t-shirt. The dress was done enough for Robert. There was no such thing as finished, but it was ready to wear.

A quick rap and he opened the door. Robert flew in.

“I couldn’t wait. The big blue-balls gown is wonderful. I should have used steel for the hoops. The rosettes make it hard to take your eyes off it. David, they were a stroke of genius.”

“Who sewed them on for you?”

“Honey, no one but you can stitch my garments. I had Philip glue them on. Hot glue gun for the last three hours. His poor little fingers have no prints left.”

David grimaced at the vision of glue on his gown. That wouldn’t happen with this one. He lifted off the black crepe draped over it.

“Ta da.”

“Oh David!” Robert sat stunned on the arm of the couch. “It is really too too much. The collar, those fucking beads.”

“Whiskers on kittens?”

“Doll, you have outdone yourself this time. I was afraid all your wonderful energy was going to Miss Seizure.” Miss Seizure was Robert’s affectionate name for his favourite rival, Tisu Trauma. He said it with the remorseless hiss of a cat about to bite.

“How did …” David was ashamed that Robert knew he had worked for the enemy.

“She couldn’t wait to tell me. Don’t worry babe, as long as you whip up your most scrumptious creations for me, I don’t give a flying fuck what Seizure wears.” As he undressed, Robert inched toward the corner that held Tisu’s shrouded gown.

“Careful.” David steered him away. “You don’t want to get claw marks on that without an audience, do you?”

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City of Valleys – 7 



“Home, James. I mean Yves.”

“Yes master.”

Jake’s mood improved after lunch. They had purchased all the stuff Jake needed to transform Trigger into a tropical island. At the hardware store, they bought a couple meters of astro turf to cut into fronds.

At the hospice, Jake was too tired to get out of his scooter. Yves lifted him and carried him to his room. He was dismayed at how light Jake was.

“Carried across the threshold.” Jake’s eyes closed as Yves put him on the bed. “Mother would be pleased. So pleased …”

Yves eased off Jake’s runners, draped a blanket over him and left the room. Downstairs the nurses had brought in Trigger. Nancy and some of the night shift nurses wanted to do the island make-over. Yves’ duties were finished.

Outside, he felt he had left something behind. He hadn’t planned his time after Jake.

A drink or a bath?

He saw David Walters on the opposite corner. They waved. His interview with David had gone well, and though there was a strong sexual energy, he hadn’t followed it up to keep his research professional.

He crossed over to David. “Can I interest you in a drink?”

“Before four p.m.?”

“That’s a yes?”

“Stop twisting my arm! I have some serious stitching to do later. But I do have more free time than I expected.”

“Big E’s okay.”

“As good as any other dark dank watering … uh … I don’t want to say hole. Too negative. How’s Cock Talk coming?” David asked as they walked along.

“It’s now in the hands of the publisher. If this one sells there could be a Cock-a-Two.” 

“Draw any conclusions?”

“Most men who are willing to talk about cock are happy with what God gave them.”

“That’s a shocker!” David laughed. “You find a taker for that basement apartment?”

“Not yet. The few guys I saw were such creeps I put it off till the fall.”

They stopped at the lights and kitty-corner from them Mark waved. They waved and the lights changed.

“Who is that boy with him?” Yves asked under his breath.

“Oh, I hadn’t noticed. Some kid working for rent.”

“Well …” Yves recognized anger in David’s tone.

“Well, what?”

“Sounds like you do need a drink.”

“It has been one of those days. Lost a job. Got a job. Got two impossible fabric constructions, for two impossible queens, to complete before midnight. One for Miss Ing Thing and one for Tisu Tramama. And my back is killing me.”

“A massage might do you more good than a drink.”

“Yves, you keep coming up with great lines! As a matter of fact, I do live around here. Right here.” They stopped in front of a high-rise. “It’s not as if we haven’t been introduced. Don’t run when you see the mess.” 

The living room was strewn with scraps of fabrics, thread, lace and wire.

“In this corner, in the killer collar, is the gown for Miss Ing Thing. In the other corner, in leopard and zebra, is the fur trap for Tisu Tramama. No real animals were harmed in making either of these costumes.” David ushered Yves through the apartment. “The bedroom is this way.”

Yves stood in the middle of the apartment as David stripped.

“You did say massage didn’t you? I understand that is easier with clothes off. And it is air conditioned.”

A rush of cool air greeted them as David opened the bedroom door.

Yves followed David. The blinds were drawn and the dark of the room was a relief from the bright hot they had left. He took off his fanny pack and rubbed his hands to build up energy as David settled himself face down on the bed.

He moved his hands a foot away from David’s body, where his palms sensed any emotional or physical energy blocks. Emotional blocks sent a prickly heat to him, while he picked up physical stress as a coolness. 

“Whoa! What are you doing?”

“Taking your emotional temperature.”

“Whatever, that feels great.”

“Wait until I actually touch you.” Yves knelt on the bed, lowered his hands, and stroked from David’s shoulders to the top of his buttocks. He pressed harder with each stroke. “Let me know if I press too hard.”

“That is  perfect.” David patted Yves on the inside thigh. “Why don’t you slip out of those itchy clothes?”

“Now whose using lines,” Yves laughed. As he kneaded David he became aroused. 

“Do I have to undress you myself or aren’t you …” David rolled over and saw Yves’ erection strain his shorts. “Pardon me, you are interested.” He deftly unbuttoned Yves’ fly. He leaned forward and took the cock in his mouth.

Yves took his t-shirt off, wriggled out of his shorts, and stepped off the bed to remove his socks and sneakers. As he undressed, he feasted on the sight of the man on the bed. A ribbon of sunlight streamed through a crack in the blinds and played across David’s black flesh.

He lay with David’s cock within mouth range and his cock once again in David’s mouth. David’s teeth gently and then less gently nibbled his foreskin.

They stopped at the same moment and sat up to embrace, to kiss, to hold. As they enfolded each other, Yves breathed a prayer of gratitude that once more God had let him into the mystery of touch. 


Once he had showered at home after rehearsal Steven sat on the deck in the shaded back of his house to sort out what had happened at the rehearsal. Sexual arousal while in character was new to him. None of his past roles had called on him to become this close to another male character. He done boy meets girl stuff and he had never been aroused any of them.

To be caught up this way was strange. As Steven he didn’t find Tim someone he would pursue or whose pursuit he would enjoy. But as John he found Gabe attractive. This was what the text called for and this was what, as an actor, he had allowed to happen. 

He had never slipped into a character that took over his body in this way. A limp, an accent or a wig were props but to have his sexual arousal become one of those props was unexpected. He wondered if Tim made a separation between Steven and John, Tim and Gabe. He was afraid that if he said something that the on stage chemistry between them would suffer.

He sank in the chaise to watch the leaves of the maple rustle in the breeze. He closed his eyes to enjoy the breeze on his bare chest.

The phone rang. He dashed into the house to answer it.


“Hi Steven? It’s Tim.”

“Hi, Tim.” Speak of the devil.

“Can I drop by? I’d like to talk without Evan present.”

“Sure. You know where I live?”


“See you in five minutes?”

“More like five seconds? I’m calling from my car. I am getting out to walk to your door.”

A car door slammed over the phone before it went to dial tone.

“She-it.” Seven muttered.

The door bell chimed as he hung up the phone. All he wore were his boxers. He looked for a T-shirt or sweatpants but there was none at hand and the door bell rang again.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Was he wearing theplaid boxers with the button fly? They were. He opened the door & they walked out to the patio.

“Nice garden. You the gardener?”

“I weed, Luke plants and prunes. Except for the compulsory pansies, these are all perennials so we haven’t planted much new the last few years. Cold drink?” 

“Yeah, that sounds nice.”

“Coke? Classic of course.” Steven went into the kitchen.

“Sure. Great. Nice house. You’ve been here for a while?” Tim talked rapidly. 

“Long enough,” Steven replied. He saw no reason to say more. The less he knew about his fellow actors, the less they knew about him, the easier it was to concentrate on the characters they portrayed.

Tim came into the house and went into the living room. He perched on the edge of the sofa. Steven handed him his drink and sat in a chair opposite.

Tim took a little sip and put the glass down. “About this afternoon …” 

Steven leaned into his chair. He would have hugged his knees to his chest, but if he did his dick would fall out of his boxers. 

“Steve, we’re getting somewhere with the play, aren’t we? Like, when we started, I wasn’t sure about it. I’ve never done anything gay before.”

“Comes a time …”

“I wanted to work with Evan. He lives up to reputation. I was afraid he’d be a … prick.”

“That has been known to happen.” Steven relaxed.

“And … I’ve never done … what we did this afternoon in rehearsal. You made it easy, so natural that I found it easier.”

“It was difficult for me.”

“But when I felt … saw you get … you know … hard … I knew everything would be all right. That we would …” He lurched forward and kissed Steven.

Steven pushed him away. “Tim … I …”

“I know. You have a partner and I respect that. I know we have an intense show to do …”

“Emotional stuff off stage won’t help. It’ll be a big problem if we let this go too far. Uh …” Steven’s mind raced. “Uh … ”

“Fuck it man, I’ve been crazy for you since that first read through. I know you feel something too, or we wouldn’t have made that scene work this afternoon.”

“Tim, this is so sudden.” Steven was in some soap farce. All this needed was for Luke to come home.

“My wife will kill me if she ever suspects.”

“Your wife!” The perfect out. “You’re married?”

“Four years. No kids, yet.” Tim sat. “It’s been tearing me up. You know, loving her, wanting kids, while wanting … you know …” He looked at Steven’s crotch.

“She doesn’t suspect?” 

“I’m an actor.” Tim shrugged. “Lisa’s my biggest fan. She made me take this show after reading the script. Said it would be important for my career. What can we do?”

“Let’s … uh … keep this personal stuff separate, till the show is up & running. It’ll get in the way. You know that. Let’s not be alone so we won’t get pulled in any deeper than the … uh … text allows.”

“It won’t be easy holding you on stage and wanting you off stage.”

“Same here,” Steven lied. “But if we channel that energy into our performances …”

“How can you be so sensible? If you can be that strong I’ll try.” He clumsily kissed Steven again. “Sorry but …” his hand moved along Steven’s thigh, into the baggy boxers. “Oh, what a cock you got.” He kissed down Steven’s chest till he had the cock in his mouth.

Steven’s eyes glazed over as he stared away from the blond head between his legs. 

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