A Horror Story for your Upcoming Labor Day Weekend Reading …
How would you feel spending the Labor Day weekend with a hottie you barely knew who turned out to be your own private nightmare?
That’s exactly what happened to my character in “Best Buds,” from my short story collection, “Basic Butch” available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and serialized here over two days just for you.
It’s been a month now since I’ve taken a shower or left my apartment. There’s nothing left in the freezer and I’m down to only a handful of canned stuff. Not sure what I’ll do after that.
Here, I could have still been teaching my future Social Security checks in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, cavorting the catwalk of Christopher Street, and playing spin the bottle with some fellow Manhattan faggot. Instead, I’m stuck in this ground floor condo off Fort Lauderdale Beach with the vertical blinds drawn. It’s dangerous being on the ground floor, you know, but asking the landlord to change apartments would mean I’d have to leave this one.
And I can’t.
You see, I’m waiting for Jack.
Waiting for Jack to find me.
I should start by telling you that I was pretty much of a loner as a kid. Dad worked 60 hours a week in the factory, and mom never let me play with other kids – she was always afraid I’d get hurt. I couldn’t even have a bike. So I grew up not equipped with the usual social skills which was O.K. by me until I was faced with student teaching in my junior year of college. Frankly, I was scared shit to stand up in front of some crazed, oversexed adolescents – you know, it was like that final scene in “Suddenly Last Summer.” I even consulted a shrink who said I was mildly paranoiac and agoraphobic and pushed the pills. But after I observed some of the other, more seasoned teachers in action in the faculty room and saw there were bigger shit-heads than me around, I got over my shyness on my own, thank you, very much.
Coming out a year later in the butch bars of the West Village, I realized the only way to rise above the masses of reasonably in-shape, decent looking guys was to go shirtless. I might not have been the tallest, hunkiest or prettiest guy in the place, and as the years went by, not the youngest either, but my hairy chest and muscular arms seemed to be enough to get people looking. Even if some queeny clothes horses giggled in ridicule, I had gotten them to look.
After all, wasn’t that all that counted?
After half a lifetime spent in cold and snow and a having new principal at my school who was one son-of-a-bitch, I woke up one bleak November Monday morning after almost twenty years of teaching the little bastards in New York City and decided that it was time for a change. I had nothing to hold me, no lover, no great pool of friends, just a small, well established coterie of fuck buddies all within walking distance of my upper West Side apartment and all of whom had gotten – well – boring. The one good thing was that I was a high school teacher – English – and that meant it would be easier for me to find a job elsewhere than most forty year olds. Plus my apartment with the leaky tub and drafty windows was being destabilized in a few months which meant the rent would be going through the roof.
I had vacationed in sun and fun Fort Lauderdale a few times and one day, for the pure hell of it, I combed Careerbuilders.com for a teaching job down there. There was a mid-year opening at a high school in Hollywood – some new-right-out-of-college teacher couldn’t deal with the kids throwing their desks at one another – and I grabbed it. After teaching so long in City schools, playing boot camp bastard had become second nature to me.
I got myself a nice little ground floor rental a few blocks from Fort Lauderdale Beach, and over the next year I blotted out my aloneness – I say aloneness because, again, I rarely felt truly lonely – with an ample dose of sex. But Lauderdale is a tourist town and fags in particular – me included – were always waiting for new meat – so I found it increasingly impossible to re-establish the little fuck buddy network that I had had back in New York.
One night in late July – I was off for the summer – I decided to hit Lenny’s Hideaway, a place where young guys hooked up with daddies. With its 3-for-1 drink specials, it was the only place in Lauderdale on a Thursday night guaranteed to have a crowd. Going against the grain when it came to acceptable Lenny’s attire – T, tank or polo – I walked in with an open shirt.
For a while it seemed like it was going to be one of my typical nights at the place where I got stewed on the cheap alcohol and ignored by the endless cliques of chicken-shit young things and transplants from the neighboring bear bar when he saw me across the bar and smiled. A short guy like me – 5’8” at most – a well built, gymnast body evident under his tight white pullover. He had a shaved head, no facial hair, and oh, that smile.
I waited a few minutes, then walked past him. He had been talking to this guy old enough to be my father, but he turned away for a second from his conversation and looked my way. Close up, he looked real young – thirty at most. Maybe I was tired, or maybe not just buzzed up enough, or maybe I figured the old man was somebody to him, so I decided to leave that Kodak moment alone and call it a night.
As I walked to the parking lot, I heard someone yell out, “Wait a minute.”
I turned around. It was him. He introduced himself. Jack was his name.
“I just gotta tell you, Fuzzy, you got one beautiful chest,” and he slide his palm across my sweat.
Nice manly voice. Nice manly feel.
He brushed his hairless chin against my mustache as if to kiss me, then stopped.
“And you’re one good-looking guy,” I replied. Then I smiled and we went our separate ways, I to my car, he back to the bar and, I guess, his old man.
Two weeks later, I was at the baths, lying in my room, with my jockey shorts and work boots on, and who walks by but Jack. No body hair and one of those tight, no fat specimens of manhood that looked like he had been sculpted out of clay. He stopped.
“Just get here?” I asked, trying to stay cool.
“Yea, Fuzzy,” he replied. He sounded a bit buzzed. “But I’ll be back.”
Ten minutes later, he was.
“So I’m a top,” he announced matter-of-factly, shutting the door of my room. He ran his hand vigorously across my furry chest.
“So am I,” I replied, trying to keep the grin on my face but figuring, after all this cock teasing, I would lose him.
“So what do two tops do?” he asked.
We figured it out quickly enough. Standing there by the edge of the bed, my legs straddling the floor, Jack gently stroked both our dicks – I was slightly bigger at seven inches – until first he, then I came. I let him wipe up the mess with my towel, and then he left my room and I left the bathhouse not wanting to see whom he played around with next.
A month later, I ran into Jack at the new sex club. I never forget a dick and caught his six and half inch piece of meat hanging out of one of the glory holes. It wasn’t drooping for long, though, and I made sure to suck him dry before I let on it was me. He was surprised, but happy to see me. This time, I decided to take it to the next step.
“You interested in going to Orlando for Labor Day – you know, just as buddies cruising for ass – I never been –“
“Sure,” Jack replied, genuinely excited by the prospect. “That sounds great. Just as long as we don’t do Mickey Mouse. We can stay at the Marlboro Motel Resort. Never been either. I’m a low maintenance guy, Fuzzy. Give me your number.”
He went one step better and at the front desk, got paper and pen to take down my number and address, too.
Our initial plan was for Jack to do the driving. But in the end, I was the one who played chauffer and picked Jack up in front of his apartment off Sunrise Boulevard. And during the monotonous ride on the straight-as-a-pencil Florida Turnpike, I learned some more about this stranger whom I had invited to spend the weekend with me.
He told me he had come out late at 27. Before that, he was, as he termed it, “straight shooting,” even married for a short time. And no boutique clerk here. He said he had a business degree from Boston University (he had tried out for the Olympics in gymnastics – hence the great bod) and had moved down here about three years ago. With a little ingenuity and a lot of luck, he boasted he had snowballed a small inheritance from his grandmother into several million dollars worth of rental properties which he owned and managed in Jacksonville. I imagined a lot of the guys whom I saw on Sebastian Beach were the new wave of gay land barons that Florida’s exploding real estate market had created.
Now I had one sitting next to me.
He mentioned Boyd, a short, hairy, very in-shape guy with a huge cock that he had met at the Driveshaft, Lauderdale’s leather bar, a few weeks ago. Boyd and his 6 foot-2 partner, Jesse lived in North Lauderdale – they were both closer to Jack’s age than mine, thirty-somethings – and were actually planning a trip to the Marlboro that weekend, too. Sure enough, less than 20 minutes after we arrived, we ran into them in the parking lot.
Jack was right. Boyd was lightly muscular, hairy, and boyish with a crew and a sexy two days-growth worth of a beard. But the real attention getter was his pair of white, see- through gauze pants – no underwear. Jesse, a fart from being matinee handsome, smooth, and holding in his stomach, was the more conservative, wearing knee length swim trucks. But, later at the pool, I occasionally spied him nonchalantly stroking his crotch as he looked in my direction. Both Boyd and Jesse liked short guys – and they had already had Jack.
Frankly, the Marlboro didn’t impress me. It was in a crapo neighborhood of downtown Orlando, littered with porn parlors and druggies, far from the Disney glitz. The place itself looked like it was stuck in some time warp from the ‘60’s, a three level structure shaped in an L. Below, surrounded by cracked and faded red asphalt, were several bars, a restaurant, and the pool. I was waiting for Jayne Mansfield to pop out at some point. Instead, a tall, lanky, fiftyish transexual with flowing blonde hair and boobs hanging like two eggplants, did. It looked like she was halfway through her surgery and trying to make money from some of the Latino men who wandered onto the property to pay for the “Final Solution.” Jack named her Transylvania.
Our room was on the second floor and our neighbor was a tall, nondescript blonde-headed, forty-something guy named Sam from some god-forsaken little town on the east cost of Georgia. We got to talking at dinner and found out his thing was young Latins. But it was starting to get dark and Jack was in a rush to finish his lasagna. It was time to prowl.
And so we did, dressed in basic butch – jeans, boots, and open shirts – prowling first the little western bar and later the large dance bar on the premises, then strolling over to the Log Cabin, a leather/levis/bear bar just two blocks away.
The drinks were cheap, a buck for a beer, two bucks for a screwdriver, and Jack lulled me into his drinking style so that by midnight we were both staggering back to our room, totally wasted, just as the Marlboro bars were beginning to hop.
Jack had asked that I book double beds, but sometime in the middle of the night with the music from the dance bar still blasting below, he crawled in beside me. We were both naked and as I lay on my side, he snuggled up against me, his half hard cock sitting in the crack of my ass.
“Cuddle, cuddle, Fuzzy, sleep, sleep,” he murmured, his arms enveloping me. I could feel and hear his heart beating. I had been used to years of hit and run sex and this was the first time in a very, very long time that I actually lay with a guy in bed – no sex – just lay there next to this beautiful man, stroking his baby-smooth ass cheeks from behind, as he slowly rubbed his hard abs and chest against the hair on my back and buttocks.
I was about ready to ask him to fuck me – solid, unwavering “Top” me – but realized his long soft cock wouldn’t get much harder than a roll of manicotti without the sauce. All the liquor he had consumed that night had made sure of that. Soon I heard him snoring.
The next morning, with Jack still in la-la-land, I walked down to a small lake on the perimeter of the property where they had created a white sandy beach. I sat there alone, sipping my container of coffee that I had gotten from the restaurant and vowed that I would not let Jack get me drunk again that night.
A few hours later at the pool, with all of us, Sam, Boyd, Jesse and I sitting together, Jack was the first to start with the beers. I said nothing but gave Jack one long look. He knew why.
“It’s just I need a few to loosen up,” he explained casually. “Without a drink, Fuzzy, I’m as shy as a cloistered nun.” Then he added, “After all, there’s a lot worst shit than beer.”
I stuck with my cranberry juice.
A tall, hairy, somewhat flabby guy with tit rings and salt and pepper hair – 35 or 40 I’d say – kept looking my way. As he passed our lounge chairs, I leaned out and said, “Did anyone ever tell you that you look like Sean Connery – I mean when he was young?”
“No, no one ever did,” replied the guy making sure to catch my eye. “But thanks for the compliment.”
Later in the pool, he came up behind me and began thrusting his groin against my ass.
“Down boy,” I said firmly with a smile. “That’s not my scene.”
An hour later, he and Boyd were in the water, negotiating. A few minutes after that, the two of them drifted off together as Jesse, lying on his float, continued sipping on his rum and coke, a silly ass grin on his face.
There were a lot of couples there that weekend. Some, like newlyweds, hung all over one another. Then there were those who prowled apart or at least toyed with the idea like the couple from Rochester, New York, with whom Jack had struck up a conversation. They babbled on about their “solid” monogamous, two year relationship as they eyed Jack’s basket the whole afternoon, especially the older one with the tank that read “No Gag Reflex” over his chest. And then there were the Boyds and Jesses who did it right under one another’s noses.
It was a few minutes after Boyd and Sean Connery left for their romp in the hay when this middle-aged guy with a comb-over, whose skin resembled one of Hitler’s human lamp shades and whose ass was in Florida but stomach somewhere in Alabama, waltzed up to Jack.
“Jamie,” he bubbled. “Didn’t think I see you here. I’m in 145 in case you need car fare to get your sorry ass back to Jacksonville.” Then he sashayed daintily up to the pool and gingerly waltzed in so as not to spill his drink.
“What happened?” I asked jokingly. “Were you that bad a fuck? And who’s Jamie?”
Stone faced, Jack said nothing, got up abruptly from his lounge and dove straight into the pool behind Mr. Wrong. I could see the coy look on the guy’s face as he was about to turn around and play hard to get, when Jack dove under the water and apparently grabbed the guy from beneath, pulling him down and keeping him there long enough to stir some commotion from the people nearby.
Suddenly, after what seemed forever to me, they both shot up from the water like two hot, hungry cocks. Mr. Wrong was coughing his lungs out, clinging to the edge of the pool.
“I think you just went over your credit line,” scolded Jack quietly.
I let it go. Now I realize I shouldn’t have.
I’d never been to the red light districts of Europe but I understand the whores there ply their wares by sitting lasciviously by large shop windows. By 2’oclock, the upper decks of the motel looked the same as guys sat or lay on their beds, their room drapes pulled open and doors ajar, and the parade of hungry faggots passed by, window shopping.
Every so often, usually after another $2 vodka cranberry, Jack or Sam would get up and announce they would be doing another “whore walk.” Boyd and Jesse felt their chances were better at the pool. Me? I was an old fashioned boy who believed in sex only after sundown.
Judging by the parade of men in and out of her room, I think the only person who was consistently successful that day was Transylvania, who had been down at the pool earlier that afternoon showing off her surgeon’s talents in a two piece lime bikini.
We both took naps which allowed Jack to recover from his early afternoon buzz.
“Fuck this place tonight,” he decreed as we were taking our showers. “Let’s grab a cab, Fuz, and check out Roy’s.”
Roy’s was an out-of-the-way, neighborhood hole-in-the-wall bar that urban legend claimed had some back room action. Even though we had the car, Jack thought it smarter to cab it – that way we could get tanked without worrying about the DWI patrol.
I thought neighborhoods in Orlando couldn’t get much worst than where the Marlboro was. Arriving at Roy’s – a ten buck cab fare – I realized I was wrong. Plus, even though it was after 11, the place had maybe ten or fifteen guys at most, a few cute young rebel types I admit, but mostly just fat, good old boys playing pool or darts or munching on peanuts.
The back room was actually an outside, fenced-in patio which mimicked a mini-version of the Rambles of Central Park. But the two cute ones Jack and I had our eyes on ventured out only briefly, leaving as the main event some fat fuck on his knees blowing another fat fuck behind some trees.
Then everything changed for the better when one of the rebel boys – tall and thin, grizzly beard with a red cap and south of 25 – stationed himself a few feet from the Fattie who was on his knees. A few minutes later, Rebel Boy had yanked his nice long piece from out of his jeans and Fattie quickly shifted gears and moved in for the kill.
Jack gave me a nod to follow him. He stood beside Rebel Boy, unbuttoned the guy’s shirt and began stroking his smooth chest while Fattie continued to blow below. When Jack moved and began deep kissing the guy, I knelt down and began licking whatever Fattie didn’t have in his mouth. Rebel Boy instinctively turned closer in my direction, leaving me with the whole prize as Jack, still kissing him, stuck his hands down the guy’s pants and felt his ass. Before long, Rebel Boy was bent over and bare assed, Jack’s firm dick sliding in and out of the guy’s pre-lubed asshole as I, back on my feet, let Fattie finish me off. Jack and I came at about the same time.
By the time we returned to the Log Cabin, Jack’s alcohol buzz was in high gear. I was trying to space my drinks with Cokes but it was hard to resist when Jack kept buying.
He was only half way through one screwdriver when he ordered another for himself and one for me. I guess the bartender had a Ph.D. in mumblers-deciphering and slide the new drinks next to our old ones. With that, Jack took his first drink and poured it into the new one, the overflow flooding the top of the bar where we stood. Not missing a beat, the bartender grabbed some napkins and quickly sopped the mess up.
“He ain’t potty trained yet,” I explained to the curious guy next to me who was watching us.
Huddled away in the corner, a couple of older guys in Bermuda shorts and flannel shirts had been observing Jack since we first came in. Their looks weren’t cruises, but more like probing stares, as if they were trying to place where they had seen him before.
Suddenly, Jack grabbed me from behind and gave me a long and heavy tongue kiss. I knew it wasn’t love, but at first I thought it was the liquor, then realized Jack was playing diversional tactics with these guys.
“Let’s get the fuck out of here,” he slurred. “315. We gotta check out 315.” Three fifteen was Boyd and Jesse’s room.
Boyd was alone, naked, standing by the window, his Prince Albert glistening in the parking lot light. It was as if he had been expecting us. He opened the door and gestured for me to pull down my jeans to which I complied – I had wanted that fuck from the moment I saw him that first day. Jack settled with unzipping his own fly and pulling out his limp dick, but after several attempts to get hard while Boyd worked my stiff rod over with his tongue, Jack gave up, zipped up his fly and stumbled out of the room.
Boyd didn’t seem to care. He had gotten what he wanted, and so, too, had I.
“Aren’t you going to pull the drapes?” I asked.
“Why?” replied Boyd as he reached for the lube and began fingering my asshole.
“I don’t get fucked,” I said with a smile.
“You will tonight,” he said, determined.
If anybody was going to fuck my virgin hole that weekend it would be Jack – or forget it.
Just then, the door opened. It was Jesse with his own trick – Sam. I used the opportunity to get off the bed, pull up my jeans and, still smiling, make my exit.
Jack hadn’t returned when I got back to our room and I used the opportunity to get some sleep. Jack was still gone when I awoke the next morning.
I went to have breakfast. Boyd and Jesse walked into the restaurant and joined me. We small-talked but it was as if last night had never happened. Finally I brought up what was really on my mind.
“You guys haven’t seen Jack, have you? He didn’t come back to the room last night, and as of this morning, he was still MIA.”
“Well,” said Boyd, “I can give you 67 guesses where he might be.”
I looked at him.
“That’s the number of rooms in this dump,” explained Jesse as if I were a moron.
I didn’t touch a drop of liquor the rest of the day and as the afternoon progressed into night, I got increasingly worried about Jack though I tried not to show it. But it seemed like I was the only one who gave a shit. In fact, Boyd and Jesse connected with a dynamic duo from Philly and never did catch up on their suntan and Sam ping-ponged from one chaise lounge to another, pining after some young Latin cutie.
I tried Jack’s cell phone at least a dozen times that afternoon and evening, always getting voice mail, then realized he had left it – and his wallet and apartment keys – in my locked car all this time. I wandered around the property and up to the Log Cabin, retracing our tracks, aimlessly hoping I might find some sign of him. I even went up to the front desk and asked for the number of the nearest hospital and called over there, pretending I was a family member, to see if someone fitting Jack’s description might have been brought in the night before. But I got nowhere. I thought of calling the police, but Boyd had put on a rare queen’s face when I had floated the idea that morning at breakfast. “Honey, you ain’t your brother’s keeper.” So I didn’t.
Was Jack lying in some hunk’s bed or in some alleyway? Had some Religious Right gay basher or one of the neighborhood druggies gotten him? Had he grabbed a cab that night again for Roy’s and been abducted by aliens in the patio? Had some trick gone sour?
It was after eight when I found Boyd and Jesse in the bar. Initially I felt relieved – maybe they would have some new ideas of what to do – but they were too interested in having a second round with their new found friends from the City of Brotherly Love to pay attention to my ramblings.
Sunday’s T-Dance at the Marlboro was the gay event of the week for Orlando, and as I watched from the walkway outside our room the crowds below become ever bigger and noisier, an icy reality gripped me.
I was alone in all this.
Next: The Conclusion of Best Buds.”