The following story is for adults and contains descriptions of sexual contact between males. If you are a minor, then it is illegal for you to read this story. If you find the subject objectionable, then read no further. All the characters, events and settings are the product of my over-active imagination. I hope you like it. Mail me or if literary analysis interests you visit Eliot's Space.
by Eliot Moore
Table of Contents
Twelve point Ten (Twenty point Eight)
Twelve point Ten (Twenty point Eight)
After a three gray October days cooped up in the apartment, Sean needed to get out. This was less of a problem than it had once been. Vance seemed resigned to Sean's outings. After four years Vance and Sean were a couple with well established, if somewhat dishonest routines. The first year Vance had kept the young puppy confined to the apartment as much as possible. The second year he had reluctantly let Sean run short errands. Sean was a cautious puppy after his beating. Vance tried to reinforce the lesson once. It did not work well. The gang of boys Roy had found the first time were not really interested in tackling Sean a second time and Roy had little hold over them. When they cornered him in an alley a second time the confrontation fizzled quickly. The five boys hemmed the frightened Sean against a wall. Sean brushed some tears from his eyes, and carefully placed his grocery bag behind him against the wall; he turned back to the circle and bunched his fists. "Just don't break the eggs" his ten-year-old voice had quavered. The five boys stared at the lean boy with his girlishly long hair tied loosely at the nap of his neck. One by one they started laughing. It had taken the boys a while to convince the determined Sean that he was safe with them. The boys took him to the nearby Dairy Queen for a glorious meal and began plying him for information. Sean remained discrete about his life with Vance. When they asked him for his name he automatically told them he was Sean. They walked him back toward his home. Before they parted, the boy named Kent smashed his nose hard enough to start the blood flowing. He followed it up with a punishing blow to Sean's left eye. As Sean staunched the flow with his shirt, the eldest boy patted him on the back, warned him not to have hard feelings and explained the gang had to earn the money Dale had promised them. Almost as an after thought, the teenage leader stepped on the grociery bag flattening the eggs. Sean had stood, blood dripping onto the pavement, as the boys cheerfully promised to make it up to him some other time.
Over the next two years Vance began involving Sean in organized activities. Sean suggested he would like to learn to swim. Vance loved to watch Sean's swimming lessons. Vance loved to watch Sean's classmates who tended to be more than a few years Sean's junior. The blond haired puppy was athletic, but water was not his element. At first Sean floundered about the pool in his blue and white Speedo with a grim determination. Sean approached the pool as if the wide expanse of water was his enemy. Vance's chest burst with pride, and they traded grins at each bench mark of progress. The day Vance rushed down to congratulate his puppy for swimming his first lap across the Congress Park pool he found Sean huddled on the edge sobbing inconsolably over some unexplainable memory
Vance suggested Sean play indoor soccer. If he had been asked, Vance would have explained that he preferred soccer to hockey or football. Part of it was the thrill the middle aged man felt watching his prize possession running free, clean limbs flashing unencumbered by the shrouds of bulky equipment. In the main, Vance despised contact sports and the aggression they inspired. Awkward in the water, Sean was all grace on the playing field. Vance never contributed to the running commentary of the parents. He nodded sagely when it seemed appropriate. Watching parents generously praised Sean's growing skill. The undertones of envy fed Vance's ego. He never bragged. He returned a complement when one of the particularly attractive boys caught his fancy. It amused him to imagine Sean and two or three of the other boys exchanging caresses in some after game shower room. Sean attracted attention from his team mates and his bright laughter could be heard everywhere. When he took his turn on the side lines Sean would collapse into a shell his team mates seldom breached. He would accept a towl from Vance, swallow the broad head of his water bottle for a quick drink, and watch the game intently. If another dad attempted to pat him on the back, Sean shrugged the hand away like a horse shooing flies. At a signal from his coach he would dart back onto the field a different person. Sean could run. Vance was sure that given half a chance, and a clear path to the goal nobody could ever stop him. Swimming, soccer and the father's monthly kennel shows drained Sean's energies.
Swimming lessons and indoor soccer league afforded Sean's first contacts with girls his age since he was sent to the kennel five years earlier by his mom and dad. Sean's twelfth summer Vance found his inner soccer dad. That season he fumed impotently on the side lines as a raven-haired beauty a head taller than his puppy turned recreational soccer into a contact sport with Sean as the only other participant. Vance confronted the girl's mother one Saturday morning as Sean bounced back to his feet from the latest collision, cheeks burning at the girl's sweet taunts. The mother watched Vance vent, snorted at his naivety and turned to a friend to confide her daughter was infatuated with Sean. Her words stopped Vance in his tracks. For the remainder of the game he watched the clueless Sean as he attempted to ellude his nemisis. After the game the girl bumped his shoulder and offered some last comment that left Sean particularly flustered. Never self conscious about his body, Sean pulled his oversized jersey over his head to use it as a towel, and then looked inarticulately at the girl before he walked away. Vance caught the girl's reaction to Sean's lean, lightly musculed torso and the way her eyes lingered on the back of Sean's shorts as he stalked away from her. It was his first premonition that Sean's heart might not always be exclusively his. The time would come, Vance had to admit, when Sean would seek affection elsewhere.
Sean really did need to get out. He pushed the last workbook away glad to be done the day's assigned work. He did not get get much accomplished. Father never pushed very hard. Sean was easily distracted away from the math and science pages. He always sat down determined to work, but it all seemed so pointless. He did not feel as if he was working toward anything and he had no idea how much progress he was making. He could read well enough to understand the stories his father gave him and he never had any money in his pocket.
Sean dragged on his oldest clothes and tied his hair in a ponytail. His Burton Apollo board jacket was worn now. It was really too small for him. His father had commented on this and they would likely buy a new coat before they went back to the kennel club after Christmas. Sean slipped it on and pulled two worn tags from an inside pocket. Peter and Ethan locked in a tight embrace in the snow; the tags were all he had to remember that day. He had died a little the next year when Peter had not returned to the mountains. Perhaps this year; Ethan was somewhere with Peter. Peter had promised the would come to Sean. When he did he would bring Ethan back for good. It was not that Sean did not know he was Ethan, but it was hard to hold on to the memories of that boy. Ethan was this little boy living with his mom and dad in Licklan before they got angry; and there was a sister, but they all died. Ethan was Peter's friend. If Peter did not come soon he was going to have to be Sean for a long time. Sean was not having much fun. "Please be there this time Peter," Sean whispered into the empty apartment.
Sean made his way to the park where he might have a chance to play a game of pickup football. The walk took him past the coffee shop where the kind man had offered him a warm drink and shared a bun. It had been such a brief encounter, one easily washed away in the flood of sunsequent memories, except that it had been his first foray out from his father's apartment. So like his solitary circumnavigation around the kennel's island, this warm fragment stayed with Sean. The puppy glanced in the coffee shop window as if he might find the man back at his table, work spread before him and an inviting bun drenched with butter waiting for Sean.
The October chill and slate gray sky had apparently run his hoped for companions to ground in some more inviting place. Sean perched on the back of a park bench by the playground and huddled into his coat. From time to time a solitary figure or a pair together hustled along the path. One man prowled past, pausing to assess Sean. Sean averted his eyes to discourage him and sighed with relief when the stranger continued on to check out the nearby restrooms. Eventually his patience or lethargy was rewarded by the appearance of two youths accompanied by a small boy. The older pair noticed Sean and turned toward him. Sean's hand sketched a quick wave before retreating back into his coat pocket. Wayne was almost fourteen now. The teenager had filled out. His face was fleshy and a few scattered blemishes heralded the firestorm of acne that was to come. The other youth was Parker. Wayne seemed to be all that was left of the gang that had harrassed and then befriended Sean two years earlier. Parker had drifted into Wayne's orbit during the summer and Sean did not know him well. The boy shadowing them was Wayne's little brother Jeffy, a small dark elf something close to nine; slender as Wayne had been two years before when Sean sank his teeth into his left ear. Wayne still bore Sean's teath marks and liked to point them out to new acquaintances.
The boy's exchanged greetings. Parker dropped onto the bench and Wayne balanced beside Sean on the back of the bench. Jeffy shifted nervously from one foot to the other kicking at a chip of stone. Wayne fished a mickey out of his battered coat, took a long pull and offered it to Sean. Sean took a polite sip and passed it on to Parker. Sean declined it when it passed again. Peter's warning was still with him. "What's up?" Wayne asked finally.
"Nothing" Sean returned.
"Thought you would be swimming or some shit."
"Tomorrow" Sean closed his eyes and imagined the late afternoon October sun offered heat. "How was school?"
"Fuck school. Ninth grade sucks man. Fucking teachers yammering at you all day."
Sean kept his thoughts to himself. He remembered the constant activity in grade one. He remembered the bright classroom walls and the warm smile of his teacher. Parker lit a cigarette. The charred smell and the lingering taste of Wayne's Vodka in Sean's mouth reminded him uncomfortably of the weekend party. A three-hour road trip to reach the isolated farm house. Three hours to think about what the assembled father's would expect them to do. Wayne offered him the mickey and when he shook his head a second time Wayne passed it to his little brother. Sean watched as the boy took a hesitant swig. Jeffy wiped his mouth and smiled shyly at Sean.
"Think Tianna would make out?" Parker caught the Sean's attention with his question.
Wayne nudged Sean, "Park's been jacking off thinking of her I'll bet; spreading some cream." Wayne nudged Sean a second time. "Go ahead, ask him what she looks like; just watch. He'll spring a bone right here."
"Fuck you Walt," Parker's face burned.
"Boned up real good in the shower's this morning."
"You're such a dickwad. I needed a piss, that's all." Sean studied the thin fourteen-year-old. The boy scowled at Wayne and then broke suddenly into a grin. "What the fuck, thinking of her makes me hard. I could sure do her." He slouched on the bench and squeezed his crotch. "When I lay into her, she'll be panting for more of this meat." Parker pinched his cock through the thin fabric and the boy's could see the hardening legth of him. "See that boys? That's man meat." Sean turned his eyes to Jeffy. Parker sat up and punched his leg to regain his attention. "Hey shy boy, bet you never saw anything like that." Sean shrugged his shoulders. Just a wild dog, his father had remarked when he saw Sean hanging with Parker one summer day.
"I'm hungry" Wayne complained. The shift in topic generated no comments from the other boys. It was a given Sean had no money for food, that had been established years ago. "What do you have Parker?"
"Dick all." the response reduced them all to silence. Sean was bored so he hopped down from the bench and stole the pebble away from Jeffy. The little boy flashed him a smile and they began jostling each other for it. Parker and Wayne passed the bottle back and forth as they watched. Finally Parker caught Sean's attention with a disgusted curse. "Fuck me look at that guy. he hangs out here all the time perving us, then he ducks into the can to jerk off. I can't even piss in there thinking of him spraying his shit all over the place. Makes you want to puke."
"Pays good I bet, look at the jacket he is wearing." Parker turned on Wayne with a look of disgust. He decided his friend was just feeding him a line and smiled. "You're right. Suppose he wants a little boy meat up his ass?"
Sean knew what the man wanted, but decided to remain silent. Jeffy saw an opportunity to snag the pebble back. When Sean bumped him away the little boy lost his balance. Sean grabbed an armful of the boy's thin sweater and pulled him up. The little boy leaned into him as Sean turned to look at the man standing beside the restroom door. He felt the man's eyes on him. Wayne joined him on the pavement. "Yeah that's Shatner, he'll pay big." The comment only reached Sean's ears. He turned to Parker and tossed him the remains of the Vodka bottle. "Gonna check this out; see what he wants." Wayne started off down the path to where the man stood leaning against the door jam.
Parker laughed and called after him. "Man you are a sicko. Better keep a hand on your belt when you turn around. That guy is gonna try and slam it into your fat ass Wayne." Parker turned to Sean. "He is one crazy dude. He has balls I can tell you that." They watched Wayne's brief conversation with the man. Before long Wayne turned with a shrug and wandered back to the boys. Wayne was looking at Sean as he came up. Sean was not surprised.
Wayne gave Sean a shrewed look. Sean returned to his game with Jeffy. "Fucker thinks I'm too old now. The man wants you Sean. Says he'll put up a hundrend, man." Parker laughed and told Sean to go for it. Sean and Jeffy had started passing the pebble back and forth. "What do you say man, we're all hungry here. Buy us another bottle, maybe score something too." Wayne said it lightly, and Parker thought it was seriously funny; just his crazy ass friend embarrassing the shy boy, but Sean knew Wayne was dead serious.
"Won't happen," Sean flicked the pebble Jeffy's way and then shifted to intercept the little boy's clumsy return. Sean knew he was Vance's to give away. That was the way things were: your parents didn't wanted you. You do what father tells you to do because that's what puppies do. Unless you're with Peter, Sean added as an afterthought.
"Well fuck; okay you go Jeffy, he said he would take you." The little boy paused and the pebble flew past him down the sidewalk. He sniffed once and drew a ragged sleeve across his running nose and looked blankly at his older brother. Wayne continued patiently. "Just go over there and do what he asks you to do. It's no big deal, just make sure you get the money okay?" Jeffy did not look convinced. "Oh fuck, I'll take you over there." Wayne sounded exasperated. He put a hand on Jeffy's thin shoulder and guided him firmly off in the direction of the restroom.
"Are you for real?" Sean could hear the disbelief in Parker's voice. "You seriously letting that old perv feel up your baby brother?" It was a little too unreal for the fourteen-year-old. The anger and determination did not set in until the man by the door turned into the restroom and Wayne had reached the entrance. Jeffy balked at the door and the two boys by the bench watched in silence as Wayne pushed his brother through the door. "We should do something Sean. I mean, we cannot let that guy... you think we should go look for a cop or something?"
Sean turned his back on Jeffy and looked at the confused Parker in silence. Call a policeman? They never come when you need them and when they do, they just wanted a turn. Roy's puppy was coming soon, at the last party he had promised to introduce him to Sean. Sean was not happy that Wayne had sent Jeffy. His face must have revealed that to Parker. He didn't know what to say to the boy though, so he simply shrugged his shoulders and turned back. Parker thought Sean was just as confused as he. Parker did not understand. This was the way things were. Men needed boys and if you were special, like Sean was, then you belonged to a rich father like Vance. If you were poor like Jeffy, then you got picked up off the street. Either way, men got their boys. It isn't fair though, is it Peter?
A scuffle broke out when Wayne returned from the restroom without Jeffy. Sean moved away from the fight toward the restroom to get out of the way. Behind him the boy's voices rose and after the angry words they came blows. Sean thought of Jeffy and against his will, memories of his first time with Gus surfaced like rank smelling corruption welling up from a silent black pool. After a time Parker left throwing curses and insults back over his shoulder. Sean turned back to see what had become of Wayne. The heavy-set boy was slouched on the bench checking a tooth. Parker had knocked him around a little. Sean returned to the bench and sat down next to him. Wayne stopped fussing with his tooth and dug three crisp twenties out pocket. "He'll be fine. It's no big deal." Sean was unclear as to whether he was refering to the angry Parker or the absent Jeffy. "Even the fucker's money is clean and new." Wayne laughed weakly at his own observation. After that, they sat together in silence.
The man left hurriedly. He glanced around the park once and then moved off quickly without looking in the direction of the boys waiting on the bench. The pair continued their vigil. Wayne worked through the remains of his mickey and then tossed it toward a nearby garbage can. The thin plastic hit the rim before bouncing away into the dorment grass. Sean studied the shape of the pebble he had been kicking with Jeffy. Random traffic noise drifted over to them. After a time Wayne broke the silence in exasperation, "What the fuck is taking him so long?" When it became obvious that Wayne did not intend to go after his brother, Sean took it upon himself.
Jeffy had messed himself. Sean found him frozen in a corner of the restroom curled into himself. He clutched two crisp tens in his small fist. Sean pried them free before coaxing the little boy to his feet. He guided Jeffy over to the sinks. After casting around for something to use he settled on a roll of toilet paper. Jeffy allowed Sean to clean away the filfth. Occasionally Jeffy would steady himself against the sink as Sean swiped along his legs and around his bottom. He gripped at Sean's coat when he was turned around. The little boy had said nothing, but he seemd reassured by the quiet twelve-year-old.
"I think that's the best we can do here." Sean concluded with a last swipe at Jeffy's running nose. Jeffy shivered in the October chill. Sean gathered his clothing and helped the boy dress. When his pants were on Sean lifted him onto the counter and tied his shoes for him. Sean noticed a hole in the side of Jeffy's runner. Jeffy sat with his hands between his thighs shivering. "It gets easier you know," Sean smiled at Jeffy and miraculously the small lips smiled back at him for a moment. "The first time is the worst." Well, there could be other moments in Jeffy's future that might be worse than this. The thought of Melvin made Sean shudder. Sean could not predict Jeffy's future and wisely kept his council. "Okay?"
Jeffy shivered violently for a moment and through chattering teeth stuttered out, "I'm cold."
Sean gave the little boy a quick hug before drawing his treasured coat off. He helped Jeffy put it on and pulled the zipper up against his little pointed chin. "Hey! It looks pretty cool on you. You keep it okay?" Jeffy held up an arm and examined his small fingers poking past the cuff. "Room to grow." Sean added. He was fine without the coat, just October and he had a good sweatshirt on to keep him warm. Father would be pleased when he told him he had been jumped again, pleased he had only lost his coat. Pleased for any excuse to keep him trapped in the apartment. He would have to stay put for a little while, and then his father would buy him a new coat for the trip to the mountains. Sean grabbed the front of his old jacket and playfully shook Jeffy before lightly kissing the tip of the boy's cold nose. He pulled the boy slightly toward him. "This is your coat right?" Jeffy nodded agreement. "Tell Wayne I'll pound him if he tries to take it from you."
Jeffy looked at the boy with the long blond hair who had come to comfort him. He was two years younger and a foot shorter than his brother. Sean's strong fists still gripped Jeffy's new coat in a fierce hold and a determined fire danced in the friendly boy's bright eyes. Jeffy believed Sean.
Twelve point Eleven (Twenty point Nine)
Garret had adopted a comfortable routine. Whenever he visited 4th Avenue he decompressed at the cafe across from the busy construction site. There was nothing to recommend the café except its location. He was grateful the project was local. He had been on the road too muchwith other contracts and it was a strain on the family. He felt he had missed too many moments in the children's lives. They would all be gone before he knew it. He had to make the most of the remaining time he had. Jessica was eighteen now and soon enough she would be out of the house. In some ways the 4th Avenue project was a findfall for Garrett. Yates should have covered the project, it was his principle design, but he was still in Lincoln. Garret did not mind being tied to Nelson, except he found it difficult to keep the office at a distance. By stopping at the cafe, he gave himself forty minutes of desperately needed peace. He soothed his conscience by pretending to review the plans. Yates was meticulous so there was little to do.
On his fourth visit to the cafe Garret's attention was drawn to a young man across the street. He looked about seventeen or eighteen. Garret watched the youth approach a car. After a brief conversation the youth left with the driver. Garret would have dismissed the moment except twenty minutes later the car returned and the youth reappeared on the sidewalk. Garret idly watched him hang on the chain link fence of the construction site. He was still there when Garret returned for his car. Garret visited the site about two times a week. He noticed the youth continued to keep his station in front of the construction site and the cars continued to stop. Garret sighed to himself. The boy was clearly one of the prostitutes that worked the neighborhood. It had been a major concern for his backers. Garret had finally convinced them that the development would push the sex trade out of the area. The young man discouraged him. He seemed a symbol of wasted potential. Out of curiosity he extended his stay one afternoon to see how often the young man was picked up. He was a busy boy.
Garret was in the site trailer annoying the general contractor when he noticed his young man talking to a forman. There was a polite desperation in the tone of his voice. He was gone before Garret was done. It was snowing when Garret stepped out of the trailer. He glanced toward the figure slumped back at his station by the fence. The forman was nearby so Garret indulged his curiosity. "Hey Andy, what did the kid over there want?"
"Oh same thing as usual, he is looking for work."
"Nothing for him right now?"
"Oh I could probably use him. He just can't show me any paper. The union's not going to let him onto the work site either." They shared a few more words and then Garret let the busy man get back to work. He started toward the café but paused when he reached the sidewalk. On an impulse he turned to the young man huddled in a light jacket and hoody covered in new fallen snow.
"You want to join me for a cup of coffee?" He received a measured look in reply. Up close he seemed a bit older than Garret had thought. The young man glanced back at the empty road and then shrugged. They walked in silence until they reached the door. The young man stood in confusion at the door of the café. He clearly had not anticipated actually going in. Garret realized the young man probably thought he was a john. He smiled wryly to himself. His wife would have enjoyed the moment. "Hey, this is on me." Garret held the door open and after a glance his companion stepped in. He waited until Garret led him to his favorite booth by the window. He sat when Garret gestured to the seat across from him. He was familiar with the waitress and she brought him a coffee. He was surprised when she brought the young man a hot chocolate. "Thank you Reba." She smiled at them both. When she had left he turned to the young man. He sat alert with his hands wrapped around the warmth of the mug. "My name is Garret Wilson."
"Peter" there was no last name. The young man offered a smile. "What are you interested in?" Garret flushed a little. Twenty years ago he would gladly have entertained an afternoon's pleasure with Peter, but he could dismiss the thought now with little regret.
"Just a conversation" He took a sip of the coffee and leaned back. "I saw you in the office. Are you looking for work?" The young man's reserve collapse completely. Garret could read the frustration in his face. He watched the young man take a drink and waited for his reply.
Peter studied the older man. He was well dressed as usual. He knew he had something to do with the construction project. People paid attention to him when he arrived. He had watched him cross to the diner frequently. He had also seen him watching through the diner window. Reba thought he was fairly important to the construction site. Perhaps an architect. Peter guessed that he was one of the shy ones: one of the ones who felt an attraction, but were not yet ready to approach a male hooker. He had not been surprised when the man had finally nerved himself to talk. In time he would get around to what he wanted. He was good looking. Peter would not mind when they ended in bed together. "They won't hire me."
"I don't have a social security number." Or any identification.
"Where do you come from? Are you Canadian?" Peter shrugged to hide the fact he did not know the answer to the question. Canada was the country to the north. He had been asked this before and it occurred to him that it might be true.
"I grew up in the woods. I don't know." Peter went on to share his frustration with job hunting. Garret had to prod him with a few questions but his interest seemed enough to keep Peter talking. He described keeping the kennel going in the winter. Garret was interested in the kinds of things he had done: keeping the generator going, the electrical system, construction and cabinet making. It was clear the young man knew a lot, even though he was unfamiliar with the terminology. Peter had experience with welding.
"So you lived with your parents up there?"
Peter had no idea who his parents were; Gus had never spoken of them. It had just been Gus and Mel as long as he could remember. Peter was afraid that he was still in trouble for stealing Gus's car so he told Garret that he had hitch hiked. The hot chocolate was done. He examined the bottom of the mug and Peter's frustration returned. It was a confusing world Gus had kept from him, so many rules and so many important little cards. He had found that he only existed to the johns like Garret who wanted sex with him.
Garret found Peter's childhood unusual. He seemed cut adrift from society. Disconnected in a way he had not encountered before. He liked the youth's manner and openness. Kids on the street, it was always about some kind of abuse. Life working the streets would have to be hard. Garrett could imagine why the youth would want to stop hooking. He asked where Peter had looked for work.
Peter had tried a variety of places. "I found a job helping this old guy tear down a house near here. So I decided to stay in Nelson." He had been traveling with a friend but he was alone now. He wanted to look for work and his friend wanted to move on. "I need a good job. I have to get a place and a car." Peter added. A tear caught in his eye. It was taking too long and he was getting nowhere. He had promised himself he would get Ethan. Ethan was aging quickly. He was afraid Ethan might be moved. He looked back to the street and saw a familiar car cruse by slowly. He wondered suddenly if Garret was going to pay him. The shy man needed encouragement. Peter stood up for a minute to take his coat and sweatshirt off.
Garrett surveyed Peter's lithe form as he pulled the hoody off. Perhaps because the young man was in the trade, his sexuality seemed enhanced to Garrett. Garrett found himself stirring in admiration. Peter was a young man to envy. Garrett took pride in his body, but no amount of work-outs was going to mold Garrett's body back into that shape. Peter caught his examination and smiled at him. Garrett returned the smile. He was not really flirting with the notion of sex with the youth, who was around Jessica's age, but he was enjoying the moment with him. Damn this boy is good looking! The childish hot chocolate, long hair, odd innocence and sexual attractiveness of the young man suddenly reminded him of the boy he had met in Denver. Peter looked back at the street intently. "I'm keeping you from your work." The flash of surprise in Peter's face told Garret that the young man had thought he was working. He settled the problem by pulling out his wallet. He considered it for a bit and decided to give the hooker a hundred dollars. He had no idea what it would have bought. Peter asked if he wanted to go somewhere and he shook his head. He rose to go and paused. "What's your last name Peter?" The youth shrugged. He had not needed one. "How old are you?"
"I don't know exactly."
"You look nineteen."
Maybe? Garret found him an attractive puzzle. He told the youth to take care of himself and left.
Peter missed his company. After he saw Garret pull away in his car he looked at the money and decided to take the rest of the day off. It would pay for a hotel room.
Two weeks later Garret stopped by Peter's spot to see him again. "Do you have time to talk Peter?" Peter was glad to see him again, glad the man had remembered his name. He was lonely without Gavin. Different as they were, the two young men had shared a dislike of the drugs and alcohol that were such a big part of the street scene. Peter had abandoned the crib he was staying in and moved back to the street because his roommates' crack habit frightened him. He was doing well enough, but he had to save as much as he could for the car he needed for the trip to Denver and he could not expect Ethan to sleep on the streets as he did. Time was slipping away from him. Reba brought them their drinks. The hot chocolate, like having his one hot meal at the diner, was an indulgence Peter allowed himself. It was part of his new-found freedom. Garret leaned forward over the table and Peter copied him. He left his hand on the table between them in case the older man was ready to take the next step.
Garret ignored the offer and caught his eye. "Are you still looking for a steady job?"
Peter bit his lip. His luck might be changing, but he was not sure what the older man was offering or what the cost would be. Sometimes men would suggest something more permanent. A few who reminded him of Gus obviously were attracted to his willingness to play hard games. Garret was nice. Peter could read men and Garrett looked like the sort of man who lay down to make love with his partner. He was even good looking, but Peter was not interested in anything that would end in his losing his freedom. He nodded cautiously, willing at least to hear what the man had to say.
"You can have a job across the street if you want, full time."
It was what Peter had hoped to hear. "What about the papers and stuff?"
"I think we can get by for a while without them." Garrett was excited as he tried to explain things to Peter. "I have a friend, well, I was telling him about your problem and he thinks he can work around it for a while. I asked him to fix things for you. It's not that hard if you know the government rules." Garrett smiled at him.
Peter smiled back uncertainly. "So I would have a job for real?"
"Yes; we need to settle some things though." The cost, Garret would want something. He weighed Garrett's open smile. It might not be too hard for Peter. "You need to fill out a form for me." Garret pulled out a paper from his suit pocket and handed it to Peter. It was confusing and he looked at Garret uncertainly. "Can you read and write?"
"Some" Peter replied humbly. He spread the paper flat on the table and puzzled over it. Garret watched for a minute and then moved around to the bench beside him. He pulled a pen out and handed it to Peter. It was hard to imagine the handsome young man might be handicapped in this way. It added to his aura of innocence.
"You need to put your name in here. Peter we need your last name." The young man looked at him helplessly. "Okay what would you like your last name to be? Pick something you like because it will be a hassle to change it later. You said you lived with a man named Gus. You could be Gustafson."
"Well, how about something else?" Peter just drew a blank. Garret let him think for a while and then offered another suggestion. "Carpenter"
It caught Peter's interest and he considered the word for a moment. It suited him.
"Sean ... no Ethan Carpenter," Peter murmured quietly, savouring the flavour of the name.
"What?" The unexpected name caught Garret off guard.
"Nothing; I like that, sure."
The older man watched as Peter carefully printed his new name in the blank. Garrett noticed that he kept the name Peter. The birthday stumped him again and they agreed on December 14th for no better reason than it was that day. Garret suggested he was eighteen. The home address posed another problem. Peter confessed he was living on the street. Garret approved of his reasons but thought it was important that he have a fixed address. He considered the problem for a moment and phoned his office. Peter carefully wrote down the address he gave. He also directed Peter to write down the place of birth. "Why Billings, Montana?"
"I have an uncle and aunt there. They agreed to sign the form verifying your birth." When the form was finished Garret tucked it away. "Do you want something to eat? I'm waiting for someone to drop something off for us. I don't think it will take long." Peter nodded mutely. Garret went to tell Reba they wanted to order and when he returned he sat down across from Peter. "Well Mr. Carpenter what should I order?" They ordered and while they waited Garret explained Peter would be working for one of the subcontractors on the site.
Peter wanted to ask his benefactor about himself but it was not usually done. He ended up satisfying the man's curiosity further. Garret was curious about how he spent his free time. There was little to tell. He did not like to spend his money and he was shy of most people. Peter read books at the library. He practiced writing. Sometimes he went to a movie. "No boyfriends?" Sometimes, Peter had a girlfriend of sorts. He crashed at her place when her roommates were busy. She worked the streets too. She was quite a bit older than him. Garret revised his first impression. "Did women pick him up too?" Garret had never seen any. Peter flashed him an enthusiastic smile. They did, but not as frequently as the men.
Peter's expression changed quickly to one of earnest sincerity. "I like guys though." Peter did not want to discourage Garret's interest in him. Johns liked to think he needed sex with them. He liked it often enough. After a lifetime with Gus, Peter was up for pretty much anything. The older man nodded reassuringly. Garrett was distracted by the entrance of a harried looking man with a heavy set of keys. They finished their food and Garret asked Peter if he would follow him across the street. It was the first familiar move Garret had made since he met him. This will be the payoff for Garrett's help. He followed the man across the busy street and down to a tired office block around the back side of the construction. Nelson was not a major city and the five-story condominium complex lifted above the surrounding buildings. Peter glanced at the billboard announcing the development and wondered how the new tenants would enjoy their views. He doubted they would appreciate the young people working the streets below or the boarded up shop fronts. He examined the ornate two-story brick building Garrett seemed to be leading him to. It occupied half of the neighboring block. It looked ready to fall down to Peter.
Garret had a different vision. He could see the edgy shops and restaurants below expensive loft condominiums either facing a shaded street or the central green space shared by the building beyond. The complex going up behind them intentionally echoed the face of the tired old building. Garret controlled it all and Yates had articulated the plans to accomplish his vision. The old buildings were two years away from development and he already had a line on the key commercial tenants. Garrett did not control the adjacent properties, but that was fine. He was content with what he had. Peter posed seductively beside him as he searched through the ring for the right key. Peter followed him up to the second floor. The old offices on either side were long abandoned and the one Garrett had in mind would be perfect for the young man.
Peter was surprised to find the rooms almost empty. The floor seemed clean enough. They could make do. Garret pulled two keys off the ring and handed them to Peter. Peter looked at them uncertainly. "It's not much I know, but it should keep the snow off of you at night." The man wandered toward the window and touched an old radiator. "The boiler is off but there is power up here still. You can use it, maybe get a space heater or something. I don't want a bunch of squatters in here starting fires. Do you understand? Just you okay?" Peter gazed around the space and wandered into a washroom. There was no tub or shower of course. Water ran in the taps. He noticed a rusty drain set into the Terraza floor. When he came back Garret was still standing by the window looking out at his dream. "I guess it would be okay to bring your ... friends over." He finally turned around to look at the young man.
It finally came to Peter that there was going to be no sex. He stared at Garrett with a childlike innocence. "Why?"
Why what? Why am I doing this? Because I can; because if you were my son it would break my heart to see you working the streets searching for an open door. It was not much to do. Pressure a contractor into bending the rules a little while he ran a small scam on the government. His uncle was glad for another chance to stick it to the system and the musty office was not doing anyone else any good. "Just keep people out of the building for me and we will call it even." Garret smiled at the solemn youth and playfully tried to change the mood. "You can be my night watchman."
"Let me pay you." They both knew what Peter meant. It left an awkward silence between them. Peter spread his arms wide in supplication, "Can't I do anything for you?"
"Now don't tempt me kid." He had meant to make it a light joke, but it came out more like a whispered plee. Garrett had to admit the young man drew him. He could let this moment pass with no regret, but admitted he was aroused by the beautiful young man and perhaps this was his selfish way of maintaining the connection between them. Please don't tempt me kid.
It was too much for Peter and he collapsed on the dirty floor boards and buried his face in his arms. He could do it. It should be possible now. If he was careful and worked hard, he could do it. We can be happy here. It might be too late for me, but Ethan will do better. He felt a hand on his shoulder and he looked up at his benifactor.
"You just seemed to need the help and I knew I could do something." Garrett said gently.
"Sir, can you do one more thing for me?" Peter looked down at the floor. Garret had done so much he was afraid to push for anything more. It was just one thing that would make things so much easier.
"What do you need Peter?" Garret was moved by Peter's reaction to his help.
"What you are doing for me, could you do it for someone else too?" Peter would not look up at him. "Give someone a name and stuff."
"I don't know Peter, who is it?" Garret imagined a boyfriend, or this prostitute Peter called his girl friend. He did not feel inclined to do it. This other person did not have a hold on him the way Peter seemed to.
Peter picked up on his reluctance. "Never mind, I'm sorry. You are already doing so much."
"Who is it?"
"He's my ... brother. He needs to live with me. It's why I needed a job and a place to stay."
"Is he on the street like you?" Garret had never seen Peter with anyone else.
Peter shook his head. "No, not yet anyway" he replied bleakly. Peter finally looked up at Garret. "I have to take care of him; he can't stay where he is. I need to get to him." He watched the man move around the room and then he finally settled onto a wooden office chair. They looked at each other. The silence seemed to drag out. Peter finally let his eyes drop.
What's the scam? A man could be easily manipulated by such an alluring person. Garret thought it through. Still the young prostitute had not asked for any of this help in the first place. Garret had started this, but it could quickly get out of hand. "He's not really your brother is he? What name do I use?"
Peter replied with a low voice. "Ethan Carpenter" he looked up at Garret with an innocent appeal "he is my brother, we care about each other."
"I'm not sure, twelve, thirteen?"
Another boy without a name or a birthday; where had they met? Peter and Ethan, perhaps in time he might hear the story. Ethan Carpenter, Peter's earlier remark suddenly made sense. Ethan, the name made him sad for some reason. Something unforgettable and fine that hovered in the corner of his mind like unfinished business, paradoxically both bitter and sweet. The connection came to him suddenly, Yates' lost boy. That stirred Garrett's interest momentarily.
"Can I meet him?"
Peter shook his head. "He's not here, not here in Nelson. I have to get him soon. I've let it go too long." It was a hint of desperation in Peter's voice that convinced Garret to agree.
"I'll see what I can do. I'll fill in the rest of the blanks." He decided it was time to go. Peter sat with his face covered again. Garret walked back to the young man huddled in the middle of the empty room. "Don't forget to show up to work tomorrow, hey?" Garrett put his hand on Peter's shoulder and gave it a pat. The young man grabbed his hand and squeezed it. He lifted his head, turned the palm over and noticed the ragged scar across Garrett's fingers. Peter absently traced the scar with his thumb and then impulsively kissed the hand before smiling up at Garrett with bright eyes.
"You won't be sorry sir."
Garrett stood transfixed for a few moments.
Thirteen point One (Twenty point Eleven)
Sean lay on his bed ignoring the ever-present television screen with his father's latest educational DVD. Vance was on some new campaign to influence the direction of Sean's life. Eighteen-year old Ross had a girlfriend now. Donald was a committed Gay, but found his hound's new passion an amusing diversion. He had attempted to share his amusement with Vance and Dale over drinks and Sean's prone body. Vance's response had been to add DVD to Sean's Xbox and present him with a show of stunningly unattractive women awkwardly exposing themselves. He limply explained that Sean was ready for sex education. Pamphlets on menstruation, PMS and some graphic pictures illustrating the ravages of sexually transmitted diseases littered his desk along with an abandoned attempt at writing a descriptive paragraph.
When Sean had still been with Peter at the kennel by the lake, Peter had enthusiastically described having sex with women. Sean found it difficult to understand why after he saw the pictures. Still, the teenage girls at the mall and pool seemed prettier than the old women father made him look at. The girls looked clean and trim. Their scents intoxicated him a little. It left Sean confused. Sean wished he was in school. He could meet more girls and find out for himself. He knew his interests made his father nervous. Sean wondered if Wayne learned different things in school.
Sean touched himself softly. The need to masturbate had become a compulsion rather than a passing entertainment. The orgasms were getting stronger. They left him totally drained now. Each time he pushed himself harder. Another boy might wonder what he was driving toward, but Sean knew. The young boy shifted around and braced his feet against the wall beside his bed and continued to touch himself. Sean closed his eyes and grasped the organ more tightly. The urgency grew as he pulled the loose sensitive skin up and down against the swollen flesh beneath. He did not need to think of anything now. The pleasure was growing stronger. Just before Sean came he pushed against the wall and arched his back. He pumped furiously and his penis began to pulse and his body trembled uncontrollably. He was alone in the apartment and his cry trembled out through the empty rooms.
Sean collapsed back on his bed temporarily satisfied. As his breathing slowed he became aware of a wet stain on his smooth belly below his naval. He touched the small puddle in wonder and then examined the sensitive gland of his penis. When he squeezed the shaft a drop of precious fluid dripped free. Sean took a taste, "I'm a hound Peter" he whispered in wonder.
But he could not tell his friend unless he showed up at the kennel club this year. He imagined Peter back at the kennel with the new puppies. Peter would be comforting some new boy; sharing his warmth beneath a thick wool blanket. He would not know Sean had become hound until chance brought them together again. Ethan went to his bathroom and showered sadly.