By Martin Clement
Unless otherwise noted, this story is Copyright 2006 by Martin Clement for Clement & Boule Associates. All rights reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, published, distributed, displayed, performed, copied or stored for public or private use in any information retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any mechanical, photographic or electronic process, including electronically or digitally on the Internet or World Wide Web, or over any network, or local area network, without written permission of the author. No part of this story may be modified or changed or exploited in any way used for derivative works, or offered for sale, or used to construct any kind of database or mirrored at any other location without the express written permission of the author. Thank you for respecting the intellectual property rights protected by the copyright laws of Canada, the United States and International Copyright Treaty.
This story is a work of fiction. All the events and characters depicted in this story are parts of the imagination of its author only. Any similarity to real people, living or dead, or any event that might have occurred in reality should be considered as purely coincidental.
Walking back home that night had been a pain. I was so exhausted I thought I would faint in the middle of the sidewalk before even being able to reach the room. My breathing was heavy, as though I was about to have another of my oh! so common asthma crisis, and my feet burned from standing all day and all night. Even though the distressed mattress was so old that the springs kept bumping me in the back, I laid there as if it were the most comfortable one I could have laid on in the whole world. My whole body was a wreck. I could have used a massage right then. But thinking about how I couldn't afford one, I brushed this idea off sadly and settled the alarm for the morning to follow.
My eyes had just closed themselves and I was drifting down to sleep when there was a loud pounding at the door. I groaned loudly and slowly stood, feeling muscles I never thought I had and I thought they would just explode they were so cramped. My head was spinning and I shivered, knowing too well who stood behind the door. I heavily walked to it and turned the handle then pulled it open to the limit of the security chain. In this area of the city, you were never too cautious. On the other side of the door stood my landlord, looking pissed as always. The forty something man was wearing his usual stained white sleeveless shirt barely covering his exceeding beer belly and jeans so low it looked as if they were always on the verge of falling to his feet, showing the top of his buttocks. He reminded me of a pig. And he smelt like one too. He seemed to always be covered in sweat.
"Rent!" he yelled, as if I had been a mile from him. He was literally spitting in my face and it made me suddenly nauseous. I hated the guy. I hated the dump I was living in for the last six months. The lodging crisis in Montreal that started a few years back had made the prices rise dramatically and as people were literally standing in lines for visiting awful one bedroom apartments and accepting to pay exorbitant prices so they would have a roof over their heads, others like me couldn't even afford one of those. One hundred and fifty dollars per week, that was the price I paid for this overused mattress and cheap furniture, the leaking ceiling and four cement walls without any window at all in the middle of a basement. Even though I was working days and nights, I couldn't even afford putting anything else in there or I would've had nothing to eat. The rent was costing me three quarters of what I was making at the corner store. It was never warm in there. And there only was one water tank for a whole building with fifty rooms like mine, mostly rented by prostitutes. I could never get used to take cold showers, as the water was so freezing in winter, but I had to since I hadn't been raised to become some pig as the landlord.
He was staring at me with daggers in his eyes.
"I'm sorry," I started, but was interrupted.
"I don't want to hear your shit!" he spat. "I want cash!"
"I know. I couldn't get my pay check today. My boss wasn't there."
"I don't want your crap!" he said. The way he was shaking his head made his cheeks tremble as a bulldog's. "Where's my cash?"
"I'll get it tomorrow."
"You'd better or else, it's the street!"
"I know," I whispered, looking at my feet, defeated.
"I am no charity shit! There's a line of people out there waiting for you to get out and have a roof!"
A roof... as if we could call it that way. It was just a dirty hole. The month before, I had to throw away half of my food since it was spoiled by cockroaches. The pig never offered to pay me back for it. I also had to pay for the extermination bombs. I ate Chinese noodles pucks for the rest of the month. What a blast...
I could never get used to live in a dump like that. But as my father had been quite clear when he threw me out of his house with my clothes stuffed in two garbage bags the day I turned eighteen, well, this was all I could find not to join all the other poor homeless people who slept in shelters, in the bank machines entrances or worse, on the street, as it was for the majority of them.
I used to have strong opinions about things. Well, I think I still had them, even though I had shoved them far away in the back of my head, scared they would only lead me to lose the little I still had. I also used to have dreams. I'd always wanted to help poor people. Ironically, I couldn't even help myself.
After I had closed the door and resumed my position on the uncomfortable mattress, my mind couldn't allow me to sleep. I was scared... scared to be thrown in the jungle of the city... I knew from the beginning that coming to Montreal was a mistake.
Hitchhiking from Trois-Rivieres to the big city had told me enough about the way people thought out there. Waiting for hours by the highway 20 in the pouring rain with a thumb up hoping for a car to stop and answer my prayer had been hard enough. I hadn't needed for the middle-aged Good Samaritan to hit on me as soon as his Cadillac was engaged in the traffic and putting his vicious hand on my knee feeling me up as some potential steak for his dinner every now and then. I could see it in his eyes. I could smell it. Taking me in his car had only been for his own benefit. The air was thick. It was a real blessing when I started hyperventilating and he put off on the side of the road. Maybe he thought that I was about to throw up or that I would die in his car, I don't know exactly, but as soon as he stopped, he ordered me to get out. You can be sure I didn't say anything and obliged without complaining, even though leaving the warmth of the car only meant that I would be back into the rain in the middle of nowhere.
I had been working part time at one of the grocery stores back home since I had turned sixteen, so I had enough to pay the three months account and the first month of rent for the room, but I had to find a job quickly because there was no money left for buying any food. And I was too proud to even think about eating at The Refuge, as they called the shelter located in the basement of that church on Berri street. After one week of intensive research and starvation, I had finally found this job at the corner store on Ste. Catherine street. Minimum rate. If we could call it that. Seven dollars fifty-five an hour minus the taxes, working sixty hours a week for the price of forty. Even though I had accepted all these terms, I still had to run after my pay check every week so I could still have a room to sleep in when winter hit and the thermometer reached thirty-five below. What a blast... But I would have done anything for not ever having to beg for food or a bed at The Refuge.
I know you might think I'm a wimp, complaining the way I am about my life as it used to be back then. I really am aware other people had it a lot worse than I did. I'd like to tell you everything was not so bad, I really do, but as I look back at this period of my life, as I was crawling into depression, I can't remember anything positive about this situation.
At least, Montreal was open enough for the gay guy that I was not to worry about hiding. But as I didn't have any money nor the energy to spend in the numerous night clubs adorning Ste. Catherine street, I simply passed by them on my way to the corner store and back to the room listening to the blasting sound systems, daydreaming I could afford being one of the well dressed and drop dead gorgeous guys who regularly frequented these clubs. As a teenager, I had often dreamt of a knight in shining armour to come and pick me up on his black stallion. These were just dreams. Nothing more. Even though I had strong opinions, I was nothing to look at. And in high school, even though Trois-Rivieres was fairly an open city, teenagers were as cruel as everywhere else. So being openly gay hadn't been an option for me, even though the rumours had turned me into a gay sex craved depraved faggot. The continual harassment that I had to endure had turned my self confidence to a puddle on the floor.
I was so distressed and nervous after this encounter with the pig that I had another asthma crisis. Trying to catch my breath in the infectious environment I was living in, I barely slept that night. I was not prepared to face the day that would follow. Not ready at all.
To be continued...
Note from the author
This story is treating about friendship, romance, betrayal, forgiveness, acceptance, pain and healing. There might be some intense scenes of passion but you won't find any explicit scene. I don't have anything against eroticism in itself as I have read a lot of very nice erotic stories on Nifty and elsewhere. As the main characters will try and survive their pain, trying to lead their lives into a world full of resentment, I rather give them the peace and privacy of a closed door than failing at the attempt at explaining a theory of their sexual intercourses. That way, as this story will be told at the first person, if you feel as immersing yourself inside the head of the characters, you'll be able to forge your own version and images of their sexuality without me interfering with my own generic ideas about eroticism.
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