(C)Tooluser November 2010
This story is fiction, and any resemblance to real people or places is entirely coincidental.
Hope you like it,
Duke come home yesterday. He just showed up on the stoop and said “Gimme a beer, kid,” like he just come back from the store or somethin’ instead of two years in the pen. Course I ran and got it for him and when I come back he was just in the front room starin’ round at our new stuff. “Mighty fine,” he said and he gimme a smile.
Felt good to see his broke face again. Duke don’t smile a whole lot, and when he does it ain’t like other guys, see, on account of only half of his face works right.
We had a little likker party but pretty quiet like, on account of the Snoops keepin’ an eye on him for parole. Duke, he done bulked up in gaol some an’ I reckon Pop ain’t gonna beat on him so easy no more.
I ain’t seen Bill today. I was up real early again, but his pick-up was already gone. It was kinda freaky: two days ago I didn’t know him from the king of China, but now I cain’t think about nothin’ else but him.
I keep on changin’ my mind about what I like best about Bill. Sometimes it’s him bein’ big – and no, I ain’t meaning just his dick. I do like his dick, but right now I’m meaning his big body. Ain’t just his big muscles, though they’re real nice and I do like ’em and wanna kiss ’em all real good, but like how there’s just so much of him it’s like standing close to a big building on a windy day and feeling warm and with something solid at your back what you can lean against and know it ain’t goin’ nowhere.
Sometimes it’s his voice: maybe how it’s guy-deep and gives me kinda goose-bumps, or how he’d say stuff in this kinda growly way like he’s a big dog and I’m his dinner and he’s gonna eat me all up and that growlin’ is telling folks how they better not try and get me away from him. It’s so neat rememberin’ how he held me so strong.
And all behind that was remembering how he kissed me and touched me so gentle and never hurt me none with pinchin’ or hittin’ or pulling my hair. Of course, like Raylene says, just ’cos he didn’t say nothin’ bad don’t mean he weren’t thinkin’ it. She said too, how Bill sayin’ I’m smart just means he’s dumb, but that didn’t take. I didn’t say nothin’ though; it just feels too good having Raylene not being mean to get her riled up by bein’ contrary.
Bill ain’t never done nothin’ to make me feel dumb, so I’m just gonna put all that stuff about what he thinks of me on the wait-see: mean is as mean does, like Mom says, along of “one swallow don’t make a slummer,” which I heard her say to Raylene one time, and finally figured out as meanin’ how Bill would’ve swallowed my juice – if I made it, anyhow – but not bein’ a fag. She went all kind of teary when I hugged her and got her another Seven ’n’ Seven without her even askin’.
’Course one part of bein’ with Bill did kinda hurt, but I had me an idea. You recall them rubber dickies from that fag store what I found? Well, that’s what I’m lookin’ at right now. Got everything all laid out in my closet as I’m sorting the dickies out from the other stuff. Some of ’em are small and some are real fat, and some kinda just look like an idea of a dick, all just smooth plastic and a place for batteries. Dunno what the batteries would do: there ain’t no hole so it cain’t be they squirt; maybe they talk or somethin’. There’s a weird one that’s like a guy’s balls but with a dick growing from two sides, and even a see-though one with kinda sparklies all in it.
But it’s the ones that really look like real dicks I like: all veiny and lumpy and hard. I wish the one that looks most like Bill’s had a sucker on, but it don’t, so I guess I’m gonna haveta practice with the big black one.
Yeah, that’s done it – one lick and it’s suckered onto my closet-door mirror real firm, about knee-height. Man, it sure looks big! But I figure if I can get all that up my butt and do all my hurtin’ here private-like, then Bill’s gonna be a whole lot happier and not so worried next time he fucks me. If I can figure it out, I’d even do some of that rough senshal stuff, and maybe he’ll like me enough to do kissin’ and touching some more, only I’m scared about lettin’ on how dumb I am. That’s what scares me the most.
It feels kinda weird – real sick-o, crawlin’ backwards, and man, that rubber dickie sure does look big, now I see the tip against my asshole, all shinin’ with that slippery stuff on it. It’s neat how it’s so dark, though: makes it real easy to look in the mirror and see what I’m doing, though I keep kinda goin’ left when I should be goin’ right. Seems like the only thing I’m smart at is findin’ new ways of being dumb.
Owyah! Gotta push, gotta do it, ow-ow-ow! Ain’t givin’ up, gonna do it for Bill ... uhhh!
Funny. It don’t look so much bigger’n the others but sure does feel it! Don’t feel like Bill, neither – just kind of like a bigger hairbrush handle or somethin’. Sure is good to see it stretchin’ my hole wide open though – next time Bill fucks me I’ll just be able to fix on makin’ him feel all special and nice, instead of scarin’ him so.
It’s kinda weird jigging back and forward, but I can get a whole lot up my uhu before I get to the hurting part and have to push. Maybe my ass is learnin’. Guess some part of me’s gotta be good at that.
I ain’t thinkin’ on that Lee right now: how he’s so smart: readin’ and workin’ that fancy register and all. Raylene said, and it’s like how I knowed all along: Lee is just a whole lot better. I know it’s mean, but I’m just wishin’ down in my secret heart that Bill just treats him like Raylene says he’s gonna treat me: just plugs his horny hole and after don’t think on him no more’n a dirty Kleenex. Maybe if I can scare up a few more wipe-n-go boys Bill won’t choose none of ’em for a boyfriend Raylene says, but I’m just sick inside thinkin’ on that Lee: just know Bill’s gonna pick him. I’m tellin’ myself how it don’t matter none: every second when they’re together’s gonna be pure torture anyhow and just like to make me so unhappy.
Mmm – that dickie’s feelin’ better, some.
Wish I could talk to my friend Ash in the mirror again. He ’n’ me used to talk all the time when I was real little. He always looks just exactly like me, so my folks couldn’t tell when when it were him an’ when it were just my reflection, but I knew. He knew a whole lot of stuff, about how stuff worked and specially about words, but I can’t remember nothin’ now he don’t come no more. All I can remember is how numbers, they’re safe. Words ain’t, some of ’em: they got numberyness, and that’s real scary so I don’t learn ’em more than I have to.
I ain’t got no problem with numbers: see it, know it, that’s me. Duke once said as how I’m this savvy idjut, and Raylene she says she ain’t arguin’ with the idjut part, anyhow. Wish I could just forget it but I ain’t learned how to do forgettin’ on account of Ash done all that for me, but it seems like everyone else just born knowin’ how, so it’s for sure I’m a retard like that teacher said.
Wish I could burn up that durned napkin – cain’t read it anyhow on account of I cried on it so much, so maybe it don’t matter. I just get so scared with words; wish they was like numbers.
It’s better now that dickie’s gettin’ warmer inside me, or maybe it’s just from thinkin’ about how Bill’s gonna have a whole load of fun. I really wanna practice squeezin’ but I ain’t sure if maybe it’ll pop the dickie right off the mirror – guess there’s some things you just cain’t beat a real live guy for.
* * *
“Just one more day,” Bill thought, shuddering, the way he always did as he drove towards the job. Already he felt chilled, the sweat like ice down his spine. It was only plastering internal walls, but the trip up the side of the building every day in that open meshwork cage – fuck! Thank god he only had to stand there as the sick void beneath him turned his guts to cramping hell and his legs to jello. He was brutally grateful to Tony: many contractors wouldn’t touch him because of his vertigo. Most simply said they didn’t want the extra hassle. Some, perhaps most of them had concerns about site safety, but all of the guys he’d had dealings with seemed to share the same bafflement: why not just quit and get a desk job somewhere?
Bill found it convenient to claim it was lack of qualifications, which had peaked at a high-school diploma. It wasn’t the truth.
Crazy to think how the arguments between his parents had been about his mother wanting Dad to do less: even to drink. She’d been right, too: it seemed now the quacks didn’t think so highly of teetotalism after all. Maybe if Dad had learned how to relax and have a beer with his buddies – once he’d made some buddies, that is – he’d have made it to fifty instead of being found collapsed in a restroom cubicle at his workplace by the night cleaner, with printouts of sales statistics crumpled in his fist.
Okay, perhaps it had been finances, in part, that had driven his father to work those crazy hours trying to seal every last deal. Yet his mother had been able to put the cover over her typewriter and forget about work until nine the next day.
After the funeral he’d tried to explain it to his mother about duty and caring, about a guy’s need to look after his loved ones, but she hadn’t understood, not down deep. She’d just kept repeating that if he really loved her he would have looked after himself. He would have listened to her and not left her alone like this.
So okay. Maybe it hadn’t been the most sensible time to talk about such things, or the most sensible promise he’d ever made, but Bill had listened; had promised his mother he’d never end up like that.
So when, hardly six months later, he’d gotten that call from the emergency room, that promise had come back and slapped him round the head. Relatives had stepped in and arranged her funeral, but evidently even in the echoing, mirror-world haze that passed for living right then, he’d done a fine job at hiding Mom’s drinking. They still believed there had only been one drunk involved in that wreck.
It was hard to say whether he’d dropped out of college, or it had dropped him. With the steel mills and fabrication plants closing everywhere round about then, he’d fallen into a series of short-term jobs; proud of never taking welfare; glad of the constant need to move on. With no family to support and no mortgage, it had been easier for him to speak out when he found himself working at places where the owners thought “economic freedom” meant the same as “screwing the working guy.” Being young, he hadn’t appreciated how, once tagged as an “agitator,” that label could follow a guy around no matter how far south he went.
Ironic to think how it was that dangerous, bad-boy drifter image that had so attracted Mary. Even now he wasn’t sure if she’d really wanted to “reform” him or not. Well, whatever: he owed her for hooking him on art; there had been a time when her education had been a challenge for him to match: when she’d been interested in discussing issues rather than merely winning arguments. They’d been a team: working together, and thinking they were so cool. Thinking they were pissing off the strait-laced suits that were her parents, when all that cold-eyed barracuda Marcus had done was bide his time.
Of course, Marcus and Livia always offered help; their cold, hateful charity masked as bonhomie whenever Mary was around to hear. “Friendly” loans that even Mary teased him about refusing; joking about his hillbilly, “pay cash or do without” mentality.
Those visits to her parents’ home were among his worst memories, although his wife seemed to thrive on their blistering arguments, the savage attacks and the Arctic silences. Still, he’d been proud of her wit, her take-no-prisoners attitude as she’d argued for worker’s rights, for stronger anti-pollution laws, for responsible, Christian management and a whole load of other stuff he never could figure out – it seemed different every time she said it.
And if the visits were bad, the times afterwards had been pretty good: it seemed like the only time Mary had ever really been interested in physicality had been when she was all fired up recounting how she’d showed him – Marcus – up for a fool.
Then she’d fallen pregnant. The soaring joy Bill had felt had blotted out everything else – if his buddies at work hadn’t conspired to keep him away from wiring jobs and power tools for a few days, his might have been one of the shortest fatherhoods on record. In that golden euphoria he’d agreed to everything Mary wanted: they’d moved back here, to her home town, and her family had stepped in to help.
Oh, it had been done with a smile: a helping hand into a mortgage he couldn’t afford; exotic vacations; car payments; a nanny; school fees. All the things that their frightened little girl Mary needed once she was pregnant and her life had stopped being a game.
She’d begged him to take the wonderful job in the sales department at her father’s firm. At first she’d been puzzled at his refusal, then tearful.
“It’s a golden opportunity!” she’d said. “You should be so grateful to Daddy!”
He’d tried to explain, but even to himself it had come out as a jumble of self-indulgent fears. Taking an office job would be the final surrender. Even as he’d been talking, more than half of his head had been saying he should just suck it up and be a man; how millions of other guys worked at jobs they hated; that hell, this was for his son.
She’d argued again all the good points of the job: the pay, the security; growing steadily more angry and more and more like her father with every contemptuous gesture. “You’re scared,” she’d said, finally. “You expect me to live like a plumber’s wife just because you’re too bone idle to better yourself. Well, I won’t, and nor will my son!”.
That last crack had been the clincher: enough that he’d applied, in secret, for other, similar office positions. His past had been against him of course, but he’d persevered and gotten a few interviews, a couple of which had even seemed hopeful. He’d finally woken up and smelled the coffee when a ratty, run-down little firm had verbally offered him a position, withdrawn it with indecent haste, and then secured a fat account that Marcus Mandeville and Partners had held for years.
Yeah, yeah. Hand out the violins, Bill thought, turning down the car stereo momentarily and wincing as he listened to the engine, which was running a little rough. Shit! I just bet that next service will be bad news, he thought.
The truth was also that he loved working with his hands. The silken feel of a perfect wood joint slipping into place; the glisten of perfectly smooth plaster; the quiet satisfaction of plumbing in something and seeing it work; all that was something any guy could be proud of. But he got more even than that: working on housing, it felt great knowing that his efforts were going towards the comfort of some other family who would lift their curious wide-eyed kid up to work the flush lever, or flick the light switch and hurry over to the cot and never think of it at all, because he’d made darn certain that all the seals were just so; that every wire was right, every frame square. It was why he kept getting hired despite his gastro-gymnastic displays: no matter what the pressure, he did the job right. He was his father’s son. Yet it was scary: somehow he’d arrived right where he’d never wanted to go. It seemed the further he ran from that crumpled figure in the restroom stall, the closer he got.
He slowed to a halt at the open site gates, and leaned out the pick-up’s window so that the round, gray-haired man working security could get a clear view and ID him.
“Hey, Dollar! You’ll be working on the fourth floor plastering again, to be sure?” the guard said, his red, weatherbeaten face splitting into a grin.
“You got it, Pat.” Bill returned his grin. “Don’t stand too close when I go up.”
“You’ll not be using your hat then, gentleman that ye are?” Pat said, his periwinkle eyes merry.
“You’d have me off the site quicker than a protestant preacher,” Bill said, shifting into gear. “I’m smarter now know the safety regs: I grab a friend’s.”
He drove off, leaving Pat laughing and slapping his thigh, and wondering if he’d ever live that episode down. To this day, his safety helmet still smelled faintly of lemon disinfectant.
Sure, the debt was eating him alive. But give up all that joy, to cave and take that job working for Marcus? Living with his wife was bad enough, but working for the bastard who taught her everything she knew? Puking was a small enough price to pay. For a long time he’d been singing the old song: once Jay was grown, if he could just get ahead, he’d move out and get his own place; but now, with his little cutie – no, his buddy – Shayne right next door? It wasn’t to be thought of.
Bill looked down at the passenger footwell and felt a surge of happiness at the sight of the carrier bag which still contained Shayne’s shorts and beach sandals. He’d meant to return everything right away, and at first his excuse had been that he was too tired, but after a couple of days he’d admitted that he liked them being there; a tangible connection to his little friend.
The look on Shayne’s face when he’d given him those new clothes! Worth every cent: fuck that he couldn’t afford it. Darn lucky his credit was maxed or he’d probably have bought the kid a Cadillac. Stupid of him though, to have forgotten he’d paid that money into that new checking account for Jay: no matter how smart he was, the kid couldn’t keep his grades up and work too, and if he thought Mary would cut him any slack – well. The moment he didn’t keep his end of the bargain, she’d have Jay out of the local U and studying business at her Ivy-League college quicker than she could say “I told you so.”
It was a peculiar feeling – part of him just knew that if Jay had opened that envelope and read his promise of “covert funding,” he’d still have sent it and the check back, both: perhaps still with F.O.A.D on it. How could you know someone was being damned stubborn and stupid and still be so proud of them at one and the same time?
Well, that money was gone. Only Jay could get hold of it – he’d set it up that way. A good thing too: he wouldn’t have felt right spending “Jay’s money” on anything – or anyone – else.
Yeah, he knew Shayne had been disappointed about canceling swimming that afternoon, but he’d make it up to the kid. The credit was piling up in his account, and once this job finished, he’d take a slice of that and blow it on something fancy. Let Shayne know he was special before he broke it to the kid about “no touching.”
Bill reached back in through the open window and picked up his safety helmet and boots off the seat, half his mind already calculating payments and possible garage bills. Yeah, he’d think of something – something really special.
* * *
The minute my door opened an’ I seen Duke I knew I was gonna get it. I didn’t need to see the big ol’ tent in his grungy jeans - I seen it in his eyes.
It was good to see he was pretty likkered up, on account of regular guys can do fag stuff when they’re likkered and it don’t count none. ’Course it was always only me doin’ the real fag stuff – y’know, suckin’ - but oftentimes back at the trailer when he was well lit or bonged and he crawled into my bunkie Duke’d forget he weren’t a fag no more and he’d kinda stroke me a little, on my back or my side maybe and let me sleep close instead of just zippin’ up and crawlin’ back out. Sometimes I wondered if he weren’t really so lit up as he was makin’ out, neither, and I was scared I’d let on. I can’t figure out if them times was worser or not. Better durin’ when he’d sometimes pat me or say nice stuff, but he’d always knock me around considerable next day, so I guess it evened out.
I was real glad I done that ass-play with the rubber dickie a few times, I figured Duke weren’t in no mood for goin’ slow. Only trouble was, like a dumbass, I never thought how it’d be obvious I weren’t cherry no more.
Well, Duke he limped into my room, and shut the door. The inside handle’s got like a button on it so folks have got to bust the door in if they wanna open it, and I heard it click so I knew he’d pushed it. He come closer, and I always admire how he tones down his limpin’ on account of he don’t want folks to figure he’s a gimp. Pop used to get more money on account of it, but soon as Duke was old enough, first thing he done was go down the Snoop offices and say as how he don’t want it no more.
“Ain’t you taken the wrappin’ off yet, dumbass?” he said, pointing at the mattress.
I thought real fast. See, I thought the plastic was like that rubber sheet he had to have on his bed for a time when he was healin’ up in hospital, but it ain’t smart to talk about that time.
“Sorry Duke,” I said. “You want I should take it off right now?”
“Your t-shirt too,” he said, and smiled that freaky smile of his. Of course I know how his face is just broke like that so it don’t signify: he ain’t gonna cut ya or break nothin’ ’less you make him, not like Harley.
Still, Duke says that smile’s saved him more fightin’ and ammo, and put the hurry-up on more late-night store clerks than he can recall. Yeah – Pop and Harley done him a real favor, he says. I just hope they ain’t fixin’ to do me none.
So I pull off my t-shirt and get to ripping that plastic off of the mattress while I’m looking at Duke outta the corner of my eye, and I see how he’s takin’ off his shirt too! I was expectin’ him to just unzip and get his junk out, like usual.
I could feel how as it gimme the bone - I mean, like that!- quicker ’n’ a banker grabbin’ your dough. I got kinda scared maybe he’d whack it or squeeze my nuts.
“See somethin’ you like, fag?” Duke says, and screws up his face into his “Freddie Krueger” grin, and I giggled just like a freak. And then he started unbuckling his pants and I come over all fluttery inside thinkin’ how it was gonna be like with Bill. Yeah, I know – dumb as a doorknob, me.
The Pen’s been real good to Duke. He’s bulked out some, though he’s built skinny like Pop, so he ain’t never gonna be as big as Bill. Or maybe it’s just on account of how Bill’s just perfect with his chest and arms and legs all kinda in balance, you know?
Duke had worked his legs some, and part of me just wanted to cry: thinkin’ how that musta hurt him real bad. When we was kids, for a time we had kind of this junk fort built up in the dry culvert, and he used to sneak off there on his lonesome. Well of course I got to wondering, and one time I snuck down there and peeked. I ain’t never gonna forget seein’ him with his bad leg jammed under that rusty old tank, sobbin’ as he tried to force it to straighten right out like it was normal.
’Course like a total retard I run down there scared he’d had a accident, and he belted me one. I still remember how it hurt more, looking into his face and seein’ he thought I’d tell the Snoops or anybody as how he’d been cryin’.
Something caught my eye, and I paused from rippin’ off the plastic. “You got a new tat,” I said, excited.
“Yeah.” Duke dropped his jeans and come closer to show me. It was a bare lady showin’ her ass, only her ass was kinda small and you couldn’t see her tits, so it was only her long hair what made her a girl. He bunched his arm muscle to make it move, and it was real cool – like she wiggled her ass. “Got me another one too, only you got to take off my boxers t’ see it.”
Well, I sat right down on the bed again and pulled down his shorts. The Monster just jumped right up, and it was kinda nice how I got to look instead of it being shoved straightaways in my mouth. It was real hard and shiny and with them nice bumps under the skin what said how Duke was really hot to trot. It put me in mind of one of them big pillars what them old Greeks had on their houses. You know they done corn-holin’ too? A guy I blew in a lot one time showed me this old book with it all in. They had guys doin’ it every which way all painted right on their plates and cups and stuff. I ain’t jerkin’ ya – if I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’, honest. Anyhow, it had one of their houses on the other page what had been half knocked down, so I know, and those big ol’ pillars looked just like Duke’s dick.
Of course them old columns didn’t kinda twitch, or have a nice shiny helmet, or make nice sticky stuff for a boy to lick off. Duke always makes a whole lot of that and I wish he’d let me just do it all to him one time. Of course that’s maybe on account of how in the trailer we’d gotta be real quiet and I make all the parking lot guys groan real loud. The one thing I was kinda sad about in Freddie MacBurger’s was how we was inside so I couldn’t give Bill a “Shaynie Special.” I was really lookin’ forward to that!
“No, dumbass,” Duke said, swattin’ my hair. “It’s not on my dick. You gotta look up here, see?” He was pointing to his belly, just above his hairyness. “It says ‘Nailer’” he said, and I smiled up at him, knowin’ he’d said that so I didn’t have to sit and spell it all out. It was all done in spiky big-ass blue letterin’ and must of hurt like Jehosophat.
“What’s a nailer?” I said.
“It’s like a big construction gun what shoots nails,” he said. “Only I got it for sortin’ this new-fry what came in with attitude sayin’ how his bruthas got his ass and shit, only the jerkwad said it to someone who he shoulda et his own face rather than piss off. So I put the word out, quiet, how I could maybe help, and suddenly jerkwad finds he’s reassigned to share a cell with Freddie K and the Monster.”
“With your teeth out?” I said. Duke can get his face to go like, seriously gross that way; just made for Halloween. Our candy-haul sure took a hike every time he come trick or treatin’ with us, that’s for durned sure.
“Yeah,” he said, “- and a switchblade, though I didn’t need that after the first time. That whole cell-block – well, ’ceptin’ the screws,” he winked, “heard that punk whimperin’ and beggin’ every night; the Big Guy didn’t do no extra time, and the little punk was let out without a scratch on him, well maybe healin’ some and walkin’ kinda bow-legged. Hear how his bruthas are callin’ him ‘Screamer,’ now.”
“Prob’ly screamin’ right this minute,” I said, feeling kind of an itch up inside my uhu, just from thinking about it.
“Got ants in your pants?” Duke said, “or you just horny, you little fag?”
“Ain’t wearin’ no pants,” I said, real quick, and he popped me one for bein’ a smart-ass, but just a love-tap, you know? Not real hard.
So I pick myself up, rubbin’ my ear, and Duke he grabs my hair and yanks on it – just to get the tears startin’: not mean or anything – and then I got the Monster back in my mouth.
Wish I coulda gone more slow and given him a nice toungie hello, but Duke’s real horny, so pretty soon his dick’s bashin’ the back of my mouth real quick, and I cain’t get to suckin’ proper or nothin’. That’s okay though: Duke can be kinda funny about me likin’ it, so I just coughed around his big meat, and made out how I slipped, kinda, so it got the angle right.
I was cross-eyed, tryin’ to look at the Monster, and it’s nice how Duke goes kinda slow the first time he goes real deep. I was just swallerin’ and rubbin’ my tongue against that thick shaft as I seen his hairyness all gettin’ closer.
He groaned - I swear! And I got all excited thinkin’ on how we weren’t in my bunkie and so we could be kinda noisy, and then he said “Oh fuck, Shaynie, yeah!” all kinda throaty and he called me his bitch an’ stuff, pushin’ his hairyness all up close to my face, an’ then he pulled out and let me breathe! Just a gulp, and then in again, but I knowed I could hold out, like for ages now if he ain’t gonna do chokin’!
And he starts fuckin’ my face in and out sayin’ how he’s been thinkin’ about me – well about this, anyhow, and one hand’s strokin’ my ear as he’s all big down my throat, and me wantin’ to cough but I know swallerin’s what I got to do, and he’s goin’ “Ohhh Shaynie, yeah!” and it’s so neat havin’ him sayin’ stuff. And he lets me pull my head back and I do that sexy gasp-in what he likes, over the head of his dick and then I slurp on it some, feelin’ real naughty about makin’ noise with him. And I looked up at him and I seen the look.
See, Duke’s kind of like a jack-o-lantern backwards. Or maybe it’s how Raylene said it one time: he’s so durned ugly he gets to handsome the long-way round. Anyhow, he’s got this smile what clicks on like a flashbulb, just for a split second, and it’s like a lantern with the handsomest face cut ever, ’ceptin’ Bill. For me, everything handsome-like is ’ceptin’ Bill, just so as you know. Reckon if you cut my heart in the littlest, hurtin’ pieces, it’d have ’Bill’ writ all the way through, like that fairground candy.
Sounds kinda freaky, I know, but beforetimes when Duke was on top of me, in my bunkie, all that muscular heavin’ and the heaviness and all like that kinda worked all around me and I felt real warm and safe, knowin’ how Duke wouldn’t never hurt me, not real bad like for hospital; on account of how he’s been there and got the knowin’ of it. If he shifted and it caught his bad leg wrong, it was like how I could feel the hurtin’ too, and I don’t mean where I was swallowin’ his pork-sword so deep, neither.
Duke pulled out an’ patted my head while I was coughing, sayin’ as how he’d been thinkin’ of me in the pen a whole lot and to turn over and stick my ass in the air. An’ I rolled over so fast his slap hardly connected none.
“Yeah,” he said, “Shaynie, yeah!” and I went kinda excited and scared: excited on account of him callin’ me “Shaynie,” and scairt on account of him bein’ nice. He kinda squeezed my butt cheeks and then he spat on my hole some an’ pushed his finger in.
“Don’t feel so tight, li’l fag!” he said, and hit me upside the head and grabbed my hair so I gotta look round at him. “You bin goin’ with guys?”
I said as no I ain’t, and it’s true – ain’t been with guys, only one guy, but I didn’t say about Bill at all. I just pointed at the dickie stuck to the mirror and said as how I’d been practisin’.
“Faggot trash!” he said, but kinda sweet under – you gotta look for the sweet in Duke; ain’t like Bill where it’s right out there to see. Anyhow, thinkin’ about Bill, I kinda sighed, and then damned near yelled my head off as Duke stuck it in me.
Didn’t have a chance to get out more’n a peep – Duke had his big old hand over my mouth like that. Man! It felt awful big goin’ in, and then suddenly more easy, like he got a straight shot up my uhu, and it’s only my ass-ring what’s hurtin’ fierce.
And Duke said, “yeah, bite me, bitch!” and I did, bitin’ his hand real hard as he shoved more in and then began to hump in and out. It weren’t nothin’ like Bill, and I got scairt, thinkin’ how maybe Bill had gotten it wrong and all that nice touchin’ weren’t really part of fuckin’. And it were like this big hole opened up in me – only in my heart, not anyplace useful, like my ass – and thinkin’ on how Bill put his big arms around me, I just cried like a whore with a one-dollar tip.
I didn’t care how Duke was humpin’ hard and sayin’ stuff about me clenchin’, my heart were all folded up small like a balled-up Kleenex, and just nuthin’ hurt as bad as that. It was like every square inch of my skin ached, from just thinkin’ about Bill touchin’ me so gentle, and it was good when Duke grabbed my arm real hard, on account of that hurtin’ didn’t hurt so bad as my heart, and then he was right in me real deep and gaspin’ as his dick was twitchin’ in my ass.
Duke pulled out and slapped my ass, sayin’ as how I was a natural fag whore and I was gonna make ’em all a shitload of money, which was kinda nice. I know we got to pay the bank one time, at least.
I was so mixed up in my head, he had to pop me a good one, and even then I weren’t hardly thinkin’ as I cleaned up his dick; mostly thinkin’ how maybe if Bill didn’t use a rubber maybe I could do this for him, too. Just thinkin’ about that got my lips and tongue to workin’ and before I knowed I was givin’ Duke like the best Shaynie Special, and he cummed in my mouth and said it was the best welcome home ever!
Sad as how Bill did get it wrong, though: Duke just zipped and left. I’m strugglin’ to figure if it’s okay to maybe not tell Bill about not cuddlin’ and maybe he’d kinda carry on doin’ that with me. It’s crazy – it feels like I’m stealin’ from him by lettin’ him stay ignorant, or somethin’. I dunno: is there such a thing as bad stealin’?
* * *
It’s been ten days now. At first I was missin’ Bill somethin’ cruel, but now I’m just ticked off. I mean, I can’t start workin’ until the Snoops cool off, so right now I got all this free time I could be with Bill, and he ain’t there! I could spit out so many wicked words, Mom’d hafta use, like, a whole bar of soap on me.
’Course I seen him: Bill’s been comin’ home in the afternoon lookin’ real tired and dirty, but he ain’t home but four, five hours afore he’s running out the door again like he got a debt-collector on his tail.
After what Raylene said, I reckon I should be fixed about Bill, but – hey, newsflash – when it comes to Bill there just ain’t enough dumb in the word. I know how it’s all pretending for him, but it ain’t for me, and I guess that’s why I’m in here standin’ on tiptoe on the pot lid again.
I wanna sit out front! I wanna open his pick-up door and drive him where he’s goin’ in such a durn hurry so he can sleep some more. Course, even if I could reach the pedals I’d be like a major traffic hazard on account of I’d be looking at only him the whole way.
Yeah, I wanna sit out front and just wait for him just like some dog. I know that’s, like, psycho stalker stuff, but I just cain’t help it. I know it’s crazy, but it gets crazier yet, on account of I don’t want to, as well.
See, once I got his timin’ down I “just happened” to be pokin’ around in that big old bush near his driveway like I lost something round about when he was due. I was kinda focused on the road behind, so I didn’t spot this scrawny bitch come out the house ’til she was up real close. She said what was I doin’, real sharp, like that. She looked real old, what with them white streaks in her hair and her face all grooved like she been angry so often it had stuck that way, but her hands weren’t old, and she dressed good, like money.
I was wearin’ that outfit what Bill bought me of course. I’d a loved it just on account of Bill, but it was real class, and all paid for. Right then I was glad of it because I kinda blended with the neighborhood: if I’d been wearin’ cheap shit she’d-a called the cops for sure.
So I said as how I thought my ball had bounced in here, and she sniffed and looked at me like one of them old schoolmarms in the movies when they just know you broke that window without you sayin’. I could-a just kicked myself for bein’ so careless: not just forgettin’ how it was the weekend so she might be home, but more. If I’d just been thinkin’ like I was workin’, I’d have fixed it so I could just reach in and “find” a ball and she’d-a been sold. As it was I knew I was busted.
Well just that minute I heard Bill’s pick-up and them gray eyes snapped to lookin’ over my shoulder, and she stepped past me like I didn’t exist no more. I turned around and saw how Bill was just gettin’ out, and though I was happy to see him it hurt to see him so low-down and just dead beat.
Didn’t seem like she saw that, though, she just lit into him about some check bouncin’ and how if he couldn’t cover his share he should’ve told her. Seemed she cared a sight more about how this project made her look in front of her friends anyhow.
I was gonna just fade, but that fuckin’ bush rustled when I let go the branch and Bill looked and saw me. He dropped his gaze and, like, folded down and I knew I’d shamed him. Only good thing was she snapped her head around and said, glarin’ at me the while, as how they’d continue this inside.
I didn’t know what to do! I just stood there, all shakin’ inside, with half of me wantin’ to rush over and hug him, and half of me wantin’ to just belt her over the moon and jump on her face with big spiky boots, and half of me just tryin’ not to bust out cryin’ and losin’ fast, and all of me wishin’ I was a million miles away and dead.
She come back past me so close I got a gust of her soapy-kinda scent, and I didn’t dare look at her on account of Bill was her husband and he’d gotta belt me if I looked at her like I was gonna look.
Bill come over, only he didn’t, he stood like four fuckin’ miles away, movin’ his hands like he didn’t know what to do with ’em, and said like he was apologizin’ to me how he was real sorry and it didn’t make no nevermind.
I could only kinda nod on account of nearly not-cryin’, so I just run off so he could go in and bitch-slap her for me.
So here I am hidin’ out in the bathroom, even though it’s a weekday and that old witch ain’t home. I know I could go and pull that ball trick again, but I’m too scared. Not of her, but of what I might see in Bill’s eyes ’cos of me shamin’ him.
I guess I should be cryin’ and carryin’ on, but them achy feelin’s just squeeze out everything else when it’s nearly time. From here’s the best view - I can see him right the way down his drive. I just got to be careful not to jiggle, or I’m gonna break the lid.
Coupla hours and I’ll be in here again. Don’t need to, he’s regular as clockwork, only where Bill’s concerned, what’s the word for me again? Right.
* * *
Okay, so when I did bust that lid standin’ on tippy-toe, Mom like to slap the kinks right outta my hair; Pop whupped my ass so hard I cain’t start workin’ nohow, and if Raylene hadn’t-a held Duke off, it might have gotten bad. Dunno what she said, but he got ahold of hisself faster than I ever seen. Raylene even got this stuff for my face you kind of paint on. I was scairt on account of Pop ain’t too keen on women wearin’ makeup less’n they’re workin’, but even Duke said it’s okay and not faggy when you’re “coverin’ up.”
Of course all that ruckus got Raylene on my case again. She yammered on about Lee, and yeah, it does make kinda sense to fix that so it’s all ready once I can see Bill again.
Like she said, if I’d just got on and done it right off, I could-a walked in when he was workin’ and just give him a note, but just now, walking into places what’re real bright-lit is kind of a dumb move. So now Raylene says how I’ve got to do it all face to face. Gonna hurt a whole lot more, but that’s what you get fer bein’ dumb.
So I figured it out, and here I am. See, I know as how that number’s a cellphone, so I’m in the payphone-booth just across from Freddie MacBurger’s. I peeked in through the window before, so I know Lee’s been workin’, and – if my cheap-ass watch is right – he should be comin’ round from the staff entrance to get his jeep right about now.
Bingo! Bip-a-dee-boop-bip-bip: I can feel I’m sweatin’ even as I’m punchin’ in his number and prayin’ how I’m gonna beat out all his friends what phone him all the time and try to squish down that stupid hope that says how maybe it’s just one guy what’s phonin’ day and night and he ain’t available.
It’s ringing and he answers too quick: gotta love a guy who doesn’t even check caller ID. Slam those coins in bam-bam-bam-bam.
“Hi?” he says, so I get in quick:
“I’m sorry, real sorry, okay?”
“Who is this?” He don’t sound ticked off, but I know I ain’t got long:
“I’m a dumb kid what messed up – I’m real sorry and I wanna fix it, he’s real upset and I didn’t mean to!”
“No!” I jerk open the booth door so the light goes off and start waving. “It’s about that hunky blond guy - I snuck the napkin with your number on!” I say into the phone. “He never got it! I wanna try to fix it, so you can meet an’-”
Oh oh. Fuck. He’s gone quiet and I swear I can see his smile shinin’ from across the street!
“Yeah?” The hope’s all over his voice like a hooker on a millionaire and mine has gone all croaky as I tell him the truth: “I’m real sorry. Can I come over and maybe talk so you guys can fix to meet?” I had to sniff, and then I said: “He’s been real sad, and I’m sorry.”
“You-” but the phone goes bip-bip-bip for credit I ain’t got, so I let go the handset; stick both hands in the air and start runnin’ for him.
It seems a fuck of a long way and you know the first thing he does when he sees me? Gimme a Kleenex and fuckin’ hugs me!
Remembering the cuddlin’ and touchin’ with Bill, I kinda managed not to freak, but it was fuckin’ close. I stood there shiverin’ and sweating like a doped racehorse and you know what the fucker said? He said:
“Oh sweetie did I scare you that bad? I’m sorry.” I swear I hate him so fuckin’ much – why’d he hafta be nice? It were better when he kneeled down so he stopped bein’ so big and Bill-like, but he’s huggy-nice and I’m nearly sure it ain’t a set-up for makin’ kissy-face and then yankin’ my hair and gut-punchin’ the fag outta me: Red used’ta think that was real funny. Only Red never pulled my face down against his neck and whispered how he was sorry.
And, and – it was like Bill, okay? And I just know I ain’t no good at hatin’ Bill; I just ain’t made that way. I’m so dumb, I’m like, made of stupid.
So it takes a while, and then we get into his real cherry Jeep: not pimped but class, you know? Old money like Bill’s dragon lady, only nice, and a guy. Fucker even looks beautiful when he’s cryin’.
His ponytail looks like it’s made of heavy silk and it just brushes his nice, dark-honey-tan shoulder and he’s got dark eyes like mine only more, and now I’m up close I’m figuring not Jap, but more Thai and so high-class I bet he pisses champagne.
So I’m sittin’ there on good leather, too close to what I go for, goes for; fixin’ on how I’m gonna help him get closer to my guy, and I don’t even get to hate him?
So we talked some, and man! Did he get cute and all excited! Mom says she’d be class if she weren’t so durned available, and Lee is kinda that idea from the other side of the glass. Just not available to anything less than solid gold and knowing when he seen Bill he struck it. A guy what knows he cain’t be bought.
’S where he’s different than me, see: I can be rented, and the only reason Bill cain’t buy me is ’cos he’s got me already. Ain’t that the shit on a nice prick.
So we talk some, and he makes the lights in his Jeep go nice. Good for me, but not like he needs any of what Mom calls “fow-ton kindness,” worse luck, and his bad-ass stereo surround comes up smooth. A nice bouncy pop like they got in that blue and white store in the mall: good karaoke only not American.
And it’s worser ’n’ I thought! Just talkin’ to him I see how he’s smart, and turns out he’s studyin’ daytimes - I got kinda hopeful for a bit, on account of only watchin’ movies and musical theater don’t sound so much like studyin’ to me. Then when Lee said about how he was learnin’ about makin’ these kinda computer paintings for movie sets, I recalled all them nice paintings and pots and stuff in Bill’s place what Raylene liked, and I just bet Lee would-a known all about ’em too.
After I tell him how Bill’s my uncle he says maybe he could gimme a lift home, just casual like and I can see how he’s hopin’ to work that, but it ain’t so hot on account of my folks, so I say not to trouble hisself and get out.
And even though it’s hurtin’ real bad inside, Lee’s lookin’ so happy and smiling so nice I cain’t help but smile back and my dumb old mouth goes and promises how I’ll call just as soon as Bill stops workin’ so hard and fix somethin’ up.
Wavin’s easy. You can do that no matter what you’re feelin’. I hung on ’til that cute Jeep turned the corner outta sight and then I puked my heart out into a trashcan, cursin’ Raylene for bein’ right again.
* * *
Once again, hoping you’re still with me.
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