By John Yager

A few weeks ago, after the big Blackout in the northeast US and Canadian, I asked the NIFTY Archivist if he'd begun receiving any stories based on the event. It seemed like a natural setting for a Gay erotic story and I assumed there would be a bevy of them.

Over the weeks since, I've kept an eye out for such stories, thinking they really should be written by people who were there and experienced it, rather than someone like me, who was setting safe and comfortable in the American Mid South.

A few days ago I again asked if any such stories had come in to NIFTY, and was told only one such had been submitted, and it had been a Lesbian story, not a Gay male effort.

With that, I sort of took on the challenge and what follows is the result.

But, hey guys, the events of August 14 and 15, 2003, deserve a little more attention and imagination than one submission for a man who wasn't even there. You can't tell me all those horny New Yorkers were just sitting around in the dark for hours and hours. So how about a few more entries, and maybe a few real life accounts, in this informal competition for the Best Blackout Story of 2003?

This is a work of Gay erotic fiction and the usual advice applies.

Thanks again to Andrew for proofing and editorial assistance.

This story is copyrighted by the author, who may be contacted at:

- 1 -

In the Dark

I was standing at the washbasin in the men's room washing my hands, admiring my own reflection in the big mirror. There I was, a pretty good looking thirty-four year old guy, solid build under my dark business suit, sandy-blond hair and a great smile. I was never one for false modesty.

I'd flown into New York the previous evening and had just finished a day of meetings which had resulted in me getting everything I'd wanted; a new, improved contract, retroactive to the first of the year, which would immediately put a significant bundle of cash in my pocket, with the promise of even more income down the line. Yeah, I was pretty pleased with myself.
Then the lights went out.

The room was on the interior side of the corridor so there was no natural light. Not only that, but I really didn't know my way around. I stumbled about, feeling along the tile wall until I found a paper towel dispenser and was able to dry off. From there it was an adventure just getting across the void to the door.

Walking out into the main corridor wasn't much better. Emergency lights had come on and a few people had opened doors from various offices into the corridor so some natural light was filtering through from windows in the exterior walls of the building.

There were a lot of people milling around, talking about the power outage which had caused the blackout and there was the inevitable fear that it might be terrorist related.  There was also a lot of speculation about how long it would last. Some said only a few minutes, others, remembering earlier blackouts, said we were in for a long time of it.

"I'm just glad we're only on the fourteenth floor," one guy said. "I pity the people on the fortieth floor if this lasts and we all have to walk down."

"Some sore legs tomorrow," somebody else laughed.

"Actually, this is the thirteenth floor," I heard a woman say. "They always skip thirteen so it's labeled fourteen, but we have one less floor to descend if it comes to that."

"Really, only twelve," a guy with a British accent said.

"Do you think it's terrorists?" someone else said and the discussion took another turn.

I made my way along the dimly lit corridor, through the crowd of milling people as I worked my way toward the offices of Martin Cutler and Associates, Intellectual Properties Attorneys.

I'd only gone a few feet when I almost ran into Bill Hastings before I recognized him. When I say 'ran into' I really mean I sort of crawled into him. The hallway was nearly dark and it was becoming more crowded each moment as more and more people came out of offices and headed for the stairs.

"Oh, sorry, Bill," I said, "didn't mean to bump into you."

Hastings was one of the younger attorneys in Cutler's office and the one I'd gotten to know best. I'd worked directly with Cutler, of course, but he'd assigned my file to Hastings and he and I had spent quite a bit of time together. On my previous visit to the firm in May, Bill and I had gone out to dinner one evening and caught a quick drink another evening. He's a great guy, probably twenty-nine or thirty, but he looks younger, almost like a fresh college kid. I'd noticed Cutler seemed to have some very good looking younger men around him, of which Bill Hastings was one of the cutest. Despite his good looks, he'd turned out to be an astute attorney and a hard worker.

"Oh, there you are, Mr. Bell," the attractive receptionist said as Hastings and I came back into the outer office. "We were worried about you."

A battery operated camping lantern was sitting on her desk, casting a soft, but adequate glow over papers and a darkened computer screen.

"I'm fine," I assured her, "any idea what's going on?"

"No, not yet. Mr. Arnold is trying to get some news."

"Where is he?"

"I think he went into Mr. Cutler's office. Feel free to go on in. Everything is at a standstill anyway until we get power. I can't even use the phones."

"Maybe I'll see you later, Sandy," Hastings said as I headed left toward Cutler's office and he turned toward his own office down the hall to the right.

To be continued.