This is a work of fiction and in no way draws on the lives of any specific person or persons. If there is any similarity to any real persons or events it is entirely coincidental. Some license has been taken with places as well.
The work is copy righted (c) by the author and may not be reproduced in any form without the specific written permission of the author. It is assigned to the Nifty Archives under the terms of their submission agreement but it may not be copied or archived on any other site without the written permission of the author.
Billy felt cheap and degraded when he woke the next morning. He looked over where Jimmy lay sleeping. How could I, he wondered, do this to him? When he recalled the simple pleasure of the evening before, he wondered, how could he not?
"Are you all right?' Donna asked as he dressed for work.
"What do you mean?" Ralph asked.
"Well, you tossed and turned all night, mumbling and perspiring something fierce.
"It must have been the fish we had for dinner," he tried to sound casual.
"It didn't bother me," she said as she examined her lipstick in the mirror, "So it couldn't have been bad."
"Then I don't know what it was." He wished she'd leave him alone and stop worrying about him all the time He restrained himself from saying anything about it, however, since he'd need her to be sympathetic, if the worse-came-to-worse.
"Well," she said, "Have something light for lunch, just in case it's the flu or something."
"Okay, Mother." He leaned down and kissed her hair as she adjusted the scarf that she was putting on. She, like Billy, wore street clothes most of the time at work, so it meant she had to pay attention to how she looked just like any other job. She reached up and squeezed his arm.
Darryl played the messages on the phone machine at the office when he got in. He was glad that John had called to confirm their meeting that night. He hated wondering all day, and preparing for it not knowing if he was even coming.
Wednesday looks like it is going to be a better day than Tuesday, he thought as he started on the list of things he had to do for the day.
Billy sat in his chair making a list of names and numbers he needed to call today, from those in Tim's phone book. He didn't want Donna to see the book, so he locked it up in his bottom drawer alter he was finished with it.
At nine o'clock he began dialing the first of the fifty or so numbers on the list.
Ralph tried to put the thought of what might happen out of his mind. He knew from what Billy had told him, that what could happen was far worse than anything he had imagined might happen as a result of his knowing Tim. Before talking to Billy, the worst thing he thought of was the Donna would find out, and perhaps divorce him.
But now, that he was a prime suspect, at least as far a Billy was concerned. Billy was a good detective, and would find out who had done it, but until that happened, even Billy couldn't protect him forever.
Billy finished his calling for the day, and closed the folder and locked it in his desk. Donna had gone home for the day, and he began work on a release to be made to the newspapers the next day. Both the Captain and the Chief would have to approve it, and they were both gone too, so he worked carefully to get the phrasing right. He'd already prepared the note he would send with the document, so that they would understand his reasoning.
A list of suspects has been compiled in the slaying of Tim Jeffreys, eighteen-year-old youth found slain in the downtown area of San Francisco. One suspect has been questioned and is under surveillance and is considered the prime suspect. No names will he available until an arrest has been made.
That, Billy thought, should set the mind of the killer at ease, it wouldn't do much for Ralph's state, however, but he couldn't help that. He didn't think that Ralph did it, but no one else would think so, if it ever got out that Ralph had known him. Doug would probably see the article when it was printed, and also think it was he, since Billy hadn't told him of anyone else they'd talked to.
That, Billy thought, might keep him from calling him again.
John dressed neatly, but casually, after showering and shaving. A dash of very light cologne and unscented deodorant and he was off to the city. He was tense, as he had no idea of what to expect.
Darryl had gone home after work and changed into his sweats after showering. He wore no cologne or deodorant. He intended to have the scent of man about him. He wore a loose jockstrap under his sweats and carried a matching jacket over his arm as he boarded the bus for downtown.
John was parked in front of the building when Darryl came walking down the street. As eager as John was, that wasn't the reason he was early for his appointment, it was a habit with him to be a few minutes early for any meeting he had.
When he spotted Darryl, he prepared to get out just before Darryl got to the door of the building.
Darryl saw the car sitting there with a man in it, and wondered if it were John. The neighborhood was such that he always watched for the unexpected. So when John got out as he approached the door, he was well aware of his presence.
"Good evening, Darryl," John called as he got out.
"Good evening," Darryl answered, "I though it might be you." Darryl smiled and put the key into the lock and opened the door.
"I didn't want you to have to wait for me, so I came a little early." They walked in together and Darryl pulled the door shut and re-locked it. Then he walked to the elevator and pushed the Up button.
Upstairs Darryl let them into his office with the key, and suggested that John have a seat while he took care of a few things.
John sat uneasily in the chair next to the desk while Darryl disappeared.
He was gone only a short while, and when he returned, John noticed that Darryl seemed somehow different. There was a hint of incense about him. The bulge in his sweats was noticeably bigger, it looked controlled, but as if he had an erection.
Darryl noticed the look in John's eyes, one of expectancy. That was exactly as he wanted it. Anticipation of the unknown that was what he wanted.
"Now," Darryl said softly, "We can go in. From this point on, I will do the talking, and I will ask the questions. You will do as I instruct you to, and answer all my questions with honesty and candor. Do you agree?" Darryl's eyes burned with an intensity almost of fire.
"I agree," John replied, not quite a whisper.
"Good. Remove your shoes, and follow me." Darryl led the way down the passageway that they'd taken the last time John was there. This time Darryl had lighted a lamp and hung it in the hallway; there was no other light.
At the end of the hall, where the door was, it stood just ajar. Darryl touched it and it yielded without a sound. Inside there was only candlelight, and the fragrance of incense hung in the air. After they passed through the doorway, Darryl pushed it closed. There was a click as it locked.
Darryl stopped by a small square table covered with a black cloth.
"Remove your clothing, and place them here. But before you remove your trouser and underwear, put on this robe." The robe was so lightweight, and so similar to the table covering in color, that it was barely visible in the dim light.
John proceeded to take off his shirt and tee shirt. Darryl assisted him in putting the gossamer black robe. In ordinary light one could have seen through it, but in the semi-darkness of the room it covered his nakedness. John then removed his trousers and shorts; standing erect he awaited further instruction.
Darryl waited until John was standing straight again before he walked the front altar. It was covered, as it had been the first time the John was there.
He bowed low before the covered image, and while bent at the waist he intoned in a loud deep voice, "Oh Ba, Great God of Wisdom, come onto this place and be with us in this time of questioning. Guide us in revealing the truth," he paused, and finished with, "So it has been asked, so it shall be done!
Darryl straightened and turned to face John.
"Come forward, and be questioned," he commanded, he voice more subdued, but still deep in his throat.
John stepped forward until he was within arms length of Darryl. When John stopped Darryl made the distance one half of what it was, so that they were looking directly into each other's eyes.
"Do you swear that the answers you are about to give are the complete and whole truth?"
"I do," John said in his deepest voice, at the same level as the question was asked.
"Good," Darryl said in his normal voice, then he continued in his formal voice "Is there any reason why you can not keep secret anything that revealed to you by the servants and priests of Ba?"
"No!" John answered.
"Is there any reason that you can not conduct yourself in a manner fitting of a disciple of Ba?"
"Do you have any allegiance to any other Gods beside the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit?"
"Now," Darryl said in his normal voice, "I am going to touch you, to stimulate you to an erection. When I tell you to, lift and remove your robe. Now close your eyes and think only of what you feel."
John closed his eyes.
The darkness that had only been partial now became complete. His only contact with reality was the fragrance of the incense, the deep breathing of Darryl who stood before him, and the pounding of his own heart.
He sensed rather than felt Darryl's hand upon his body. He could not detect the touch of hands upon him. He felt the movement of the robe about him. A tingling sensation coursed through his being as he felt himself becoming aroused, still he didn't feel the touch. The brushing sensation of a breeze moving caressed his legs and rose up from his knees to his groin; still he did not feel the touch. His legs trembled and he clenched his hands was the reaction to the stimulation became more intense, still he did not feel the touch. A warmth and moistness came across the covered glans of his throbbing organ. The warmth turned to heat as a pressure came upon his member gently forcing back the foreskin, still he did not feel the touch. The flicking sensation upon the pulsing glans almost caused him to collapse, still he did not feel the touch. The hot sensation left him.
Next he felt a hot breath upon his neck and throat, a hint of sulfur pervaded the air around him.
"Now show yourself to Ba!" came the command in a deep voice.
John moved his hands down to lift the robe from around him. He felt it lifted from his head and body. He stood there naked except for his socks, his erection throbbing before him, occasionally moving involuntarily up sharply as if to some stimulation. He couldn't control himself.
The hot moist sensation enveloped his hard shaft and moved slowly back and forth upon him bringing him ever closer to climax. Now he felt the touch, first under his scrotum the gentle warmth of a hand. The moist sensation disappeared from around his pulsing shaft and was replaced by the gentle but firm grasp of a hand. The touch was there, and began slowly moving back and forth along the length. The touch alone was nearly enough, but the other hand cupped his balls and rubbed between his thighs. He restrained as long as he could, and it started.
He issued a loud gasp from his throat, and heard the command, "Now give yourself completely to Ba!" The hand continued the stroking as he ejaculated without restraint, sending spurt after spurt of cum shooting out from his throbbing penis until he thought that he was going to faint from the sensation.
When at last the flow had ceased, he felt the touch of a finger tip on the end of his penis. Then on his forehead he felt the moistness, again on his penis, and then the command, "Take this and taste the joy of Ba which has been called forth from your body. " Instinctively he opened his mouth and stuck out his tongue. He felt the touch on his tongue.
Darryl placed a drop of semen on John's forehead and on his tongue. He was pleased by the extraordinary response from John's body. The size, the shape, the foreskin, the volume of semen, the force of ejaculation, were all ideal. No one could ask any more of any man than this.
He took a damp cloth and cleansed the still nearly erect organ gently. It still responded to his touch. How wonderful, he thought. Then he cleaned his own body that was splashed with fluid as he had placed himself in the direct path of the flow. It took him several minutes to get completely clean. Then he stood up before John.
"Now, John, Son of Man. Cover yourself and be assured that Ba is pleased." Darryl helped him with the robe. "Now lie on the ground and repose in thanksgiving. Darryl assisted John in lying down on the floor.
"Now listen to the sound of your heart as Ba speaks to you " John lay with his eyes still closed and relaxed in total exhaustion.
John felt his robe being lifted and placed across his face. The stimulation of the movement of the robe caused him to regain his erection and it pulsed above his body.
As John lay upon the floor Darryl lifted the light robe from his body. He began stroking his organ that remained stiff and throbbing from what he had seen. He stroked it slowly at first and faster as he looked down on John naked body. John's face was covered with the robe, but he was uncovered except for that.
"See how Ba speaks to your body," came the voice, "Take yourself in your hand and bring forth more seed for Ba." Without hesitation John grasp his sex in his hand and began slowly stroking back and forth. The familiar sensation was quick to return, and the stroking became more rapid.
Darryl watched as John stroked himself. Darryl increased his speed, as did John, bringing himself closer to climax. He wanted to be there first and to spill his seed upon John's body as the final stimulation necessary to send John over the top. Darryl groaned.
John felt the splash of liquid across his chest and groin, and the feeling alone was enough to bring him to the pinnacle of arousal and he too sent forth a new issue which splashed hotly back upon his body.
"Now rest, my Son," came the command. He let his hand drop from his body. He slept.
Darryl lay down beside John to relax, as was his custom.
He soon was aware of John's breathing, which was slow and even. He knew that John was asleep. He too closed his eyes, but did not sleep. His excitement was too great, he would not sleep until later, and he dared not!
When John awoke, Darryl led him back to his office. Darryl spoke softly to him as he was waking, bringing him back to reality slowly, not wishing to disturb any lingering dream in his mind.
When he was back in Darryl's office he dressed once again, feeling a little bashful about his nakedness in the light. He wasn't too certain as to what had taken place, and recalled little of what went on while he had his eyes closed. He knew from the way that he felt that he'd had an orgasm, but how or why, he didn't know.
"You are without a doubt," Darryl declared, "a most ideal candidate for membership in our group. I have never seen such power in a novice, rarely in one who has practiced for five years." Darryl's eyes danced as he spoke, "As soon as I can arrange it, you will begin your studies, and your initiation will be at the service in one week. I will give you some information to read over the next few days.
"When I have arranged it, I will call you, and you can come in and begin your studies, probably beginning next Monday or so. Can you arrange to come here for five consecutive evenings?"
"I think so," John was pleased, he didn't know what, he just felt good about himself.
"There is just one thing," Darryl said.
"You can masturbate as much as you want between now and the time you begin you studies. But once you begin you may not touch yourself until they are completed. Do you understand?"
John nodded. He looked at his watch, it was nearly midnight, and he had arrived at seven!
"I guess that I'd better leave," John said.
"Very well," Darryl said "I'll call you by the weekend. Oh, yes, here are some things you can read until then."
John took the brown envelope that Darryl held out to him. They shook hands and he left.
Out in the street John looked about as if unsure of where he was and what he was doing there. He saw his car parked just in front of him. He walked around and unlocked it. He looked back at the building. Strange, he thought. Such a strange feeling he had. He climbed in and hurriedly drove off, as if he were running away from something.
John slept soundly that night and did not dream, he woke once during the night at the sound of a dog howling nearby. He listened and when he did not hear it again, fell back to sleep.
Darryl, on the other hand, lay awake a long time after he made the phone call to Charles in Los Angeles and asked him come up because he needed to talk to him in person, that it was urgent. His mind ran wild in imagining. He saw image after image of rituals being performed with John as the central figure. And when he slept, his dreams continued his imaginings.
Billy's press release was approved early the next morning and both the early afternoon and evening editions carried the story, once again with the drawing.
One suspect is under investigation for the bizarre murder of Tim Jeffreys, aged eighteen. The youth's body was found early Saturday morning in the alley between Fourth and Fifth Streets just south of Mission. Police say that although one suspect has been questioned, no one had been taken into custody, and the investigation is continuing. No names will he available until an arrest has been made.
Doug saw the newspaper article and reread it twice, to see if what he was reading meant that he was the one they suspected. That could hardly be the case, he thought. Why would they think that he did it? Surely Billy didn't think he did it! He wanted to call Billy and talk to him, but if the police were investigating him, maybe they were following him as well. Maybe that meant that Billy would get into trouble if he called him, or worse if Billy came to see him again. Doug didn't want that. He had been so kind to him, and the other night when they had lain together, it had been so good.
Donna had seen the release before it was approved, and Billy had explained why it was worded the way it was, and what he hoped to gain by saying that there was a suspect, when in fact, there was none. She quite agreed with the plan to put the killer off guard by indicating that they had talked with the suspect. Perhaps the killer would become careless and talk to someone about it, and give himself away.
Ralph, however, didn't know of these reasons, and only saw it as his own indictment. Surely Billy didn't think that he had done it, he thought, but then of course he did have a reason to. He'd have to talk to Billy about it again, to reassure him that he hadn't done it.
Darryl read the article with interest. No one had talked to him, or even knew about him. The boy didn't know him, or even know his real name. He hadn't known where he was going, or a phone number or anything. He couldn't have left any information behind which would lead to him.
Billy finished calling the last of the names from Tim's phone book. Some of the men were reluctant at first to talk with him, but all agreed when he told them that he could have them picked up for questioning should they refuse.
So many men and none of these men had a reason to kill Tim. Some were married, some held responsible positions in large corporations or government, some of the numbers were of hotels, and were no longer in the city. When called at their homes or offices out of town, none had been in the city within the week.
Only three had ever seen Tim more than once, and all three were from out of town, and hadn't been in the city for over a week before Tim's death.
The tall, slightly graying man stepped from the elevator and went to the newspaper stand in the lobby. He bought an evening paper and tucked it under his arm as he walked down the street toward the restaurant where he was to meet a friend for dinner. His polished silk and wool suit, expertly polished shoes, delicately tied necktie, and manicured fingers gave little evidence of his true wealth and influence. He looked like any other prosperous businessman. He rarely, if he could help it, let anyone know who he was, or what he was about.
So much of what he did, involved people of influence and power, that if anyone else knew about him, they would try to get him to use his connections to make an advantage for themselves.
Occasionally he would pick up a hustler and take them back to his room, but it had been some time since he had. Maybe after his dinner with Darryl, he thought, he'd have some for some relaxation. The next meeting of the group was not until tomorrow.
When Darryl had called him late last night, he'd been half asleep. But he got the sense of urgency in his voice and agreed to come into San Francisco for a few days. It was Darryl he was meeting for dinner.
Darryl dressed as he rarely did, in his best suit, white shirt and tie, and gold jewelry. He had grown so accustomed to jeans and sweats that unless it was for business or something special, he didn't dress. Most of his customers were used to seeing him in work clothes, and thought nothing of jeans or sweats when they called on him.
As he hated riding the bus in a suit he took a cab from his apartment to the restaurant timing the trip carefully. He didn't want to be late, and most of all he didn't want to be early. As the cab pulled up to the curb, he saw Charles go into the restaurant. He paid and tipped the cab driver and entered behind him.
Charles was just inquiring alter their table as Darryl approached him from behind.
"Charles," he called not too loudly. Charles turned when he heard his name and a familiar voice.
"Ah here you are Darryl," he said. The two men shock hands warmly.
Charles had been one of the founding members of COPAET in San Francisco. But because of family matters he was forced to move to Los Angeles. He was in the process of starting up and unit down there, but hadn't met the right people yet He traveled to San Francisco for services regularly, at least once a month. He had been here just last Friday and was surprised to get the phone call from Darryl last night. He couldn't imagine what would be so important that he had to fly up during the middle of the week. But Darryl had said it was, and Darryl wasn't one to exaggerate.
"Charles, I'm so glad you were able to come," Darryl said as they sat down at their table in one of the upper, private dining rooms.
"I was quite surprised to hear from you," Charles said.
"I wouldn't have asked you to come here, but something's come up, and I'm at a loss to explain it."
The waiter came in and took their orders and then left. Darryl filled Charles in on the details of the incident, and everything that had gone on since, including the two articles from the newspaper.
"Well, Darryl," Charles' brow furrowed, "We do have a bit of a problem, don't we. First let me say that I'm not in the least surprised at the incident itself. It is not at all unlike something that I experienced many years ago, when I was studying the ancient texts in Cairo.
"But I must say," he went on, "Being alone like you were, and in this country, it does pose a different set of problems. I guess it is lucky that you were alone; at least there is no one else who can implicate you. Everything depends up how you handle the situation.
"From what you've told me, there's very little chance that you can be connected to the boy," Charles continued, "and since no one at the service ever saw him, not even I saw him, there's no way that any of the members would possibly connect the incident with the service."
"Charles, you're right," Darryl said, "I don't think that there's any way the any of them would connect the two things since no one saw him. And since the boy had no knowledge of where he was going, or what he would be doing, he couldn't have left any clues for the police to latch onto. But I just knew that you would want to be apprised of the situation, in case anything untoward occurred."
The drinks arrived, and they toasted. Neither of them was really into alcohol, so it was a refreshing change for them. "Are you ready to order?" the waiter asked.
Doug set his alarm clock to wake him at seven, and he was in the process of getting dressed when the phone rang "Hello!" he said cheerfully.
"Hello, Doug?" the voice asked.
"You don't know me," the man said, "But I was a friend of Tim's. My name is Ralph, does that ring a bell?"
Doug thought a moment and then said, "I do believe that he did mention a Ralph, but I couldn't be certain. How can I help you?"
"Well, I was wondering if we might get together, for a drink perhaps," Ralph said.
"I suppose that would be possible," Doug looked at his book. "I'm free at nine-thirty tonight, or then it would have to be after midnight I'm afraid."
"Nine-thirty would be great," Ralph said. "Shall I pick you up?"
"That would be nice," Doug said.
"Okay," Ralph said, "Nine-thirty then."
"Bye," Doug said and hung up. Now what could he want, Doug thought. Who knows! He hurried and finished dressing.
Darryl and Charles finished their dinner. Darryl apologized for having to run off, knowing all the time that Charles preferred being left on his own in San Francisco. They parted at the door where they met.
"I'll see you tomorrow night then," Darryl said.
"Right," Charles smiled, "At the usual time?"
"Yes," Darryl returned the smile, "Eight o'clock. Ciao!" They waved good-bye and each went their own way. Darryl heading for the taxi stand nearby, and Charles strolling back to his hotel to change for the evening, looking at his watch. It was eight fifty-five.
At fifteen after nine Charles was back on the street, a totally different man from the one who had eaten dinner with Darryl and hour ago. At forty-two he could still get away with it: tight black leather pants, leaving almost nothing to the imagination, a ragged tee-shirt under a black leather biker's jacket, a pair of black leather gloves tucked into his wide studded belt, chrome plated handcuffs locked to a loop in the back of his pants, a chain on which he carried an assortment of keys and other items, and of course, the shinny black high-top boots completed his costume.
He attracted no more than a passing glance from the desk clerk who by now was used to anything he might wear. Some of the other lodgers who were already on their way back in for the night looked askew at him as he passed by. Out in the street he hailed a taxi.
Doug returned to his apartment where he showered and changed clothes. His early appointment did not take as long as he had thought, and he had time to relax before Ralph arrived.
Ralph waited until nearly nine-fifteen before he left his flat. Donna was asleep and he left a note for her, saying that he would be gone for a while. He was dressed in jeans and sneakers and carried a sweater.
The short drive to Doug's place took just minutes, and he was soon outside. He was lucky and found a parking space close by. He pushed the buzzer lightly and waited for the familiar click. When it came he pushed open the door and walked up the stairs. He still wasn't quite sure what he was going to say to Doug, but he knew that he had to talk to him about Tim, to find out for himself if it were possible that Doug knew anything that would lead to the killer.
Doug waited expectantly after pushing the door-release. What could this man possibly want to talk to him about? He went to the door as he heard the footsteps in the hall outside. The buzzer rang He waited. It rang again. He opened the door.
"You're Ralph?" he asked.
"Are you sure you want to go out? I have beer here if you'd rather," Doug said.
"If it's all right with you I'd rather stay here."
"Sure," Doug said, "Come in." He let Ralph in and closed the door. Now that he saw him, he recalled more of what Tim had told him about this man. This was the guy who Tim treated like a friend and the man wasn't paying him. He recalled that he'd warned Tim that he shouldn't get involved emotionally with any of his tricks, but Tim had insisted that he wasn't a trick.
Ralph was a handsome man, and he could see how Tim could fall for someone like him. An older man, but not too old. It was like the way he was feeling toward Billy.
"Come sit down, I'll get the beer," Doug said showing Ralph to the sofa. He went to the kitchen and brought back two beers.
"Thanks," Ralph said quietly. Doug sat down and took a sip.
"Now," Doug asked, "Just what is it that you wanted to talk about?"
"It's about Tim," Ralph began, "I mean the way that he died, the strange circumstances and all." Ralph paused.
"I'm sure that I can't really help you much with information about it. The detective didn't really tell me all that much," Doug said softly trying to stay calm and pretending that he didn't know a lot about what happened.
"I saw the article in the paper, and about the suspect in the killing, and all," Ralph said matter-of-factly.
"Yes," Doug said, "I read it too."
"I suppose that you were the person they were talking about in the article?"
"Perhaps," Doug said, "But since I don't know anything, and the police know that I wasn't involved, it's hardly likely that they were referring to me. There must be someone else."
"Yes, I suppose," Ralph looked away a moment and back at Doug, "Do you know who Tim was seeing that night? I mean, I know how you talked about the people you and Tim saw.
"No," Doug answered, "He didn't give me any name. Like I told the detective; all he told me was that he was doing something really different."
"Different'?" Ralph asked.
"Yes. He said that it should be a real experience. I warned him to be careful."
"He didn't say anything else?"
"No," Doug insisted, "Nothing."
"I was sure that he must have given you some indication of where he was going, or what he was going to do, a name, something.
"I'm afraid not."
"Do you remember if it was a repeat, or with some person he knew from somewhere else?"
"No, I don't think so," Doug frowned. What was it Tim said, he thought back. Tim had been reading the BAR, the Gay newspaper, the night before and had seen something that struck his interest. He'd said that it sounded kinky, but that wasn't it. "No I can't remember anything. I'm sorry."
"I appreciate talking to you, Doug. I liked Tim a lot," Ralph said. "Oh, by the way, I'd appreciate it if you didn't mention that you talked to me."
"I won't," Doug said. "I'm sure that it wouldn't do either of us any good if Bi..." he stopped, "The detective found out." He hoped that Ralph didn't hear or understand what he almost said.
"I suppose not," Ralph had heard, and knew that there was a good chance that Doug would tell Billy that he had been here. "I guess I'd better be going. Thanks for you time." Ralph got up.
"You're welcome, Ralph. I wish I could have told you more, but I just don't know any more."
"Here," Ralph said handing Doug a twenty dollar bill, "I know that time is money. I'm sure you can use it."
"No, that's not necessary." Doug felt hurt by the gesture, and it showed on ] his face.
"I'm sorry," Ralph said, "I didn't mean to offend you."
"That's okay," Doug said, he smiled a little, "I guess that I'm being too sensitive, I mean about what I do."
"Don't be," Ralph said, and he put the bill on the table.
"Thanks," Doug said.
"We'll just say that this is for Tim."
After Ralph left, Doug went to the stack of newspapers near the doorway. They were mostly Gay or specialty papers. He looked through them until he found the one he was looking for. He took it back to the sofa and sat down.
He remembered how he and Tim had liked to read the Ads, as they called them, the personals. He turned to that section. He hoped that Tim had marked that one he was referring to some how. There were four circled in red pen. Doug read them. Only one of them sounded even remotely strange.
[Doug dialed the number as he looked at his watch. "Shit!" he said out load. He'd have to leave in the next five minutes or he'd be late.
"Hello!" came the pleasant voice.
"Yes, this is Douglas, is Billy there?"
"No, he's out, can I leave a message for him?"
"Please, tell him I called. Ask him to call back after midnight, it's important."
"Does he have your number?"
"Yes, my name's Douglas Johnson."
"Very well, Douglas, I'll tell him."
Doug hung up. He hurried to splash on some cologne and dashed out the door.
Billy had been there, but he was asleep on the sofa. Jimmy was used to taking calls for him, and could usually tell when something was important. Since Douglas had asked for Billy to call after midnight there wasn't any point in waking him until then.
Ralph drove back to his flat and found his usual parking spot taken. It took him an additional five minutes to get one within two blocks of where he lived. He swore under his breath, he wished that they had a garage, or something!
Charles stood waiting. He had his usual couple of drinks at the Eagle, south of Market and returned to his room. He hadn't found anyone interesting to talk to, he rarely did. He did enjoy dressing and going out in his leather upon occasion, but was rarely rewarded for his efforts. Still, it was always worth a try.
The phone rang. Charles looked at his watch. It was just before eleven.
"Helloooo." he answered in his melodic voice.
"Hi, this is Doug. I'm in the lobby."
"Come on up, Doug," Charles said. He hung up the phone. He'd changed clothes and was wearing only his silk dressing robe. He had almost decided to cancel, but this boy was interesting to watch. He hadn't had a chance the last time he was in the city, as Doug was busy on the night that he'd called him.
Doug had found out the first time, that Charles was one of those men who liked watching as young men masturbated. He didn't want to touch them, or have them touch him. if he got particularly turned on, he would join them in masturbating, but mostly he just watched, fondling himself as they did so.
For Doug it was an easy fifty dollars, rarely taking more than twenty minutes, thirty if Charles got turned on and wanted him to slow it down. He knocked on the door and waited.
Charles heard the knock and went to the door.
"Good evening, Doug," he said as he let him in.
"Good evening, Sir," Doug replied smiling. Charles led the way to the bedroom. He climbed on the bed and rested back against the pillows.
Doug went into the routine that had been requested without a further word.
Jimmy prepared for bed and turned off the lights in all the rooms except the lamp on the table in the living room where Billy was still sleeping, and the bedroom. He'd finished his usual ritual, and looking at the clock decided that it was time to wake Billy.
Gently he touched Billy's shoulder.
"Billy," he said softly. He watched as Billy awakened slowly. "Billy," he said again. Billy's eyes opened and he smiled up at Jimmy.
"I guess I dozed off" he said stretching. "I must have been tired."
Jimmy smiled, thinking, he's working too hard. He needs a vacation.
"There was a phone call a while ago. It was Douglas Johnson, and he wants you to call him after midnight, said it was important."
Billy rubbed his eyes and yawned. He saw that it was just twelve now.
"Thanks, Jimmy," he said getting up.
"I'm going to bed," Jimmy said.
"Go ahead," Billy said, "I'll call him and join you in a minute." Billy went to the bathroom and splashed some water on his face to wake up. He sat down on the sofa where he'd been sleeping and reached for the phone. He pressed the auto-dial number for Doug's apartment and waited.
Doug heard the phone ringing as he put the key into the lock. He hoped that he'd get there in time. It should be Billy calling and he didn't want to have to call back.
"Hello!" he said into the phone as he picked it up.
"Hi, this is Billy," came the sleepy sounding reply.
"I'm sorry if it's too late to talk," Doug said, "But I think that I've found something."
"What is it?" Billy's mind jumped instantly into full gear.
"Something reminded me. Something that Tim had said last week. I checked and found an AD in the BAR that I think he was referring to."
"Okay," Billy said, "Do you have the newspaper handy?"
"Yes, it's right here."
"Give me the date and the page."
"It's July 8th on page 46."
"Okay, wait." Billy said and rushed off to get their copy of the paper. He hoped that it hadn't been thrown away yet. He hurried back to the phone when he found it.
"Okay, Doug," he said, "Now Count the columns left to right."
"Two. And it's the ninth one down."
"Thanks, Doug. It there anything beside a circle around it to indicate whether or not he called?"
"No," Doug said. "Just the circle. I recalled that he said that it sounded kinky."
"Okay, thanks." Billy said, "I'll call you tomorrow, okay?"
"Sure," Doug hung up.
Billy marked it on his paper and read.
Ancient Egyptian Spiritual Enlightenment - Rituals practiced. For males desiring more than just contact. Call for more information.
Billy read it over again. It still didn't make a whole lot of sense. The number listed wasn't one of those in Tim's book. So if he intended on calling it, he never got around to it. That means we're right back where we started from, Billy thought.
He decided that he'd sleep on it, and then call Doug in the morning. Maybe he'd be able to recall more than he had already remembered.
Doug had not a very profitable evening thus far, and decided that he'd got out for a while after he hung up the phone. It was a fairly decent night, and it was early yet, just twelve-thirty.
Polk Street bustled with activity. Doug blended with the crowd wearing jeans and tank top with sneakers.
Darryl had the urge to prowl tonight, and after returning home to change clothes had taken the bus back down town. He made the rounds of the more seedy places in the Tenderloin, that narrow band of buildings between Market and Geary and Powell and half way to Polk. He observed the usual activity at the bookstores and movie theaters, but nothing caught his attention.
He ambled on down Market to the Civic Center area and turned up Larkin. Perhaps Polk Street would provide him with what he was looking for. It had in the past. Friday night was coming up, and he needed an inspiration, something to take the fear out of it, after last week's incident. He wasn't going to try that again for a while but he could at least shop around.
Larkin was not too busy, and as he walked passed the Century Theater, he looked at the list of movies playing. Nothing worthwhile there either. He continued on up Larkin and turned left at the corner down to Polk Street.
Doug stood on the corner outside The Gulch, his jacket slung over his shoulder. He saw the man dressed in jeans and tee shirt, a fairly attractive man whose face struck him as interesting. The way he carried himself he appeared prosperous.
Darryl saw the youth standing outside The Gulch. Now there's one, he thought. Just the right age, and from the look of his jeans pulled taunt across his crotch and thighs, an adequate specimen of the male form. From his pose, he could very easily be a hustler like the other one. He might just be what he was looking for.
Darryl stood as he crossed the street and peered in through the glass of the bar next to the young man. "Anything going on inside?" Darryl asked.
"Haven't been inside," Doug said, "But from the amount of traffic in and out, there can't be too much going on."
Darryl smiled at him. He smiled back.
"You're all alone tonight?" Darryl asked.
"Yeah, right now."
"What about later?" Darryl asked. He's a hustler all right, he thought.
"That depends," Doug returned. He's interested. Let's see how interested he is.
"Depends on what?" the man answered.
"On how much you like what you see." Doug said smiling and adjusting his pose to give a slightly better view of his body.
"Oh, I like what I see," Darryl said tilting his head to get a better view. "I'm not sure that I can afford what I see."
"It isn't cheap," Doug said looking directly in the man's eyes.
That's what Darryl liked, direct and honest.
"Let's walk a bit, and talk," Darryl suggested. It was too risky to make an offer right in plain sight. The youth took his foot down from the wall and turned toward Larkin. Darryl turned and they began walking slowly. At the moment they were alone on that stretch of the street.
Darryl knew how much cash he had on him, but he didn't want to take him back to his place.
"Can we go to your place?" Darryl asked. He knew the answer to that question, if the kid was really a good hustler.
"No, " the kid answered, "I have a rule about that."
He must think I'm playing games, Doug thought, or just checking me out.
"Well," the man said, "I don't have a place tonight, but I'd like to get together with you sometime real soon. Can I call you?"
"Sure," Doug smiled, "What would you like to call me?"
Darryl looked bewildered a moment and rephrased the question, "Would you give me your phone number?"
That's better, Doug thought, "Yes, it's on my card." Doug took out a business card and handed it to him. "But try not to call before ten, I usually sleep until then."
Darryl looked at it and put it in his pocket, "I'll give you a call, Doug. Sometime this weekend, perhaps.
"What's your name?" Doug asked.
"I'm Ron," Darryl said.
"Do you have a card?" Doug knew the answer to that.
"No," Darryl said, "I have a rule, too!"
"Take care, Ron," Doug said and headed back toward Polk.
"Have a good evening," Darryl said smiling. He watched as Doug walked on down the street. Yes he thought, that'll be the next one, if he's properly motivated. Doug disappeared around the comer and Darryl turned down Larkin toward Market. He'd found what he was looking for, and was going home. Fridays were always busy, so he'd have to get some sleep soon.
Doug strolled around the block and headed back to his apartment, it just wasn't going to happen tonight, he thought, there's no point in wasting the energy and time.
Besides, he just wasn't in the mood any more. The scene with Charles, although he normally handled it well, had been a bit depressing tonight.
Ralph lay awake a long time trying to make sense of what was happening. He could tell the Donna was sensing that something was wrong. She'd soon be asking questions, questions that he'd just as soon she didn't ask. Because he didn't really know the answers, at least answers that he could give her, and still keep her.
Billy tried to put the information he'd gotten from Doug out of his mind, but it kept flashing before his eyes, and it bothered him, that Doug should suddenly remember something as important as this, at this late date. Perhaps something had jogged his memory, that did happen once in awhile. Finally he dropped off near one-thirty.
To be continued ---
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