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.
I want to thank those of you who have written me about the story. I hate that it has to be uploaded in pieces. I do hope that it keeps your interest.
Jeff admitted to John that his call to his roommate had been a ruse, and that
his roommate was a college chum, a female in which he had no interest whatsoever,
although she had another impression and had been trying to get him into bed all
of the previous year. John was surprised by Jeff's admission and the fact that Jeff had never slept with
the woman, although why he didn't exactly know. Somehow he didn't think that men admitted
that sort of thing to other men. Perhaps things have changed or perhaps it's
just that this is California and the Bay Area. "Why don't we have dinner tonight?" John asked. "I've heard of a place that
has Middle-Eastern food." "I'd like that," Jeff said. It was settled, Jeff would come by at seven and they'd go out together for
dinner and perhaps to a bar later.
Jeff admitted to John that his call to his roommate had been a ruse, and that his roommate was a college chum, a female in which he had no interest whatsoever, although she had another impression and had been trying to get him into bed all of the previous year.
John was surprised by Jeff's admission and the fact that Jeff had never slept with the woman, although why he didn't exactly know. Somehow he didn't think that men admitted that sort of thing to other men. Perhaps things have changed or perhaps it's just that this is California and the Bay Area.
"Why don't we have dinner tonight?" John asked. "I've heard of a place that has Middle-Eastern food."
"I'd like that," Jeff said.
It was settled, Jeff would come by at seven and they'd go out together for dinner and perhaps to a bar later.
Several hours later Darryl returned to his typewriter and began feverishly pounding out an entirely new initiation ritual.
Doug was bored with the day. He'd cleaned up his apartment and done his laundry. He wished that he had someone to share the day with. He couldn't decide what to do. He pulled on a pair of shorts and tank top and left the apartment.
Jesse, who'd nearly forgotten about John, decided that he'd give him a call to see if they could get together tonight. It was just past seven in the evening. He dialed the number, but there was no answer. "Damn!", he thought, "I knew I should have called earlier."
Turner and Jamison strolled down Castro on their way to dinner. The tall lanky Jamison and the petite Turner similarly dressed would have looked oddly out of place anywhere else but here. Their romance was doing nicely, and Jamison was trying to get Turner to quit his job with Darryl and go to work with the bank. But Turner wasn't quite sure about making the move yet. Banks somehow didn't appeal to him all that much. Besides, he thought, there's no hurry.
Billy and Jimmy had gotten dressed early Saturday afternoon and driven down the coast to have dinner at their cozy restaurant by the beach at Monterey.
Doug's travels took him to a secluded stretch of beach south of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a place where if one wanted to be alone one could be alone, and if one wanted company one could have that also. The climb down to the beach was a matter of keeping one's balance, but the return climb tested one's endurance as well.
It was not a heavily used beach and the usual population was more than half Gay. Nude sun bathing was the norm, and as at most nude beaches those who had the least to display, did.
Doug lay on a stretch of beach where he was more or less isolated from the rest of the beach-goers. One had to climb across a slippery boulder to reach it, and he lay where he wasn't in view of those who came to the crossing place to check it out. Although he would have welcomed company, he wasn't really out looking for it.
When the breeze began to blow in from the sea late in the afternoon, he pulled on his clothes and made the trek back to civilization. If he had pushed it, the bus ride back could have been more exciting. But he had to get something to eat, and then ready for the evening's activities.
His phone was ringing when he got in and he did just manage to pick it up in time.
"Hello," he said quickly.
"Doug?" the unfamiliar voice asked.
"This is Ron. We met a while back and you gave me your card. Well, I was in the area and thought that we might have a bite to eat."
Ron, Ron, he thought, and couldn't put a face to the name. He was hungry so, "That sound's great. I just got in, and if you can give me fifteen minutes, I'll meet you at Joe's. Okay?"
"Okay," Darryl said, "I'll be waiting."
"See you, Ron." All through his quick refreshing shower Doug tried to place him. Oh well, he thought, if I gave him my card, I guess he can't be that bad.
Darryl sat at the bar nursing a beer after he had made his phone call to Doug. He'd selected a pair of jeans that particularly flattered his figure; the kind one wore when one wanted to attract the attention of a certain kind of person. He wore a worn tee shirt and sneakers with the jeans.
He'd finished preliminary work on the ritual for John's initiation and wanted to see if Doug would be suitable to be part of it. Knowing that Doug would be willing to do it was only a matter of the amount; he only needed to check his qualifications to be a part of it.
Through the window he saw Doug coming down the sidewalk across the street. Doug had chosen a pair of light colored cotton pants that although they fit tightly across his well-formed butt, didn't reveal anything about the contents of the front. It was almost as if he knew what Darryl was interested in, and deliberately chosen his pants to keep the information from him, at least at first glance.
Darryl waited until Doug was crossing the street toward the bar before stepping out into the street.
That's Ron! Now he remembered. Well, he still was hungry. He smiled warmly when he approached him.
"Hi Doug," Darryl said.
"Hi Ron," Doug returned. I can see what he's up to tonight, he thought. Well, if he can afford it, I can handle it!
Jeff and John emerged from the restaurant satisfied with the meal of spicy Middle-Eastern food. John suggested that they drive to Oakland to a bar that he knew there, one, which catered to college students. Jeff eagerly agreed.
Ralph took Donna out for dinner, something that they did often, but not with the flair that he did tonight. As they sat sipping their after dinner drinks he decided to start the process of mending his relationship with his wife.
"Donna?" he said softly. She turned and looked directly at him. "I know I've been a bit distracted lately," he began, "but it's not because of anything you've done or haven't done.
"It's that I've been engaged in some maneuvering to get a client hooked." It was not entirely a lie. "It's not the usual sort of deal, so it's taken some different kinds of dealing to try to pull it off.
"And even now, I don't know if it's going to happen." He didn't want to make it sound as if he were actually going to get it to happen, because that would mean money coming in, money that wasn't in the offing.
Donna smiled, "I suspected it was something like that."
He must think I'm a dummy, she thought, it's all too vague. Besides, he almost always talks about his deals in great detail.
"So, you're giving up on it?" she asked.
"Not giving up," he answered, "But just not counting on it either."
She's not buying it, he thought.
"The important thing is that I love you, and equally important for me to know that you understand."
"But I don't understand," she protested.
He could see only one way out of this. He didn't want to loose her, and yet he didn't want to give up his other way either.
"Okay," he said calmly, "I didn't want to have to tell you, but I can see that I must." He knew that Billy would be unhappy about it, but there was no other way. "You know the case that you and Billy are working on?" he asked.
"Of course," she frowned questioningly.
"Well, I had occasion to meet him when I was leasing a unit down town. What I've been doing is trying to find out some information about the man he was with at the time, the one who was trying lease this unit."
Why, this is even more ridiculous than the last story! Billy wouldn't do this sort of thing!
"Billy asked you to do this?" Donna glared.
"Of course," Ralph answered.
"Why don't I know about it from him, then?"
"Because," Ralph said, "If what we suspect is true, you could be in danger." God, I hope I can remember all this! "Yes," he continued, "This guy is really strange, a real fruitcake! He doesn't trust women at all, and has some strange ideas about most men too."
"No," Donna said finally, "This is stupid!" She got up to leave.
"Donna don't," Ralph pleaded, "Don't make a scene."
"I'm not going to make a scene," she whispered, "But I don't have to sit here and listen to a pack of lies either!" She turned and walked out of the restaurant.
She didn't have the slightest idea of what she was going to do, but she knew she had to get away, at least for a little while. She hailed a taxi and went home. Ralph'll expect that I've gone home, she thought, and won't bother me there.
Ralph got up slowly after paying the check. Feeling that he'd lost a great struggle, not with Donna, but with himself, he walked down the street to where they'd parked the car. Once inside, he wasn't even sure where he was going, he started driving.
Darryl and Doug finished their meal, and walked out of the restaurant. At least, Doug thought, he knows good food. He still wasn't certain what Ron had in mind. Perhaps now he'd find out.
Darryl could sense the puzzled feeling that Doug had. And that was part of his plan. The unknown, the sense of mystery, were things that people couldn't resist. He had enjoyed his conversation with Doug during dinner. The boy was not the typical hustler, interested just in one thing, money, money with which they buy drugs, drinks, and clothes, not necessarily in any particular order.
"Doug," he said asking, "What would you say if I asked you to be at a function for me?"
"I guess I'd ask what kind of function?" Doug looked at him as they continued down Polk Street.
"I can't tell you that," Darryl watched his expression, "And you wouldn't be able to see what was happening either."
"I don't understand," Doug said.
"I mean that you'd be blindfolded and be bound."
"I don't get into that kind of scene," Doug said quickly.
"No it's nothing like that at all. Not S and M, if that's what you think."
"Well," Doug asked, "What is it then?"
"Like I said, I can't tell you much about it. I'll just say that you'll enjoy it, I think, and you won't be fucked, if that's what's worrying you."
"I guess," Doug hesitated, "But what's the point?"
"The point is, that you'll earn two hundred dollars. One hundred of it you'll get if you agree to show up and the other when you leave."
"When and where?" Doug asked.
"This coming Friday night, from seven until about eleven. Where, you won't know. I'll pick you up, put on the blinders and then when you're ready to leave, I'll take you back to where I got you."
"Won't that look silly?" Doug asked.
"No, not the way it's done. You'll just look like you're blind, that's all." Darryl smiled.
"So what do I have to do?'
"Nothing, just be there. Everything else will be done for you."
"You mean to me?"
"Well," Darryl smiled again, "you could put it that way. But like I said, I think you'll enjoy it. You'll have a chance to use your imagination, you won't see a thing, and those there won't see who you are either. So there's nothing to worry about in that way."
"How soon do I have to let you know?"
"Tonight," While it wasn't quite true, but Darryl decided to push it, "Now."
"Okay," Doug said, "Where you we meet?"
"At the Trans Bay Terminal. You know where that it, don't you?"
"Sure," Doug said. "No rough stuff?"
"No rough stuff."
Darryl handed Doug an envelope smiling. He knew that there was a fifty-fifty chance that Doug wouldn't show. He was willing to take that chance. He'd already devised an alternate plan in case he didn't.
Doug put the envelope into his pants pocket and walked away. He'd have to think about it. Although he'd agreed, he didn't have to show up. Then he realized that Ron knew that, and for some reason was willing to take the chance. It must be important to him, but not too critical that he be there.
Ralph finally stopped at a pay phone and tried to call Billy, then he remembered that it was Saturday night and that Jimmy and Billy almost always ate out. Then he called Doug's number, still no answer there either. He got back in the car and drove to Polk Street. From there, at least if he got drunk he could walk home and get the car the next day.
Home, he thought, what he'd come to regard as home was now on the verge of becoming no place. Unless he could convince Donna that he still loved her, and that she was still the most important person in his life he was going to loose his home.
He parked the car and walked the several block to The Gulch. Dressed as he was in sport coat and slacks, he looked strangely out of place in the bar. But tonight he didn't care.
He ordered a double scotch up. He sipped tentatively on it. It tasted terrible. But the fiery liquid warmed him. He hadn't realized that he was cold until he noticed how he now felt.
Doug walked into The Gulch. He noticed the guy in the sport coat right away, but from the back he didn't recognize him. His hustler's instinct drew him there immediately. When he saw that it was Ralph, he was going to draw back. He wasn't sure that he wanted to be with someone he knew tonight. But it was too late Ralph had spotted him too.
"Doug!" he called, "It's good to see you." The scotch had relaxed him.
"Hi Ralph," Doug answered.
"Can I buy you a drink?" he asked.
"Sure, why not?" Doug stood along side of him and ordered a beer when the bartender came over.
"So what are you up to tonight?" Ralph asked.
"Not much," Doug answered, "How about you?"
"Same here," Ralph said looking into his glass.
Doug sensed Ralph's mood. Not tonight, he thought, I can't deal with an unhappy drunk. Still he was a friend of Tim's, and if Tim liked him, there must be something good in him.
"You look a little down," he said sipping on the beer.
"Yeah," Ralph said woefully, "My wife and I had a tiff, I guess it's called, a fight."
"That's too bad," Doug consoled, "It'll probably be okay in the morning."
"I hope so," Ralph said. God, I hope so, Ralph thought. But right now, it's not, so what the hell? "What you doing now?" he asked hopefully.
"Drinking a beer with you," Doug smiled looking at him.
Dumb question, Ralph smiled back. "What I meant was," he started.
"I know what you meant," Doug said. "Want to go to my place?"
"Yeah," Ralph said.
Billy and Jimmy slept late the next morning, with bunch scheduled with the gang at noon; there was no need to be up early. Late for Jimmy was nine-thirty, and so he was up and moving about the apartment when Billy opened his eyes. He stretched and yawned. He felt good, relaxed and refreshed. He climbed out and strode to the bathroom, his morning erection leading the way.
When he came out he saw Jimmy standing in the kitchen pouring a glass of juice.
"Want some'?" Jimmy asked turning and extending the glass to him.
"Not just yet," Billy said. "You're what I want," he smiled, grabbing the remnant of his hardon.
"Well, I guess!" Jimmy grinned back, and he set the glass down on the counter.
Donna woke and saw that Ralph hadn't come home. Tears welled in her eyes Why she asked herself, why had she been such a fool? Was it so awful that he, like most men, sought the company of another person occasionally? Most women she knew found sex a bore, and were glad that their husbands went elsewhere. Some women actually looked for adventures with other, often younger men.
But, damn it, she wasn't other women, and Ralph wasn't other men. She loved him, and she wanted him all to herself!
John made breakfast while Jeff sat in his under shorts watching. Occasionally he looked over at Jeff.
There was wonder in his eyes. Here was this man, nearly old enough to be his father, who cared about him as a person. He'd long ago given up on his family, his alcoholic mother, and his father who chased anything in skirts, both of whom had told him he'd never amount to anything. He almost had believed them. He saw himself as plain, dull, and stupid. But after his first encounter with a man when he was a senior in high school, all that changed. He found a way that he could be loved.
His father was glad to see him move out of his mother's house and out on his own. His father had left her five years earlier and Jeff had shuttled between them. Neither really had time for him. His father, when he wasn't out chasing women, was traveling in the business world, busy earning a living. He saw to it that Jeff didn't lack for money, and when Jeff had said he wanted to go to college, set up an account for him. Jeff used the money when he had to, but had a part time job during the school year, and worked full time in an office during the summer. He used the money sparingly, keeping track of every penny he spent. His intention was to replace it when he could.
Jeff was still too shy to make many friends, and how he came to have the nerve to do what he did yesterday, coming out to John's he still didn't understand. He was just glad that he had.
John was aware of some of what Jeff was going through in his life, just by having listened to how he talked about his family. He found him more than attractive, interesting to listen to, and well on his way to getting a degree in college, not at all the way his parents looked at him.
He found Jeff's desire to please him in bed surprising, and returned indulgence with a fervor that delighted them both. He'd found most young men he'd carried on with to be self-centered, and content to be gotten off, returning nothing to the encounter, even wanting to be paid, or at least given gifts for their efforts. John, disgusted with that attitude had shied away from younger men, preferring to be by himself rather than to submit to their whims and lackluster performances.
He had begun to seek out men who could satisfy his desire for something different, men of different races and cultures. He found young Black men, although they often wanted a reward for their attention, most satisfying. He knew that the size of their sexual equipment was part of the stimulation, and the perceived danger heightened it also.
Doug climbed out of bed and put on the coffee before going to the bathroom to shower. He'd enjoyed the evening with Ralph, even though he was not likely to be paid for it, perhaps because of it. Somehow he found his own enjoyment of sex was dulled because he was being paid for it. He recalled the times he'd been with Billy, and remembered that he'd enjoyed them the most. With Ralph it was somewhat the same, but because of Tim.
Ralph was still asleep, exhausted from the sex and alcohol. At first his desire had been hampered a bit by both the Scotch and his mood, but as the effects of both diminished he responded to the expert titillation of the young man who knew all the ways to excite a man.
Darryl rose early Sunday morning. There was much to do during this week so that he would be ready for Friday night. He worked out the schedule for the evening down to the last detail. Nothing was being left to chance.
He had to let everyone know about the event. He had to insure that John was prepared. He also had to make certain that Ralph would be available to take Doug's place in case that the boy failed to show up. Scheduling the three participants arrival so that none of them knew the others would require split-second timing. Charles would aid in the shuttling of the members from the street to the anteroom when he was busy with the last minute preparations. A third cell had to be made since currently only two existed. There was no problem with space since the room was large, but it all took time. And getting the materials delivered might prove problematical and so he'd have to find someone who had a truck or car to do that for him. He recalled that Turner had mentioned that his new friend owned a truck or station wagon. He looked up Turner's number and dialed.
Tuner was busy fixing breakfast while Jamison finished making the bed and straightening up. When the phone rang he was in the middle of pouring the muffin batter into the cupcake papers.
"Would you get that," he called.
Jamison picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"Yes, this is Darryl Brackens, is Tuner there please?" Jamison knew who Darryl was, and he covered the mouthpiece and called to Turner, "It's your boss, Darryl."
Turner finished with the last of the batter and shoved the tin into the oven. Wiping his hands, he picked up the phone in the kitchen.
"I got it," he called to Jamison. "Hello, Darryl."
"I'm sorry to call you so early," Darryl said, "But I need a favor."
"If I can," Turner said frowning, it wasn't like Darryl to call me at home and even less to need a favor from anyone.
"I seem to recall that your friend has a truck or wagon, is that right?"
"Yes, he has a small truck," Turner said.
"I need to get some supplies hauled to the office storage from the lumber yard on Mission on Monday afternoon. I'll pay to rent the truck, but I'll also need someone to help carry the stuff down. Could you ask him for me?"
Turner relayed the information to Jamison. Although neither Turner nor Jamison felt any compulsion to help Darryl; they knew that if Darryl was asking, it was important to him. Despite his idiosyncrasies, he wasn't a bad person, a bit of a bigot perhaps, but not really bad.
"Sure, tell him I can get away," Jamison said, "Tell him two o'clock, I'll meet him there."
When Ralph sat up he was surprised to find that he didn't have a hangover. When he recalled the events of the early part of the evening, however, his spirits dampened. He'd have to make peace with Donna somehow. He'd also have to let Billy know what had happened.
Donna had decided. She was going to take some time off from work and visit her family in Chicago. It had been some time since she'd been home.
Billy might think it strange, but she could handle that. She wasn't actively involved with the case they'd been given anyway. The important thing was to get away from the situation so she could plan how to deal with it. Her mother had gone through a similar situation with her stepfather when she was in high school, she could tell her what she should do.
Jimmy and Billy dressed for brunch and left their apartment at noon. It was a delightful sunny afternoon. The fog had burned off early and there was just a slight ocean breeze. It was the kind of a day that the tourists pictured when they recalled their stay in San Francisco.
The Castro bustled with activity, the tourists and shoppers. Stragglers from Saturday night's festivities stopping on their way home looking for someplace to hide from the sun's bright glare. The brunch crowd desirous to see or be seen was dressed in the fashionable garb of the day. An occasional, but obvious hustler, stood waiting for an early afternoon score. The serious cruisers were not yet to be seen. They would make their appearance later after the crowd had stabilized.
A few like Jimmy and Billy were meeting friends, though a ritual event, to socialize and to catch up on the activities of the past week, or to discuss upcoming happenings. This latter group tended to be older, well established men and women from all walks of life who enjoyed the freedom to be who they were without being hampered by the pettiness and bigotry often found in other parts of the country, though less so now than in years gone by but often enough to cause a constant influx of new citizens to the Bay Area.
Ralph decided to venture back to the flat where he and Donna once lived in harmony. He had to at least get fresh clothes. Doug had told him he could stay at his place if he needed to while he found a place of his own.
He was surprised when he walked in to find a note on the table.
Dear Ralph, I'm going to visit my mother. I will be gone for a couple of weeks. We'll talk when I get back and see about working things out. Call Billy and let him know that I won't be in for a while. Donna
He wished that she'd waited until he had a chance to talk with her, but was also relieved that he didn't have to right now. He wasn't at all certain as to how he wanted to handle the situation, while they didn't have any children to consider, there was the time they'd invested in each other. He did care for her, and did enjoy the companionship that they shared.
He supposed that he could get used to living without her, but he was in no hurry to want to try. He dialed Doug's number to let him know that he didn't have to stay with him, not for a while at least. He tried Billy's number, but as he figured, there was no one home except the answering machine that took the message thanking him in advance for taking the time to leave one.
Ralph undressed and climbed into the shower, lingering under the hot spray letting his body absorb its soothing effects. Still stressed and tired after he dried off, he lay down on the bed that Donna had changed and re-made before she left. Moments later he was asleep.
Jamison had no trouble arranging his schedule to leave at noon on Monday. He hastily went home, changed into jeans and headed for the city. When he pulled up outside Darryl's office at noon, he found Darryl waiting outside.
He looks pleasant enough, Jamison thought, but then looks are not usually a good indicator of character.
Darryl climbed in. They introduced themselves to each other, shaking hands briefly, and Jamison drove on down the street, doubling back on Mission.
Turner had been right when he described Jamison as a large man, Darryl thought, and a real hunk too! Perhaps, he thought, well not now, he didn't have time to think about that too.
Darryl had called ahead and had the lumber and supplies set aside for him. In that way, he wouldn't have to tie up Jamison's whole afternoon. It was one thing to ask a favor, but to impose was something that he wasn't into. He hated it himself, and tried not to do it when he wanted a kindness.
As he and Jamison loaded the supplies into the back of the truck he couldn't help but notice the grace and ease with which he worked. Some men, he thought, were born to do that kind of thing, and were cooped up in an office all day, not able to indulge in the very thing that they were best suited to. Through choice or circumstance often put people in positions in life where they were stifled.
Darryl instructed Jamison on where to park in the alley behind the building when they returned. He used his key, and propped open the heavy door. Then he went on ahead and used another key to keep the service elevator on the ground floor while they loaded it.
When as much as would fit into the elevator was moved from the truck he turned the key again and pushed the down button. At the basement he returned the key to the standby position. They carried the supplies back to the room and stacked them just inside the door. A second trip was all that was required and they were finished with the hauling.
Jamison was relaxed and found the slight labor of moving the materials invigorating. He hadn't done anything like this in a long time. He'd always enjoyed helping his Dad with tasks like this.
"Thank you, Jamison." Darryl said. "I surely appreciate you're taking the time off and helping me with this stuff."
"You're quite welcome." Jamison answered. "Is there something else that I could help you with? I'm free the rest of the afternoon."
"You're sure you wouldn't mind? I don't want to hold you up or anything."
"No, I like doing this sort of thing," Jamison smiled.
"Well," Darryl said, "I'm adding another small storage room next to the other two I already have. It would go a lot easier if I had and extra hand."
"Great," Jamison said, "I'll go park the truck, and I'll be right back."
Darryl hurried get things organized. He hadn't planned for Jamison to be around long enough to see some of the things that were sitting around. He quickly stashed the items he didn't want him to see into cabinets, and just as quickly put out the things he did want him to see.
He'd already marked out the layout for the room on the floor, and had a rough drawing showing the dimensions. The tools he needed he'd purchased from the time he'd built the rest of the rooms and shelving.
It wasn't long and he heard the knock at the door. Darryl went and almost nervously opened it. He was greeted by Jamison's eager smiling face.
"That didn't take long," Darryl smiled.
"No, there's a parking ramp just around the corner."
Darryl showed Jamison where they were going to be putting up the new room and the drawing. Together they began cutting the pieces of wood to fit the plans and nailing them into place. Darryl was surprised with the dexterity and skill with which Jamison worked. It took them less than half the time Darryl thought it would take them to complete the structure.
"Let's take a break," Darryl suggested. "I'm going to run up and get some refreshments, I'll be right back."
"Okay," Jamison answered.
Jamison walked around the area slowly, looking at the various items that lay about the room. There were mostly office supplies, paper, envelopes, file folders, pencils, etc. But, there were also a variety of things he hadn't expected to see. There was a folding cot and blankets, magazines, and just out of view under the cot, a partial bottle of poppers, a jar of lube, and a dildo. Maybe, he thought, Darryl uses this place to bring guys he wants to have sex with during the day.
He sat down on the cot and started looking through one of the magazines. It was one of the kinds you'd find in a bookstore. He'd seen this kind before, in fact, he had several of his own. They were quite interesting, and their stimulating effect was beginning to show. He reached inside his jeans to adjust himself and continued to look at the pictures and read the material printed about the scenes and models.
Good, Darryl thought as he let himself stealthily back into the room, he's found something to interest him. Jamison was so engrossed in the magazine that he didn't hear Darryl's approach.
"They're quite good, aren't they?" Darryl said softly.
Jamison was caught off guard, "Oh, yeah. I hope you don't mind."
"No, of course not," Darryl smiled, "That's what they're for."
Jamison was embarrassed by his erection and lay the magazine over it.
"Here's a beer," Darryl said taking one off a six-pack he had in a brown paper bag.
"Thanks," Jamison said, unsure of what to do. He wanted to continue looking.
"It's gotten warm down here," Darryl said. He pulled off his sweatshirt and sat down beside Jamison. Darryl took a swig of beer.
"There's a couple of good pictures further on," Darryl said. Jamison turned the pages, glancing at them as he did.
"There," Darryl pointed excitedly, "Look at that one! Have you ever seen a cuter ass in your life?"
Jamison saw out of the comer of his eyes, that Darryl was getting turned on and was actually groping himself.
"Yeah," Jamison said, relaxing a little, taking another long drought of his beer. He began to feel the effects of the warmth of the room and the beer. Perspiration was beginning to run down inside his shirt. He pressed the fabric against his chest to soak it up.
"Why don't you take it off?" Darryl suggested, "That way it won't get all wet. I've got a shower in back, and we can freshen up before we leave."
Jamison was reluctant, but it made sense, so he stood up, leaving the magazine on the cot. He unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it out of his jeans and took it off. He felt Darryl's eyes on him as he stood up. His manhood was stretched against his thigh, having escaped his underwear. The jeans were soft and faded, the way they get just before you need to throw them away and get new ones, starting to fray in all the wrong places, or the right places depending on your point of view, crotch, knees, and butt.
As he lay the shirt down on the end of the cot he looked down and saw Darryl staring at him. Darryl licked his lips as he looked at the bulge.
"You might as well take these off too," Darryl said softly, touching Jamison on the thigh just below the bulge.
Jamison hurriedly dried off after his refreshing shower. He was totally embarrassed by his behavior, but not so much so that he hadn't enjoyed himself with Darryl. He wanted to get away from here as fast as he could. He didn't want Turner to find out that he had stayed to help Darryl; for fear that he might suspect that something had happened between them.
Darryl thanked him again for helping him with the project.
"You're welcome," he answered shyly, "Tell Turner that I'll meet him at the bar; he'll know which one."
"Will do," Darryl smiled.
Another candidate, Darryl thought as he watched Jamison disappear down the hallway. Darryl cleared away the remnants of the work that they'd done, and vacuuming the sawdust from the floor. When he was finished, he too showered and put on his sweats. Then looking around, he closed up the storage room and went back up to his office.
As he rode the elevator up he wondered how to handle this new information. He could try to instill doubt in Turner's mind about Jamison, but that might just have the wrong effect, and then Jamison would never agree to do what he wanted him to do. No, he thought, just leave everything stay as it was, that way, he'd have some leverage with Jamison.
He relayed the message to Turner and thanked him for his part in getting the lumber moved.
"You didn't tell me that he's such a hunk," Darryl smiled, "You'll have to take care to see that no one tries to invade your territory."
Turner blushed, "Thanks," was all that he managed to respond to Darryl's compliment.
Jamison found a parking space in The Castro, where he wouldn't have to feed the meter, and walked slowly up the street toward The Clock. He looked at his watch. In an hour, the thought, Turner would be catching the bus from downtown. He hoped that he could calm himself down by the time he arrived. He wished that he hadn't allowed himself to be compromised by Darryl. He hadn't intended to, it just happened. He hoped that Turner would understand, if he ever found out.
Billy was surprised by Ralph's call and the news that Donna had taken time off. When he'd asked Ralph why, all he could get out of him was that she'd decided that she was tired and needed to get away.
Billy was suspicious, but let it be. He had other things on his mind. Donna hadn't been actively involved with the case, so it wasn't as though he'd miss her on that account.
He dialed the number he'd gotten from his contact at the phone company. It was nearly five-thirty, so he was certain that this John Spencer would be at home by now.
On the fifth ring it was picked up at the other end, "Hello."
"Yes, Hello, Mister Spencer, John Spencer?" Billy asked.
"Yes, I'm John Spencer," John answered.
"My name is Billy Preston," Billy said trying to sound official, but not wanting to alarm him, left off his title.
"I'm with the San Francisco Police Department, Homicide Division. I wonder if we might get together sometime soon. An acquaintance of yours suggested that I might talk to you regarding a case that I'm working on," Billy explained, "Could you meet me tonight?"
The pause on the other end was understandable, Billy thought, as he waited.
"I suppose that I could drive in later on this evening," John said.
"Any time you say will be fine with me," Billy said.
"Let's say seven-thirty then," John said, then asked, "Where do I meet you?"
"Do you know where Sofia's is located, it's in The Castro?"
"Yes," John answered.
"Okay, at seven-thirty then at Sofia's." Billy hung up the phone. He hurried home to dinner, as he was already fifteen minutes behind schedule.
John hung up the phone. What could he possibly know about any case that Preston was working on? And who had given him his name? And why a Gay bar? John's mind worked frantically to find answers, but none came.
A knock came at his door. Then he remembered that Jeff was coming for dinner. They planned to spend the evening together, and now he'd have to cancel that part of the evening, or at least postpone it. He hoped that Jeff would understand.
Ralph closed up his office and went home to the flat. It was strange for it to be so quiet. Donna usually had the stereo on listening to music or a talk station.
He took of his suit and hung it up. Walking through the rooms in his underwear felt good, something he rarely did when Donna was around, she'd thought looked tacky and indecent. He never understood why she felt that way, but avoided doing it to please her. Now that he thought about it, he wondered why.
He looked in the refrigerator to see if there was anything to eat. There were some leftovers but nothing appealed to him. He closed it and went to his closet. He pulled out a pair of slacks and a shirt and laid them on the bed.
After a quick shower, he dressed and left.
John kissed Jeff tenderly and told him that he'd call when he got back, and if it were not too late they'd get together then.
John knew that Jeff was disappointed, as he was, but Jeff was growing up, he didn't pout, as he would have just a short time ago.
The drive to the city was easy, and John soon found himself at the Ninth Street exit ramp. He drove down to Sixteenth Street and turned right. A few minutes later he found a parking space and walked anxiously to his destination.
He felt strange walking into a bar looking for a man who was supposed to be a police detective, someone he didn't even know, actually had forgotten to ask how to recognize him.
Billy had little trouble spotting John Preston when he walked in. Ralph's description was quite detailed, and accurate, he thought when he saw him walk through the door. For a moment Billy stood watching, sizing him up, and then strode over to him.
"John?" he asked tentatively.
"Yes," John answered.
"I'm Billy," he said, hoping that leaving off the last names would make him feel more relaxed.
"It's good to meet you," John said as they shook hands.
"Why don't we go in back, it's more private back there," Billy suggested.
It was early and they had no problem finding a table in the corner where they could talk in private, without being overheard.
Billy explained the purpose of their meeting, telling him as much as he felt that he needed to know to be helpful, and still feel comfortable.
"So you see," Billy said, "We don't know much about this Darryl Brackens. We don't know if he is connected to the death of this boy or not. But we need to know more about him, and his organization.
"Ralph, this friend of mine, has told me as much as he knows, which isn't much. I'm hoping that you can fill in some of the gaps."
"I'm afraid, I don't know much at all," John said. He'd listened as Billy had told him what Ralph had said, "At least anything more than what this Ralph told you.
"The only thing more that I can tell you, is that this week I'm being initiated into the group. It's going to be on Friday, I believe. That's when they do whatever it is that they do."
"Okay," Billy said, and asked, "So you've not seen anything that goes on at their ceremonies either?"
"But we can assume that once you're a member, you will be allowed to see and to take part in at least some of them, right?"
"That's what Darryl's told me, yes."
"Good," Billy explained, "What I need you to do is to keep your eyes open. Once you can see, and try to remember some faces, and names. We'll get together on a regular basis, and you can let me know anything that you find out.
"It's also important that we try to prevent another incident like the one which killed the boy from happening again." Billy said, adding, "Of course, we don't expect you to endanger yourself in any way."
John thought about it for a moment, then asked, "How do I get in touch with you, if something important comes up?"
"Here's my card. It's got my home number on the back. Don't hesitate to call anytime, day or night, even for the slightest reason, even if you're not sure if it's important or not."
They stood up and shook hands. John noticed that Billy's gaze was warm and friendly. Evidently Ralph had given him details that Billy hadn't mentioned to him. John smiled to himself, so the policeman is human.
To be continued ---
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