This story is gay fiction. It is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced in any medium without my express permission. If you are a minor in your country of origin, don't read.
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I pulled my notes together and glanced around the rapidly emptying lecture hall. My eyes felt as if I had sand under the lids and my body ached. I took a deep breath and stuffed the notes into my attaché. I hadn't even rowed that morning. I felt nearly as dead as the bodies that had been the subject of my just completed lecture. I shuffled towards the door, feeling far older than my twenty-eight years. I started for the entrance hall of the forensic science building of King's College and my Sierra in the staff car park just beyond.
The young Welshman had proved to be a demanding lover last night – as had the Irish lad the night before. I hoped there wouldn't be much paperwork on my desk waiting for me because I was going to bed early. I didn't want to think about drugs or the gay clubs of London – or sex – at least for a day. I definitely needed a day off just to recharge.
'Philip! Philip Goodson!'
The Irish-accented voice pulled me back into reality. I had already left the building and was in the student quad. A ginger-haired lovely I knew was standing directly in front of me.
'Richard Bell,' I acknowledged him.
'Well, as I live and breathe,' an American voice spoke up at my side. I turned to find Brett moving to stand beside Richard and grinning back at me.
'Do you two know each other?' I asked.
'Well enough, Inspector Goodson,' Brett said, 'for him to have filled me in on all your finest attributes.' He gazed at my crutch and licked his lips. 'Is it really that big?'
I blushed down to my toes; young Richard had the decency to colour too.
The American guffawed. 'Actually, Inspector Goodson, I'm glad I've found you.' I gazed at him, unsure I wanted to hear whatever reason he had to want to see me. 'After you left Illusions last night, I started thinking of why you said you were there...' He turned to the Irishman. 'He was at the club with that med student who likes to pretend that he's homeless,' he told him.
I coloured again, feeling the heat of my embarrassment spread across me like fire.
'Ah, the Welshman – I hear he's quite good, well worth the money if you're into rentboys in your bed...' Richard studied me, watching my face darken to crimson.
I now finally understood the psychology of murder, seven years after I'd joined the force. I suspected I could cheerfully murder both of these lads and not feel a shread of remorse. I forced the image of a Yank and an Irishman hanging side by side from my mind. It was much too attractive an image at the moment.
'You both are involved in the performances at Illusions,' I told them. 'Think of what several uniformed coppers inside that place would do to your audiences as well as your wallets.'
The American blanched as he assimilated that idea. The Irish lad simply groaned.
'What in God's name would that be for?' young Brett asked.
'Heroin is a nasty drug. If we can't find where it's coming from and put an end to it there, then we'll have to put foot patrols out to try to keep it in bounds.'
'There aren't that many gay coppers in London,' Richard grumbled.
'Of course, there aren't. You'd get whichever lads we can spare any particular night.' I smiled tightly. 'They won't be just watching the crowd; they'll be actively looking for drugs. Anything suspicious would get their attention fast.'
I didn't like the idea; and I was but an occasional visitor to the clubs. I knew what the introduction of a strong police presence to pink London would do to it. It would wilt and turn grey quickly. All of the life and even wildness I expected when I went out to party would be gone. I hoped these two would positively hate the thought of it.
'Do you remember the Russians who were at Illusions last night, Philip?' asked Brett.
'An older guy and two young chaps sitting near the stage?'
'That's them. I went home with the older one last night...'
I raised a brow to let him know that he'd managed to surprise me. His face turned a rosy pink and I chuckled.
'That's none of your damned business!' he growled.
'You mean I'm not going to hear what young Americans do for recreation with older men when in London?' I asked, forcing shock into my voice. Richard was grinning toothily when I glanced over at him.
'You deserved that one, lad,' he told the American.
'Bullshit!' Brett hissed and I accepted that the good-looking American was much better at dishing out barbs at someone else's expense than accepting them. 'Look, I was curious how Aled could get it up with an old fart. He offered me a hundred and I decided to satisfy my curiosity.'
'You what?' Richard demanded. 'Christ, Brett! You fart money – why did you sell yourself?'
The Yank turned to face me, ignoring our companion. 'He offered me ecstasy and grass almost before we got through the door.'
'He did what?' I asked slowly, my mind immediately following this new thought.
'He also invited me to a weekend thing he has going on.'
'And...?' Richard demanded.
'I asked if I could invite some guys from the university.' He shrugged. 'I thought it might be interesting, but I'm not about to go off with a group of guys I don't know and become their pincushion for the weekend.'
'There were sexual implications to this invitation?' I asked. I was no longer tired. I was no longer embarrassed by this American's brashness. But I was definitely curious.
'Ilyich said not, but I'm not sure. I can be the best fuck a man's ever had; but it'll only happen if I want to be with him – at least, I've got to decide to want to do it with him. I don't do gangbangs, that's why I want friends along if I decide to take him up on his offer.'
'Think I could pass for one of your mates?' I asked.
He grinned, his hand moving to touch my arm. 'You'd better. If I do this gig, I definitely want a police presence – one policeman in particular.' He turned to face Richard. 'I'd want you there too, guy. The more the merrier.' He shrugged then. 'And the safer I'll feel.'
I studied the American for a moment, remembering that Aled had said that the Russians had freely offered him drugs too. The offer, in both cases, had involved party drugs. No-one I had yet met had put the Russians together with heroin.
Admittedly, a number of gay men offered their friends and even their newly met sex partners grass like they would a drink. Probably many gay men had poppers in their bedside cabinets right along with the condoms and lube.
I suspected, however, that a middle-aged Russian would be stingier than most young Englishmen. The rouple was nowhere as steady as the pound and, from what I knew of Russia, things had been tight there since the Bolsheviks overthrew the tsar.
A middle-class Englishman would offer his mates grass, but he'd probably forego offering more than a quick drink to a rentboy. That and a sniff of his poppers once they were in bed and getting to the dirty. I didn't think a Russian would be quite as generous as his English cousin. Yet, both Aled and Brett had been rentboys in the eyes of this Russian. That should have only served to lower them in his estimation from equals to hirelings.
As soon as I was able to return to the office, I wanted to know what we knew about the man. While I was at it, I decided to ask the Home Office and the military lads what they knew about him – through proper channels, of course.
'This Ilyich is with the Russian trade commission, isn't he?' I asked.
Richard shrugged but Brett frowned. 'I think so,' he said slowly. 'It sounds right.'
'Good.' I nodded. 'Now this weekend party you were invited to – was it something firmed up?'
'He said this weekend, Philip.'
'Tell me about it.'
'He wanted me to come out and to put on a Dietrich show.'
'Would it be just the two of you then?'
Brett shook his head. 'No. It didn't sound that way at all. Ilyich said there'd be good-looking guys – English and Russian. It sounded like it was something they do pretty often.'
'Middle-aged or young lads?'
'I got the impression from what he said that most of the guys were going to be young – legal, but young.'
This thing was sounding more and more interesting. And curiouser. 'Will you go to it?' I asked.
'If I've got you and Richard there – sure,' he answered. 'It could be fun.'
I glanced at the ginger-haired lad from Belfast. 'How about you? Will you go?'
'What are you planning?' he asked without committing.
I snorted. 'A bit of surveillance, I suspect. We have these Russians frequenting gay clubs and...' I glanced to Brett. 'And availing them of gay sex when it's offered – or they buy it. They quite freely offer up party drugs, even to a lad they've hired. That's a bit suspicious to me. We also have heroin entering the gay community. It becomes more suspicious.'
'You think they're bringing it in?' asked Richard.
'I don't know. The odds would be against it. I've never been so lucky as to have any of my cases solved by having the evidence dropped into my lap. But it's always possible that fortune could strike.'
'Other than Ilyich offering me drugs last night what's stuck in your craw with this thing?' Brett asked suspiciously.
'Having young Englishmen trekking out to the country with young Russians is a bit strange, don't you think?'
'Yeah, that is,' Richard agreed. 'I've seen those two younger guys at Illusions. They're good-looking guys now that I think about it, but – well – I've never thought I might like to get into something with one of them. They're...' He paused looking for the correct word but finally shrugged. 'They're different.'
'There's usually a distance – especially when there's a langauge difference,' I agreed. 'Here, there doesn't sound like there is one. That makes me me even more curious.'
'What happens if Ilyich and his Russians are your drug suppliers, Philip?' Brett asked. 'I'm not ready to get into the shoot out at the O.K. Corral here.'
'The O.K. Corral?' I asked.
He laughed. 'Sorry. American history there – if you saw as many cowboy movies as I did growing up, you'd have known what I was talking about.'
'There won't be any shoot outs, Brett. We'll go to their country place and keep our eyes open. I'll try to find one or two young policemen we can take in with us. But nothing will happen – not there.'
'But what happens if they are selling heroin?' Richard demanded.
'We'll get out before I invite the local constabulary there. If they are doing something illegal – anybody there – they can be arrested after they've left. You two will be safe.'
'That's a firm promise?' asked Brett, watching me closely.
'You and Richard won't be anywhere near that place if my suspicions become aroused. That I promise you. You're civilians, I'm not going to let you get involved in something dangerous.'
'Okay, I'm in,' the American announced.
'Count me in too,' the lad from Belfast offered. 'I need some fun anyway.'
'Where is this place?' I asked Brett.
'Somewhere in Selsey. Ilyich said it was a...' He fumbled for a moment looking for the word. 'A dacha his government owns.'
I smiled. A simple check of that county's registry would tell where I was going to be this weekend. I could do that from the office. 'Set it up with Ilyich then, Brett. And get back with me with the information.'