This story is posted for the exclusive enjoyment of readers of the Nifty Archive. While you are free to make a personal copy, no copy of this manuscript may be published, copied, posted to another web site, or otherwise disseminated without express permission from the author.

The contents of this story are fictional. Any resemblance of characters to living or lived persons is strictly coincidental. Certain characters engage in sexual acts which may or may not be legal in the state or country in which a reader may reside. Any reader with objections to graphic descriptions of sexual encounters between males who may not have reached the legal age of consent, or whose local, regional, state or national jurisprudence prohibits such descriptions, should not read further.


Chapter II -- The Contract

My alarm is one of those damned contraptions that starts out ever so softly with light classical music. The volume gradually increases until it would deafen a rock concert aficionado. The sleeper must then hit the "snooze" bar, or it cuts in with a sound that is a combination of the sounds of a smoke alarm, a school blackboard scraped with freshly cut fingernails, and a buzz saw that hits a nail. I slept through the first half hour of it, but my body couldn't take the nails, so I got up and did my ablutions while the coffee went through the filter. I dressed as usual, then pulled a shirt and pair of khaki Cargoes out of the closet, a change of unders, shoes and socks for the Knack Box. My wash bag was already there.

I left the house at around six, and sailed through the tunnel to the Golden Gate. The city sparkled as always, at least when the fog has lifted or hasn't formed. It was already getting light, of course, the sun poking over the Oakland Hills.

By six thirty, I was through the City, just enjoying the scenery on I-280, slurping a little coffee, listening to the KDFC morning concert. I was too early to go to Rancho Cielo. Rather than stop at the donut place in Los Altos, I decided to just stop in the Vista Point parking area and drink the rest of my coffee. It would give me a chance to read Herb Caen.  Always witty, Caen had been writing a little less tellingly of late, but still better than all others. The venerable columnist would soon succumb to a lifetime of good living, but I didn't know that yet.

I pulled into the parking lot, and was surprised to see a number of cars there already. I presumed they were fellow commuters unwilling to put up with the horrendous traffic through San Francisco between seven and eight and, as a result, far  too early for work.

I pulled out my paper and turned to Herb's column. I was halfway through it, as well as my first cigarette of the day, when a flash of motion in the corner of my eye made me look up. A very nice-looking guy, maybe thirty or a little younger, in Dockers and a golf shirt got out of his car next to me. He walked around to the driver's side of a small Japanese coupe on the other side of him.

There was a guy in the coupe, in a white T-shirt, leaning back in the seat smoking a cigarette. I couldn't see his face -- I was up too high. The body looked young, as did the arm and hand in his lap. The two exchanged a couple of words, and the guy standing moved closer to the side of the car. The cigarette was launched backwards into the air, towards the center of the parking area. The torso in the car twisted a little, the hand going up to where I couldn't see it any more.

The guy looked over the top of the car, right through me. He had no expression on his face at all.

When the little car started to vibrate back and forth, sideways, I finally realized I was watching a guy getting a standing blow job from the kid in the coupe. Fascinated, I watched as the vignette played itself out in a matter of no more than two minutes, the "Donee" throwing his head back as he no doubt ejaculated into the mouth of the young guy in the coupe. I was aroused despite myself.

As soon as the deed was done, the standee fumbled himself closed, walked somewhat stiffly back to his car, got in and drove off. I expected the kid in the coupe to do the same, but he was obviously in no hurry. From my vantage point, a good deal higher than him, and with the other car no longer between us, I could see his shorts were down halfway to his knees, and he was waving his piece in the air languorously. It was a nice size and shape, pink as a baby's butt.

He must have been known by a few people. In the time it took me to read Herb's column, the business section, and a couple of pages the main section, he had had at least five "visitors," all of whom showed evident signs of great pleasure followed by immediate departure. At one stage, there was actually one guy standing in line behind the guy getting his dick serviced, and another hovering nearby, like an airplane in a holding pattern awaiting clearance for touchdown.

"Ah, the joys of youth," I thought to myself. I lit another cigarette, and was about to read the rest of the paper - it was still only seven forty-five, and Mrs. Harrison didn't want us to arrive until after her husband left at eight thirty. Another twenty minutes to kill. I turned the page, looking up, and saw a really nice looking black guy, sitting on the low stone wall. He was wearing a tight Tee and running shorts made by cutting off the legs of a pair of sweats.

No underwear. No jock. No shit. His dick wasn't hard, but it wasn't soft, either. He was watching the kid in the Honda give succor to another soul, and glanced at me. He smiled at me and gave himself a little tug, probably just to let me know it was there in case I hadn't seen it, which would have been like not seeing the Washington Monument from ten feet away on a clear day.

I smiled back a broad "can't believe this kid" smile, giving a quick toss towards the rocking little coupe. The black guy got up and walked over to me. His dick hung low enough that the head was just peeking below the ragged hem of his shorts.

"Hey," he said by opener.

"Hey," was my original response. "This guy seems to have quite a fan club. Looks like a regular."

"Yeah. He be here every first Wednesday of the month, the last year or so. The line gets longer every month."

I was amazed. That meant the black guy was there on the same schedule, or more frequently. Curiosity got the better of me: "He's good, huh?"

"Pretty passable," he said. "Let him practice on me a couple of times. Has a sweet load." He had bittersweet chocolate skin, and his neck showed him to be in his late thirties, early forties. His arms tried to say he was in his late twenties, early thirties, as did his legs and chest, but The Neck Knows. Sam used to tell me that you could tell more about a guy's age by the texture of the skin on the neck than any other part of the body, now that plastic surgery, hair coloring, gyms and stuff were ubiquitous. Sam would know that stuff, being behind the camera, then producer.

"I'm better, though," he said. "Lots."

It took me a second to process. It was too early in the morning.. "Yeah?"

"You betcha, got more experience," he said with a laugh. "I could take you up to the mountain and back twice, and you'd never go back to white meat."

I laughed like a machine gun burst. I liked the guy's sense of humor. "I'm pretty much into nail hammering," I said after I pulled some breath back in.

He quickly turned around and looked over his shoulder at me. "See any needful studs here with the right grain?"

The guy was sharp as a whip. Picked up on the metaphor without a hitch, and spat it back at me without a pause. I looked down, and saw one of the nicest butts on an older guy I'd ever seen. Just like a young buck's, it leapt out from his tailbone, made a perfect question mark to his upper thigh. Not big. Not small. Perfect proportions for the narrow waist, slightly wider hips, broad back at the top of the "Vee."

"Enough to handle my nail," I said. The metaphor was stale already. "Wish I had a camper instead of a pickup."

"Yeah," he said grinning, those wonderful teeth so many blacks are blessed with sparkling in the sunlight. "Chippers get curious, seein' a pair of legs sticking up in the air from the back of a pickup. Truth told, they'd probably like to plunk down themselves, but can't on duty."

"Speaking of the CHP, don't they hassle?" I looked quickly in my mirrors for a California Highway Patrol black & white.

"Nah. They cruise through once in a while, park over yonder if there's too many of us playin' lines, but it's a public place. No tourists this early in the morning, so nobody gets complaints."

He leaned over and looked at my crutch. I put the paper on the console.

"Promising," he said.  "Wanna take it out for a spin?"

"I'd probably end up following you home like a stray puppy," I laughed. "I gotta be at work in fifteen, otherwise I'd love it."

"Won't take but a minute," he said. "I told you, I'm good, man."

"Don't doubt that for a minute," I said.  "But I can't think straight for a few minutes after I get there, and I really gotta be to work on time today." That wasn't really true. I was already thinking about Michael.

"Man, what you wanna go think straight for?" he said, leaning back and looking at me with an evil grin. "I'm not into straight.."

"Me either," I said with another dumb grin, kicking the engine to life. "Maybe I'll see ya sometime." I knew I wouldn't. That is definitely not what I want, private sex in public places. Not for me.

"Bring the camper shell," he said, stepping back. "I gotta deep itch."

I just gave him a laugh and backed out. The Honda was still there, and yet another supplicant was leaning against the car, peering over the roof, a dreamy expression on his face. The car was rocking a little, but I couldn't see anything inside, as the rear windows were tinted almost black.. It was actually a pretty invisible thing. I doubted a casual tourist on the other side of the lot would even suspect that the guy was doing anything other than just leaning over the top of his car admiring the view.

I gave a quick wave to the black, but he was walking back to the wall, and probably didn't see it. As I shifted into first, the guy leaning on the Honda gave me a quick glance, no more. He was wearing what looked like a Rolex, a Polo shirt, expensive looking. A wedding band. We all got inside needs, no matter the cover.

I figured out how it worked. The car was parked right at the curb, so a guy could stand on the curb or not, depending on how tall he was, getting his yoke at the right level to poke right through the window, just at mouth level. Leaning close to the car, with the blacked windows, no one could see a thing. Clever.

I thought a little on the way down the freeway, now a little more crowded, but passable. I couldn't go back to . . . what was right for me when I was younger, before Sam .   nailing any guy who I wanted that had a butt raised for entry. I wanted more, wanted the pleasure of waking up to the same person every morning, bad breath and all, knowing he wasn't any more offended by mine than I was of his, accepting me for who I really am under all this flesh and cloth. I wanted . . . Sam, but of course I couldn't have him. Too soon to say for Michael. What the hell was I thinking? "I'm not into older guys," I told me.

Not that a quick BJ, or even a raincoat-protected truck fuck, would not be a pleasurable experience. I mean, I'm human, horny and desperate. Just not that desperate. Not yet, anyway.

The black guy was a turn-on. He was like an older version of the guy I'd nailed in . . . Ventura? San Luis Obispo? or was it the Marine from Pendleton? What was his name?

I could remember only the look in his eyes as I slowly put my dick inside his young and welcoming hole, the wondrous softness of his lips as we kissed, the silky feel of his butt when I put my hand under him, the moans of pleasure as I slowly stroked in rhythm to the strokes he was giving himself, the little cries as he began to tense around me with his orgasm, the amazing amount of semen he'd pumped over his chest as I came inside him. He cuddled into me all night long, and in the morning we did it all over again, but this time with the ease that familiarity brings, and it was even better than the first time. His hair was soft and he smelled of the outdoors, rich and peaty.

We saw each other two or three times after that first amazing night. I pulled away when he started talking about introducing me to friends. All I wanted was a good fuck-buddy, not a lover. He was just out of high school, I was already out of college, the Air Force, probably pushing thirty pretty hard, at the very least 26. I felt real bad for hurting him when I told him that. There were no tears, thank god, but he was real hurt, I could tell. I ran across him a couple of months later, and he was with a guy he introduced as his boyfriend, a nice enough seeming light-skinned guy, also a Marine. They made a nice couple, very masculine, very bright of eye. I wished them luck and said good-bye., as they were being transferred to someplace else where Marines are based. Quantico? Something like that.

I thought about him -- the Black Marine -- a lot since first writing this, but I still can't remember his name. I feel bad about that. I can tell you everything there is to know about what he liked in bed, how he felt in my arms, how his legs felt around me, what it felt like inside him when he was about to climax, exactly where his prostate was, how pleasant his light snore was next to me. But not his name . . . Sam overwrote everything from my past, made it all unimportant.

I'd just pulled off the freeway when the phone sang.

"Will Baker," I said as the truck came to a stop on the shoulder.

"Mornin!" said Mike. "Still on for tonight?"

"Wouldn't miss it," I said.

"Just checkin' to be sure," the Voice said. "You wanna stop here for a shower before we eat?"

"If that won't gross you out, that'd be great." I said.

"Stop knocking yourself, Will."

It came as a mild slap, but in soft covering. The Voice Knows.

"Yeah," I said by reply. What I wanted to say was something defensive, something to cover up what he'd seen through, but I knew somehow that was pointless, he'd just see through that as well. "What room number?"

"206. Just knock, I'll be here at five-thirty sharp."

"Me too," I said. "Uh, Mike?"


"I'm not into quickies," I said, putting my tender side out, my sexuality on the line. Probably reacting to the scenes I'd just seen.

"Me either," he said. "Now shut up and have a great day."

"Gotcha!" I said with a little laugh, probably more of relief than humor. I hit the "end" key and headed up the hill to the Harrison spread. Today was wrap-up. A local contract crew would finish laying the sod, I'd make sure the stock being delivered from my wholesaler was the right quality (the Best, of course), and with my regular crew we'd get it slotted into the wide expanse of native plantings we'd already got into place, all laid out and agreed with Mr. Harrison. His wife could have anything she wanted on the inner perimeter, but he wanted nothing but California native on all the slopes and approaches. It was going to look spectacular. For a hundred thousand in plants alone, it would have to. At retail, of course. My mark-up was only 10% on big jobs like this, but then I got my fees and labor charges as well.

Mr. Harrison was going to pay off my credit cards, and a tiny chunk of the balance of the mortgage on my place in Sausalito. And still pay my crews, the suppliers, and all the other out-of-pocket expenses. It was nice to be in the black.

When I got to the Harrisons' place, the crew was already at work, and the last of the plants were awaiting my acceptance. I looked through them all, making sure there were no pests or signs of disease, and rejected only a few gallon cans of grasses that looked a little too green for my taste. Green native grasses are tender, and the sun would soon shrivel them. I wanted stuff that had been matured more, and Dave, the nursery manager, would agree. One of his new guys must have pulled the grasses.

Mr. Harrison was there, too. He was almost never around. I wondered what was up, but gave it not a further thought as we plunged into the final lap of the three-week long planting race, making sure to position the plants right where they needed to be for the sprinkler system, the vistas I'd designed, the growth patterns.

After the lunch break, we had almost everything done, so I spent a couple of hours with my local crew boss, Eberardo, going over the maintenance routines. We'd do the lawns weekly, of course. Trim and clean, take care of the walks and drive, all that. Monthly would be the main cycle pruning, the replacing of any plants that didn't make it, or got too big despite the pruning, the annual color we were supposed to change every quarter. The contract wasn't huge, but it would pay all the bills of my Peninsula operation that weren't already covered by the eleven other high-end maintenance contracts going on in Los Altos, the Hills and Mountain View. All I needed was four or five more jobs down here, and I could afford a full-time manager and an office, get the ball rolling for expansion. Maybe even take down a little salary for me. Get my social security payments up.

At around four, the crew started to pack up, cleaning, making the whole thing pristine. I would come back the next day and present. Then out comes Mr. Harrison, who apparently had never gone to work.

"Hello, Mr. Harrison," I said.  "Almost done! Be out of your hair at last."

"Hi, Will. I was wondering if we could talk for a few minutes."

"Oh, shit. What's wrong? " I thought to myself. I could see my profits going down the drain. Probably wanted me to rip up that bed of impatiens, replace with red roses, or maybe redo the fern grotto I'd done at the back of the house, the one I was so proud of, facing the pool.

"Sure thing!" I said, wiping my hands on a rag.

"Will, I'm pleased beyond measure at the job you've done here, " he launched in.

I awaited the "but," which never came..

"The house will look a lot less nouveau riche with all the work you've done, and it will stand out as an example of good native landscaping for a long time."

I glowed in the praise.

"Now," he said, and I could feel something coming, "we agreed a price for the job of , uh . . ."

"Two hundred six thousand," I said. "Including tax."

"Right," he said. "But you've done a lot more than we originally agreed, especially the things Grace wanted done in the front."

"That's okay, Hr. Harrison," I said. "I won't bill you extra for that. It's normal that a client wants a few things changed." I figured he was going to try to screw me out of the extra cost anyway, so no point in making a big deal out of it. Only cost a couple of thousand extra in trees and flowering plants, a couple days of my time, and six days for the local crew, so that almost fit under "contingencies" I'd built in for weather that had been amazingly cooperative.

"Well, I've put in a little extra for that anyway, Will, " he said, handing me a check that was sticking up out of his pocket.  "Grace is just thrilled at the job you've done, and I appreciate your . . . discretion."

Oh, shit, the poor sucker knew his wife was getting pumped by the chauffeur.

"Georg (he pronounced it "Gayorg")has a big mouth as well as a big sausage," he continued. I was struggling not to have an epileptic seizure. "But he's good for her."

"That's kind of you," I said. "My guys will be pleased to get a little bonus." I was afraid to look at the check, and have him see my reaction if he hadn't added much, so I just put it in my pocket.

"But more important matters," he changed the subject. "We're building a new Headquarterscampus near the Dumbarton, and I'd like you to bid on the contract for it."

"Sir?" Harrison was a bigwig at Star, the big computer company down in the Valley.

"Well, we've got a pretty prime parcel. We want it to look like it really belongs there, and there are salt marshes and stuff I want to restore to be as natural as possible, since the trail runs right by it." He walked me towards the back of the house as we talked. "I'd like to see you accomplish something on the lines of what you did down in -- Carmel, was it?"


"But with a little more emphasis on the northern California native grasses and shrubs, Valley Oaks, that sort of thing."

"How big a job are we talking about?" I asked.

"Oh something I'm sure you can handle," he said. "About three hundred acres all told."

My mouth started to water.

"From scratch?"

"Yes, we're building on fill thrown in from old construction, so we've got to bring in new topsoil for the formal landscape areas, and the marsh area has suffered enormously from the salt operations down here. It will probably call for complete regrading, with all the hassle of EPA filings, impact studies,  negative declarations, that sort of thing. You'll need to have a lot of contact with environmental groups, to gain as much of their support as possible, explain to them what we're trying to accomplish. The company doesn't want anyone thinking we're raping the environment or anything. We have too high a profile."

The contract could run into the millions.

"You want me to do everything, from planning commission to final acceptance?"

"Yes. I've already spoken with the General Contractor who we expect to take the bid. He's anxious to talk to you, get a feel for the cost, the appearance, the grading requirements, all that. So we can start with the Planning Commission presentations as soon as he's got the bid."

"I'd love to take a crack at it," I said.

"Well, good!" he said. "I know you'd be the right choice. Just look at that!" he said pointing down the hillside. "That's the best California native landscape I've ever seen, including the stuff done by Renzel over in Danville. He's the only other guy I would consider for this."

I think I actually blushed a little, but my tan hides it pretty well most of the time.  Renzel is the number one landscape architect specializing in Cal Native. He did a huge campus over by the Interstate 580/680 interchange. Rave reviews, spreads in every gardening and landscaping digest in the West.

"Thanks, Mr. Harrison."

"Oh, for Christ's sake, call me Dan," he said. "If we're going to have you doing work for us, I can't have you being so damned formal with me."

I looked at him, a little dazed by it all. "Okay, Dan it is."

"Good!" he said, turning back to the house quickly. He left me standing there, still a little stunned, and walked back into the house through the fern grotto to his private study. Grace -- Mrs. Harrison -- said her husband liked ferns and Cycads, and the trees I'd planted along with the oak that the builder has preserved, gave that side of the house plenty of shade.

I shook my head and went back to help the crew finish, but they already had it all done, and we just shook hands and smiled a lot. I can't speak much Spanish, but I can speak pretty good compared to some. "Muy bueno" is NOT hard to say, people! I think it helped a lot with my guys -- they really do good work for me.

We all agreed that it was a job well done, and I told them there was a bonus coming, but I wouldn't know how much until I finished the books. At least two hundred apiece. They all beamed, no doubt thinking what they would get for their kids, their wives or girlfriends. When you make less than ten bucks an hour, a hundred is a lot.

I washed up my hands and arms in the bucket, and we all took off. I stopped at the bottom of the drive and looked up towards the house. It looked as I had envisioned it from the outset -- except the damned Chinese Pistachios, but what can you do? The best residential job I'd ever done. Only because Harrison was willing to pay what was necessary, of course.

Thinking of which, I pulled out the check, and stalled the engine when I drew in my breath and my legs. He'd made it out for an even "Two Hundred Fifty Thousand and no/100." Forty thousand more than the contract. A twenty percent Bonus! I was in the black for the year already, had the cash I needed to take on some bigger jobs, and my mortgage was going down by another ten grand. Four thousand for the crew -- that's five hundred apiece. No. Six thousand, plus two to cover the taxes. They were good. A thousand for Raul -- he worked more hours that any of his crew, thought before doing, looked before leaping. Eight hundred for Erik. He was a little less devoted than Raul, tended to be an eight-to-fiver. A pool of $4200 for the eight other guys, to be spilt after Raul and Erik had a chance to discuss who got what. I couldn't wait to tell them in the morning!

And The Contract. If I got it, my business was going to quadruple in size overnight, and I could be sure of ongoing referrals, new contracts. Sam would be . . . would have been . . . proud of me. Mike would . . . I wondered what Mike's reaction would be . . .

I don't remember the drive to Rickey's.