The Catch of the Day
Copyright © 2013- Nicholas Hall
The shiny brass bell tinkled brightly over the door, agitated by the opening of this gateway to the street, as I entered; summoning the proprietor to lend assistance to the personage entering the premises and signaled an invitation to me to savor, through my twitching olfactory nerves, the sweet smell brought on by a smoldering mixture of maple and other hardwoods somewhere in or nearby the building, the beckoning aroma of smoked fish; an assortment of salmon, whitefish, cisco, and lake trout now resting in the cooler, fresh from the smoker.
The fish market was not large, certainly not by most modern standards when compared with the local supermarkets, but it was one of the few that handled local catches in season, along with imported sea foods, all year around. Dominic's Fish Market was a favorite in our small university town and well-patronized by our family and many others. I'd been coming to this market for as long as I could remember, helping mom and dad choose a selection of fish ranging from those common selections to the "catch of day" specials, each Friday for our home fish fry that evening. After Dad passed away, Mom and I continued our weekly trips, but now, entering my third year of college, Mom, still working and teaching at the University, preferred me to make the trip for her, surprising her with my selection for our meal. This wasn't a great difficulty for me since I still lived at home, saving room and board costs as I continued my major in accounting at the university.
Dominic's Fish Market was located near the lake front and sometimes not easy to find if you were a stranger to our community. The easiest way to get there, I think, is to go north from the University Commons on Lake Street until you come to Front Street; take a left, go two blocks and turn right on Market Street. Dominic's Fish Market is at the end of the street on the left, not more than a hundred feet from the lake. The docks and piers used by fisherman and recreation boaters are accessible via the boardwalk from the Market. During the summer, such as now, Dominic places a few tables and chairs on the boardwalk for people to sit and enjoy their smoked fish or just the view and breeze emanating from the lake. University students flock there during the fall and spring when the weather's nice, snacking on fish and crackers purchased at Dom's and beer purchased elsewhere and brought in.
The Market itself is perhaps thirty feet across the front and accessed by one door leading to the street and small parking lot just to the south. Sunlight, through one large window in the front on which Dominic posted his "Catch of Day" and weekly specials and prices, on those days the sky was not occluded, provided a warm ambiance to the interior. Florescent lights, suspended from the ceiling in metal shrouded fixtures, brightened the salesroom. A large, glass-fronted refrigerated case, accessible from behind through sliding glass doors, exhibited the various fresh and smoked fish available for purchase. A metal, insulated partition divided the case with smoked fish on one side and fresh fish on the other, with the intent of keeping the odor of the smoke from tainting the fresh fish. It seemed to be relatively successful, at least I thought so.
Customers could stand and view, ponder, and question Dominic on the various species available, whether fresh or smoked, and decide on their purchase. If there were doubts between two possible choices, he'd take them from the case, balance each on a hand so a customer might view it better, but just short of being able to reach across the top of the case, preventing and forbidding a very up close and personal inspection. He'd keep control of the merchandise until a customer bought it, thank you very much and come again, please!
To the right of the display case was the customer service counter, complete with scale for weighing the purchase, a cash register, and butcher paper and tape so each choice could be wrapped tightly before delivering it to the hands of the customer. A dish of foil-wrapped mints (five cents, please) and a donation jar for some local charity or poor soul in need always sat on the counter where customers had easy access. Dominic never said, but half expected customers to toss their loose change in the donation jar. I always did since he was a great one for making certain those in need received every last penny donated and then some.
Left of the display case was a large glass fronted freezer where frozen fish were kept for purchase. There was always an excellent selection of shipped in sea foods and locally caught fish, most times just a hair below the retail prices found in the supermarkets.
Back toward the market entrance door is the proverbial bulletin board announcing community and campus events, guide services, taxidermists (for that really big catch), lost dogs by owners, church services for lost souls, and numerous items for sale with little tear-off phone numbers attached for those interested. On that same wall are several shelves containing spices, bottles of sauces, and other condiments designed to enhance your piscatorial dining experiences. I know I'm blathering on about the market, but I just love the place!
Behind the counter and display case, accessible by one door, where the public wasn't invited or welcome (the sign above the door read –"Employees Only!") is the work and receiving area where freshly caught fish from the great lake on the shore of which the people in our community lived and worked, are prepared for display. Fresh, clean, pink or white depending on the species, and so inviting, almost quivering with freshness, whole or filleted fish are placed in trays for display in the front case, boxed for orders from local restaurants, or frozen for later sale. Wafting from that room, smoked fish, golden brown, cooled after coming from the smoker, tantalized the senses, and begged to be consumed with a cold beer or with scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.
Today, with the chiming of the little bell, I expected Dominic to answer its call, instead, a young man with a pleasant smile, twinkling blue eyes and dark hair, responded. As he came through the "Employees Only" door, I noticed he was about my age or younger, about five foot, eight inches tall, weighing perhaps one hundred forty pounds soaking wet (hell, I only weighed a hundred and fifty so what am I talking about), slightly built, nice looking; I mean he wasn't an "Adonis," "Apollo," or "Paris," just a regular guy, but I wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating crackers that's for sure. I didn't recognize him, although he had a vaguely familiar look about him.
He greeted me with a smile and a pleasant, "How may I help you?"
The thought entered my head then that he could help me by bending over the counter, dropping his drawers, and let me exam his prostate with my own special instrument, but I thought better of it, so I stupidly asked, "You're new here, aren't you? Where's Dominic, not sick I hope?"
"Nah," he responded with a slight jerk of his head, "he's out back checking over a guy's catch. I'll get him for you."
Before I could stop him, he vanished back through the door from which he came, shouting, "Poppa Dom, there's a guy out here that wants to see you."
Poppa Dom poked his head out of the doorway, hair covered in white cap, but the greyed and white hair still visible denoting the fact he'd seen more than one winter in his lifetime, his front covered with a once white apron, now a bit stained and grungy from inspecting the incoming catch of fish from the commercial fishermen, grinned and greeted me. "Hi, Noah; what might I do for you today?"
I stumbled over myself apologizing for pulling him away from whatever he was engaged in; explaining I was only inquiring why he wasn't up front as he usually is.
He smiled, that grandfatherly smile which won him the affection of every college student who ever entered his premises and earned him the endearing title by all of us as "Poppa Dom" and said apologetically, "You'll have to excuse my Grandson Demitri, he just started working here, so he's still pretty new to everything, but he catches on fast. He'll be starting at the University when the fall term starts in two weeks," he added with great pride as he patted his grandson on the shoulder. Demitri tipped his head down rather shyly, scuffed his feet a couple of times, and looked back up.
"He's a lot smarter than his Poppa Dom," Dominic added, "graduated at the top of his class, he did," and again smiled proudly.
"Demitri is my daughter Andrea's youngest son. She lives down in Iowa, near Des Moines, with her second husband."
"So," Demitri interrupted, "Noah, what might I do for you today?' and smiled at me again.
God, I knew what he could do for me, but fucking him in front of his grandfather probably wouldn't be acceptable, especially in a place of business. O.K.; I'm a great talker, thinker actually since I never say it out loud, and not out except to Mom; a complete virgin except with my hands and really, really, chicken shit! Oh, I fantasize about what I'd do to this one or that one, but never, never would I have balls enough to act on my fantasies! I don't know why; there're plenty of openly gay and lesbian students on campus, but for some reason, I'm shy. I rationalize all of this by telling myself I'm saving myself for someone special and although I'd like it to be, I'm willing to be it won't be Demitri. He looks like he's straight as an arrow; probably carrying a cock the size of a baseball bat, used it to fuck some farm girl into oblivion and had to flee the state ahead of an angry father wielding a pitchfork and three brawny, no-neck pencil dicks of brothers wanting to cut his balls off and shove them up his ass. Which made me wonder if his pucker was as tight and small as the rest of his frame?
I quickly extended my hand across the counter and introduced myself. "Noah Martin; pleased to me you."
As he grasped my hand in return, he answered with a smile and twinkle in his eyes, "Demitri Anderson; don't believe everything Poppa Dom says. Now see anything that interests you?"
What a loaded question and if I didn't let loose of his hand, I was going to spew a load in my boxers. "How about the `Catch of the Day?'" I sputtered.
"Lake Perch today," he answered, "but I'll have to get some from the back," noticing the tray in the display case was empty.
Demitri disappeared into that place where mere mortals such as I were forbidden to enter and Poppa Dom stepped around the counter, obviously desiring a conversation with me.
"Noah," he began, placing an arm around my shoulder, "I've known you since you were very small when your momma and papa began bringing you to my market. I know you're a good boy and a good student. I have a big favor to ask of you, O.K.?"
His eyes began misting as he spoke even lower, as if others weren't to be privy to our conversation. "I never went beyond tenth grade so a university education is beyond me to understand and what young people do now days. Oh, I watch what students do around here and I think I get along pretty good with them, but my grandson had a real tough time at home with my daughter and her husband. I don't know all that happened because Demitri doesn't say, but it was pretty bad; so bad he came to live with his Poppa Dom and his grandmother. We'll love him and take care of him, but he needs someone his own age that would understand him and help guide him through the university. Demitri just graduated from high school this spring and I really want him to do good. Would you help me please, Noah?"
How could I refuse Poppa Dom; the guy who gives his heart to everyone in town; who gives money and time when someone is in need; or slips an extra fish or two into the package when a family struggles to put food on the table; someone who every student, full of problems or joy, comes to talk to him and calls him "Poppa Dom" when he pats them on the shoulder and tells them all will be well? No, I couldn't and wouldn't refuse any request he made of me.
I nodded my head in consent and whispered, "You bet I will, Poppa Dom," just as Demitri appeared from the back carrying a large metal tray leaden with fresh lake perch fillets.
"How much?" he asked. "They're pretty good sized and run about four or five to the pound, won't they Poppa?" looking at his grandfather.
Poppa Dom smiled and nodded, saying to me, "See how smart he is, my grandson; been here over a week and he can figure how many to the pound already," and beamed with pride.
Demitri just shook his head in resignation and smiled at his grandfather.
"I'll take about a pound and a half," I said, "its just Mom and me tonight." I almost added, `unless you want to join us,' but I didn't. Fuck!
He weighed out six fillets, coming to just under a pound and half, wrapped them, and rang up the charges. I paid him and, as I exited the market, I turned and asked, "Want to get together sometime, Demitri?"
"Yeah, give me a shout, although I have to work most days until classes start. I'm supposed to register next Monday so maybe sometime after that."
The rest of the weekend I could do little else but think of Demitri Anderson; what would be his major; how old was he, actually; was he gay or straight? There were no answers forthcoming utilizing the limited information I gathered in my short visit to the Market. It really made no difference; he'd become someone I'd fix on in my imagination as I relieved the stiffness in my groin. I'd have to make a concerted effort to see him again, if I was to keep my promise to Poppa Dom.
On Monday, I made it a special point to head to campus and hang around the Registrar's Office to see if Demitri came in to register. If he did, I certainly didn't see him. The only time I left the area was to get some lunch over at the Commons, but I didn't see him there. Registration had already occurred for returning students and others often registered on line, so I didn't think it would be a problem spotting him; besides, he was an out-of-state resident, temporarily, so it should be more complicated for him. After all day, I failed to see him.
I poked around campus off and on during the week and so no sign of Demitri. On Friday I told Mom I'd pick up fish for supper, although she was free to do so. She's a full professor of humanities, Dr. Alicia Martin, with her degree work in Political Science and minor in music, but serving now, in addition to teaching a couple of classes, as Assistant Dean of Students, and I'm an accountant major- go figure! Oh, I play the piano (she insisted as I grew up and even today) but not well enough to be concert material, only good enough to entertain the troops, if you know what I mean. My favorite instrument is the organ – the six-inch one between my legs.
Demitri spotted me the second I walked in the door of the Market and, although there were other customers in the market, grinned and announced, "I'll be with you in a minute, Noah," and continued waiting on those ahead of me. As he weighed and wrapped each customer's purchase, I noticed he'd look up, seeking me out, fixing on me for a second or two, and return his attention to the customer. He looked so much more handsome and alluring now than when I first met him. When it came to my turn, he again inquired, what he could do for me and I groaned silently in frustration and desire. God, I was becoming not only a stalker, but a full-blown perv. besides.
I chose the "Catch of the Day" again, but this time it was nice, full whitefish fillets. I intended on broiling them for supper. Demitri weighed and wrapped my purchase and as he did so, I asked, "Want to go for a bike ride or something on Sunday?"
A disappointed look came across his face, he hesitated, and finally responded, "I'd love to, but I don't have a bike and besides, Poppa and Gram have some other plans for us. Maybe another time?"
I smiled weakly, clearly disappointed, myself, answering, "Great, I'll call you or you can call me. Classes start on Monday so, maybe I'll see you on campus or here at the Market," paid my bill and left.
Fall term began on Monday and, since I was carrying seventeen semester hours this term, it didn't leave much time for messing around, at least until I settled into a routine. New classes and different professors always present special problems. Each professor and class requires something different that you have to adjust to. One class I was enrolled in met at night and was well-populated with "non-trads," you know, non-traditional students – those who worked during the day, raised families and were getting their degrees the hard way. These students were intense in their studies, bent on doing the very best they could, real "curve-breakers," if you know what I mean.
Competition would be high if I was to maintain the type of grade average I was used to and enjoyed. When I complained to Mom, she just laughed and said I needed the competition since it might make me appreciate my own native intelligence and not take it for granted. The up-shot of all of this was I didn't see Demitri all week- except at night just before falling asleep and I whacked my rocks off with a mental image of him floating about in my head.
Friday afternoons were free from classes, thank God, so at the end of the third week of the term I made a special trip to Dominic's Fish Market thinking I could hook up with Demitri, using the pretense of buying something for supper. Instead of Demitri waiting on me at the Market, it was Poppa Dom. When I asked where Demitri was, Poppa Dom smiled, and said, "He'll be in tomorrow. Tonight, he has been invited to some party at one of the fraternity houses."
Poppa Dom mentioned the name of the house and I knew it'd spell trouble for Demitri, although I didn't say anything to Poppa. The house had a reputation for more parties and less studying than any other frat house on the campus. Not only was it expensive, but not very many academia's came from there. It wasn't quite "Animal House" but I thought it might be a close second. Poppa Dom thought Demitri should be home around nine of so, since it was "just a picnic or something" just to introduce him and so he could get to know people, according to the young man that picked him up.
Yeah, right, it was a fucking drunken orgy and not something Demitri needed to get wrapped up in so tight he couldn't extricate himself! I was angry with myself for not moving sooner, but also jealous that he'd go somewhere with someone he hardly knew – I think. I really had no reason to be since he didn't know me that well either and he didn't owe me a thing, but I had promised Poppa Dom I'd keep an eye on him.
During dinner I was more than just a little fidgety. Mom finally asked what my problem was so I told her about Demitri, the frat party, my concerns, and my promise to Poppa Dom. She pursed her lips, nodded her head, and asked, "Noah, what do you propose to do about this situation?"
I thought a moment and answered, "After dinner I'm going to go out there and if he's not out by nine o'clock, I'll go in and get him."
"What excuse will you use, Noah, to lure him out?"
"His grandfather is not well?"
Mom looked at me quite seriously and responded, "Noah, honey, if you lie to him and take him away from a place he wants to be, maybe your chances of being more than a friend to him would be forever ruined. I assume you've been smitten with this young man."
She was right of course; I was not only smitten, but determined, somehow to take on a relationship with him, if he'd have me, of course!
"Do you think," she continued, "if you drove up there, knocked on the door, asked to see him, took him aside and told him the truth it'd be better? He could make up his own mind at least and maybe catch a clue how you feel about him."
She was right of course, again! Why do moms always seem to be right?
About nine o'clock, I drove Mom's car to the west side of town and campus where the infamous "Fraternity Row" was located. There were several blocks containing the various "houses" of the campus fraternities. I supposed, "birds of a feather, flock together" was the reason they seemed to congregate in one location. There were parties at every house, all vying for the attention of the new freshman by offering free food, free beer, and, if needed co-eds for a quick suck or fuck, if that's what it'd take as an inducement for prospects to consider joining.
I wasn't a member of any of these fraternities and I doubted I ever would be. I lived at home and really didn't go for some of the stuff they did. Instead of Greek names, I often thought some of them, not the majority, should have names such as "Tappa Kega Day," "I Felta Thi," "Stroka Cocka Day," or "Pumpn Dumpa Load."
It was a nice warm evening, so when I parked across the street from the house where Poppa Dom said Demitri would be. the party was beginning to spill out into the yard. Two rather beefy Neanderthals blocked my progress up the sidewalk to the front door, challenging my presence, and demanded to see my invitation or point out my host for the evening. I had no invitation and no host and said so. When I admitted the same, the more intelligent or better educated of the two said quite eloquently, "Fuck off, asshole!"
I held up my hand, thinking I might ward off an attack on my person, and said, "No, I don't think so just yet. I've come to find Demitri Anderson. Could you summon him please?"
Enter the really, really less intelligent of the two, grabbing my arm, grunting something like "dumb shit" or some other quotable phrase he learned from the restroom walls. But before he could toss my ass off of the property, I pulled out my cellphone and held it up, one finger poised over the keypad.
"What the fuck ya doin'?" growled Neanderthal Number One.
"Why," I answered in my most polite voice, "I'm calling the police. It seems to me there's an under-age booze party going on here and if I'm not mistaken, that girl on her knees by the bushes near the corner of the house has an under-age cock in her mouth. So, if you'll just excuse me, I'll wait on the public sidewalk for the police and fire department to arrive."
"What fire department?" asked a more refined voice from behind the Gruesome Twosome.
"The one that'll be here with the police," I again responded most politely, "since it appears you might be in violation of the city's occupancy ordinances. I shouldn't wonder they will close the place down until you are thoroughly inspected for any other fire ordinance violations," and smiled.
"Let's not be hasty," the voice said, stepping forward, revealing himself.
I recognized him immediately; Teddy Burlington – a real rich, pencil-dick guy a year ahead of me, but was in my swimming class during my freshman year. The term "pencil-dick" really applied to him. I swear he had to poke his finger up his ass and shout "SNAKE" in order to get enough length to his pecker to piss properly.
"Oh, shit!" he muttered. "Noah Martin, right? Doc Martin, Assistant Dean's kid, right?"
"How correct you are?" I replied to his revelation, "Do you think you could find Demitri Anderson for me or shall I just wander around inside and seek him myself, among other things?"
"Stay right there," Teddy shot back, "I'll find him."
I didn't wait three minutes until Demitri was led outside. When he spied me, he grinned and walked briskly toward me.
"Ready to go?" I asked.
"You bet I am," he said hastily.
As we walked to the car, Demitri was quiet, not angry, but quiet, and I was fearful I'd made a mistake. Before we climbed into the car, I couldn't help but say, "Better zip up you pants, Demitri, before your pony goes for another ride."
His face flushed red and he muttered something as he zipped up his pants, climbed in, buckled up, and clammed up. He was staring out the window when I asked, "Want to go home?"
O.K., I can handle that, brief as the answer was, so I drove to the city park located on the lake front on the east side of town. The sign said the park closed at ten o'clock, but I knew, from past experience it really didn't. I pulled into the parking lot, exited the vehicle, and motioned Demitri to join me. The two of us walked toward the lake front and one of those benches provided for people to sit and enjoy the view. Demetri sat next to me, our legs touching, still saying nothing. Finally, I asked, "Want to tell me about it?"
Breathing deeply, he began, "It was a big fucking mistake to even go tonight. I thought it would be fun, a cool way to meet some people, but man, was I wrong. They're not the type of people I want to meet."
"Such as?" I inquired.
"Well, most have more dollars than me and I not into pot smoking and a lot of booze. I like a beer once in a while, but not the extent those guys were pouring it down. They try everything to rope you in, including sex."
"I suppose I interrupted either a blow job or some serious fucking, didn't I?"
"God, it was terrible," he confessed, "This gal I didn't even know wobbled over to me, knelt down in front of me, unzipped my pants, and pulled my dick out. She was about to swallow the sword when Teddy came to get me- thank God!"
"You're not into women, are you?"
"No," he answered hesitantly, "How did you know? Am I that obvious?"
I just shook my head. "Not one bit, I just guessed."
Demitri crinkled up his face as he looked at me, thinking about something, and asked, "Birds of a feather?"
I nodded in response, he grinned saying, "I was hoping so."
I took a big chance, slipped my arms around him, and pulled him close to me and asked, "Is that why you're up here?"
"Yeah, but I haven't said exactly why to Poppa Dom. I think he knows I'm gay and I'm pretty certain he got an earful when he came down to get me. I figured you batted for the same team when he was so anxious for me to meet you and hook up."
"So, what happened?"
"The week before I came up here, my stepfather and mother came home earlier than I expected from a dinner engagement. He heard noises in my bedroom, came up the stairs, opened my bedroom door, which I forgot to lock by the way, and saw me bent over the bed with one of my classmates naked, buried balls deep in my ass, and pumping the last of his load up my chute."
"That sucks!" I snorted.
"Yeah, but to make things worse, there were two other guys standing naked, cocks on point, dripping in anticipation, and waiting their turn."
"That's a double suck or fuck, whichever way you want to look at it," I said remorsefully.
"Of course, he threw a hissy fit, screaming and shouting. The guy fucking me damned near ruptured himself and me trying to pull out and get away from the old son-of-a-bitch. The guys grabbed their clothes and beat a speedy retreat. I didn't have a chance. He slapped the shit out of me and when I tried to fight back, he really pummeled me with his fists. Mom came up the stairs and made him stop. He ordered me out of the house. I filled a duffle bag with some clothes and left for a friend's house."
"There was no way he was going to have a gay boy in the house and called me everything but nice. I called Poppa Dom and Grandma ran the Market when he drove down to get me. We loaded up my stuff in his pickup and came back here. Some of my things smelled a little fishy, but so what."
"So," I asked, "you like to fuck?"
"Love it – bottom, top, sideways, upright, horizontal, inside, outside, upside down," he answered with a big shit-eating grin on his face.
I don't think we've tried them all – yet – but we're working on it.
(P.S. – I was right; his cock was the size of a baseball bat (well, O.K., I tend to exaggerate a little, but it was much, much bigger and thicker than mine), but with a wiggle and a giggle, a push and a pull, a ram and a jam, and a dab and a dollop of the proper lubrication, it fit just fine, thank you very much!)
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