SUMMARY: At a time of national turmoil, the lives of four boys become connected as each struggles to accept his sexuality and to address the challenges he faces in life. To the extent the boys succeed in coming to grips with those challenges, it may be in ways that prove surprising or troubling. This story is also being published on my blog and you can find a longer synopsis there. While some events, locations and features in the story have been moved forward or back in time for dramatic and other purposes, it takes place during an era when prejudice against homosexuals is rampant and the gay revolution in America is still in its infancy. Italics are typically used within the story to indicate what a character is thinking or saying to himself. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.
WARNING: Sex is not the primary focus of this story. If you're looking for erotic content, you'll do much better with other stories on Nifty. While sexual content is secondary and incidental, the story does include some scenes that depict sex and violence, sometimes graphically depending upon the characters and circumstances involved. For that reason, the story is intended for mature audiences only. If you do not wish to read such material or it is illegal for you to do so, please look elsewhere. The story remains the property of the author and may not be reproduced in any form without written permission. It is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. You may download a single copy to read offline and to share with others as long as you credit me as the author, but you may not use this work for commercial purposes. You may not use any of the characters, bars or other fictional locations described in the story in your own work without my explicit permission. Nor may you use, alter, transform, or build upon this story in any way.
AUTHOR NOTES: This is my first effort at writing a story. As a general rule, I only plan to publish one chapter a week, usually on Thursdays. This story may or may not be moved to a different section than this one in the near future, but I can't tell you where or when because I don't make those decisions. If you don't find it here, you'll have to look around for yourself. The latest chapter will always be posted on my blog before being published here. You may want to bookmark the location of my blog in the event you cannot find the story here at some point in the future and you wish to continue reading it: https://cafepalermoannex.wordpress.com. As always, comments and constructive criticism are welcome. Flames will be ignored. If you would like to let me know what you think, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading the story. I hope you enjoy it.
THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER: Five years after Tommy's arrival in Washington, the story resumes.
Part III - Desperation, Degradation and Despair
It was hard to believe it had been five years since I climbed into that rig and left Vermont behind in the rear view mirror. But here I was, a little older, a little wiser, and still in Washington, D.C. A lot had happened to me in those five years, some of it good, some bad, but all of it shaping me into the person I had become. Usually I didn’t spend time thinking about stuff like that. But for some reason it just seemed like the right time to try to sort everything out.
There were times when I wondered how much I liked the person staring back at me in the mirror. I mean, thinking back on it now, I had done things during those five years I wasn’t exactly proud of. But you got used to ignoring that after a while. The one thing I knew for sure was that I was a different person now than that fourteen year old kid who liked pretending he was so tough back then. I could laugh about that kid now. He was gone, long gone.
Physically, I was four inches taller and weighed twenty pounds more. My body was much better developed now. My pubes had come in well enough, but there wasn’t hardly any hair on the rest of my body, including my arms and legs. I didn’t even need to shave all that often, to be honest. It seemed kind of freaky to me at times, but I wasn’t complaining because most of my customers seemed to like it.
I was tougher now physically, that was for sure; tough enough to take care of myself in a tight spot whenever some john tried to push me around. It had been more of a problem at the beginning when I was smaller, but it didn’t happen that much anymore. Word got around. Guys knew better than to try messing with me. And it wasn’t just me after all. They knew I had friends, lots of friends.
I was a lot tougher emotionally too. Five years of living on the streets could do that to you. I remember getting into an argument with Danny about that one time and him telling me I wasn’t tougher inside, that I was dead inside. It annoyed me when he said that, but we made up later. We always made up, Danny and me, but I remember thinking about it some after he said it. To tell you the truth, there didn’t seem to be any difference between the two, at least as far as I could see.
Not that I had ever actually lived on the streets, of course; not really. I had been lucky that way. Even after I moved out Ray didn’t have a problem with me sleeping over if I was having trouble finding a place to stay on any particular evening. But usually I just crashed with some of the other friends I had made during those first few months or found someone willing to pay for my company overnight. There were plenty of those.
And then to everyone’s surprise, Danny found himself a daddy and had moved in with the dude. His name was Barrett. He had tons of money and owned a really nice townhouse over in Georgetown. It came as a hell of a shock, at least to me. I mean, the thing is, Danny was my very best friend in Washington at the time. We were tight and I really looked up to him a lot. It took some adjusting to get used to the idea of some dude doing it to him every night.
Unlike Danny, Barrett had a really small prick. Everyone who had gone with him use to laugh about it. Danny said it wasn’t like it hurt or anything, that he barely noticed it at all. Still, given how big Danny’s cock was, it seemed like a waste to me. From what I heard, the guy didn’t even suck Danny off, just had him jerk off while he was fucking his ass. But Danny just said everything was fine so I kept my mouth shut and didn’t say anything about it even though it bothered me.
I mean, I guess I could understand why he had done it in a way. Danny had started working the streets even younger than me and he seemed kind of tired of the whole thing by the end. I think he was sweet on me too, but never could figure out just how to make it work for the two of us; and he was right about that. I mean, even combining our earnings, we could have never gotten a place together in Washington. You had to be practical about things like that. You know what I mean? You had to be realistic.
I mean, the world didn’t cut you no break just because you liked someone. You had to carry your own weight. So, yeah, Danny had done the right thing for himself by hooking up with Barrett. I knew that.
I didn’t tell him that, of course, because I missed seeing him around. Like I said, he was my best friend and he even put in a good word for me with Ray when he moved out. Still, it was kind of surprising when Ray invited me to come live at his place. He could have invited any of the kids at the Palermo and they would have taken him up on it in a flash. He had never shown very much interest in me at all up until then.
I was a little concerned about doing it, but Danny told me not to worry. Yeah, sure, Ray wanted some rent, but it wasn’t really that much. And here I was, five years later, still living with Ray. In the whole time I had been living there, the guy had never put a move on me, even on those rare occasions when I got myself thoroughly shit-faced and made it clear it would be okay if he did. I mean, the thing is, he was letting me live at his place at a discount. I felt like I owed him something. But he wasn’t interested in my body, just like he wasn’t interested in raising the rent now that I was flush and could afford to pay more.
Ray was strange, no doubt about it. Most of the boys he helped at the Palermo never knew he had studied for the priesthood a long time ago. It would have come as a surprise to them to learn that. I was the opposite that way. I never understood why he abandoned it because he sure had the celibacy thing down really good.
I use to think about it some, but could never come up with a better explanation than the one Danny had offered. Ray liked looking, not touching; and he liked helping young boys even more. Not that he made a big deal of it. He never criticized anything you did and he never tried to interfere either. He pretty much minded his own business unless you asked. But, if you asked, he would give you his advice.
Like many others, I quickly discovered his advice was pretty damn good. Lots of the boys took advantage of it. But early on there were times when I found the advice he gave me really confusing.
“Diversify your income stream,” he responded cryptically one evening when I asked him whether he had any ideas about how I could make more money.
I mean, I was fifteen years old at the time for crying out loud! I didn’t have a clue what that meant. But now, five years later, I did, and I had pretty much followed his advice without even knowing I was doing it at the time.
The webcam had come first. One of my customers clued me into that. Get yourself a live internet feed and put yourself on display for men who liked looking at cute little boys and were willing to pay to watch you do nasty things to yourself. I had decided to give it a try. I did some research first, watching some of the other boys who were in the business. A couple of them even responded to my e-mails and gave me advice on the hardware and software I would need. I had been saving money from day one, putting it aside for the future like Danny had told me I should. I figured this would probably be part of my future so I bought what I needed and set up shop for myself.
The hardest part was right at the beginning, finding clients who were willing to pay and building up enough trust with them so they actually delivered on something like a regular basis. After the first couple of months, business had started to take off and the whole thing had worked out pretty good. Now it was bringing in some excellent bucks every week, which was fine with me considering how little they got in return. Under the circumstances, I couldn’t complain. The biggest issue was whether I was willing to show more and do more for those guys who were willing to pay more. But by then the webcam was more of a hobby because it had gotten me into dancing.
The thing is, you had to keep the customer on the other end of the webcam entertained with something while you stripped down and did nasty things to yourself. I wasn’t that good a dancer when I began, but Danny and some of the others gave me lessons and it wasn’t long before I was able to shake my booty with the best of them; better than most, to be honest. That created another revenue steam because it turned out I liked dancing a lot. It didn’t take long before word got around and now here I was dancing at Head & Tails pretty much full time in the evenings.
At first I didn’t think I would like it that much. It was just another way to bring in some money. But the more I danced, the more I found myself liking it and the better I got at it. The job itself didn’t pay that much, at least not at first. At first the money was mostly just in the tips the guys gave you. Later on, as you started to build up a following among the customers and other bars tried to lure you away, the pay got better and so did the tips. Guys just loved shoving bills into your G-string and copping a free feel in the process. It didn’t bother me that much. My cock wasn’t exactly a virgin by then.
I liked having the extra money, of course, but it didn’t stop there. There was something about knowing you could turn guys on just by dancing for them that proved really exciting for me. You could see the lust building in their eyes just because of what you were doing up on the stage. It was definitely a turn on, a big one. I liked being able to do that to guys. And, like I said, it paid pretty good too, especially considering no one was taking out any money for Uncle Sam.
Then there was the escorting. One night early on one of my customers asked whether I would go to a private party with him. He was willing to pay me to do that so I said sure. It was mostly just a bunch of older dudes like him standing around and talking. I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about so I just stood there and smiled and they seemed to like that. I think the guy just wanted to show me off to his friends. But he paid me $75 upfront to do it and another $75 when we left.
That was the easiest money I had earned up until then. I didn’t even have to suck him off when he dropped me back at the Palermo later that night. He gave me a $15 tip and told me I had done really good. Like I said, I don’t remember doing much at all except just smiling at him and serving as eye candy for his friends; but I guess I didn’t embarrass him either so that was probably why he gave me the tip.
After that more escorting jobs opened up and I found I liked doing them. It helped me to meet some guys who had a little more class. You know what I mean? They wore expensive suits and ties a lot of the time and you could tell they had had serious money even when they dressed casually. They lived in big places with really nice art work on the walls and furnished them tastefully. The cars they drove were expensive and cool. And I learned a lot just from listening to them.
It wasn’t very long before I could talk about the stuff they were interested in, which was politics most of the time. I mean, this was Washington after all. Politics was what those dudes liked to talk about. So I read the paper and talked politics with them. I liked being able to surprise them like that, to show them I wasn’t just some dumb little kid who happened to be cute. But I always ended up agreeing with them, of course, even when I knew they were wrong. It boosted their egos and helped with the tips.
Based on my first experience and talking with Ray, I decided to keep sex out of it, at least as part of the actual escorting job. I mean, guys were welcome to arrange a date with me later on after the job was over and pay for sex with me if they wanted. But sex wasn’t part of the escorting job itself. That was hard at first since a lot of the guys were willing to pay extra for sex. But Ray said it was more professional to keep sex out of it and I think he was right about that because by now the escorting was bringing in some really good money. Word got around and guys knew they could count on me; to make them look good for one thing and not to embarrass them for another.
The escorting led to the modeling. That was still in its infancy, of course. I wasn’t getting a lot of jobs yet, but I was getting some. The thing is, one of the guys who hired me as an escort turned out to an agent and wanted to sign me up as a client. Said I had that all American boy look that companies loved; clean cut, wholesome, and cute as a button. I remember laughing about that when he said it, but I signed the contract after showing it to Ray.
The guy had already found me a couple of small shoots, mostly doing boys underwear commercials for one of the local clothing stores. I liked it and it was pretty easy money although some of the photographers were pervs who liked copping free feels when they positioned you the way they wanted for the shoot.
Some of the guys at the Palermo used to kid me when they saw my picture in one of the ads running in the Washington Post; ask me for my autograph, pretend I was some superstar model or whatever. I liked playing along with them when they did that; wearing shades, whatever. It was fun to pretend like that. And who knew? Maybe I could be a model someday. My agent seemed to think so. He was after me all the time to get some professional training. I was thinking about that.
One of the photographers at one of my shoots told me there was money to be made in porn as well; offered me five hundred bucks to shoot me nude. I said I would think about it. I did a little investigating and, from what I was able to learn, most of the porn being made in Washington was pretty amateurish. But the owner of Head & Tails told me he was in the middle of trying to pull together the resources to finance a real porn movie and he wanted me to be in it if the deal came off. That seemed to make more sense so I was holding off on doing porn for the moment. But I could see the financial potential in porn.
I was still hustling, of course. That was still the main income stream I had. By now I had acquired a stable of regulars. I didn’t have to work the streets any more unless I wanted to and I was doing that less and less. I liked having regulars of my own choosing. For one thing, you could weed out the weirdos, psychopaths, and trolls. It just made things safer for everyone. The other advantage was I was pretty much able to set my own terms. My regulars knew what I was willing to do and what was off limits. No more having to deal with the sickos who wanted me to do stuff to them too nasty to even mention.
By that time I had also weeded out all the guys I was initially sucking. I wasn’t really into that any more either. My regulars knew I was a top, a total top. They were welcome to suck me but not fuck me. No way was I going to let some dude do that to me, especially some old dude who didn’t take care of himself. But I didn’t mind fucking them if that’s what they wanted and they knew I was willing to do it if they were willing to pay extra.
Having regulars also freed up a lot of time for other stuff like dancing at Head & Tails. There wasn’t so much wasted time just hanging out at the Palermo waiting for the johns to show up. Most of my regulars preferred having me come to their place on a set schedule in any event. That was a hell of lot better than most of the places I had done some of those guys when I first started working the streets; and being able to schedule like that had other benefits as well, like being able to keep the battery charged.
By now I was in high demand and Ray had started joking about me, telling everyone I was a conglomerate. Tommy, Inc., he called me. I had no idea what the hell he was talking about, but then he explained that a conglomerate was a company that made its money through all of the other companies it owned. It was pretty close to the truth I guess.
I was bringing in some really excellent bucks every week now from everything I had going; more than the other boys, that was for sure, and enough to live on easily, especially since I wasn’t paying any serious rent to Ray. I was mostly just socking it away in a bank account Ray helped me open although I really wasn’t sure exactly for what. Some of it went for food, of course, and for clothes and computers and other stuff like medical bills. I had even bought myself a stripper pole to help work on my dancing.
And a fair amount of it went for weed, of course. I was still into weed big time. It relaxed me and made me feel good. Most nights I ended up smoking a joint or two just for the buzz. You didn’t have to think about anything when you were high. I liked not having to think about stuff once it got dark out.
Still, for all my financial success, it wasn’t too long before I found myself kind of restless and edgy. Sometimes I would get angry for no reason at all, just blow up at nothing and start hitting the wall with my fist. I actually liked being able to feel the pain. Other times I was moody and just wanted to be left alone. When that happened, I would stay in my room, sometimes for days at a time.
Not that I took it out on anyone though. I was popular with the other guys at the Palermo. They knew they could count on me to help them out if needed and I did that a lot.
I mean, it was nothing important, I guess. Mostly it was just that the sex wasn’t doing that much for me anymore. That bothered me because sex was probably the thing I liked most of all. It had always been the one thing I could count on to make me feel good, at least before I got into weed. And when the sex was right, it was still better than weed, at least for me. But most of the time it just wasn’t that hot anymore.
I was never one to think about sex a lot back then. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Danny had talked to me about just how dangerous being hustler could be so I definitely was careful about what I would and wouldn’t do. Some of the boys weren’t very careful and it was sad to see what happened to them.
When I say I didn’t think about sex, I mean usually I didn’t dwell on it very much. I just did it. Like I said, I had always liked sex ever since the first time I did myself back in the seventh grade. It was lots of fun back then and I did it a lot back in those days. But when you were having sex with guys every day, usually multiple times a day like I was, it tended to take the shine off of the thing. You know what I mean?
When I did think about it, I was kind of conflicted at times. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I never got hung up about whether it was right or wrong like some dudes. But I did have some definite ideas about the whole thing.
At first I tended to think of sex as a competitive sport. It was the only sport I was ever really good at to be honest. When it came to sex as a sport, there were winners and losers to my way of thinking. You were a winner if you managed to get someone to suck you off without having to suck him off in exchange; and you knew you had tossed the perfect game when you fucked a dude without being fucked in return.
But, the thing is, there were problems with viewing sex as a sport. For one thing, it made it hard to get close to anyone. I mean, how could you ever be best friends with someone you considered a loser? And then the other thing is that sex as a sport really didn’t work very well as a business model and I was in the sex business after all so I had to consider that.
The problem was pretty simple. When it came to sex as a business, Danny had been right. It was all about volume. Assuming the demand was there – and demand was never a problem for me – you could suck off as many guys as you wanted on any given night and make some excellent bucks.
But it didn’t work the same the other way around. I mean, I was pretty good when it came to recharging the batteries and I got even better as the years went by. My nuts could produce sperm better than most guys. But let’s be honest. I wasn’t superman and there were only so many times you could get off every night before the battery was drained.
In fact, the whole thing was actually kind of a sore point with some of the guys who liked sucking boys off. Some of them seemed to think you should charge less because they were doing the work and you were getting the pleasure. But the truth was the exact opposite. With sex as a business, you could only make being a top work if you charged more, not less.
Some of the guys understood that and those were the ones who became my very best customers. Still, you couldn’t charge all that much more. I mean, let’s face it. With sex as a business, you had to worry about the competition. As much as we tried to enforce a monopoly at the Palermo, there were always free lancers who were so desperate for cash they would undercut the going rate. It was pretty frustrating for the rest of us and guys like that didn’t tend to last very long, at least around the Palermo. But they were kind of like Washington’s cockroaches. You could never get rid of them entirely.
The truth is, neither sex as a sport nor sex as a business was all that satisfying, at least not to me. With sex as a business, most of the customers were people you didn’t want to be friends with after all. I mean, yeah, sure, occasionally you would meet someone who was kind of nice. But most of the time guys who had to buy sex were losers and everyone knew that. And with sex as a sport, like I mentioned, it was hard to get close to people you considered losers and guys who bottomed were losers; at least that’s what I thought at the time.
Danny and I use to argue about that. He said I was approaching the thing the wrong way; that sex wasn’t just about getting off. That seemed weird to me.
What else was it about I wondered?
All I know is I was pretty much jaded about the whole thing by the time I turned sixteen and that bothered me. I mean, I wanted the sex to be fun again and I wanted to have a best friend, especially after Danny moved in with Barrett. But it seemed like I never could. When I thought about it, I remember telling myself that maybe Danny was right; maybe I did have a bad attitude about the whole thing.
At first I thought seeing sex as a competitive sport had something to do with the fact I was having sex with guys. Guys are always competitive when it comes to sports. So I decided to get myself a girlfriend.
I mean, the thing is, I liked girls too, not just guys; and I thought playing with the other team might help me have a better attitude and improve my sex life as well. So, for a while there when I was sixteen, I had a regular girlfriend who I was fucking on a steady basis. Her name was Meghan and she was pretty. I knew she liked me a lot the first night we met at a party. And since she was willing and I liked her well enough, I decided to give it a try.
At first the whole thing was good. I liked having a girlfriend. I mean, we did things together that were fun like going to the stores and buying stuff or the movies or ice skating down on the Mall or whatever. I had never done any of that stuff with the guys and Meghan always had some idea that took me away from the Palermo. It was kind of like I was back in high school and going steady. I almost felt normal for a change.
The sex? The sex wasn’t so good, at least not at first. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I liked fucking her; kind of. I mean, it didn’t do as much for me as I was hoping, but at first I thought that was mostly her fault, not mine. The thing is, Meghan was letting me do it because she was sweet on me, not because she was into it all that much. Most of the time she just laid there and let me do all the work.
I think she could tell I was frustrated and we talked about it some. And to her credit, Meghan really tried after that. She really worked hard to make it good for me, touching me in all the right places, kissing me all over, going down on me, doing whatever I asked. But no matter how hard she tried, the sex was just never as intense as it was with guys. At some point both of us figured out it wasn’t really working and we broke up. I felt bad about that. But feeling bad didn’t really do anything to cure my frustration.
After that I began to think maybe the problem had something to do with the guys I was having sex with. I mean, mostly they were older, sometimes a lot older than me, and mostly they didn’t care of themselves and were in pretty lousy shape to be perfectly honest about it. That was a turn off, of course, just like it was a turn off that not many of them were very good looking. Yeah, I suppose it sounds kind of shallow, but it was true. And even though I never let it affect business, it didn’t exactly do wonders for my mood to be having sex all the time with guys like that.
So for a while there I started having sex with guys around my own age whenever I could just to see if that would help; and I guess it did, some. I liked their bodies better because they weren’t fat, hairy or out of shape. And they were definitely better looking than most of my customers. But most of the time the sex was just as frustrating.
I mean, some of the guys were just too clingy and needy; they wanted you to be their momma. Give me a break! If you missed your momma that much, go home! Some of them were just plain immature. I mean, grow up for crying out loud. Some of them didn’t want to bottom for me unless I did the same for them. No way that was ever going to happen. I mean, I had a reputation. They knew I was a top. They shouldn’t have gone with me if they were that insecure about the whole thing.
And most of the rest of them were as jaded about sex as I was. So even with sharp looking guys my own age, the sex wasn’t doing as much for me as I wanted. I just could never figure out what the problem was exactly.
So yeah, sure, I was dissatisfied, no doubt about it. But I was an expert at faking it, of course. It never hurt business. Still, like the kid in that commercial says, I was looking for someone who could make my body go zoom zoom and I hadn’t really met anyone like that; except one.
It wasn’t that big a deal, I remember thinking. Everything had turned out pretty good for me on balance. I had made the right decision when I decided to run away and things were looking real good for me now five years later. I had taken control of my life. I was in charge. I had money enough in the bank; and when it came to sex, I was able to do whatever I wanted because there were plenty of guys willing to pay me to do what I wanted. Stop with the bitching, Tommy, I remember telling myself.
I mean, how could it get better than that? Doing what you wanted and getting paid for it?
How long it would last was hard to say, of course. Some of my regulars had already ditched me. They wanted the twelve and thirteen year old boys; and while I could look and behave younger than nineteen if needed, I couldn’t pull off twelve or thirteen any more. Besides, they knew how old I was by then and it just didn’t do anything for them.
It wasn’t that big a problem. There were more where they came from so they were replaced easily enough. But, like Danny was always telling me, I knew there would come a time when that might prove harder. Still, I figured I had plenty of time to find whatever it was I was looking for. Not a daddy like Danny had settled for, that was for sure; and probably not a girlfriend either. I mean a real girl, not a guy who liked pretending to be a girl. Effeminate guys turned me off although I liked most of the drag queens a lot.
A boyfriend? Danny kept telling me I needed a boyfriend, but I wasn’t really sure I wanted a boyfriend. I mean, I didn’t really want to be tied down or anything. You know what I mean? No way that was ever going to happen. But a best friend? That was probably different. It would be good to have a best friend, someone to do stuff with, smoke weed, have sex, talk to, maybe take in a movie or whatever; someone I liked who turned me on, someone who liked me but was cool about things like I was. Someone I respected even though he was bottoming for me.
I looked up at the clock and saw it was time to go. Danny and I were going to be having a late dinner over at McDonald’s before the big party began. I was looking forward to that even though I knew he would be all over my case as usual. It had been a while since I had seen him, but I still liked Danny a lot and I knew he still liked me. Even though I didn’t see him that much, I was glad to have someone like him in my life, someone I could talk to, really talk to. It wasn’t just about business with Danny. We cared about one another.