This story contains scenes depicting gay characters and gay sexual situations. If you find that offensive, if you are under the legal age of consent to view/read such material, or it is forbidden in your particular jurisdiction altogether, it is suggested you move on. You have been warned.
©2003 by Keith Morrisette, all rights reserved. No part of this story may be copied or reproduced without the express consent of the author.
This story is related to but not a sequel of my two earlier stories, The Boyfriend and Little Secrets, Little Lies (formerly And the Other Friends) although many of the same characters are carried over.
More of this story is available at Archerland and KeithMorrisette.com.
Comments to Keith_Hackwriter@Lycos.com.

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Keith Morrisette



Griff Robinson smoothed down the front on his pants, straightened the blue-and-red striped tie again and pulled on his favorite blue blazer, then admired the effect in the mirror. He looked up and saw Danny leaning in the doorway, dressed only in briefs, smiling at him. He grinned at the boy, then tossed the gray slacks with the soiled front he’d just changed out of into a heap at the foot of the bed, on top of the suit worn the day before. "Missed quite a bit there, sonny boy," he said in his low, smooth southern voice and his own smile broadened.

Danny looked to the ground, then back up with a sheepish smile and shrugged. Griff rubbed the boy’s head as he walked by and Danny fell into step beside him, an arm snaking out and around the man’s waist, clutching slightly. He leaned his head against Griff’s shoulder as they walked to the front door where they paused.

Griff cupped Danny’s jaw and tilted the boy’s face up to his. "Remember, keep a low profile, okay? The lawn service’ll be here today."

No shit, Griff, the boy thought, keeping the smile frozen on his face. Just like they do every friggin’ Thursday, right? Jesus I get tired of bein’ the retard around here. Danny widened his eyes like it was a surprise."Okay, Daddy. I’ll make sure to stay out of sight."

Griff’s hand wandered down Danny’s naked back, fingertips lightly brushing the backbone. "I know, son. You know the rules, and you’re my good boy just like always. I’ll probably be home late tonight - we’ve got a project to wrap up, so don’t make me dinner. Uh... you will be home, right?" he added pointedly.

Danny nodded and giggled, looking down quickly. Much as he would have liked clearing off for the day, he knew it wasn’t a good idea. The boy stood poised in the doorway wearing only the snug cartoon-character under shorts, smiling and waving good-bye to Griff as the man climbed into his car. Griff backed the ungainly, dark blue Lincoln Navigator into the turn-around spur.

Danny stood patiently and smiled, waiting for the oversized SUV to leave. Jesus, it takes him forever to move in that pig, he thought to himself. And what’s he need a tank like that for? Plus he’s gonna have to go into Boston today anyway.

Finally Griff managed to maneuver the vehicle around and drove off down the long, curved drive, moving out of sight behind the large stand of trees that surrounded the property. Danny waited for the toot-tooting of the horn at the end of the long driveway, then let out a sigh of relief, slamming and locking the windowless, heavy-duty steel front door. He keyed in the alarm again, relieved, then brightened. This was the best part of the day - Griff gone for at least ten hours, more likely twelve, and he had the whole day in front of him.

He yanked at his Scooby-Doo underwear and scowled. Griff bought him the largest boy’s sizes, and the waist was okay but the leg openings were too small and the boy-briefs were made to hold a lot less than what Danny had. "First off, get rid of this shit," he muttered.

Danny peeled the shorts from his narrow waist, struggled from the tight leg openings, then kicked them up with his right foot and snatched them out of the air. He rubbed the marks from the elastic band, then trotted naked up the stairs to his room. He tossed what he called ‘Griff’s Morning Thrill’ into the laundry basket by the door and rummaged around in a drawer, pulling out two pair, decided on the Spiderman for his evening ensemble rather than the Jetsons, and laid them out on the dresser. He sighed, looking lower in the drawer at the stack of tighty-whiteys Griff used to favor. Then he came home a few weeks ago all excited and handed off a bagful of assorted underwear with cartoon-characters. Danny naturally feigned excitement but groaned inwardly. Unlike the plain white underwear, there was no way he could secretly exchange them for something that fit better.

When Griff wasn’t around Danny usually wore boxers or didn’t bother with underwear at all, but the Morning Thrill was a ritual. Each morning, he’d pull on a pair of briefs and trot down to the kitchen in time for his breakfast, wearing nothing else... just the way Griff liked it.

Typically, Danny followed a few minutes behind Griff, giving the man time to settle in, then he’d follow and start the performance. He’d make a show of yawning and stretching, arching his body slowly for Griff every way he could, but trying to make it look casual, natural - just a part of his waking up. Then he’d poise himself with an innocent carelessness, set up his breakfast cereal and toast, all the while feeling Griff’s eyes on him, and he’d offer just enough chatter to keep the man’s interest. The talk was just part of the act. Danny was fairly certain he could call Griff anything he wanted and get away with it. Griff just liked to watch Danny walk around in the skimpy briefs first thing in the morning; it aroused him more than if Danny were actually naked.

Danny frowned. Most mornings, anyway. But today had been a little different, and Danny went down early, knowing Griff was angry with him for being out late with Martin. Griff understood why Danny was out - but that didn’t matter. Danny knew he’d have to make up for it with something extra.

Danny smiled, pulling on a pair of soft, loose-fitting shorts and chuckled. Yeah, he thought with a smirk. Griff’s ‘the Man’ okay - he’s in charge… but shit, who really controls what around here? I can get anything I want! He slipped on a pair of sandals, followed by a string tee, then bounced down the stairs again and settled in at the table. He took a mouthful of cereal but spat it out, making a face and staring down at the bowl, scowling.

"Fuck this shit." He got up and poured the cereal down the garbage disposal, shaking his head. "Griff’s gotta do somethin’ about his diet, man," he muttered. "That’s it - no more goddam garlic or onions. Good thing I don’t have to do that first thing every morning... Jesus, what a shitty aftertaste. Especially with milk!" He stuck his head under the faucet and rinsed his mouth out a few more times before he was satisfied, then wandered back to the table and finished his toast, grabbed the half-cup of coffee Griff left and washed it down. His stomach rumbled slightly and he was still hungry, but he decided he could wait a little longer and do a quick survey of the damage, in case Griff decided to punish him for being gone when he got home.

Danny checked out the main floor of the moderate-sized house and couldn’t find anything out of place. He’d checked the living room the night before and that was fine, and the kitchen had no more than the usual clutter to clean-up. Griff left the dishes piled up on the counter and in the sink instead of placing them in the dishwasher, but there was nothing new about that. A quick check showed the pans he’d used to make dinner didn’t have anything burned into them, and Danny’s eyebrows shot up in surprise.

"Shit, maybe the fat fuck’s finally learnin’ you don’t have to flash-fry food on high," he chuckled. He did his best to keep Griff out of the kitchen, but sometimes the man had delusions of adequacy. Danny just supplied the man with the foods he liked - usually something fried in either bacon fat or lard. The healthiest meal the man ever ate was a bowl of Cheerios, after adding enough sugar to leave sludge on the bottom of the bowl. Even his toast dripped with butter and marmalade jam. But it was what he wanted and liked... and for Danny, it was all about keeping Griff happy.

Danny straightened things out, gathering what needed to be collected from the table, then put things away after scrubbing out the pots left on top of the stove. Everything else went into the dishwasher. He did a quick check for anything that might have been spilled in the refrigerator and left to harden, but it was bone-clean. He scrubbed down the counters next, wiped finger marks from the bleached-oak cabinet doors, and scanned for anything out of place or needing attention.

He eyed the floor and made a face. It would pass muster, but the weekend was coming, and that meant for certain someone would be by, and Griff always wanted the house looking just right for visitors. Cleaning up after himself was a vague concept for Griff to personally attend to, but he liked things to look good. Danny knew it was in his own best interest to make sure their house was ready for the most watchful of eyes. "Not that any of ’em care much, so long as the boys are hot," Danny grumbled, wringing out a washrag and leaving it folded on the edge of the sink.

Danny grabbed the vacuum out of the storage area, gave the floor a rundown. Then he grabbed a mop and bucket, thankful again Griff decided on a colored grout when he had the house built. Danny gave the high-glaze, pure-white tile floor a thorough mopping with the guaranteed no-rinse, no-streak cleaner Griff paid too much for and stood back, scowling. The floor still looked streaky and needed a rinse - just like always. The boy made a disgusted sound and grabbed one of the thick, plush, still-damp towels from the floor of Griff’s bathroom. He dropped to his hands and knees, armed with a big wet sponge in his right hand and a damp towel in his left and wiped the floor again. Satisfied when he rose to his feet, he dragged the vacuum cleaner down the hall to the master bedroom and kicked open the door, prepared for the worst.

"Not bad," Danny said appreciatively once he’d gotten a better look. Still, he’d have to keep an eye open. Griff seldom slapped Danny when he was angry, but he had other, more effective ways to mete out punishment. One night Griff deliberately poured out a chocolate fudge Sundae he’d made for a late night snack onto the floor, then let it set into the light gray carpet over night. Danny spent half the next day frantically trying to clean it and there was still a dark splotch that would never come out.

Danny scanned but didn’t see anything like that and sighed with relief. Griff might have been angry with Danny but at least he understood why. It made him nervous - it drew attention to the fact Danny was old enough to have a driver’s license. That’s what really motivated Danny to head down the stairs early to join Griff for breakfast, the Scooby briefs shoved down as low on his hips as he could manage, but still enough to cover the essentials - the perfect added touch. He’d worked Griff with as much of his ‘boyish innocence’ as he could, stealing looks from the corner of his eye. Once he saw Griff’s pants tenting, Danny gave his best bad-boy grin, wrinkled his nose as he sat with his cereal and toast - then slipped under the table and crawled between Griff’s legs.

He’d almost lost all his points - Griff surprised him by with a short fuse then grabbing and forcing his head down, followed by a heavy volume with a particularly foul taste. Danny gagged, slopped most of it all over Griff’s pants. He’d hunched down for a moment, expecting at least a kick, but relieved when the man reached down and gently drew Danny from his crouch. Griff smiled, rubbing and kissing the top of Danny’s head, then contentedly went to change.

In the bedroom, Danny pulled the clothes basket out of the big slider closet that was packed with Griff’s clothes, and dumped the soiled trousers in. He followed that with the white dress shirt Griff wore the day before, but was careful to check for stains first. Usually Danny came in right behind Griff each evening and sorted the clothes so the suits didn’t wrinkle. Danny would sponge out small stains and touch up with an iron. Danny eyed the basket. Gotta do up some shirts today, he reminded himself. I don’t wanna wait too long an’ wind up havin’ to iron a dozen in one shot again.

Griff favored shirts heavily starched and pressed.

He looked at the suit, a wrinkled mess on the floor but what caught his eye was the piece of stained yellow silk balled up underneath everything. "Fuckin’ guy," he muttered to himself. "A fifty dollar tie to mop coffee instead of a paper towel. Jesus."

Danny shook out the suit, saw it was beyond what he could do with a hot iron and a damp towel, then slipped it onto a hangar to go out with the other dry cleaning. He sighed. The suit was Griff’s new favorite. I better get a load down to the cleaners this afternoon, he thought. Guaranteed he’ll want it next week. He peered at the label. "Hugo Boss," he said out loud. "Who the fuck is Hugo Boss? A thousand goddam bucks to cover his fat ass, and he treats that seventy-dollar blue sport-coat from Target’s better."

He hauled out the rest of the dry cleaning and carried it to the back door, returned to the bedroom with a can of furniture polish and a few rags. He decided to put off stripping the bed until the next day - Friday - so there’d be fresh covers in case anyone came by a safe bet most weekends and almost guaranteed this one. He’d heard Griff on the phone early in the week, and caught just enough to know whoever it was had a ‘new one’ and was coming over Friday night. Some of the ‘Daddies’ shared their boys, and some didn’t - but they all enjoyed pairing up the kids and watching, so Danny knew he’d be busy. Danny was considered the best trainer if a kid was really new.

Hope it ain’t another one that cries a lot, he mused. Not after the way that friggin’ kid from Albania or whatever the fuck it was carried on last time. He paused, then suddenly remembered. Shit. I better check out the Play Room today. If that place is messy, Griff’ll have a shit fit. Danny wiped down the furniture, then eyed the sheer curtains and decided they could wait awhile before he took them down for a wash and iron again. At least Griff quit smoking, so they didn’t yellow like they used to. And with the house climate-controlled, he didn’t have to worry about a lot of outside dust and dirt blowing in the windows. That was a major part of Danny’s job - get things done before Griff noticed something.

That was something Danny learned after watching Griff’s ex-wife back in Haverhill. Anna kept a meticulous house, even if she kept to her own rooms on the second floor, determined to see as little as possible. Danny hadn’t been a live-in during the Haverhill time, just a frequent visitor over the last year - too many neighbors living on small lots, too close for Danny to take up residence, Griff told him. But Danny’s coming and going never drew any suspicion or caused talk. Griff was well-known for his work with disadvantaged youth back then, something his neighbors admired. Those neighbors included the Haverhill Police night-shift commander next door, along with the retired fire chief at the end of the block. As Griff’s consulting business grew, he may not have had as much time to do the volunteer work for the Youth Club or the YMCA, but his neighbors respected a man who found time to help a kid with a lousy life and give him a better shot at the world.

Eventually Anna’s five years came to a close, and the Russian woman filed for citizenship… and quietly moved to the sunbelt with a new job and an agreement to wait a few years before filing for an uncontested divorce - that way, the extra time wouldn’t set off any alarms at the INS. Danny remembered part of the last conversation between them the day Anna left.

"Just don’t forget," Griff warned. "If you ever say a word about me, I’ll clue in Immigration. Maybe Aeroflot doesn’t fly out of Phoenix, but you’ll be on the shuttle to LA, and there’s regular service from there to Vladivostok - and you’ll be back in western Siberia. I wonder how you’d re-adjust to a life in a village with a number instead of a name again, working for peanuts."

Anna had been the perfect wife for an ambitious young man who needed one if he wanted to rise high enough to make the big money. Now he had the money and position, and did even better building his own consulting company until he got an offer from a major engineering firm with its base in metro Boston. The high salary guaranteed Griff what he needed for the way he wanted to live - it bought seclusion, a life far from inquisitive eyes.

Griff found just the kind of house he needed in one of the old farm towns along the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border: an area of nice, unpretentious houses built in the middle of wooded, five-acre lots, invisible to one another. The houses were built along narrow roads curving through the countryside, connecting one secondary road to another in a place noted for nothing more than quiet affluence. Anyone chancing along their street would think themselves deep in empty country, unless they looked hard enough to spot the small gravel or tarred spurs that were nothing more than a gash in the tree line, marked by a mailbox, a newspaper bin and maybe a few reflectors to keep an unwary traveler from blundering into them. There were no street lights this far out, not that anything like that mattered to the residents. In an area like this, a street light was laughable to residents as a source of security. All the houses were wired with surveillance and alarm systems, with radio transmitters rather than hard lines in or out, using power systems backed with battery units. Street lights were actually discouraged - they drew attention that people were there.

It was exactly what Griff wanted and he could afford the steep price. The closest he ever came to a neighbor now was when cars began to look familiar on the sparsely-traveled connecting roads, and even that was rare.

Danny understood from the beginning he’d have to take care of Griff in more than just sexually. He wasn’t eager to do housework, but if Danny didn’t handle things, that meant a maid service would have to pop in and out, and they’d have silent, questioning eyes about a boy who didn’t go to school and stayed home alone most of the time... but blathering tongues when they were out of earshot. Who was the boy? And why didn’t he go to school? Questions like that could get back to the wrong ears - ears attached to men in uniforms. A maid service was just as much out of the picture as going to school.

Not that missing school mattered to Danny. He’d been in and out of too many too often to learn much from books. He read well enough and knew enough math to keep track of money, which was all he figured he needed to know. He didn’t miss being around people - he’d been bounced from foster homes three time, each time the state deciding to save money and honor ‘the sanctity of the family unit’ by returning him to his mother. At least that’s what the bored-looking social worker told him the last time he’d been moved. His last foster mother was blunter and more honest about it.

"It’s the cheap bastids in the state house," she explained. "They run outta money again, and it was either cut their own raises or cut the DSS budget. For better or worse, you got a livin’ parent - so back you go. And they don’t give a shit."

Ten-year-old Danny went back to his mother, fresh from her third stint in a drug rehab, swearing she was really going to do it this time. Danny took one look and knew she was already a little high when she came to pick him up. The bored social worker never looked up from his files and reminded her about ‘surprise’ visits and inspections - which she and Danny knew from experience would always be around the same time each month, depending on the latest workers’ case load. It turned out to be the third Thursday of each month. She’d control her habit around those days and clean up the house, even get rid of the temporary roommate she’d rent Danny’s room to.

Nothing was different. The needle was tracking up her arm within a week, and the tricks started. School was as bad as always. Being small compared to other kids his own age - coupled with the fact that someone always found out his mother hooked to pay for her habit - made Danny’s school life miserable... for awhile.

Circumstances and events changed again by junior high at least, and Danny coldly calculated what his one prime asset was and made the most of it. He’d cut a deal with two of the tougher kids to look out for him - and all Danny had to do was service them a couple of times a week and keep his mouth shut about it. Getting head was a big deal for those guys; but for Danny, giving it was just another fact of his life by the time he was thirteen. His own ‘sexual awakening’ came at age eleven, when the hooker-addict mother found she could fill her arm quicker by selling his ass rather than her own. Danny had woken up and found himself bent over the arm of the beat-up couch he’d been sleeping on, with some stinking drunk clamping a hand over his mouth and trying to force himself in from behind. Fortunately, he hadn’t succeeded but thought he did - and Danny felt something warm and wet splatter over his back and buttocks before he was dropped to the floor.

A few days later an older boy named Roger - fifteen, he claimed, but to a scared eleven year-old, the teen was closer to being a full grown man - came home with his mother and she’d left the two of them together. Roger lived with them for a few weeks and taught Danny what to do slowly and carefully, breaking him in. Danny fought off Roger at first, but after a few back-handers from his mother that sent him sprawling, he finally gave in. At least Roger was gentle. Sweet, even.

"Don’t worry if you don’t like it," Roger explained. "You don’t have to like it to be good for them. Six months ago when I got thrown out, thinkin’ of doin’ this shit made me sick. But it’s fast money, and that means you can eat reg’lar. Just forget about what you’re doin’ and just let it happen, okay? The other thing’ll hurt for awhile, but you get used to it. Ya gotta learn to relax, ’cuz it only hurts more if you fight it, and they’ll force you anyway. I’m just as big as a full grown guy - bigger ’n most really - so if you can handle me, you’ll be okay. But always make sure they use rubbers for this stuff or you’ll get sick. And if you don’t have to, never swallow if they want the other stuff."

After a few weeks, there was more food in the house, the electricity went on again, and Danny’s mother treated him better for awhile. And very quickly, the men that came by turned into a small group of regulars, and while a few of them were drunk, it was never like that first time. Eventually, that’s how Griff entered his life. But his mother’s drug habit had gotten bigger and started cutting into the extra money, and she started pushing Danny to go out for street trade instead of just regulars.

Danny grumbled about that one night when Griff was with him. Then Griff had a talk with his mother and convinced her to stop trying to get Danny into the streets. Griff came by more and more often after that, then started to pay out larger sums for full nights, and even taking Danny for weekends, with Anna locked away or gone. Griff bought the boy stylish clothes - kept at his house at Danny’s urging - and life got easier and better. Slowly, even the other regulars started to fall out of his life, because Danny wasn’t available as often.

Then Griff started talking about the life he wanted and could have soon. Danny saw his chance and pushed for it, as Griff hinted more often that Danny should live with him. The boy played up to it and worked desperately at his mother to cut a deal. Both he and Griff knew without voicing it that an addict with a wad of cash in her hands would likely be dead in a few weeks. If not, she would be once the money ran out.

But there were other problems. Danny had a presence in the state child welfare system. Even if the routine discovery of another hooker dead from an overdose wouldn’t affect anyone’s life, it would undoubtedly bring the boy to the top of the DSS radar. But it wasn’t insurmountable, and most of it was Danny’s idea. Griff made a good cash offer, and backed it up to sweeten the deal in his favor, using his best good-ol’-boy Andy Taylor routine when he held out the cash for her to see.

"You get on a plane to California," the man explained, "and that’s it - you get the cash right before you step onboard." He fixed her with a steel-eyed expression. "And there’s no comin’ back for more in case you’re thinking of blackmail, darlin’. Don’t forget, there’s just as much jail time for sellin’ a kid to somebody like me as there is for me buyin’ him."

It was a quick deal, made in a day.

"She’ll be dead in a week," Griff said confidently when they left Logan for the drive home. Danny shrugged, smiled up at Griff, and held the man’s hand in his lap on the long ride out of the airport, then snuggled up to him as best he could. It was just the end of a bad part of his life as far as he was concerned, a life that was finally starting to look up for the first time. No more state agency bouncing him from one home to another, always just long enough to raise his hopes... only to hand him back to a stupid loser to save itself money. And like Griff told him, what was another dead whore with needle marks in Los Angeles? Even if the cops contacted Massachusetts authorities and a child alert went out, the focus would be in California. Danny would disappear under a mound of paper, like thousands of others.

It was easy. No legal guardianship, no formal adoption - and no snooping from the courts or child welfare. And once Griff left Haverhill, no curious eyes. Danny didn’t care if he ever saw anyone again, and actually preferred the quiet and peace of the house. As long as he kept the place clean and did everything else for Griff, he was safe and secure. He could have done without the boy parties and all the ‘daddies,’ but that was just part of the deal. Sex stopped meaning anything to him a long time ago, although sometimes it was actually fun with the other boys. As for the older men - he remembered how Roger told him just to focus on the dick and forget what it was attached to. "It helps if you keep your eyes closed, but always remember to smile a little if it ain’t in your mouth, and always moan. The johns think you’re all into it, instead of just tryin’ not to see the ugly fucks."

Danny took very little from his old apartment, except for the child welfare folder he’d stashed, because he knew that somehow things like a birth certificate and social security number were important. He didn’t know if any of the other papers were, but he hung onto them anyway. Griff installed Danny in the new house the same night his mother flew out of Boston. Griff - the suddenly deserted and discouraged husband when Anna disappeared - made a sad show in Haverhill, and finally put the small house on the market, taking the first offer he got.

Alone that first night, Danny felt something for the first time in his life: peace. No foster parents, no state bureaucracy. He didn’t have to worry about being grabbed, slapped or used by his own tricks or his mother’s - or suddenly being beaten up by her for no reason but meanness. Danny didn’t have to duck other kids or listen to the taunts either in the schoolyard or on the streets if his protectors weren’t around. They were likely the only ones to miss him - they liked the blowjobs even if they didn’t give a shit about Danny. Danny chuckled, wondering what would happen to them. Would their girlfriends have to put out? Or would they just wind up doing each other instead?

Peace had a price - Everything has a price tag, Danny thought - but he understood that going in. There was Griff, of course, and then Griff’s new friends. Then the other boys started to turn up, and there’d be shows with boys for the men to watch. But food was always in the cabinets, and the heat and electricity were never cut. And no one beat him. And for what? Danny couldn’t understand what the big thrill about sex was supposed to be. He’d just as soon ease the pressure jacking off. Sometimes, the sex was fun - but hardly worth all the extra bullshit.

Danny dropped the vacuum cleaner in the hall, then dragged out the laundry basket and closed the door to Griff’s room. He dragged the bin down the cellar stairs and turned left at the bottom into the small, unfinished service area of the basement, where the washer and dryer stood on the outside wall, near the boiler and water heater. He edged the ironing board out of his way and started a load of whites after inspecting and pre-treating a few items. Danny stood back, then glanced at the small pile of things left from the last laundry, including a few items he wanted for himself, but there wasn’t enough.

"Play Room," he murmured, and went for the door into the larger of the two finished rooms in the cellar, the door on the right at the bottom of the stairs. The third room opened off the service area and was on a keypad lock system to which only Griff was supposed to know the combination, but Danny found it years ago and committed it to memory. That room was Griff’s private workshop, loaded with stacks of photographs and picture printouts he’d collected over the years of younger children, mostly but not exclusively boys. When Danny first found the combination to the room and saw the extra stash, he’d wondered if Griff ever indulged himself in other directions. Not that it mattered to Danny - he’d do a girl or a boy if he had to, it didn’t matter. As long as Griff never brought home a new live-in it was all the same to Danny.

Griff had stacks of videotapes and DVDs, along with CD-ROMs loaded with digital stills and .mpg files. These Danny sampled, but on his own computer. Griff had built in a few panic devices on Danny’s system, so it stood to reason he had them on his own. Mostly, Danny used the computer to cruise the web to satisfy his own curiosity and kill time... and for the chats.

Danny’s only vulnerability were the chat files - and if a system wipe started, they were targeted. His IP on the net was all but impossible to trace thanks to Griff, so he didn’t really have to worry about the log files there. Danny wasn’t quite sure how, but Griff bounced a signal from the satellite dish on the house to an illegal hack into a satellite, and somehow or other the signal was masked again and went through one of the servers that supplied internet service to a small, conservative boys boarding school run by a fundamentalist Christian group on the South Shore. Griff routinely took out their feeble fire wall and primitive blocking software. If Danny ever raised a red flag in the chats from an investigator, they’d figure it was just another horny, closeted gay teen working off a fantasy.

The disks Danny sampled were generally paltry net stuff, downloaded from one of the newsgroups where kiddy porn was routinely circulated. He’d shrugged, bored by nine and ten year olds swilling vodka, masturbating endlessly, or attempting sex. Sometimes older boys or even men joined the drunken kids. Danny got a little excited when he saw the men and older boys getting into the younger ones; even without a soundtrack he knew the smaller ones were screaming, but those vids were mostly incomplete and could have been faked. He could tell from the lettering flashing on the screen they came from Russia or Eastern Europe.

The other videos were different. These were private, live action ones, some from the Play Room, some from the cameras Griff concealed in both his own bedroom and Danny’s. Danny saw himself in plenty, including one that dated back to his first ‘seduction’ back in Haverhill, a music student Griff had the hots for. It took awhile, but finally Danny remembered the name. David-something, and the last name was a funny one, something Italian that started with an ‘S’. The kid was cute, even if Danny didn’t care what his sex partners looked like.

There were others - some of the boys he recognized, others he didn’t. Many of the videos were of Danny with various partners, some of them Griff’s friends - although he noticed that whenever one came up of him and Griff (or Griff with whoever), the man’s face was always edited or distorted. "Everyone’s fair game but you, huh?"

Eventually Danny put the disks back, taking care to restore them in the order he’d pulled them out. He checked out the ever-growing stack of disks every now and then just for laughs. Eventually he risked copying three on the CD burner in Griff’s office, the only Windows-based system in the house since so many of Griff’s clients used it. For his workshop and for Danny, Griff used modified Macs, claiming they were more secure.

One disk featured one of the boys Danny recruited himself - all defiance and anger when he was being forced to do things with Danny and Griff, and then breaking down into tears and actually praying when he thought he was alone. Danny played the disk over and over, wishing he’d known about the crying and the prayers. He’d have kept the boy longer.

The last had sessions of Danny and Kelley, and that brought his own situation home. He still wondered what became of the big, sweet dummy. Did his Daddy just dump him somewhere because he was too old?

Danny shuddered again, remembering the recurring dream he had of suddenly being stuck in Haverhill with a few dollars in his pocket and nowhere to go. That made him think of Roger, whom his mother sent back out into the streets after he’d ‘trained’ Danny, calling him a dirty little piece of street meat, telling him to stay away. Danny had seen Roger once or twice after that, looking cold, hungry and dirty, hanging out near the park and eyeing the traffic, but the older boy was too dirty and unkempt to attract much attention. Danny bunched his fists against his temples and shook his head rapidly, driving the image from his mind.

"Laundry," he snapped aloud. He trotted down to the Play Room and threw open the door. The windows were completely blocked and sealed here, and the walls painted flat black. The floor was a plain, dark vinyl tile, used to make clean up easier. Danny flicked on the subdued overhead lighting and weaved around a platform large enough for half-dozen comfortable theatre chairs, each with a small side-table for drinks. The platform itself was covered with a low-pile carpet, and cushions were scattered around for the boys to use. The platform looked down on a low slung double-bed.

He began stripping the satin sheets. They were still clean - Danny always stripped the bed in the bedroom the morning after a party - but there’d been nothing happening in the Play Room for weeks. People scattered during the summer. Griff even took Danny on vacations - to Disney World and other special places where they could be father and son, surrounded by strangers. Danny wasn’t crazy about the crowds and always felt uneasy, but he could mask that readily enough when he had to, and he did like the rides and games. People looked at them curiously when they saw Danny holding Griff’s hand all the time. Danny looked about fifteen or even sixteen. But then Danny would act a little goofy and childish, slurring his words slightly, and people’s expression changed when they saw the loving father with his beautiful but slightly retarded son.

Danny checked the overhead spots, making sure they washed down on the bed just the right way. Griff would take care of the concealed cameras and microphones - Danny wasn’t supposed to know they even existed. He rummaged in a drawer and came up with an old set of sheets, featuring blue teddy bears driving red and blue trains, planes and cars. Gotta have some variety, he reminded himself, grinning. Just little things to keep the old pervs interested.

Next hemade sure there was plenty of lube in the nightstand. In particular, Danny checked the gel he preferred to the liquids, and made sure there was a good supply of condoms. Some of the older fathers - like Sam - groused about the rubbers, preferring bareback action. Eventually, even he grudgingly admitted accidents could happen and gave in on their use.

Danny didn’t much like Sam, wasn’t sure what it was he did for the group. They all supplied a service of one sort or another. Griff took care of technical matters, one stop on the quiet network these men built for themselves that included doctors, lawyers and dentists - men from every field, sharing their resources and talents when needed to keep their low profile. The boys occasionally got sick or injured after all. Secure homes sometimes needed repairs, and sooner or later someone needed a lawyer or banker to take care of an inconvenience. Very occasionally, even a mortician was needed.

Danny checked the big red, white and blue Fischer-Price toy box next to the bed and did a quick inventory of the toys inside and came up short. He scowled at first, then flattened to the floor and peeked under the bed - sure enough, he spotted the small flesh-colored rubber probe, fished it out and made sure it was clean before stashing it with the other items. Gotta be more careful, he thought. Must’ve dropped it after the last party.

The boy dragged the bedding into the service area and caught the wash cycle just before the tub would have begun draining. He re-set the timer for a full wash, but left up the lid; Danny wanted the load of whites to have a good long soak, already deciding the other washing could wait until afternoon. Later on he’d come down, let the cycle finish, then pull the shirts out and start ironing them up while they were still damp and dump the rest into the dryer. He could take care of what was left while he ironed up Griff’s shirts.

He twisted his head around to the small clock radio, noting the time. "Gotta get movin’," he muttered out loud. "Can’t be late."

Danny trotted up the wooden steps from the cellar, then sprinted up the stairs in the hall two at a time until he reached his room. Clothes were thrown around in here - calculated boyishness for Griff - but that didn’t matter; no one ever came up here but him or one of the other boys after the ‘official’ party was over. Occasionally, he fooled around with some of them to give Griff his private on-camera show - a lot of the boys were more natural and at ease when they thought they weren’t being watched. If Danny picked up a vibe from one that they wanted to be alone with him, they’d come up here. It was up to Griff to catch the clue and switch on. Usually the same boy who’d been so wooden with an audience got completely into a private session. Sometimes he found all they wanted to do was talk, and Danny was fine with that. Griff caught a lot of extra information like that; what the men wouldn’t discuss amongst themselves - other groups, contacts they’d made on the side, if they knew anybody who’d gotten into trouble - the boys shared with each other. Danny always made sure he learned more than he gave out.

He flipped on the computer, plugged in the first ‘error’ password, then the second and finally the third ‘real’ one and waited while the old, slow Mac came up. He checked his email accounts, didn’t see anything special, then opened the letter he’d spotted from Martin and saved for last.

It went on and on… Danny chuckled. He owned Martin, he knew it. He paid for him with a thirty-dollar ring, and a mouth-off contest with the loser at the Rockingham Park Mall cinched the deal. Usually Danny preferred never drawing attention to himself. But he didn’t care what people thought when they saw him with a swish like Martin at the amusement park or in the restaurant. It didn’t matter if anyone saw a couple of teenagers who looked like queers holding hands in public. But the jerk-off selling jewelry at the mall shop was a Godsend that sealed the deal with Martin and Danny was an instant hero, risking nothing. As for the Mall cop - as soon as Danny saw the security guard’s nervous face and shifting eyes, Danny knew he had him by the balls. The man didn’t want any kind of confrontation, and Danny’s threat to file a complaint was never more than a bluff.

He downloaded the email to Martin’s file and opened the small text file he’d begun on Martin - and added the boy’s last name and address, along with the names of his parents and sister. Danny paused for a moment and frowned, then brought up the Verizon On-Line white pages and plugged in the right information, then did a drag and drop of the phone number into the file. After that Danny listed Martin’s school and even what bus he took. He knew where the other family members worked and roughly what their work schedules were like - even that Martin’s father drank too much at some dump called the White Buffalo, and drove a six-year-old green Ford Ranger. The mother drove an eight-year-old Cavalier hatchback, which she leant to her daughter every Thursday to do errands.

"Just too goddam easy," Danny chuckled. "You were careful, Mart, an’ real smart - but you fucked-up, and now I got all I need to know."

Martin had always been so careful never to give out too much information - a challenge that attracted Danny. Most of the kids in the chats in the age range he wanted were sitting ducks. Now he enjoyed listing what he needed to set the trap he’d spring in just a few days. One lone phrase from an early conversation - actually, just a single word - and Danny caught it. He’d even copied it at the top of the file.

Martin had gotten into some jam, and was talking about a kid he hated. "He lives in a doublewide down my street."

Doublewide. Martin lived in a trailer park.

Not much for a start - but there weren’t many trailer parks left in that part of southern New Hampshire anymore, and it was simple to look them up and copy the information. Danny eliminated one or two because they were adult parks; another just through reading the chats, where Martin dropped a clue or two about his part of town. The older teen was fairly certain that given enough time, he’d dig out which one.

Then Martin gave it all away when he agreed to meet the first time. Danny always assumed the old restaurant where he picked up Martin for their first date had to be within walking distance, so he scouted out the area early - and laughed when he found the old building right next to Skolivan’s Modular Park. Danny parked the Taurus in a corner of the small strip mall bordering the derelict restaurant and walked over to the entrance of the park a little beyond that. He spotted two kids about Martin’s age inside, dressed in long-sleeved black shirts and jeans trying to look tough. Danny shook his head - Morons. It’s almost ninety with like 99.9% humidity. Fuckin’ clowns.

Danny put a tough-boy sneer on his lips and developed a little attitude in his walk. He lowered his voice when he spoke and didn’t smile when he approached them. "You guys know some kid called Martin?"

They looked Danny over suspiciously, noting the pricey haircut and the blond-streak dye-job. The clothes the stranger wore looked expensive, from the bright-colored and loose-fitting Calvin shirt right down to the white Nikes on his feet, and they fidgeted in their own Wal-Mart specials. "Whaddya want with him?" the shorter and heavier of the two said. "You some kinda buddy?"

Danny shrugged, picking up the lead from the voice regarding Martin. He snorted, slouched against the mobile home and folded his arms. "Fuck, no. We just moved here, an’ my mom works with his - she’s been on my ass for a week to check him out. You know, try an’ make some new friends. But I been hearin’ this dude’s a real loser."

The short, heavyset one - he called himself ‘Chunk’ - looked Danny over carefully before he spoke again. "You heard right." He leaned closer. "Dude - you better watch who you hang with around here, or you’ll get a rep. Martin Seduko’s a homo."

Danny registered shock, dropped his arms. "No shit! A friggin’ fruit?" Then smirked. "What the fuck. A warm, wet hole’s a nice place to stuff it, as long as you ain’t playin’ with the rest of the plumbin’." The two new boys laughed, and Danny worked them. In less than ten minutes he had all the information he needed. He told the two idiots he’d stop by again so they could all hang, then walked back to his car.

Danny kicked back in the swivel chair and grinned at the picture of Martin. He was nowhere near as homely as Martin thought he was. Sure, he was a little chubby-cheeked, but that just made him look more childish; maybe he’d been on the chunky side once, but he’d grown fast and thinned out and looked just right, as far as Danny was concerned. Boyish - just the way Griff like them. His muscles weren’t defined maybe, but when they kissed the other night, Danny’s hands wandered and evaluated the terrain; he’d felt the taughtness of the body, and that was a major plus. With all of those things added up, they were more than enough to offset the fact that Martin was such an obvious fag - and on that, Martin hadn’t exaggerated. It could put Griff off a little - he wanted boys who were boys - but Martin had enough of everything else, so Danny was fairly certain Griff would overlook it. They wouldn’t be going anywhere in public, after all.

Danny’s eyebrows shot up, remembering the pictures of young girls he’d found. Maybe the combination would actually appeal to Griff! Just because they’d never been with an effeminate boy didn’t mean Griff wouldn’t like one. Except for what Danny trolled for on the net, there hadn’t been any outsiders since Griff left Haverhill. All the other boys that came through reflected what the other daddies liked. Martin could be the big winner after all.

"Good size hog for a kid, too," he chuckled, remembering how it felt against his bottom when he maneuvered into Martin’s lap. Danny cackled again. Getting the kid to splatter his shorts had been too easy.

Danny leaned his head back, both feet up on the desk and swayed in the chair. "This one’s just too fuckin’ easy," he said to the ceiling with a grin. The he jerked up enough to look at the boyish face on the monitor. "Monday, dude," he said confidently, imitating Griff’s drawl. "Monday’s the day I get me a big ol’ piece o’ popped-cherry pie."

He eased back again but sat up with a start and checked the clock. "Shit, Bugs time." He hopped to his feet and ran down the stairs and into the kitchen, digging into the back of a cabinet until he found the Power Rangers sippy cup he’d had since he was four, given to him at his first foster home.

He could still hear Kay’s booming voice in his ear - and feel the coarse, thick fingers ruffling his hair after wrapping him in a small quilted blanket, tucking him onto the couch to watch cartoons while she kept house. She talked rough and loud, but even at four, Danny learned it was all a game. She’d bring him the Rangers cup filled with orange juice, and tell him he had to drink it all. He’d come to Kay when the first snow fell, after he’d been found alone in his mother’s unlighted apartment after four days. It could have been sooner, but Danny refused to cry until he’d gone without food for the last two, and no one knew he was there until then. He remembered Big Julio breaking through the door, with Mrs. Julio following right behind and crying when she saw Danny. She snatched him up, then screamed something about the police to Julio. She wrapped him in something, but it got all fuzzy after that and he was taken to some strange, noisy place until Kay came and took him away.

"You won’t eat veggies or anything else good for ya, and you need somethin’ healthy, ya scrawny runt," she’d scold, and Danny would laugh at her. She’d mush his nose with two thick fingers. "I’m funny, huh? Well, we’ll see. Now you drink all that good Florida Sunshine in your own special cup - I got it just for you. And in between, you munch them soda crackers so the juice don’t hurt your stomach. You’re too skinny, little boy!"

Danny stayed with Kay until the snow was gone, and then the state people came back. Kay kissed him and gave him his blanket and cup in a small bag. "You drink your vitamins and get strong, skinny boy," she whispered to him, and then he was pulled away by a man and woman who strapped him into the back seat of a car. They never bothered to talk to him on the long drive or even tell their names.

The blanket was long gone - Danny wasn’t sure when or where - maybe in one of the many quick moves with his mother, maybe at one of the two other foster homes that would come and go in his life. Kay’s face was just a blur now, but he could still hear the voice. He’d hung onto the cup.

Danny filled it with orange juice and snapped on the lid, then grabbed a sleeve of Saltines and ran for the living room and fumbled for the remote to the big rear projection TV, settling in on the sofa with his feet tucked under, then laid his head on the padded arm. He pulled a soft cotton blanket he always kept in the living room over himself and found the right cartoon channel just as the big red and gold Warner Brothers logo popped up, and Bugs and Daffy danced across the 60" screen. Danny relaxed and smiled - sipping juice and nibbling crackers.

"This is it," he murmured peacefully. "This is the best part of any day."

More of this story is available at KeithMorrisette.com

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