STANDARD WARNING: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to individuals, living or dead, is pure coincidence. Do not read this story if you are offended by man-to-man romance or sex. Do not read if you are underage according to the laws in the country, state/province, county, city/town/village or township where you live. There is sex between males. You have been warned!
Copyright 2001 by archer. Permission is
granted to Nifty Archives, ASSGM, and gaywritings, to post one
copy. No part may be copied, reproduced, republished, or reposted
on another website without written permission from the author.
By Nick Archer
Dennis was hysterical!
He was in a hotel room with a dead man. Or at least Dennis thought he was dead. He certainly wasnt going to touch the body to find out.
The huge mound of quivering gray flesh was lying on the bed face up. His mouth and eyes were open, but unmoving. He had flopped on the bed after complaining of shooting pains on the left side of his body. Then, he simply fell backwards. His skin took on an unhealthy gray tone as the minutes ticked by and Dennis struggled to decide what to do.
The client hadnt touched him, thank God. He put a gay porn tape in the VCR and wanted to watch Dennis masturbate. He was a huge mountain of a man. He had removed his shirt and Dennis thought that his rolls of fat were repulsive. He alternated between smoking crack, weed and Marlboro Lights. When he wasnt smoking, his tongue lolled in and out of his mouth like Jabba the Huts. He pulled down his pants and started to masturbate himself while he watched Dennis. His trousers were still down around his ankles.
For this, he was going to be paid $250, and he could keep it all for himself. It was a special favor for Barry. Damn him! Why had he ever agreed to do this?
It was fear, plain and simple. He had been living steadily at the townhouse for almost four months. He knew he was only there by Teds good graces, and if he refused to do something, Ted would simply threaten to kick him out.
No one was on his side anymore. No one stood up for him. He felt so alone.
Dennis sat on the edge of the other bed, and simply watched TV. He was too stunned to do anything else. Stray thoughts ran through his head. Should he take the guys money? Where was he going to go now? He couldnt go back to the townhouse. The first thing theyre going to ask about is how it went.
Finally, he picked up the remote and started to flip through the channels. There wasnt much that interested him on a weekday afternoon. He stopped at channel 11, one of Chicagos public television stations. There a man with a heavy German accent was demonstrating how to paint with oils. He watched in silent fascination for a time.
"I could do that," he said out loud and pointed to the screen. "I could definitely do that. I can draw, too. Im a good artist. All my teachers told me I was good. Every teacher I had said I was a natural artist."
He stopped abruptly when he realized that the only person listening was a corpse.
He picked up the remote again, and flipped back to channel 7, the ABC affiliate. Maybe there was a talk show on. Instead, a long stream of commercials confronted him. Dennis couldnt remember so many feminine hygiene products and diaper commercials at night. He knew the advertisers had placed them there for the benefit of women, who were the likely audience this time of day.
A commercial for a fabric softener came on. It featured a talking teddy bear.
The talking bear reminded him of a stuffed dog he had long ago. His name was Arf. His Grandma Balzekas had given him the dog for his birthday. Dennis could still recall with pain the day that his brother Peter dismembered Arf in front of his eyes by pulling the limbs from the body. How he had cried!
For all that Dennis was streetwise savvy, deep down inside he was still a sentimental little boy. He still craved attention from adults. And he wanted an adult to take care of him so he wouldnt have to work the streets anymore.
No one is on my side anymore. Not even Tad. If only Grandma Balzekas was alive! I wish I had Arf to hold right now.
Dennis face contorted in pain as he cried out his anguish.
Dennis now held the family record for running away. He had found refuge, of a sort, on the Near North Side with Scott, his "father" Ted, and Scotts "uncle" Barry. Barry and Ted worked for the Windy City Weekly, a gay newspaper. That was their day job. Their real professions were child pornographers and pimps. They fed the insatiable appetite for the scum that craved young male bodies. Barry and Ted were business partners, nothing more. There had never been anything romantic between them. It was simply impossible because both suffered from arrested development. They were stuck at the emotional age of fourteen.
Scott was their accomplice. They used his all-American boy-next-door looks to lure more boys into their foul web of deceit and lies. Some boys they promised riches, others fame. To all they promised escape from the impossible lives they were leading. He apprenticed the boys to the sex industry. To keep them docile and compliant, he used drugs and alcohol as well as money.
Barry and Ted were so successful, they owned a brownstone townhouse on very pricey Aldine Street, another townhouse in Park Forest (they jokingly referred to it as the South Suburban Division) and a house in New Buffalo. In addition to a callboy operation and photography, they explored new media such as 900 and 976 phone sex numbers and the fledgling Internet. That is how Dennis nude pictures ended up on the Internet. Their procedure was simple. Get the boy high or drunk, convince him to strip and let the camera roll.
Dennis knew he was being used, but he had no choice. He couldnt go home. Stan would beat him. One after one of his older brothers and sisters rejected him. They had their own sets of problems to deal with and their own demons to exorcise. Besides, he liked sex, and he was good at it.
Dennis found most of his clients unattractive at best and some were downright repugnant. Most were married, middle-aged men from Schaumburg, Wheaton, Naperville or Orland Park. Some had more hair on their backs than on their heads.
He and Scott had stopped having sex, and almost stopped all forms of affection altogether. A huge buzz saw of jealousy ripped through Dennis when Scott brought home another boy one night to initiate him into the family business. Scott kicked Dennis out of his room but Dennis listened at the door nonetheless.
He heard Scott use the same lines on the new boy that Scott had used on him the first night they had sex.
The final straw came one Monday afternoon when Barry woke him up. Dennis had been catching up on his sleep and recovering from his weekend when Barry woke him up.
"I have a client for you."
Dennis was sleepy and surly. "Now? Im tired."
Barry put on his best smile. "You will earn $250 and you can keep it all. I wont take a cut. This is a very special friend of mine."
Dennis rolled over and shielded his eyes from the sun with his forearm. "Cant Scott do it? Or maybe the new kid? He said he wants to work."
"Scott has an appointment and the new kid is too green. You know that. Lets go!"
Barry crossed the room and pulled on his arm so hard, it almost wrenched his shoulder out of the socket. "Get up, you little bitch, now!"
"Take a shower and put on your outfit. Wear your boots. I think Lou will like that."
Dennis sat on the edge of the bed, running his hand through his disheveled hair.
"Lets go! You need to be at the hotel at one oclock."
"Ok, Ok," then he added under his breath, "asshole."
"What did you say?"
"Thats what I thought. You are rapidly becoming more trouble than you are worth. Now get your ass ready. I will give you the address of the City Suites Hotel and cab fare."
He had just a little trouble getting into the hotel past the snooty, effeminate desk clerk. He stopped the boy as he strode through the lobby.
"Where do you think youre going, young man?"
"Im meeting my uncle."
"Your uncle is a guest here?"
"And his name is..."
"Lou. Lou Capriotti. In 1532."
The desk clerk checked his terminal and indeed found the name the boy mentioned registered there. "I will call and announce you. And you are....."
"Your last name, please?"
"Its my uncle. He should know who I am."
With an exaggerated frown, dialed the room, spoke a few words to the man on the other end and never once removed his eyes from Dennis.
He set the phone back in the cradle, and said, "You may go up. Your uncle is expecting you."
"Thank you." As Dennis approached the elevators, he flipped the clerk the bird. "Have a wonderful day."
"I wish theyd teach these hustlers some manners," he mumbled to himself.
Now Lou, the special client, was dead. Dennis finally made up his mind where he would go. He would hide out at Tads and wait for this all to blow over. Maybe it never would. They could track him down.
For a while, he considered taking the fat mans wallet. But he had seen a show on The Learning Channel about tracking criminals. Even if you didnt leave fingerprints, they could trace you just by fibers of the clothes you wore. He wondered if he had left any hairs around. Surely, they could trace them back to him.
There was no time to worry about it now.
He took a long, hot shower in the hopes that the soap and hot water would wash away the afternoon. Maybe, the heap would be alive again when he was done. Dennis had never seen such a luxurious bathroom. It was completely done in marble, and the shower had several adjustable heads. There was a small porcelain fixture that looked like a toilet, but was lower, didnt have a seat and had hot and cold faucets on it. Was it for washing feet? Dennis had no idea. He dried his body with a towel that felt more like a thick rug, dressed and applied some of the free cologne available on the vanity.
The mountain of a man was still lying on the bed. Was he married, Dennis wondered? Would people miss him? Did he have kids? So many of his tricks did, and so many made a point of telling him how much he reminded them of their son, or nephew or sons best friend. What did he do for a living? What was he like when he was thirteen? Were his parents still alive? What would they think of their little boy lying half-naked in a hotel room?
Just before he left the room, he pulled the comforter from the other bed and covered the body. He poked his head in the hall to see if anyone was there before entering, striding to the elevator, and to the lobby.
The eyes of the desk clerk followed the boy as he exited the hotel without a look back.
"Dennis, what are you doing here? And what did you do, fall in a vat of cologne? What is that, Obsession?"
"I think so. I borrowed it."
"Its expensive." Sean sighed. "Come on in, we need to talk."
Dennis didnt like the sound of that.
Tad was chopping something in the kitchen. "Where have you been? I know you havent been home."
"Ive been staying at a friends house."
"He owns a townhouse on Aldine."
"Whose townhouse is it?" Tad demanded.
"Just a guy." Dennis cast his eyes down.
"What do you mean, just a guy? You dont know his name?" Tad asked.
Sean watched the two brothers like a spectator at a tennis match. Before Dennis could answer, Tad threw another question at him. "Where have you been all this time? Where did you get the clothes and the jewelry? Where did you get the earring?"
"You should see my tattoo."
"Tattoo?" Tad asked in an apoplectic voice. "Dads going to shit when he sees that."
"Well, hes not going to see it."
Dennis raised his right sleeve to reveal a crescent moon and stars in a circle. It was very similar to the Proctor & Gamble corporate symbol that had caused so much controversy. It was a very well executed job, obviously done by a professional.
Tad and Sean exchanged looks. Something was going on here. Dennis was involved with some very unsavory characters. They knew it was bad, but they had no idea. Almost telepathically, they knew where the money had come from. Dennis had been hustling.
"I want some answers and I want them now, "Tad said through gritted teeth, "otherwise Ill drag your ass back to Mom and Dads. And I dont have to tell you what Dad will do to you."
"Tad, take it easy," Sean tried to mediate.
"Well, the little fuckers lying through his teeth. I hate it when he lies."
"All right! Ill tell you."
It took almost an hour for Dennis to unfold the whole story. He explained how he had met Scott, how Scott had introduced him to prostitution and then to Barry and Ted. Dennis described his tricks how he had serviced all those horny, married suburban men hungry for boyflesh. He even told them the part about Miss Bokay at Christmas time. He told them almost everything except for the part about the dead man in the hotel room.
To his own surprise, Dennis was crying at the end. He was trembling and shaking, and his body convulsed with sobs. Sean brought a comforter from the linen closet and wrapped it around his shoulders.
"Were going to eat dinner, and then you are going to bed," Sean told the boy. "Well figure out our next move in the morning."
Without protest, Dennis wolfed down Tads pot roast without tasting it. When his belly was full, he wrapped the comforter around himself and shuffled off to the second bedroom.
"Do you think we should give him something to sleep?"
"Like what?" Sean asked.
"I have some Quaaludes left over."
"Yeah. Maybe one. Ill take it to him," Sean volunteered. From the medicine chest, he found the vial, and filled a glass with water.
Sean sat on the edge of the bed. "Take this, son. It will help you sleep."
Dennis sat up and swallowed the pill. His eyes met Seans.
The man turned around in the doorway. "Yeah?"
"Why dont you like me?"
"I do, Dennis. Its just that I have my own issues to deal with. Im not sure I can explain it."
"Can I stay with you and Tad?"
"Well talk about it in the morning."
Later that night, their bodies intertwined in bed, they kissed with passion. Tad voiced what was on his mind.
"Why dont you want to foster Dennis?" Tad knew any judge was unlikely to name the twenty-five year old as guardian. He was simply too young. Unless Sean supported him, Dennis was going to become a statistic in the foster care system. Tad was genuinely concerned for his little brother.
Sean framed his answer carefully. "First, let me set the record straight. I like Dennis. I really do. Hes a great kid. But, Im not ready to be a foster father."
"I have three kids of my own, for starters. I need to spend time with them. We cant have him live here with us in the city. The public schools suck and private schools are expensive. With the child support Im paying, theres not much extra money in the budget to do it. Finally, Tad, he has more problems than I can deal with, let alone you. You have your studies. I am an astronomer, not a child psychologist. He would need intensive counseling, perhaps even daily."
Out of frustration and defeat, Tad started to weep. "I love him. I want to help him. Hes family. Blood is thicker than water."
Tad was still upset, and still weeping quietly. His tears subsided gradually, and very slowly he nodded agreement.
"Tell you what well do. He needs to go into a program. If he completes it successfully and the judge agrees, he can spend some time with us in Lake Geneva this summer. We can get an idea of how well it will work. He can even continue his counseling with Ruth while hes there." Ruth Rohan had counseled them as a couple the previous summer to help them communicate better.
Tad brightened a bit. "Thats a great idea."
"Then, well take it from there. If he still needs help, he can be placed in a home again in the fall. If hes better, we might consider fostering him."
"But, I thought you said the schools in the city were bad."
"They are, but maybe well move." Sean cleared his throat. This a very bad time for this announcement, but he needed to tell Tad. "They offered me a position at the Observatory in Lake Geneva. Im thinking seriously about taking it."
"You did? Oh, Im so proud of you! But, what about this apartment? And what about my classes. I graduate in about a month."
"It wouldnt start until July 1, anyway. That will give us plenty of time to move, and help you find a job, Mr. Masters Degree." Sean took on a more serious demeanor. "Im sorry to dump this on you now. They just formally offered it to me on Friday, and I wanted to be sure before I said anything."
The pill did help Dennis sleep, but it didnt prevent him from dreaming.
He had dreams of fat, dead men lying everywhere. They were on the bed, on the couch, on park benches and slumped in seats on the "L". He couldnt get away. A giant, life-sized Snuggle bear with fangs chased him through a hotel lobby. It started to rain, and the rain turned to mineral spirits and all the colors ran like an oil painting. An artist with a heavy German accent clucked his tongue and said "Ach, vat a mess!" He woke several times during the night. Each time his pillowcase was damp with sweat and the terror returned.
I killed a man. Its my fault hes dead. The desk clerk will be able to identify me. I saw it on TLC. I was just painting a landscape in oils. A teacher with a heavy German accent was giving me pointers. I saw Arf on TV in a commercial for fabric softener. I wish I could have flushed his body down that toilet-thing in the bathroom.
On and on it went through the night. Finally, about 4 AM, the irrational thoughts were overcome by his physical exhaustion and the effects of the Quaalude he had taken and he fell into a deep slumber.
Dennis awoke, exhausted and bleary eyed the next morning at ten. He felt like he hadnt slept at all. He wandered the empty apartment with the comforter wrapped around him. There was a note on the kitchen table:
Went to do some shopping. Theres stuff to make sandwiches in the fridge, and some leftover pot roast. We should be home by noon.
He tried to watch TV, but he couldnt. He couldnt relax. Everyone was out to get him. His parents hated him. Peter hated him. Ted and Barry and Scott were going to get him when they found out what had happened.
He tried to watch TV, mindlessly flipping through the seventy-plus channels. He stumbled on CLTV the Chicago area version of CNN. It was a twenty-four hour news channel dedicated to Chicago, the suburbs and news from Springfield.
"Im John McLaughlin outside the City Suites Hotel. Inside, the body of Louis Capriotti, the owner of Capriotti Foods in Chicago Heights, was found dead yesterday afternoon of an apparent heart attack. He was forty-nine. A homosexual pornography tape was found in the hotels VCR. There were no signs of a struggle, and his wallet was intact, so robbery is unlikely. A desk clerk reported that a boy of about fourteen who claimed to be Capriottis nephew visited the room about the time of death."
"Any more information about the alleged nephew?" The bleached blond at the CLTV anchor desk asked.
"No, just that he is wanted for questioning."
Immediately, Dennis started to hyperventilate, his palms got cold and clammy. He started to whimper. "Oh, my God! What am I going to do?" He paced the rooms nervously, mumbling.
Should he turn himself in? Should he tell Sean and Tad about it? They would surely protect him, but also probably make him face up to what he had done.
His heart started beating in his chest, thumping at a frantic pace as if he had just run a mile in PE class.
That pill that Sean gave me! Maybe I should take another one. It will help me calm down. I can use more sleep anyway.
In the medicine chest, he located the vial that was marked Quaaludes. The prescription was written to Thaddeus Balzekas. There were five left. He gulped all five.
Desperate, frightened and anxious, he found bottles of booze in the pantry. He poured himself a glass of vodka and made a face as the clear liquid burned on its way down.
He lay down on the bed in the second bedroom.
He was floating above the bed. He looked down and he could see his body lying facedown on the bed. He wasnt worried or frightened anymore. Instead, he looked at the body with curiosity as if it were a science experiment. What would happen next?
He found himself shooting down a long, dark tunnel. This was the only time he was frightened. At the end, he could see a brilliant, chalky light. It was beacon leading him on.
At the end of the tunnel, he found Grandma Balzekas. She looked young and pretty! He had seen old photos of her taken long before he was born, and she looked as if she belonged there.
She held out her arms to him. He melted into her arms. "Kukla," she whispered. "Im not sure its your time."
"What do you mean, Grandma?"
"I think you made a mistake. But The Light will decide if you are to be here."
She released him, and pointed toward the brilliant light. Dennis felt his body warmed by unconditional love. The being, whatever it was, loved him, cared about him. He knew it. He was not afraid, but curious about what was going to happen next. The Light spoke to him telepathically. He couldnt hear a voice, but he understood what The Light was saying.
In a gentle but powerful voice, The Light asked, "Are you ready to review your life?" He still felt the unconditional love from the being. There were no judgements or accusations. "We are going to look at the times you learned about love."
Am I ready? Dennis asked himself.
"Go toward The Light," Grandma Balzekas urged.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. I read and respond to all email (even if it takes a few days) Just click on one of the links below. And don't forget to check out my website (Chapters are always posted there earlier than here) and my other story here on Nifty, Pocketful of Stars, in the Young Friends section.
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