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. Speaking of my blog, there is an interesting discussion of this chapter going on over there. Just scroll down and feel free to weigh in. And while I usually do not ask anything of my readers, here is a post you really should read to see if there is something you can do to help. 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: In Chapter 25, Tommy decides to sleep in a park across the street from the bus station, then goes in search of some food. He asks one of the boys standing outside a building on New York Avenue where he can find a McDonald’s. When he returns, the boy, named Danny, is no longer there so Tommy decides to wait for him. Without knowing it, he makes a mistake that could cause problems with the other boys. But Danny comes to his rescue and takes him inside for some food. Danny explains to Tommy that the bar they are in is named the Café Palermo and is a place where older men buy sexual favors from younger boys. Questioned, Tommy opens up a little to Danny, who offers him a place to stay for the evening. After sharing his pizza with Tommy, Danny takes him across the street to a condominium where Danny lives with an older man named Ray. Tommy gets to take a shower and go to bed while Danny returns to the Palermo. While resting in bed, Tommy recalls his involvement with Coach Johnson back in Vermont. Later, Danny returns and climbs into bed with Tommy, but nothing happens between the two boys.
Part III - Desperation, Degradation and Despair
When I woke up the following morning, Danny wasn’t in bed next to me. I could hear someone taking a shower across the hall in the bathroom. I looked around the room and then quickly reached down to check my wallet. Everything I had was still there, all $42 bucks minus the dollar I had spent the previous day at McDonald’s and the quarters I had used on the locker.
I rolled over on to my back and just stared at the ceiling. The next thing I knew Danny walked into the room, toweling himself off but making no effort to conceal his nakedness from me. My eyes drifted down to his groin.
Holy shit, I remember thinking. For being around the same size as me, he sure has a really big cock.
I mean, I hadn’t ever seen one bigger than that and he wasn’t even hard at all. It was huge.
“Like it?” Danny asked, giggling at me.
He had been watching me stare at it all along.
“That thing sure is pretty big,” I commented, not knowing what else to say.
“Yeah,” he replied. “Everyone has to have some way of selling themselves on the streets. Some guys do it with their personality, some with their looks, whatever. But all of the regulars know I have a really big dick and a lot of them like that.”
“What do you want me to make you for breakfast?” he added, changing the topic. “I think we have just about everything: eggs, bacon, bread, milk. Whatever you want, we got. We probably even have some Fruit Loops,” he added, grinning.
“You don’t have to bother,” I said. “I don’t want to impose.”
“If it was imposing, I wouldn’t have offered,” Danny responded, chiding me. “So what do you want?”
“Bacon and eggs would be good,” I said, suddenly noticing the pangs in my stomach for the first time that morning.
“Bacon and eggs it is,” Danny replied. “Get that ass of yours out of bed and get yourself cleaned up and presentable while I get dressed. You can wear some of my clothes that I’ve laid out on the chair over there,” he added, pointing at it, “at least until we get yours washed. But don’t get them dirty. They’re among my very best.”
While Danny pulled on his clothes, I went over to the bathroom and got cleaned up. Returning to the room, I put on the clothes he had left for me on the chair. They were a little big, but served the purpose well enough. They weren’t anything special, though, just some jeans, a t-shirt and a pair of briefs with a picture of Superman on them. I felt a little embarrassed putting those on.
Being young and all, I was surprised Danny knew how to cook, but the food turned out to be good and I was glad about that because I was really hungry right about then. The two of us sat at a little round table in the kitchen just staring at each other while we ate. I wasn’t sure what to say so I decided not to say anything at all.
“The Palermo doesn’t open for another couple of hours,” Danny finally announced. “But we can hang out here or at the McDonald’s until then if you want. The morning crew over at McDonald’s don’t mind us hanging out as long as we don’t make any trouble. It makes people think the food must be good because they have so many customers.”
I didn’t really know what to do at that point so spending time hanging out with Danny seemed fine with me. It wasn’t like I had any other place to go.
“McDonald’s is okay with me,” I replied.
With that Danny picked up the dirty dishes and took them over to the sink. He cleaned them up while I decided to put my newly acquired drying skills to work helping him out. When we were done, Danny tossed my dirty clothes and some of his own into the machine and got a washing going. Then the two of us left. I never did see the older dude that morning.
“Before we go over to McDonald’s, we should get that bag of yours and bring it up to Ray’s place,” Danny said.
The sun was bright as the two of us walked over to the bus station that morning. You could tell it was going to be a really nice day. When we got there, Danny spotted someone he knew and the two of them started talking. I just stood there for a minute or two listening to them. Then I decided to walk over to the lockers and retrieve my bag. It was kind of heavy because it had most of my stuff in it so it hit the floor with a thud.
I was about to pick it up and rejoin Danny when this black dude appeared out of nowhere. He was tall, thin and older than me, somewhere between 20 and 30 as best I could tell. His hair was slick, styled and shiny, and he was wearing some really loud clothes.
“Interested in scoring some weed,” the dude whispered, looking over at me. “It’s really good stuff, my man, totally primo, and I’ll let you have an ounce really cheap too. I need to score some quick cash so today’s your lucky day.”
His sudden appearance reminded me I hadn’t smoked in a couple of days and the thought of having some marijuana of my own focused my attention. I didn’t have much money, of course, and Coach had been providing the stuff to me free of charge so I didn’t really have a clue how much it would cost.
“How cheap?” I asked the dude, skeptical.
“It’ll have to be really cheap because I don’t have that much cash on myself either.”
“Like I said, my man, this is your lucky day,” the dude replied. “I need cash and I don’t have time to haggle. I’ll let you have an ounce for $20. And mind you, my man, this is primo stuff, sinsemilla; you’re getting the very finest quality available in Washington.”
With that he pulled open his jacket briefly and flashed me a glance at the stuff. It looked exactly like what Coach and I had been smoking.
I didn’t have a clue whether that was a fair price or not; and, don’t get me wrong, I was tempted, no doubt about it. I really wanted the stuff, but I knew it would seriously deplete what money I had so I decided to take a pass.
“Too expensive for me,” I said, reaching down for my bag.
“Come on, man, be serious,” the dude replied. “I’m offering you an incredible deal here. This is sensi we’re talking about, my man. How much you got?”
“Ten bucks,” I responded. “That’s the best I can do.”
“Oh, man, you’re like totally ripping me off,” the guy responded, his face showing just how disgusted he was with my offer. “If I wasn’t in need of cash so bad, I’d walk away from such an insulting offer right now. But seeing how desperate I am, well, for you, my man, ten bucks will do.”
I reached for my wallet and was about to pay the dude when Danny walked up.
“Oh, for crying out loud, Percy, are you trying to scam my friend here?” he said to the dude.
“Danny, my man, good to see you,” the dude replied, smiling and immediately focusing his attention on Danny.
“Is this pretty young thing your friend? Man, some dudes have all the luck when it comes to attracting the snatch. I bet she has a really sweet pussy. You always did have great taste in your girlfriends, Danny. ”
I remember being both stunned and annoyed when he said it. I mean, the guy didn’t seem to be trying to insult me from the tone of his voice, but I was seriously pissed off by what he had just said.
“He’s my friend, Percy,” Danny replied, “not my girlfriend. And, no, I’m not getting into his pussy. So now that your curiosity is satisfied, would you mind taking your little scam somewhere else?”
“Certainly, Danny,” the guy said. “If I had known he was your friend, my man, I never would have approached him.”
“If you had known he was my friend, you would have charged him twice as much,” Danny replied, grinning at the dude, “just like you do with your momma. By the way, how much did he offer you?”
“Hardly anything, Danny,” the dude replied. “Said he was short on cash; I mean, like, who isn’t short on cash in this dump of a bus station? Talked me down to $10 an ounce, Danny. Ten dollars! For sinsemilla!”
Danny just laughed and with that the dude turned and walked off in the opposite direction.
“What was that all about?” I asked.
“Look, Tommy, we’ll talk some more,” Danny replied, “but here’s rule number one: never try to con a con man. I love Percy. He’s like a brother to me. But that marijuana you were about to buy? He gets it at the pet shop over on H Street. He buys three-quarters of an ounce of catnip for 50 cents. If you’re lucky and he’s in a really good mood, he might mix in a little of the real stuff. It makes for a hell of a good-looking ounce of marijuana, Tommy, but it’s catnip for crying out loud. Maybe a cat would get high on it. You? I don’t think so. Not anytime soon.”
I remember feeling like a complete idiot right about then.
“And rule number two is to stay away from this bus station,” he continued, “at least when I’m not with you. This dump is populated twenty-four hours a day by pimps, pickpockets, winos, junkies, whores, transvestites, con men, pushers, hustlers and assorted other restroom commandos. And guess what? Every one of them is trying to make a living off of the customers who pass through here every day, mostly young soldiers on their way from one base to another these days.”
“Come on,” he said, grinning at me. “Let’s get that bag of yours back to Ray’s place before someone decides to sell you the Washington Monument.”
It was embarrassing to realize just how little I knew and I was grateful Danny didn’t rub it in on the walk back to Ray’s place. But what I appreciated even more was him telling the truth to that dude, that I wasn’t his girlfriend and he wasn’t doing me. I mean, I had been pretty insulted and upset when the dude said those things.
When we got back to Ray’s place, the washing was done so Danny retrieved our clothes and tossed them into the dryer.
“Let’s hang around here and let these get dry,” he said. “It’ll only take ten or fifteen minutes at most.”
He was right about that and it wasn’t very long before he tossed my clothes over to me and told me to go change. They smelled good now and felt really nice and warm.
I went down to Danny’s room and stripped off his clothes.
I had just finished doing that when Danny came sauntering in.
“Hey,” I asked, “can’t a guy have any privacy around this place?”
I was kind of embarrassed for him to see me naked like that.
“Unless you’re Miss Modesty or this is your room, not mine, no, you can’t,” Danny replied, grinning at me. “Like they say, if you’ve got it, flaunt it; and you’ve definitely got it, Tommy.”
I turned around so I was facing away from him, resigned to the fact that he was going to watch me get dressed no matter what I said.
“Ooh, thanks,” Danny taunted, “that has to be just about the cutest pussy I’ve ever seen, babe.”
I dressed as quickly as I could and then turned around. Danny was standing real close and he just reached over and messed up my hair.
“You’re a cutie, Tommy, definitely a cutie.”
“Thanks,” I said, a little embarrassed.
I mean, no one had ever said stuff like this to me before. And even though I could tell Danny was just having some fun, the language was different than what I was used to. It was coarser, blunter, more in your face and even confusing at times. It seemed like the only way you could tell for sure what someone was really saying was by the way they said it as much as by the words themselves.
“You’re not too bad yourself,” I replied, deciding to take my own shot at talking that way. “Maybe when you’re grown up and have a full sized dick, I’ll be a little more interested in you. Babe!”
“Ooh,” Danny replied. “Not bad; not bad at all for an amateur. You’ll make a really fine bitch someday.”
I just grinned at him.
After that, the two of us headed over to McDonald’s. Danny bought a cup of coffee and we grabbed a booth near the window so he could see what was going on outside on what turned out to be 13th Street. In addition to us, there were several other boys in the place. They were kind of cute, just like Danny, and they greeted him warmly.
“So,” Danny offered. “Did you sleep all right last night?”
“I did,” I replied. “Pretty good, I think. I was exhausted.”
“You must have been,” Danny volunteered, grinning at me.
“You’ve got a really nice little body there, Tommy,” he added, “especially that butt of yours. I copped some feels last night and you never even moved.”
“I don’t remember feeling you touch me,” I replied. “But thanks for the compliment. I like your body better than mine though. It’s a lot more muscular and reminds me of a friend of mine back home. I can’t imagine what you would like about my body.”
“Everyone’s different that way,” Danny replied. “You know what I mean? Personally, I like guys with bodies that are small, smooth and tight like yours. I especially like that ass of yours. It’s really small and sure looks pretty tight to me. Have you ever been fucked?”
I was kind of surprised at just how direct Danny was about everything, but I liked him so I told him the truth.
“Nope, never have been,” I said. “Not planning to be either.”
“Oh, damn,” he replied, grinning, “another virgin. We seem to be getting a lot of those around here lately.”
“Not that it matters in your case, of course. Even if you were into it, I wouldn’t even try sticking my dick up that ass of yours. I wouldn’t want to hurt you that bad,” he added, smirking.
I didn’t really know what to say so I kept my mouth shut and just smiled.
“Well, I guess we best get down to business then,” he said. “The first thing we should talk about is whether you’ve thought any more about going back home. Because by now people will be all worried about you and so they’ll be more forgiving if you decide to call them right now and let them know where you are. You probably don’t realize it yet, but it’s the best option available to you.”
“No,” I replied. “I can’t go back home. They’ll put me in some kind of youth facility to get me away from my parents. I don’t want to be in some lockup in Vermont.”
“Okay, then,” Danny responded. “So the next question is this. How are you going to survive here in Washington?”
“I figure I’ll get a job,” I replied. “Do you know of any places that are hiring?”
“I know some,” Danny said. “But they won’t hire you. How old are you anyway and tell the truth?”
“I’m fourteen,” I replied, “soon to be fifteen. How old are you?”
“I’m about to turn eighteen,” Danny responded.
“So why won’t these places you know hire me?” I asked. “I don’t mind hard work.”
“Because they’re going to want to know a lot of stuff before they hire you,” Danny replied. “Like your name and where you live and your social security number and things like that. And since you’re a runaway, you’ll have to lie about all of that so the information you give them won’t check out. That’s why they won’t hire you,” he added.
“Besides, you’re only fourteen so the jobs you could get only pay minimum wage and you can only work limited hours here in Washington,” he continued. “Between the two of those things, it won’t be enough to keep you in food, let alone to get a place to live.”
“Why are you telling me this?” I asked, challenging him. “If you’re trying to convince me to go back home, it won’t work. I’m not going back. I already told you that.”
“That’s fine,” Danny replied. “But you need to understand you aren’t going to get a real job that pays real money. Oh yeah, sure, it isn’t as bleak as I put it. There are few places that might hire you on the sly to clean up toilets and things like that. They’re not exactly the nicest jobs in the world and you could do that. But you’re still going to need to supplement whatever they pay if you want to survive in this town. So what’s the point when you can make a lot more than they pay doing other stuff?”
“And that’s the thing, Tommy,” he added, looking me square in the eye. “Your choices are kind of limited and I’m not going to sugarcoat them for you. You can go back home, which would be the smartest thing. But that’s your decision, not mine. And if you’re dead set against going back, you really only have two choices. You can either hustle like me and some of the other guys you saw last night. Or you can try to find yourself a sugar daddy and let yourself be his little boy toy. Those are your only two choices, real choices.”
“It’s mainly a difference between renting yourself out or letting someone own you,” he continued. “I prefer hustling, I guess. I mean, don’t get me wrong, having a daddy is tempting, real tempting, no doubt about it. Because your daddy will take care of all your needs. He’ll put food in your stomach, clothes on your back, and a roof over your head. So you won’t ever have to worry about any of that stuff as long as you keep your daddy happy.”
“But that’s the downside, too, keeping your daddy happy I mean. Because, the thing is, once you hook up with a daddy, he’ll own you and your ass, totally own you. You’ll have to do everything he says. He’ll get mad if you even so much as look at another guy. He won’t want you to have any friends your own age. The only friends you’ll have are his friends. You won’t really have much of a life because your whole life will revolve around making your daddy happy. Some guys like it just fine and personally I think it’s a hell of lot easier than hustling. So you need to think about that.”
“With hustling on the other hand, you’re your own boss,” Danny went on. “You set your own hours, earn your own money and you don’t have to share what you earn with anyone because we don’t have no pimps. You can be friends with whoever you want and you’ll want to have a bunch of friends too. Because you’ll probably end up crashing with your friends in the evening or getting a really small place together with some of them eventually. Unless you’re lucky like me and find someone like Ray who’s willing to let you crash at their place without any strings attached.”
“Of course, hustling is hard work, really hard,” Danny continued. “You’ll be sucking lots of dick and the guys you’ll be sucking off will mostly be trolls, psychos, and losers. You’ll have to flatter them a lot about how good looking they are, how masculine they are, how much they turn you on, and such. Most of them will be pretty old and some of them will definitely be weird. Worst of all, some of them will be dangerous, really dangerous, and you could end up getting beat up or worse, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.”
“Have you ever sucked dick before?” Danny asked, out of the blue, looking directly at me.
“It isn’t something I make a habit of,” I responded, making a face at him. “But, yeah, there was this one older guy back home I did that to a few times.”
“Well, that’s the thing about hustling, Tommy,” he said. “You’ll be doing it a lot and to a lot more than one guy, that’s for sure, because that’s how you’ll be making money. The more guys you have sex with, the more money you’ll make. For street hustlers like us, it’s all about volume and more is definitely better than less.”
“Can I ask something?” I said, interrupting him.
“Sure,” Danny replied. “What?”
“You said that guy Ray lets you crash at his place without any strings attached. Is he your sugar daddy? If not, why would he let you do that?” I asked. “And why would you have to hustle at all if he is?”
“Well Ray is really one of a kind,” Danny replied. “And I’m not going to explain it in detail, at least not now. But, no, Ray isn’t my daddy; and when I said he lets me stay at his place with no strings attached, I meant with no sexual strings attached. But I still have to give him something toward the rent and the food every week. Not all that much really, but it’s something. And I have to buy my own clothes and pay my own bills, doctor bills and such.”
“And as for the rest of it,” he continued, “what I will tell you is that Ray is into looking, not touching. He likes to look at me. Not me so much, I guess, I just happen to be the one living with him. But he likes looking at cute boys and having one around his place. Now I suppose that sounds kind of weird and it is. But that’s the truth of the matter. But, like I said, I’ve never run into anyone else like him. There are some daddies I know who start out just looking and pretending to be your friend. But it usually doesn’t take very long before you’re down on the floor on your hands and knees with your ass up in the air and their dick up your butt.”
And so that’s how it went. For the next hour we just sat in McDonald’s while Danny laid out the options for me, trying to set out the plusses and minuses and filling me in on what each of them would require. When he was finished, he looked over at me.
“So which will it be?” Danny asked. “And remember, you still have the option of going back home. That’s always an option and, like I said, it’s your best one.”
“There has to be some other way,” I replied.
I mean, I couldn’t think of one right then, but I figured there had to be some other choice.
“I wish there was, Tommy,” Danny responded, looking directly into my eyes. “I mean, I would let you stay with me if I could, but Ray’s funny that way. He likes having one boy around. He’ll put up with another one for a week or two to help someone out. But he likes his privacy. So you can stay with me for a little while if you need some time to think about it. And I have some friends you can stay with after that for a little while. But we’re all pretty much in the same boat, Tommy. Everyone’s just trying to survive and eventually you’re going to have to carry your own weight.”
“Is there another way? Yeah, sure, there’s always another way. You could get into dealing drugs, but your chances of ending up dead or in jail are pretty high if you’re into that full-time. You could try scamming, like Percy. You could probably make some money that way, but the suppliers aren’t too keen on scammers. They’re bad for business so you’re running a risk with that particular scam. They only let Percy do it because he moves an incredible amount of the real stuff. There are other kinds of scams you could try your hand at, of course, but they really don’t bring in all that much money for all the time and effort you have to invest. Most scammers just do it part time.”
“That’s why I keep telling you to go back to Vermont,” he continued. “Being in a lockup ain’t great, especially if you’re in with some older dudes missing their girlfriends. But you get three square meals a day and a roof over your head. If you’re lucky, they might teach you a trade for when you get out.”
“If it’s so great, why don’t you get yourself locked up?” I asked. “Why don’t all the rest of those boys at the Palermo get themselves locked up?”
Danny didn’t say anything to that. He just looked away.
“Look, let me think about it,” I responded when he finally looked back at me. “You’re probably right, but I need more time to think about it. If I had to choose right now, I suppose I’d try hustling like you.”
“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, but I’m kind of curious why?” Danny asked. “Sometimes I wonder myself why I hustle instead of getting a daddy.”
“I would rather be my own boss,” I replied. “Because there’s no way in hell I’m ever going to let another guy own me; or stick his cock up my ass either for that matter,” I replied. “No way. No how. Forget about it.”
Danny didn’t say anything immediately. He just seemed to stare at me forever.
“Probably just as well,” he finally said. “Finding a decent daddy for you right now would be hard. I mean, don’t get me wrong, you’re cute enough. Take one look at you and all of the daddies and wannabes would be circling like vultures, showering you with gifts and stuff. But you’re only fourteen, of course, and there’s no way we can make you look eighteen with that angelic face of yours. The best daddies, the ones with the real money, would be tempted, no doubt about it, but they’re smart enough to know jailbait when they see it. So the only ones left would be the guys who think with their dicks, not their brains; and they’re the hardest daddies of all to please.”
“Believe me. I know.”
[Please check the Author Notes in the header above if you haven’t already done so]