CONFESSIONS OF A VAMPIRE
Perhaps I'm a day or two early with this installment, but I wanted to thank someone publicly for being very special - something I should have done much earlier but haven't. Scott edited the mainstream version of Confessions Of A Vampire for me - even Prince Karl grew quite fond of his gentle nudgings. He was instrumental in helping to make the sense of threat become real. Scott is a true gentleman - what an Englishman of the old school wants to see himself as - Scott doesn't want to be an English gentleman, he IS one, even if he does live in Australia now via the Caribbean. I hope he'll commit to more editing jobs - and, with any luck and your purchases, he'll be paid for them.
I'm still at least a week away from having the website in place and operational. My webmaster had a family crisis and that took precedence. I will, however, open my publishing doors for business if you're interested. How about all 25 chapters of Confessions Of A Vampire AND its complete sequel Dark Angels - both for only $US5.25? Both files will be sent to your e-address as html files. I can process Visa and Mastercard (both debit and credit in the US and credit card from elsewhere) instantly but ask for 24 hours to get the manuscript files to you (I'm computer illiterate, my webmaster is going to be finish my website first after his crisis is settled, AND I'm on AOL - it sometimes takes time to do anything).
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I stepped through the door and pulled it to behind me. The front grounds lay silent before me, caught in the darkening shadow of twilight. Standing on the veranda, I stretched slowly in the comfort of the spring evening.
A dog barked in the small park across the street from the iron fence that separated my property from the city. A car sped by, its headlamps illuminating a medium-sized Caucasian leaning against the lamp post at the corner of my property. I realised with a start he was watching me.
Muscles tightened throughout my body as I took the steps from the veranda to the walk. It wound through still winter-withered grass to the drive and I forced myself to remain calm as I followed it, seemingly unaware of his presence or his vigil. I reached out and touched his thoughts.
He was watching me and wondering how to approach me now I had finally appeared. There was a sexual hint to the thoughts at the surface of his mind - and other, more hidden hints as well.
Approach me? I thought not. Not when I could have Emil who still hugged himself in our bed from our exertions of earlier.
I probed further along the forefront of his thoughts, curious why someone I had not met and did not know would think he might interest me.
I found he wanted to approach me that he might offer me one of his boys. My eyes narrowed as I accepted the man was a pimp ready to offer me my choice of his collection of male prostitutes.
Someone would think I had need of a rent boy?
I dug slightly deeper now, my curiosity goading me.
He was James Boyd - Jimmy to everyone who knew him - and he was an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The American undercover police. I cringed and pulled back.
Memories of Gestapo agents slinking through the streets of Vienna rushed across 56 years to frighten me once again. Mein Gott! What had I done to interest the American federal police in me?
I touched his thoughts again, searching for what he knew of me. I was Joe McCarthy's new fascist fuckbuddy from Europe. That's all he knew of me yet - but he was waiting for a background check from Austria he ordered from the bureau.
I assimilated that. One encounter with the pretty-faced executive director of the Christian Circle and I was now known as his fuckbuddy? And as a fascist? The FBI was investigating me? I didn't understand.
Again, I touched his thoughts. He provided boys from the city's streets to the coterie of Congressmen connected to Joe McCarthy politically and sexually - when they wanted cute, young boytoys. I definitely had the impression he was thinking of under-aged boys. I dug ever so slightly deeper, taking the risk he would feel me in his thoughts.
Bob Treman liked them very young - before their voices changed and they began to grow pubic hair. Broussard kept to two endowed Negro youths and didn't avail himself of Boyd's services.
I blinked. These were Congressmen who did these things to and with children? Government officials sworn to uphold the law? Further, they were Republican Congressmen allied to the preacher Pat Koughlin and Joe McCarthy's Christian Centre - and their strident claim to family values.
McCarthy did come to this FBI agent now and then - but he wanted older boys. The Congressmen and government types with connections to the Christian Circle who used Treman's hideaway on Capitol Hill - they simply wanted a variety of boy types. All of them, though, wanted orgy mates. They liked their sex plentiful and varied.
This Boyd wanted to put one of his boys with me on a relatively permanent basis. He wanted information about me. I stared at him in surprise as I approached the gates. He smiled and pushed himself from the lamp post to come closer.
"Hi, Prince," he greeted me and wrapped the fingers of one hand around a bar in the gate.
I cringed. I did not expect `Your Majesty' as the lowliest British commoner would know to address a Sovereign. But this Jimmy Boyd was being more than a bit too democratic. A simple `Sir' would have sufficed - it could even be deemed democratic while still being respectful.
He grinned widely as I approached my side of the gate. "I heard you've met up with Congressman Treman and Joe McCarthy-"
My senses told me there was no one near us. He had no strong-armed support hidden out of my sight. No one would overhear us. Still, the connection he was making for me threatened to embarrass me. "I haven't met the Congressman-" I mumbled.
He nodded, his face becoming blank. "That's right. He was over in Maryland last night - with his wife and kids, I think. And Joey's computers take a while cutting through European redtape."
I nodded curtly. "How may I help you?"
A smile played fleetingly across his lips. "You don't have to worry, Prince. I got a zipper on my lips. I also got access to the cutest boys in town - kids who can be awfully endearing, if you know what I mean."
"You are saying you are a pimp? That you will supply me with these lads?"
He stared at me closely. "I wouldn't exactly use that word," he grumbled after several moments. "But - yeah - I can get you what you want. All you've got to do is give me the word."
"And how would I find you to give you this word?"
He grinned then. "Prince, I'm almost always over at Treman's house when there's any action going on."
"Then, why didn't you approach me there instead of waiting for me out here on the street in front of my house?"
He nodded. "There's always the possibility you might like a more permanent arrangement than the quick feel and fuck you can get at the Congressman's - and you might want that arrangement kept under wraps."
"I see." I didn't. The man's idiom left me vaguely confused. I could push past the forefront of his thoughts and learn everything he knew; but, now I was speaking with him, I risked the virtual certainty of being recognised there and this man's FBI credentials concerned me even as they confused me.
"I think I'm uninterested in what you offer," I told him. "Goodnight."
I turned and stepped back up the drive to the garage.
I smiled at Emil as I slipped into the passenger seat of the Volkswagen the next afternoon. Even at four o'clock, it was unpleasantly warm - especially for the middle of March. "I want to stop by the post office before we leave town," the vampire behind the wheel said.
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon to the human that was still a part of me. Trees budding, the earth threatening life again after the death of cold winter. It was in moments such as these I felt a tinge of regret at what I had lost.
I shrugged and leant back against the seat. "Whatever."
"I finished the last paper last night." I finally caught his pride and why he was making something of an inconsequential detour.
"The last one?" I asked. He beamed and nodded. "You are now a graduate of the university?"
"Not yet. The paper's got to be graded. The university has to credit me with that grade. They have to have a commencement to officially recognise the graduates."
"That's but bureaucracy, Emil," I brushed his objections aside. `You've graduated, yes?'
"Well-" A smile spread across his face as he pressed the remote control in his hand and watched as the wrought-iron gates opened onto the road before us. "I guess you could say that. It's just a matter of waiting until June for the diploma to make it official."
As we left the post office at Massachusetts Avenue and First Street and drove south to connect with New York Avenue, he said: "Tell me what you've learnt about your Nazis, Karl. I've been much too concentrated on these papers these past two months."
"I was starting to wonder if you moved into that library at Georgetown."
He grinned. "You know, I was pretty ticked I was a vampire at first - I had my days suddenly taken from me - the daylight. But, then, I found out I could just walk into the library and stay there all night."
"Being able to manipulate a lock with your mind does have its advantages at times."
"Being able to read without turning on the lights is a big help too."
We turned onto New York Avenue and started toward Maryland. I took a deep breath of the air hitting my face from the wound-down window, tasting the first smells of spring competing against exhaust fumes and the odours of decay found in every city of the world.
"Tell me about your pretty little Nazi, Karl." Emil broke into my memories of spring and the sun-lighted youth I would never again know.
"He's the leader of the Christian Circle?"
"It's a strange experience having sex with him."
"Is he any good?"
"Decent - but no match for you, Liebchen."
He grinned at me. "We've not been getting it on enough since I died - want to start correcting that when we get home?"
"Sounds good to me. But, Emil, you never died. If you had, you would still be dead."
"It's just a term of speech, Karl,' he offered comfortably. "There's not an easy way of explaining how a man ceases being a mortal and becomes a vampire - not in any language I know."
"You transform from one life form to another."
"Whatever I did to become the me sitting here, I want one long romp in bed with you tonight - all night long if you're up to it."
I laughed, the moment of discomfort I had felt gone. "I definitely look forward to that," I told him, my fingers touching his jeaned thigh and stroking it. "I've missed our love-making-"
"Scheiße! You had me two nights ago."
"That was hurried and you know it."
He blushed, red blotches and streaks breaking out horribly on effervescent skin. "I wanted to get the last of the notes for that paper," he mumbled against the wind blowing through the car.
"How is reaming your Joe's arse a strange experience?" he asked changing the subject.
"It's-" I paused, trying to understand the strangeness of it and describe it to myself. "He - well - he talks to Jesus when I fuck him."
"Talks? Come on, Karl! I make all sorts of noise when we're making love. I probably even say things like-"
"No. It's not like with you, Emil. He actually does talk to Jesus."
"Like you're Him?"
"No. Not exactly. He tells me to fuck him harder, things like that. He's completely aware it's me ploughing him. But, at the same time, he's talking to Jesus too - sometimes in the same breath. As if our sex is a religious experience for him."
He glanced at me askance as he entered the Baltimore-Washington Expressway. "Come on, Karl!"
"He says things like: `Fuck me harder, Karl.' And, in the same breath, he goes on to say: `Jesus, help me come.' It feels strange, Emil - like that long-dead rabbi is there in the bed with us. I can't explain it any better than that."
"That would be a bit weird," he allowed and was grinning when I glanced over at him. "Other than his being a good lay, what about this pretty boy?"
"He's the stalking horse of someone named Koughlin-"
Joe McCarthy's memories of the craggy-faced older man came back to me then - for the first time joining with the memories of the skinhead I killed when I saved the Negro in the park. "Gott im Himmel!"
"What's wrong, Karl?"
The two memories flowed together and I was seeing the skinhead's unknown Führer with Joe's familiarity of him. Koughlin. A preacher. A big name. A man known throughout the country. A man feared by many and loved by just as many people. The man with the plan to destroy democracy.
"I know who leads both the skinheads and the Christian Circle-"
"Leads? I thought this Joe McCarthy gave the CC its orders?"
"Not leads - exactly. Like Hitler didn't lead the SA. Röhm had the SA until 1934 - then it disappeared after the purge that killed him. After the Nazis were in power, Himmler had the SS. But Hitler was at the top; he was the ultimate control."
"Who's this American Führer?"
"This preacher named Koughlin. He spoke at some skinhead function that boy went to before he and his mates cornered that Negro. He looked on this preacher with adoration - as those frenzied masses did in Germany back in the thirties. Joe loves him as a god - at least, as a father-substitute."
"Do you know who this Koughlin is?" Emil asked carefully.
I shook my head and wondered idly how he would know anything about a man so alien to the new Europe that had risen from the ashes of the holocaust that had been world war.
He glanced over at me, having picked up on the idle thought. "Read my mind, Karl. See what I've heard-" He glanced back at the paved three-laned motorway stretching out across farm land ahead of us. "Just don't mess with what I'm seeing or my ability to react."
I grinned. "You don't want to find out if vampires can survive a car crash?"
"I definitely do not." He chuckled. "Besides, I like this car. You look so good in it."
He had dredged up every memory he had of skinheads, the Christian Circle, something called the Aryan Nation, and Koughlin, from Swiss newspapers and his conversations with students at Georgetown University. There were also other memories of newspaper accounts from America about right-wing organisations in the western states killing a radio talk-show host and bombing federal buildings.
Swiss papers had portrayed the accounts of skinheads, murders and bombings as examples of American insanity, but they had been fascinated with Koughlin and the hundred million dollar media empire he had put together in America. They had collectively laughed at his multi-level vitamin campaign and his effort to make it a Christian duty to buy into the program as it failed abysmally.
The Christian Circle McCarthy led was identified as Koughlin's effort to directly and legally influence politics in America. The newspapers Emil read in Zürich paid little attention to the strutting little preachers and Lumpenproletariat who threatened politicians with ouster if they didn't deny abortion and gay rights while supporting narrowly-defined family values. Those accounts had been before the 1994 American elections which swept many of the more competent legislators from the Congress and replaced them with rabid reactionaries supported by the Christian Centre. The reactionaries had retained the Congress in the recent elections.
After we had followed Tom to America, Emil was amused to watch men wanting to be the next American President troop before the Circle and humiliate themselves, repudiating their pasts, to beg for endorsement.
So, the craggy-faced preacher the skinhead remembered telling him it was all right to kill Negro queers was the ultimate leader of the Christian Circle as well. I wasn't surprised. I wouldn't be surprised to find he also controlled - or, at least, influenced - the fascist organisations bombing government property and killing people. Even with the depression, Hitler had needed to destabilise Germany to become Kanzler and destroy the Weimar Republic.
Mussolini had done the same in Italy, Pilsudski in Poland, and Dollfuß in Austria before he was assassinated and my country was joined to Germany by the Anschluß. The Magyars and Roumanians had emulated the tactics of disruption and division Mussolini and Hitler developed - as the mullahs of Iran had done more currently.
This Koughlin was bringing that same Wahnsinn here to America sixty years after Europeans surrendered to it and fifty years after Europe lay in rubble with more than thirty million people dead because of it. Ten years after some bearded, turbaned ayotollah submerged Iran into its own internal bloodbath and his followers began funding Arab terrorists about the world.
Unlike the others before him except for the Iranians, however, this Koughlin was wrapping himself in the robes of the priesthood. He spoke to God and Christ, they gave him the instructions he would give America. From his lips, his God was disavowing the America that had grown strong over two hundred years.
Americans were following him. Not many - yet. There were but two million members of the Christian Circle - something like one percent of the electorate. In 1925, Hitler didn't have even that many voting for his National Socialist German Worker's Party. Eight years later, he was Chancellor of Germany and making himself its dictator.
American democracy was being disrupted. Negro and Latin gangs controlled a virulent commerce in drugs. White toughs wore leather jackets and studded bracelets - and intimidated innocent people on the streets of the cities of America. Skinheads and apparently unorganised gangs of white youth went into the gay sections of their cities and threatened gay men with impunity. Others went into Negro sections and burned crosses and even churches. Madmen bombed federal buildings to protest government-control of guns. Abortion clinics and their clients were harassed, their doctors murdered.
Schools across the country had become battlegrounds between gangs and drug-dealers, even as Christian Circle members in locality after locality appeared before school boards in force to demand science be castrated if not rejected in school curriculæ and sick fear replace intelligent enquiry as the motivation students learnt.
America was certainly already a demoralised country, already on the brink of destabilisation. Class and racial divisions were endemic - rife - everywhere. Crime was rampant and prisons were overpopulated. Increasingly, the commons, as they were called in Britain - the under-educated, under-paid, hardest-working lowest members of the bourgeoisie were pining for a strong, moral leader, the law of their founding fathers be damned.
Koughlin had definitely situated himself well.
Unglaublich! Completely unbelievable.
What was I going to do about it? What, if anything, could I do about it? Did I want to do anything about it?
This wasn't my country. These weren't my people. I could leave and go home where the results of this insanity had long since forced governments to educate their people, keep the rabble-rousers off the airwaves to protect those people, develop the industries that paid the people livable wages, and give those people equal rights regardless of social and religious pressure.
Let Joe McCarthy, who spoke to Christ as I fucked him, be Koughlin's minister of Propaganda. Let the skinheads and their mindless comrades bash gays and Negroes in their own neighbourhoods while intimidating everyone about. America could have its Kristallnacht as Germany had.
I was still thinking dark, unpleasant, and uncomfortable thoughts as Emil found a parking space beside a building that smelled of cinnamon and, when we were crossing the street in front of it, I learnt it was the McCormick Spice Company's original factory. It was a building I loved immediately as it brought back fond memories of side-walk cafes in Vienna and the most wonderful coffee in the world.
"I hear we're going to love this place," Emil told me as we locked the car and started toward the intersection on the walk beside the fragrant building. I peered into the electric-lighted night at this Inner Harbor he had been talking about for a fortnight.
"That glassed-in building, right?" I asked.
"That's only part of the whole set-up, I think. There's supposed to be a brick promenade along the water, a second building like that one, The Maryland Science Museum, some three-rigger's supposed to be the oldest ship in the American navy, the national aquarium, restaurants - lots of things to do-"
We had reached Light Street and were gazing at the lighted two-story glassed building as we waited for the traffic light to change. "Can you imagine meeting Tom here?" he asked, breaking off from the travelogue and rushing along an entirely different thought.
I immediately heard the whispering I had not consciously heard since Emil joined me in immortality more than two months before. I shut my eyes in surprise; it was no longer inchoate mumblings that touched my mental ears.
|I'm ready to meet,| Tom kept saying over and over again. |Where and when?|
Emil was studying me closely when I opened my eyes. "What's the matter?" he demanded in a low, urgent voice.
It took a moment to concentrate on him. To bring myself back to standing on a street in Baltimore, Maryland, on a March night in 1997. "Read my thoughts."
I immediately felt a slight quivering under the skin and bone of my head as his thoughts tentatively touched mine, a touch there were no nerves to feel but which I still felt. I watched his eyes narrow as he heard the same message I was hearing.
"Gott im Himmel!" Emil hissed, exhaling air.
"He lives here in Baltimore - his family does," I mumbled, hesitant in the face of meeting the mortal man whose soul I had loved for more than a hundred years before he was born.
Emil stared at me, his face strickened. Even without telepathy, I could read his thoughts, the fear of losing me running through them.
"That won't happen," I told him quietly.
"If he won't accept the three of us-"
"It won't happen, Emi - ever!" I touched his arm to reassure him. "I won't lose you."
"You've-" He glanced about, his eyes bewildered. "You've got to tell him we - you - are here. It's nearly Easter - the week-end. You said his family's in Baltimore; he's probably at home for the holiday."
"You mean for him to meet us here?"
He nodded. The light turned and the pedestrian image authorised us to cross the six-lane thoroughfare that was Light Street. "What do you need to do let him know?" he asked quietly.
"Come on." I pulled him onto the street, formulating the answer in my mind.
"Where are we?" I asked on the Harbor side of the street.
"The Light Street Pavilion, I think it's called. Can you answer him from inside the building?"
I nodded hesitantly. "Why?"
He smiled wanly. "That place looks bigger each step we take toward it. I know I'd want to have a particular location in it to look for you if you were answering me."
It had been a full four months since I had seen Thomas MacPherson and then he had been unconscious. I used my vampiric senses and memory as I watched every youth taller than a metre and a half who passed us while we sat in a fried potato shop and sipped at what Americans actually dare to call coffee.
"How are we going to handle this?" Emil asked, his voice low in the bright lights of the shop.
"What do you mean?"
"Tom knew I slept with you in Zürich - that's why he was with me that night. He knows I'm gay."
"He doesn't need know you're a vampire too - not immediately. But it's going to be obvious we're together-"
"You're more than 8000 kilometres from home and, unless you were very rich, a student doesn't normally fly across an ocean and explore a new country." I shrugged. "You're with me and he'll know it the moment he sees you. So what? You're an adult under both American and Swiss law, you can have sex with whom you want."
"It's not going to make it any easier for you and him."
I held up my hand. "Emil, you and I are not a subject for negotiation. If Tom wishes to join us, then we will accommodate him."
Tears glistened red in his eyes and red blotches burst across his face. "You do love me!" he croaked, fighting against the emotion spreading through him.
"You have your moments-" My senses picked up on a tall, slim black-haired youth with a lean face and full lips watching us and I instinctively sought to touch his thoughts.
|Karli-| There was the same sense of amusement behind that concise word as when Sergei found me with a young stevedore I picked up on the Odessa docks while he worked some deal to line Romanov pockets as well as his own. And his thoughts were locked to me. I could have only those he wished me to share.
Emil followed my eyes and started as he recognised Thomas MacPherson.
|Do I greet you from afar and mind to mind, Sergei - or shall you join us?| I asked him, concise thought to concise thought.
Tom entered the lighted dining area of the potato restaurant and smiled at both of us. "Emil, I'm a bit surprised to see you here under the circumstances."
"Do you know who you are?" I asked cutting off a typical Sergei set-up of Emil.
He turned to smile at me. "I hope so."
"I mean are you and your past two incarnations completely reconciled?"
"More than when I was Würther, Karli," Sergei answered, his voice and accent unabashedly American. I stared. Not even the curate had managed that complete a union, even in the five years I knew him.
He chuckled and sat between us. "I'm Tom MacPherson in this life, and I'm Tom at this moment, Karl. The others are dead and gone-"
"But are they forgotten?"
"Not for me!" he hissed, and I was sure that Sergei alone was speaking at that moment.
He quickly smiled at me and then turned to Emil. "I still don't know whether I need to drop to my knees and thank you for taking me to Karl in Zürich with you or hate you for it," he told the Swiss youth beside me. "It's taken some getting used to, these different lives always vying for supremacy in me."
"Tom?" Emil said, looking perplexedly at the American.
He chuckled. "One minute, I'm a damned priest trying to be chaste as all hell; the next, I'm some Prince who was more than just a little hedonistic." He glanced over at me and blushed at a memory I suspected Sergei dredged up for him. "There are even times when I'm all me - but they both try to tell me what I should be doing each and every minute."
"You said you were ready to talk," I offered.
"Yeah." He glanced at Emil before turning back to look at me. "But it looks like you didn't wait around this time."
"Emil is someone I love, Tom. He loves me. If you would join me, you need join both of us. I think I can safely speak for both of us when I tell you we'll make room for you - equal space."
"A permanent three-way?" He laughed softly. "Now, that'd be one for the books. Sergei loves it already."
He sat back in his chair and glanced from one to the other of us before fixing his gaze on the salt shaker before him. "I haven't managed to work it all out yet - okay?"
"But this is the way it's going to be until I do. We can be friends, but there isn't going to be any queer shit between us - me and either of you. And you don't play with my mind to lead me down that path either - okay?" He looked up at me and waited for an answer.
"One other proviso. You stay away from my neck, Karl. I like being young, handsome, and mortal. I'm going to be just as adamant as Würther was about that."
I saw Emil watching me and reached out to touch his thoughts. |I can subvert him, Karl. He didn't include me-|
I shook my head and smiled wanly at the vampire sitting across from me. Both my movement and smile had been at supernatural speed. Emil had obviously caught both. I was surprised the mortal American had too.
He glanced from me to Emil, studying him more closely than before. "So, you're one of the undead now?"
Emil jerked, looked to me for an answer and, not receiving one, nodded slowly.
"God! You really were in love with him!" Tom hissed, letting air out of his lungs. "How did it happen, Emil?" he asked and turned back to me.
"Tom," I said softly in warning.
"Right in the middle of you letting him fuck your ass, he bit you." He wagged his head slowly. "Jesus! Karl, you never could think clearly when you had your dick in a tight hole."
"Tom!" I hissed as Emil's face blotched nastily.
Tom MacPherson turned to stare and, then, smiled at the young vampire on the other side of him. "So, that's what I used to look like when Karl embarrassed me at least once every time we got together. Jesus!"
"This has got rather personal and I remember you stating personal situations were out between us," I told him quietly.
He shrugged and nodded.
"What is this friendship you offer?"
"I'm still trying to work it out in my head, guys." He smiled sheepishly at me. "I think it'd be fun to hang around you now and then. Würther was killed in 1940 and Sergei in 1905. Those two aspects of who I am are a bit out of the loop as Bush used to say-"
"And you're a thoroughly modern man," Emil threw at him.
"True. But one that doesn't know much about the world - or how you two are hiding your practising vampire personalities in a world where nobody believes in you any more. Shit! There's a whole lot about this world I - the Tom part of me - doesn't know. So, what I'm offering is that I learn from you - but only what I can use in a straight, mortal world."
"All take and no give?" Emil asked quickly and I sat back, permitting him to establish the boundaries of our future relationship with this man. He was being far more forward than I could have been, but I wanted our parameters clearly defined as much as he did - and this Tom MacPherson was doing so to his exclusive advantage.
The American hung his head but said: "For the time being at least. Let me make it plain - I let Karl start fucking me in the ass like he did Würther and most of the time Sergei too, I'm going to be gay. I'm nowhere ready to take that step now - and, probably, never will be."
He held up a hand. "I know this is only Tom talking and he's only a third of the active personalities and lives inside this body any more. But those other two guys are going to have to do some serious convincing before they get me to bend over for either one of you.
"Sergei can't wait for me to cement myself to this body by letting one of you two bite me. I just don't know how I feel about that, no more than Würther did. I don't have his faith in the church and Jesus, but I'm not ready to start killing people and drinking blood, either."
"But there's a lot you can learn from Karl, so you'll put up with having us around once in a while?"
"Friendship's a two-way street, okay? That means a lot of things that can go down between us with no problem; a lot of things I'd like to think I can contribute to. What I'm saying is there are two things that aren't going to travel that street for a while, if ever - my ass and my mortal life. If both of you can accept that condition, we can get together and hang out with each other - you know, do things together." He watched both of us expectantly. Emil watched me.
I took a deep breath, something I had learnt to do at my father's knee when confronted by a weighty subject and had yet to un-learn. "I can accept your terms as defined. Ours is but that Emil is an equal to myself. Any relationship will not be bilateral but must be trilateral."
"That won't be hard, Karl - Emil and I are already friends."
"What type of things does this you enjoy?" I asked, feeling for the deeper boundaries.
"What do you mean?" he asked suspiciously.
"Do you enjoy the theatre?"
"Me?" he yelped and, with difficulty managed to stop himself from bursting out laughing.
"Sergei and Würther both did."
He seemed to withdraw within himself for a moment, as if he were actually conferring with his past lives. He blushed. "I've never been to a play. But - well - I can try most things once, at least," he offered sheepishly.
"The opera? The ballet?"
"You're getting awfully high-brow pretty damn fast, Karl," he growled. "I know, Sergei liked both, and fell in love with PERCIVAL when you took him to see it in Vienna." He looked from me to Emil. "Maybe. I won't rule it out, okay?"
"What do you like to do?" Emil asked gently.
Tom laughed harshly. "I don't really know. I've been trying to get out of Baltimore ever since I can remember. I got an athletic scholarship to UMD in College Park because I could swim faster than anybody in Baltimore. And I got that fellowship to Zürich because I spent more time in the books than anybody in the business school. Now, I've got a MBA and can't even find a fucking job. I'm temping over in D.C. most every day - that's what all that effort got me."
"Why?" I asked, truly puzzled.
"The government's not hiring and business is cutting back all over the country-"
"But you've got an advanced degree," I answered, still not understanding.
"If I had it from Harvard, I could get on for fifty thousand in New York in the wink of an eye. But mine comes from Maryland; and that means diddlysquat."
I felt his anger at the injustice that his effort and hard work meant nothing. I said without thinking: "You and Emil should get together and develop a business plan."
"And what would that do?" he asked, curious and trying to push his anger away from our conversation.
"I assume this is still a capitalist world?" I lifted a brow questioningly at both them. Emil, who knew me better, nodded.
"Then, a successful investment would mean a substantial return?"
Tom had caught on to where my thoughts were beginning to lead me and was as fast as Emil to nod his affirmation to that question.
"Why don't we start a business - together? I have the money but certainly would never be a merchant. But you two-?" I shrugged.
I could feel him liking my suggestion, his anger had already disappeared and his thoughts were moving rapidly past his initial curiosity. A frown pulled the ends of his mouth down suddenly. "What do I have to do to be a part of this?" he demanded.
"Sergei," I responded quietly in French. "You would ask me such a question? You of all men know me, what I was and still am."
Tom stared at me for another moment before his face and neck began to redden with the sudden rush of blood in his shame. "I'm sorry, Karli," he mumbled in German and I heard Sergei's accented voice speaking the apology.
"Make arrangements with Emil to come over to Washington tomorrow or Sunday. You two need to come up with something that benefits all of us," I told him, forgiving his doubt as I remembered how difficult it had been for Würther to accommodate Sergei.
"Tomorrow okay with you?" he asked Emil without looking at me.
"It has to be evening - nine o'clock?"
"That's pretty late to be alone in downtown D.C. or Baltimore," Tom answered with hesitation.
"I'll need to feed first," Emil explained and faint blotches rose across his face. "I can drive you back - or you may stay the night."
"Now wait a minute!" He sat back quickly as if struck in the face.
"We have enough bedrooms, Tom," I interjected hurriedly before his suspicions caused him another faux pas.
"Did you mean it?" Emil asked as our Volkswagen speeded up and entered the traffic heading south on the I-95 motorway, toward Washington.
"Mean what?" I asked.
"That you'd put up the money for us to start a business?"
"Why else would I mention it?"
"You could have been setting him up so that, later, he couldn't say no."
I understood and gritted my teeth. "Emil, that calls into question a concept of honour that was bred into me before Wilhelm IV of Prussia became Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany." My tone was proud. I knew it and I didn't care. I was hurt, even though I knew young Europeans were too much like their American cousins in not knowing what one's word meant.
"If you're telling me I just pissed you off, Karl, I'm sorry," he offered quickly. "You've always been absolutely fair with me-"
He grinned in the dark interior of the car and I felt his embarrassment. "But you've been single-minded about finding Tom and reviving what you lost when he got killed back whenever - I didn't know and I was just trying to find out."
"Apology accepted, Emil," I told him, putting an end to a conversation that could leave one or the other of us angry. I was far more interested in a leisurely bout of sex with Emil than I was in being angry at him.
"When we are back at the house, I want you to look through my thoughts of you and him - completely. I don't ever want you doubting my love for you and where you stand again."
After several moments of silence between us, he snorted. "I saw Tom through gay eyes tonight for the first time," he said. "He's a damned good-looking man, Karl."
"Are you trying to tell me you'd rather have him in bed than me?"
He laughed. "Never. I love you. I like him. I know the difference and my cock doesn't control me as it seems to do with some men."
He fell silent for a moment and continued: "I'm saying that, if he decides to join us, I won't have a problem with it. Just so long as I've got you right beside me-" His hand touched my knee and began to move up along my thigh.
Congressman Robert Treman, the honorable gentleman from Maryland, cupped my closest arsecheek through the wool of my trousers as I entered the front hall. "We've got some sort of party planned for tonight," he gushed and aimed his lips at mine. I moved my face enough they touched my cheek instead.
Joe McCarthy had invited me to an orgy. My first one in America. My first one in more than sixty years.
I was curious if American political perverts conducted their sexual perversions as their European cousins once did. And how they justified hiding them behind the curtains of religion.
Congressman Robert Treman from southern Maryland was in his mid-forties and beginning to develop a paunch. The dichotomy between his demeanor and his mien was the most memorable thing about him to me. His looks were rough-hewn but fleshing out and softening under the onslaught of middle age. His dress, however, was that of a court dandy, modernised barely from the era of my own youth. A pompous, unctuous peacock.
He was beloved of his fellow Republicans in the Congress, however - recognised, as some wag had called him, as the most brilliant conservative mind since Vandenberg. I didn't know who Vandenberg was but I knew the von Papen-styled apologia with which this man couched his description of the new world order he and his cohorts in the Republican party would build.
I raised a brow in question as he righted himself and retrieved his hand from my backside. Robert Treman laughed. "You Europeans are always so very proper about everything, aren't you?"
"We have our bad moments too," I allowed. "What have you planned for this evening?"
He chortled at my admission, right on cue. "Joe called and said he was running behind but for us to go ahead and start without him. Hank's got his two pet niggers leashed and ready to serve, Joe's chomping at the bit to get you between his legs when he does get here-"
I shrugged. After a week of meeting Joe McCarthy and helping him to fulfill his fantasies, I saw this Congressman's prescription for some sort of party was rapidly beginning to sound like standard fare for at least one well-heeled queen in American fascism's closet. "But I prevailed on a friend to join us and bring some of his pet whores with him."
Instinctively, my brow raised again, this time in surprised curiosity. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. Treman chuckled and began to lead me into the house. "Jimmy Boyd's brought along four of his best boy agents."
"Who's he?" I remembered Agent Boyd on the walk in front of my house. My curiosity heightened.
He eyed me suspiciously before remembering Joe McCarthy vouchsafed me with religious fervour. "He's FBI - a real one, not some political appointee."
"A federal policeman is a pimp?" I asked, showing surprise in spite of myself.
He grinned. "You'd be surprised what kind of foreigners are queer, Karl - and go hunting young ass or dick when they're in town. Videos of indelicate moments with a chicken have been known to turn even the most unrepentant patriot."
I stared at him for the moment it took me to digest his comment and make sense of it. I thought he was saying some agency of the FBI used young American boys to catch foreign homosexuals with their trousers down, so to speak, and turn them into spies or agents for American interests. Was I viewed as such a foreigner?
I forced myself to smile in anticipation and Treman grinned at my response.
"I thought you'd like that," he gushed and clapped me across my shoulders in a uniquely American show of bonhomie. "Shit, man! There's enough of the cute young things he brought over to go around. Hank Broussard, our Mississippi Congressman, is going to stay with his trained naggers - like he always does. Boyd only does one at a time, but he puts on a damned good show. I'm going to take two. That still leaves a chicken each for you and Joe to try out - if he'll let you mount anybody other than him."
"Sounds interesting," I allowed as we reached the door to the sitting room. I tried hard to pretend to mean it.
We were in the Capitol Hill district of Washington but in a section deep within the gentrified portion and more secure against intrusion from the poorer sections than my own property. The house was protected by a high privacy fence, securing it further from even the curiosity of neighbours.
A middle-aged white man shoved his boxer shorts over his ample backside and grabbed at the Negro standing just at the edge of his reach, waiting for him. On the sofa, another Negro tore open a condom packet as he stroked himself lazily in anticipation.
My eyes widened. The lad on the sofa was the one from `P' Street beach. You don't remember me, I commanded before he could look up to see us entering the room.
He nodded to me disinterestedly when his eyes did find me and glanced at the Congressman beside me, spreading his legs in an invitation to the thick manhood in his hand.
"Not tonight, Tony," Treman told him. "I've got other irons in the fire."
The naked middle-aged man caught the first Negro's wrist, holding him as his other hand encircled his manhood, pulling its prepuce back to expose a nearly purple glans. He grinned at the youth as he stroked his manhood. No foreplay followed; the man Treman knew as Hank Broussard simply bent over and swallowed the purple glans and half the shaft behind it.
Tony rose from the sofa, unrolling the condom over himself as he moved to stand behind Hank. He placed his latex-covered manhood between the man's cheeks and gripped his hips with both hands - and shoved himself into him. Hank groaned around the thick appendage that filled his mouth.
"Looks like the Honorable Member from Mississippi is going to be occupied for a while," the Congressman from Southern Maryland mused from beside me.
I glanced about the room. The man with slicked-back receding hair I met before my house sat on a sofa with a pair of bared pre-adolescent arsecheeks raised over his lap. I watched his hand descend hard against those cheeks and heard the boy's gasp as it struck him.
The boy ground his groin against the man's bare thigh under him and the man's hand kneaded the child's reddened cheeks.
"That's Boyd with his latest pet," Treman offered. "You aren't going to believe this, but he swears the kid's only eleven."
I allowed my surprise to show; it was expected.
"The kid's the cutest little thing I've seen in a long time," Treman went on, his voice wistful. "Boyd said I could have a piece of him later on." He grinned raunchily in anticipation.
"I expect he'll let us all have a piece of the kid," he continued in a whisper. "Jimmy Boyd gets sloppy drunk on two drinks and passes out on his third one. The cute little thing'll be free for the taking."
I started to touch the FBI agent's thoughts, planning on delving deeper than I had before. He'd never know my presence with his current involvement. My eyes narrowed as I realised the man was watching Treman and me even as I touched his surface thoughts. He was listening to the conversations about us. And he enjoyed spanking the boy on his knee.
Instead of a kaleidoscope of thoughts whirling about, this man was controlled. He had compartmentalised his mind so thoroughly he could enjoy what was, for him, sexual - while listening and watching the adults in this room. His motivation was guarded. I pulled back hurriedly.
A roughly attractive, shaggy-haired youth sauntered toward us, his tumescence swinging from thigh to thigh.
"Hi, Congressman," he greeted Treman as he neared us, his eyes appraising me. "Who's this?"
I quickly assimilated what I saw. The boy looked to be in his late teens but short for the age I was giving him. His hawk nose and black almond-shaped eyes made me decide he was Semitic. He had rough good looks and a tight body.
Bob grinned at me. "I'll let you make your own introductions - and arrangements. I want a piece of that." He jerked his head at a youth even rougher looking than the one before me but with a blond shag, round face, and a hose-like erection.
The boy and I watched him cross the room, pulling off his tie and dropping it to the floor as he moved. He had his jacket off by the time he reached his quarry.
"I'm Karl," I offered.
"I'm Johnny," the youth responded.
"Well, it's really Hussein - but there's enough guys in this country who don't like Arabs, I use a nice American sounding name. You're a hell of a lot better than I was expecting when Jimmy told me to come to this party."
"I've got pretty used to fat old queens who can't keep their hands off a guy's cock." He grinned. "And there ain't no way you're a fat old queen, Karl. I ain't seen you on the circuit either-"
"You know the bars and hang-outs where they-" He jerked his head to indicate the men scattered about the room, "hang out and drool for some of what me and these other guys got."
"You work for the FBI?" I asked, glancing over at the man still paddling the boy.
His olive-complected skin blanched. "Boyd keeps the vice cops off my butt-" He glanced at the room over his shoulder. "Theirs too. In return, he sometimes sets me up with some foreigner and I tell him what I hear." He grinned. "If he videos the sex, I get paid double - from him and the john."
"That doesn't bother you?"
"Shit! I like to fuck. And with this equipment-" He gripped his manhood and it sprang immediately into erection. "I don't get many complaints."
I smiled at him and reached along his side to the nearest mound of cheek. He looked down at my arm, the front of my trousers, and back to my face. His features were slack for a moment before he broke into a grin. "Of course, I'm pretty versatile too."
"That lends itself to a number of possibilities," I allowed.
His grin widened and his hands moved to push my jacket open. "I bet," he said softly as his fingers moved it off my shoulders. "I ain't got laid good in a long time."
The jacket fell to the floor behind me. "Are you as big as I hope you are?" he asked as his experienced fingers began to move down the front of my shirt, leaving it unbuttoned in their wake.
"Here?" I asked, acutely aware of the others. After my one extramarital exploration with Joe McCarthy in his world, I had definitely decided I did not like the feeling of being sullied. One on one with Joe, I could help him imagine anything sexual he wanted.
This Johnny, however, seemed ready to have me testing my abilities at mental slight-of-hand beyond their capability. Besides him, there were the two Negroes, his three companions from the streets, the child, and the adults. How was I to have them all imagining I was doing what this young Arab expected me to do to him?
"I ain't hiding nothing," he answered huskily.
The Negroes had exchanged positions and the Congressman from Mississippi bucked as he groaned around the manhood he held in his mouth and ground his ample buttocks against the man impaling him. Treman was naked and glassy-eyed as he squatted on the floor, pulling the youth with the hose after him.
Boyd stood and positioned the lad he had been spanking to mount him. Johnny the Arab was pulling me toward the couch and a blond boy sitting there stroking himself.
It began to dawn on me that none of the men and only two of the boys in this room were concerned with me. They were sufficiently occupied they needed no control from me. Only Johnny and the blond mattered.
"I'm going to kneel down in front of Timmy here and give him some help," the young Arab breathed. "I want you to give me a real good ride - okay?"
As he slipped into a mindless rhythm that had his backside meeting each of my thrusts into him that he imagined, I remembered another house in another time.
It had been full summer at that house on the Wansee in 1930 There had been no Negroes or Arabs in Berlin that year, and most of the boys romping naked through the house hadn't yet entered puberty.
The similarities made my projected movements against Johnny's soft, smooth buttocks a reminder of those moments when Röhm and several of his SA aides frolicked with street boys from working-class Berlin the last time I was in the German capital. They and some of the Nazi deputies in the Reichstag were always in search of fun, and the more young boys the better.
I saw it clearly. They were the same - those men now dead in the flames of war or suicide and these men of Congress, the FBI, and other governmental departments. They were crude enough to use the growing power they held to take their fun with whatever they wanted. Petit bourgeoisie without morals.
Johnny was gasping with a pending orgasm when I felt Joe's fingers touch my shoulder. I jerked as I imagined him seeing reality: a naked, writhing Arab with a buttocks grinding against a non-existent invasion - even as he gave the blond youth pleasure.
"Couldn't wait, could you, Karl?" he asked, his lips close to my ear.
I shook my head in numbed surprise that his vision had me ploughing the lad with no help from me.
"Just save some for me, baby," he told me and began to undress.
"That's the first time I've seen that," Tom said softly as we turned right, leaving the escalator from the underground at DuPont Circle and stepping into the warm April night.
"What's that?" Emil asked.
"The leather boys with all their earrings and studs." He nodded his head toward them. "They look like they're some sort of kinky - what do you call them? - hustlers."
"The skinheads?" I asked as we came abreast the three youths leaning against several newspaper vending machines, idly watching the evening crowd entering the Circle.
"Those were skinheads?" he asked once we were past the youths and out of hearing range.
"The real McCoy," Emil shot back, a slight smile tugging at his lips at the Americanism. I smiled too, he was becoming quite adept at being American. To my ear, his speech had already become indistinguishable from that of Americans his age.
"I don't think we have organised skinheads in Baltimore - just juvenile delinquents trying to look like Elvis with grease in their hair."
Emil chuckled; I wondered for a moment who Elvis was.
"You guys aren't taking me to one of your kind of bars, are you?" Tom asked, changing the subject before I could decide to telepathically quis Emil as to why mention of this Elvis was so funny.
"Do you want to go to one?" Emil asked before I could open my mouth.
Tom smiled tightly. "I think I'll pass. Listening to you moaning and groaning your way to whatever you guys have when you get off is more than enough."
"When was this?" I asked.
"Sunday at five goddamn o'clock in the morning." He smiled knowingly, belying the anger in his words.
"Did we wake you?" Emil asked quietly. "You were snoring loud enough to wake the dead when I looked in on you."
Tom turned quickly to face him, his eyes flashing with suspicion. "You didn't?"
"I just tucked you in and kissed your neck-"
Tom's fingers flew to his neck to search for broken skin. "You didn't really, did you?"
"Okay, you two," I interjected, "our American friend's at a disadvantage in this tete-a-tete. Shall we talk about something else?"
"We've got a possibility for a lucrative enterprise, Karl," Emil offered, sliding away easily from the confrontation. "Tom actually suggested it, even though I suspect he was being more than a little factitious."
"What is it?" I asked, taking the bait he offered and hoping, together, we could draw the American from the anger he had almost fallen into and still hovered near. I wondered if these two could ever be friends, the way they competed so strongly against each other even when they were supposed to be engaging in friendly word games.
"Tell him, Tom."
I sensed the warmth of the mortal's blood spread out over his neck onto his face, a flicker of interest rising in me before I could repress it. Verdammte! I had forgotten to eat. Instinctively, I glanced back at the skinheads and smiled.
"There's not much to tell, Karl. I was just sort of fooling around and suggested vampire blood might be the twenty-first century's elixir as penicillin was this century's. It was more than a joke than anything."
|I haven't fed, Emil. Keep him occupied-|
|We're almost to the restaurant.|
|Look in shop windows - anything. I'll only be a few minutes.|
|You're that hungry?|
|I didn't feed last night, and we're going to have him with us until he goes to bed with no time for a hunt.|
|Sorry.| I felt understanding in his words. |I had forgotten.|
"You guys are talking to each other, aren't you?" Tom asked, looking from one to the other of us, his eyes round.
Emil grinned at him and led him on along Connecticut Avenue as I held back. "You could do it too - if you hadn't said you weren't interested in becoming one of us," he told him.
"I didn't say - Oh, shit!" I heard him gasp as the night enshrouded them both. "Forget I said that. I'm not interested in being a vampire and I sure as shit don't need either of you banging my ass for me."
"I thought you'd have second thoughts after hearing how much I was enjoying it," Emil mocked him gently.
"Shit!" He glanced to where I was the moment before. "Hey, where's Karl?"
"He'll be back in a moment."
A public toilet stood between `P' and Massachusetts half a block from the underground entrance. I smiled and touched the mind of the nearest skinhead as I moved unseen past them at vampiric speed to position myself between the toilet and the underground. Piss, I told him. You must piss now.
The youth looked surprised before a vaguely pained expression descended over his face. He glanced quickly toward the toilet, saw the way to it was well-lighted and clear and pointed it out for his companions before stepping toward it - and me.
I extended my thoughts to the interior of the toilet. Some man was washing his hands slowly, hoping something interesting would show up. Leave, I told him, making the command strong and immediate. I didn't like the thought of feeding in such a public place, but the same lights that had made the skinhead feel safe made me uncomfortable waylaying him outside.
Hunger was a palpable, growing reality as I rushed into the vacant toilet ahead of the skinhead, secreted myself in a stall, and waited for him.
I scanned the nearby area for other men interested in the facility and turned them away as the youth strolled up to a urinal and unzipped his fly. Continuing to broadcast the warning, I left the stall and approached him. He glanced at me over his shoulder but quickly turned back to face the dirty porcelain in front of him.
I touched his hip and felt him stiffen. "You want me pissing all over you, faggot, before I stomp your head in?" he growled as he turned his upper body toward me. He looked into my eyes and found himself floating on an endless, unbroken sea.
You're through, I told him, my mental voice gentle even as it was commanding.
The stream of urine ceased, leaving only a drop harbored within the slit of his skinless glans. I held out my hand and he leant toward me, his eyes still on mine. Shut your eyes and dream pleasant things, I told him as I exposed my fangs and they touched his neck.
He gasped softly when they broke the skin and groaned as they dug deeper to release his blood. Hug me, I told him and felt his arms encircle my chest. His manhood grew between us as I lapped blood.
The wound I made wasn't deep and the flow of his blood slowed quickly. I was nowhere close to sated; I wanted more. I wanted to drain him. I wanted to kill him - because of what he was.
He was grinding his erection against me, his back arched. "Feels good, baby," he mumbled.
I licked the last drops of blood from his wounds and smiled at the direction his pleasant dream had taken. The most beautiful boy in the world is sucking you, I told him. Shoot all over his face. He wants it.
"Yeah!" the skinhead groaned as I pulled away from him and he leant against the barrier between his urinal and the one next to it. His hand gripped his manhood, stroking it as a beatific smile covered his face.
Curiosity touched me with its curse. The youth I had just drank from was masturbating to a dream of a boy sucking him off. It was a dream I didn't think his mates at the underground entrance would think he should be having. Why was there this incongruity between his mien and his emotional reality?
I touched his mind. And found warning emblazoned across his conscious mind. Something's killing members of the Spider Fraternity near DuPont Circle. Be careful. Stay together. Be strong.
Beneath the warning, his imagined partner was indeed a good looking man, one nearing graduation from university. They had separated before anything could happen between them but after the hint of a promise had risen to haunt the youth before me. His friend had gone to university from secondary school while his coach showed the skinhead the realities of life according to Reverend Pat Koughlin.
I grinned as a mischievous thought struck me. This skinhead's friend was more masculine than Joe McCarthy, but there were similarities between them. Moving deeper into his mind, I told him to lounge about the building in Arlington housing the offices of the Christian Circle until he could meet Joe. To offer himself to the older man. I pulled away from his thoughts then and stepped into the electrically lighted night beyond the toilet.
I caught up to Emil and Tom as they were leaving the Uno store mid-way along the block.
"Feel better?" Emil asked as I came along side him. I nodded.
"Where the hell did you go?" Tom demanded, falling into step with the two of us as we strolled further up the block.
Emil grinned. "You don't want to know."
"Shit! Just because I don't want to get my ass porked or my neck bitten, you guys don't have to treat me like some little kid who's too dumb to know anything. Talk to me!"
"How much do you want to know?" Emil asked quietly.
"Karl was hungry. He left us to feed."
"Christ!" He glanced at me. "Couldn't you wait until we got to the restaurant? A steak's gotta taste better than - what? - a hotdog? a pretzel?"
"I can't eat that kind of food," I told him, feeling slightly uneasy at his insistence.
"I'm a vampire, remember?"
"So, you can't eat with the rest of-?" His eyes rounded as he stopped and turned to face me. "You-" He glanced along both directions of the sidewalk and, lowering his voice, continued: "You drank blood?"
I nodded and he shuddered. "You killed somebody?" he asked even more quietly and the camaraderie that had bound us began to quickly evaporate.
"No," I answered. "The skinhead's still very much alive - just a little weakened. He'll feel fine tomorrow."
"You sucked blood from one of those guys we just passed?"
"They're a good source of food, Tom. They beat up gays and blacks and they intimidate sane people. They're no use to anybody - that makes them fair game."
I felt his revulsion, strong and quick, as it swept over him.
"I'm not so sure I'm still hungry," he mumbled.
"Tom," I said gently, "you knew what I was when you decided to be friends."
"I know," he sighed. "But I wasn't really thinking of the bloodsucking." He smiled tightly. "I guess I didn't let myself think about it until just now."
He laughed sharply. "You know, Würther wouldn't become like you because of that. Every time he came close, he'd remember Sergei slurping at some guy's neck-" He smiled at me. "He loved you, Karl - more than anything, even his church. But he couldn't do that, not ever."
"He died because of it," I answered and my vision became blurred as I was propelled back to that field of edelweiß for one more moment of pain. "He chose-"
"It wasn't such a bad choice. At least, I hope it wasn't. I'm here - in the flesh."
"You are. And we're both glad you are," Emil told him quickly, a lilt to his voice and I knew he was trying to pull us away from the abyss into which Tom was staring.
The American was silent for long moments and I was only peripherally aware of the curiosity with which passers-by glanced at us. Finally, he shrugged, making his decision and I felt the tension lift from us.
"This is where I ought to run like hell," he said quietly. "It's sort of like finding out your best girl's a hit man for the mafia, or something."
"You're free to go. Neither of us will bother you-"
"Karl, don't!" Emil groaned under his breath.
"No. Friendship with us must be of his own free will," I answered, watching Tom. "And it can't be based on lies or ignorance."
Tom snorted. "No wonder both of them loved you! You're so fucking honorable about everything."
"Would you rather forget this incident?"
He stared at me. "You can make me forget it, can't you? Just like you and Emil talk to each other with your minds?"
He shuddered again, but, now, it was more a shiver than the body-wrenching movement of earlier. "I had better keep it right where it is - as a reminder."
He chuckled. "You know, it's real funny. I was feeling like I was out with buddies from school until - it'd be real easy to just sort of slide into accepting what you offer." He glanced down at the sidewalk. "Sergei's hot for me to do it-" He glanced at Emil and blushed. "He really likes the idea of three-ways."
"Have you ever done it with a man?" Emil asked quietly.
The American's blush deepened. "Yeah. A couple of times back in college. When I was really broke, I'd go to Patterson Park and hustle my cock."
"Did you like it?" I asked as we reached the intersection and looked across Connecticut Avenue to the steak house that was our destination. I was afraid of his answer, even as my heart thudded quickly in anticipation of it.
"Sort of. Shit! Yeah, it was pretty exciting and that made it scary in a way I didn't understand then."
"You do now?"
"Yeah. I've got a soul that's been creaming in its shorts at the thought of hopping into bed with you two for months. I figure it was getting off on what I was doing with the johns who picked me up."
"You don't have to decide to be a vampire to join us in bed, Tom," Emil told him as we crossed the street. "We can have fun together without you making that decision."
"I don't think I'm ready to throw up my hands and start swishing."
I sighed as we reached the east side of the street. "Tom, just because you have sex with a man doesn't make you homosexual." I quickly outlined my view of man being a sexual animal, one that enjoys its couplings. Now I knew the sexologists Masters and Johnson had proven my theory in the fifties, I couched my outline in their words.
"I can almost see myself getting it on with you both-" He hung his head. "Part of me - Sergei probably - wants to - until I hear myself groaning `fichset' while one of you humps me as you were doing to Emil this morning."
Emil chuckled. "We'll lead you into it slowly, Tomi. Sex needs be fun. The moment you find it's becoming something else, we'll stop."
"You mean Karl isn't going to be porking me the second my underwear slides past my butt?" he asked with traces of humour lacing his words.
I also felt his need for reassurance on the point. I was mildly surprised at how close he seemed to be to breaking one of the two provisos he put on our friendship but a month ago.
"We won't do anything you don't want to do," I told him and opened the outer door of the restaurant. "Now, let's feed you." I grinned. "If we're lucky, you'll be so full of protein you'll happily let us siphon some of it off."
Tom and I sat in the sitting room sipping a cognac each. Feeling the liquor flowing through my veins, I smiled at how quickly the mortal with me was acquiring European habits, habits I suspected were being forgotten even in Europe as its youth increasingly became Americanised. He now sat comfortably sipping a good cognac where his fellows would down it quickly and never appreciate its bouquet.
I heard the tumblers turning in the outer door and Emil's feet as he stepped into the hall. |I'm home,| the Swiss youth projected. |Give me time to dress and I'll join you.|
"Emil is here," I told Tom.
"He went to feed, didn't he?" he asked with a subdued voice and I feared a return to the tension earlier. I nodded. "Was this another skinhead?"
I shook my head. "He has a very negative view of drug-dealers, as negative as mine of skinheads. He was probably over in Anacostia."
"I can almost see offing one of those guys, but what bites your arse about the skinheads? I didn't see them doing anything."
"It's a long story."
"Tom, I'd need to share it mentally with you. That way, you'd get a direct infusion of my memories without your or my prejudices coming into play."
He shrugged. "Do it."
"That's very difficult when you're not a vampire."
"Jesus! That again."
Emil stepped into the room, joining us. "Hi, guys-" He made a production of looking around the room and then staring at us. "You mean, you haven't been getting it on while my back was turned?"
|Emil!| I projected in warning.
|Just joking around, Liebchen.|
"We were waiting for you," Tom shot back at him, a grin on his face.
I turned to stare at the American. So did Emil. "Are you trying to tell us something?" I asked cautiously.
The moment for repartee was past and he knew it even better than we. Tom's face paled. "Okay, item one is I'm horny. It's been the longest time since I got it on with anyone but Mary Five Fingers here," he said, holding up his hand.
"Item two is I've fucked a couple of guys and got blown by a few more. Maybe I wasn't even twenty then, but I remember it being pretty good - even if I was scared as hell with Sergei singing sweet songs about how good it is.
"Item three is I'm willing to get into something as long as it's understood we don't do anything I freak out about. Item four is you don't play with my head; and item five is you don't assume I want to hop into bed every time I'm around just because I do it tonight."
I continued to gaze at him, working my way through the restrictions I had placed around this man the past month. "I didn't hear you mention specific things we wouldn't do," I offered finally.
"Just that you don't play with my head, giving me wants that aren't mine, and that you don't push me into doing something I'm not ready for-"
"And that we don't look upon you as a regular sex partner just because we get it on tonight," Emil added, his voice primly void of his usual humour and, even, interest.
Tom turned and smiled his thanks to him.
Emil grinned suddenly, signalling his lilting irreverence's return. "It's almost two in the morning and we're all three fed-" He raised a brow theatrically and his voice immediately became guttural, his `w's' becoming `v's'.
"Shall we show you to the room where we will deflower you, good-looking American young man?" He licked his lips in campy anticipation.
Tom stared at the Swiss youth then turned to me. "This is a side of him I never saw in Zürich - what did you do to him when you made him a vampire?"
"He's the first one I made, perhaps I gave him too much blood and it went to his head?"
|Are you sure, Emi?| I asked. |We don't have to-|
|Don't, Karli. It's what you want - what has to be. I've known it from the beginning.|
|I can be alone with him-|
|No!| His face tightened as he met my gaze, red blotches threatening to break out over it.
|Those Nazis of yours - I can accept you fucking them. They mean nothing; it's but a game for you. But Tom, and the men he was before, they're real to you. They've been a part of you more than a hundred years. You can no more separate them from any other part of your life than you can go without feeding.|
|But I don't have to rub your face in it.|
|You won't be, Karli. I'm the one who has to accept, to learn to love him as I do you. He already possesses you more than I ever shall. If I'm to have you, he comes with the packet.|
He snorted. |I had better be if I want you in my life.|
"You know, I could really learn to hate you guys," Tom opined from between us, forcing himself into our circle.
"Why's that?" Emil asked, his eyes pink with glistening tears.
"You talk mind to mind every time you don't want me to hear you. Were you discussing me?"
Emil smiled tightly. "We'll discuss that later - if you want."
"Shit!" He pushed himself from the chair and stood uncertainly. "You could almost convince me to join the vampire brigade too, with all this interesting shit going right over my head all the time."
I rose. "This is where you back out of this adventure or commit to the duration," I told him, pulling him away from his thoughts and fantasies of vampires.
He looked from me to Emil and back. "I don't have to do anything I don't want to, right?"
"Come on, American," Emil told him with a grin. "I've never fucked one of you before."
"Emil!" I snapped sharply as Tom froze.
The Swiss looked sheepishly at the American. "I'm sorry. Let's go enjoy ourselves."
At the top of the stairs, Tom slowed as Emil went on into the room and I made to follow. I turned back to him and saw his face was ashen as he stared at the open door to the bedroom I shared with Emil.
"Uncomfortable?" I asked.
"Yeah. A little." He snorted. "A whole lot. I think I just gave birth to an armada of butterflies and they're all in my gut."
"Then don't do it. You have the bedroom next to ours, sleep there."
"It wasn't sleep that I was thinking about," he answered sharply but grinned weakly.
"That's got to be your decision entirely, Tom. Go to your bed if the thought of doing something with us makes you uncomfortable."
He laughed. "Sergei would never stop kicking my butt if I backed out now. I think even that prude Würther would be right in there with him."
"It's not backing out. It's what makes you comfortable. That's your body - not mine nor Emil's, not even Sergei's and Würther's - you've got to decide how to use it and how to derive pleasure from it."
He took the last two steps and stood before me. His lips twitched in a grin. "Are you going to stand out here talking me to death or are we going in there and get it on?"
"I'm going in there and find several hours worth of pleasure before I sleep. Emil has the same intention." I smiled and started for the room. "What you do is your decision."
I reached the room before he started after me; I didn't stop. Emil already lay naked on the bed as he smiled a greeting to me. I shoved off my shoes and pulled off my shirt as I stepped across the room. I was pushing my trousers over my hips as Tom growled from the door: "Do you two mind some light? I can't see in the dark."
"What's to see?" Emil called out to him chuckling.
"I never looked at a cock up close before - except mine."
"You just fuck them, take their money, and leave?"
"Emil!" I hissed softly. "Turn on the light if you want," I told Tom.
I was looking at a naked, aroused Emil Paulik one instant and was seeing the same sight the next. Between the two moments the medium through which I saw the man I made a vampire shifted as electric light flooded through the room. One moment I was seeing him completely through vampiric sight, the next nearly human perception imposed itself over me.
Tom entered the room and stopped when he saw me standing at the foot of the bed in just my y-fronts. He turned to face the bed and saw Emil lying there. He blinked his eyes and turned back to me.
"I don't like you in those," he said in French, his voice Sergei's. He stepped closer and his fingers reached out to touch my chest. "Sweet, lovely Karli," Würther breathed in German.
Emil stared at the dressed man, his eyes rounding. Tom kissed first one nipple and then the other, his eyes closed.
|He - they - want to make love to you, Karl!|
"Let him make his own decision, Sergei," I told the spirit of the vampire who had given me immortality. "Don't influence him."
The dressed youth's body jerked slightly and I sensed Tom as the only presence in the room other than Emil and myself. His tongue continued to touch and taste my nipples, learning the contours of my chest, moving curiously over it as his hands opened his shirt and shoved it blindly from him.
His body moved gently to music only he could hear as he stepped out of his loafers and began to unzip his jeans. In moments, he was naked and his tongue was beginning a downward spiral as his fingers slipped beneath the elastic of my undergarment.
His lips pushed the prepuce of my manhood back along its shaft as he forced himself to swallow most of me. His hands moved along the backs of my thighs to find and, then, knead my buttocks as he began to bob on my sex.
"Let's get on the bed, Tomi," I told him softly as I massaged his back.
He stared at me as he rose and took a step backward, his erection complete. "Jesus!" he croaked. "Is it going to be like this every time we-?"
I chuckled. "If I remember correctly both Sergei and Würther were prone to lose themselves in a moment of passion."
"But that-!" His eyes blanked for the briefest moment. "You can't come, can you?" He glanced over his shoulder at Emil. "Neither of you?"
"If you mean ejaculate, no," I told him.
"But I've had some damned good orgasms since I woke up undead," Emil continued from the bed.
Tom glanced from one to the other of us. "Should we - uh - you know, use rubbers when we get to that point?"
"Parasites can't live in us," I told him. "I don't know about AIDS specifically, but Würther tested other sexually transmitted diseases with my blood before-" I shut my eyes for a moment forcing the memory of that field of edelweiß from my mind. "Before the Anschluß. Each of them died immediately."
"We've got to try it with the HIV-virus." His eyes brightened and the erection jutting from his groin began to lose its strength as his mind embraced the new thought. "Can you imagine how big this would be if you and Emil can kill AIDS too?"
Emil had slid across the bed, his eyes rivetted to the mortal's manhood and rounded as it became merely tumescent. "His glans stays uncovered!" he whispered to himself.
"He's circumcised," I told him. "Most Americans are." I remembered the two Negroes the Congressman from Mississippi kept closely bound to himself. "Most young American Caucasians are, anyway."
Tom blushed under our discussion and Emil's eyes studying him. I felt the warmth of his blood spreading through his skin and shivered at the tinge of hunger that went through me.
"It's big and thick like yours, Karl - and pretty." Emil looked up at Tom's face. "May I touch it?"
"I guess - Jesus! I feel like I'm under a microscope already."
Emil's hand was half-way between them. "You don't want me to?" he asked.
"No, do it. Shit! Let me get on the bed and you can suck me off while I'm slurping on yours." He glanced back at me. "You might as well go ahead and pork me so we can get that out of the way too."
"Are you sure?"
He looked away quickly and whispered: "Yeah."
"May I touch your thoughts to make it easier for you?"
He stared at me suspiciously until Emil's fingers touched him. "Just to make it easier to take that thing of yours, okay?"
With the sun of a late May afternoon on the other side of the house, I sat in what I had begun to call the music room and studied the keyboard of the piano that had been delivered that morning. I was again thankful that Sergei and Würther had brought Thomas MacPherson around and he had become our friend as well as frequent bedmate.
Some things, such as piano deliveries, were impossible for vampires without a friendly, trustworthy mortal around.
I tried to remember the last time I had played a piano. I was fairly certain it had been the night the Jew from the resistance told us the Gestapo had found us out. The last song I had played as Würther rushed through our living quarters to toss clothes into sacks for both of us had been Lili Marlene, a farewell to everything I had ever known. It had to have been; it had been my favourite song since I first heard it in Berlin before the twentieth century began.
Could I even play it now, fifty-seven years since last I touched a keyboard? Or would I ruin it? I forced myself to pull the music from my memories. With its notes and bars now fresh for me, I touched the keys of the grand piano.
Sorrow wrapped itself around each chord as it rose from the piano. Innocence lost, love denied and foredoomed.
I did not heard the doorbell. I was in the midst of once again strolling under the lime-trees of the song, tears glistening in my eyes.
|Karl, your fascist's at the door,| Emil projected at me. My fingers collapsed against the keyboard, creating discordance throughout the room. Joe was here? At this house? Why?
I wiped my eyes on a paper tissue and rose; obedient to my earliest training, I became a host before I had left the music room.
Emil was pretending an abysmal lack of knowledge of English as he entertained Joe McCarthy in the front hall pursuant my arrival. I thought he was even believable and thanked the stars that govern human and vampire destiny that Tom was at Georgetown's medical library in search of strange, quirky things in blood that might begin to explain why Emil and I were exempt from HIV-infection, much less being simply immortal.
"Hello, Joe," I greeted my uninvited guest and, turning to Emil, told him in German he was a believable actor but to disappear. He wanted to watch through my eyes and I agreed to transmit everything that occurred between us to him.
"I'm surprised to see you here," I told the boyish-faced man as Emil left us. I escorted the leader of the Christian Circle to the sitting room, pulling the sliding wooden doors open.
"Why're you surprised?" he asked and I noted the real curiosity he felt.
"For one thing, I don't remember telling anyone at Treman's where I lived."
"Oh, that!" He laughed. "Karl von Muribor, the CC knows everything there is to know about you. I had a background check started on you before I ever accepted the invitation to that party your embassy threw for you. I had it back and knew you were okay before you ever set foot in Treman's house."
I froze inside the sitting room. It took me what seemed to be the longest moments to force a foot off the floor and move it forward. I walked as a mechanical man, a robot. I forced composure over the shock my face must have shown before I turned back to Joe McCarthy. "And what did you learn about me?" I asked and hoped I sounded nonchalant.
I remembered James Boyd. He too had run a background check on me. He was FBI and I suspected his information would be more complete than whatever the Christian Center had found. It was definitely time I pay him much closer attention than I had.
"You were pretty much of a cipher but we did find you seemed to have a faint connection to some of the preacher's friends in Germany and Austria-"
He grinned. "I keep forgetting Europe's about ten years behind us in computer science. We dredged up your grandfather's adoption and his death, your school records, tax and voting records - things like that. We wanted to know whose side you were on."
He had got my voting and tax records? I suddenly had a strong feeling I needed to have another talk with Marcus Eichmann at my earliest convenience. It would be nice to know what properties I did in fact own; but I intended to demand I know why he had me voting for some neo-Nazi. Perhaps a liter of his blood would enable me to have more control over my reputed past activities in future.
"It's almost as if you've brought a piece of pre-war Germany - after all the problems were cleaned up - with you and set it down right here on the firing line."
My blank look alerted him. "This house is about a block from niggertown which scares most people off. But it's - well, it demands a gentleman; and you have given it what it needed."
"I've had no problems," I told him, dismissing his slur to my neighbors.
His face fleetingly became a leer before it could return to its boyish, naive purposefulness. "I see why you've not become a regular at Treman's house."
I looked blank again. Try as I might, I had not been able to adjust to the American habit of jumping about from subject to subject in conversation. I was still trying to handle my physical proximity to Negro homes in my mind.
"That German boy who answered the door. He looks like he's got to be close to the best in bed. I can imagine what he'd look like naked in a porn flick."
"Emil?" I asked carefully.
"The sandy-haired boy."
"He's more than a boy-"
The leer returned but, this time, remained. "I bet he is. Is he as good a fuck as me?"
"He's-" I fought against my urge to tell this man it was none of his business, another urge to kill him for what he was and promised to be, and finally accepted the urge to keep things flowing smoothly between us. "He's a good companion," I answered noncommittally.
I touched his mind, unwilling to have him thinking things I didn't know as well as to redirect the conversation away from those things into other areas.
He seethed at having found Emil in my house and guessing what he was to me. I found his image of me to be impossibly tall and well-endowed, though I appreciated the virility with which he clothed me. And I was surprised at the desire to claim me as his own that burnt inside him. I looked into his clear, untroubled blue eyes and the naivete that set so well on his boyish face. Nothing of the turmoil of his thoughts showed in that angelic face.
Herr Doktor Freud would love to have met Joe McCarthy. Talk about schizophrenic personalities . . .
Emil is nothing, I told him. See him as nothing more than a sexual object that satisfies me momentarily.
His anger cooled as he assimilated my command, making it his own without a thought to its appearance in his mind. He smiled. "The reason I stopped by was to invite you to meet the preacher."
"Tomorrow evening at eight. There's a very special party out in St Mary's county he's coming up from Tidewater for. I could pick you up if you'd like to come?"
Der Prediger. Der Amerikanischer Führer.
I smiled as invitingly as I could make my face muscles move. "Please. Yes, I would like to meet him. I've heard so much about him."
I touched his thoughts again and saw the blind love Joe McCarthy felt for the tall, craggy-faced minister who had been so adept at wrapping himself with the cloak of the Christian God so that he could lay concrete plans to destroy America.
Joe grinned happily. "I'll pick you up at six. You'll be meeting some men who are helping him change America as well."
His face went blank, though it colored with the slightest embarrassment. "You understand we don't mix the goings-on at Bob Treman's house with this kind of get-together."
My face was just as blank but held none of his embarrassment. "Of course, Joe."
Just as the Nazi elite hadn't mix their parties at the cabarets with their orders to send Jews and homosexuals to concentration camps. Of course, I understood.
"These men are gentlemen, Karl - the cream of the crop in America," he explained.
"Gentlemen?" I gazed at him in surprise. "With the amount of vindictiveness coming out of your Congress the past few months? I'm beginning to suspect your Republican members were each reared in an alleyway."
He stared at me suspiciously for several uncomfortable moments. He sighed finally and said: "You really don't understand, do you?"
I shook my head slowly. "What do I not understand?"
"We have to destroy this President in the American consciousness. The people need to suspect him of everything - him and his administration. His party. These next two years are vital; we have to tarnish the image of every Democrat badly enough the people will reject them completely in the next Presidential elections. If they're all seen as crooks and liberal queer-lovers, they're finished. They've got to smell to high heaven, Karl."
"And Reverend Koughlin can then come to Washington to clean up the mess?" I asked, remembering Mussolini marching his blackshirts to the royal palace in Rome. The King had to ask him to enter the government to clean things up and Italy found it had Il Duce.
"Not that soon. We have to destroy the Democrats, their viability. But we need also to allow the Republicans to show they can't govern either. Both Democrat and Republican shown up for the money-grabbing garbage they are. Then, Pat Koughlin can come to power.
"If we've destroyed the Democrats, the Christian Coalition will split from the Republicans after 2000 - we'll pull our support from them and let them sink in their own shit. Their shenanigans will be judged by public opinion, and America will know they can't trust either party. There will only be the Christian Centre for them to turn to."
"And how will that happen?"
Joe grinned toothily, a smart boy properly recognised. "It doesn't matter who the Republicans put up as their candidate in 2000, we make life impossible for him. Innuendo. Past affairs. Financial contributions. There isn't a politician in this country who's clean - they all sleep with whoever pays them best.
"By 2002, the President is impeached - or he resigns. He can even die of natural causes for all we care. The Vice President takes over and asks Pat Koughlin to be his Vice-President to help heal the country - like Ford did with Rockefeller. By 2004 we'll hold power. Koughlin runs on a platform to save the country and wins."
"But how do you keep control?"
Joe grinned. "Technology and the local churches."
"The local church?"
"You Europeans have been politically centralised too long. In more and more county and city elections, the only people running are our own. Whisper campaigns - even full smear campaigns - keep everybody else out, or destroy them."
He laughed. "Karl, only 20 to 30 percent of voters vote in county and city elections - even in state elections. Less than 50 percent voted nationally in `96. Our two million members and closest allies already control local elections across this country.
"We hold elections only at churches allied with us. With computer technology, we prevent unallied candidates-" He chuckled. "Or we trump up charges against hold-outs so they're in jail and not voting."