Copyright Osfer, November 2004
    All rights reserved.
    May only be distributed for free.
    May not be altered in any way.
    Contains material of an erotic and homosexual nature which may be illegal to read in your country, state, province or region.
    The author takes no responsibility for transgressions on the part of the reader
    Comments welcome at osfer.kesh@gmail.com.

Available on paperback in 2006

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    ~ Enjoy. ~


   Chapter I -- As Told By Owen Zelazny
    Maranatha City, beginning of autumn. Decent-sized city, big enough to get lost in even if you've lived there all your life. Which I haven't, if you gotta know. Moved here to get away from the `rents when I was a teen. Crazy times. And a crazy city, too. It was good for me, even though I ended up somewhat on the wrong side of the law. Suits me, though. I've come to think of this town as my own, you know? Never had much of a connection with my first home, but this... It's grown on me. In me. I can tell the season by the smell of the fumes in the air. I can tell when somebody famous died by the people that you see and don't see on the street that evening. It's become mine, my city.
    My Maranatha. Owen's Maranatha. That has a nice ring to it.
    Ratty apartment, view of a brick wall. Only about half as much glass in the window as needed to make them water-proof, but that's no biggie since the brick wall keeps most of the rain out and the only thing near the windows is a sink, so it don't matter if it gets a little wet. In fact, it's just as well since the sink don't got water of its own and rainy nights is the only time when the worktop gets washed.
    There's a haze of smoke in the apartment, but the only fire around is the cigarette I'm holding. It'd be so easy to just drop it and walk out the door. Let the shaggy carpet burn -- it'd go up like a lake of gasoline, with all the booze that's been spilled on it over the years -- and take all the crappy furniture with it. I ain't stupid enough to keep anything worth stealing in my pad, since it don't got a lock, so I wouldn't have to go back for anything.
    It'd sure feel amazing. To go out my door and know that everything I left behind would disappear as soon as I passed it. Every step I took would burn away a year's worth of mistakes and grief and nobody could ever shove it back in my face, and if I just kept walking eventually so much would burn away that I'd come away all clean and I could start over.
    Hell, as if. Why would I wanna go and do something like that? The smoke blows out of my nostrils in sharp puffs as I chuckle, sitting on the single rickety chair in the room, hearing it creak as if this time, this time for real, it's going to collapse under me. I pull my cigarette out of my mouth and take a swig of the beer I was holding in my other hand. Mmm, beer.
    I got neighbours, and none too bad ones. Pair of punker cats on one side, they play their music way too loud and way too late but that don't bother me since I'm never home after dark and when I am, I just walk over, ask `em to turn it down so's I can catch some see-saw, and they turn it right on down. Old woman with a big dog on the other side. Decent, old-fashioned lady with a black belt in three arts and a police record long as my dick. The one time my pad got burgled I was out for the night but she came in through the door and broke six of the thief's bones while he started screaming for the police. When the cops came, she put one of `em in hospital with a burst spleen before they managed to cool her down. Her dog's a rottweiler, blind like Stevie Wonder and fierce as the Devil's stepmomma to anyone he don't like the smell of.
    Upstairs is empty due to the absence of walls and above that, if you can climb the rope ladder, you've got an attic so cramped you have to belly-crawl or roll over to get from one end to the other. Fierce roaches up there. Best to stay out of it, I say.
    That leaves downstairs, the domain of our honourable landlord. I could say he's a mangy old bastard who charges way too much for crappy apartments, screams and yells all the time and goes through my things and he's Adolph Hitler without the moustache, but really, I don't know where to begin with this guy. He's a Buddhist or a Hindu, Hare Krishna or Rama or Sai Baba or Toshiba, I don't know. The old weasel's going grey at the temples but has hobbies he pursues with all the energy of a twelve-year old and, shit, the dude's nice. Which is like the meanest joke in the universe because it makes me want to pay my rent on time and when I don't, he says it's okay but I feel so bad I let him down.
    And this one time, when I was really down on my luck and didn't have a dime, he actually let me off the hook. No questions asked, no favours demanded, nothing. It still wakes me up at night sometimes.
    Not tonight, though. I don't know what woke me up. Sure, it's cold and sure, the punkers are playing their tunes way too loud. There was some gunshots a while back and cop sirens half an hour later outside, but I was awake before then. So here I am, sitting in my chair, shivering, balls-nekkid, smoking my last cig and sucking my last beer and thinking thoughts I usually save up for Christmas.
    I exhale some stale smoke and smell my fingerclaws smouldering as the cigarette burns down. I stub it out on the chair's wooden armrest and I can feel myself shuddering with the cold, but I still can't bring myself to get up and curl up in my creaky, comfy bed or just move my arms to get some circulation going, or give Li'l Owen a good yank to really get my blood pumping. I just sit, looking at the rain dripping down the neon-lit brick wall outside my window.
    Something must be bothering me. It's the only explanation. The bottle's empty when I swig it and I have to stop myself from throwing it against the wall like some kind of drama queen. This is exactly the kind of thing I could talk to Barry about -- that's my landlord, even though he insists we all call him Butterfly Riverbed. He'd spout all kinds of wisdom and crack those glossy books he reads and I know I'll feel better, if only because I know he's really trying to cheer me up.
    But I don't wanna do that.
    I don't know what I want to do. Here I am, in the middle of Maranatha fucking City, den of fucking sin and iniquity, and I don't know what I want. If I collect all my debts and pick up my stashed savings, even if I forgot a third of `em, I could have anything I wanted tonight. A blowjob from an eight-year-old. A lime green `80s Toyota, factory condition. A double mozzarella pizza FedExed from Firenze, Italy, still warm from the stone-oven by the time it reaches my door, hell, I could probably even afford one of them slaves imported from Layleaux.
    But, fuck it, I don't know what I want.
    So I might as well go do what I'm good at, instead of moping around here all night.
    Half a shake later, I'm outside my apartment. I don't bother closing the door, too busy hopping on one foot, trying to get my fucking boot on. The damn lace snaps and with a growl I tumble over, thumping against the old lady's door with my shoulder by accident.
    It opens immediately. Pickles, the demon rottie, is growling and Mrs Ackerby is at the door in a night-gown, with a candlestick held in one hand. The gown is silk, and looks nice on the old skunkess, but it's offset by the prison tattoo on her bulging left bicep. "Oh, it's you sonny," she says, all sweetness and light and sets the candlestick down. Pickles turns around in his basket three times and goes back to sleep. "You okay, precious?"
    I don't like the way she talks to me. She talks like she's my mom's best friend. But I value my life and my nutsack so I never tell her this. "Bootlace snapped. You got duct tape or something, Mrs A?"
    No sooner have I spoken than she's taken a roll of duct tape off a shelf near the door. It's the silverbacked kind, the kind that you could use to tape a plane's parts together and not worry about it falling apart. I don't even want to think why this lady's got a roll of it right next to the door, but I tape my boot closed, thank her kindly, and pick my jacket up off the floor. I realise, as I tug it on, that it's the denim one with the sleeves cut off mid-bicep and that I forgot to bring a sweater, but although it's mighty cold outside I seriously don't want to go back to my pad right now. So down the stairs I go, two steps at a time and in my head I hear the pounding of music I won't yet hear with my ears for at least half an hour.
    Bah. A brisk, wet, midnight walk is just the thing to pick me up.
    The sky's overcast with thick, fluffy cloudcover that drizzles the city's sodium-ochre light right back down on it, mixing in some cool sheets of rain. Your fur starts drying the second one of those little droplets hits it but there's always a next one to soak you a little bit deeper as soon as you're almost done and you never feel anything but wet. At least it's a clean kind of wetness, though.
    My pants are soaked, clinging so tight to my legs so tightly you can see the muscles in my thighs moving and I'm sure you can imagine for yourself how good a job a pair of sodden jeans does at hiding your privates from view. I'm proud of what I got swinging, I'll admit, even though it ain't my primary source of income, but it's hardly discrete to be walking around with a jacket that just about stretches across your shoulders and can't possibly close across your chest -- okay, maybe I could zip it up over my abs up to the bellybutton but that'd look retarded -- and for all the good my clothes were doing I might as well be naked with boots on.
    Come to think of it, that'd certainly turn a few heads where I was going, but it'd likely attract the attention of the police long before I got there and there's only so many times you can blow a cop for a get-out-of-jail-free card before you run into an actual clean cop you can't turn. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, but believe me -- they're out there.
    A thunderclap. Great. A sonic pressure-wave caused by the rapid expansion of air around the super-hot arc of electrical energy between two opposite highly-charged areas, resulting in atmospheric turbulence which, in clouds, can cause condensation cores to form, which then attract the ubiquitous microdroplets and what do you have? Gonorrhic piss-rain, that's what you have.
    I hear the patter of the heavier raindrops before I feel them on me. Man, do I love the sound of them and man, don't it suck to be stuck out here with that kind of rain coming down. I put some fuel on the proverbial fire and get to running. True, when you're soaked through there's no way you can get any wetter but I don't want to be soaked for very long and when I reach the Dive, with its lights and noise and smoke and warm bodies I'll be dry in no time flat.
    Water splashes high on either side of my boots as I run down the empty streets. During the day these lanes are gridlocked but right now they're open territory, with not a car in sight to claim them. I like running. All I think about is going forward, planting my foot right, thinking only where I'll plant the next one. Even the rain doesn't bother me as much as I'd like to complain, all I feel is warm blood in my veins, my muscles moving and my heart beating.
    I'm almost there. I can feel the soft vibrations in the air, the faint, imperceptible hints of the rhythms that the Dive pumps out so generously into Maranatha City's night-time air. It lures me like a warm, radiant beacon, ready to engulf me in its comfort and is excitement and, oh, fuck, I left my wallet at home.
    I don't slow down even as realisation hits me, I just keep going, trying to push the thoughts out of my mind that interrupt the purity of the run and make me think about the hard rain pelting my body, but in my mind's eye I can see my wallet lying on my pillow back in my pad, in plain view of the hallway through my door, because I didn't close it. I'm so fucking stupid. One little funk and I drop my wits like I'm some love-lorn teenager.
    No sweat, though. Just keep on running. When I get to the Dive I'll just do some quick trade to get some cash for the night and hope nobody's stupid enough to take my wallet, back home. After all, in a place like that... If somebody leaves a bulging-full wallet just lying on his bed in plain sight, you'd think twice about picking it up. There's gotta be something fishy about that.
    Overwheel Avenue. Pretty quiet this time of night. A couple of skanky hookers huddling in doorways, trying to stay dry and praying their pimp doesn't come along and spot them slacking on the job. Street's wide enough for two cars to pass each other, but that doesn't happen often since there's so many cars parked on either side -- most of `em burned out, forgotten or abandoned -- that it's become an unofficial one-way street. Some apartment buildings that, once, were pretty nice but now look even shittier than my digs. Cracked windows, bullet holes, burn marks... Crack houses, gang dens, and if the rumours are anything to go by, there's a group of actual, honest-to-goodness vampires somewhere in this street.
    Damn, I love it. The thing about the smell of misery is that it always carries that weird, sexy mixture of strength and desperation. These people have lost all their hope and still they go on. They don't expect to live more than a day from now, but they'll fight for their right to that day if it comes down to it.
    The Romans thought that the threshold was something holy, that gods lived in the doorframe of the entrance to a house. That's why old-fashioned grooms carry their brides across when they enter the bridal suite. Well, if they were right, then wicked demons live in the threshold of the Dive. Two metal loading doors are swung wide open, a haze of smoke oozing out from them that masks all view of what goes on inside and glows neon blue and green and red. The noise of loud music, screams and moans, shouts and soft whispers mingle to one steady roar as if the coolest part in Hell opened its mouth to invite anyone in who wants to party.
    And I want to party. My bones are cold and my muscles ache and I'm soaked clean through. The rain washed away the sweat of the half-hour's run and I feel clean, which is a bonus. I step into the fog, knowing that there's bouncers hidden in there with masks and goggles that'll grab anyone they don't think is ready for the Dive and shove them back out without ever being seen, but I know I won't be grabbed. The mist is thick, with that weird freshness of artificial smoke that chokes the throat but doesn't sting the eyes too badly, and then I clear it, and I'm inside.
    To call the Dive a club would be like calling Hitler an idealist. From a certain perspective, sure, that's spot-on but it does kinda miss the point. The Dive is a dive in every sense of the word. It's run-down, the concrete walls are cracked, there's no noticeable architecture... But it's huge. A warehouse with a ceiling three storeys high, with lights and speakers hanging so high you can't even see them through all the rising mist. It's like you're at the bottom of a ginormous pit with lasers shining down on you from far, far above.
    There's platforms and depressions, railings and balconies, all so chaotic and difficult to oversee that I'd swear the Dive changes its internal shape every time I go there. There's some booths that weren't there last time, I'm sure of it, a couple of tables set up on one of the elevations -- largely deserted, except for some rough-looking guys in suits. For the rest, there's nothing to see but a vast ocean of bodies thrashing like waves, whipped up by a sonic storm blaring from the odd-shaped speakers taped to every conceivable surface, pounding against each other in an orgy more sensual than any kind of sex.
    I'm drunk with it the second I step out of the haze in the entryway and feel the heat of hundreds of bodies distracting themselves from their base yearnings through the transcendence of dance and drink and music like a room full of time bombs all waiting for the moment when their dance-drunk elation is outgrown by their libido and the hunger for another body exceeds the joy of their own.
    Yes, ladies and gentleman, I'm a fucking poet when I'm horny.
    Two steps forward and I'm inside, engulfed in the rippling mass of dancing people pressing against me despite my dampness, warming me, drying me as I pierce the sea with all the practised, natural ease of a shark. My feet slip into the gaps left on the floor, my torso twists and rotates to suit the currents and eddies of the crowd and in less than two minutes I've crossed all the way to the very centre of the club, which would take a lesser barfly half an hour to manage and not without a few bruises.
    Here's the bar, a round counter encircling the murky lightshow going on inside the large cylindrical water tank that forms the heart of the club, lights glowing inside and penetrating from outside and shining on the ephemeral, now-you-see-them-now-you-don't apparitions of the go-go dancers flying through the fluid zero-G space inside the glass column, snagging one of the many free-floating air masks on their LED-lit hoses for a quick hit of O2 before pushing off in a slow-motion display of naked athleticism you'll never see on land.
    I head for the bar. Not for the drink -- I've got no dough, remember -- but because that's where people go when they're too horny to dance and not dunk enough to realise it. I'm still dripping with rain, I realise as I lean back on the bar with my elbows, feeling my jacket peeling off my back and slithering off my chest as the sodden garment succumbs to gravity. It's almost pornographic, and hell, I wasn't even trying.
    So yeah, I'm looking for somebody to fuck for some quick cash. Did that penny drop? Cool, then we're in the same gear.
    Ooh, score. I can see this guy, a wolf like me but dark instead of light grey and his hair's going grey at the widow's peak instead of a nice, smooth bleached blond like mine. Twice my age, maybe a little less than that, but not a whole lot less. Not bad-looking, all in all, but I do hope I age a little better than that, when my time comes. Vanity, what'cha gonna do about it, huh? He seems to know exactly what he's gonna do about it. He's grinning at me from about two hours clockwise around the bar, grinning like he knows me, or someone who looks enough like me to spark his interest.
    This guy's ready. Now I gotta pounce on him before he tries to ask me to dance and date and all that crap. I lean back good and far, arching my back, baring my nice, flat tummy and press my shoulders against the bar top and when I rise up again the sodden denim of my jacket sticks and peels away from my arms. The dude's impressed by that little show. I leave my jacket behind since it's worth neither stealing nor losing any sleep over and, bare-chested, I walk slowly around the bar to my man. A couple of heads turn in the dancing crowd, a few more at the bar. No complaint from the bar crew, either. Maybe next time I should come in buck naked...
    "You looking for a ride, daddy?" I whisper in my dude's ear as I sidle up behind him, slipping between him and the guy on the stool next to him, pressing nice and close. I smile, he smiles, I roll my head back to let my hair dangle and he snuffles at my throat. "Mmm, I bet you know how to put a boy to use, huh? Hard and fast, get your jollies and get back out there..." It doesn't matter what you say when you're putting the moves on somebody. They can't hear you, anyway, so all that matters is how you say it. My voice is pretty smooth and I raise it an octave to try and shave a couple of years off my ripe old age of twenty-three. I'm a wolf and he's a wolf, see, so there's good odds this guy's got a wife and kids and that one of `em maybe looks a little bit like me and maybe this dude's done a little bit of thinking about the fine young man his son's becoming. Course, he'd never do anything, being a good dad and all, but if I can tempt him just right he might want to indulge that little fantasy with me, and tip real nice while he's at it.
    "How much you charge, boy?" His southern drawl is even thicker than mine. I completely misjudged him, I think. He's no family man, he's just passing through, partaking of the local party scene before heading off to other pastures... Gotta use a different tactic, but the result's the same.
    I lay one arm around his shoulders -- firm and broad, mrowr -- and slide the other up and down his thigh. "Twenty-five for a ride, mister... fifteen," I add, sliding my hand up between his jeans-clad thighs and giving that package a nice gentle squeeze, "If all your fella here wants is a nice long kiss."
    He's looking me straight in the eyes, one hand on his knee, the other cupping his glass of beer, just sitting there while I do my schtick. "A blowjob sure sounds nice," he says and clears his throat... You know, I think this guy's testing me, seeing if I'm just some self-absorbed coin-slot or an actual pro. I'm the latter, and I'll swear that on a stack of Bibles and the entire Tenach and all the Vedas and the fucking Finish translation of the Quran and, fuck it, I'm a professional and that's all there is to it so I don't so much as bat an eyelash when he seems to go for the cheaper option. Seems like that impresses him, cause when he's done coughing he grins and reaches out to grab my own package, squeezing a good bit harder. "But I think I could use a ride."
    One minute later, mens' room. The night's only half-way so it's pretty clean, but even if it wasn't, this wolf wouldn't care. Rough sorta fella, plaid shirt, worn jeans, big-ass belt-buckle. I don't even look over my shoulder as I lead the way into the nearest empty toilet stall, leaving the door open in plain view of the guys at the urinals and at the sinks as I step to the side of the toilet seat, face the stall wall and start to unbutton my jeans.
    The wolf laughs, growls, I can't tell which and comes in after me, slamming the door shut. Doesn't say a word, either, just pulls down his zipper while I tug my pants down far enough to free my tail-end and just in time, too, because before I can say "Forsooth!" there's something warm and hard poking under my tail and with a deep wolfish grunt in my ear it gets shoved right up where the sun don't shine.
    It hurts, dammit, I ain't ashamed to admit it. When I don't get a little bit of warm-up, when they don't use lube, getting fucked still hurts -- but I'm kinda proud of that, you know? Means I'm still good and tight and by the way this guy's wheezing in my ear once he's half-way up inside me, he's noticed that. "That all you got, daddywolf?" I whisper over my shoulder, putting on my dirtiest grin. That's the good thing about when it hurts a little -- you're none too horny so you can really focus on doing a bang-up job and getting your John good and worked up.
    And this wolf, man, he's got his juices flowing. He's got his big hands on my hips, fingerclaws digging into my fur as he dives in deeper. He's hard as a steel rod, I tell ya, this guy ain't unloaded in anything but his hand in weeks. I'm in for a hard damn ride...
    "There's always a little more, boy," he whispers back and thrusts in deep. I can feel his shaft sliding up my ass, I can feel it throbbing inside me... Hell, I can see it in my mind's eye even though all I can see with my real eye-type eyes is blank wall with "For a good time call Henrietta" scrawled on it. I wonder how long he is? I can usually make a good guess if they stick it in me for a while, but this guy doesn't seem to have that kind of patience.
    Warm breath blows from his nostrils and his elaborate belt buckle knocks against my tail base the second time he thrusts in. The third time, I flag my tail higher and further to the side but that buckle keeps hitting my coccyx -- that's the part where your tail meets your spine, I'm told. I dunno. Hell, I'm glad I can spell it, but then, I'm pretty good with anything that's got `cock' in it. Like my money-maker right now.
    Getting fucked without a warm-up ain't something I'm fond of but it's something I'm used to, so it don't even occur to me to moan or complain. He's got a raging hard-on that he's ploughing up my butt like his life depends on it and it's my job to make it all good. So I squeeze when he thrusts in and he almost yelps like a puppy at that feeling; I relax on the way out so he can get ready for a new thrust quicker. I roll my hips, pushing gently back against his thrusts, just enough to make them a little bit harder or faster than he intended. You can't buck back too much, you can't go acting like you're diggin' it, not when they ordered just a quickie. This is their dollar and their ride and all I gotta do is stand there and take it and be sexy.
    And I fucking am sexy. And he knows it. He's kissing my neck and his hands are moving on their own... A quick squeeze of my nuts, a stroke over my sheath and then up, over rippling abs and nice, firm pectorals. I love being me. And this guy clearly loves being in me. He's grunting like a bull, shoving his dick in me with the kind of patience a guy has when he's well into a fuck he doesn't want to stop. But flattering as that is, I need to get the job done and collect my fee and get out there and get nice and boozed and dance the night away, with maybe one or two stops in this stall to recharge my pocket-money with some other horny stud.
    "Come on, daddy, fill me up nice and deep, yeah?" I look at him over my shoulder, my drying hair dancing in front of my damned pretty blue eyes as he jostles me back and forth. "I want to feel your load in me..." I'm whispering so soft I'm sure he can't hear me over the drone of the music outside the bathroom and the sound of running water at the urinals but he sure does get the message and he grabs my hip in one hand and the top of the stall divider in the other and goes to town on me, pinning me to the stall wall with his chest as he rabbit-humps my backside. In and out, inch-long strokes, rapid as an Uzi. I can feel his breath on my cheek, I can feel his abs pressing against the small of my back through the rough fabric of his shirt and for a second, just a second I let myself think about what it must look like: a studly old hickwolf boning a shirtless lupine hustler with his jeans around his thighs and -- shit, the dude's there!
    I'm almost too late, almost but I manage to reach back just in time, grabbing his dick by the base as he goes in for the very last thrust and I can just about catch hold of his slippery cockbase as it swells into a nice, respectable knot. I squeeze it good and hard and he's too far over the edge to tell whether or not he's tying with my tail-hole or my fist, his whole body goes rigid an a whine of air escapes his clamped lungs before his breath gushes out in a deep sigh and hot, creamy cum gushes up my bowels to soothe their aching walls.
    It always feels so nice when somebody shoots a wad up there. It feels good for me, it heals all the aches of an un-lubed fuck, but that's not what I mean. Feeling somebody getting off inside me, knowing that they're enjoying a few seconds of paradise in my body... It's a good payoff for a job well done.
    "Good... good catch, kid," he groans, collecting his breath as he shoots his last and I relinquish my hold on his knot. My hand lowers and cups his balls, now not quite as heavy as before. "I don't think either of us wanted ta be stuck in here for half an hour waiting for my knot to go down.... That was quick thinkin', kid," the wolfdude says, babbling on while he presses his cheek against mine. His body's warm, the kind of warm you only feel after you've had a nice long bath or a much-needed fuck and it chases away the last of the chill I caught when I jogged over here. I'd be happy to stay like this for half an hour, I realise, but I'm sure there's other things to do that'd make me happy too.
    And this guy, well, he's happy he got his nut off but he wants to get out of me and get out of here and hook himself some sweet thing for the night to prove to himself that he can still get laid without paying. The softening warmth between my cheeks is withdrawn quickly and he's already zipped up before I can clench my buns together and pull my pants up. As I'm zipping up and turn around he waves some cash at me -- three ten-notes and slides them between my grinning lips. "Keep the change, kiddo," he says and with that macho swagger guys like him always have after boning me, he opens the stall door and marches right past the guys at the urinals -- guys that finished pissing ten minutes ago, but stuck around to listen to the show. Some of them have obvious hard-ons, of which they are unashamed.
    I smile and lean forward, letting my wrists rest on the top of each of the two stall dividers, leaning lazily out of the door opening, looking like a slut in heat and focusing on nobody in particular. "Twenty-five for a ride, guys. Who's next?"
    Half an hour later, I'm done. That is, I've been done, and how. About half the guys in the mens' room decided they wanted to have a go and none of `em lasted more than five minutes. Not a one of them wanted to try my mouth, so I spent a lotta time up against that stall wall and later simply leaning against the mirror behind the sinks. I'm kinda sore under the tail, I guess that goes without sayin', but I got a nice full pocket o' cash and the whole night to spend it in.
    After the last guy was done and the only folks in the mens' room were fellas honestly there just to take a piss I flushed away most of the semen they'd deposited in me, since I wasn't about to spend the rest of the night dancing all conservative-like with my buns clenched together; splashed some water on my neck to wash away their drool and smoothed my hair back before marching right back out and into the crowd.
    I let the waves of bodies buck me submission. Now, I'd let the guys in the bathroom use me, but that wasn't really submission. I don't mean to get all technical about it, but permission ain't the same as submission. And these urges, this mass of thrumming, thrashing flesh and energy, these are things I'm willing to submit to. Shoulders bump against mine, breasts against my back, hard abdomens against my own and even harder groins against my thighs and all of us are lost in it, the energy of dancing, the transcendence of the music. We don't need any of the tunes. We don't hear them. Some good drumming would be more than enough, as any so-called primitive tribesman could tell you. All that matters is the beat, the power, the movement...
    I don't know how long I'm dancing, time stops mattering when you're in a trance like tha--
    The hell?
    The club's gone, the sound's gone. Not even a ringing in my ears. Its dark -- no, wait, my eyes are closed. It's cold, freezing even. And there's sound after all, dim, muffled. There's weak sunlight, I think, maybe it's just about noon. When I open my eyes I find that I'm in an alley, which ain't an unusual place for a fella like me to find himself in. Except I don't know how I got here, which I usually do, and there's a few... weird things going on.
    I'm aching. And I don't just mean back there, I mean all over the place. I feel like I've got a million bruises on every cell and fibre like an army of Lilliputians worked me over with really small hammers. My knuckles are a little bloody, which does calm my nerves a little. It's a macho thing, I'm sure, but the idea that I laid a few punches during the time I can't remember makes it a little easier. Licking my knuckles, I survey the rest of me.
    No clothes. That's gonna be a problem. Going around naked can get you some things really quick -- money's one of them, but so's trouble. I stand up and lean on the wall. It feels cold as ice and it aches to lean against it, but I gotta keep my balance.
    The people walking by the mouth of the alley at the far side pass too quickly for me to get a good look at them so I guess that means I'm in a rough neighbourhood, which is odd, because I know my way around the rougher neighbourhoods of town pretty well and I know I'm still in Maranatha because I can see the knife-like Sargasso Holdings building on the skyline, just beside the sun. So I must be in the slums somewhere. Bricktown, maybe. More bums than crooks, even less that's worth stealing than where I live. How the fuck did I end up here?
    I give myself the habitual check-up almost without thinking: fingers through my hair, under my lips to check my gums, throat, ribs, belly, balls... Balls? That's weird... I don't mean they're gone or anything, but there's, like, a metal ring around the neck of my sack and what the fuck? Theres some kinda metal... thing around my sheath. It's sleek and polished and closed at the top and welded to the ring around my nutsack. I give it a few good tugs, but it's stuck right and good. By the feel of it, there's an inner tube as well, inside my sheath, encasing Li'l Owen.
    So that's the two mysteries: how did I get here and how did that get here. More importantly, how am I gonna get out of here? I'm on the east side of the city so it's an hour's jog home and there's no way I can swing that without getting busted by the cops. I need clothes. I rub my eyes, opening them only to find that the world's still there. This isn't some crazy drug-dream. I expected as much. Okay, Owen, you know what to do. Get to work.
    Away from the street, deeper into the alley. At night this'd be a pretty scary place. Now, I'm no pussy and I know how to handle myself in a fight, but I'd sure think twice before heading in here a-whistlin'. This time of day it's pretty quiet, though. All I have to do is duck down one alley after another, stay away from the streets and in no time flat I end up in what you might call a plaza of sorts, a square between buildings with alleys running off in all directions. Couple of bums are talking to each other, huddled in one corner, couple of others are asleep. I take a deep breath to calm my nerves as I step out into the open and clear my throat, since none of them have noticed me yet.
    "Can I have your attention?" I ask loudly, standing in the middle of the square with nothing but that weird metal thing over my privates and try to muster the stupendous amount of attitude I'll need to pull this off. "I seem to have lost my clothes and you guys, well, you got it rough. The first guy to offer me a good long coat gets to fuck me, right here if he wants to. Sloppy seconds go to whoever gets me a pair of pants and round three goes to a pair of shoes. Whoever gets me those can go twice, if the shoes are good enough."
    I cross my arms and wait, idly flicking my tail back and forth and just let them watch me. Most of these guys are close to demented and those that aren't, well, hard life's taken its toll. They wanna know if I'm for real or if somebody spiked their booze bottle yesterday. One fella comes forward, pulling off his coat -- an ugly yellow raincoat, but it comes down to the knees. He's a badger, with a red woolen cap on and a set of blue mechanic's overalls that look like he's worn them every day since the first Christmas. "You, uh," he croaks, folding his coat over his arm as he thoughtfully scratches his chin. "This..." His gaze drops lower and my tail freezes for a second. If this guy starts laughing, everybody will join him and I'll have to find some other set of bums to try this trick on. "What you got there?" he asks, pointing -- or at least, trying to point, at the cyber-looking chastity thing over my Johnson.
    "What I got, pops, is a pair of buns wanting to be a hotdog. You got a sausage for me?" I answer with a grin, unfolding my arms to give my ass a good hard slap. This gets the crowd's attention. They get that I'm for real, now, and they're wondering whether they should make the first move or show respect for someone higher on the pecking order and let them have first dibs. Or they're wondering if it's going to start getting colder soon and maybe they'll need their coat for themselves.
    "This.... This do ya?" he says, his voice raspy from years of alcohol and smoke. He holds up the coat as he steps closer to me. The sun's moved in the minutes since I stepped here and through a broken window in one of the tall, deserted buildings around us a single ray of sunlight falls right on me like a spotlight. If I wasn't so pissed off at my situation, I'd be loving this. "It's good against the rain, and alla that..."
    Oh, see, now, that ain't no fair. By all accounts he oughta be a mean old sonofabitch who wants to feel like a big stud by taking advantage of a vulnerable young man, but this guy -- shit, it's like my landlord Butterfly. He's asking me, he's hoping. It takes all the balls I've still got, despite that fucking metal ring around the neck of my sack, but I manage to keep up my attitude. No reason to let the other bums think I'm soft. "Looks decent, pops. You wanna dog me, or up on the wall?"
    The badger continues to scratch his chin, his ratty old fingerless gloves doing nothing to hide the tremble in his extremities. Maybe it's nerves, maybe lust, maybe Parkinson's, who knows. "Uh..."
    "Dog. As in doggy-style."
    He nods a little too enthusiastically and laughs a bit. "Yeah, yeah, I got that, and it sure sounds really nice, but... You mind if we go inside?" From behind me, I hear a few disappointed or disdainful sounds. "Please?" he asks, holding the coat out to me.
    I'm a softy down deep, okay? Part of me wants to spend the whole afternoon with this guy and show him a glimpse of heaven that'll last him the rest of his life. I could make this guy so happy with no more effort than a few sexual favours and a little attention and I know he wouldn't ask for more and it'd feel so good to do that for somebody... But, fuck it, I can't. Not now. "Whatever," I reply in my most impatient, bitchy voice. He waves at a little shack in one of the corners of the square, something I'd have mistaken for a pile of garbage. A half-rotten mattress, some sheet metal, wooden crates and off-colour cloth fashioned into a roughly waterproof little tent, of which he seems quite proud. I peek my head in, feeling a dozen pairs of eyes on my back, or maybe just on my tail. I give it a little flick and crawl into the dingy little hovel, wide enough for two mattresses and a footlocker, on which rests a single lamp.
    "Switch that on, will ya?" the badger says as he crawls in after me, closing the flap of his little tend and sets the coat down on one of the mattresses. The space is cramped, barely large enough for the both of us. "You know, kid, I'm mighty curious as to how a fine-lookin' thing like you gets inta so much trouble he's gotta do the dirty with scum like me..." Now he's talking my language. Now he's going to tell me what he thinks of dirty boys like me, how we're good for nothing but fucking, how he should damn well do me any way he pleases and keep the coat. This, I'm ready for. This, I'm familiar with. But then he turns around and drops a bombshell on me. "But if it's really that bad, then I don't wanna make it worse. Let's just hang out here for a while and let the guys outside think I'm getting' my jollies, huh?"
    My friend Malloy taught me this cool word: flabberghasted. It's when you're so dumbstruck you don't know what's just happened, and that's what I am right now.
    "What's your name, son?" he asks and I actually jolt, I pull back toward the end of the tent with the footlocker and pull my knees up. "Hey, no need to freak out or nothin', just bein' civil. Name's Holloway, kid, Robert Holloway. What's yours?"
    I had expected to be on my back trying t think of something more pleasant by now, but my mind's drawing a blank at this particular moment. "Owen," I decide in the end. "Owen's my name. Listen, man, you gotta--" The badger raises his hands, trying to interrupt me but I press on, taking his hands in mine to capture his attention. "Listen to me. It ain't honest for me to accept a gift like this, you hear? If I told you what was up and you still wanted to give it to me, that'd be fair, but I ain't inclined to talk about my situation. So do me a favour, Holloway," I say, looking him straight into those hazy old eyes as I guide his hands down to my sides, setting them around my waist. "Accept what I owe ya."
    The fuck was a lot harder than I expected -- not hard in the sense of rough, but hard in the sense of difficult. This guy hadn't dropped a load in far longer than the wolf in the Dive but he had none of the wolf's urgency. He kept taking it slow, pausing when he tensed up so he wouldn't cum just yet and while I was having a pretty good time on my back on that skanky old mattress with a portly but still relatively clean street beggar badger on top of me, I needed to get out of here quickly.
    That was the hard part: I couldn't bring myself to denying Holloway his fun. If it were up to me I'd lie there till the sun went down, feeling that mild beer gut rubbing against my hard abs, that chubby dick slipping between my firm buns, hell, if he took a breath mint I'd even let him kiss me...
    "Do it, Holloway," I groan, uncurling my arms from their relaxed posture behind my head and reaching up to grab his thick, burly neck with one hand and his hip with the other, squeezing his waist between my thighs, pulling him down on top of me. He hadn't taken much convincing to accept my... hospitality and by his disappointed groan I guess he was hoping for some more, now that I'd put out so freely, but I've got two more guys to see to.
    "Ya don't mind," the badger grunts, peering at me through half-lidded eyes as he starts humping faster and faster, his slightly chubby body pressing me down into the mattress, "if I pop inside ya?"
    I grin up at him, raking my claws through the fur of his neck -- guys love that -- and nod to the rhythm of his final thrusts. "All the way in," I assure him, locking my ankles together behind his back to show him he doesn't have to pull out when he shoots. He's gonna be a gusher, if I'm any judge, grunting like a priest in heat, jostling my steel-clad package as his belly rubs over it until I can feel him stiffen all over and hiss something, someone's name, I can't make it out... I clamp my thighs around his waist and pull him deep inside me. My balls are crushed between me and the naked badger on top of me but it's nothing I haven't felt before, and all I care about at moments like these is getting my guy off nice and hard, whatever the cost.
    Holloway moans deep; faintly, from outside, I can hear people murmuring. Maybe some people are peering into the gaps of Holloway's tent to sneak a peek or maybe they can just hear him, but outside there seems to be a crowd gathering, the way that two dogs fucking will invariably attract an audience. God, I was right about this guy being a gusher. I can feel the spurts inside me, hard squirts of thick, sticky semen. His massive body shudders on top of me, the reek of street living washed away by the healthy, all-overpowering scent of sweat and sex.
    Holloway slows down, succumbing to exhaustion and lying down on top of me even though his stubby badgercock still continues to spew its sticky load into me in lazy gouts... And then I hear him snoring.
    Nothing. Just another snore, a mumble, a trickle of his drool running onto my shoulder and a brief hump of his still-hard dick. Motherfucker fell asleep! Okay, Owen, think fast. You got a big stinky badger on top of you and inside you and God knows how many wet reams this dude's gonna have before he rolls over. I grab him by the shoulders and try to push him off me, but he's too heavy. I try rolling him over, but the damn mattress is too feeble for me to get any purchase. He seems to be enjoying my efforts, though, every time I try to get him off me he, er, gets off in me.
    "Hey, I could use a little help in here!"
    Nobody replies.
    "Yo! If anybody out there's got me some pants you better get in here and help me out or it'll be a long damn time before you get to go for round two!"
    That gets results. The flap's tentatively lifted by a seriously drugged-up polar bear who blinks a few times when he sticks his scruffy head into the tent. I look at him over Holloway's shoulder, doing my very best not to shoot lasers from my eyes as this klutz just ogles the scene. Really, the guy's just gawking for a whole minute before his face sort of folds in on itself and forms what some might consider a grin. "Duuuuude!" the bear slurs as he stumbles into the hovel. "Holloway passed out! That's so rad, man!"
    I'm less stunned by the absurdity of all this than I am by the fact that he actually said rad. "That's right, now if you want your turn, help me get him off me, got it?" I snap at him and, chuckling, he obeys. He's dressed in a tattered grey sweater that's way too loose on him but by the way the sleeves draw tight when he lifts Holloway's hips up, drawing his dick out of my ass with a discrete but still slightly embarrassing slurp, he's packing quite a bit of muscle. Bears are built that way from birth, I guess.
    There's a crowd of people outside who're trying to look like they're not there for the show. Four guys spring up when I appear out of the tent, three of them holding up raggedy old pairs of pants, but the other one tries to sneak past me. A scrawny young dog, he brushes past my shoulder, letting his hand `accidentally' brush my thigh. I give him a nice good shove in the chest with the palm of my hand, sending him staggering backward. "Ain't nothing in Holloway's tent there that's yours, boy," I inform him. He stammers something about "checking his stuff" and I take a step toward him, and he backs off. And that feels kinda good. Gives you back your self-worth when you're standing buck-naked with some weird clamp on your dick, in broad daylight, surrounded by beggars, with a load of cum up your ass, clutching a yellow raincoat.
    "I'm, like, I'm gonna do you right here," says the drugged-out bear and tosses me a pair of pants, as if he's certain that I'll pick him to mount me instead of the other three hopefuls. And, fuck it, he's right. Leather fucking pants, biker grade, barely scarred. The other three hopefuls slink back and stuff the moth-eaten, stained old trousers they got back in their packs or tents or shopping carts, I can't really tell, I'm too engrossed studying this garment. I'd have to work a month without eating to be able to afford a pair of leathers of this quality and he's letting me have it just for a bone? Nuts, I tell ya.
    The knees are padded, excellent for my line of work and the leather smells new, even though it don't look it. Around the calves there are a few scars and marks, no doubt from spraying gravel. The waistband's elastic and has a gap at the back, a little downward dip the tail can hang over. At the front it has a large buckle instead of buttons or zippers, really handy for pants-down-pants-up quickies.
    I'm so engrossed in my study of this truly impressive pair of leathers that I completely miss the sound of the junkie polar bear's zipper and by the time I know what's happening I feel a large hand yanking my tail up and a hard, thick cock shoved up my tailpipe. "Hey!" I yell, more in annoyance than surprise, looking over my shoulder at the bear, who's totally out of it. I hear something dripping and realise that his quick penetration probably dislodged Holloway's copious load, the badger's semen dripping down the bear's balls and onto the concrete pavement. I feel a pang of embarrassment; this is really unprofessional of me, after all. Looking around, I see that we're getting more than a few odd looks, but the bear's probably got some kind of reputation because nobody's saying anything, not even to each other.
    To call what he's doing under my tail `fucking' would be an insult to the verb. The rough, irregular shoves of his stoner boner don't have anything to do with the rhythm of sex, of breeding, it's just muscular spasms without focus or purpose. I sigh and throw both my new coat and my trousers over one arm, placing the other on my knee to brace myself against the bear's chaotic thrusts. Standing ass-up in the middle of Bum City getting boned haphazardly by some junkie fucker... I thought I was humiliated before, but this right now is a new low.
    He's gonna take his time. It's not going to be a question of sexual pleasure, when this guy cums, just a question of chemistry. When the dope in his brain sloshes just right so a random pair of neurons connects and sparks off a mockery of an orgasm. And yeah, it hurts again, because I didn't take my time to loosen up, once again. Jeez, how long's it been since I had a fuck I was actually into?
    I smile and probably some of the bums think it's because I enjoy getting fucked by this bear, but who cares what they think. I'm smiling at a memory.
    It's... I don't know, two weeks ago, plus however long I was out since the Dive. An apartment near the centre of town, over a pawn shop, a proper apartment with a proper absentee landlord, not a condemned building and some freak like I've got. All the trimmings: a small kitchen on one side of the living room, a bathroom with a shower, a TV and both a couch and a bed. The lap of fucking luxury.
    I'm lying on the couch, with my head on someone's lap. No, not in his lap, just on it, using it as a pillow as we watch some stupid Badass Action Movie. His name's Malloy, Q. I. Malloy, and if you ever find out what those initials stand for I'll give you a dozen freebies because he's never told anybody as far as I know. He's a dobermann, and haaaaandsome. I mean it. He's rock-hard, and I'm not talking all bulgy and buff like those steroid-crazy gym bunnies, I mean he's toned and every part of his body's hard to the touch.
    We lupines, we're a pretty graceful bunch by nature and canines tend to be a bit, shall we say, clunkier in their motions. But this guy puts us all to shame. There's a fluidity to his motions, a focus of direction and speed that makes people regularly mistake him for a panther or some other type of feline that has that sleek, silk-velvety dark brown hide he's got.
    This isn't to say I'm in love with the guy, mind. I just appreciate a sexy male, is all. I'm pretty damn sexy myself, but I'm no Narcissus. Besides, he's one of my best friends. Grew up together, ran away from home and moved to Maranatha together when we were green little teens... We grew apart for a few years as our career paths diverged but we got back in touch once we were each in the groove of our new trade. We've been hanging out once or twice a month for the last three years.
    "Let's fuck."
    I don't even remember if he said the words or if I did. We have sex now and again, like we did back when we were still in school. It's not `making love', really, it's just fucking, something we both enjoy and which we can do together. Only thing better than getting your jollies is helping your buddy get his in the process.
    So we move to the bed, the movie forgotten. We're already naked; it was raining outside and when we came in with our soggy Chinese take-out we simply stripped and turns up the thermostat and chowed down. Or rather: chow-meined down. I'm such a joker. Yeah. Naked and on the bed we roll over ach other. No kissing -- we've never kissed, that'd just be too weird -- but touching, rubbing, stroking. That hot, hard body of his, those gently rippling muscles under that glossy hide, so warm to the touch. He likes my figure, too. Almost a match for his in length and width of shoulder, but leaner around the waist, less blocky, a tad more boyish. And fluffier, of course, with a coat of light grey fur that ought by all accounts to be bristly, but which I keep smooth and soft with regular shampoo and conditioning, even though that's a serious pain in the butt.
    Pain in the butt is what brings me out of that memory again and with a sigh I turn my head to look at the spaz-eyed junkie bear boning me from behind. He's going harder now, I'm rocking back and forth, his thick prick shoving in and out of my sore tailring, and then he slows... Is he going to pause? Please, don't let it be so...
    No, wait. I feel warm, and not just from the ache. I clench my ass nice and tight and hear him moan in discomfort. Hey, all right! The junkie's done! "You had your fun, bro. Fair trade, yeah?" I say as I straighten up and wav the leathers at him over my shoulder. He kindasortamaybe nods, I can't really tell, so I say "Cool." and take a step forward, feeling his sausage slip out of me, giving my battered colon some much-needed relief. It slips out fully and silently and I wince as I squeeze my buns tightly together, not wanting to leak any more.
    I start walking toward one of the alleys that angles off this plaza, away from the now sizeable colony of bums. Half a dozen guys wave pairs of shoes at me, hole-ridden sneakers, all of them, some of them even only offer one fucking shoe and all of them have those pernickety little grins as if I owe them something. Me owe them. I ain't all high and mighty, but there's something to be said about knowing your place. I'm a hustler, I take it up the ass and in the mouth for cash, and I don't expect any respect for that, just to be paid fair and square. These guys... It's bad enough seeing that kinda attitude in some good ol' boy business-dude, but these fellas, they got nothing to justify those grins.
    I shake my head, trying to pull my leathers on as I walk, hopping awkwardly, my new raincoat slung over my shoulder. Fuck off, with your ratty old reject shoes -- they're not worth a fuck! Closest thing to sex you'd get for a pair of those is to have your dick spat on. In my mind, I say this just as quickly as my lips say the words "Sorry guys, that's all I got time for." I pull the leathers on completely and stagger against the wall. Ooh, that feels nice...
    The pants feel like they're custom-made. They hug my ass good and tight, cling to my thighs while leaving enough room at the knees that I can bend and stretch my legs easily. The legs even reach down far enough that they spill over my bare footpaws, which I think looks kina cool and the buckle at the front looks badass. Whoever owned this either packed quite a basket or liked to pretend that he did, because there's plenty of space at the crotch for my package, which ain't tiny, and all the bulgier with that metal device on it.
    I hear a couple of growls behind me, but I don't pay them no heed. Bunch of pussies. Aside from the badger and the bear there wasn't a single guy there that I couldn't take on one on one, what with half of them being boozed up and the other half being wimps. The odds of an honest to goodness troublemaker being up at this time are slimmer than the bear's grip on reality. I don't normally like to leave a crowd disappointed and a part of me wants to go back and pick someone to trade his shoes for a ride so that everybody can have some closure, but really, what am I, the fucking Pope? These guys wouldn't know a good piece of ass if it sat on their face and I feel that if I ain't being appreciated, there's no point in being all civic-like.
    I must be quite a sight. A grey wolf with blue eyes and tousled blond hair, a yellow-beige Columbo-style raincoat and butthugging leather pants. Barefoot, to boot. Now, if I can just get home...
    Wait, no. Hold on. There's nothing for me at home, nothing except my wallet, no answers and maybe, if I'm unlucky, some bad trouble. Shit, man, could I be in trouble? The thought hadn't occurred to me before but now that I'm actually walking down the streets of the city, I'm feeling uneasy about the idea of going home. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it doesn't feel like a good idea.
    Instincts. I'm used to accepting these when it comes to judging people, so I might as well err on the side of paranoia and accept their warning this time as well. If not home, then where, though? I pat my pockets, trying to find where they all are and, miraculously, I find one whole quarter stuck in the lining of one of the raincoat's inside pockets. Bit of luck, that. It's a habit of mine, the pocket-patting. Malloy says that I always do that when I'm considering a problem.
    Malloy! That's who I should get in touch with. I trust him from here to Hell's shit-house. Clutching my precious coin I walk up to the nearest pay-phone, giving it good looking-over. Looks like it was vandalised and repaired, so there's a chance it might eat my quarter and not give me a connection, so I walk on. I have to keep the pace up so as not to look out of place. People walk fast in this part of town, faster even than in the concrete canyon. I guess maybe they won't want to spend too much time out in the open, or they won't want to seem like they're looking around too hard.
    There, a better-looking payphone next to a gas station. I nod a polite hello to the snoring burro in the office and cross my fingers as I slip the quarter into the slot and dial Malloy's cellphone on the shiny chrome buttons. There's a click as the connection's mad and it starts to ring. I have to stop myself from muttering "Come on, come on," since that's an irrational thing to say, not to mention really cliché.
    "Malloy," a tinny voice barks in my ear. "How the hell'd you get this number?"
    Malloy's always a little paranoid about unfamiliar phone numbers showing up on his caller ID screen. "Dog, relax, it's Owen. Listen, I'm in kind of a weird situation..."
    "Owen! Glad to hear you're doing better!"
    "Yeah, listen, I'm in, I think I'm in Bricktown and I just had to let to bums have a go at me so I could get some clothes so I could go home but now I feel like I don't wanna go home and I thought maybe you could help me." I pause, as a thought strikes me, so distracting that I completely miss the insert-another-coin tone. "Malloy, what do you mean by `doing better'? I ain't sick."
    And then the line clicks and goes dead. I hang up and lean against the phone, hoping it'll ring. He saw the number on his caller ID screen. He'll call back. Then again, maybe all his screen showed was that it was from a public payphone. Not all of them have call-back numbers either, these days. Come on, Malloy, don't let me down...
    After five minutes I figure it really ain't gonna happen and rake my fingers through my hair. I look over at the mule in the office, with grease-stains on his overalls and a big-ass pot belly and his hooves propped up on the desk as he reads his newspaper. Probably he'd give me ten bucks for a blowjob. Maybe even a ride into the city. But I've already got a butt full of cum from guys I wouldn't have looked at and mule cum is sterile and that makes it really rancid-tasting.
    I guess I'll just walk.

    To be continued.

Available on paperback in 2005

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