Magi at Work
The Pink Flamingo
© The author reserves all rights to this work.
This story is of an adult nature. It is not intended for minors nor for those whose law in their land forbids them to read this material.
This story is entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual people is purely coincidental and unintentional.
NB: Words found between asterisks (*) refer to words exchanged in psychic or telepathic communication.
Date: 12 February 2674, Thursday
I heard a knocking at my door. It was Jacques trying to wake me up.
“Yeah!” I called.
“Max, dinner will be ready in half an hour. Thought you might want to take a shower before dinner,” said Jacques on the other side.
“Will do. Thanks.”
I looked at my chronograph. It was already half past five SGT. I was told that there was little difference between day and night here on Uranus and so they used Earth’s Standard Greenwich Time here. This meant that everyone on the planet used the same time, which made it easier for the planetary council here, especially when the rotation of the planet was about fifteen minutes short of eleven hours. I got up and headed for the bathroom. The shower stall was one of those modern fittings that gave a massage as well. I just set on the seat, put on the goggles provided and let the jets of water and soap do their work. It was an interesting experience. These guys had some money to spare, I supposed. Then I got to my small luggage bag and got out a fresh set of clothing. Checking my chronograph, I found that I had finished with five minutes to spare.
The two men were waiting for me in silence when I emerged from my room.
“You look well rested, Max. Perhaps we could let you see the night life on Uranus. It’s not as fantastic as Earth, but at least there is something to do at night here,” said Jacques.
“So what’s for dinner,” I said feeling a little hungry.
“We decided to get you the real stuff instead of the synthetic stuff which we usually get here. Heath has made a four course dinner!”
Heath was grinning but said nothing. I noticed that the table was set for three and the two had really gone overboard with the dining arrangements. Jacques pointed out the cutlery that were to be used for each course. The small dining table was square. I sat between Jacques and Heath, with Heath to my left and Jacques to my right. The fourth side of the table was against the wall.
The first course was fresh oysters. I was really surprised. Even on Earth, oysters were very expensive because the number of oysters harvested from the sea was controlled and oyster farms had very high overheads.
“You guys must have spent a fortune getting these for tonight,” I remarked.
I noticed that Heath was about to say something but Jacques interjected without even realising it. “Don’t worry about the oysters, let’s just say that Heath has his contacts. You were lucky because the oysters came today.”
Heath just smiled but I saw a slight sadness in his eyes.
“Heath, you forgot the lemon wedges,” Jacques said.
Heath got up and went back into the kitchen and returned a few moments later with the lemon. “Sorry, let’s start,” he said. He then poured out a white wine that was quite dry. It went well with the oysters.
The oysters finished quickly. Heath excused himself and came out with a tray with three soup bowls. He had prepared the quite popular Cardinal Fish Broth. I had heard that it was first prepared two hundred years ago. It is supposed to be made up of boiling four different kinds of fish in water mixed with certain herbs and spices. I’ve tasted many different versions of this soup and Heath’s preparation was quite good.
“Bread?” asked Jacques as he passed the bread basket over.
“Thanks,” I replied as I took a piece of bread. Jacques smiled and put the bread on his right, in front of Heath.
I finished my soup and Heath promptly got up to remove my bowl. Jacques finished next and Heath removed his bowl. Heath then went into the kitchen and came out with two plates of grilled meat with a generous helping of salad. Being ever attentive, Heath removed my plate when I finished. He refilled my wineglass and the white wine also went well with the grilled meat. He returned from the kitchen with dessert: chocolate mousse. The food tasted good. The dinner was very satisfying though and I noticed that because he was doing all the serving, Heath had only eaten part of his dinner.
I stood up when I finished the dessert. Heath stood up and said, “Please Max, you’re our guest, let me clear …”
I just smiled, “Thanks Heath. It was a wonderful dinner. You’re quite a good cook. I was actually going to the bathroom.”
“Oops, sorry. I shouldn’t have presumed,” Heath apologised.
“No need to apologise. Anyone could have made the mistake.”
When I came out of the bathroom, I saw that the table had been cleared and there were cups with saucers in place of all the cutlery at dinner.
Heath came out with two small pots on a tray with sugar and milk.
“Would you like tea or coffee, Max?” asked Jacques.
“Coffee would be fine,” I replied.
Heath poured out a cup of coffee for me and Jacques asked for coffee too. Heath poured himself a cup of tea.
“Don’t you take coffee too?” asked Jacques.
“Well, I prepared this pot of tea and it seemed like a waste to just pour it away,” said Heath.
“Suit yourself,” said Jacques. “I’ve never known you to take tea.”
I looked at Heath and he seemed quite devastated by Jacques’ attitude towards him. I started to have pity on him. My attitude towards him was also changing. When I first met the guys, he was the name calling half. However, after being with them a few more hours, I find that Jacques was the less amiable half.
“We’ll be going to a club tonight. It’s not as fancy as those on Earth, but it is one of the most trendy on the planet,” said Jacques.
Heath cleared the table and excused himself to take his shower. I was left with Jacques and took the opportunity to talk to him.
“Your friend is quiet, isn’t he?” I asked.
“Heath? We were classmates in school. We did many things together. After school, I wanted to do something different from what we studied but Heath didn’t feel like it. I was looking for something on the PR line when Heath told me about Titan Tours wanting to start a new cruise ship and needed fresh faces. He applied for the technical position and I applied as Cruise Director. It was quite a tough fight for me. Most of the other applicants were very experienced. I had age on my side. The final barrier would be the exams I’ll be taking on Tuesday. If I get my licence, the job is mine.”
I marvelled at the way Jacques managed to divert the conversational topic away from Heath to himself. I wanted to find out more about their relationship.
“You seem to be more in command of the household,” I said.
“In command?” he asked.
“You seem to be the one making the decisions,” I said with a smile.
“Heath usually lets me make the decision. I don’t tell him how to arrange his rooms. I must admit that his opinion did have some weight on the decoration of the apartment.”
“How did you decide to live together? Wouldn’t renting a room each be more economical?”
“You’ve got us there,” said Jacques with a smile. “After school, I wanted a place of my own. I couldn’t afford a place. A rented room wouldn’t be the same. Heath managed to find someone who owned this apartment and we’ve signed a contract with the owner. We’re using a modified hire purchase plan. We’d pay rented rates every month for a maximum of two years. During this time, we have the option to buy the apartment by paying the remainder after subtracting the rent already paid. After two years, we’d have to move if we don’t exercise the option. If the owner decides to kick us out within the two years, he’ll have to return all the rent paid. Anyway, we think that after the first year, our savings would be enough to pay for the apartment.”
“Heath is a very resourceful man, isn’t he?”
“You’re extremely good friends I gather,” I ventured to probe a little more.
“I suppose. He doesn’t seem to have many friends in school and so he hung around me most of the time. I’ve tried to get him to go out with some of our mutual friends without me, but he never seemed interested.”
After another ten minutes of conversation, I gathered that Heath was in love with Jacques but Jacques did not know it. Worse, Jacques was taking Heath for granted. It brought back my memories of the first person I was infatuated with. I was twenty and I met Rick at the workplace. Rick was two years older and was very friendly to everyone. I was like a lovesick puppy, following him around. He always had a group of friends with him and I did everything to get into the group. I even lost my virginity to a girl to get in. Once in, I was one of the crowd. I think Rick took pity on me because I was one of the youngest and one of the shyest. He looked upon me like a little brother but I misunderstood his intentions. I fell deeper and deeper into infatuation. I had thought that Rick’s escapades with girls was a means to divert others’ attention from his relationship with me. It was only when he started to go steady with Didi that I realised that all I had was an illusion.
“I’m ready! Come let’s go!” Heath’s voice broke my reminiscing. He had dressed really well.
We emerged from the vehicle and there in front of us was the big neon sign The Pink Flamingo. I started giggling when I saw the name. Fortunately, the mask that I was wearing hid my laughter. It was a really stupid name for a club. The name was a really ancient name, probably used in the twenty first century but to use it now was a riot!
“Why are you laughing?” asked Jacques when we got into the building.
“The name … it’s so corny!” I laughed.
“You may laugh but it’s corny name has made it memorable. Ask anyone on this part of Uranus about Pink Flamingo and they’ll tell you where it is. Perhaps the owners took a risk but it was a risk well taken. Heath managed to get a membership at the club. I don’t know how he did it but he got membership and he’s allowed to take in four guests on members’ night. Every Tuesday and Thursday is members’ night. You just don’t know how fortunate you are to have met us.”
We got in a were shown to a table. We ordered some drinks. I had a dry martini, Heath had gin and Jacques had fruit punch. Once the drinks came, Jacques dragged me off to the dance floor. It was group dancing with someone in front leading. The moves were quite simple at first but they got more and more difficult. I noticed that there were quite a few men and women my age on the dance floor. There was even a silvered haired couple doing the dance. As the moves got more complicated, I noticed some people leaving. The silver haired couple was still at it. I tried but kept getting the moves mixed up. I wanted to leave like the rest but seeing the silver haired couple moving to the beat, my pride got the better of me. I kept going, after all, I thought, if I just kept going, I might get it right. However, I found myself moving and moving less because I kept bumping into the people around me. They just smiled but I was feeling embarrassed. Just as I was about to give up, the Dance Jockey started clapping her hands. The dance was over. I was really bushed. The music kept on going and I saw many people return to the dance floor.
“You keep dancing, Jacques, I’m moving myself back to the table before I really make a complete fool of myself.”
Jacques just laughed and said, “You did well but after a short rest, you should come down.”
“What about Heath?”
“He doesn’t like dancing much. He’ll come down once in a while but I never know when.”
I left Jacques gyrating to the music on the dance floor. When I reached the table, I noticed that Heath was watching Jacques. He caught sight of me and smiled as I reached the table.
“You did very well. You must be going to clubs quite often on Earth, eh?”
“Actually, this is my first time dancing for many years. I hope I didn’t overdo it ’cos I don’t want to end up in bed with my muscles sore tomorrow. Why don’t you go and dance?”
“I’ve two left feet. Jacques is a natural. I feel that I’ll be cramping his style if I went down with him.”
“You care a lot for him, don’t you?” I asked. I guess the martini I had just gulped down to quench my thirst gave me the extra courage.
Heath looked at me in a strange way and said, “Of course I care. I’m his friend. Where is this going to lead to?”
I realised that I’ve pressed a wrong button there and said, “You seem to be very considerate towards him, that’s all. I’m very thirsty,” I tried to change the subject, “the martini isn’t helping.”
Heath managed a small grin, “Now you know why Jacques ordered the fruit punch. Don’t worry, I’ll get one for you.”
“Better ask them to send me a glass of clean clear water, too.”
“OK.” Heath flipped out a small panel at the side of the table and pressed a few buttons. Moments later, the waiter came with a fruit punch and a glass of water.
“Thanks,” I said after taking a gulp of the water, “that really hit the spot.”
“Sorry for snapping just now, Max. I don’t know why I’m so jumpy today.”
“I’ve been told that I’m a good listener,” I said.
“I don’t know if I should talk,” Heath said.
“Well, you’re not obliged. I’m here if you want to talk. Not true. I’ll be available for the next few days only. When I get back to Earth, my availability would be severely limited.” I wanted to say a few hours but I could not let him know that I would probably not be going back to Earth, could I?
Heath kept silent and took a sip of his gin. I looked at him looking at Jacques who was dancing with a girl.
I decided to disrupt the bout of rather unhealthy silence after Jacques started to dance with a guy next. “How did you get the membership for this place?”
“Promise me you won’t tell Jacques.”
“I knew that Jacques loved dancing and he likes this place. I did some favours for the owners of this club in exchange for the membership.”
“What did you do?” I asked.
“Why do you want to know?” asked Heath; his eyes getting defensive.
“I’m just curious. I said before, you’re free to tell me or not to tell me,” I said feeling a little nervous of his stance.
“Sorry again. It’s just that what I did wasn’t really legal.”
“Hey, you don’t have to tell me,” I said.
“I don’t know. I mean I’ve been keeping a lot of things inside and it’s making me miserable. Telling you what I did just now made me feel a little better. Anyway, I’m probably not going to see you again after tonight so why not? The owner told me that the guy in charge of checking the liquor stock that came in at the space port liked young men; and that if I let him give me a blow job, he would close one eye to the extra liquor that came in for the club. So, I took the special note that the owners gave me and I visited this man. He was in his sixties. When he saw me, his face lit up. Then he told me to strip and to start stroking my dick. When I got it stiff, he sucked on it. As instructed by the owners, I tried to hold off as long as I could. The official was very appreciative of the fact that I gave him at least thirty minutes of pleasure. It wasn’t easy but I managed. I know that it doesn’t give me a good image but to see Jacques happy, I’d do anything.”
“Heath, does Jacques know how much you love him?” I asked.
“No, how could I tell him that I loved …” Then Heath turned pale. “You know, don’t you?”
“I just admitted that I was gay …”
“What’s wrong with that?” I asked.
“I haven’t been exactly truthful to people around me …”
“It was very apparent to me that you were in love with Jacques. If that makes you gay, then so be it. I find no reason why you cannot love another man.”
“Are you gay too, or at least, bisexual?” asked Heath timidly.
I was taken aback by his question. I had not expected him to ask me point blank. Why not tell him the truth? After all, I was not going to be alive after 48 hours.
“Yes I am. Does that surprise you?”
“Yes. You’re such a confident man. You must have had your share of experiences …”
“Will my experiences help you where you’re now?” I asked, hoping to steer the conversation away from me.
“I don’t know. I suppose if I shared with you how I felt, you could tell me what I should do.”
“If I could help, I would,” I said.
Just then, we heard Jacques calling for me to go back to the dance floor. I just waved and shook my head. He came up intending to drag me to the dance floor. I resisted but Jacques still managed to get me to the dance floor.
During the dance, I kept pondering over Heath’s words. He said that I was a confident man. I have never known myself to be confident. Most of the time, I am a follower. I let others make the decisions for me. The first major decision I made in so many years was to do myself in. After making that decision, all the others just fell into place. I was sure what I had to do. I did not hesitate to come to Uranus. I did not hesitate much to follow Jacques and Heath back to their apartment. I certainly did not hesitate much when I came out to Heath just moments ago. Ironic, isn’t it? I become more confident at the end of my life.
I grew tired again and slipped back to the table. I found Heath with his eyes fixed at a certain direction. His eyes told me that he was angry.
“What’s the matter, Heath?”
“Nothing!” he said in a huff.
I kept silent, not really knowing what to do. I turned to where he was looking and saw Jacques with another man. They were dancing together.
“Who is that?” I asked.
“Who?” answered Heath harshly.
“The guy with Jacques.”
“I don’t know,” he replied harshly. “All I know that Jacques has been dancing with him every time we come here.”
Then I saw the man leading Jacques to a dark corner. They were standing very close. Jacques was leaning against the wall and the man had his left hand in his jean pocket and the right hand against the wall. I was not able to make out what they were doing but it would not surprise me if the two were kissing. No wonder Heath was angry.
Jacques came to the table after some time and said, “I’m going to go out with Chuck.”
“Whose Chuck?” asked Heath.
“A friend,” replied Jacques rather indifferently.
“Just a friend?” asked Heath. His tone seemed dangerously close to anger.
“Yes,” answered Jacques, seemingly oblivious to how Heath was feeling. “Why don’t you bring Max back. I see that he is quite tired. Chuck will bring me back in his vehicle.”
“Why can’t we accompany you?” asked Heath.
Jacques made a face. “Heath, don’t be difficult. We’ve got a guest and he is tired and you don’t dance …”
“I’m not too tired,” I said. I could see Heath sinking deeper into his anger.
Jacques smiled and shook his head. “Don’t lie, Max. I can see that you’re tired. Go back with Heath. I’m sure he’ll take good care of you. Don’t worry about me. Chuck knows the way back to our place.” Turning to Heath, Jacques continued, “So, can I trust you to get Max home, Heath?”
Heath’s face was flushed. Jacques did not seem to notice it at all. With a difficult voice, Heath said, “All right!”
Heath stood up immediately and said to me, “Come, Max, let’s go. I know when I’m not wanted.”
Heath did not wait to let Jacques respond. Jacques sat at the table looking very puzzled over Heath’s sudden burst of anger.
“Let’s get to a gay bar I know,” said Heath as he started the vehicle.
“Okay,” I said feeling afraid that Heath might do something stupid.