Toasted Tea Cakes

Short Story

"Oh God," Theodore said, sitting up and holding his head.

"There's no God here," said the little devil. He had dark, curly hair and a knowing sort of smile showing slightly pointed teeth. Heavenly putti are also naked of course but the tail with its pointed extremity which emerged from just above his buttocks and waved around with what seemed to be a life of its own, was a bit of a give-away. Also the little trident he was carrying, each of the tines ending in a sharp looking point. In fact everything around here seemed pointed, even the surface on which Theodore was lying was uncomfortably protuberant.

"Who are you?" asked Theodore, trying to adjust his body to a more comfortable position.

"I'm an imp. Name of Asmod. Who are you?" Asmod poked him with the trident. One of the tines pierced the flesh of his leg and Theodore jumped. It was as if he'd been jabbed with an electric cattle-prod.

"Ouch," said Theodore. "That hurt." He realised that he also was naked and that other, even more sensitive parts of his body were accessible to the trident. Tears came to his eyes at the thought. He had wondered initially whether he was having a bad dream, but the pain in his leg assured him that he was not asleep.

"Is this a joke?" he asked.

The imp smiled. "It is to me," he said and showed his sharp little teeth. "You haven't told me who you are." He waved the trident in a vaguely threatening manner so that it hovered briefly over Theodore's most private parts.

"Theodore," he said. "I'm Theodore."

The imp didn't seem impressed. "What sort of a name's that?" he asked.

"It means God-given," said Theodore.

"I told you, there's no God here." The imp gave him another jab, aiming. Theodore was sure at his genitals, but he managed to twist his body so that he got the full force of the prod in his backside. He shrieked.

"Now who are you?"

Theodore didn't know what to say. Whatever answer he gave could well be wrong and might result in another jab from that fearsome trident, already being raised for yet another go.

"I'm a man," said Theodore desperately.

The imp lowered the trident. A grin spread over his face. His teeth showed. "You're a BAD man," he said. "And you're all MINE."

In spite of the residual agony in his buttocks, this was more than Theodore could take. "I'm not bad," he said indignantly.

"If you're not bad, then you shouldn't be here," said the imp, with the annoying didacticism of a pedantic school teacher. "You are here - ergo you MUST be bad." He paused. "Or at least you must have been bad," he added as an afterthought. "You won't have the opportunity to be bad here of course." That also seemed to amuse him for his smile broadened even more. "On the other hand I can be as bad as I like."

This sounded very ominous.

"Now, do you want to tell me how bad you've been?"

Theodore thought back. There was the business with Rod.

* * * * * *

Theo had been drinking that evening in the Cock and Sandpaper, not of course its real name but what the patrons - gay to a man and woman - called it as a two-fingered criticism of its unattractive decoration and appalling beer. Only gays would have put up with it but at least the ambience and the brewing did keep out the straights. There was only one purpose in going to the the Cock and Sandpaper, double-barrelled actually but the end was single - to get drunk and cop off with someone to have sex with.

That evening, though, Theo had been unusually unlucky. He'd spent the major part of the evening making up to a bottle-blond lovely, buying him drinks and chatting him up rotten. As usual he'd scored. Then, just before closing time, the guy had said he was waiting for his partner who would be picking him up afterwards and with a 'thanks for the drinks and the pleasant conversation' he'd departed.

Theo, completely flummoxed gazed around and found no one even moderately suitable for a shag, so he had taken the only alternative, a trip up the hill to the Heath where, amongst the dark trees and dangerous-seeming bushes, there awaited the braver sort of homosexuals and, occasionally, bands of drunk straights on the lookout for a queer or two to bash.

A half moon almost provided enough light to make out the features of whoever might be sucking you off, just enough to make sure that he wasn't one hundred and twenty and had come with his Zimmer frame - but, by then, it almost wasn't worth worrying about.

Here, in this insalubrious setting Theo had met a young guy, not in fact one of the braver sort, but a newbie to all things gay, too much of a neophyte to know of the dangers, too excited to come himself even after Theo's most strenuous efforts, and too much a beginner to know that teeth should be kept off the skin of Theo's prick.

He was obviously someone, Theo decided, who should be taken in hand and gently coached, not here al fresco, but in the quieter confines of Theo's flat so, both of them went down the hill, hand in hand in the darker places, to Belsize Park where Theo introduced him - his name was Rod as Theo eventually found out - to the joys and pains of frotting, sucking, 69ing, rimming and eventually anal sex.

"Ooh," said Rod afterwards. "I've never done that before."

"And you'll probably be too sore to want to do it again," observed Theo grumpily, but, by the morning, he wasn't and Theo had a second, even more enjoyable session while Rod made up for the previous night's inability in the open air by coming a total of five times - such is the potency of the young.

* * * * * *

"That could be it," said the imp.

"So homosexuality IS a sin," said Theodore. "And all those bible-bashing god-botherers had it right after all."

The imp frowned. "Not exactly. Him up there," he said looking upwards with an expression of distaste not unmixed with awe. "He decided that sex of whatever sort was OK as long as it involved 'love' and 'respect'." His voice grew shrill and harsh as he used the words as if the very sound of them caused him pain. "Just using partners as objects of pleasure - that's the real sin."

Theodore felt a feeling of relief. "Well, that's not me," he said. "Our pleasure was reciprocal. I fucked him and he enjoyed it. Couldn't have enough of it in fact."

"Is that so? Did you do it with love and respect?"

Theodore considered. "I did it with energy and skill."

"Like this?" asked the imp. Suddenly his little phallus which, up to now had nestled almost out of sight between his legs, grew enormous, sticking out obscenely so that he almost overbalanced. The head of his prick, emerging from his foreskin blushed purple, the blue veins stood out along the whole length. There was a menacing twitch in anticipation.

Theodore found himself turned stomach down over the stone, his arse in the air, buttocks apart, his hole exposed. The imp approached, target bull's eye.

Theodore shrieked. "I'm a top," he said. "I've always been a top."

The imp started to sing the old Cole Porter classic. "You're the top! You're the colosseum! You're the top! You're the Louvre Museum!"

"Oh! Oh!" shrieked Theodore as he felt the imp's enormous schlong find his hole, press against the protesting sphincter muscle, pierce and enter, filling his rectum, bowel and then seemingly the rest of his digestive/alimentary tubes as it went in and up and up and up. "Ooooooooh!" he howled.

A much more appreciative sound "Aaaaaaah!" came from the imp and then a series of shoves and retirements each one of which caused exquisite agony to poor Theodore. "Do you think this is what Rod felt? I personally am enjoying it immensely. I think perhaps I'm about to . . ." He quickened his pace "Yes, I'm pretty sure, I'm going to . . ." A slight cessation of movement. "Well, maybe I'll hold off for a little while . . ."

"Oh for fuck's sake," said Theodore, "get it over with."

"Not to stop your agony, but to give me more pleasure." A tremendous shove which almost had the top of Theodore's head off and his body was filled with liquid which, from the feeling, must be almost at boiling point. The prick was withdrawn leaving red hot emptiness.

"You're evil," said Theodore.

"Yes," agreed the imp. "That's the idea."

Theodore was turned back and seated on his abused rump. The imp asked him, "Now did you really intend to give little Rod pleasure."

"Of course," said Theodore through gritted teeth.

"Just go back and check," said the imp.

* * * * * *

The morning after. Theo never really liked mornings after. They smacked of unfinished business with bits lying about untidily. People hanging around when they should have gone some time before. Half-hearted suggestions of coffee or even breakfast, not that Theo had much in the nature of breakfast - some sliced bread possibly which would probably be better toasted than eaten stale.

Rod, though, did hang around.

"Haven't you got a job to go to?" asked Theo forgetting it was Sunday. Unless Rod was a vicar or a paperboy, he probably hadn't.

Rod had that innocent look of a choirboy, rather round face, guiltless blue eyes, faultless skin and a mop of clean blond hair which curled at the ends. In his rumpled early-morning state, he did look particularly attractive but Theo steeled himself. He wasn't normally in the sex game for return matches.

He made a cup of scarcely drinkable instant coffee, black because the milk had gone off and prepared to say good-bye.

"I've left you my telephone number," said Rod as he eventually made his way out. "That's my home number, there's my work number and that's my mobile."

Theo, who had no intention of ever using any of them, took the slip of paper and put it on the mantelpiece. At least he had the consideration not to throw it away while Rod was still on the premises. There would, though, be no further contact.

"I've taken your number from the phone in the hall," said Rod, spoiling that idea. "I'll give you a ring later in the week." He put up his lips for a kiss and Theo obliged. Rod tasted good, even after drinking that execrable coffee.

And Rod was as good as his word. He rang on Wednesday and left a message on the answer phone. His words sounded sad when he realised Theo wasn't in. His message said he hoped they'd be able to meet, real soon, and wondered whether Theo could phone him back at any time. He again gave his three numbers and finished by saying how much he had enjoyed the previous Saturday night. 'Hope to see you soon,' he ended. 'I really miss you.'

Theo ignored the message but the following evening, because he was expecting a call from a potential business customer, he answered the phone only to hear the expectant tones of his admirer.

"I've got you at last," said Rod, and that was just what it felt like. "Can I come round?"

Shit, thought Theo. I really can do without this, but, remembering the compliant, lithe little body and the obvious enthusiasm for anything that Theo suggested, he weakened.

"OK," he said. "When do you want to come?"

"Now. I'll be less than half an hour."

* * * * *

"Were you really good to him?" asked the imp.

Theodore was about to answer with a flip, 'I fucked him, didn't I?' but, remembering what had happened the last time, he replied. "We got together a couple of times after that. He was good in bed."

"And that was all there was to it?"

Without thinking, Theodore said, "What else? We both enjoyed it."

The imp looked shrewdly at him. It didn't make him appear more friendly. "And what about young Rod?"

"Same as me. He saw the whole relationship as just a bit of fun."

Asmod nodded, and then appeared to change the subject. "You know about tea cakes?" he asked.

"Things you toast?"

"That's right. Taste nice don't they?"

"A bit old fashioned these days," said Theodore, "but yes, I guess they taste all right."

"You put them on the end of a fork," said the imp, waving his, "and hold them to the fire."

"So I believe."

"I wonder what it must feel like to be a teacake."

Theodore felt a twinge of alarm. "We were happy together," he said. "Really."

But he looked down at his feet without meeting the imp's eye.

* * * * * *

And to an extent they had been - or at least he had. Rod was there when he wanted him and when he stopped wanting him in bed, Rod accepted it with apparent equanimity. There were no great scenes of despair, no threats of suicide or worse. But he didn't go away.

In the pub Theo would see him on the other side of the bar, and he would come over, smiling as if they were old friends, asking about the week Theo had had, seemingly interested in hearing about Theo's latest conquest. He would drive Theo in Theo's car wherever he wanted to go, the pubs, the gay clubs in London and always he was the one who didn't drink. Soon Theo began to treat him almost as an unpaid servant. He'd toss him the keys. "Pick me up at so and so," he'd say and Rod would be there on the dot, his eyes following the figure of Theo as he trolled round the gay spots with a dog-like devotion.

"You're a fool," said Mackenzie, a boy with smooth brown skin and curly hair whom they often came across on their visits to the gay bars and clubs. Mackenzie rather fancied Rod and had tried unsuccessfully to get him into bed but Rod had refused. His eyes, his heart and presumably his arse were only for Theo.

"He doesn't give a toss for you," said Mackenzie.

"Look how he walks and talks - as if he owns the world," said Rod. They were standing on the raised level of the Bar-B-Cue Club looking down at the swirling, gyrating mass of gay humanity, mostly moving in time to the techno-beat. Theo was down there, moving in on a dark-haired boy with spectacular abs. "All he has to do is walk up to someone and he's got him."

"He's not all that marvellous, and he's old. He must be pushing thirty."

"He's a triumph in bed," said Rod.

"I'm no slouch myself," said Mackenzie, never giving up. "You could always give it a try."

They saw Theo whispering something in the dark-haired boy's ear and the two of them started pushing through the crowd towards the exit.

"What does he say?" asked Mackenzie.

"If we knew that, we'd be kings too."

Theo looked up, caught Rod's eye and waved him to follow.

"Jesus," said Mackenzie. "And now you'll drive them home to bed."

For a moment Rod looked sad, then he smiled. "Surely," he said.

* * * * * *

When Theodore looked up again there were two of the devils. At first glance they appeared very similar, both had tails that waved aggressively and smiles that showed sharp, pointed teeth.

"This is my superior," said the one Theodore assumed was Asmod. "He's just sitting in to see I do it right."

Theodore noticed that the other one, while superficially the same, had Sergeant's stripes actually cut into the flesh of his arm and was carrying a bigger trident. It presumably packed an even bigger punch and Theodore desperately hoped he'd get things right this time. He didn't fancy the two of them poking and prodding into his flesh.

There was silence for a while. They're trying to make me nervous, thought Theodore. And they're being very successful.

Eventually Asmod cleared his throat. "So, Theodore, you maintain you were good for Rod?"

"Er . . . yes," said Theodore tentatively, and jumped as the 'Sergeant' laughed. It was not a pleasant sound.

"Did you make him happy?" asked Asmod.

"Happiness is a relative state," said Theodore.

"Did you make him miserable?"

"As miserable as we can make you feel?" added the 'Sergeant'. "That's not relatively miserable. That's absolute misery."

"Oh no. I'm sure I didn't," said Theodore hastily.

"You 'used' him, didn't you?" said Asmod.

Theodore was in a dilemma. If he answered 'yes', would that lead to punishment? If he said 'no' they would surely realise he was lying.

He compromised. "We were friends," he said. "We did things for each other."

"And what exactly did you do for him?" There was a nasty edge to the Sergeant's tone.

What had he done for Rod? Theodore almost panicked. "I took him round. I saw he was all right."

The two devils chorused, "I took him round. I saw he was all right." Both got up and advanced, their trident points glinting.

"I taught him," shrieked Theodore in desperation.

"You taught him," said Asmod, "to be as selfish as you were."

"It's tea time," said the Sergeant. "Some toasted tea cake would be nice."

A wall of fire suddenly erupted behind him as if someone had turned up the gas. Theodore could feel the fierce heat. Almost immediately sweat started to run down his forehead, stinging his eyes, dripping off his chin, like melted butter from a crumpet.

The tridents approached. The devils licked their lips; they looked hungry.

* * * * * *

"What do you think you're doing to him?" asked Mackenzie. He had caught up with Theo at the bar where he was drinking a pint of lager. Mackenzie thought Theo was looking older, little lines round his eyes even in the artificial lights of the club.

Theo looked up apparently in innocence. "What do you mean?" he asked. "He's an adult. He does what he likes."

"But you lead him on. He's besotted with you. He just follows you around and does exactly what you say. You treat him like shit."

Theo sounded affronted. "You just want to get into his shorts."

Mackenzie agreed. "Yes, I do, but that's not the point. You don't want him but you won't allow him to be free. That's evil."

Theo laughed but he was frowning when he saw his face reflected in the mirror behind the bar, saw himself framed in upturned bottles and behind them the heaving mass of humanity which danced and jumped and prowled in a never ending search for a dream.

Suddenly he turned. "What about a threesome?" he asked.

Mackenzie looked blank.

"You, me and Rod," said Theo. "Could be fun."

Mackenzie didn't answer.

Theo looked back into he mirror. "I love all this," he said, though whether he was referring to the booze, the drugs, the lights or the reflected people, the steady rhythm of the music or the thick atmosphere compounded of sweat, perfume, sex he didn't say.

Only he repeated, "I love all this."

* * * * * *

When his body was found in the crashed car on the road north the following day, no one seemed to know where he had been heading.

* * * * * *

The two forks grew closer, touched his skin and Theodore tensed in anticipation of their electric sting. But nothing happened. There was no nerve-jangling agony as there had been on the previous occasion, even his skin didn't pierce.

"Something's wrong," said the Sergeant and looked accusingly at Asmod.

The imp tried to justify himself. "I've done everything according to the book," he said. "He's even admitted his guilt. He belongs to us. Everything we do should hurt."

"I know that, fool. There must be a redeeming feature." He turned to Theodore. "How did you reach expiration?" he asked.

Theodore looked confused. "I don't know what you mean."

"How did you die?" whispered Asmod.

Theodore thought back. "Car crash," he said, suddenly remembering the speeding vehicle he had been driving, the sharp corner, the frantic braking and the lorry coming the other way. His mind had been on other things. There had been the talk with Mackenzie, the realisation that Mackenzie was right, that Rod needed to live his own life and that he, Theo, was in the way.

He'd decided to leave. He could start up somewhere else. He had the power. He'd be all right, even though he was nearly thirty. A doubt lingered at the edges of his mind, but he dismissed it.

But it was for the right reason.

"You fool," said the Sergeant. "He's done something right for a change."

Asmod gave a terrified little squeak.

"And you know the punishment for failure?"

Asmod screamed.

Theodore felt himself fading, growing lighter and lighter. He was leaving this place.

"Toasted tea cake," said the Sergeant as he plunged his fork into Asmod and held him wriggling to the flames while Theodore ascended to a higher plane.

* * * * * *

Started: 26, Friday December, 2003
Number of words: 3,523 words
Finished: Tuesday, March 1, 2005

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