I came to with pain at both ends. I was coming around because I was having my face slapped hard--and I couldn't seem to be able to reach out to ward off the blows. That was because my hands were tied together at the wrists and my arms were drawn over my head and attached to a hook behind me. The pain on the other end was because I was naked and Jake Holt, aka Derek Dominick, was standing between my spread thighs and already had his dick up my channel and was beginning to pump hard.

"Ah, awake, are we?" he said with a sneer. "You don't mind if we have a little farewell fuck, do you? I meant it when I said I wanted to get more intimate with you--and you won't have all that long to care one way or the other."

I struggled, but he had me trussed up very well, and my mouth was gagged with some sort of oily rag that was sending pungent fumes up my nostrils and digging at my sinus walls. The back of my head was throbbing from where I'd been clubbed, and both my arms and legs were already beginning to cramp from the awkward positions they were restrained in.

We were near the corrugated iron ceiling of the warehouse, on some sort of mezzanine that jutted over the warehouse floor. The area we were in had medical office equipment strewn around, no doubt props for some past or future Theo Kline production--although Theo was dead now; there would be no more Theo Kline productions. My mind was wandering off--a defense mechanism--but I was near hysteria. I needed to pull myself back. I dug my fingernails into the palms of my already-numb hands--trying to shock myself back into focus. I didn't have to hold out forever; just until Gordon could guide the police here.

Jake had somehow dragged me up a metal staircase onto the overhead mezzanine--no doubt with a lot of bumping against railings for my part, because I felt bruised all over. He had found a medical examination table with foot stirrups and all, and I was lying on my back on this with my arms bound above me, a cinched-off strap around my torso and under my pecs that held me to the padded surface of the table, and my feet in stirrups that held my legs up and spread out from the end of the table.

Jake was having the time of his life mining the inside of my channel with his cock, taking me rough and deep. In other circumstances, I would have thoroughly enjoyed this, because he was a master of the fuck and was finding every sensitive nook and cranny that I knew existed in my love canal--and then some I'd never been aware of before now.

He either was pantless or they were down around his knees, but he was still wearing his sport shirt, spread open, revealing a well-developed chest and washboard stomach. I couldn't see his cock, but I certainly could feel it, and he was mining me at such a depth that I knew it was quite presentable. His shirt was torn at his left shoulder and there was drying blood at the edges of the tear. He was favoring that arm as he maintained a pounding rhythm of his pelvis and pinched and prodded my chest with his other hand when he wasn't slapping me on the face or the butt cheeks. Sam had gotten a piece of him when he'd managed to fire off the shot I'd heard.

The space up here was cramped and the fumes from the rag in my mouth were nauseating. I was near to passing out again. But I couldn't let myself do that. This was a man who had helped in the murder of a friend and former lover and also in the murder of the man who had opened my whole world of man-to-man sex up for me. I couldn't just pass out and let him off me too and then get away before the cops arrived and assumed Sam was the only one they sought. I had to rally whatever energy I could to do something--anything to hold him off until the cavalry arrived.

It was cramped up here on the mezzanine, and the ceiling seemed so low that a claustrophobe would be in a panic. Well, there was every reason for me to be in a panic too. And the adrenaline from panic could be mustered to both sharpen the survival instinct and coalesce strength. There was little room behind Holt to the railing overlooking the warehouse floor below, and the railing appeared to be of wood and not all the sturdy.

My body was beginning to go with the fuck. My hips were moving with Holt's pelvis, and I relaxed my core, opening even more to him and giving him a moan of aroused pleasure that he must have interpreted in his narcissism as me falling under his power and wanting more of what he was giving, because he seemed to relax too and become absorbed in the pumping of his cock inside me. This was good. If nothing else, I could draw out the time by making him enjoy the fuck too much to bring it to a fast close.

I let everything become relaxed except for my right leg. I was working my foot in the stirrup, trying to figure out how I could get it untangled there. Just as I managed that, we simultaneously heard the gathering sounds of commotion on the warehouse floor below. I knew that it marked the arrival of the posse, guided by Gordon Fields.

Holt, who had no reason to believe I hadn't come alone, was slower to react than I was. He tensed up and half turned toward his right and the sounds coming from below. And that's when I heaved my right leg up and out of the stirrup, raised the knee to my chest, and then sent the heel of my foot into his sternum with as much force as I could muster.

I had caught Holt completely by surprise, and I heard the "oooff" of released air and the cry of pain as he was propelled directly backward, into the wooden railing, which gave way with a sharp crack. And then Holt disappeared out into the abyss, and I heard his short, cutoff scream as his body hit the concrete floor below with a sickening thud accompanied by cries of the rescue party getting out of the way as well as they could.

What drama there was in this was over in a trice. Seconds thereafter, I heard scrambling on a metal staircase, and the grinning face of Sylvia Browne was looming over me, and she was being her usual sarcastic self.

"As I've said before, we really, really must stop meeting like this, Clint."

* * * *

I stood at the dock at the Mallory Square marina and stared out into the water and saw, well, nothing really--at least not what I had expected to see.

"I don't know where it went," a flabbergasted Key West police detective standing beside me said.

All Gordon Fields could say from the other side of me was "Oh, shit."

It hadn't taken much for me to convince Sylvia Browne and the Lakeland police that they didn't need me around the Lion Production warehouse any longer. The last of their suspects were dead--and they took at face value my explanation that Sam had told me that Theo Kline was also two days dead and feeding the fish half way to Cuba from Key West. So, they'd let Gordon and me return directly to Key West. It had helped that we had a charter plane and pilot waiting for us for the return trip, and I'd only rented them for the day.

I intended to tell Sylvia the rest of the story, but I wanted my crack at him first. I had unfinished business. I thought I owed it to both Meltzer and Theo Kline to be there at the end.

"I think I know where the Final Curtain II is," I said. The detective turned to me and gave me a quizzical look. It certainly wasn't at anchor where the police had impounded it off the city marina in Key West. "You never tracked down the yacht's crew, did you?" I added.

"No. So?"

"Soooo, Amigo," I said. "My bet is that Final Curtain II is halfway back to Baranquilla, Colombia, with the missing ship's crew under Captain Diego Alarcon--the Colombian--the mastermind of this little drug-running business."

I laughed at the irony of it. Things aren't always as they appear and look for the connections, Theo had always told me. There he'd been the whole time. The ship's captain, quietly taking a background position and sailing under the bright stars that were the movie folks, Theo's top-deck guests. And all the time he was orchestrating it all.

Unfinished business. He'd beaten us this time. But I had patience. Theo had told me that too. Just have patience, Clint. They'll come to you. I increasingly had to have faith in Theo's little sayings.

[Note: Book Six, "Death in the Rockies," follows this in the Clint Folsom series and will start posting to Gaydemon shortly.]



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