Danny was concentrating on the probability examples in his textbook that he didn’t realize that he had the dog tags in his mouth, sucking on them as was one of his bad habits, until he heard the chuckle from across the library table. He looked up into the smiling face of the guy he’d seen there several times earlier. He was always smiling at Danny--not concentrating on anything of his own, although he had papers fanned out in front of him. He was just smiling at Danny.

Embarrassed, Danny tucked the dog tags back inside his T-shirt. He didn’t like showing them, even though they gave him comfort. The tags were all he had left of his dad--his real dad. They were all of his dad that had come back from Iraq and had been given to him. They were reminders of times more settles, happier, when he could have given a smiling definition to the word “family.”

The man reached over and slid the book Danny had laying beside his school texts across the table, turned it to where he could read the title, and looked up and smiled at Danny again. it was a copy of Andrew Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance that Danny had sneaked into his house. He kept it hidden at the back of the bookcase in his room behind his sci-fi fantasy books when he wasn’t taking it out of the house to enjoy some place where his mother or Floyd wouldn’t see it. But he didn’t really have to hide it in the house, he thought. His mother was a crummy housekeeper; years ago she had declared she wouldn’t come in his room again until he picked up all his clothes--and she’d kept to that promise. He didn’t think that Floyd paid any attention to books--it was just the magazines and posters that he zeroed in on.

Holleran had opened up a new world for Danny. He’d had no idea the gay lifestyle could go on in the open like that--and so close to where he lived, in dull Plainview, the name of which explained it all. In Plainview, everything was in plain view and it was all tawdry and dull. They were practically in the suburbs of New York City, and Danny had never even gone that far from Plainview in his life. And to think, from Holleran’s descriptions, that there was this whole other life, out in the open, in another direction from Plainview, but not even as far away as New York City was. Fire Island was settling in Danny’s brain as some sort of Disneyland out there for guys who liked guys--and who did something about it.

But he was mortified that the man had seen what he was reading. Did the man know about the book--what it was about? His smile seemed to indicate that he did. Danny reached over and slid the book back to his side of the table and bent down and put it in his book bag. He tried to return to studying his probability book and not looking at the man. But he couldn’t stop thinking about him. He’d been thinking about the man quite a bit the last couple of weeks. Whenever Floyd went at him, he thought about the man. The man was a lot better looking than Floyd--and younger too. He might be thirty or more or less. Danny couldn’t tell, and he hadn’t put a lot of thought into that question anyway. The man had a strong-featured face and all of his hair. Floyd didn’t have all of his hair. He was trim and well-muscled and he dressed like he had money. Floyd was an auto mechanic--and dressed like one, and always had oil stains on him like one.

Floyd didn’t compare in looks. Danny hadn’t been able to avoid thinking how the man compared with Floyd in other respects. Danny had come to grips with his wants and desires--that his desires were for men. He just hadn’t done anything with anyone but Floyd--yet--although he was building up to it. And it had taken him time to become resolved to getting it from Floyd. He was embarrassed now that he not only let Floyd do those things to him but that he looked forward to it. Still, there must be more than what he got from Floyd. The Holleran book had indicated that there was more--that it could be more satisfying, that it could be better, less humiliating.

Danny wondered if his mother knew what he and Floyd did--what Floyd came to him for. Danny didn’t know the answer to that, but he did know that there wasn’t anything he could tell his mother about Floyd. His mother thought that Floyd was the best thing that ever happened to them.

“He wants to be a father to you, Danny,” she’d said when she told him that Floyd had finally offered to marry her--after nearly a year of sleeping with her here in the house. “And he wants to help you. He’ll put you through the community college here--and god knows how we’d manage that without him. He makes good money. He’s probably the best auto mechanic in town. Everyone wants him working on their car. He’ll bring us some comfort.”

And of course she was right about the stability Floyd had brought to them. He’d saved them from living from day to day not knowing if his mother’s tips at the beauty parlor would be enough to carry them to the end of each month.

And Danny had never seen his mother this happy before. The nights Floyd put on Country and Western music had become a signal that they’d be bumping the headboard of their bed against his bedroom wall that night. Danny had come to hate the Country and Western music. The next morning after it had played, though, his mother would be humming and dancing around the kitchen when he got up to make the bus out to the community college. His mother was well fucked now. He’d have to give Floyd credit for that.

Yep, Floyd was taking care of them both all right. He didn’t give any signals when he took Danny, though. He just did it. And, to Danny’s embarrassment, if he went a week without doing it, Danny began to crave it.

Danny took a peek in the direction of the man sitting across from him again, intrigued and considering what the possibilities were. He hadn’t had the opportunity--or, perhaps, the courage--to go with anyone else other than Floyd yet, although the Holleran book had given him ideas, urges. When Danny took that peek, though, the man wasn’t there, across the table, anymore.

“If you’re interested, meet me in the men’s room on the first floor of the stacks. It will be private enough there. But if you want more, more privately, I will take you somewhere.”

The man was standing beside Danny, bending low and whispering in his ear. He had a hand possessively on Danny’s arm, right under his bicep, and that sent a shiver of thrill up Danny’s spine.

“Excuse me?” Danny said, truly flustered.

“You know I’ve been watching you. I know what you want. I can give it to you. First floor stacks men’s room.”

The man was gone, leaving Danny to redden up. He gathered up his books with shaking hands and stuffed them into his briefcase. He was trembling as he found the stairs and descended to the first floor and then back to the stacks. He had no idea where the men’s room was down here, but it didn’t matter. He had no intention of meeting with this man either. He had his urges, yes, but now that he could act on them, he was frightened silly about doing so.

But then he was there, facing the door of the men’s room. He reached out for the handle, but the motion was arrested by the giggling growing louder from the shelves to his left. Two young women and a young man emerged from down the dimly lit line of the bookcases.

“I’ll catch up with you. Gotta stop here a minute,” the young man said to the women. Danny stepped to the side as the man brushed past him and entered the men’s room.

Danny turned and looked sheepishly at the two women. They smiled at him in passing. Then he turned and escaped down a line of shelves until he was at an exit stairway. He argued with himself all the way home. Someday he’d have the courage. He’d been right there; he would have gone in if the other guy hadn’t shown up. He wanted to experience it all. But he just didn’t know where--and how to start. As he walked, he thought about the Holleran book. Perhaps that was telling him where and how to start.

* * * *

“Come over here. Give me some sugar.”

Danny’s eyes opened wide in panic. It was daytime. Nearly noon on a Saturday. Danny was just coming back from studying in the library. His mother was going to fix him lunch. Floyd should be at the garage, working on people’s cars.

But there was no sign of his mother in the kitchen, which opened out into this combined living room-dining room space. And Floyd was sitting in his recliner; pointed at the TV, where a college football game was playing. He was sprawled, beer in hand, and just in his briefs.

“Where’s Ma? Why aren’t you--?”

“Your ma got called into the parlor. They’re shorthanded. We had a fire in bay one. The garage is shut down for the day. Sos I thought I’d watch Florida State get creamed and maybe get myself some of that there sweet young guy poontang. Had a hard time waiting for you. Didn’t really wait, though.”

He laughed and Danny’s eyes went down to Floyd’s groin, where a big, almost-black cock was laying in his hand outside of his fly, half hard.

“Floyd,” Danny managed in a strangled voice. “It’s afternoon. It’s daylight.”

“And when you get fucked in the dark, it don’t count. Right? Get your sweet ass over here, and don’t be a crybaby. You can’t fool me. You pant for it.”

“Floyd.”

“You make me come and get you, and it will go hard for you. You don’t think I can track you down? Come on get on over here. And get on your knees.”

Before he realized he was doing it, Danny was on his knees between Floyd’s spread thighs and working that big, brown cock with his mouth. Floyd leaned over him and pushed his gym shorts and briefs down to below his butt cheeks and was fingering his hole.

“OK, time to sit on it.”

“No, Floyd. Night’s different. Can’t be doing this all of the . . . no please, Floyd. Oh, god, no. NO! Oh Shit!”

Danny was sitting on Floyd’s buried cock, both of them facing the TV, watching Florida State celebrate from recovering the football.

Floyd was humming, working Danny’s nipples under his T-shirt and hooking his chin on Danny’s shoulder, watching the TV. Otherwise he wasn’t moving, although his cock was slowly sinking farther up Danny’s channel.

Danny was panting and groaning. “Floyd.”

“You want it. I know you want it; you know you want it.”

“Floyd, let loose of those dog tags, man. Let loose, or, I swear I’m outa here.”

Floyd had inadvertently grabbed onto the dog tags hanging around Danny’s neck while he was playing Danny’s nipples, rubbing them against Danny’s chest.

“You ain’t leaving me. Not ’till I’m finished. You want it bad.” But he did release the dog tags, and Danny whipped the chain holding them over his head, put them down on the side table next to the chair, and slid them under a drink coaster. Turning his attention back on Floyd, Danny widened his stance, letting the cock sink deeper inside him. Floyd made little thrusts up with his hips, groaning and grunting, but then he tightened his embrace of Danny. Danny had had his eyes closed and was concentrating hard on the movement of the cock inside him--pushing his mind to the feel of the taking and trying to shut out the reality of the taker. Not being able to continue the action brought him back into the present. His eyes opened, seeing the football teams clashing together in the TV picture tube.

“Floyd, no. Oh shit.” Danny was trembling. Floyd was holding him close, still. They were over the edge now. This was where Danny just gave up and let Floyd start a rhythm of deep pumping. But that wasn’t happening. Floyd had stopped and was just holding Danny in place. Then, slowly, Floyd let his arms fall away to outside the armrests, and Danny felt Floyd’s legs relax.

Was Floyd telling him it was over--that he’d just been teasing and wouldn’t fuck him? Danny was confused.

“Fuck yourself. Show Daddy how much you want it.”

“Noooo,” Danny whimpered. Letting Floyd fuck him was one thing. Wanting it and fucking himself on it--in broad daylight--was something else altogether. At night, being invaded in his bed, he could think that wasn’t really his choice. He had comforted himself with that thought, no matter how silly and fallacious it was.

“You do it. You want it. You’re hard, you’re beside yourself with want. You do it.”

Floyd waited him out. With a sob, Danny started to rotate on the cock and then to rise and fall on it, using the leverage of the soles of his feet on the carpet.

“That’s right. I knew it. You want it; can’t get enough of it. I’ll just provide the pole. You’ll ride it because you want me.”

Mortified by what Floyd was saying--and more so because he was right--Danny used his stepdad’s staff to pleasure himself.

Floyd began to breath heavily and was having a hard time holding off and letting Danny do all the driving. With a laugh, he gave up, pushed Danny’s torso forward and then grabbed his wrists and bowed Danny’s chest up and back--Floyd’s favored fuck position. Danny started to fuck himself on Floyd’s cock in earnest--and Floyd started to do his part in the thrust-counterthrust department.

“Touchdown, Florida State,” the announcer on the TV screamed. With a cry, Danny ejaculated. And then just to be in the spirit of the occasion, Floyd allowed himself to ejaculate too.

“Get me another beer.”

“I gotta go study, Floyd.”

“After you get me another beer.”

Danny went for the beer, set it down on the table beside Floyd, and turned to leave.

He was stopped by a vice grip on his wrist.

“We only did it once. That’s not fair to you. I know you want it a second time.”

“I really gotta go study, Floyd.”

“OK,” Floyd said, his face set in a lopsided grin. “You go on now.”

Danny only made it to just inside the hallway to the bedrooms. Floyd was on his back, forcing him to the carpet. Then he had an arm under Danny, palming his belly, and forcing him up on his knees. He crouched over Danny’s hips, thrust inside the young man’s channel roughly, and reached for his wrists. Bowing Danny’s chest back by pulling his arms back tightly, he swiftly and expertly fucked Danny a second time. Afterward he just let Danny sink to the carpet and went back to the TV set.

Danny lay there, moaning and hating himself. Floyd hadn’t lied. The second time had been the best.

* * * *

Danny lifted his head and smelled the sea breezes. The tangy scent surprised him. The beach had been another place he never had gone in his eighteen years. Plainview didn’t have a beach. Plainview didn’t have much of anything. Danny knew that he knew nothing of life. He was no more than weaknesses--wants he couldn’t control. The wants were OK. He’d come to accept that, but he wanted much more than he had been getting.

He stood for a few minutes just off to the side from where he’d climbed down from the bus from Plainview to Cherry Grove. He had his duffle in one hand and his copy of Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance in the other. He’d been reading in that all the way from Plainview, across the Robert Moses Causeway, and onto the barrier island, Fire Island. What he had read in Holleran’s book about life on Fire Island as well as in Manhattan’s gay baths had moved him to action. He’d do New York City later--when he was experienced and wouldn’t embarrass himself.

For now, he just wanted to experience anything he could get here. He wanted to let it all out--to know what this lifestyle was all about in its most hedonist practices. Then he would decide what part of it was for him. He just wanted to be free of the limitations of Plainview and Floyd’s tacky world--and be someplace he didn’t have to pretend--or wonder how it would be. Holleran--and then what Danny had been able to check out on the Internet--painted Fire Island as a place where there would be no embarrassment in being what he wanted to be and experiencing what he wanted to discover.

He’d left that morning to go to the college for classes. That’s why he couldn’t take more than the duffle. He hadn’t told them he was leaving--either at home or at the college. He probably should have said something to his mother. She deserved some sort of explanation--really some warning. But she was happy with the way things were. If she was going to notice that anything was wrong, she would have done so by now.

He’d found it was going to get out of control. His stepfather, Floyd, had sniffed around him all morning Sunday, even with Danny’s mother in the house. He’d called Danny down to the basement and fucked him up against the cinderblock wall, with Danny’s mother humming and fixing a meal in the kitchen above their heads.

“We can’t--”

“We can. I like it like this. Just a bit of danger. You never knowing when you’ll get it. Doin’ it right under Mavis’s nose.”

Floyd was escalating his possession. Something had to give soon.

There was no Country and Western music Sunday night, which gave Danny time to pack as much as he could in his duffle. He left for class Monday morning and was on Fire Island before anyone would miss him.

Danny absentmindedly reached up to his neck and fished the dog tabs out of his T. He rubbed them between his fingers as he looked around, trying to focus. The familiar feel of the tags between his fingers was helping him to steady the flip-flopping going on in his stomach. He’d never been this far away from Plainview.

A young man brushed his arm in passing and turned and gave Danny a smile and an assessing look. Danny shivered in the newness and openness.

“Hi.”

“Hi, yourself,” Danny answered. The guy was young and built and just in a Speedo. Chocolate brown. Danny’s mind went to the blackness of Floyd’s cock and set him to wondering. Maybe that’s why the guy continued. Maybe there was something of acceptance, want, in Danny’s face.

“You new here?”

“Yep. Just got off the bus.”

“Being met?”

“No. I just came on a whim. Don’t even have a job here.”

“You know what Fire Island is all about?”

“I . . . I think so. It’s why I’m here.”

“Come with me. I want to show you something.”

What the black dude had to show Danny--the first thing he had to show Danny--was out on the boardwalk, with a beach beyond it. There were a lot of good-looking men out on the beach.

“It looks like a public toilet.”

“Yep, that’s it--a dressing house, really, for changing into and out of bathing suits. As good a place as any.”

“As good a place for what?” Danny asked.

The young black dude didn’t answer.

When they entered a guy was knelt in front of another guy, giving him head. The two didn’t miss a beat, and sounds of sex were coming from one of the two cubicles. The black guy showed Danny the second thing he had to show him, which made Danny gasp and shudder, and then he fucked Danny in the other cubicle, with Danny leaning over the broken john, hands splayed on the tiled wall behind, and the black guy fucking him from the rear. His cock proved to be as black as Floyd’s was.

Danny felt his dad’s dog tags slip into his mouth. The big black guy had gotten hold of the chain, which had moved up to Danny’s head and was using it like reins. It must have given him the feel that he was riding Danny like a horse, because he was also doing some “Yipyiyaying” and slapping Danny’s buttocks as he rode his ass. Danny ground his teeth into the tin metal, conscious that he might be marring the surface and ashamed that his dad was here for this. But he wasn’t ashamed for himself. This was a release for him, getting casually fucked like this by a young stud. This is exactly why he’d come here.

“Nice tight ass,” the black guy whispered in Danny’s ear after he’d finished. “You can tell your friends back in whatever Podunk town you came from that you got fucked good right off the bus and for them to come on down too. We’re always up for fresh male pussy on the island. Good for you too, wasn’t it? Best fucking you’ve had?”

Danny didn’t mind the introduction to Fire Island. This was more or less what he had fantasized. But after it was over and the black guy was seeking assurances that he was the best cocker Danny had ever had, Danny realized--although he, of course, didn’t tell the black guy this--that he didn’t get the buzz and exhilaration from the casual fuck that he had anticipated he would.

Still, he got something out of it. The guy told him where he could find a bulletin board that posted job availabilities in Cherry Grove and the surrounding area.

“Sweet fuck,” the guy had told him again in parting. “Lookin’ forward to riding that again.” Then he told Danny what bars he liked to hang out in. “Know some other guys who would be interested in fresh tail too.”

Danny parted from him with at least the assurance that he was desirable to some men here. He’d never been sure about that with Floyd. He’d always felt that Floyd would fuck a tailpipe of one of the cars he was servicing, if nothing else was available. The guy in the library didn’t really count. He could have been just some weirdo--who hadn’t even gone to that men’s room.

There were quite a few jobs listed on the curved walls of the circular kiosk Danny had been directed to--all of them menial and temporary. Most of them were seasonal, and it was early September already, so the season only had about six weeks to go. Danny took contact tabs off three of them, including the Grove Hotel, which had several openings listed, including wait staff and cleaning crew.

Danny had done a lot of cleaning in his day--his mother was both sloppy and disinterested in such chores. He hadn’t done any waitering, but he bet that paid better, and he couldn’t see that that would be particularly hard to do. He thought he’d try the hotel first, but he then remembered having passed one of the places listed, Sam’s Bar, while he was walking over to the kiosk, so that won out as the first stop.

As he entered the dimly lit bar, not much more than a double-bay hole in the wall, with a front on the street and, at the side, a tiki-type open-air bar area with a sliver of view of Great South Bay, the first thing he heard was a bellow from a frowsy looking woman perched on a stool at the end of the bar.

“Hey, turn that fuckin’ music to somethin’ else. Anything else. Can’t stand that Country twanging trash.”

This was answered by a faraway man’s voice, saying, “Yes, ma’am, Mrs. Ruth. Right away. Sorry ’bout that.”

Danny decided immediately that if this place put a ban on Country and Western music, he’d bend over backwards to qualify for the job. The listed job was for a server--with unspecified extra duties. The qualifications listed didn’t center on education or experience; they focused on being young, in good shape, open-minded, willing, and versatile. Danny thought these were pretty peculiar and loose qualifications--which he thought he certainly could manage--but he was just so raw in the time he’d been on Fire Island that he didn’t know that those words had pretty specific meanings here.

The woman paid no attention to him when he walked into the bar. She was a bosomy lump hunched over the bar with impossibly blond, ratted hair, a cigarette in one hand, and a glass of some amber liquid in the other. A younger version of her was standing behind the bar, leaning over it with arms spread and palms dug into the bar top and giving a bored look to the clientele, which consisted, in separate pairings, of groups of young, nearly naked men and of older, figure-hiding shirted men. Those in each group was more or less keeping to their own kind, although the older men were ogling the younger ones and licking their lips. Danny hadn’t ever been in any high-class bars, and after walking in here, he was pretty sure he still hadn’t been.

“Can I help ya?” the younger woman behind the bar said in a clipped tone that suggested she didn’t want to waste any words--or attention--that she didn’t have to.

“I came about the advertised job. Is it still open?” Danny asked. He had come to stand in front of the woman at the bar. The other woman--the one sitting at the end of the bar--showed interest after hearing him speak. She turned her head toward him and gave him an appraising look that ended in a slight smile that seemed to signal approval. The main initial impression that Danny got of her was of a broad, horizontal streak of screamy red slashed from ear to ear. To at least pretend he wasn’t looking at her, Danny turned his face toward the barroom. All of the older men were giving him speculative looks. A few of the younger ones were too.

“Samuel, someone to see you,” the woman behind the bar yelled toward the back of the bar.

A middle-aged guy entered the bar from the back, carrying a couple of bottles of booze, which he handed to the woman behind the bar while turning a quizzical look to Danny. He was a florid-faced, sandy-haired, burly man in a sleeveless muscle T and baggy shorts and of an age that could have ranged anywhere between forty-five and fifty-five, depending on how rough life had been on him. He wasn’t quite fat, but, with age, he was getting there. His arms were covered with tattoos, and he was wearing flip-flops. Danny would not, in a million years, have identified him as the owner of Sam’s.

He gave Danny the once over without saying anything.

“This here young man said he’s here about the job, Samuel,” the woman behind the bar said.

“The patrons have been giving him a good eye,” the older woman on the bar stool muttered.

“Have they now?” the man apparently named Samuel said in a tone that indicated he listened very closely to whatever the woman said. He turned his attention back to Danny. “You from Fire Island?” he asked.

“No. I’m from Plainview, over on Long Island,” Danny answered. “Just bussed in today. I thought I’d check the place out and work while I was doing it.”

“Just off the bus.” Danny got the impression he’d just scored in the qualifications arena. “So, you haven’t been fired from any other joint around here?”

“No, sir.”

“Not twenty-one, are you?”

“No, sir. I’m eighteen.” Danny could almost hear the sigh go around the room. He felt a dozen sets of eyes burning into his back. “But I’m a hard worker.”

“Sure you aren’t really sixteen or seventeen?”

“No, sure. I’ve got this driver’s license you can look at.”

“All of the sixteen and seventeen year olds coming on Fire Island have licenses to prove they’re eighteen,” the man said. Then he laughed. “But, what the hell. All the proof I need is that license. At eighteen, you couldn’t make the drinks but you could help behind the bar and serve them.”

Danny was heartened, getting the impression that Samuel was trying to think of reasons to hire him. “You done any table waiting?”

“Yes, I could do that, sir.” Danny had fancied himself as a seasoned waiter all the way from the kiosk to here.

“No matter. That’s not the most of the job. You’re a real looker, so I could give you a try. It doesn’t pay much, and they don’t tip much here--at least if all they are in here for is the drinks. But there’s other good tips to be had. There’s a room with a bath of sorts in the back you could use, so you wouldn’t have to find someplace to stay. Your hours would be four ’till midnight. If it’s slow business, you can use your room during that time. But anytime you take someone to that room, I get a twenty or half what you get, whichever is greater. Understand?”

Danny was looking confused.

“You don’t understand? Have I misjudged? You do know what Fire Island is and what this bar is, don’t you? I think the ad was clear enough.”

Understanding dawning, Danny turned a bit red of face, but he said, “Yes, sir, I understand. That would be fine.” There was no real hesitation on Danny’s part. He’d come here to experience it all.

“Guys like the hours,” Samuel went on. “Gives them some beach time in the afternoon, and some time to recover from hangovers in the morning. This here’s Sally. She’s the barkeep here during the day and out on the patio at night. We have a couple of guys who come in to tend bar for the evening crowd. Don’t let them use your room, though. They have their own room, and I want at least one of them out here all the time. And there at the end of the bar, that’s my wife, Ruth. She tell you to do something, you do it, understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Because when she tells me to do something, I have to do it too.” He laughed at his joke, and Danny gave the smile he knew would be expected.

“You ever dance a pole, son?”

“Umm. No.”

“But you’ll do it if we’re shorthanded.” It wasn’t really a question. Danny realized that it was a condition for getting the job.

“Yes.”

“Good. You’ll be popular. You got that young, innocent look about you--and maybe a great bod too. And that’s where the good money is in here in the evenings. Now go on back and find the room, second door on the right beyond those beaded curtains there. Hope you don’t have much of anything of value in that duffle. We don’t take any responsibility.”

“No, it’s OK. Just some clothes.” Danny’s thoughts went immediately to the dog tags. They were the most valuable thing he owned. But only to him. Still, he’d have to find someplace safe to hide them. He wouldn’t want to be wearing them on the job--at least not what this job was shaping up to be. Then he thought of another question. “By the way, what’s the dress in here?”

“The dress?” Samuel said and then stepped back and showcased his own body. “Nothing fancy, as you can see. Shorts and flip-flops will do fine. There are ‘Sam’s Bar’ T-shirts in the bureau in your room. I’d appreciate that you wear those a good bit of the time--and even out on the beach. It would be good for business. But if you can do a good business for me in the room by going shirtless, that’s fine too. Full skin isn’t for anywhere in here except up there on the stage late at night. Otherwise, wait ’till you get to your room to strip down. Let’s see what you got. Take the T off.”

Danny did so, and Samuel studied his torso. “Turn around.” Danny did so, and then he saw that nearly all of the patrons of the bar were studying his torso too. Sam ran his hand over Danny’s chest and flanks and down to his butt, which caused the young man to tremble under his touch.

Sam looked out into the room and smiled at the reaction he could see that the shirtless Danny was receiving from the patrons.

“Told ya so,” Ruth muttered from her position down the bar as she snuffed out one cigarette after lighting a fresh one from it.

“Very nice, kid. Sports in high school?”

“Most of them, yes, sir.”

“OK, go on back now. Be back here fifteen minutes before four. That will give you time to check out the beach, but I wouldn’t suggest getting into anything heavy out there today. There’s time for that when you’ve got more time. And, oh,” he added, as Danny moved toward the doorway covered by a beaded curtain, “there are sequined thongs in the bureau back there too. Those are for the pole dancing.”

The room was a dump, but it was functional--for far more than Danny expected--and it just needed some cleaning, which, after he’d buried the dog tags in the toe of a clean pair of socks, is what Danny did for the rest of the afternoon, feeling a bit overwhelmed by this sudden rush of freedom--and of the interest he’d seen being shown in him since he stepped off the bus on Fire Island.

There was a twin bed with a brass headboard and a good mattress--probably the best condition of any of the furniture. That whole side of the room was a wall mirror, which made the room seem larger than it was. The T’s and thongs were in the second drawer of the beat-up bureau. The bottom drawer was stuffed with bed linens. Danny had seen industrial-sized washer and dryer units in a room across the hall when he’d walked back to the room. He certainly knew how to use those. There was a small closet with three wire hangers suspended from a rod. The back wall had an array of sex toys and bindings hanging on it from hooks. On the floor of the closet was some sort of black leather sling, folded up, with chain leads from its four corners There was a strong overhead light and a lamp on the bureau with a red shade that gave the room a soft red glow when that was the only one on. He smiled a slight smile when he realized that there was a switch you could turn on to make the lamp light pulsate. Two straight chairs and a small, two-drawer nightstand and a valet rack to hang clothes on, both situated next to the bed, completed the furnishings. The top drawer of the nightstand contained a pile of condom packets, a couple of tubes of lubricant, and a black plastic ball gag. The floor was well-worn wood. There was a six-by-three blue plastic mat in the corner on the floor that must have been about four inches thick. Danny had used larger versions of that for wrestling in high school.

The bathroom was also the shower. You stepped down into a metal pan that was the floor, which sloped from all corners to a drain in the center. Danny found that, if he didn’t turn the volume of the shower too high, the stream didn’t reach either the toilet or the sink.

Coming back out of the bathroom, Danny took a closer look at the room. He saw that the ceiling above the bed was a mirror too. There were fur-lined cuffs on short leads at the four corners of the bed, on the headboard and footboard, and strong-looking iron rings hung from various positions in the ceiling. On the wall the bureau was on, there was a mirror the size of a window. When he came close to that, he saw that the mirror wasn’t on the wall; it was in the wall. There were brackets at the ceiling at the four corners of the room. To hold video cameras, as needed? he wondered. He’d seen all of this in the magazines Floyd had confiscated. He even had some idea what could be done with this, and the thought of it was making him half hard.

Danny sat down on the bed and took a couple of deep gulps. It was all a bit overwhelming. It was just the sort of stuff that Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance had promised him he’d find on Fire Island. But, truth be told, he hadn’t really thought it was true. Or at least not this true. It was all moving so fast.

He didn’t even know if this was what he wanted--or if he could do it. Hell, he wasn’t even sure what a server was supposed to do--but he had now gotten the idea that it was much more than taking glasses of beer from the bar to the patrons’ tables.

Maybe, though, this--this room and all--was just contingency, a maybe. Fire Island must be full of hot men. Experienced men. Not virtual innocents like him. He didn’t know what even half of that stuff hanging on the wall in the closet was for--except what he’d read in magazines about it before Floyd had confiscated those. He hadn’t had any really hardcore magazines to look at. Maybe no one would give him the time of day.

He stood up from the bed and moved to the bureau. He picked out a gold-sequined thong, stripped, pulled it on, and stood in front of the mirrored wall and flexed and posed. He thought he looked pretty good. But what would other guys think? Could they look at him and see that the only man who had ever fucked him was a randy old car mechanic? Well, until late this morning in that public toilet. That was hot.

Danny felt himself getting harder. He fished the Holleran book out of his duffel and laid down on the bed. With one hand, he leafed through the book, picking out favorite passages. With the other, he dug his cock out of the thong and started to slowly masturbate himself.

He looked over at the mirror by the bureau that seemed more a window than a mirror. He sensed there might be someone there, on the other side of the mirror, watching him. That was OK. This was his fantasy adventure. He wanted to pretend that there would be someone there who wanted to watch him stroke himself off. He looked at himself in the overhead mirror and then in the mirror at the side of the bed. As far as he could tell, he was looking good. He looked over his head and saw that there was a mirror on the wall behind the headboard too.

At three, still working his cock languidly, holding off each time he might come, he decided he should take a shower before reporting to work--and that he probably should show up early.

He stood, slipped off the thong, and went into the bathroom. He turned on the shower and stood under it and soaped himself up. He was still hard. Looking around, he saw now that there was a peep hole in the wall facing the shower end of the bathroom. There had been no attempt to disguise it and it was large enough that Danny could see the moving pupil of an eye in it.

He turned full on facing that wall and ran his hands over his body. If this was a fantasy, he was going to make the most of it. Come the end of the season, he’d have to be back in Plainview, trying to make up for lost time at the community college. One thing was for sure, though, he wouldn’t be moving back in with his mother and Floyd.

In these six weeks he’d do what he could to learn to be as sexy and experienced as possible. Then he’d see if he could find a sugar daddy who he could shack up with and who would pay for his college. He wondered whether that guy in the library was rich. He certainly dressed well.

Danny sensed movement on the opposite wall--lower than the peep hole. For the first time, he realized there also was a glory hole on that wall. And now there was a pair of lips and a lolling tongue at the glory hole. He’d only read about them and seen them in magazines. This was a pretty big one. He could see much of the bottom of a face through there. A square-cut jaw; a day-old growth of dark bearding.

Feeling totally bad boy, Danny walked over to the wall and hugged it close, his arms raised and spread on the wall. He looked up, surprised, when he realized that there were cuffs attached to the wall very close to where he’d placed his wrists. Looking down, he saw that if he spread his legs, they would fit with ankle cuffs as well. If he was cuffed to the wall, he’d be plastered to it, with his dick at the level of the glory hole.

He gasped and gave a little lurch as hands on the other side of the wall pulled his cock and balls through the hole. Someone was grasping his balls, holding him there, prisoner, against the wall. Moist lips came down over his cock head and then on down the shaft.

He was being sucked off, held captive there by a firm grip on his balls.

Danny moaned as he was being taken to paradise.


 

Habu

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