It was all happening so fast. I didn't even have time to feel panic. I just felt a dullness and a foreboding-and a creeping sense of being trapped in a web of some sort. No, more like a cocoon, the sticky thread winding around and around me. Smothering me.
"Just a few minutes, Dr. Winthrop, and you can go back to your room. I know this has been a shock to you. We have just a few more questions tonight, but most can wait until tomorrow. I suggest that you try to get some rest tonight."
"I have a lecture . . . a lecture to give tomorrow afternoon," I replied, looking at the police detective, Adolf Stander. He had been very efficient and solicitous-and respectful. He obviously was very good at this. The Swiss, I am sure, have high-level international situations well in hand and quickly, and with the highest level of discretion. The special Einsatzgruppe Tigris arm of the Swiss Federal Criminal Police arrived at the Lucerne Radisson Blu hotel and conference center and took over the investigation within a half hour of the murder.
"You did say that this isn't your room, didn't you? That it was that of the victim, Dr. Pak Jong-hee?"
"Yes, yes, of course. We were conferring on some notes, here in Dr. Pak's room . . . in preparation for delegation talks tomorrow morning before the afternoon lecture sessions. And . . . and . . . the assailant . . . just burst in. He went right for Pak. It was over in seconds."
I had to concentrate, try not to hyperventilate. I had to be careful not to say too much. I felt like I was spiraling down already-being sucked down into a vortex.
"And Dr. Pak is North Korean, right, not South Korean? And you're American?"
"Yes, yes, that's right. Nuclear physicists. Advisers both. We had met before. We leave the political negotiations to the principals. We just advise on technical issues."
Oh, god, if that only were true, I thought. How did I let myself get involved in this? Where was Frank? Shouldn't he just be sweeping in here and handling everything? They'd told me that it was just about over. That Pak wanted to defect.
"Perhaps I should speak with the respective delegation head," Standler said. "After," he continued, "after they've come for the . . . ah, yes, here they come now."
I'd been sitting, quaking, on the bed all of the time that the detective was hovering around me. And the body was there, right there on the floor. I could have turned away. I should have turned away. But I couldn't. The knife was still inside him, in his gut, the handle protruding, his eyes open, looking at me. With such a look of surprise. Accusing me.
But I'd done nothing. This wasn't anything like I did. I don't know why I'd even been caught up in this. Frank hadn't told me that anything like this could happen. But, yes, I did know why.
It was my damning weakness.
* * * *
It had been those years in the Air Force in Thailand. The Thai men were so nubile, brown as a berry, and willing. Always the winning smile, the readiness to please.
I'd thought I had put all of that behind me. I'd returned to the university when I'd left the Air Force and continued my studies in nuclear physics. A good professorship had led to government contracts, work that went ever deeper into government scientific and defense projects. And as the work had deepened, it had grown more secret, requiring ever higher security clearances.
The bubble had burst one evening in the sauna of a Georgetown men's gym.
I had seen him when I was working out on the exercise floor. All smiles, just like those young men years ago in Bangkok. He was Thai, of course, and small, and brown, bordering on effeminate, but perfectly formed. And he moved like a dancer. He was doing some sort of Oriental slow-movement exercises, showing a fantastically flexible body. And he had his eyes on me, giving me saucy looks. Gazes that took me back to the Patpong tenderloin district of Bangkok-and to all those talented and willing young men.
I left the gym floor and took a long shower. I was aroused. I couldn't deny that. And I was remembering those earlier days. But times had moved on. I even was married now. Although when it came to arousal, my desires went back to earlier days.
I wrapped a towel around my waist and went into the sauna room. A young, muscle-bound man in the club's signature shorts and T-shirt was standing by the door of the sauna when I went in. I hadn't seen him there before, but he gave me a friendly smile as if we had met.
"We were closing early tonight, professor," he said. "But the front desk said you could stay as long as you wanted. Just close the outer door when you leave."
I thought that was nice of them-and trusting, which later gave me a bitter laugh. And I did want the session in the sauna.
He handed me another, large and high-pile towel, and I went into the sauna and laid that out on the top bench, opposite the door, and stretched out full length on my back. The heat of the sauna was soothing, and I was drifting between feeling the tension draining from my body and semiconsciousness.
I didn't hear him enter the sauna. The first indication I had that I wasn't alone was when I felt his hands on my calves, below my knees, gently spreading my legs. I looked down in surprise. It was the berry-brown, nubile Thai, and he was looking up between my legs, under the towel, and he was smiling.
"Umm, so big," he said, fluttering his eyelashes. "Me like. Me like a lot."
He was moving his hands on my legs, gently massaging. I was frozen there, in shock. All, of course, except for my cock, which was engorging.
"I saw you in the exercise room," he whispered. "And I tell myself that one handsome man. I bet he has big cock. I bet I like to fuck with that man. And the look you gave me. I knew you want to fuck with me too. You fuck Thai men before, I bet."
"So I stay behind when they close up up front. I know you still back here. We fuck fuck, OK?"
"Sorry, I think I'd better . . ." I started to say, and I sat up, ready to leave-or at least try to. But he already had the big toe of one of my feet in his mouth, and the palm of a hand high up and inside my thigh.
I tried to gather my strength, knowing I needed to leave. But the hand was tantalizing. My brain was screaming its want, its need for the hand to rise higher. And then it did, encircling my cock, and I laid back with a groan, letting every sensation point inside me race to my penis. His hand worked me for a few minutes while I closed my eyes and covered my face with an arm and fought with my desires. When I felt the wetness of his lips and mouth pull me inside him, I groaned and gave up any struggle, giving myself fully over to the pleasure of the suck.
When I opened my eyes, he had reversed himself on me and his sweet little buttocks and a pert cock and balls were right there at my face, ready for my attention and preparation. I ran a hand between his legs, pulled his cock back through, and moved between licking and sucking on his pulsing hole and on his cock.
He wound up on his tailbone on the top step, legs splayed, and me between those legs and rising and falling on the balls of my feet on the lower bench as I fucked him in a slow, slow, fast, slow, slow rhythm that had him murmuring "fuck me, fuck me, fuck me," in a singsong little voice.
They let me cum before the two men-one of them the young man who handed me the towel when I entered the sauna-burst into the room and flashed their federal government badges in my face.
The young Thai man at least had the decency to tell me he was sorry and that he'd thoroughly enjoyed the fucking. He said I had the biggest cock of anyone who had plowed him.
They sweated me for two days on the dire consequences on my career and private life of what I had been caught doing. On the third day, they informed me that there was an out. I was scheduled to attend U.S.-North Korean nuclear proliferation talks in Beijing as a scientific adviser later in the year. I could save my career by helping them convince a North Korean nuclear physicist who had a proclivity for men of my age and physique-and an extra big cock, as I had-to defect to the United States.
"When we approached him, he asked for you by name," one of the interrogators said.
They would arrange the encounters. I wouldn't even have to seduce him. All I would have to do is service his sexual needs and act as a go-between. He would know that I was there to service him when we first met. A piece of cake. Very little to do to save my career. And I'd even enjoy it. He was a well-turned-out small-stature Oriental. And I had already proven my weakness for such men.
I wracked my brain trying to figure out who this might be. I had been at a few meetings with the North Koreans-and the last time we'd met in Beijing, any of the men who wanted to could go to a traditional Turkish bath, where we were naked, and there were some North Koreans there. But, again, I don't remember any of them showing particular interest in me-other than that I did get attention for the size of my equipment whenever I was in a communal shower or locker room. I had grown accustomed to that, though.
When we next met in Beijing, I had no trouble picking him out. His name was Pak Jong-hee, and although he was a senior scientist and was shown extra deference by his North Korean delegation during the meetings, he was young and small, lithe, and brown-and he made my cock harden knowing that I was meant to fuck him.
I don't remember having seen him at an earlier conference-especially at the Beijing session where several of the men were naked together in the Turkish bath. This was surprising, because he was strikingly attractive to me. Of course, until my handlers had forced an encounter in the sauna in Georgetown, I had pretty successfully suppressed my desire for men-even small, boyish ones like Pak.
He obviously had noticed me. As Frank, my handler had promised, it was fairly obvious that arrangements had already been made with him-and most likely that he had picked me. He frequently looked at me and lowered his eyes demurely in a signal from young Oriental men indicating that they wanted to be mastered.
On the third day of the negotiations, which weren't going well and from which the North Korean delegation had absented itself, Frank told me to prepare myself well, which I did. I was conducted to the same steamy, decorative tile-covered Turkish bath chamber that I had been entertained in during a previous Beijing conference.
When I got to the door of the bath, Frank and another U.S. delegation member who was there purely for security purposes were waiting for me. I was wearing only a silk robe and sandals. As I was ushered through the door, my robe was taken off my back.
"Remember, we want him to be very happy and satisfied," Frank murmured as I passed him. "We will handle the discussions with him on where it goes from here. If he wishes to take our offer, you will be assigned together and you will be servicing him as often as he wants it. Remember, your career is on the line here too."
"Protection or not?" I asked. When I had been suborned, there had been no protection; it had been completely impromptu-and frenzied.
"Packets, already slit, on the side of the pool."
Packets, I thought. More than one. Oh, god. Could I stand up to the challenge? I was quite a bit older than I had been in Thailand-when I could take three sweet young men in quick succession.
At first I thought I was the first of several to arrive. But that was not so. I was the second and last to arrive. Pak Jong-hee was already sitting on a subterranean tiled bench in the octagon-shaped pool. He was staring at me-or rather, at what was swinging between my legs-and he was giving me a sultry smile.
I saw the pile of condom packets and a bottle of lubricant in a tray on the pool side beside where he was sitting.
I slipped my sandals off and slowly walked to the pool and down the steps into the pool at the opposite side from where he sat, eyes glued to my midsection and a sloppy grin on his mouth.
I had my balls and the root of my cock cupped in one of my hands as I walked. I was filling out as I saw him lift his hips to the surface of the water and show that he was in full, curved erection.
When I had approached him in the water, which came up to above my knees and would be where the tip of my cock would touch if I was not in erection myself, Pak smiled, placed the palms of his hands on my buttocks, and pulled me on to his swallowing mouth. He was a master of the suck, and I groaned and moaned as he deep-throated me and worried my piss slit with his tongue.
After fifteen minutes or so of his expert attention to my cock, I reached down and lifted him out of the water, laid him on his back, hooked his legs on my hips, and moved my mouth to his cock, balls, and hole.
He was begging for it in nearly flawless English-with a fine grasp of the crudities of gay male sex-when he took the initiative to crown my cock with a condom and stroke that and his entrance with lubricant.
That was as much control as I allowed him, though. I knew the looks he had given me during the conference. He wanted to be mastered.
Still standing, I lifted him up and set him down on my cock. He clung to me-small and lithe and flexible-as I grabbed his buttocks, spread the cheeks, and pulled him up and down on my cock. I was fucking only at half depth, but Pak was moaning to beat the band.
I laid him back down on the side of the pool and started plowing him deep and fast and hard. He writhed under me and cried out-but he was crying for it, not asking for mercy-and dug his fingernails into my shoulders and my chest. He came quickly after that. I pulled the condom off and came on his belly.
We held there for several minutes as he worked my cock back up with his hands. He whimpered for it and I turned him belly down to the tiles, crouched over him, and reached for a condom packet.
"No rubber," he whispered. "I'm clean. I want it all the way."
OK, I thought. I remembered what Frank said: whatever he wants. Pak got it all the way in one long, deep, skin-on-skin thrust. He wailed like a stuck pig for the next twenty minutes, but each time I offered to let up or stop, he commanded me to fuck him harder. I complied as best I could. And from the way he was stretched out, not moving, just moaning, when I put my sandals on and left the bath, I could report to Frank that his pigeon must be well satisfied.
Over the next year, we found ourselves sitting behind the same negotiations table three times. And each time Frank and his crew managed to get us alone for a "negotiations" session of our own.
This is what brought us to the fifth floor room at the Lucerne Radisson Blu conference center. Not Pak's room, really-or mine-but one that Pak had managed to book separately. Frank had made arrangements in the shower of the men's gym in the hotel-where indeed, I entered a shower where Pak already was and fucked him from behind against the wet tiles of the shower. But afterward, Pak had said he had made arrangements of his own.
Only when I got to the room did I realize Frank probably didn't even know about it. Always before he and another member of his team or two was lurking somewhere in the vicinity. He wasn't there this time. But Frank had clearly told me to give Pak what he wanted-saying they were very close to defection day. So, I met Pak in the room.
And I was giving him what he wanted on the bed, when the assailant-another Korean, I don't know whether a South Korean wanting to neutralize a North Korean nuclear expert or a North Korean realizing Pak was about to defect-burst into the room.
Both men had knifes. I don't know how Pak had gotten his so quickly.
Within seconds, I was alone, with one dead Korean on the floor and the other giving me explicit directions and then gone as well.
* * * *
The body was gone. Detective Standler was gone-consulting, no doubt with the heads of both the North Korean and American delegations, working on smoothing this over, making as much of it go away as possible. The lab technicians were gone-for a coffee break. They'd be back.
I had stopped trembling enough to be able to rise up off the bed, dressed but quickly and sloppily so-I'm sure Detective Standler had tuned into that.
I started for the door to leave and go back to my room. But the door to the adjoining room was open. A naked Pak Jong-hee was lounging against the door frame and giving me a shy smile.
"They will find out quickly it isn't you," I mumbled, still in shock.
"We have time. Come into this room. They'll never know. You can go back to your room in a while and pack."
"Pack?" I asked, as I permitted him to reach out and take me by the arm and guide me into an identical room next to the murder room.
"Who was that you killed? We can't just . . . they think it's you." I was burbling, but I'd just seen a man killed. This was way out of my frame of reference.
"This is perfect for the defection," Pak said. "By the time they realize it isn't me, we'll be over the Italian border."
"The Italian border?" I said weakly. This was all moving too fast. But I seemed to be the only one without a program.
"Come over here," Pak said in the seductive voice that my dick had been programmed to jerk erect at.
He pushed me down into a seated position on the side of the bed. His hands went to the waistband of my trousers, and he jerked them off in one long pull. My cock jumped erect, hitting him in the cheek.
"To Italy? Who, what?" I asked, as he pushed my legs apart and knelt between my thighs.
"Oh, gawd. Oh holy, shit," I exclaimed as his mouth lowered over my cock. He was embracing my waist in his arms. I wasn't going anywhere for a while.
But he said we were going to Italy. He must have a car at his disposal. What kind of defection was this? Frank? The Americans? Or . . . "Oh shit, the North Koreans?"
Who fuckin' was defecting here-to whom?
I thought I had cried it out. Challenged Pak with the question.
But I hadn't. I'd fallen back on the bed, my back arched, my hands clawing at the bedspread. He was working my cock and swallowing my balls. All I could do was moan.
I heard the door open, and two men entered the room. They were still in the shadow of the doorway and I was watching closely to see them come into the light. Were they Koreans or Americans?