To the casual observer Deadwood was one of many racked-out reminders of the California mining days, a relic of dubious historical importance, fenced and guarded to keep vandals out. The deception was not very apparent once inside; lavishly decorated in a Native American motif, and furnished in rich leathers and polished wood paneling it was spellbinding.
Joe poised a moment to look over the banister at the massive copper and silver chandler, intricately inlayed with turquoise, jade and semi-precious stones. It reminded him of the squash blossom necklace his grandfather wore.
The walls were filled with photographs, a pictorial history of Patrick O'Connor's life, from his teenage days as a rodeo rider in Montana, travels to exotic locations as a Hollywood stunt actor, and his tour of duty in Vietnam. Clusters of smaller pictures surrounded the major events in Pat's photo journal, people whose lives seemed to run a parallel course with his own. Prominently featured were pictures with Tom and Travis, taken after his Marine days in Vietnam, a pivotal point in Pat's life, profoundly shaping his destiny. Single entry photos dotted the chronological display, like ships passing in the night, moments of splendor forever entangled in his thoughts.
Joe had never imagined a life could be so adventurous, and he listened intently as the rugged man explained the photographs. Pat ran his fingers through his thick silver hair and looked up at a large poster of a young bronco rider.
'Joe, let me introduce you to the former me...I'd be about your age then, filled with piss and vinegar. I thought I was invincible, and for a longtime the gods smiled down on me. Then I joined a rodeo circuit and my luck seems to run out ...winning streak just went south, got my ass kicked every tournament.'
Travis nudged Joe and said. 'Pat was one hot number back then; huh...ladies just went crazy over that flaming red hair and those big green eyes, not to mention he's hung like a horse.'
Pat blushed slightly and moved on to another cluster of pictures. 'Joe, I was circling the drain riding for the rodeo and seriously thinking about calling it quits. I thought about my predicament, what could a young bronco rider from Montana do, riding was all I knew. Then one day I got a break, some Hollywood people were scouting for a stunt double and saw me breaking a wild Mustang. It was one of my better days, I stayed on that bronco until he ran out of steam and I rode him around the ring like a pony. Anyway I was given a date for a screen test, they needed someone who, from a distance, could pass as their leading man.'
Joe read the name on the movie still. 'Dirk Bogarde. Nope, I've never heard of him.'
Pat smiled and said. 'Joe, Dirk was a little before your time, but in his hay-day he was a major English actor. Dirk was on loan to a Hollywood studio to make a western picture, 'The Singer Not the Song.' Spencer Tracery, another icon of the industry, played the good priest; Dirk played the sexy desperado, the picture turned out to be damn good, at lease the reviews were favorable.'
Tom waited for Pat to finish the story, impatiently he said. 'Now Pat, you can't leave Joe hanging, go ahead and tell him...Joe, if it hadn't been for Dirk, old Pat would still be pitching for the other team.'
Pat laughed and said. 'Got that right! Joe, my Montana roots just weren't compatible with a gay lifestyle and in those early days I had to kick a lot of Tinsel-town ass, persistent bastards always grabbing, treating the hired help like meat, just wouldn't understand the meaning of no-fucking-way!'
Tom, in his typical need to speed things along, pointed to a photo of two gunslingers dressed in black leather, guns drawn and smoking as they blasted away in a street duel. The sign in the background said, Hotel Deadwood. 'Joe, check them out. That's Pat, they dyed his hair black to match Dirk...they looked close enough for double work, but some differences they couldn't match.' Tom pointed to the large bulge in the crotch. 'Yep, Pat's big trouser worm made quite an impression.'
Pat chuckled and said. 'Joe, the film crew had shut down, Spencer hated the remote location and was having a bad day, so the camera crew started goofing off. Except nobody informed me, I thought it was standard production stuff, they told me not to put on any underwear because it would bunch up under the leather pants. So like a young idiot I didn't, they stealthily took reels of crotch shots. Dirk told me later it was all a big joke, said I had just made my first soft porn and to expect the skin-flick people to come calling.'
Pat's memory was kicked into overdrive, flooded with some of the most cherished moments of his life, riding into the desert with Dirk, swimming in the cool water of the canyon gorge, naked bodies stretched out on warm rocks watching the sunset. Experiencing a different kind of love, passionate and physical, so intense and mind-blowing it felt like an endless climax
Joe found himself getting antsy, fidgeting nervously, and doing that thing with his foot that drives everybody crazy. Tom put his big hands on Joe's shoulders and keened the tense muscles; he whispered in Joe's ear. 'Hey Bro, don't sweat it! Just a Indian thing, happens to me all the time.'
A Deadwood party was of major social significance, an event even the most diehard recluse would attend. Misanthropes of every description were mysteriously drawn to these gatherings, summoned forth like zombies, compelled to socialize.
Vietnam vets many with lingering war wound and severe psychosis received their invitation with attached conscription notice, fully aware of the imminent threat of the rolling press-gang, they acquiesced under great duress. Many would struggle to deliver even a semblance of normal social skills. However, affectionately supported by their comrades in arms these post dramatic stress causalities would interact and enjoy the festivities.
Even for the unimpaired, invitations to one of Pat's soirées were usually hand delivered, of necessity in many cases, due to living in complete isolation off the grid and displaying a profound mistrust of all things connected with the government. At times even hand delivery could be parlous, Pat strongly advised his messengers to start long in advance announcing who they were and what they were doing on his land.
The desert behind the hotel had been transformed into a fantastic wonderland of Hollywood memorabilia. Tableaus of long forgotten cinematic delights were scattered about. Large eclectic display Viking tents from 'The Long Boats,' Arabian tents that had been used in movies from Valentino to Lawrence of Arabia. The largest tent was a lavishly decorated in a Mongolian motif; first used in the silent film version of 'Genghis Khan.'
A Hollywood consortium bankrolled the entire extravaganza production crew, the lavish decoration, and the exquisite catered buffet. Of the companies many assets were hundreds of movie sets and props, meticulously preserved and stored in climate controlled unites. When the sets rolled out of storage they were in near pristine condition due to state laws and the lavish storage facilities.
As Pat and his houseguest strolled around they stopped to watch his live-in construction men and studio crew set up the tableaus. Pat snatched up a cute worker and showers him with kisses, holding him from behind in a bear hug he proceeded to tell his guest the MO of the hapless young man.
'Antonio was the first of the delicious illegal immigrant.' Pat bent over, nuzzled the handsome young man's ear causing him to blush and twists his body in a futile attempt to escape.
'Please Senior Pat!' Antonio said in near panic. 'I must finish my work! Why you always got to be kissing on me? You know how the other hombre get when you do that stuff in public...they call me puta after you leave!'
Pat's green eyes flashed as he started licking the dark patch on the side of Antonio's face the start of a dark beard pattern. 'Oh, I just can't get enough of this little chimichanga! He's got the cutest little macho beard.' He reached through the side of the boy's bib overalls and grabbed Antonio's balls. 'Now settle down! My friends just gonna check you out.' Pat made eye contact with Joe. 'Pull his pants down Joe...Antonio's piece is pretty.'
Joe's squared off. Crimson faced, fist clinched, ready to tie into Pat for his disrespect of the smaller man. 'Leave him the fuck alone! Man that's just not right! Why you want to do that stuff to Antonio? He already told you what the other guys do when that stuff goes down! '
Everyone started laughing; Joe was going into meltdown thinking that the disrespect was now directed at him. Travis held up his hands, palms extended, trying to defuse Joe and explain that it was all a joke.
'Joe, for what it's worth, I told them that it just wasn't cool to jerk your chain like that...' Travis put his arm around Joe. 'You did good, underdog's are always gonna need champions like you...ready to stand your ground and kick ass!'
Antonio shook Joe's hand. 'I'm glad to have you on my side. You looked like you were ready to tear Pat a new one. Sorry if we went overboard, it's Pat's Irish acting up...sometimes he's like a giant Leprechaun with all his pranks.' Antonio's eyes gave a quick scan of Joe's body. 'I better get back to work...don't want to make the other guys jealous.' He grinned, eyes locked with Joe's. 'I hope to see you later, and thank you for standing up for me.'
Pat was all smiles. 'Joe, Antonio's hot for you! He's one of the most sought after guys in Deadwood. Sometimes I swear that boy's putting out pheromones...always a pack of horny guys trailing after him.'
Joe said. 'Pat, I'm confused, you said that Antonio was the first illegal immigrant, so if the photo display is in chronological order, as you said, that would make him thirty something, anybody can see Antonio is about my age.'
Tom gently elbowed Pat. 'Told ya the boy was sharp as a tack.'
Pat motioned to a small tent the crew had just setup. They set in a cross-legged on a Persian rug. 'Yes, the carpet we're setting on is authentic. It was old even when Rudolph Valentino was making out on it...the silent film era had lots of money and they spared no expense on production.'
The more information Joe absorbed the more suspicious he became of Pat's dealings. So many questions raced around in his head demanding answers. Joe was determined to be open-minded and not be judgmental until he knew the complete picture. However, if Deadwood was just a front for a drug cartel or illegal immigrant slave trade, all deals were off. His grandfather had instilled the fear and contempt of these evil doers.
Pat didn't want to overload Joe's circuit with a detailed accounting of his Deadwood enterprise; full disclosure would probably send Joe running. He needed a balance, show the upside of his criminal ventures, how the cash flow supports his humanitarian causes and social reform work
'Joe.' Pat said softly. 'You've no doubt heard the old adage, 'There's no free lunch?' well it's true, like ever action has a reaction. Even soup kitchens and shelters for the homeless have the proverbial string attachment...they're gunning for their souls.' Pat looked for guidance from Travis and Tom, with a nod of approval he continued. 'Let's start with Antonio. Yes, the photos are in chronological order, and miraculous as it appears, Antonio is thirty-one. He was only nineteen the night he climbed the fence, thinking the ghost town would be a safe place hide.'
Joe was excited and brimming over with questions? 'That's a ten-foot fence topped with coiled razor wire! Nobody could clear that without getting cut to ribbons?'
It was Travis' time to defuse the boy. 'Joe, Pat's from Montana and they don't like to rush things...know what I'm saying?'
Joe looked down and said. 'Sorry again Pat, I guess it's one of my many character flaws...I'll try to keep under control.'
Pat laughed. 'No apology needed, at least I'm not lulling you to sleep. And you are correct about the razor wire; I hate the damn stuff with all my heart! It's just inhumane, I ordered the wire removed, but was overruled by security, they said protection would be impossible without it. I think they involved my insurance company because not long after my discussion with them I got a call advising me to upgrade my security, as I was on a new migratory pathway of illegal aliens.'
Tom interrupted to tell Pat the latest border crossing news. 'I heard from a trucker buddy that Arizona has gone ballistic, bringing in Minutemen from all over the country to beef up the Border Patrol. Hell, I suspect most of those guys are nothing but white supremacist.'
Pat shook his head. 'I'd heard the same thing. You know they're letting those nuts carry guns! The beefed up security in the Naco Corridor explains why the activity around here is so heavy. Don't mind the normal migrants entering, but the drug lords have started sending their mules this way.' Pat looked at Joe. 'Mule is a name given to the dope smugglers recruited by the drug lords'
'How about some refreshments?' Pat pushed a button on his phone. 'Queequeg, would you make up a pitcher of your delicious mimosas and four glasses, we are in one of the smaller tents of the Arabian tableau'
Travis could sense Joe's impending implosion. 'May I Pat?' After a nod and whispered thank you from Pat, Travis backtracked to the original subject. 'Ah, the delicious Antonio! It would be an understatement to say he has good genes...more like magnificent! His mother was born in Spain moved to Chile with her parents, who were in the diplomatic core. She met her Italian husband at university. After graduation they were marriage; her husband took a position with the Chilean consulate in Mexico City. Along comes Antonio, the light of their life, blah, blah, blah. Spring break Acapulco! Antonio was still a student, but with killer good looks the women couldn't get enough of the boy. Anyway, he hooks up with a fading Hollywood actress, a boy toy for a few months.' Travis looks at Joe and stifles a giggle. 'It's okay, nobody is gonna think less of you if you ask questions.'
Joe exhaled, in his heightened state he had been holding his breath; someday he would address that problem, as for now Antonio occupied his complete attention. 'God, I have so many questions! So he's not Mexican, a university student, privileged, so why has he been on the lam for twelve years? What did he do that's so heavy even a connected family can't handle?'
Pat took over. 'Joe, like you, Antonio was setup, and in his case having a powerful family only hindered his chances to explain what happened. The Federally planned on using his cocaine charge to get at his family, figuring they have deep pockets. They don't however, so Antonio took a chance and crossed the border. Mexicans really don't like people that look like they might have links to Spanish nobility; they killed off most of the Spanish land grant families during their revolution. So Antonio does what he can to fit in, but it's hard when your features are so damn good looking, all they see is an aristocratic.'
'Does Antonio have contact with his friends or family? Joe asks.
Queequeg arrived with the mimosas and sat the tray down in front of Pat. 'I brought you some guacamole dip, the caters called to said they were running behind schedule. I will speak to them about the service if you would like, seems to be a reoccurring problem.'
Joe couldn't draw his attention away from Queequeg. The big man had dark ink tattoos that ran from his face down his neck and vanished in his shirt. His skin was a bronze ocher color, smooth complexion with hardly any body hair; he was of an undetermined age, the gray temple in his jet-black hair was the only cue as to his age.
'Queequeg, you haven't met our latest addition, Joe...Joe this is my main man, Queequeg, he wears many hats around Deadwood. I see your fascination with his tats. Can you guess where he's from?'
'New Zealand...the Maori homeland area, Rotorua?' geography had always been his favorite subject.
Everyone was impressed with Joe's answer. 'Damn boy! Right on the money...most people don't have a clue.' Pat turned to Queequeg. 'Aren't you impressed? Somebody actually knows Maori custom of face tattoos.'
Queequeg's white teeth gleamed like new porcelain when he smiled. 'You know I am...Joe, I've had people ask what carnival I'm with. So yes, you've made my day.' He stood and asked Pat if he needed anything else before he returned to work.
'Yes, we should start on the costume selection and fittings before the camera crew shows up...say an hour. Before you leave do you have any thoughts about Joe's costume?' Pat and the others looked for Joe's reaction.
Queequeg almost burst into laughter seeing Joe's face. 'Well since Antonio has first dibs on the Valantino/Sheik look, I'm thinking Viking.' Queequeg started to return to the hotel when called Pat call him back.
'Queequeg, lets not get on the wrong foot with the caters...I'll discretely tell the producers about the scheduling problem and have them handle it...after all the studio is financing everything.'
'I forgot to tell Queequeg I think his name is way cool!' Joe said. 'From Moby Dick right? I read a lot as a kid.'
Pat was very impressed. 'Right on the money! I gave him that nickname...his real name isn't Queequeg...the man doesn't only look like a Queequeg! He is Queequeg...best nickname fit I've ever had.'
Pat could almost hear the gears whirling in Joe's head and feared information overload would lead to confrontation. So wisely he choose discretion, often said to be the better part of valor, and reveal portions of what lies ahead with the night festivities.
Last years party had been a huge success, thanks in part to eight horny Marines, provided by Thermojunction; California's most successful amateur porn studio. Straight hunks, fresh out of boot camp and trying gay sex for the first time was high-octane fuel for an erotic fantasy. However, actually turning those young macho studs was beyond description. Thankfully, the entire Bacchanalian festivity was professionally photographed. Reels of film were taken back to the studio, picture enhanced, voices dubbed, adding the appropriate moans and groans, edited and finally interrogated with a catchy music sound track.
Production to marketing was like a NASCAR race, with a pit crew working in sync to claim a lucrative cash bonus for finishing ahead of schedule. An early video release date could add thousands of dollars to the studio's coffers.
Pat turned to Joe. 'Care for guacamole? Queequeg is marvelous with food...among other things.' Travis sniggered thinking of what lay ahead for Joe.
'Hey Pat, remember last years party, Queequeg and that young Marine?'
Pat's laugh was strained, he didn't intend to talk about that night in front of Joe, and risk a full blown panic attack describing how Queequeg walked around with the young solider impaled on his colossal cock, with his legs locked around tattooed giants hips holding on to dear life. That fuck would probably qualify for a Guinness record, like longest suspended screwing. The only stimulation to Queequeg's throbbing meat was the Marine's body movement, squirming and spasms of the ass muscle. Finally, after what seemed like eternity, he shot load after load of cum in the Marine's ass until it dripped out on the carpet.
'Joe, Queequeg took off all his clothes and showed off his body tats...this drunken young solider climbed on his shoulders and they walked around like that for about an hour...I think the young stud ended up trying to suck Queequeg's big sausage.' Pat was satisfied with his explanation, although it had been the big guy who forced the Marine down on his knees, surrounded by crowd of instigators chanting 'Fuck him! Fuck the jarhead!' The young stud almost choked to death before Queequeg started in on his ass.
To be continued