Jude had gotten through the second set at The Spot in Chelsea the same way he had gotten through all of Logjam's concerts in the last two decades-riding a high on the music, the roar of the crowd, beer, and poppers. If the proportion of beer and poppers had been relentlessly creeping up over the last fifteen years, it had been too gradual for Jude to notice it, or too scary for him to acknowledge it.
Logjam was still a big-name rock band-well, a relatively big name. Other bands still played its covers from the eighties. And the band still got regular concert gigs even if their range was narrowing down to between Boston to the north and Philadelphia to the south and increasingly was one-night club stands like here at The Spot more than playing-as opening acts more now than headlining-in stadium venues.
Jude Crown, on electric guitar and occasional backup vocals, was one of three original members of Logjam, which gave him a big say in what the band did-and being "in" with the promoter gave him an even bigger say. However, it also meant that he was fifty years old. He did everything he could to remain "hip"- long hair. Dyed blond now rather than its original golden sheen; a signature red bandana and torn jeans; muscle shirts, and the constant working out to make wearing one plausible; and tattoos. But he also relied on no longer being a front man on stage, but gyrating at the edge of the shadows now.
And being able to stay upright throughout a concert was taking more poppers and beer now than it had ten years ago. He might have given the perpetual gig up, as three of the original band members had-two of them twenty years ago-if his financial decisions had been as good as theirs had been, and if he didn't live for the roar of the crowd.
The crowd still roared for him. Young women still flipped their bras and panties over the footlights for him, as young men-more in the know than the women-did with their bikini briefs. If it hadn't been for this, he would have retreated some time ago, remained at home with Bronson, and faded into old age.
The crowd worship was no different tonight. But more telling was the interest expressed by the drummer from one of the other bands playing The Spot this evening, a near-boy band of rich young blond guys-guys much as Logjam had been when they first came together, other than the rich part. As Jude had played in Logjam's sets, the drummer from the younger band, none of its members much over twenty, had stood, just in the shadow of the stage wings, near where Jude was doing his thing steaming up his guitar and gyrating his hips to the music. Jude could see the young guy from the corner of his eye. He was hanging on every note Jude snatched from his guitar and every move of Jude's hips. Jude felt like he was being undressed onstage. He wasn't surprised; he had heard guarded and snide comments about the sexual proclivities of the members of this younger band.
The blond drummer was smoking a joint-against all rules about fire on the stage, even here in this "regulations are to be pissed off" hard rock music venue. As Jude brushed by him in the close confines of flying side curtains leading into the stage, the drummer reached out and laid a hand on Jude's arm, smiled at him, and offered him a drag on the joint.
Jude smiled back, and accepted the joint. The drummer said something, but the next band was already revving up on stage at a decibel level that jerked the young blond's words away.
"What's that?" Jude said, returning the joint and making an "I can't hear you" gesture with his hand and his facial expressions.
The drummer pulled Jude close to him and nearly screamed in his ear, "I've followed you for like, ever, man. You really send me. I'd like to get it on with you, man. I've heard what you like."
Jude nodded dumbly at him, his mind taking a few extra seconds to recheck what words he'd actually said and to analyze them. He was flattered, of course. The guy probably was a few months shy of twenty, and he was a real hunk. It hit Jude that what he was wearing mimicked what Jude himself was wearing-his signature look-and so maybe the kid wasn't putting him on about following his career. But he couldn't have followed more than half of Jude's career. He wasn't old enough to have done that.
That a young guy like this was hitting on him was more of a high for Jude than the beer, poppers, and proffered joint combined. Jude's sex life had been a bit skittish the last few months. "Get it on," he'd said. Jude knew what that meant in this context. He was fifty and some stud of a kid still wanted to get it on with him.
"I don't know," screamed back in the drummer's ear. "You got another set? Time's rollin' on."
"Naw, I'm finished. I'm told Logjam is finished for the night too. But the night's young. There's another club." He named the club, which Jude knew was a gay bar a dozen blocks away. "And I thought . . . maybe . . . my place afterward. It's close. It's private."
Figures, Jude thought. He'd heard these dudes were from rich families. The drummer apparently had an apartment-probably even a loft apartment-of his own-in New York City.
The loudness of the music on the stage, and stagehands trying to muscle around them to take additional equipment out onto the stage as one band segued into the next, had caused the two men to become plastered together closely so that they could hear each other. The drummer handed his joint over again, and while that hand was free, he used it to fondle Jude's basket through the worn denim of the jeans and then to snake the hand around Jude's back and squeeze one of his butt cheeks and maintain a hold there.
The signaling was obvious. But the drummer made it more obvious, leaning into Jude's ear and saying, "I give great head; no one's complained about it. And I hear you like to take big cock. I can handle that."
"I don't know, maybe," Jude answered, clearly flattered and getting aroused. Jude's main question was answered, though. The guy was young, and Jude had been afraid that he wanted to be spiked. But he obviously knew that that was what Jude liked himself and was still making the offer. "I'd have to meet you there, though-at that club. And a little later. Something I'd got to do first."
"No problem," the drummer said. "You're call, man." He took a pen out of the pocket of his tight, worn jeans; took hold of Jude's forearm; turned it to the underside, which was free of hair and tattoos; and wrote the name and street of the bar and his cell phone number on the skin of Jude's arm. "Don't be long; I can show you a real good time."
Jude watched the young guy turn and disappear into the pall of smoke, a mix of forbidden cigarette smoke and the overdemand of the night's bands for stage smoke.
At the drummer's urging, Jude had copped a feel of the guy's package himself and had shuddered from the feel of the size of him. It would be a real romp of a night, he could tell. The dude was hung and young and he sashayed his butt as he floated off.
The glitch-why Jude couldn't just leave with him, not let the kid out of his sight until after they'd fucked, not give the guy time to register that Jude was fifty and the kid was shy of twenty-was Bronson. He was back at their apartment. He hadn't felt well, he'd said, when Jude was getting ready to come down to The Spot, and Jude had promised to at least check in with him after his sets here were finished. Bronson was good with Jude barhopping after giving a concert in the city, but Jude didn't know what he'd think of what the drummer had offered.
The age difference between the drummer and Jude was even greater than that between Jude and Bronson, who was seventy now. The two of them had been together for over thirty years, though. Would the young drummer still hit on Jude if he thought ahead on a prospect of an age difference like that between Jude and Bronson, the electric guitarist wondered.
Probably not. And if Jude didn't want the young guy to start thinking about it, it had better be a brief check on Bronson at the apartment before Jude got his ass over to that gay bar. He hadn't had any in weeks now, and that made him jittery.
* * * *
Jude laid his head back on the top edge of the backseat of the taxi as it drove him back to the apartment he shared with Bronson-or, rather, the apartment Bronson had bought in their heyday and Jude occupied with him. He needed to clear his head a bit of the drugs and beer high if he was going to fully appreciate the sex with the young hunk. He was in the taxi not only because who needed a car-or could find a parking spot for it-in New York City but also because he didn't have his license. He had a license; he'd kept up the one from West Virginia. It just had been suspended for the third time for drunken drives he'd made home in Bronson's car from gigs in Boston or Philadelphia.
Bronson had bailed him out each time, and losing the licenses was no big deal as long as the out-of-town concerts were thinning out, which they were. Other than that nuisance, the brushes with the law were actually beneficial to business. Each time he lost his license or got into some sort of brawl, there'd be a snippet in the newspaper on his latest bad-boy behavior. There was no better assurance than that that he hadn't fully sunk into oblivion. His police blotter still was worth an inch and a half in the newspaper. It still was good publicity.
The poppers, the beer, and the exhaustion from the two vigorous hard rock sets-at his age-all contributing, Jude drifted into a haze of reverie. Cute young guy. Jude was that at one time too. Promise of a big cock and a good fuck. Bronson had the biggest cock-and gave the best fuck-that Jude could remember-in his prime. The gay bar wasn't that far from Bronson's apartment . . . maybe wouldn't need a taxi . . .
He'd thought his first band was really good-that they'd go far. At the time, though, Jude wasn't looking any farther than Charleston, West Virginia. And, in retrospect, the band sucked and probably wouldn't have gotten any farther than Charleston if it had stayed together. He'd been pretty good, though. Bronson had agreed with him on that. Bronson wasn't just interested in him to get some young tail, although Jude has thought at first that was all it was.
Jude's band-he was the lead-had been playing a road house on the cheap edge of Charleston and Bronson had been driving back to New York City from Nashville. He'd stopped at the roadhouse for a beer and stayed to listen to the band-to Jude, specifically, who already was very good on the guitar and not bad as the band's lead singer. And he was a beautiful young blond, just the sort of young man Bronson liked to debauch.
And debauch Jude he had. Jude had played around with guys before. He had played with young women too. For southern West Virginia, he was a stand-out gorgeous hunk and knew it. He could have anyone he wanted-the bored, underemployed young people in the area worshiped the bands no matter how crummy they played. And Jude didn't play crummy, not even then, pretty much at the beginning. He radiated beauty and happiness and just loving life. The women he fucked; the guys-mostly hunky miners or mine owners who could spot him a steak dinner-fucked him.
Bronson fucked him. Repeatedly through the night in a nearby motel. He pitched Jude with the "I'm a music producer and promoter, you're something special, and I can make you a star" routine to get Jude into the sack. Despite the business cards, Jude didn't believe Bronson. He'd gotten that line before-even the fake business cards. But Bronson looked good, even though he was twenty years older than Jude, and there was that steak dinner, and the motel looked less seedy than where Jude had planned to go back to that night.
And then they were in the motel room, and Bronson was sucking him off-expertly. And manhandling Jude to suck him off, which impressed Jude. He liked to be manhandled. And then, Jude on his back and his legs raised and spread, Bronson was pistoning him with a long, thick cock that knew just how to play Jude's channel right. And then he was fucking him doggy style on the bed, and then he was fucking him from behind in the shower, and then he dragged him out of the shower and carried Jude to the bed, slapped him down on his back, wishboned his legs and . . .
It had gone on all night, and Jude had loved the attention and the biggest, most vigorous cock he'd ever taken.
And in the morning, he was surprised to see Bronson still there in bed with him, and then to feel Bronson roll over on top of him and spread his legs, enter him again, and make him pant and moan and rake his fingernails on Bronson's shoulder blades, and arch his back and cry out his ejaculation as Bronson's cock continued to churn inside him.
More surprising than that was that Bronson took him to breakfast and told him he could make him a star and offered to drive him to New York and give him a place to stay and food to eat while Jude became established in the rock band world. Jude had reckoned that Bronson would take him as far as Harrisonburg over in Virginia and would fuck him all night in another motel and then would abandon him, but Jude didn't particularly care. He'd never been outside of West Virginia, there wasn't anything important on his social schedule for the next few days, and Bronson had a cock to die for.
Imagine his surprise when Bronson took him all the way to New York City-although the night-long cocking in motels had continued-and did, indeed, give him a side of his bed and provided food, although Jude had to do more than his share of preparing it, and established that his business card announcing him as a music producer and promoter wasn't a fake-nor was he small time at what he did.
Over the next thirty years, Bronson did everything for Jude. He got him matched with a band, whose members were all better than he was but were willing to help him grow into his own significant talent. Bronson had provided the Logjam name, correctly identified winning tunes coming from within the band and supplied winning tunes from the outside to complement those, got the band increasingly better gigs, managed Jude's finances-to the extent he could; Jude's ability to let money slip through his fingers in nondurable goods and services was his talent alone-and, when the band was over their pinnacle and on the way down, had made sure that the drop was slow and comfortable and that they continued to have a reputation that was recalled and respected.
It had only been in the last couple of months that Bronson had been failing, had been leaving Jude at loose ends and with some idea that the ride wouldn't last-a ride that had already lasted for thirty years.
And hadn't been riding Jude.
"We're here . . . sir," the taxi driver announced over his shoulder, obviously a bit confused on whether a fifty-year-old guy dressed as a rocker should be addressed as sir.
Jude looked through the window of the cab, the world beyond the window still a bit foggy in his brain, although he was beginning to sober up. He was home. Not his home, of course. This continued to be Bronson's apartment house. Nice enough, but nothing fancy. Bronson had put all of his eggs in the Logjam basket, and as they started down the other side of the peak of success, his fortunes had slid a bit too. For thirty years, everything that he had and was able to do had been invested in Jude.
And the sex had been good that long-well, almost that long. Bronson always seemed tired now. Jude had always come home for the cock. He was home again. He turned his arm to where he could see the forearm and the address and telephone number written on it in ink. He could feel his cock harden. The young blond was fresh, a new, big cock. Jude could still feel the sensation of running his hand over the length of the young drummer's cock through the tight material of the guy's jeans. Jude was in heat. A real groupie for Jude, not just in what he said and offered, but because he had mimicked Jude's signature look. He'd give Jude everything Jude wanted. Bronson hadn't . . . not for weeks.
"This is the right address, isn't it . . . sir?" the taxi driver's voice cut into Jude's reverie.
"Yeah, yeah. This is home."
* * * *
Jude entered the bedroom quietly. He found himself listening for breathing. It was much too soon to be worried about that, of course, but he'd started listening for such things and emotionally withdrawing the moment Bronson had told him what was wrong, why he'd been listless lately.
Bronson was lying on his back on the bed, naked, the sheet kicked off him. A fever had probably come and gone sometime while Jude was gone, but the sheets appeared dry. Jude wouldn't have to change them before he left. Light from the street below filtered in through the window, not now covered with drapes. It was dim but not totally dark in the room. Just the right light to be kind to Bronson's body. He hadn't started wasting away yet-not noticeably-and in the dim light he looked a lot younger than his seventy years. Still a handsome man. Still a good body. And most certainly still a long, thick cock, even in repose.
Jude stripped down and went to the bathroom and took a shower. A two-set rock concert under hot lights was sweaty work-especially for a fifty-year-old like him. All the clothes he'd worn tonight would have to go into the hamper. While he showered, he went through the ritual of cleaning himself out and went hard, thinking of the blond drummer and what he promised. To a guy Jude's age, such a promise couldn't be considered lightly.
He toweled himself off as he came back into the room. Bronson hadn't moved. God, he looks good-still-in this light, Jude thought. He went to the bureau and opened a drawer, looking for bikini briefs. Deciding against briefs-he'd feel sexier in the getting-better-acquainted period in the bar before the blond took him home and fucked him-Jude opened another drawer where he kept his tight T's. He'd kept himself in good shape. He wanted the drummer to see and appreciate that. His eyes fell on the document on top of the dresser. The papers on his bail bond for his most-recent DUI charge.
He'd been in Trenton, New Jersey, on his way home from a gig in Philadelphia. It was 3:30 a.m., and not the best place, in terms of cop consideration, to be drunk at 3:30 a.m. and thrown in the slammer. He hadn't thought twice about who to call. Bronson had come immediately. Hadn't even asked about his car that Jude had been driving. He just wanted to know how Jude was and how much money would be needed. And this was the third time. Bronson had looked like death warmed over when he arrived in Trenton, driven by one of the other band members in that guy's car. It only occurred to Jude now that Bronson had just been coming off a chemo treatment then. He couldn't have driven himself even if it hadn't been his car that Jude had been driving. But he came immediately when Jude needed him.
Bronson snorted over in the bed, and, hearing him, Jude turned and went over and sat on the bed beside the older man. His hand, by habit, went to Bronson's cock and he began to stroke it. Bronson stirred and opened his eyes. He smiled at Jude.
"How did it go?" He was asking about the concert, but for a brief, panicked moment, Jude got the idea he was asking about the hookup offer. He felt embarrassed.
"Good as always. We still have it."
"You still have it. Some of the newer members of the band aren't up to snuff. I'll be looking for a better drummer."
The word "drummer" made Jude wince. And here Bronson, with this pressing problem of his own, was still thinking of the band, thinking of Jude's needs.
Jude leaned over, took the engorging cock in his mouth, and gave it mouth play. Bronson sighed and held Jude's head between his hands, moving his fingers through Jude's hair, and helping the head move up and down on the cock.
He can still get it up, Jude thought. He can still get it up for me. After thirty years. Just two old dudes growing old together. He pulled off the cock, lifted his face to Bronson's, and the two kissed deeply, fitting together perfectly, their tongues doing what they'd done for thirty years.
Jude pulled away, and stood up from the bed, letting loose of the cock that, now, was everything that Jude had ever wanted, could ever want. "Just a minute. I have to take a piss." He padded, naked, back into the bathroom and did take a piss. But when he turned to the wash basin and after he washed his hands, he also kept the soap, reached for the washcloth, and rubbed soap and water into the lower side of his forearm until the address and telephone number that had been written there was completely obliterated.
Returning to the bedroom, he mounted the bed and straddled Bronson's pelvis, reaching back to grasp the older man's still-hard cock, and beginning to descend his channel on the shaft. "I know you're tired," he whispered. "I'll do the riding this time. But I'll want it again afterward-just like old times. If you think you can . . ."
"Of course I can. I'll always take care of you." Bronson sighed and his gnarled hands latched onto Jude's waist, doing what he could to help Jude rise and fall on the cock. "Yes, just like old times. Forever and ever."
No matter how long forever lasts, Jude thought.