They had been told they needed to hurry, but George didn't seem to be in all that much of a hurry. He and Cosmo were alone in the office now. Others had been leaving for a couple of hours before, unsettled by the reports of the unexpected approaching Turkish troops.

No one thought they'd land anywhere close to this international beach resort. The Turks had been threatening to invade Cyprus since months earlier, in late 1973, and the Greek government on the island had insisted that the international community, in the form of the UN peacekeepers on the island, wouldn't permit this to happen-and even barring that, that the Greek troops now on the island would be enough to counter them.

But ever since earlier on this late July 1974 morning, the radio had been blasting reports of an amphibious landing on the island's northern coast, west of the medieval harbor town of Kyrenia. And later, there were claims of parachute landings in the center of the island just north of the capital of Nicosia, in a successful maneuver to get behind Greek army lines.

The travel tour office, owned by eighteen-year-old Cosmo's parents, who themselves were on a skiing trip to Switzerland, wasn't located never the invasion points, however. They were in Famagusta, popular international beach resort to the stars, among them Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot. Famagusta was on the southeast coast of the island, not the northwest, where all of the invasion reports were coming from. Surely the Turks wouldn't risk international ire by disturbing the Famagusta riviera.

That assuring reasoning had held up until an hour ago, when Turkish naval vessels were reported off the coast of Famagusta.

All morning George had been dragging his feet on helping Cosmo get the company papers moved into the secret room behind the panel in Cosmo's father's office-papers that would reveal business that went far enough beyond the legal for the family to want anyone else knowing about. George said he thought the reports of imminent invasion were being exaggerated. He was more interested in being alone with Cosmo. It had been a long seduction, but he knew now that Cosmo was going to let George fuck him. Cosmo was still a beautiful young man of barely eighteen. Like many Greeks, features that were strikingly attractive now would probably turn ugly in later years. It had happened with Cosmo's father. But for now, Cosmo was a beautiful, alluring Greek almost boy.

George had had his sights on Cosmo for months. And now, with the young man's parents out of the country and confusion in the air, the time to make his move had come. If they really were being invaded, who knew when the next opportunity would arise, if ever. He knew Cosmo was willing; they had kissed and groped before, and Cosmo had not discouraged him. He'd even told Cosmo what he do with him in a fuck, and Cosmo hadn't pulled away.

Cosmo came out of the secret compartment only to stumble into George's passionate embrace. They stood there, bumping against each other, hand's groping each other, lips locked, and swaying back and forth. Cosmo broke away, if reluctantly.

"Now's not the time, George. We need to get out of here and on the road away from Famagusta."

"Can't stop now," George growled, as he grabbed for Cosmo, following him out into the outer office. He got the younger man bent over a desk in the outer office and stripped of his shirt, with his trousers down around his knees, and was fucking him from behind when they heard the shooting start. The sounds of the gunfire were near enough at hand that they both looked out of the plate-glass window at the front of the office and saw the blur of the steel-gray uniforms of the Turkish invaders.

More shots and George reeled back and fell to the floor. Almost instantaneously, the steel-gray uniforms no longer were a blur on the street outside the office. They were inside. A Turkish soldier had a choking grip on Cosmo's throat and was pushing him onto his back on the surface of the desk and stripping his trousers the rest of the way off his legs.

There were three of them. Two of them were grabbing Cosmo's arms and legs and holding him down, while the soldier with the grip on his throat has unbuttoning his fly with the other hand, pulling his cock out, and thrusting it inside Cosmo's ass. The young Greek cried out in surprise and pain, and another soldier came around to his head, pushed Cosmo's head down from the edge of the desk on the opposite side from which the first soldier was crouched between his thighs, and forced his dick in Cosmo's mouth. Cosmo made gagging sounds, but his hips involuntarily settled in with the rhythm of the fuck. He no longer was fighting it; he was going with the fuck.

George hadn't known, but he wasn't the first one to have his cock inside Cosmo. Cosmo wasn't an inexperienced bottom.

They probably weren't at it long, but it seemed an eternity to Cosmo during which the three soldiers each took a turn fucking his ass. The third one hadn't ejaculated, though, when there was another blur of uniforms outside the office. Not steel-gray ones this time. They were the tan camouflage of the Greek army. The shooting started up again and all three Turkish soldiers pulled away from Cosmo, hit the floor, and crawled behind desks, facing the front of the office.

Cosmo rolled off the desk and crawled into his father's office and over to the secret compartment, the door to which was open. It wasn't open for long, however. Cosmo crawled into the space behind the hidden panel, closed it, and crouched in the darkness, trying not to make noise with the sobbing of the confusing violation he had just experienced-confusing because he had melted to cocking of the young, hard-bodied Turkish soldiers. Shooting continued for some time but stopped eventually, replaced by an eerie emptiness. Cosmo waited for what seemed like hours in the ominous silence. When he had the courage to creep out of his hiding place and to crawl into the outer office, night had fallen. It wasn't totally dark, however, light from the moon filtering in between the high-rise hotels across the street and through the shattered glass of the office window showed that the room was in a shambles.

In the semi dark, he groped around, keeping himself below the level of the desktops. He reeled back in horror as his hand touched the cold body of George. Working his way toward the front of the office, he encountered, in succession, the bullet-riddled bodies of the three Turkish soldiers who had assaulted him, their pants still down around their ankles, before he reached the door to the sidewalk.

More carnage was visible out on the street, but the fighting had moved on, deeper into the city. The tourist office was close to the waterfront, and that's the direction Cosmo moved in, keeping down and in the shadows as much as possible. Coming to the waterfront, he saw a line of amphibious landing craft spread out along the surf line of the beach. Sentries had been left there, but they were doing more lounging and smoking than surveilling. Looking out to sea, he could see the blinking lights of what must be Turkish naval vessels. They were standing in the sea toward the north, somewhere between the modern resort city of Famagusta and the ancient Greek city ruins of Salamis.

Cosmo was a champion swimmer. He had won swimming races down the peninsula to the southeast and to the town of Protaras, which was on the other side of a UN peacekeeper's base. The chances were better that the Turks would bypass that base, Cosmo thought, than that he could get to safety by going into the water and swimming in the direction of the battle line from where he could hear gunfire.

Hours later a UN soldier pulled the shuddering and gasping naked body of a beautiful young Greek man, not much older or larger than a boy, out of the surf in the UN zone near the town of Paralimini, several miles shorter than what had been Cosmo's goal of Protaras. The chill of both the water and of Cosmo's fear had slowed his swim. But, although the invasion didn't reach Protaras, as an evacuee and, soon, a refugee, Cosmos probably fared better by having reached a UN zone than he would have been anywhere else on the island. And until he managed to get passage to Athens, he probably fared better than most refugees. The UN soldier who fished him out of the surf was a strapping Norwegian trooper, who instantly fell in lust with Cosmo. A grateful-and willing Cosmo-encouraged the solider to fuck him behind some rocks on the beach when Cosmo had regained consciousness, and the soldier took the young Greek back to his tent on the base and kept him well fed and well fucked for a week as the opposing forces on the island settled down into permanent stand-off positions.

The UN soldier hadn't initiated the sex on the beach, but he hadn't resisted the encounter either. Cosmo's shirt had been torn from him by George as he bent the young man over the desk and the Turkish soldiers had taken care of the trousers. The pounding surf had ripped what was left to shreds as Cosmo swam for his life down the eastern Cypriot coast. At that time Cosmo was a strapping, handsome young Greek man of eighteen. He must have looked like a gift from the gods to the randy bisexual Norwegian when he dragged Cosmo up onto the beach and lifted him into his arms to carry to behind the shelter rocks at the top of the sand.

Other than the timing, Cosmo hadn't rejected the George's fumbled assault back in the Famagusta tourist tour office. He had fallen under the spell of the seduction. And although crying out at the initial pain of the invasion of George's cock, Cosmo had wanted it. He had even wanted the fucking of the Turkish soldiers once they had gotten into the rhythm of it. Thus, he was as much sexually frustrated as frightened, soaked, and exhausted when he was picked up into the hard-bodied, big-boned Scandinavian soldier. He was groping the soldier as he was being carried up the sand and whimpering for the man to take care of him. To take care of him in a different way than the rescuer might have originally imagined.

When the Norwegian showed confusion on how Cosmo wanted to be taken care of, the understanding of both hindered because their only shared language was English, and neither was fully proficient in this, Cosmo showed the soldier what he wanted. He had the Norwegian's fly unbuttoned and his hand wrapped around his cock as the soldier laid him on the seaweed behind the rocks. And he drew the quickly hardening big bone of the man inside him as the soldier came down on top of him. The two were immediately lost in lust, grunts and groans, and thrusts and counterthrusts. Twenty minutes later, the soldier rolled off to the side and murmured his apologies.

"Will you feel the need to apologize every time you fuck me?" Cosmo had asked in a weak, but satisfied voice.

With a laugh, the Norwegian rolled back on top of him.

* * * *

Cosmo held the old man's head, with its mop of gray hair, buried in his pecs and tightened the grip of his legs around the old man's hairy back, his ankles locked above the man's bulbous, but wrinkled, buttocks. Pressing down with his heels, Cosmo helped guide the thrusting of the old man's cock up into his channel. The younger man could hear the old man wheezing and his body tensing. The ejaculation was about to come. The old man continued to thrust his dick up Cosmo's ass, but no longer rhythmically. The thrusts were off any beat, each one perhaps promising to end in the weak spouting that was all the shipping magnate could manage at this point in his life. With effort from a partner, the old man could still get hard-and his cock had once been a very nice one-but he was losing the carry through in strength of ejaculation. Not that Cosmo or any other partner would complain of this.

The rhythm was necessary for Cosmo's own approaching ejaculation, which would be much stronger and more prolific from the eighteen-year-old than from the old man. He moved the heels of his feet to under the old man's buttocks on either side and fought to regain a rhythm with the pressure of his heels by rhythmically pressing in with each of the man's successively weaker thrusts. It was important to the old man that Cosmo come too-that he exhibit that the old man could make him come with his cock.

The yacht was rocking a bit. Andreas would be at the helm, maneuvering the yacht in wide, lazy circles in the Saronic Gulf off Athens's port of Piraeus. When the old man had rested, it would be Andreas' turn. Cosmo was always taken first, though, and Andreas only if the old man could get it up again. Andreas usually had to do the riding of the cock himself, but the old man still got off on topping Cosmo.

It was just the three of them out in the yacht on a Saturday evening. Alexander Petropopolous had a family, both a third wife and children and grandchildren, and a national reputation back in Athens. He only indulged in his fuck boys at stolen times and in remote places as this.

It had been one body blow after another for Cosmo after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The Norwegian UN soldier also was married, and he sheltered and fucked Cosmo for only an increasingly guilt-ridden week during the initial chaos of the invasion. With noticeable regret, but with fortitude, he'd turned Cosmo over to a refugee camp. Cosmo's family being well-known as wealthy guaranteed him a free evacuation sail to Athens. But the free ride stopped there. Cosmo's family was wealthy in Famagusta, but Famagusta was under Turkish occupation now, and all of the family's wealth was tied up in collapsed businesses and seized properties there. On top of this, when he processed through the consulate in Athens, he was told that the attempt to contact his parents in Switzerland revealed that they had both died in an avalanche there.

When, starving, Cosmo had entered an Athens restaurant and, after a good meal, had confessed that he had no money and was willing to work the debt to the restaurant off, he had little idea-but perhaps subconscious hope, having seen the restaurateur-that the restaurant owner would demand that he work it off on his back on top of flour sacks in the restaurant's storage room. Cosmo had been giving blow jobs and quick fucks in Athens alleys for a few weeks before that, so there was no compulsion not to lie on his back and open his legs to the restaurateur. Athena was adrift with Greek refugees from Cyprus at the time, and Cosmo's body was his greatest saleable asset. The restaurateur was hard-bodied and big cocked, so Cosmo had enjoyed the fuck. Increasingly, Cosmo was enjoying lying on his back and opening his legs; it no longer was all about the money. When the man was handsome, hard-bodied, and big cocked, as the restaurateur was, Cosmo would give it for free-or for the price of a shared meal, which he saw as no different from normal dating patterns.

The restaurant owner had also enjoyed the fuck and told Cosmo he would take care of him. Taking care of him entailed turning him over to a pimp after the restaurateur's wife discovered what was happening in the storage room. The pimp had beaten and fucked and sent Cosmo back on the street corners and into the alleys. Here he had attracted the attention of a more refined pimp, and Cosmo found out for the first time what white slavery was about-that men could be sold to other men.

The new pimp kept Cosmo off the streets, though, sending him on assignations in good businessmen hotels. This was where Cosmo had met the nineteen-year-old Andreas. It also was how both Cosmo and Andreas had been taken up by Alexander Petropopolous and become his weekend fuck boys.

The old man was pressing into Cosmo's body on the double berth in the yacht cabin. Alexander was wheezing and groaning. Cosmo was moving his hips and causing his channel to constrict on the cock churning inside him. The old Greek shipping magnate had a very nice cock, not long, but thick, and if Cosmo closed his eyes and concentrated on that, he could blot out the thickness of the man's body and the wrinkled, mottled skin. He fought hard to maintain his own arousal and bring on his own ejaculation by thinking of fucking Andreas, which he was free to do on this boat, tied up in a Piraeus marina, during the week, while both, now free of their uptown pimp, worked tricks in the waterfront taverns. Cosmo had found sailors to be hard-bodied and rough takers, which aroused him.

Feeling the old man on the brink, Cosmo clutched his pelvis to him by raising and digging in his heels in the small of Alexander's back, clinching his channel muscles rhythmically on the thrusting cock, and crying out, "Yes, fuck me just like that. Give it to me. Give me your cum!"

He felt the weak ejaculation, a little cry, and as Cosmo also shot a load up the man's belly, the old man collapsed on top of him.

Cosmo lay there, regaining his breath. The man was old and gone to fat. But he had a good cock. He became conscious that the old man wasn't also breathing hard and slow stroking his cock inside Cosmo as he usually did while he was going flaccid.

"God, you do me good, Daddy," Cosmo murmured. "You always fuck me so good. Did you feel it? You made me come too." It was important to the old man that he still made the younger men come.

Cosmo always praised the man with these or some other words after sex. Alexander was the man who took care of him. Cosmo made pretty good money on the side on the Piraeus waterfront, but it was Alexander who had rescued Cosmo from the control of a pimp who, though he picked a higher class of john than Cosmo's first pimp did, also took more of the profit and knocked Cosmo about a bit. And it was Alexander who fed him and had clothed him in the luxury of this yacht.

No response from Petropopolous, and he was laying heavily on Cosmo between his legs, with his dick now fully flaccid even though still inside Cosmo, like a dead weight.

The thought of the word "dead" brought chills up Cosmo's spine. "Daddy? Alex? Are you OK?"

No response. Cosmo struggled up to a sitting position, and Petropopolous' body rolled off him and onto the deck beside the bed.

The man was dead.

Cosmo sat there for several minutes not understanding what was obvious, not accepting it, waiting for it to be a joke the old man was playing on him or some sort of dream.

"Daddy? Alex?" he murmured, looking over the side of the berth at the body crumpled up on the floor.

No response.

"Andreas," he called out. Then he was on his feet and launched toward the cabin door. "Andreas. Come quick. It's Alex."

The two sat and looked at the body for several minutes. After the first hurried visit to the cabin, Andreas had gone back above and dropped an anchor, turned off the motors, and lashed the wheel. Then he came below again and sat down on the buck beside Cosmo. Cosmo put his arm around Andreas, and they both stared, unbelieving, at the body.

The same response to death crept into them at the same time, aided by the embrace and the patting and petting and a few brief kisses. They were young, virile men, whose lives was dominated by the fuck. It wasn't unusual that their response to death was a need to reaffirm life. Cosmo began pawing at Andreas' shorts, which was all he was wearing-Cosmo was naked already-as Andreas took possession of Cosmo's cock and stroked it hard. Cosmo wrapped an arm around Andreas' neck and pulled him up onto the berth. Getting behind Andreas, with both young men on their sides, Cosmo lifted Andreas' leg to open access to his buttocks, and thrust his cock up into Andreas' channel. Andreas arched his back, called out a "Yes, yes. Fuck me. Fuck me hard!" and the two were off to the races, both anxious to drift away from real life if only briefly.

An hour later, sexually spent, the two lay side by side, Andreas pulled into Cosmo's body by Cosmo's embrace.

"What do we do now?" Andreas asked in a low voice.

"I'm thinking."

"Do you think he's been telling us the truth by keeping us a complete secret from his world?"

"I think so. This boat is in my name, for instance. He said he didn't want there to be any linking records."

"They'll think we killed him."

"Surely they'll cut him open and find it was his heart," Cosmo whispered. But the thought had been roaming around in his mind too. No matter what the truth of the matter or even an autopsy would point to, this was Greece. And Alexander and his family were powerful here. How easy would it be to say that two male prostitutes from the Piraeus docks had mugged and killed him. They could even construct it so that Petropopolous had nothing to do with Cosmos and Andreas, that their being male whores didn't touch him at all. That would be depicted as an out-and-out mugging gone bad.

"Even then, it would have been sex that killed him. Sex with one of us."

Andreas was being delicate. It was sex with just Cosmo. But of course Andreas was smart enough to know that it was just his word against Cosmo's. But Andreas also was missing the most likely possibility of how this would be seen and reconstructed, Cosmo thought. He jumped up from the bed and started moving aimlessly about the cabin, while steering well clear of the body heaped beside the berth. Andreas followed his movement with his eyes.

Cosmo stopped and looked around the walls of the cabin. His eyes stopped on a painting over the vanity. He walked over, swung the painting aside, and revealed a wall safe.

"What? How did you know?" Andreas asked.

"Whenever Alexander took us for a meal, he'd make sure he was in the cabin alone and came out counting money. I knew there was a safe here somewhere. I explored and found it. But it's locked."

"Well, then, we're fucked on that," Andreas said. But then he looked perplexed. "But fucked on what? What are you thinking?"

"First, I'm thinking he wanted to be in the room alone not because he didn't want us to know where the safe was but because he didn't want us to know where he kept the combination. He pulled the painting back once while I was still here but then made me leave the cabin. He works with numbers so much during the week that he probably doesn't expect himself to remember the combination of this safe. There probably is a combination hidden around here somewhere."


"Didn't what?" Cosmo said, turning his face to Andreas.

"Didn't expect to remember the combination. He's dead, Cosmo. There's no 'doesn't' here anymore."

Cosmo gave the other man a sour look. "What I'm think is that if we can find the combination to that safe and it contains enough money, we don't have to sail back to Piraeus at all. We don't have to report Alexander is dead at all. We can be far away before anyone gets very far in tracking down his disappearance. And if he hasn't lied to us, no one will connect him to us at all-or this yacht. Or whatever is in that safe."

"But what about the body?"

"He's a man of the sea, Andreas. We can head out to sea and at some point give him a burial at sea that he would think fitting. He's dead. It's just a body now. Alexander isn't here anymore. Come, help me look for the combination."

* * * *

Cosmo and Andreas were barely holding their own at the roulette table in the black-tie-required Cercle d'Or Room of the Beirut's Casino Du Liban. They needed to do more than hold their own, though. After three months' sailing around the Mediterranean, they were short on their cash-or, rather, on the cash they'd found in Petropopolous' safe in the main bedroom cabin of the yacht. They both had their passports, so countries weren't denied them, but they thought it best to stay away from Greece for some time. The newspapers had termed Petropopolous' disappearance a mystery, with a hint of sour and shady business dealings. There had been no hint that he kept two male prostitutes on a string or that he had a bad heart.

The two had earned money of their own from solicitation in waterfront bars, but it wasn't going to be enough to keep them afloat-literally. The yacht was all they had, and it soaked up money in marina fees and petrol.

Andreas was taking the brunt of Cosmo's ire at the table because he had boasted how good he was at gambling and that increasing their stash was a sure thing by stopping in Beirut. The Lebanese Mediterranean port had the only casino in the Arab world in the 1970s and the only one on the eastern end of the Mediterranean where it was safe for the two friends to play. The Western end of the Mediterranean boasted many casinos in seaside cities, but they needed more money than they had to pay for the petrol to get there.

Looking worried, Andreas pushed away from the table. "I've got to go take a piss," he said, "Be back in a few minutes. I'll try to bring better luck back with me."

"Maybe we should leave before you lose what money we have," Cosmo muttered, barely holding in his anger. The dark-skinned, late-thirties Arab sitting across the roulette table from him, with two bodyguards standing behind him, gave Cosmo a sharp look. Cosmo noticed and looked away, not wanting anyone, especially another player, see the tension between the two young Greeks.

It was too late, though.

"Your friend. He has just about lost all of your resources, hasn't he?" The voice was British, but the look was definitely Arab. Rich Arab, though. The man was wearing traditional Arab garb, a white cotton robe, called a dishdasha, and a headdress, called a ghutra, but they were of fine material and elegantly cut. And his hands were well manicured, with rings on his fingers, any one of which would have solved the Greek friends' solvency problems for a couple of years.

He had the face of a fox, which, while certainly handsome, exhibited a sense of superiority and cunning. His dark facial hair included a mustache and beard, but they were close cropped. He was on the thin side, but his chest pushed at the material of the dishdasha to indicate that he was well muscled in the pecs. In all, he looked spoiled and very well taken care of.

"We are doing fine," Cosmo answered. He took a swig of his gin and tonic to feign nonchalance, but he immediately knew that was a mistake, because the Arab was hawkeyed enough to see the tremble in his hands.

"I am Jabir al-Shabat," the man said in a manner that suggested that Cosmo should know who he was. Cosmo didn't, but later he checked the name to find that he was a member of the ruling family of what was then the sheikdom of Kuwait.

When Cosmo didn't respond fast enough, Al-Shabat said, "And you? You and your friend are Greeks, are you not?"

"My name is Cosmo. Cosmo Eracules," Cosmo answered. I am Greek Cypriot.

"And your friend?"

"Andreas. He's from mainland Greece." Cosmo didn't want to presume to pass on Andreas' last name.

"I am quite fond of Greek boys," the Arab said, as if it was a natural interest to express. "And you two are barely beyond being boys, are you not?"

"We're both nearly twenty," Cosmo said defensively, stretching the "nearly" a bit in his own case. And then, realizing that revealing they were under twenty-one could get them kicked out of the casino as underage, he quickly amended that to, "I mean we are both nearly twenty-two. I have trouble with English sometimes."

"Ah, I think being under twenty is deliciously close to being a boy," Al-Shabat said, ignoring the correction. "And you are lovers, no?"

Cosmo's expression was slightly shocked. When he didn't answer right away, Al-Shabat said, "I can tell from the way you are comfortable with each other. Believe me, I am an expert in these matters. I can go further and say that you fuck the other boy but that you are both available for cocking if the price is right."

"I think I'd had enough for the night," Cosmo said, starting to rise from the table and looking around for Andreas, who wasn't in sight yet. Cosmo became frightened as, with a gesture from the Arab, the two bodyguards moved around the table to stand behind him.

"Please don't leave so quickly, Cosmo Eracules," the Arab said in a smooth, very-much-in-control voice. "I sense that you two are adventurers and are in need of a great deal of support to be able to continue your adventures. And I sense that you both will go with a man for a price. I fancy your friend, Andreas, and I can offer you a very large price for him."

He named a price high enough to nearly knock Cosmo off his chair. "Just for once?" Cosmo asked.

Al-Shabat smiled. "Of course not just for once, Cosmo Eracules. You are in the Arab world now. I wish to buy your friend, Andreas."

"That's impossible," Cosmo said and started to rise again. But he felt the beefy hands of the separate bodyguards on his shoulders, pushing him back down into the seat.

"I really don't have to ask or to bargain," the Arab said smoothly. "Again, you are in my world now. Receiving that payment would be far more advantageous to you than receiving nothing and me taking you both. I am trying to be fair here."

Cosmo said nothing. He couldn't think of anything appropriate to say.

Al-Shabat rose from his chair. "I am booked in the penthouse suite of the Phoenicia Hotel. I will expect you to deliver your friend there within an hour. My men will be outside the casino and will ensure that you do just that. When you have delivered him to me, I will give you your money and you can go. Rest assured that I'm not some sort of animal. Andreas will enjoy his stay with me. He will be far more secure than he is running around the world, trying to win his bread for the next day. I'm not asking for him-or you-to do more than any whore would be asked to do. And you are both whores and need not deny it."

"I can't sell my friend," Cosmo said. "A man is not mine to sell." His response was weak, though, and he knew it. Both he and Andreas had been owned by men before.

"Very well," Al-Shabat conceded almost too readily. "Just for the night then." He named a sum that still would keep Cosmos and Andrea going for a couple of months-more than they had hoped to win in the casino this evening.

Cosmo agreed to the terms. He didn't see another out. The money was just too good.

He thought about what he could do in the short interval between the Al-Shabat's departure and Andreas' return. He enjoyed fucking Andreas, but it wasn't like he was in love with the man or had any responsibilities toward him. And it was Andreas' fault they didn't have much money now; he had boasted highly about his gambling talents, and these had not panned out. The yacht was Cosmo's. He could hire a crew and continue sailing the Mediterranean for at least a year on what the Arab had offered. Surely it would work out to be just the one night, but, if not . . .

And then Andreas was back and Cosmo told him about the one-night offer-without going any further on what the Arab had originally said he wanted. He also said it was for services from both of them. Since it was more money than they hoped to win at the tables, Andreas fell into the plan immediately. They had both prostituted themselves for travel money in their journey across the Mediterranean and were likely to continue doing so as long as they both were desirable to men with money. It came quite easily to both of them now.

Upon knocking on the suite door at the top of the Phoenicia Hotel, the action was set into motion quickly. The two bodyguards grabbed Andreas and propelled him from the lounge into the bedroom. They stripped him, stuffing his bikini briefs in his mouth to keep his cries muffled, and bound him to the bed while Al-Shabat slowly counted out the money and gave it to Cosmo. He was really slow about it, and Cosmo soon understood why. After the two bodyguards had trussed Andreas on the bed, on his back, with his buttocks at the edge of the foot of the bed, his wrists tied to the headboard, and his legs raised, spread, and drawn back over his head and tied off with restraints at both top corners of the bed, the bodyguards were back in the lounge and pushing Cosmo down into a chair, where he had a full view of the bed in the other room.

Al-Shabat pulled the dishdasha over his head. He was naked underneath. He was hard-bodied and lean, with scars across his body indicating he'd been lashed or knifed sometime in the past. The pecs and biceps were firmly muscled as had been promised by the cut of his dishdasha. His erect cock was a good seven inches long.

"First your friend and then you," he said, leaning down and kissing Cosmo on the lips before the young Greek could overcome his shock. "It's actually you I want more, so you're second and I'll spend more time with you. Tonight and every night until I get tired of you."

Cosmo tried to rise from the chair, but the bodyguards held him down as Al-Shabat entered the bedroom, picked up a riding crop from somewhere, and crouched between Andreas' spread and raised thighs. Andreas writhed and cried out his muffled cries through the briefs stuffed in his mouth as Al-Shabat worked his cock into the young Greek's channel. When he started to stroke Andreas' ass, he also started to flick his chest and thighs with the riding crop.

One of the bodyguards grabbed Cosmo's head and turned it to him, and Cosmo found and was forced to swallow the bruiser's cock.

This stopped fairly quickly, though, because Al-Shabat was crying out for help. Andreas had somehow broken free and was struggling with the Arab in the other room. The two bodyguards rushed to their master's aid. As they entered the bedroom, Cosmo jumped up from the chair and followed them. But only as far as the door to the bedroom, which he slammed behind them, turned the lock, forced the back of a chair under the knob, and raced for the door out into the hotel corridor.

* * * *

"I understand that you are concerned, Mr. Eracules. But you must realize that this is Beirut. This is a very . . . open, fluid situation here. Control is quite loose. There's only so much we can do."

"But I've told you who has taken my friend and where I last saw him. This wasn't in the back alleys of the cities. This was in one of your five-star hotels. And I would think that Jabir al-Shabat would be important enough for you to be able to find him."

"And did you and your friend solicit this attention? Were you offered money and accepted and only objected when it got too rough?" The suspicion hung heavily in the room, and Cosmo could help but blush at how close it struck home. He muttered a denial, but he could tell that the policeman didn't believe him.

"I'm sorry . . . you must understand. It is a common occurrence here. If you were seized from the casino, that is one thing. But if you and your friend willingly went to the room . . ."

Cosmo understood all too well. The Lebanese detective seemed to be both interested and sympathetic right up until the moment Cosmo said it was someone by the name of Jabir al-Shabat who held Andreas against his will. After he'd given the name, the detective only voiced sympathy.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Eracules. Young men like you need to take care of themselves in Beirut. This sort of thing is rampant and highly organized here-and all along the Mediterranean coast. And the men involved-"

"Rampant and organized?" Cosmo asked.

"Yes. Desirable-looking young people-both female and male-are commodities all across Northern Africa. Men who look young and yielding-like you do. There are brokers such as Pasha Omar in Alexandria, Egypt, who will pay handsomely for someone like you-and like this Andreas you have come here about."

"Pasha Omar, in Alexandria?" Cosmo asked. "And for high stakes."

The detective mentioned some typical sums and Cosmo whistled his surprise. It wasn't lost on him that the detective had named a particularly high price in describing someone like him. "And this Jabir al-Shabat is one of those brokers?"

"I can't say-I really shouldn't have said what I have. What I can say is that if you pursue this further, I'm afraid you will disappear as well. I can certainly send men to the Phoenicia Hotel. But the suite will be empty, and the hotel will claim that no Arab by that name had been booked there. This is Beirut. Everything is for sale. And if word got back to this Arab-if he exists-that he was being pursued by the authorities, it would not go well with your friend. He would be evidence of a crime. And I'm sorry to say that life is also held cheaply in this city."

There was no more satisfaction to be had, but Cosmo thought considerably on the issue when he left the police station with the detective and was walking to the man's apartment.

The detective had suggested that they pursue the question further at his nearby apartment and had named a good price.

As he had already said, everything in Beirut was for sale. He didn't really have to convince Cosmo of this. The bare hint that Cosmo himself was vulnerable to being arrested for solicitation would have been enough-but the man was good looking and hard-bodied-and had offered a good sum, which, in themselves, were enough for Cosmo.

The arrangement was actually consummated even before they left the police station. Having established that Cosmo was both willing and, himself, vulnerable to arrest, the detective locked the door to the interrogation room from the inside, sat back in his chair, and had Cosmo sit in his lap, facing him, and ride the cock, leveraging his rise and fall off the balls of his feet pressed into the cold concrete of the floor. Satisfied with the goods, the detective then took Cosmo to his small apartment, as offered, and fucked him expertly all night, expressing delight in how well Cosmo took the cock in various positions, and in the morning had a suggestion for the young Greek.

"I knew you were a whore. You take the cock too well and too readily. You would do well here in Beirut. Arabs have a particular liking for Greek boys. I would be happy to help you get established. The protection of a policeman here would be well worth your sleeping in my bed, say, one night a week. I could readily find customers for you."

Cosmo said he would think about it, but the next morning, after the policeman fed him breakfast and then his cock one more time, Cosmo showered and left the apartment. He knew he needed to be "set up" in some way, but he didn't fancy having another pimp, and he wasn't that impressed with Beirut. The city seemed to be holding its breath, on the brink of a civil war-which eventually did befall and destroy it. The detective had given him an idea on how he could take care of himself-by becoming a pimp himself.

He walked the waterfront, asking about any men who would like to sail with him on the yacht everyone was admiring in the marina and to do special work with him. Those gathering around the waterfront were basically an unsavory lot, so, by midafternoon he had engaged two beefy footloose sailors who were willing, not put off by the nature of work he said he was interested in, and looked like they were more than capable enough not only to take care of themselves but pretty much anyone else as well. One of them had heard of Pasha Omar and admitted to having been involved in that sort of work before. The other one fell into lust with Cosmo and could, Cosmo determined, be easily manipulated to do anything Cosmo asked him to do in exchange for an occasional fuck.

That evening he was back in the casino and had zeroed in on a young Frenchman who was willing to be taken back to the yacht and fucked-and not so willingly was locked in one of the smaller bedroom cabins. A very late visit to a gay bar yielded a young Englishman who was down on his luck and willing to take a ride on Cosmo's yacht and to be ridden by Cosmo until he too found himself locked in a cabin.

The sail to Alexandria was uneventful. Tracking Pasha Omar down and setting up trust and a mutually beneficial business arrangement was more of a chore. But with two handsome young European men to offer and the promise of more, Cosmo managed to get established.

He changed the name of the yacht to "The Apyko," which is Greek for "procurer," and was soon floating around the Mediterranean, stopping in ports where beautiful young men gathered, and acquiring only the cream of manhood to peddle to only the cream of jaded rich men. His detractors called what he did white slavery. He called it the natural progression in the hand life had dealt him. And he was always careful to establish that the young men he selected were amenable to sex with a man for money before he acquired them. What they did beyond the first sale was as much up to them and their ability to survive and prosper as it had been up to him. He had managed. He had no idea whether Andreas had and successfully managed not to dwell on that thought much through the decades.



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