Herb went to Baltimore's Mount Vernon Stable and Saloon on North Charles Street several blocks up from the inner harbor fairly often for lunch. He didn't go there for the food, although it was good. He went there, first, because he didn't want to see any of his coworkers at Dunstan and Dunstan outside of the nearby office at Franklin and West Liberty and the Mount Vernon S and S was just edgy enough that none of the stuffed shirts in Dunstan and Dunstan were likely to come in here. And second, he came here for lunch exactly for its edginess. This was a gay- and lesbian-friendly establishment, but it was also popular enough with straights that you wouldn't be categorized if you were seen eating lunch here.
And Herb Dunstan didn't want to be categorized at least in that way. And he'd been very careful not to reveal that he had preferences in that direction. He lived the perfect advertising firm vice president life (with every hope of being president when his father kicked off): a trophy wife; two glowing, bright children the requisite older boy and younger girl; a big house in the planned community of Colombia, located half way between Baltimore and the nation's capital; a Lexus SUV for her and Mercedes sedan for him; a floppy dog of indeterminate breeding; and one and a half cats. (No one was really sure that their family could lay full claim to the roving tom, Luther.)
But Luther wasn't the only roving tom in the Dunstan family. Herb was a cruiser, and he had done most of his cruising while out of town on business trips. But there hadn't been a business trip in some months now, and he found himself looking over the clientele of the downstairs bar at the Mount Vernon with more speculation and anticipation than usual.
The ham and rye sandwich was history and the ash tray in front of him at the bar was four butts deep when his attention was arrested by the inviting visage of a young man entering the bar and ordering up a beer.
He was Hispanic and carried himself with confidence. A little on the thin side, at least through the hips, but with a pretty deep chest and strong thighs. He was in well-pressed jeans and a plaid flannel shirt. He looked like he worked with his hands, though, so Herb decided he had slicked himself up to come into the Mount Vernon. All alone and taking a good look around him at the pickings. His eyes met Herb's and he smiled. Herb smiled back and the young man was beside him at the bar.
Herb's glass was empty when the bartender turned and set the Hispanic's beer down in front of him and now beside Herb.
'I'll take another Coke, and this will cover that and my friend here's beer,' Herb said, laying a twenty down on the top of the bar.
'Thanks, man,' the Hispanic said to him with a big smile. 'But you're drinking Coke, man? That ain't no man's drink.'
'I'm plenty man enough,' Herb said, going straight for the opening. 'But I haven't had a hard drink in two years.'
'Health?' the Hispanic responded, trying to show interest and concerned together in light of the free beer.
'In a way,' Herb answered. 'I'm an alcoholic. My wife says I'm so obsessive about everything that I'm not really addicted to alcohol; I'm addicted to addiction.'
'Your wife?' the Hispanic said, his eyes already starting to shop the room again.
'Yes, I'm married,' Herb responded in a steady voice. 'But I won't let that bother me if you won't let it bother you.' Once again getting right down to business. If the young man wasn't interested, Herb would move on. He might even go back to work, although he was hoping that he wouldn't be returning to the office this afternoon.
'Hey, OK with me,' the young man answered, still feeling beholden for the free beer. 'My name's Manuel, but you can call me Manny.'
Manuel sat there, expecting a name in return from Herb. It wasn't forthcoming.
'Hello, Manny. You've just about polished off that beer. Ready for another one?'
Manuel was ready for another one. He was a little nervous. The Mount Vernon was a little upscale for him.
Herb quickly ordered another beer and slapped another twenty down on the bar. He lit up another cigarette off of the previous one as the bartender took the empty beer stein away and scooped up the twenty. The twenties weren't really for the bartender, though. They were for Manuel to see and absorb, and he was quick enough to get the point.
Manuel looked at the quickly filling ash tray. 'Did you smoke all of those?' he asked nervously, not knowing where to take the conversation from here. Just saying the first thing that came into his mind.
'Yeah. I guess you can say that's the habit I moved to from the liquor. I need to kick that as well. But I can quit anytime I want to.'
Manuel gave Herb a searching look. If he could go cold turkey on liquor, maybe he could do that with cigarettes to. Manuel could sense the steeliness in Herb.
Herb moved right on with his plan for the day. He didn't have all day to set this up. 'Work nearby, do you, Manny?'
'Not too far,' Manuel responded. 'Down in the harbor. I work the docks, helping to unload whatever comes into the harbor this far.'
'Done that for long, have you? You look like you've muscled up a good bit.' Always the 'get to it' edge in Herb's approach to projects.
'Yeah. All over the world. I was working in Turkey recently. I got this puzzle ring there. Do you like it?'
'Yes, I like everything I see, Manny.'
Somewhat nonplused at Herb's innuendos, Manuel took the ring off his finger, and jangled its segments apart. It came apart in six strands that were still connected at the base.
'Watch this. I can put it back together real quick.' Manuel concentrated hard on manipulating the strands of the ring back in place, while Herb lit up another cigarette and then concentrated on looking at Manuel's butt and at the young man rippling his muscles as his hands danced on the silver metal of the ring.
When he had the ring back together, Manuel looked up with a grin of triumph.
'There, see, it's easy.'
'Yes, I see that,' Herb responded. 'No, let me slide it back on.' And Herb did slide it back on but then, while holding Manuel's palm in one of his own hands, he slid the ring up and down, suggestively, on Manuel's finger. Manuel screwed up his face in embarrassment. But he didn't take his hand away. Herb pushed the ring to the root of the finger and then slid two of his own finger tips back to the tip of Manuel's strong, callused finger.
He then slowly reached into his pocket and took his wallet out again, extracted a fifty, and laid it on the top of the bar, close to Manuel.
'Umm, I'm not sure I need another beer, at least not yet,' Manuel stammered.
'The fifty's not for the bartender, Manny. Are you a top or a bottom?'
Manuel looked a little shocked, but then he looked hard at that fifty. 'Umm, either . . . sometimes . . . I guess.' He was fishing for the answer Herb might want.
'Well, I'm a top, Manny. The fifty's for you if you'll take what I give without question and you do it right now, this afternoon.'
Herb had already booked a room at the Galaxy Hotel just up the street, which rented rooms by the hour. He had rented a room there on three previous occasions but hadn't had a lunch turn out like this before and had yet to need the hotel room. And, of course, he didn't get back to the office that afternoon.
They were barely inside the door to the small hotel room, when Herb kicked it shut and had his hands all over Manuel, busily stripping Manuel down to the skin. Then he had Manuel down on the floor in all fours just there between the bed and the door and he had his tongue in the young man's butt cleavage and a hand milking a nice brown dong to the tune of Manuel's grunts and moans. Manuel heard the scrunch of a zipper being lowered and then his moans turned into cries of surprise and initial pain as Herb covered Manuel's back with his chest the brown dock worker fully naked; the advertising executive still nearly fully clothed and took him hard and deep right there on the floor with a thick, throbbing rod. Herb was filling Manuel almost beyond capacity before he was fully prepared. He cried out, initially in pain, and then in passion, as Herb stroked him hard and fast, finding every sensitive inch of the younger man's passage walls, fucking him with obsession and a fury of pent-up need. At first Manuel endured because of the fifty already lying on top of the night stand, waiting for him to earn it. But after a while, he began to love Herb's cock for itself and for the passion it brought out of him and the release it brought him as he had never felt with a woman. The fifty was still an incentive to take the pounding, but it increasingly wasn't what was holding him here and that would bring him back if he pleased Herb.
After Herb had pumped Manuel's ass to frenzied completion and stroked the young man to his own finish, Herb took his own clothes off and the two of them removed themselves to the bed for a slower, more languid side-splitting fuck, with the finish coming with Manuel on his back, holding onto the headboard slots for dear life, as Herb, his thighs under the young's man's butt cheeks, stroked relentless in and out of Manuel's stretched ass chute.
When Herb had had his fill, he lay there on the bed, smoking, while he watched Manuel put his clothes back on, make sure he had the fifty in his pocket, and respond affirmatively to Herb's offer more a near demand of a follow-up meeting the next week.
For the next several months, this was to be the routine. They would meet in the hotel room, and Herb would ravish Manuel on the floor, up against the wall, on the straight chair, bent over the bed, or in the shower, and then they would go to the bed for a slower, more spun-out fuck showing that Herb was a champion at endurance and vigor. At first it was once a week, but it soon became twice a week, and then three times. And Manuel slowly noticed that Herb no longer was smoking as much and then that he had given it up altogether.
Herb also showed a continuing interest in Manuel's Turkish puzzle ring. Manuel would take it off his finger and jangle it loose and Herb would almost compulsively try to put it back together again while Manuel was dressing to leave. Manuel never showed Herb the solution to the problem, though, even though Herb asked him to. In all else, Herb dominated Manuel; but Manuel held out on the issue of the ring. He would show Herb what he was doing but would quickly move through the strategic step that brought all six of the strands back into an alignment that made the ring a ring. And then he wouldn't give Herb sufficient direction to figure it out. The puzzle of the ring became almost an obsession with Herb. And after a few months it seemed as if Herb was spending more time struggling with the ring than he was fucking Manuel.
It was Herb's wife, however, who brought the liaison to a conclusion. Herb was spending more and more time away from home, and more and more of their money was going unaccounted for. Herb's wife assumed it must be another woman. Herb was very attractive and a great lover and he was a good catch. He'd inherit the presidency of Dunstan and Dunstan some day, and there obviously was some bimbo at the office who had decided to cash in on him. Herb's wife could come to this conclusion because that's exactly how she had gotten Herb away from his first wife.
Herb had always wanted a sailboat and had a fantasy of sailing the length and breadth of the nearby Chesapeake Bay. Herb's wife splurged and bought him a sailboat for his next birthday. They berthed it in Easton, Maryland, and, increasingly, Herb could be found away from the office and on the bay in his sailboat. Sailing became his new obsession.
Manuel was no dummy. He sensed weeks before Herb said a final good-bye to him that the 'fifties' money tree was about to tumble. Herb cut their meetings to twice weekly and than once and then only every other week. And increasingly Herb talked about sailing on the Chesapeake Bay as he was trawling Manuel's ass with his cock.
On their last day together, Herb was running at the mouth, his eyes sparkling, about the new sail he'd gotten for his boat and how this meant he could sail farther down the Chesapeake.
When Manuel had dressed and looked regretfully at what undoubtedly was the last easy fifty he was to receive, he just blew Herb a kiss and left the room, leaving Herb still naked and stretched out on the bed.
Herb looked over and saw that Manuel had forgotten his Turkish puzzle ring. It was lying on the nightstand all jangled out. Herb picked it up and started working it, trying to get it to fit together, obsessively lost in a puzzle he could not solve, working up to a headache.
As Manuel walked down five flights of stairs to the seedy lobby of the Galaxy Hotel and out toward the docks of Baltimore's harbor, he smiled to himself. He hadn't forgotten the ring. And he most certainly hadn't forgotten not to tell Herb how to put it together.