Was that really him I’d seen at the graveside, I wondered. It was more than a glimpse and he looked at me in recognition, but then Julio had taken my elbow so possessively, so intent on showing how close he was to Avis and me--or to me, at least. When I’d given him his moment of recognition, I looked back at where I was sure I’d seen David. But he was gone. I pulled the collar of my coat up to my ears and shuddered. Fuckin’ long Chicago winters. Frozen stiff by the wind whipping off the lake. How did they manage to chip out a hole to put Avis in?

Not that Avis was in that coffin they were lowering. She’d wanted the pageantry and the attention of a full burial, but she wasn’t there. She’d been cremated and her ashes scattered on top of Pedernal Mountain in New Mexico from her beloved Piper Cub plane that she was fond of being photographed next to even if she’d never learned to fly. Thus, her ashes were being symbolically superimposed on those of Georgia O’Keefe. And it wasn’t because they had been buddies. Avis would do anything she could, even in death, to upstage O’Keefe.

Not that anyone here, but Julio and I, knew she wasn’t in this coffin. She had trusted me to reveal the truth when the sales of her art started to flag--when she needed a boost to connect her to O’Keefe. That was Avis. Always playing the angles, even beyond death. And nearly everything about her fake--except for her art. Her art was genuine, so far eclipsing mine that I’d stuck with her these last five years, living in her shadow, but gratefully so. Doing everything I could to soak up her skill and her inspiration.

Now I’d be flying solo. Or would be if it wasn’t for Julio, still standing close beside me, a “comforting” hand on an elbow. As if I were going to throw myself into the open grave in grief.

Avis would like that, I’m sure. But there were enough photographers around this gravesite to hold off the need to play the Pedernal Mountain ash dump for a couple of years.

There was truth in Avis’ art, I’d grant her that. But it wasn’t anywhere else that I could see in Avis’ vicinity. It certainly wasn’t in our five-year robbing-the-cradle marriage. That had been one of convenience from the start, me on the rebound from David and Avis thinking she needed to make the right statement. The statement had to be about men--and young and stylish men--as she’d had her name linked to a pro women’s tennis player, and Avis’ big art clients weren’t that liberal and forgiving. Her real issue was with men, but being hooked up with black truck driver types wasn’t seen as in her image interest either. The young up-and-coming artist out of the Savannah College of Arts and Design, SCAD, with the Old Family Charleston background, was just what she needed to rejuvenate her image.

The marriage was a sham from the beginning, of course, but I wanted a totally opposite reaction to the breakup with David, one of my professors at SCAD, and I wanted the further art development Avis would provide me without having taken into account how anyone walking into her shadow withered.

That there was no body in this coffin they were lowering into the ground was another lie, but also what Avis had died from was a lie. Yes, I guess it could be called consumption, but it was a consumption of men from truck cabs and off the street and from the AIDS one or more of them gave her. Not a glamorous way to go and not one that would write up well in her Wikipedia listing, so the tragic Victorian era malady of consumption was put into play. I certainly didn’t object. It wouldn’t mean that anyone would look at me as a sexual pariah now, and, at twenty-seven, I was in my sexual prime--and prime in my need for sex. I just never had had sex with Avis. We’d gotten drunk once and had started into it, but we both started to laugh, and it ruined the mood we both worked so hard to pretend was there.

And right at this moment, although I was managing--genuinely--a tear and a look of grief for the passing of my famous wife, what I really could use was being thoroughly laid.

As if sensing that, Julio, Avis’ Brazilian business manager and my sometimes lover, squeezed my elbow and leaned his head into mine, “Hold up for just a few more minutes, and we’ll be able to leave. I’ll take good care of you.”

“You always do,” I murmured back. And he did, in his overbearing way. Whereas Avis had gone through life assuming it was all about her and correctly taking for granted that her will would be accorded to, Julio was more demanding in his assertion of control. It worked with Avis, because they both essentially wanted the same thing--a well-oiled financial account--and neither could see the manipulation of the other. And it had worked with me to this point because I had a social contract with Avis that left me little breathing room and because I had a weakness for dominating men with big cocks. Julio fit that bill. To Avis, Julio was in the family. He was a safe lover for me.

But then, so had David been--he had left little breathing room for me when we were together. The reality probably was that I needed to have someone control me. Preferably a strong-willed, well-hung man, I now knew after five years of marriage to Avis.

I looked around the gravesite again, but I didn’t spy him. It was easier to look for him now than before, because, although the machine hadn’t hit bottom with the coffin yet, some of the mourners were already drifting away. There was a reception laid on at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown, centrally located on the shore of the lake, and everyone wanted to be the cause of the stragglers not getting full champagne glasses. Avis was a little optimistic, I thought, about how long she would be remembered in anything but the prices of her paintings now skyrocketing in the market. The people who came today were other artists likely to resent Avis’ new price structures rather than the rich Europeans and Asians who bought her art.

“Come here,” Julio called from the living room while I was taking off my coat in the foyer after the long drive back to Oak Park. Avis wanted to swirl in the lifestyle of Chicago, so we had a pied-à-terre there facing the lake, but she also wanted to “commune” with the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright for inspiration, so the main house was in Oak Park. Except when I was doing arm candy duty, I stuck to Oak Park, because it did, indeed, have a community of artists that wasn’t as full of themselves as Avis’ crowd was.

Julio also concentrated his management work in Oak Park, so more times than not, when Avis was entertaining a black bull stranger in our loft studio, Julio was fucking me here in Oak Park.

“On your knees,” he demanded when I walked into the living room. He already had his cock out and was holding it, although it looked fully capable of standing out erect on its own. “I know what you need right now,” he muttered.

As I knelt in front of him and took his cock in my mouth, strangely enough, I agreed with him. Sex at this moment was comforting. It also put off “what now?” discussions. He fucked me doggy style with my belly plastered to the arm of one of the sofas, my spread knees buried in the cushions of the sofa seat, and my head and arms dangling down to the carpet at the side of the sofa.

Julio was good--very good. And he was divinely equipped. He also was Latin and hirsute, which I had always found arousing. And he was controlling, demanding, rough, and just slightly cruel. I was lost to him when he was fully saddled, had reached down to cup my chin and arch my back up into his hairy chest, and was pumping me deep.

“Oh, shit yes, fuck me hard,” I cried out.

He laughed, knowing I was fully surrendered to him--yet again--and straightened up more on the sofa cushion, his thighs between mine. “Fuck yourself,” he muttered. “Show me how much you want it.” He had pulled nearly out to the surface--which was a long journey back out of my channel. With a sob of need and mindful of the intent to control and humiliate me--to establish who was dominant--I put my buttocks in motion. He held absolutely still as I pumped back on his cock until I could hold myself no more and ejaculated against the inside of the chair arm.

He left me bent over the sofa arm, walked over to the drinks cabinet, and poured himself a stiff scotch. He didn’t offer me one. It was as if he was going through the steps to assert total control over all aspects of my life.

So, this was how he intended it now, I thought. A move from paid manager into Avis’ place, but with full fucking rights.

“I think I should move in. You’ll need someone to take care of you now,” he said, as he sipped on his scotch.

I said nothing. I was still panting, having come--knowing he hadn’t come yet.

“We can think on arrangements, but I’ll pack a bag and bring it over tonight. We’ll sleep in your room for a while, but when we can get Avis’ things moved out of the master bedroom, that will be more suitable for us.”

Again I didn’t answer, but I turned my eyes to him. He’d stripped us both down. His body was magnificent. Mature, Zeus like. The dark hair swirling about his body arousing.

“You haven’t come yet,” I murmured.

“No, I haven’t,” he agreed.

I turned my body on the sofa to where I was sitting on the cushions. I took the cushion beside me and pushed it under the small of my back as I jutted my buttocks out beyond the front edge of the sofa. Then I grabbed, raised, and spread my legs. “Fuck me, daddy,” I whined. “Give me your cum.”

Laughing, he put his scotch glass down, came to me, crouched between my spread thighs, entered me strongly, and began to pump again in long, deep strokes that had me crying out for the cruelty of the cock.

I begged him to come inside me, but he laughed, withdrew, and ejaculated on my thighs.

I knew it would take total surrender to him sexually to mark my assent for him moving in and taking control of my life. But I hadn’t verbalized my agreement. And I didn’t intend to. As soon as he left to pack a suitcase and return, I went to the computer and started looking up long-term rentals. I didn’t know where I would look--other than Chicago--before I reached the computer, but, once there, I just naturally keyed in Savannah, Georgia, the image of David floating up into my consciousness.

* * * *

I woke at the sound of a snort. As my eyes flipped open, I assumed that had come from me. But then I realized it hadn’t. There was a well-muscled chocolate-brown arm laying across my chest--my naked chest--and there was nothing familiar about the part of the room I could see. It was close enough to dawn for me to pick out shapes if not exact colors. But this definitely was not the loft bedroom in the carriage house I was renting on Savannah’s Oglethorpe Square.

I turned my head toward where the snort had come from. God he was good looking. Maybe my age or a little older. Certainly not much older than thirty. I didn’t think he was full back, as his facial features were more European--and the skin tone was definitely milk rather than dark chocolate. We were both naked. I could tell that because he had his left leg bent and thrown over my midsection, the knee on my belly and the meat of his calf covering my genitals. His cock, flaccid, was pressed into my hip. I could feel the curly hair of his pubes but other than that his body seemed to be hairless--other than the hair on his head, which was shoulder length and done in dreadlocks. The arm laying over me was tattooed in a colorful design all the way down to his wrist and up to his shoulder and covering his left pectoral muscle.

OK, so I’d been fucked last night by a black man--a black man with a big tattoo. I’d never been fucked by a stranger before, let alone one with a big tattoo. I did been raised to think of such men as scary crazy. Being fucked at all didn’t happen all that often that I should be feeling so calm about it as I was. But I just couldn’t work up the concern. My head was throbbing whenever I concentrated on my pain centers, so I tried not to concentrate on my throbbing head. Not doing that brought out the soreness in my ass, my muscles there still contracting and expanding. That’s how I knew I’d been fucked. I knew how it felt to be fucked in the ass. This was it. And by something big.

He wasn’t at all the kind of man I’d usually go with. I hadn’t been with black men before. Julio was dark skinned--almost as dark as this man--but he was a Brazilian. This guy didn’t look like the black guys Avis liked to go with either. Other than the tattoo he wasn’t thuggish or poor-looking like Avis liked, but, God, he was built.

I felt a moment of panic. I couldn’t remember anything about what put me in this man’s bed. It certainly wasn’t my bed and it wasn’t a hotel room. It was some sort of studio apartment. Neat, but Spartan in furnishings. A working man’s place. The bed was only a double, and he wasn’t a small man, so him being almost on top of me probably was a necessity if we were both were going to be on the bed. There wouldn’t be much of a reason for us both to be on this bed if not for sex. And I knew we’d had sex--that he’d been inside me. And on top of me--and with vigor. Our bodies were knotted in sheeting. There still was a pillow under the small of my back. I was a bit sore, which only happened when the man was built big. My legs were slightly raised, my feet flat on the surface of the bed, and my legs were spread--a sure sign I’d been fucked and that he was built big. He was significantly longer than I was and heavier of body, although perfectly proportioned.

I was sore and confused enough that I didn’t want more this morning of whatever we did last night--although he was a real hunk and I regretted not having a memory of what we’d done last night and how we’d gotten here. I’d let him do me again, though--when my head was clear. He was that much of a hunk. A rain check. No, I’m not promiscuous. I’d just like to know what I missed.

I’d gone out in the early evening to meet David at a club. That much I remembered. I’d finally gotten up the courage to let David know I was in Savannah on a six-month house lease--just to get my bearings, I told myself. I’d at least pretended I wasn’t chasing David down now that I was free. When I called him, he professed delight that I was here, because he had something he wanted to propose to me. My first thought had been that he wanted me to move in with him and maybe I’d been precipitous to rent the carriage house in Savannah’s historical district near the river. But then something was in the back of my mind about that thought not having panned out. Something very disappointing. Something that made me angry--both at myself and at David.

Something, maybe that brought me to this black man’s bed. This black bull’s bed. I wasn’t able to help myself. I let a hand move to my hip and take the measure of his cock, a procedure that made me draw in breath. He’d had that inside me--surely even thicker and longer in erection. No wonder I was sore and my ass muscles were still having slight spasms. It was hardening just from my light touch.

He sighed in his sleep and the cock responded to me. I let loose of it like it was a hot potato.

As carefully as I could, I extricated myself from under his arm and leg. He snorted again but was asleep enough that he turned toward the wall, smacked his lips, and began a soft snore. He had his bare buttocks turned to me. They were bulbous and muscular, with deep hollows between the cheeks and hips. I resisted the urge to run my hand over them, and now I really regretted not remembering the sex.

I swung my legs over the side of the bed. A foot came down on swishing film. A spent condom on the floor. No, two spent condoms, both sea slug fat with contained cum. We must have had <i>some</i> night--and he must have worked hard to be as dead to the world as he was now.

Our clothes were in the center of the room--or most of them were. I didn’t see my briefs, but then I felt them on the bed where the heel of my hand was pressed into the mattress. I lifted the briefs. They had been ripped down the middle in the back. A memory flashed across my brain. Belly to bed with a heavy weight on top of me. The sound of ripping material and a deep laugh. An arm snaking under my waist, lifting me to my knees. My chest flat against the bed under the pressure of his chest. The initial searing pain of a cock the girth of a baseball bat entering me, through the slit in the briefs.

I dropped the briefs. He could have those as a souvenir if he was into such fetishes. He probably had a drawer full of ripped briefs from the men he had ravished.

Our clothes on the floor were mixed with each other. His trousers and polo shirt were of as good quality and name brand as my trousers and dress shirt. We obviously had undressed quickly, though, anxious to be on the bed--him anxious to be inside me; me anxious to have him inside me. I felt no bruising other than the sore channel. He hadn’t forced me--hadn’t been violent. Of that I was sure. I had wanted to be here--to be with him.

Something about David. There was some reason why I’d drunk too much, had wanted this black hunk to fuck me too much.

I almost fell down when I stood up from the bed. My legs were cramped. I’d had this feeling before after sex with a guy--a guy who had held my legs spread and raised and pumped me interminably. All of the signs were that I had been totally taken by this black bull--both from the back and from the front. If I wasn’t so freaked out at not remembering much of anything from the previous night . . .

But I wasn’t really promiscuous. I could count on the fingers of one hand the men I’d slept with in my life, starting with David and ending with . . . whoever this black bull was. This was all unfamiliar and scary ground for me--the part of having different partners--I’d slept with David and Julio on too many occasions to count. Best thing would be if I managed a retreat without him waking up. And then forget this ever happened. Not that I could remember what happened.

I found myself on East Jones Street when I found the stairs and descended to the street. The studio apartment I’d left was over a gray-stone double garage in what had been a carriage house to a larger house, now gone, and replaced by four wooden shotgun houses. I wasn’t in one of the better parts of town, but I was still within the edge of the old city. And I’d lived in Savannah before, while attending SCAD, and some of the college buildings were on West Jones across town from here in a tonier section, so, once I saw the intersection of East Jones and Price Street, running north-south, I had some idea where I was.

I was nearly twenty blocks from home and on a side of the city I’d rarely have reason to be in--the rundown side of the historical district.

Savannah had been laid out in straight-line streets within a pattern of thirty park squares. The squares now had been reduced to twenty-two squares, with the line of squares on both the east and west side of the pattern having disappeared over time. I was on the east edge, where squares were missing. My rented carriage house, on Oglethorpe Square, was in the middle of the second line of squares from the river and thus in the center of the historical district and in the high-rent district. It also, unfortunately, was nearly twenty blocks toward the river from where I was standing, so I was going to have to hoof it a good way. I didn’t have a car in Savannah; most here didn’t keep a car in the downtown area.

I started off, headed north, toward the Savannah River, on Price Street, but within a couple of blocks, I cut west into the center of the historical district because Price Street wasn’t looking too safe. I’d only gone those two blocks, though, when I saw a sign over a step-down door in an old brick building. The sign advertised a bar, Louie’s, which was familiar to me. And then I started remembering how the previous night had unfolded so that by the time I got to Oglethorpe Square I had most of it worked out.

David had told me to meet him for drinks at 8:00 p.m. at a bar--a gay bar, it turned out--named Louie’s. He had given me directions. I took a pedicab there, giddy with anticipation of hooking up with David, my old SCAD professor and lover, again. I had realized within days of retreating to Savannah from Chicago that this was what I wanted--to return to David’s bed, which I had abandoned when I married Avis. I wanted the SCAD life again. I wanted to live under David’s protection again. I even had visions of teaching art there. I had learned so much from Avis, and my connection with her would help me anywhere I went in the art world.

David was already there when I arrived. So was Kevin, a young, willowy, more pretty than handsome blond student at SCAD. That’s how David introduced Kevin to me--as one of the students at the college. All it took was to watch them interact and the way they touched each other and inclined their faces to each other as they spoke to know that Kevin wasn’t just David’s student. Kevin was also being fucked by David. I could clearly see that, because six years previously, I had been Kevin. And being fucked by David most likely meant living with David too. That’s what it had meant for me my last year at SCAD. SCAD was so liberal, eclectic, and off beat that no one raised an eyebrow--at least to my face--when I had moved in with David.

Within fifteen minutes of my arrival at the bar, David had a hand on Kevin’s thigh and they had kissed. It was obvious that David was making a statement about David and me. That’s when I stopped counting my drinks. It hadn’t occurred to me that I’d grown too old for David to be interested in--until now.

It didn’t take David long to tell me why he wanted to meet. “There’s a lecturer’s position for you at SCAD, Ethan, if you are interested. That’s why I came to Avis’ funeral in Chicago. I had a proposition for you, but I chickened out, deciding that hitting you with an offer when you were burying your wife was the worst of taste. I was going to send you a letter, but here you are in Savannah already. You contacted me.”

Burying my wife. David was talking like he didn’t know that I was gay and that my marriage had been one of convenience. I left Savannah, sure, but just because I married Avis hadn’t meant that David and I couldn’t continue sleeping together. He was the one who declared that our arrangement had to stop dead in its tracks. He’d been the one who introduced me to Avis. In hindsight, it almost was as if he had purposely jettisoned me--that he had been handing me off. In that sense, he had deserted me rather than me leaving him. He just resented someone other than him directing my life, even if he’d been the catalyst in that happening.

“A lecturer position?” I asked. “That sounds interesting. I wouldn’t mind teaching a course on the Impressionists. Maybe their sense of color and light.”

“We rather thought you could teach one on Avis’ work,” David said. “Having her husband teaching such a course would be a draw for students, we thought.”

Teaching Avis’ work. Remaining in the shadow of Avis. I’d done all of this preparation in my own field and what I was wanted for was my connection with Avis. It was one thing to use her as cachet to get a position, but it was another thing altogether to continue living in full service to her glory.

That’s when I ordered my third drink.

I was somewhat blurry eyed when a handsome, well-built black man came over to our table and greeted David as an old friend. David made the introduction. “Ethan, this is the Louie of this bar’s name. He’s a sculptor at SCAD too. A very old friend. Louie, this is Ethan Pender. I’ve told you about him. He was one of my best students--and closest friends--before Avis Blair stole him from me and took him off to Chicago.”

“One of your closest friends?” Louie asked in a smooth deep bass voice, turning a winning smile toward me and taking my hand in a firm and prolonged grip. He was one of the most handsome black men I’d ever seen--certainly of those who had dreadlocks down to their shoulders. I didn’t think I’d ever be attracted to a black man with dreadlocks, but on him they looked good and natural. The same with the tattooing that showed through the white, gauzy, tight-fitting polo shirt stretching over a heavily muscled chest. The tattooing was in several vibrant colors and covered his left arm, shoulder, and pectoral muscle. I’d always thought of tattooing as being gang member related, but on him it looked sexy and stylish. And a little dangerous and adventuresome. “How close?” he asked.

“Very close,” David said, giving Louie a wink.

This was a gay bar. David had his hand on Kevin’s crotch who, in turn, had an accepting hand on David’s hand. The signaling going on between David and Louie on the relationship I’d once had with David was blatant--as, I’m sure, was the declaration that David no long had a reservation on me.

“Ethan has just come back to Savannah,” David continued, “and has, he has told me, taken a six-month lease on a carriage house. I’m trying to convince him to do some lecturing at SCAD. He’s a SCAD graduate and an artist in his own right in addition to having studied with Avis Blair.”

And married to Avis Blair, my mind screamed, but obviously David didn’t want to muddy the waters on possibilities and preferences. I knew David quite well. I knew what he was doing. He was trying to pass me off. He knew I’d come back to reconnect with him and that wasn’t in his plans.

Well, fuck David. I tossed off my third drink, as he finished what he had to say. “Nearly everyone Ethan knew here before has moved on. I’m sure he could benefit from making new contacts and friends--having someone to take him on. Ethan is very good . . . a very good friend.”

Fuck you in spades, David. I can find my own hookups, thank you very much.

“That would be the distinct pleasure of anyone lucky enough to do that,” Louie answered, giving me that stark-white-toothed smile in a handsome chocolate-brown face again. “But look, Ethan--and Kevin here too--need refills. I think a round on the house is in order.”

I remembered waving David and Kevin good-bye sometime later--flashing a flip of the bird to David that I was pretty careful not to let him see--and moving to the bar with Louie for another round of drinks. And I remember Louie standing very close to me at the bar. I dredged up the memory of Louie’s hand on my butt and then Louie’s hand on my crotch as he brought on another drink for me.

I remember him saying he wanted to fuck me. I don’t remember saying yes, but I obviously I did.

And then I really couldn’t remember much of anything else before waking up in Louie’s bed in a studio apartment above a double carriage house garage in an alley behind shotgun houses on East Jones and Price Streets.

* * * *

“Have you thought about the offer on the SCAD lecture position?” David was calling me two days after “the night,” giving me time not only to think things out but also to get over both my seethe and my hangover. It was a good thing he had given me the time, because I was thinking more rationally now. Sure I had credentials of my own, but the relationship with Avis was my golden chip to placement, and there was every reason to start into a job that paid and still allowed me time to paint even if it still was in Avis’ shadow.

“I’d be happy to lecture on Avis’ work,” I answered. “But I’d also like to lecture on other topics closer to my own work.”

“We can start with a seminar on Avis and Native American abstractism and see where we can fit you in on color and light, maybe next semester, if you’re still here. I hear you had quite a night with Louie.”

I didn’t answer straight off. How in the hell did he know what kind of time I’d had with Louie? I didn’t even know what I grand time I’d had with Louie. “I can’t say,” I answered, truthfully. “I was drunk out of my mind. I have no idea how the night went.”

“Louie thought it went quite fine. In fact, he said he was looking forward to hearing from you--which is a word to the wise. From what I know, he’s not going to call you. If you’re going to get with him again, you need to call him.”

“Then I guess that won’t go any further,” I answered icily. “I don’t chase men.” Then I wanted to bite my tongue. I’d come back to Savannah to chase David--and there was little doubt that David knew that. He didn’t press home the point, though, which wasn’t like David. He could be a little tiger in pulling out his little victories. I’m sure he was flattered that I’d tried to come back to him.

But he must really have wanted me to lecture on Avis, because he just signed off, telling me to come around anytime in the next couple of days to make arrangements on the lectures. I went over to SCAD the next day, as I was anxious to get started on something useful. I had roamed my small carriage house for two days trying my best to dredge up the experience of having been fucked by Louie. Every evidence I’d seen indicated I’d had a good time. I just couldn’t remember it.

Still, I was trying to resist hooking up with any man that David had thrown at me as some sort of diversion from him and consolation prize.

That proved to be even harder than I could imagine. And imagination was driving me crazy with this man--what had he done with and to me the other night? And was it as satisfying as my imagination was telling me it was?

After I’d talked with David and set up starting with a half-credit course on Native American abstractism, as modeled by Georgia O’Keefe and Avis Blair, in a month’s time to allow me to pull the material together, I decided to roam the art department of SCAD to refamiliarize myself with what was there. I told myself that I wasn’t looking for Louie Boutan, even though David had told me that he was in sculpting studio and also told me how I could get to the studio.

Surprise, surprise, my walk through the department led me to the sculpting studio. He was working in marble on what could already be seen to be a kissing couple. The two were androgynous enough to be taken as a man and woman, which most beholders would automatically do, but folks like me would see two men. He was being very clever in his execution of the piece.

And he was quite a piece himself. He was using an electric stonecutter’s saw that was making a loud-buzzing racket that made me run my tongue over my filings to assure myself none of them needed work done on them--or even now were having work done on them. He was dancing around the hunk of marble from which the heads and hands of the couple had emerged but nothing below yet and was wearing just athletic shorts, sandals, and a safety mask. Both his body and his movements were graceful and sensual, and my body ached for the touch of him. It took him several minutes to realize I was standing there, and I can’t say that one of my hands hadn’t gone to my crotch in the interval.

When he did see me, he turned off the saw, bringing in an eerie silence; lifted the mask; turned full, divine frontal to me; and smiled.

“You found me again,” he said in the smooth bass of his. “I wondered if you would after you left me without a good-bye the other morning. You left me confused. I’d thought you’d had a good time. I certainly did.”

“I was drunk as a skunk,” I replied. “Honestly, I can’t remember much of that night.”

“Honestly, I fucked you to heaven. You were crying that you couldn’t get enough of me. Wore me out, but you’re an ultra good lay.”

“I got the part about wearing you out. You were dead to the world when I left.”

“I guess the three spent condoms told you why we both were worn out.”

“Three? I must have missed one.”

“I don’t think you missed much of anything. You grabbed me and pulled me inside you the third time.”

“I can’t speak for how I acted with you. I’m not really promiscuous. I don’t just go home with a man like that right after I’d met him.”

“You could have fooled me. You were wild for it. I didn’t realize you were so far gone on the booze that you wouldn’t remember what we did. We practically swung on the chandelier. You wore my dick out.”

“Well,” I said, looking around the studio. “You certainly don’t hold back, do you?”

“I fuck men. David told me you were a great lay. You came to me--to my gay bar. You wanted me to fuck you right there, in the bar. I had trouble getting you home before you jumped my bones. But I found out that David was right; you were a great lay. Is there really any reason to hold back? You did let me fuck you--in fact, I could almost say that you fucked me, you wanted it so bad. And I want to fuck you again.”

I cleared my throat and tried to act like he hadn’t even said that. Maybe he’d get the message that he was pushing too hard, taking too much for granted. “I’ve just signed on to teach a class and was looking around the facility. I went to school here, but so much has changed in the last six years.”

“Are you changing the subject because you regretted what we did the other night or because you’re afraid I’ll fuck you on the table over there and you’ll love every thrust of it?”

I looked away from him. I couldn’t look at his gorgeous body for another moment without starting to tremble. “I don’t know. Maybe I’ll know some day and tell you which. But not today.”

With that, I turned and fled the studio with as much dignity as I could muster. The buzzing of the saw started up again while I was still well in earshot of it.

Rather than walking the dozen blocks, through shaded squares, back to the river and to my carriage house on Oglethorpe Square, I walked south, toward Forsyth Park, a large two-block wide and six-block long park that started up where the historical district with the squares ended to the south.

What Louie had said to me back there made me hornier than hell. But pride had kept me from laying down for him right there in the studio. What if I’d done so and he’d just laughed at me?

I found myself standing in Monterey Square and looking in the window of a bookstore without, for several minutes, focusing on the books in the window. When I did, I saw that the display was taken up almost entirely with copies of John Berendt’s Savannah nonfiction novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, that was set right here in this square. The book was a novelized version of the murder of a gay prostitute by an antiques dealer and leading social figure in Savannah at the time, Jim Williams, in a house on the square originally owned by the family of the songwriter Johnny Mercer. Kevin Spacey had famously played the Jim Williams role in the movie. The house and square had become a tourist attraction, and this bookstore obviously fed that attraction.

Looking beyond the books, into the interior of the store, my eye caught that of a handsome man, probably in his early forties, who was sitting behind a desk and smiling at me. He looked familiar. I walked into the store.

“Hello, are you looking for a copy of the Berendt book?” he asked. “You were staring hard at the books in the window.”

After the encounter with Louie, which had aroused me to a hard that I still had and flights of fancy of Louie working my body hard, I was looking for something. I didn’t think it was a copy of Berendt’s book, though.

Neither did the proprietor of the bookstore. And, almost as if he were reading my mind, he said, “Or were you looking for me so you could say yes to the question I asked you?”

I gave him what must have been a really dumb look. I hadn’t asked him a question yet.

“My name is Tyler. We met briefly a few nights ago--at Louie’s. You seemed interested at the time; I thought you were going to say yes to my proposition in the men’s room. I thought the kiss and mutual feel up had sealed the deal. You’ve got a great body; you said you liked what I was packing. But when you went back to the bar a black bull took you away. Did you come looking for me? Unfinished business?”

I didn’t remember him in the slightest, but there didn’t seem to need to be any dancing around if we’d gotten as far as he said we had at Louie’s--and I hadn’t come looking for him, but I didn’t say that. I had a raging need. He already had unzipped and had his cock out. It would do the job nicely.

Tyler lived in an apartment above his bookshop. We fucked on his bed. He was much into sixty-nine positions and a lot of touching. By the time he got around to spiking me, the buildup had been so prolonged that it was thrust, thrust, thrust and he’d filled the bulb of his condom. We lay there stretched out along each other then, with one of his arms embracing me, his other hand slowly jacking me to eventual release, and his face close to mine, giving me what I’m sure he thought were deep, meaningful looks.

“Come for me, baby,” he was repeating over and over again as a droning mantra. “Come for me, baby.”

It was an effort to come for him--until I shut my eyes and conjured up Louie--but of course I told him it was all good for me and of course I would visit him again. I even bought a copy of the Berendt book. I’d enjoyed Kevin Spacey in the movie. I’d always wondered about Spacey. I would have gone with him in a flash, if he’d asked me to.

But I knew I wouldn’t visit Tyler again. All the time we were sucking each other off and he was gliding his hands over my body, I was thinking of a more vigorous, rough, impassioned, total fuck--one that my imagination kept telling me that Louie had already given me--and would again if I could just get over the irritation that it had been arranged by David.

* * * *

It was as dark as a witch’s twat at 2:00 a.m. in the shadows of an alley with a view line of the door to Louie’s bar on Price Street. I should have been mugged more than once for where I was at this time of night, but mercifully I wasn’t. I hadn’t drunk anything, but I felt high. I didn’t want anything to get between me and full knowledge of what was happening.

I was waiting for Louie to leave the bar and lock the door behind him. And I wanted to be sure he was alone. If he wasn’t, if he had another guy with him, I’d just have to do this again--and again and again--until it would be just Louie and me.

When he came out of the bar, he was alone. I followed him the two blocks to his studio apartment in the carriage house over a garage off East Jones. I let him enter his door and counted to sixty before I approached it and knocked.

His eyes opened wide but his mouth went into a big grin when he saw it was me.

“I’ve decided,” I said. “I want you to fuck me, hard, on the table. I want to know everything you do to me this time. And I want you to do everything to me.”

We were both hard before we got to the top of the stairs, where we pulled at each other’s clothes, paying no attention to the sounds of ripping, as we kissed, tongues swabbing each other’s tonsils. I went right down on my knees in front of him when he pushed down on my shoulders after he’d gripped both of our cocks in a strong, beefy hand and had stroked them together. I attempted to swallow him whole, but no amount of swallowing, unhinging my jaw, and gagging was going to help me manage the girth and length of the black cock. For some reason, that made me exhilarated. I knew where else that staff soon would be buried.

Laughing, he pulled me up and tossed me onto his bed. We went immediately into a sixty-nine suck, but it wasn’t like what Tyler and I had done in any sense of the word. We wrestled and rolled around, possessing and working cock and balls hard and eating each other’s ass out to hear how deep the moans and groans were that we could illicit from each other.

And, at length, Louie jumped off the bed, grabbed my ankles, flipped me around to where I was crosswise on the double bed, my ass on the edge. I lay there, panting and looking at his magnificent body and mammoth erection as he rolled on a condom and wet his dick and my hole with lube. I hardly had enough time to grab a pillow and stuff it under the small of my back to give him a deep-fuck angle, when I was arching my back, rolling my head up to stare at the edge of the ceiling above me, and crying out my need, my surrender, the glorious pleasure-pain, as he brutally grasped my ankles, jerked my legs open and raised, thrust inside me, and began to pump hard and deep.

This was it. This was the way I wanted it. Hard, deep, vigorous, forever.

“Was this it? Was it like this the first time?” I cried out.

“Yes, you were just as wild for it the first time.”

“Oh shit, oh Christ, oh FUCK ME!”

Two fuckings later, as the tendrils of dawn light stole into the room; both of us still breathing heavily; neither of us thinking we were finished for the day; my back plastered against the wall by Louie’s body, with my knees hooked on his hips; Louie still deep inside me, throbbing, ready to start pumping again, he murmured, “Welcome back to Savannah.”

My answer was a very satisfied, “I guess I’ll have to look into extending my lease.”



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