"Welcome to Key West, Mr. Jabril. You were quick getting out of the airport. Tuesdays are good days for traveling here."

Scotty was standing there on the curb outside the baggage claim area at the Key West air terminal much like last time and the time before that. He was leaning up against a red Jaguar XK-8 convertible and looking oh so preppy: spiky frosted hair, blue blazer over pink Polo shirt, white Ferrari Chino trousers, and brown loafers, polished up to a mirror shine. His smile was open and mischievous.

"Ah, you remembered me." It wasn't so much a pleased expression as it was a "You damn well better have remembered what I looked like" expression.

In contrast to Scotty's preppy blondness, Jabril was olive-skinned and dark haired. And muscular in contrast to Scotty's graceful litheness.

"Want to take a ride?"

Jabril didn't answer, and, indeed, Scotty didn't need an answer. He was here to pick Jabril up from the airport and deliver this luxury convertible. Of course he wanted a ride. It was just what Scotty said every time he picked someone up at the airport.

Jabril folded himself into the passenger seat, while Scotty folded his suit bag and computer case in the car's tiny trunk, came around to the driver's side, and slid in.

Most travelers flying into Key West rented a Mustang convertible. That was the standard rental of the Florida key. It had once been Chrysler Sebring convertibles, but tastes had changed in the past decade. And it was precisely because every other temporary driver on Key West seemed to be driving a Mustang convertible that Jabril had chosen a Jaguar. He had to pay a lot more at the Exotic Car Express than at Hertz, but it was worth the distinction from other travelers and it had its perks. He looked over at Scotty, his hair ruffling in the wind, his aviator sunglasses setting off his young, handsome face.

Scotty was just one of the perks. Scotty drove the Jag east around Roosevelt Boulevard, which semicircled the eastern edge of the key, turned west on Flagler and then north on Kennedy toward the eastern harbor and the baseball stadium. Just short of the baseball stadium he turned into the small, one-story building with the sign, "Exotic Car Express" over the plate-glass window and showing a Mercedes convertible on the showroom floor and drove back around behind the three-bay service wing off the showroom. He pulled in close to the building, turned the engine off, and lifted a set of keys to dangle between him and Jabril.

"The keys to the house are here too. Same place as last time."

As he held the keys out, Jabril held a fat envelope out and the two exchanged their treasures.

"Count it," Jabril said.

"I'm sure it's there. $1,500, right?"

"Right. I'll be back by 11:00 in the morning on Thursday. I have a flight at 12:30. You'll drive me to the airport." It wasn't a request.

"Yeah, sure," Scotty said as he opened the driver's door.

"Aren't you forgetting something?"

"Yeah, right." Scotty got out of the car, but only long enough to take off his blazer and lay it down on the fender of the Jag. While he did so, Jabril moved the passenger seat back as far as it would go and reclined it. Scotty got back in the driver's seat; titled the steering wheel up as high as it would go; and, swiveling toward Jabril, unzipped Jabril's trousers and fished out his plump cock.

Jabril kicked off his right shoe and propped his foot up to where the windshield met the edge of the car door. Using his hands, he guided Scotty's head down into his lap and groaned a deep groan as Scotty's lips opened over the bulb of his cock and slid down the sides of his engorging shaft.

After a few minutes, in a voice thick with satisfaction, Jabril whispered, "Suck my balls too."

* * * *

Jabril had donned stark-white Jocko David shorts with a Jocko mesh muscle shirt on top and white Crocs loafers to drive from the house on Virginia Street he'd been given the keys to just the few short blocks to the Bourbon Street Pub on Duval. He parked right out in front of the club by the fire hydrant and revved the engine before turning the car off, knowing that the men gathering around the entrance to the club would take notice of what he was driving and then, when he got out of the Jag, what he was wearing. And how good he looked in it.

He knew he looked good. He'd spent quite some time picking these clothes out and hiding them away for this occasion. His dusky skin, swarthy good looks, and well-cut body were set off perfectly in these clothes.

He was propositioned twice on his way into the club, but he brushed them both away with a smile. These guys looked like they wanted the same thing he did.

He bellied up to the bar, ordered a beer, and swiveled around to take in the scene while he waited for the drink to arrive. Even though it was a weekday night, the crowd was pretty good - and very good looking. Men were at the tables, making out and making deals. Men were on the dance floor, rocking against each other and fondling whatever they could grasp. And there was a cute young trick playing the pole at the other end of the bar.

Guys were brushing past Jabril and giving him the eye. He was giving a disinterested look back at most, but some of the smaller, cuter guys were getting smiles and meaningful looks back. The guys with piercings - not everywhere, but on the eyebrows and promising nipple rings as discerned under tight Ts - got special scrutiny. It didn't take long for the guys swirling around Jabril to catch the signals of what he was interested in.

When the drink arrived, Jabril pulled a twenty off a fat roll fished from the pocket of his shorts and put it down on the bar in full view of anyone looking and, when the barman picked up, Jabril signaled he was to keep the change.

In short order, a slim, blond guy with a small ring in an eyebrow and a ball piercing in his tongue slid onto the barstool beside Jabril. He appeared something on the younger side of twenty and had a pretty face and wavy blond hair. He had blue eyes and a sensual smile, with thick lips.

"Hi," he said to Jabril and flashed him a studied shy smile.

"Hi," Jabril answered back, giving the young man's eyes his undivided attention.

"The beer good?" the blond asked.

"Good enough," Jabril answered, although he hadn't had time to take a swig yet. And he knew full well that the young man knew that - he had appeared as the twenty was taken up by the barman. "You don't have a drink. You want one?"

"Yeah, sure, thanks. I'll take what you have."

Jabril didn't call the barman over, but he took the roll of bills from his table, flipped five twenties off the roll and laid them down, fanned out on the counter between him and the young man.

"Wow, I don't think the beer here is that expensive," the young man said. But the smile on his face showed that he wasn't being that naïve. "You got an oil well in your pocket or something? You one of those Arab sheiks?"

"It's not for the beer, of course," Jabril answered, just smiling and dipping his head at the young man's inferences.

The young man smiled. "My name is Trax," he said, as he laid a hand with long, slender fingers on Jabril's thigh. "They'll have a pile going soon downstairs," he said. "You want to start down there? They have cubicles too."

"I like my privacy. And I have an idea where I'd like to go. You want a ride in a Jag?"

The young man looked dubious, but by the way he licked his lips when the Jag had been mentioned, Jabril figured he'd heard about the nice one sitting outside.

Jabril took the wad of cash out and reeled off another hundred and laid it on top of what was already there.

Trax lost any squeamishness he'd had about going away from the club with Jabril then. He flashed Jabril a big smile and said, "Sure, I'd love a ride in a red Jag convertible."

So, Jabril thought, he'd seen it. He knew it was red and a convertible.

"Steve," Trax called out to the barman, who walked over. "Here, can you hold this for me? I'll be back in a while." He handed over the cash and the barman took it as if this happened every day. And Jabril decided that it probably did. The kid had looked young - and vulnerable - which, along with the piercings and his size and erogenous look had been what had attracted Jabril. But it was OK if he was a professional. For this money, he'd give Jabril a good time.

The money passed, Trax looked at Jabril and gave him a mischievous smile. He reached over and took Jabril's beer glass and downed a good third of it. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand - which, in itself, made Jabril's cock twitch, and said, "You didn't tell me your name."

"The Jag is outside," Jabril said as he stood up from the barstool, not answering the question.

They fucked on a beach by a breakwater in the shadows of the walls of an old Civil War fortress, Fort Zachery Taylor, on the southern tip of the key. Trax was impressed that Jabril knew the best beaches to go to for a gay coupling, and Jabril had his assessment of Trax confirmed when his name was whispered in greeting from a couple of nooks and crannies in the breakwater as they found their own spot and Jabril spread out the blanket he'd found in the trunk of the Jag.

They weren't alone on the beach, but they weren't doing anything that everyone else wasn't doing, and the backdrop of sighs and moans and grunts and groans only added to Jabril's arousal.

Once naked, Trax had let Jabril initially take the lead. The young man laid back on the blanket and Jabril straddled his chest with his knees and fed his cock into Trax's experienced, but still soft mouth and enjoyed the play of Trax's tongue ball in the underside of his cock.

Once Jabril was hard and panting, though, Trax turned him onto his back and was the one straddling Jabril's hips, lowering his channel on Jabril's shaft, and riding him to a first, swift ejaculation. Trax had a control of his channel muscles, which assured Jabril that he knew exactly how to please a man and made a good living from it. For two hundred dollars, Trax realized that the one coupling would not be enough, and after Jabril had come, he pulled the swarthy man's torso up to his, and they sat there, facing each other, rocking back and forth, and kissing and fondling each other until Jabril had regained his stamina.

Then it was Trax laying on his back, legs raised and spread, while, his thighs shoved under Trax's buttocks, Jabril took over the stroking. His lips were lowered to the rings in both of Trax's nipples, and the young blond, as he no doubt was trained to do, was moaning and sighing how good a fuck Jabril was giving him.

Afterward - and following a period of holding each other and cooing like they were a pair of schoolboys discovering sex for the first time - they gathered up the blanket and their clothes and stumbled, arm in arm, toward the parking lot.

Trax stopped, though, as they heard short, sharp cries of passion from a pocket of sand surrounded by rock farther up on the beach. When he stopped, Jabril did too. "That would be Jewel. A tranny. Ever done a tranny?"

"No, never," Jabril said with hesitancy.

"She's fun. And she can make you come just with her sex moans. Fifty for her and another fifty for me, and you can do her."

"Here, now?"

"Yeah, why not?"

"You saw me lock my roll up in the car."

"We'll trust you for it. Come on. It will be fun."

Not getting an objection, Trax pulled Jabril over toward where the sounds had been coming from. They had subsided now, though, into just murmurings. When they came into the secluded circle, what they saw was the figure of a slim, black transvestite, with her skirt hiked up and white vinyl booted legs spread wide. They got a shot of both her asshole and her dick, so there was no question what she was. But other than that, she was a beautiful woman, with big tits jutting out from where her top had been pushed up to her neck.

Crouching next to her was a big bruiser of a truck driver type, his flannel shirt open and flapping around a heavily muscled chest and his lower extremities bare. His cock was nothing special other than the heavy ring in the bulb. This alone, though, struggled for Jabril's attention with the luscious tranny flashing her goods at him. Jabril had so wanted a cock ring himself. But, of course, he couldn't have one.

"Interested in seconds, Jewel? He'll give you fifty. And," Trax continued, turning to the bruiser, "you can do me for fifty too."

"Thirty," the truck driver growled.

"Forty," Trax countered.

But by then Jewel had opened her arms to Jabril and whispered, "Come to Momma" in a sultry voice and Jabril was sinking between her spread legs. One of her hands guided his face to her coin-sized aureoles, which he immediately went to sucking. Her other hand was guiding his cock inside her ass. Her channel muscles were even better trained than Trax's had been, and when she moved the palms of her hands to Jabril's butt cheeks, she began controlling a fuck that was sending Jabril into paradise.

He turned his head to see that Trax was on his back and the truck driver was between his thighs and holding his legs up and spread with fists gripping the young man's ankles. Jabril's eyes went to the cock crowned with the heavy ring entering and pulling out of Trax's ass. All the way in and then all of the way out.

Jewel fucked him for forever, and sometime during the coupling, Jabril felt another set of hands on his buttocks and a tongue in his ass. This had never happened to him. This was an utterly fantastic feeling.

But then there was a new feeling at his entrance. Not a wet tongue. Something cold and metallic.

Jabril cried out and tried to pull away, but Jewel, with a surprising strong grip, laughed and pulled him closer into her smothering embrace.

"It's OK, honey. You'll like it. Just relax and go with it. Feel that cock ring?"

Jabril certainly did feel the truck driver's cock ring. And the cock that went with it. He thrashed and screamed, but it was no use. His cries turned into moans and grunts and then into sighs and whimpering; his thrashing moved to writhing - both of which only helped the truck driver to drive farther inside him - and eventually led to his body - the pain obliterated by the pleasure - joining with the rhythm of the fuck.

He knew he shouldn't be enjoying this. But Jewel's big tits and the way she could grip his cock and pull him inside her and her muscles undulating over his shaft - and that thick cock ring inside him and being filled and pumped, the ring punishing his prostate. Making him moan and leak and twitch - he was going . . . over the . . . moon.

Later, when he was laying in a hot-water bath in the two-bedroom bungalow on Virginia Street, soaking his sore, swollen ass, and sipping wine, Jabril reasoned with himself that he had come for the adventure - that he'd wanted to experience the heights of arousal and sexual pleasure - and that, even though unplanned and something he'd never want to do again, he'd certainly climbed the heights this evening.

He fondled his cock, pressing his thumb into the slit of the bulb, wishing that he could get a cock ring too.

It had been all new and it had taken him to one height. But it hadn't really been what he had been looking forward to the most. Trax had seemed young and innocence, but he had turned out to be a professional. The Bourbon Street Pub obviously hadn't been the right place. There was just tomorrow now. He'd have to try again.

* * * *

Jabril walked down to the grill at the edge of the South Street beach for breakfast. He was in shorts and a sports shirt open to his chest. But he wasn't cruising; he just was after some breakfast and thinking that a walk would help ease the pain in his ass.

Six hunks were out on the beach in skimpy bathing suits, playing volleyball. One of them must have recognized Jabril, because he went around to the others and whispered something, and they all kept glancing over at him while Jabril ate his eggs and bacon and they continued their game.

Now that he thought of it, the guy who had started the whispering looked vaguely familiar. He probably was from the bar the previous evening or maybe even some earlier trip here, but Jabril couldn't remember much more than a hazy sense of knowing what he had inside that Speedo that was painted on him. So, probably an earlier trip. Jabril felt flattered that maybe the guy remembered him.

Their game apparently concluded, three of the guys came over and asked if they could sit with him. He was just finishing up his coffee, but he was polite and assented.

They were just talking about life around Key West and asking general questions of him in the context of their banter. But when their discussion got into the huge gay community on the key and then, more pointedly, when they mentioned the Middle East situation and asked him whether he thought that hurt the flow of oil from there more than it had, Jabril politely started to extract himself from the conversation and left them there. They didn't seem to mind. They were hunks, but this was his last day here. This wasn't what he was after.

Jabril had had such an exhausting night that his breakfast had come at 1:00 p.m. And still he felt hung over. So, the day half spent, he decided he needed a nap. He went back to the Virginia Street bungalow, swam laps in the pool that took up much of the lot, and then napped until late afternoon. When he got up, he padded to the refrigerator and took two steaks out of the freezer to start thawing. Step one of his plan complete, he went into the bedroom and picked out the most nonthreatening clothes he had to wear. In the end, he picked what he'd planned to wear back on the airplane - khaki pants and a checked sports shirt. Nothing flashy; quite conservative.

Then he got in the Jag and drove down Duval toward Mallory Square. He parked there and started walking his way back, looking for a coffee shop. He followed along behind families with small kids, thinking they'd hone in on someplace that wasn't gay. He found what he was looking for on Fleming, just off Duval. An Island Joe's coffee shop and café. He went into the café, ordered a coffee and a sandwich, and sat near the back, where he could watch all of the tables.

His attention was drawn to a young, sandy-haired guy with glasses sitting at a table near the window, hunched over a computer. It seemed like his attention was focused on the computer, but as Jabril watched, he saw the young guy looking at other guys as they passed. He looked very nervous. But when other guys looked down at him - and especially if they smiled - the young guy would dip his head back into the computer.

He was good looking enough. A good build. But the glasses detracted. He was wearing baggy shorts and a T-shirt from some university. All Jabril could make out was "Florida."

The longer Jabril watched, the more he thought the guy wanted a hookup but had no idea how to go about it. This was the guy Jabril had been looking for.

He'd finished his sandwich but still had half of his third cup of coffee. It was good coffee, but Jabril decided to invest it in his cause. He stood and moved toward the front of the shop, brushing by the young man in passing, and "accidentally" splashing his coffee on the guy's university T-shirt.

"Oh, god, I'm sorry," he said, as he started dabbing at the young guys chest with a napkin. The guy was firm under there.

"Uh, it's OK."

"No, it's not. I'm really sorry. I'll have to get that cleaned for you."

Without asking for permission, Jabril plopped down in the seat next to the young man. By the time they'd sparred on what Jabril wanted to do to apologize and what the young man didn't want to bother with, they had established that the young man's name was Gill and that he was a student in chemistry at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville - and a member of the university's baseball team. He was on a semester-at-sea course and his ship was docked at Mallory Square for the week.

"I'm in here hoping they put the Dolphins-Redskins preseason game on that TV up there. We don't get reception on the ship."

"That itty-bitty screen up there? You'll hardly be able to see it even if they have the game on. And you are going to watch it alone?"

"I don't mix much. Sort of shy."

"Nobody should watch the games alone. Which team are you a fan of?"

"The Dolphins, of course. They're a Florida team."

"Me too. I'm just going home to watch it myself. Some guys were coming over, but they all bugged out. And no one should have to watch a pro football game alone. Where's the fun in that?"

"I don't know."

"Say. Maybe you'd like to come watch it with me."

"Uh, I don't know. It's about dinner time and . . ."

"I was going to serve steaks. They're already thawing. And we could get that T-shirt clean for you. I dirtied it; I should get it cleaned for you."

"I don't know . . ."

"I live nearby. Nobody should have to watch a pro football game alone."

"Well, I guess . . ."

* * * *

As Jabril hoped, the young Gill couldn't hold his beer all that well, and in the third quarter of the game, he already was woozy and nodding off. He was shirtless because his was in the dryer - and as a gesture of camaraderie Jabril had taken his shirt off too.

Gill had been impressed at the widescreen TV in the Virginia Street house pointed directly at a futon sofa. He'd also been impressed with Jabril's Jag convertible and with the jazzy bungalow on Virginia Street and even more at the pool that ran the length of the bungalow and took up much of the small lot the house was on.

He asked Jabril if he was some sort of Mideast sheik and if this was where he lived. And Jabril just smiled and said this was one of his homes away from home.

They popped Gill's T in the washer and Jabril laughed and said he'd go skins then too, and they sat on the patio with the lights on in the pool and ate their steaks and drank beer, waiting for the game to start.

Jabril became increasingly friendly and as Gill got increasingly blotto from the beer, he became increasingly yielding and his guard lowered and he began, slowly and in subtle ways, to reveal that he, indeed, had known before his ship docked that Key West was one of the gay capitals of the world, that he had heard that the gay activity was free and easy here, and that, yes, he'd always been curious, although he most certainly had never done anything about it. But his being in Key West had made him tingly and he had come off the ship and out into the town on his own just because it was arousing to think of possibilities and what fantasies he could pick up.

He was jolted into consciousness in the fourth quarter of the game to find that the back of the futon sofa had been lowered, that both of them were naked and stretched out beside each other, that Jabril's hand was encasing his cock, that his other arm was embracing Gill to him, and that he was kissing Gill's neck. What really brought Gill awake - well, half awake - though, was that Jabril was working his cock into Gill's passage.

Gill drunkenly struggled, writhing in Jabril's embrace, and objecting in thick-worded babbling that made little sense.

Jabril shushed the young man, saying that he had told Jabril that this was what he wanted, that Gill knew this was what he wanted, and that Jabril was in the saddle now already. That Gill should just lay back and enjoy what he knew he wanted.

Gill quieted down, but he sobbed and moaned and buried his face in Jabril's shoulder when he ejaculated under the attention of Jabril's pumping hand.

Jabril too had ejaculated into the bulb of his condom in the waning moments of the game, and they just lay there in each other's embrace, Gill softly crying and still trembling as the Redskins trounced the Dolphins.

Jabril reached over for the remote and clicked off the commentary, knowing Gill wouldn't want to be reminded of defeat. And they lay there, neither speaking, both trying to regularize their breath.

"I asked for it?" Gill weakly said in a whisper, at length.

"Yes. I guess the beer loosened your tongue. You told me that you'd come to the coffee house looking for a hookup and when I appeared, that you hoped it would be me."

"I did?" Gill seemed to be confused, not being able to remember saying what he, of course, never said. But also unable to call it a lie. It had been obvious to Jabril that this was what Gill really wanted.

And this is what Jabril had come to Key West to do - to pop some young guy's cherry.

"I've got to go," Gill whispered.

"You'll want to shower. The pool looks inviting, though. Let's take a swim first."

"I've got to go," Gill repeated.

"You told me you wanted to swim. You told me you wanted me to fuck you in the pool. This is what you came to Key West for."

"I don't . . . I just don't . . ."

"Did you come off the ship to be fucked or not? Did you take this cruise because you knew it would stop in Key West and this would be your chance, or not?"

They went into the pool naked. Gill moved lethargically through the water, still dizzy from the beer buzz and the shock of what he had done - what he'd allowed this rich Arab to do to him, what he'd had to admit that he wanted.

Jabril moved to him in the water and embraced him and turned Gill's body to his. He wrapped one hand around his neck and brought his mouth in for a long, deep kiss. The other hand encased their cocks together and began to stroke. Gill trembled and shuddered and moaned as Jabril's tongue invaded his mouth cavity and took his breath away.

The second time Jabril fucked Gill was on the patio at the edge of the shallow end of the pool. Gill was on his back on a towel, his legs raised and spread over the water of the pool, gripped in Jabril's hands, as Jabril stood in the water and slow-fucked Gill's channel at the lip of the pool.

Gill sobbed again through the fuck.

"Remember, I've never before . . . before today . . . please be gentle"

Jabil slammed his dick home and started fucking hard. "You want it hard, I know you do."

Gill just sobbed and took it.

"Are you OK?" Jabril asked at the front door where they were both standing, neither really knowing what to say. Gill seemed sad and confused still - and embarrassed. Jabril was doing what he could to mask his elation.

"I've got to go," Gill whispered. "There's a curfew on the ship. I've got to get back."

"Do you want me to drive you?" Before the sentence was completed, however, Gill had faded into the darkness of Virginia Street, headed for the night lights of Duval.

Jabril showered and slipped, naked, between silken sheets, pleased with himself that the trip had gone so well. He'd have to get up early in the morning to get everything in the house back in exactly the shape he'd found it. When he returned the keys to the bungalow to Scotty, Scotty would want assurances that the owners would have no idea anyone had been there when they returned from their trip to the Redskins-Dolphins game in Washington, D.C.

He masturbated himself to sleep, reliving the moment when his cock had breached the young man's sphincter and Jabril had claimed his innocence. The young guy's virginity. What was his name? Jabril really wanted to remember the names of his conquests. He'd probably remember in the morning.

At 10:00 in the morning, while Jabril was finishing up with his housecleaning, there was a knock at the door.

He almost didn't answer it; there wasn't supposed to be anyone here. But he could see through the side window by the door that it was the young guy from last night - Gill. He remembered now. That was his name.

"Ummm. Hi. I just came by . . . I wondered . . . oh, god, I want . . ."

Jabril moved out onto the front porch and brought the door close to shut behind. "Uh, this isn't a good time, Gill. I've . . . I've got my stockbroker with me. But come back at 2:00. I'll have something for you then. I'll do you fine then. That's what you've come back for, isn't it?"

Gill hung his head and studied the toes in his sandals, unable to speak. Too embarrassed to say it. "Uh, OK. 2:00, then. I'll be back."

Jabril leaned over, cupped Gill's chin with his hand, and brought their lips together in a kiss.

Gill looked guiltily up and down the street when they parted, but he was smiling and there were tears in his eyes.

"Good-bye, Gill . . . for now."

* * * *

The flight into Baltimore-Washington's Thurgood Marshall International airport was an hour late arriving, but Angelo lived just a few minutes away, in Colombia, Maryland, so he had plenty of time to retrieve his Ford pickup in the distant shuttle lot and get home before Cindy was home from work and the kids were back from school.

He arrived in time to unpack and to hide his Jocko wear and the Speedo bathing suits in the bottom of the duffel bag with his tennis gear before he heard the lilting voice of his wife from the entrance hall.

"Hello! Is Mr. Gianinni on the premises? Mrs. Gianinni is home. Your truck is here; you can't be far behind."

"Hi, babe. Missed you. Have you missed me?" Angelo said as he walked slowly down the stairs and took his wife in his arms. He gave her a deep kiss and fumbled with the material covering her breasts.

"Down, boy, I hear the school bus. The urchins will be invading any moment now. Of course I missed you."

Later, when the kids had gotten the presents Angelo had brought them and had been bundled off to begin their homework, Cindy put a cup of steaming coffee down on the kitchen island counter, and Angelo perched on a bar stool.

"Everything go OK in Atlanta? The weather good? You got what you needed done?"

"Yep, everything good," Angelo said. "It rained Tuesday night, but I'd made it to the hotel by then." Angelo had quite carefully checked the weather in Atlanta every day he was gone. This was a standard Cindy question. She always asked it - just to have something to ask him about his business trips. It wasn't like she'd ever check. Angelo was so dull and predictable.

"Business was good too. I got everything done I went there to do." Angelo lifted his coffee cup to hide the sly little smile that that statement had brought to his lips. "But I'll have to go back in a couple of months. There always is more to do."

"They work you too hard at the office," Cindy said.

"It's a job. There are so many without jobs now. I have to keep plugging away at this one."

"Yes, I know. But you never get out to blow off steam anymore. When was the last time you played tennis?"

Angelo's heart skipped a beat at the mention of tennis and his thoughts went to whether that duffel bag was a good place for his stash. But, yes, of course it was. That didn't have anything to do with Cindy's mention of tennis.

"I have a good life. We have a good life, Cindy," he said as he reached over and took her hand in his.

"Yes the salary's good. But they really should give you bonuses - you deserve a good bonus for all these trips you take."

"I don't really see the possibility of that," Angelo said. But this wasn't the thought that came to mind. What he was thinking was how grateful he was that his boss gave bonuses - good ones. His most recent one, the one that took him to Key West, was for $5,000. But the best part was that his boss hated the IRS so much that he gave the bonuses under the table and admonished his employees not to let their spouses talk about them, which meant, of course, that none of them even told their spouses about the bonuses - so no one but he and his employees knew about them.



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