Note from the author. This is the first chapter in a  14 chapter completed novel. This is 36 pages long and may contain less sex than you want. Certainly there is sex but not the fuck 'n suck and the end that many stories have. I have tried to make each chapter a short story in and of itself with all the characters continuing on. I would appreciate your comments but, again, if you do not enjoy long form writing or content that is less sexual than your personal preferences dictate, think about it. On the other hand, I would hope some would find it the interesting story that I enjoyed writing and will enjoy it on the terms it was written.



The Trick

Chapter One

I will be ever grateful to Jerry for having an apartment in a building that had an elevator.After a long, hard night, mostly on my feet, to just stand there and ride up was a luxury of unimaginable pleasure. Quietly unlocking the door, glide through the darkened rooms save the one light he always left on for me. Into "our" bedroom, slumped into "my" chair and working from the ground up, took off my clothes. After each boot, I massaged my foot almost not wanting to share the experience with the other that sat whimpering in a tightly laced toe box, expecting, hoping and, of course, it got the same treatment. Item by item they fell to the floor which meant there wasn't much of a pile; I always go commando so that left my pants, socks, shirt that fit like paint and my much used, honest to God, Second World War leather flight jacket. I looked down at the pile and across to see Jerry, asleep, quiet, his head on graph plaid printed sheets, nude beneath them and, of course a place next to him waiting for me. I was tempted to just go crawl in but I knew it would feel better if I showered, shaved, got really dry and then slid into bed, carefully scooting up to him, lightly kissing the back of his neck and drifting off to sleep.

I remember the first time I met him. I was a gift for his 40th birthday and whether he was particularly happy to see me just then is questionable. A friend had got us into his-then-apartment and "decorated" me.Ribbons around my dick, nut sac plus my neck, collar with a leash as well as a sign on my ass that said, "Ask me About Our Other Bargains." Okay, it was tacky but...that's what the customer wanted and that's what he was going to get. Oh, plus a card in my hand that explained what I was, what I would do (anything) and that I was a gift from whomever. Succinct, the fact that I was naked, prepared to live up to or down to his expectations or wants, however kinky, made the whole mise en scene complete.

When you're in my line of work, you've seen it all and done most of it. I don't know who got my name and number but contact was made, five grand crossed my hand, I was assured he was clean, I produced medical papers that said I was as well and, on the day for which I was reserved, I met his buddy outside the building and, as above, that's what we did.

It's one thing to wait trying to pick up a trick but it's quite another to be bought and paid for but no consumer, yet, and, quite frankly, it was a little chilly in the room. I'd done this a few times before so I knew to be front and center and immediately identify myself and my purpose in being there, who had let me in and then let all that set in. Usually, this worked out pretty well but on a couple of occasions the guy had gotten aggressive, snarled about his "friends" leaving their"trash" in his house....that's when I learned to leave all my clothes as close to the front door as possible. Going into a vestibule starkers carrying my things was one thing but appearing on a street that way is another. I already had a couple of counts for solicitation-misdemeanors- and had no desire to make the number go higher which could ring some sort of legal bell and get me some real time in a real prison. (I'd played a prisoner in some guys rumpus room in Connecticut but reality was not something I wanted to explore-although his idea of "the reality of having a prisoner"would make prisoners laugh."

Eventually Jerry did come through door and I handed him the card and the leash to my collar, fell to the floor and thought, might as well start here. He just stood there, impassive, unmoving and....unaroused. Finally he reached down and pulled me up so that we were about eye to eye and tired, wounded eyes they were, that they didn't drip blood amazed me

"Young man, I don't want you to think I'm not grateful to my friends and unappreciative of your implied and willing services but...I'm so fucking tired the fact that I'm still standing here amazes me. So.....I don't know how much cash I have on hand, you certainly deserve a tip, I'll tell everyone you were terrific, no one better and I'll go to bed." He almost sagged but I grabbed him.

"Buddy, you need me right now to make sure you get into bed without killing yourself, I'm here to provide service and no one said that taking care of a man on the edge of exhaustion couldn't be a service. This issomething I know how to do so...don't fight me and we'll get you where you need to go. First, where's the bathroom, need to plunk you on the can so when you get bed, no reason to get up. Okay?"

He steered me towards what proved to be a very handsome, obviously gentleman's bathroom, complete with a big walk in shower, raised vanity, toilet, of course, standing urinal, not of course, and what looked like a barbers chair and massage table. With the seat down and him sitting on it, I began to get his clothes off, shoes first then, with only as little effort on his part as possible, his pants and, my god, he wore garters. Hadn't seen that in a long time. Got those off and the socks then, again with a little assist from him-that was about all he had, a little assist-got up to his under wear and surprized me, he didn't wear any; At least we had that in common.Shirt, links, tie, coat, easy. It was like unveiling a Greek statue of a prominent god. Great body, not too gym built but that thing you rarely see, a mans body that at some point had done hard labour. As he was essentially asleep, I did the old trick of dipping his fingers in water and was rewarded with a tinkling of piss, gaining in strength accompanied by a decent sized plop. Carefully leaning him forward, I got his ass cleaned-and noted the hard, chunky cheeks above the thick and well defined calves. I let him slump back and had an idea; Twenty minutes more or less until lights out would make no difference and so I did some quick reconnoitering and easily found what I was looking for. Got the water in the shower to a good temperature and with only a few words, at least he was responsive, got him into the shower and onto the bench. Mentally I thanked whichever plumbing contractor had done this; The bench was high and the spigots were not placed so you had a drenched navel but dry shoulders.

Okay, Jerry, I thought, sleepy head, you'll at least wake up fresh and clean. Got both of us scrubbed and rinsed twice then hit us both with a second or two of cold water which made my nuts go up but had no effect on him what so ever. He had great towels, the sort called"bath sheets" which I put around him and led him to the barber chair. Grabbing a towel for myself, I took out his shaving things and was pleased to note they were the best; Trumpers cake shaving soap, a sable and bristle brush and the straight razor which I quickly stropped until it was the perfect sharpness. (Before my current career as a street entertainment facility, I'd gone to barber school when I got out of the military. Some wise person had advised me that being a barber was what he called a "take away" career" in that wherever you went, you could find a chair in shop and reasonably quickly develop a clientele. Another thing I'd been told that was also good advice; If you can give blade shaves in an era of cartridges and canned foam, that one ability is worth, minimum, thirty bucks a pop. Throw in a shoulder and head massage with tonic, a good cold closure and you'd passed fifty bucks, a lot more in a major market, and that was before the tip.) I'd made a deal with a barber in "my neighborhood" that if he had guys who wanted a blade shave, grooms for example, he'd let me work without a license and just take 25% of what I made. He also "referred" customers to me. Not directly but he "suggested" that if you were looking for some man meat, you could do a lot worse than the guy down the street leaning against the chain link fence. They were told I was clean, a good fuck as well as fucker and, if they had no place else to go, he'd let them use the room behind his shop, just keep the noise down.

(I'd"decorated" what had been a storage room to approximate a passion pit, complete with a bed, limited dungeon facilities, a whipping post, the usual. It was private, the entrance was from the rear, it was heated, air conditioned and always available and the price, nothing, couldn't be beat.) In fact, the room above the shop was my fixed base of residence. I'd painted it, fixed holes in the wall, added insulation, updated the bathroom pulling out the old claw foot tub-which I sold, along with the pedestal sink, to a decorator for a nice piece of change. Shared, of course, with Rod, my barber buddy.It was exactly one room, twenty five feet to a side plus the bathroom. The heat worked and, surprisingly, he let me put in an air conditioning vent for summers. Had I been so inclined, I could have spent my days in the shop but that wasn't what I wanted. Sure it was nice to be able to pick up some fast money when the tricks were slow and it was really nice to have a place to sleep where I wasn't likely to get rousted but....I was by nature something of a slut, even an exhibitionist. I wanted the fucks and sucks and sometimes having it rough. I liked the bondage, I liked the whips and lashes and cuffs and metal tie downs on a cement wall where you or someone could be strung up. I liked it when a man came along and just grabbed me for whatever he wanted to do. And, yeah, I like the occasional suburbanite who was timid, but interested.

For them I had a weekend special. My company, stay at my place-in the downstairs dungeon-esque room, with the bondage bed and other facilities- and we'd redo them to look like what they imagined, a tough out to get laid looked like. Rod would comb their hair in to a greaser duck tail, we had boots, used, jeans, uses, torn Ts, maybe a studded belt and, of course, the soldiers cap-in leather-and aviator shades. Not to mention the extended sessions of sex where they were made to service me, on their knees, maybe a collar, forced to beg to even touch my dick....they loved it as did Rod and I (We were looking at five or six thousand for a weekend of which 25% was his for almost no effort.). The problem was...they were boring. As soon as they finished, remembered where we'd told them to hide the SUV, they were off to a planned suburb of 600 homes in five styles, each of which played the Doxology when you rang the bell. They hadn't even had a chance to say, "Honey, I'm home" when I was back leaning against my fence, getting my righteous bulge in the streetlight. The chain to my billfold in my back pocket glinting and no hankies. I couldn't care less what others wanted, I was for sale and you named your pleasure and I named my price. Payable in advance. )

With Jerry clean and really well shaved, I shifted him into as much drive as he had and we headed for the bed. I'd put so many men to bed, doing that was an automatic function. Laying there, naked, he was one helluva man. Good looking but in a masculine sort of way. Eyelashes that you could paint with and, when they cleared up, grey eyes that were large and set back. Aquiline nose, flared nostrils and good lips, not too thick but lips that would know where to go and what to do when they got there. His whole face looked as if he'd waked through the most delicate of spider webs. Creases at his eyes and mouth made me think even more that he'd spent more than a little time outdoors, the slight squint in the eyes were another clue.

I got him into what I hoped would be a comfortable position, hoped he slept in the nude, found a small light elsewhere in the room, covered him and turned out the bedside lamp. Almost instinctively he seemed to shrug and work himself into what was probably his real sleeping position and relaxed. Clean myself, I was tempted to go back and grab a shave with his really fine razor. I hoped he wouldn't object, didn't think he would.

It really was a superior razor, I could tell as it slid effortlessly down my check, around my chin. He knew how to take care of it as well, clearly it had been absolutely dried-and I'd see that it was when I finished. It was so sharp that he hadn't noticed that I'd done a little bit of improving him; Around each nipple I'd removed just enough fur so that they were prominent, delicious looking, an invitation to suck or chew. All he needed to do to them was work to a hard center that would send an even greater distress signal to his dick that he needed sex.

Back in his room, carrying my clothes, I felt I'd cheated him, didn't give him what someone else expected and now that I'd seen the product, I'd have liked to have to serviced it myself, the slut in me I suppose, but you see prime meat and it's just got to be sampled. Reluctantly I got my clothes, hell, why not dress and look at what I'd have liked at the same time. Apparently I was too concentrated on him and dropped a heavy, 17 inch high Engineer boot. He rolled back over and looked at me.

"Thanks, it all felt swell and if you'd like, I'll revive and in the join me, it's a comfortable bed and it feels better when we're all good and clean to share the smell of a clean man with another clean man. Kinda like the interior of a new car, leather and oil and just clean....."

I walked around the bed almost crazy with desire for him, My dick was rigid and my balls felt like someone was playing them like a Marimba, those soft notes of flesh on flesh.

"My you did come prepared" he half way smiled. As I was on the edge of the bed he reached over, caught my cock in his hand and pulled me toward him. "Did my buddies put you on an hourly rate and you expire or is this commission work and your time is your own?"

" I can do what pleases me. And as long as it please both of us."

"What would please me is by letting me do you...I'll give you reciprocity.Just be here when ever we wake up, okay?"

"Okay, Jerry" and then did something tricks never do, I kissed him. He smiled. "Thanks that'll pay for my sweet dreams." He rolled to me, kissed me, "That'll pay for some for you as well....."I sensed he was looking for something..."Matt, that's my real name but..some of my friends call me pick the one you like, Jerry and...I do believe I'll think up another name for you. Now quit this talking or you'll wake yourself up....."

"I don't think that's possible....Shadow" and he was asleep.

Some mornings, well, late mornings, are betters than others and this was one of those. Waking beside Jerry in his comfortable bed I had the feeling I'd lost the feeling in my right foot. Looking down the bed I could see an animal was laying on it and seemed to be happily asleep.As carefully as was possible, I eased my foot away hoping for the quick return of circulation; I've had experiences where my foot went to sleep in the night and didn't wake up for when I put weight on it, I fell down. Under the covers I felt fingers sliding down my chest with a destination in mind. Delicately cupping my balls, there was a finger working on the underside of my cock which was enjoying it.Almost silently Jerry rolled over and followed his arm. The feeling of a hot, moist mans mouth is one of those things you never forget and something told me this would be more memorable than most.Normally when I'm aroused and comfortable I shoot pretty quickly-extended periods of with holding are for my clients to whom I'm a challenge; The deal being that until they've made me cum, they can't go on to base two, fucking.

Jerry was special, I wanted him in me, wanted to understand how he fucked, how he wanted to fuck me and there was no time wasted in finding out.Leaving my cock wet on his beautiful sheets from his spittle, my gout's of semen headed for his tummy, he carefully rolled me over, put a pillow under my belly and explained that we'd start there but, ultimately, he wanted me to be on his dick, facing him and letting him hold me while I whimpered in pleasure. He was so easy, so adept, so self lubricated that my hole didn't take him, it swallowed him and then, as with every good whore, started to massage his organ with repeated tightenings and loosenings of the muscles.

"Don't...I want to be in you a long time, I want to move you up to look in my eyes and to feel your nipples, nibble them, kiss you....or do you kiss?"

If I hadn't been under him, I would have lurched around, grabbed his face and neck while I pried open his mouth with my tongue to answer his question.

His arms under me rubbed my breasts, went down to my perineum just above where his cock was in me, massaged there knowing it would also massage my prostate. Pro that I am, I could tell that someone had told him more than lay down, pull your crack open and wait for it to be over. We rolled over so I was on top and he raised me until he could hold me in his arms, kiss me, lick my neck, my face, twisted around and got his tongue into my arm pit and licked the sweat that had started to form there. He was gentle and yet demanding. He knew my body by instinct, he knew what I wanted and never got, he wanted to please me, the hooker, the paid for pleasure....and then he suddenly increased the pace and I knew he was breeding me as I wanted to be bred. To be his. Just then I hated my street life, would have done anything to stay with him, cried as I thought that soon I must leave. Leave him but it made him have sad eyes and he looked into mine, stopped his pelvis rolls and just held me.

"I can afford you every night of the week if that's what will make you happy...."

"No good....I'd give myself to you every night just to sleep in this bed, with you, to smell you, to feel you....I'd pay you....."

"That's no good." He was silent, thinking, God he was a great man. He was going to think up something for me, that never happened, not to street rats, not to male whores who used a chain link fence as an office.

The smile begin to creep back, he rubbed his eyes, stretched, rubbed the back of his neck then resumed pleasuring me. Me! The paid for trick.This guy was concentrating on giving me pleasure. And then it happened, his abdomen tightened, he was losing his senses, he was on the verge of filling me. I could feel it, hotter than most cum is, almost thicker, I could see him collapse as he made every effort to completely empty himself and, of course, I worked his cock with my ass, kneading it, grasping the shaft with my sphincter muscles, denying it exit demanding more. He flailed, groaned and then lost all power to fight. I had him and he was ready to be had. I let him slide out and immediately got down to clean him, to taste him and my innards. Amazingly, this stimulation produced a sudden, small geyser of man milk that had been hiding. It was savoured in my mouth, then carried to his so that he could have that ultimate exchange, he could drink himself.

We held each other, said and did nothing. Sometimes when you have sex with someone you know that....there's no more, it was great, it was for both of you. For tricks this is almost an impossibility had just happened. Jerry reached for me, drew me to him and kissed me, there was still the lingering taste of his seed but that only made it better.

"I'll take the day off....fuck, I have already." He thought carefully,"You, me dinner anywhere you want and....maybe...we can come back here....." I knew what would come next because it had to....."I'll pay you...whatever...I just want to sleep with you, wake up with you shower with you...nothing else, promise, I'm sure you get tired of guys who only want to fuck you and then, Sayonara...but I just want a sleepover. We can even wear Jammies...." We both laughed.

"I'll think about it, but before we get to tonight, do you have food, coffee, stuff like that around here?"

That brought him to his Jerry as Host senses. "Jesus, look at the hour, I'm famished too; Follow me to the kitchen and we can graze among the groceries, there's an automatic coffee maker that probably made it several hours ago so I won't guarantee the taste". He was right, it had made coffee and it had sat around too long, the smell from it reminded me of a police ready room with me handcuffed to a chair while someone did some paperwork....I shuddered which, fortunately, he didn't notice. As he would do if he were alone, he took a jug of OJ out of the fridge and drank straight from it, then remembered he had company and stopped. I laughed, took the jug, "I think we've had enough 'contact' to do it this way" and took a slug myself. He smiled, reached out ruffled my hair.

Somehow we killed an awfully lot of time making eggs, bacon and remaking coffee. I told him a lot about myself, about Rod, the barbershop, my side business in shaves, living over the shop....I just told him everything I wanted him to know. About the street, how long I'd been tricking, how it was just part of what I did, my regulars, some funny stories about things that had happened...just conversation that was really only a way of not ending it. But it had to. In return he told me he'd bought a new apartment, far from here, was moving in over the weekend, took a piece of paper and wrote out all the ways to contact him forgetting that it was unlikely I had a fax machine. His new address....and then it was time for me to go. I told him to sit there for a moment, hustled back to the bedroom, put on my clothes and returned to the kitchen. Coming up behind me he heard my boots and I saw his head drop a little before he stood up. "Gotta go, huh?"

"Yep, the street calls, I know Rod has a nervous groom coming in late for me to give a baby butt face for his beloved to stroke...check my mail....."

"Working tonight?"

"You mean at my fence office? Sure, my regulars would worry, me gone two night in a, listen, Jerry, you're a fine man, a good man and a hellluva fucker but...I know how these things work. So if you'll show me the servants exit..." and laughed..."I'll let myself out, always do". Almost made my usual joke about not needing to count the silver but I knew he wouldn't think it was funny, just a little bit of street showing up and I didn't want him to think of me as a total street rat, no, not a total one.

He quietly took me to the front door, held me for a moment, said, "Guess I need to find a new barber, always liked a straight edge shave...."I smiled and was out the door and then to the street away from where he lived back of the world, the part I knew. Jerry's scent stuck with me for a while until the cold snuck in and I huddled down in my bomber jacket where all I could smell was me and the fence.

The bell jingled over the door as I walked into Rods.

"Cutting it close, I'm about to have a groom whose already so nervous he's called three times to "make sure" everything was alright." I smiled at him, "Just had a business meeting that ran late, you know, the ways meetings do." He just laughed. "Yeah, I know your meetings can run overtime, no one ever made as sure as you that the customer got their money's worth but dude, it's the middle of the afternoon. I thought you were just going to be a party favour and then slide out....."

"Yeah, well, the party and the favour ran a bit late and I ended up sleeping with the guy. Just really sleeping, you know, side by side, asleep....great bed, great pillows...."

"And a great fuck...Yeah? Slide back and slip out of your hooker clothes".I just smiled.

Rod really was a friend and a buddy and those aren't easily found. I'm used to shedding clothes and put on others so "getting ready" to look professional took under forty five seconds and I was back leaning against the stand where my basin was; Just in time. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man who was led by his Adams apple which could only be my groom. His opening words, "Am I late?" proved it.

Stuck out my hand, "I'm Matt, that's Rod and you're right on time. I'm the one who'll be doing the job so calm down, you're here, I'm here, my razors are here....we'll get you through this one." I helped him out of his coat hung it on a hangar and started unbuttoning his shirt after I removed his tie. He looked surprised.

"Water and foam and flipping a blade around doesn't always produce dry clothes, you're welcome to keep your clothes on but you're getting the grooms special which includes a shoulder massage, shave, head massage and then Rod will trim you up if you need it. Package deal, you paid for it, so take off your shirt, your t shirt too and I'll wrap you in an official barber striped cotton covering with the real paper around your neck, lean you back and we'll get started. As tense as you are, better give those shoulders and that neck some good work right now...." It was my typical barber spiel. He was nervous, as Rod had said, but I got him settled, talked about the foam, let him hear me strop the razor and then we were sliding down one plain on his chin, gathering foam and hair as I went.

I learned it was a morning wedding so I shaved him twice which should make him appear freshly shaved at the altar. He got into the shoulder massage and I could sense little groans of pleasure. Also he was on the verge of something. As I lifted the chair back up I saw a question coming.....

" Uh, I don't know how to ask this but....well, you see, we're going on our honeymoon to Hawaii and, well, I'll have to take off my shirt. You probably noticed, I'm not what you would call hairy chested but the few hairs that are there...."

"No problem, want me to tidy you up, clean slate....if you're up for it, I can leave a clean chest with just a treasure trail leading down from your navel to your bush...that looks pretty cool. Stand up, drop your pants, lets see what I've got to work with." In these circumstances, this is what he wants to do but it's better to lead him than let him make a decision.

"Rod, Whattaya think? Got all the making of a dynamite treasure trail and while I'm there lets clean up the cock and balls. Leave them almost in the bush but shaved clean they'll look bigger. We do it all the time." Rod chimed in, "Sometimes guys who've gotten a little gray around the tree let us colour the grass a little darker..." and laughed. Our groom was with us, lost most of his shyness so when Rod pulled off his shoes and I got him out of his pants and boxers, he probably didn't really notice that he was laying back in a barber chair stark naked. That's what being a professional does, soothes others. Not a chance in hell he'd have stripped under a dozen other circumstances but hey, we were all guys and clearly Rod and I were on his side, wanted the best for him. After I finished, Rod cleaned up his neck line and then we helped him back into his clothes. He was really grateful and pulled out two fifties....

Rod chuckled and pushed his hand away. "Grooms need every penny they can get...just make us your semi-permanent regular and we'll squeeze enough out of you over time." and laughed. As did the groom.Pledging not to forget us, Rod unlocked the door and let him out.Turned out all but the light in the front waiting room, said his good nights to me, grabbed his coat and left. I locked up after he'd gone.

Up in my room I thought about the day in general and tried not to think about Jerry in specific. As usual before I go out, I lay down if not to sleep then rest. Decided to do the cheap number tonight to see what that brought. Torn shirt, skin tight jeans, my cock in bas relief, too cool to go without a jacket but I had a fake leather one that would work. Long steel chain around my neck, laced leather cuffs around each wrist, yeah, as I rolled over, I wondered what that would catch.

Several weeks went by and I hadn't heard from Jerry. Fact is, I wrote him off as just another john, if a memorable one. I've been at this too long not to know that a guy can almost be your best friend for an over nighter and then maybe you're not quite forgotten but neither are you all that well remembered. And, yeah, in a drawer at my place I had all his numbers including his new address which was as he'd said, far from my part of the world. But he lived up there and I was a street person down here, womb to tomb.

Winter isn't the busiest times for street sales. It gets cold and even then you've got to display the merchandise which means a little skin which also means you get fucking cold and fast. Rod was having a run of shaves for me to do and that kept me indoor and making good money.Actually, the shaving business was so good that we decided I'd be available on a scheduled basis three afternoons a week and that went so well we had to start asking that they make an appointment. You could still walk in but your chances of getting in the chair were limited. Even our groom came back, nicely tanned, and wanted the same as before. First he got a haircut and then I took over. You cannot beat this kind of repeat business and, one day, a guy who had been his best man showed up. Our only fear was if an inspector came. Rod was fully licensed, the shop was kept spotlessly clean but....I had no license and based on what I was doing, if I'd been discovered, could have closed the shop forever. Just by blind luck a guy who had a shop several blocks away tipped us that an inspector was probably headed our way. (We referred children to him as well as guys who wanted a manicure so reciprocity was in order.) It was a simple matter to remove all signs of my craft, take down the plaques advertising dates and time and taking a lot of my shaving stuff and making it into a display featuring barbershop equipment from way back. Since we were without a customer at that moment, I hopped in Rod's chair and played one. The inspector came, looked us over, asked about the room upstairs was told it was rented to a guy who kept an eye on the place at night-the neighborhood really was dicey-and that was that. Rod got his certificate good for several years, I was back in the straight razor business and all was great except that I couldn't get Jerry out of my mind although by now it seemed he'd been able to forget me.

That made me angrier. Went in bars where it was all rough trade, did some stripping and jerking off as an act for money. Looked for harder johns who wanted it the way I wanted to give it to them. Got myself lashed while tied to a whipping post a couple of times, did some cock torture, got my balls really banged up and whatever I was doing I thought about Jerry.

One of Rods customers was a nice old man who looked more like him every year when he played Santa Claus in a department store. Keeping his beard and mustache was a year round chore just as my keeping him hairless from his neck down was my job. A view in the nude of this saintly appearing man would have set Christmas back; If you could pierce it or slap a tattoo on, it had been done. When he came to the shop he wore his bull ring in his septum and that sucker was so big it extended over his upper lip. And, apart from how he looked, he was a photographer specializing in portraits of children, a fact that sometimes made me a little nervous, Rod too. After hours he was not averse to shooting some porn and that's why I needed him. I had seen that another guy had cards with his picture in an almost compromising position that advertised his escort services. I'd never bothered with that shit, I was a whore and that was that. I turned tricks on the corner, in the cab of an eighteen wheeler, wherever..and I liked fucking and I liked the street. But having a few cards made with no real suggestion as to what I did seemed a good idea. On one side was a picture of a chain link fence with me in front of it. On the other side was the name "Shadow" and the saying. "Open All Night".And one other, a serious portrait, a full frontal nude of me, kneeling, looking up as if to say, take me. It was to be my Christmas card to Jerry along with my business card. Actually "Santa" did a great job on the portrait, he'd suggested that it be in black and white and I was glad I'd followed his suggestion. I gotta admit, the day I dropped it in the mail with Merry Christmas written on the front; In one way I felt stupid doing it, I'd never chased a guy in my life but in another way, if I got no response, that closed the book and I could chalk it up as a lesson learned.

We were busy at the shop, so much so that my daily dose of sex had to more frequently be mano a mano using my own mano in the shower before I fell into bed. Either word spread or we were discovered or men took to the "full barber shop treatment" which we more than adequately provided. There was almost one bump and that came when the local city magazine, one of their editors was a regular, decided that an article about this return to the good old days in a neat shop with great guys behind the chairs needed the publicity. Both Rod and I were against it for our own reasons. I, too, had regular customers and I wasn't keen on having them show up in a well lighted place trying to book me up. Rod thought we had about the right amount of clientele we could handle and to puff it with publicity probably did more harm then good. A fact he explained and the guy graciously understood-not about me but about the shop. What they did do was list us as a service endorsed by their publication in a blurb no more than an inch tall and amongst similar slightly off beat services like cat sitting services, house plant revivalists, private chefs and who to call when you needed someone to make sails for your pond yacht. In its own way, it was an exclusive list but wasn't overkill, no pictures and the briefest list of services offered with the note that they had tried it and liked it.

Rod knew all about my current romantic problems and offered to do whatever he could to both help and be a friend. On one hand, he offered to get a guy he knew who did "collection" for a sort of gang to have the shit beat out of Jerry and then, taking a large safety pin, put a note with my name and how to contact me through his chest. I vetoed that. He offered to "drop by" as a visiting barber who got his addresses mixed up and....oh, hey, you're Matts friend aren't you, I've heard him talk about you . A lot. I vetoed that. But what I couldn't veto was what he finally did. A couple of days before Christmas, the traffic was dying down a little, shaves were down a lot but the day before Christmas Eve I was scheduled from 6am until I fell down, accidentally cut a clients throat or died.Which ever came first.

Rod said what I needed was some illicit dick meat in me or me in it; he told me to go upstairs, change into my working clothes and he expected me to be on the clock by the fence at precisely 1 pm.Precisely. Laughing, and appreciative, that's about what happened and, oddly, It was almost one straight up when I relaxed into the fence which, by now, knew exactly how much "give" to allow for my comfort in the event there were no takers and I had a long day. When I was on duty-as it were-I did a lot of things that I didn't ordinarily do. Rolled my own cigarettes unless I was looking for a certain kind of man in which case a cigar hung, almost defying the laws of gravity and Physics from one lip while my chain, heavier than normal, wrapped around my leg and jumped the waist headed for its anchorage. Two guesses.

Given the weather, I went out looking like a guy who'd just lost his job and would do almost anything for a buck to buy Christmas Presents for the kiddies. It meant that I could keep covered up although as an acknowledgment to the season I had a small wreath with minuscule red balls on it hung from my belt buckle about where it would be accentuated by my push up jock and the bulge it created. Hey, don't laugh, I've seen department store windows that were less relevant than my modest display and it was not only noticeable but suggested that whoever called me over ask about my other bargains; I'd throw in the wreath, gratis.

A pickup went by, slowed and stopped about a hundred yards down the road and then backed up. It was the kind of truck I looked for as I could figure out the guy inside already. It was his work truck but it was neatly arranged with his tools as well as the aluminium box that was shoved up against the back window and locked down. About opposite me a window rolled down and a voice called...."Hey, buddy, I'm lost, how about a little help, huh?"

At the window I stuck my head in just enough to be impressed and asked him what he was looking for. Without consulting a scrap of paper, he said, "The June Fizbee School of Tap and Accordion Playing". As a novel pick up line it was A+ so I had to say, "Hey, I know ole June personally. You can't find it without a flock of carrier pigeons but...I'm doing nothin, why don't I jump in and play guide dog for you."

"Hop in, lets get to getting, damn open window is about to freeze my dick."

I slid in and stuck out my hand, "Matt", he responded, "Jake, glad to meet you and thanks for hoppin in. By the way, you said you were doing nothin, what does nothin cost these days?"

"Well, I don't usually break my amateur status but since all of us are personal acquaintances of ole June, I guess, nothin costs about how long nothin takes, where we do nothin and what we do when we figure out what nothin might be. See, I bid by the whole job, not an hourly wage."

Jake laughed. "Yep, you're a pistol, knew that when I saw your wreath. How about we find a quiet place to have a beer where they don't give a shit about Christmas, have a Santa Claus hanging from the bar and more than two TVs shouting carols. We could talk, general contractor to sub contractor and find out what we might come to bidding this job."

"Sounds good and if you trust me, figuring I know a thing or two about saloons, I know the place you just described." We pulled away from the curb and Jake said, "Right, Left or gaily forward?" I smiled, recognized the lingo.

It was a comfortable truck, the sort that's known as a crew cab as there was a good back seat, all up you could seat five guys in it. Jake himself was not bad either. The omnipresent ball cap but I could see it spent most of its day backward under a hard hat. The pants, the coat were the real kind of work clothing that wore like stainless steel but, after a few weeks, melded to a man and were soft, pliable. Clearly, if he'd walked into the shop I'd have known I had a major reclamation project as he had a heavy, thick beard that was at least four days old; You could have lit a match by pulling it across his chin.Daylight gave me the advantage of being able to see him easier.Eyelashes that reminded me of....someone else. Nice build on him good solid layer of fat to keep him warm and solid muscle underneath. Well worn but well maintained steel toed boots and, from our little conversation, I could tell he was bright.

I busied myself giving him directions to the sort of stand up bar I knew he meant. It was actually for men only-just no sign said that-but that wasn't going to bother him. Most of them were gay but all of them worked in trades so there was an aura of a highly unusual teamsters meeting. I was and wasn't known there, just enough for the bartender to wave and make it plain-to the other patrons-I hadn't just wandered in accidentally. And Jake would be an addition to any party they might throw. Later at night it could get rough but this was a couple of days before Christmas and most of them weren't working so things were still calm. Jake got some close inspection which he recognized so to clarify, he put a friendly arm around my shoulder and said, "Matt and me just got off and we're getting ready for later. Whattaya got in getting ready to do it later drinks?" There was laughter, there was supposed to be, both of us got slapped on the back, butt, comments about flipping for top etc.We were in, Jake obviously liked the place and I could see killing several hours here-we were bound to make friends, shoot some pool, have a few pitchers , foozball, maybe as it got late, some dancing to the juke box in the rear, the sort that only played slow songs.

One of my almost unbreakable rules regards drinking with clients. Ben Franklin said it and it's true to this day, "Liquor provoketh desire but taketh away performance". I doubt if old Ben had hooked but in that statement he was 100% accurate. To back that up, Mae West had a good thought, "It's not the men in my life, it's the life in my men". All of which meant that while I might have a beer or two, that was it. As aware as I was of what could go wrong, I simply didn't allow a situation where someone could try and drug a drink. If they went after me physically, and they had a few times, I could take my shots and get out before they could raise their arm. Also, if they took a bottle to bed, even a can of beer, I kept as much of my clothing on until I had to remove them. Drunks, and you learn to spot them, can go from easy going to overly aggressive and mean in very little time. Standing there in my boots and pants, or sitting by them on the edge of the bed, I was still prepared to jump and run.Remember how I said I'd left my clothes by Jerry's front door? It was a good idea and one I used as often as possible. The way to do it without looking as if you were getting froggy, was to say you needed to piss before anything else and when you came back, naked, your clothes had been stowed for a fast getaway. Oh, and I am paid up front. No charge accounts and I didn't take credit cards or checks, even money orders were off limits; I knew the scams that could accompany them.

We found a table for six, none of them seated less than that, the idea being that if you wanted to play love birds, go some place else.Course, if you wanted to propose and told the management in advance, they'd do up a very nice ceremony with all the patrons as guests and everyone cheering the two guys, a round of drinks was on the house and the couple got a bottle of Champagne which they drank straight from the bottle. In no time we had other guys join us and as this was truly a friendly place, everyone swapped names and, more importantly job sites. And that was crucial to being welcomed there. Men who work in that industry know every major job going on. To make it at that bar, you had to have a job or have had one fairly recently as well as an employer with a known name. There were reasons for this and they circled around keeping guys who had fantasies about working men out and your own preference in. Let a man show up all in creaking new Carhartts and boots that didn't have creases across the top and you had a lurker trying to live out his dream as one of the guys on a job site. Now, it can happen that a man has to buy all new and if that's the case, so be it. BUT he'd still have a job and a contractor to name.

The best example of that was a guy who was on a cement pour and was working the jiggler to get the air out when he suddenly hit a patch that wasn't mixed properly, too much sand and water and he was up to his armpits. Course he got pulled out but that kind of muck really can't be washed off, cleaned off,,,even a high pressure hose only does so much good because the grit, the cement, the water all get into the fiber and as time goes on, hardens up. Guys who've had something like that happen have tried to let what they can't get off harden then beat the shit out of it on a driveway or an "I"beam,...still doesn't work. Obviously I wasn't fresh from a job but Jake just said we were in from work-I was kidded about my wreath and told New Years to wear Mistletoe- and that took care of that.

Couple of hours went by, good times, guys were getting loosened up so that the straight from the job/plant/construction site was beginning to slop over into a more personal conversation, a little more freedom with hands and some making out. I could see that for some reason Jake was zoning out although he'd barely had more to drink than I had.Whatever it was with him, it wasn't going to be improved where were were so...time to move on. At the moment, that meant his truck so that's where we went. He tossed me the keys which I found odd; In general you don't trust a whore with anything but he wanted to be free from driving so we piled in. "Where to?"

"You mind doing....just around? Maybe up toward the bridge....."Something popped in my mind. When you've been with a lot of men, you begin to read them, know their moods.

Some guys buy me because they want sex, others because they've never picked a guy up and I look safe, not too young, alone. Some simply want a body to be by them, to spend time so that they won't be alone.

"Jake, why the bridge...what happened there...?"

I could see the big sloppy tears begin to fall so I stopped the truck, leaned over and grabbed him, drew him to me. No resistance just the sound of a big man heaving with crying. "Mikey"

One word but...I knew it all. Even thought I remembered the story. Month ago a guy was working on the bridge and a freak wind gust blew him off. Of course he had on his safety line but in the process of falling he bounced off some of the iron work on the bridge and ended up just hanging, a corpse with not much head.

"Mikey, the guy on the bridge.....he was ...your Mikey wasn't he."

Jake just nodded. And held me tighter.

"Jake, I won't take you to the bridge, it won't make anything better and you don't need to see it again. Fact is, I bet you go there a lot. It'd do you more good if you came to me or one of my brethren and got laid, at least that's what I think."

Jesus I felt sorry for him. A truly nice guy and I would have bet that they'd been partnered for a long time, didn't know, now, how to go forward, he could work but before and after that, he was just....vacant. I thought about Jerry and how I hadn't really lost him I just sort of...and I was crying too....

"Matt, what is it...?"

"Not everyone falls off bridges...." and we sat there. By now it was pretty dark, street lights turned on, in their glare all was shadows even inside the cab, we were just shadows.

"Got family for Christmas?"

"Yeah, my mom, pop, two brothers...I might go there."

"Do they know?"

"Sure, Mom was so broken up we had to take her out of the services. My kid brothers, well they're not really kids, but Mikey was their idol.They're devastated. I don't know how we'll do Christmas but...if we don't do this first one, we'll never do the second or the third and I'll avoid his birthday, when we met, our anniversary. Gotta do all of them once, cause the first time comes only once and if you miss it...well, it's not good."

"No.You gotta do it."

"I don't know why but...I've been sleeping in the truck for two or three days. He'd just put up the first of the Christmas Decorations, they're still hanging up and....."

"Yeah, I understand." And damn if I didn't. But I also was overcome with a great sense of sorrow and protection for this man. When it reduces itself to sleeping in your vehicle, it's getting out of hand, beyond serious. But maybe I had a brain wave.

"Do you do Christmas Eve or Christmas day?"

"Eve, now that there are no kids for Santa Claus to leave presents for, a lot easier, Christmas Eve. Usually about when it gets dark we all show up. Have some eggnog, dinner, sit around, BS and then .... go home."

"Do you trust me? I'm a whore, I sell myself but I got an idea. But you have to trust me. Okay?"

"Okay probably better than what I'd planned on...."

I shuddered slightly as I had a vision of what that might have been;Dressed as he was, and they probably knew him at the job site, he might have got onto the bridge...tonight or tomorrow night or some night....

"We're going to my place."

I pulled into the parking space behind the shop and noticed that Rod had apparently left. No reason for him to be there, not at that hour and, because he took the bus, he had to catch the last one or it was an expensive ride home in a taxi.

My place was accessed, as are many apartments over shops, by an outside staircase that went up the side of the building to a landing and my door. Keeping Jake in front of me, I got us maneuvered upstairs and inside. He sort of stood there looking about, not seeing what I suppose he thought a guy in the flesh trade would have in his bedroom. Of course, he was the first client, if you could call him a client, to ever be in my bedroom so in some ways I was just as surprized to find him here as he was to be here.

"Okay, first things first, strip."

He looked at me and I looked back as I started to take off my coat then my shirt...clearly I planned on getting naked as well. He followed suit and shortly there were two naked men in one room. As I'd thought, he had the sort of body that has spent a lot of time working, not working out. He had a solidness to him that was at once ubermasculine but non threatening. What did surprize me were three rather large tattoos, two the traditional Marine Corps Globe and anchor plus the bulldog. The other was a strange block that had indentations top, bottom and shot through. As I put my arm around him to lead him to my bathroom I realized that it was composed of two name, Mike and Jake that had been intertwined in such a way that you could see both name either upside down or right side up. It wasn't something I'd mention.

"Stand here while I get the water running unless you prefer very cold showers..."

"What are we doing...?"

"What does it look like, I'm bathing you. My one luxury in life was this walk in shower that was made to comfortably hold four but you're my first so now I can say I've doubled my number of visitors. Get in, if it's not hot, it will be in a moment. The point of the drill is to scrape three days of car off you so that when you see your family they won't take fright and be concerned. Jake, it's up to you to set the example for them, they're primed and ready for a family bawl if you let them. But...if you show up, fresh and clean, pressed and dressed they'll relax. Now, shut up and enjoy this, learned how to bathe people in a bath house in Korea where doing it is an art form."And making sure he was thoroughly wet, I got started. Maybe forty minutes later I was as done as I was going to be; He'd been scrubbed, loofah'ed, exfoliated, his hair not just shampooed but first an anti dandruff shampoo, then a protein shampoo, an oil treatment and a rinsing agent to get all the other shit out. Now I had him lying down on the built in bench while I cleaned the black heads from his back then had him roll over.

"Do you do this for every client?" I could tell his mood was about 200%improved.

"Well, sir, I'll tell ya, it just so happens that you are my ten thousandth customer so you're gettin' the grand imperial all things thrown in treatments, body work, shave and cut for......Freee!"

He laughed and rolled over, a good sign. "Come on Matt, this was worth it...however much "it" is."

"As I said, it's on the house now lie still as we're about ready for the next treatment."

With which I knelt down, gradually took his balls in my hand and worked him into a dynamite erection and then gave him one of the best suck jobs he was likely to have. I could tell he hadn't climaxed in some little while, his orgasm was great and long and the amount of sperm he produced somewhat more than normal. As I finished he relaxed to the point I was tempted to start over and edge him but....maybe that could be for another time. And then it came to me, another time, I hadn't thought of Jerry in hours. Maybe Jake was my Christmas present, I'd just been too dumb to see it.

"Okay, now the drying rub down and then we're going downstairs."

"Like this?"

"Don't worry the blinds are closed and I'll be as naked as you are. Sides, for the next part of the full treatment, you get a shave."

It caught me off guard when he took me in his arms and kissed me. Full, open mouth, lots of tongue kiss. It was great and instinctively when you like someone you kiss them back. We lingered for some little while in the bathroom while the shower cooled down and I got hot. He slowly slipped down me and took my cock in his mouth and proved that there are such things as gifted amateurs. Of course, he'd been sleeping and sexing with a man for a long time so apparently....he'd learned some things.


"Yeah, okay just hold on to me for a moment or so, I'm shaky." He was smiling. I wondered if he was thinking of his dead partner? If just for a moment I wasn't Matt but Mikey or his shade; Whatever, it made him happy, hell, it made me happy and the evening wasn't even over.I'd already planned the rest and, thankfully, we had time for all of it. But we both needed a pause which was a good time to get some food into both of us. We weren't small men and feedings are necessary. I'd made a large skillet of sausage gravy and baked some biscuits earlier in the day; With a little heat, I had a dinner plate covered in one of any man's favourite meals, sausage gravy, a lava flow of it, over recently baked biscuits. On the theory that corn is the national vegetable of all men, there was a bowl of that, lots of butter and pepper and, still in it's plastic dome, a store bought lemon pudding cake. That should hold us. At least for a while. I fully planned on a midnight snack.


"Uh Hum" he mumbled with a mouthful of it, the gravy dribbling down his furry chin...and disappeared at one point, suggesting a dimple. Two naked guys sitting comfortably, eating comfort food that's actually marginally good for you; I counted the corn as the basis for nutrition as it hadn't been fried, wasn't a carb loader and was obviously a yellow vegetable. Apparently we both liked it as I opened another can and covered it with another stick of butter. I counted the butter-and the milk in the gravy-as being in the dairy family so, as I said, marginally good for you with pretensions to being nutritious. Whatever, it tasted great. It's not just comfort food but two men who are getting really comfortable with each other. True, we hadn't fucked or done anything kinky-but fun-however what we had done was intensely intimate which can trump wild, frisky sex any time.Also, we were both emotionally vulnerable and willing, even anxious to patch some internal hurt. His loss was far greater than mine for, truthfully, I'd only lost mine in my mind, his Mikey was certifiably dead; Worse, as a man, he was supposed to "take it", "buck up","be a man". And that's horseshit, he was a man who'd suffered a loss and was in emotional free fall; Had it been his father or brother or a cousin of whom he was particularly fond, his reactions would have been permitted, he could grieve publicly but Mikey was no family member how ever well loved and regarded by his own family, to the rest of the world, he had lost a good friend, a very good friend.In a sense, if they'd been hunting buddies and if he'd accidentally shot Mikey, it almost would have been better for then his grief and guilt would have been both horrible and understandable. There might have been a trial, maybe even some jail time but he could have accepted all that, maybe even take the death penalty but it would be his expiation, something he did not now have.

There is a certain intimacy to dining at a small table, a fact that has been exploited by restaurants, and that we were finding out, without thinking about it, ourselves. By now we were each a bit giddy and what could be more normal than a fight. It started with him flipping a spoon full of gravy at me and, of course, that had to be answered.....eventually the cake was taken out, rubbed all over each other then licked off. While I cannot suggest lemon pudding cake mixed with hair as an appetizing dessert, it's fun and, continuing the flow of intimacy, was just right. Also, back to the shower, briefly, for a sluicing off.

"Okay, saddle up and follow me downstairs." I sensed that he was still not happy about being nude in a shop with big windows that fronted on a street. Natural. That the windows were totally covered-Rod and I had made sure of that when a more personal form of shaving and clipping became a staple of our business-didn't mean much to someone who hasn't experienced it. Rod and I were so used to it we often had to suddenly rush to close the blinds. Our "regulars" were equally sangfroid; My chair was far in the rear and between us there was a breakfront of sorts that held products, towels, the detritus that men have such as trophies, a football from a game no one remembered, a trophy depicting a player whose sport wasn't easily discerned...but whatever it contained it was an effective shield. Even patrons Rod was working on couldn't clearly see what I was doing. Also, we'd put in a fairly good shower stall unit that we bought at some big box store; As opposed to the plastic or whatever was masquerading as plastic, this one was a combination shower and sauna and was made of wood. Not only my clients, but all clients were offered the opportunity to use it; Business men who'd had a hard day out on a dirty project, some who'd just fallen down a grass covered hill, all found it useful and were grateful. It was blocked from the rest of the shop by a screen behind which there was a stool, hall tree with hangers and the best thing, a stack of bath sheets. Guys dug those huge towels, (80 X 50 inches) for their comfort and their ability to really get you dry without having to decide which part of the towel was still reasonably dry itself. The first time Rod was offered money to buy a used one, we realized we had a mini-franchise. A couple of blocks away there was a commercial uniform place that for very little money would monogram them and so, for one hundred dollars, we had towels for sale. If they wanted their initials or nick name or whatever, we could accommodate that....for ten dollars extra. If you looked back at the history of barbering, it used to be quite common for there to be a tub in the back and, for two bits, you could have it filled with hot water and take a bath. After days on the trail or in a stage coach, it must have felt good to not only get a shave and a haircut but a bath. There's just something about being clean, smelling good and looking smooth that set many a cowboy up for an evening "out" at the local saloon, maybe take a hand of poker or, it was rumoured, they was gals upstairs that didn't say no lessen you couldn't pay for it. Two bits for a bath that led to all that was a bargain. Sides, the girls refused service to men who didn't meet certain cleanliness standards or those who just plain smelled. Back in the tub, cheroot in his mouth, his hat tipped back on his head and his feet over the other end, yessir, had a lot to look forward to.

If you were passing through, it's entirely possible you wouldn't even notice our place. On the window in gold Spencerian Script, with black highlights, it said, "Rod's Barber Shop", no Salon, no Styling no representations about what we did or how well we did it. In the far corner, by the door, there was a discreet additional bit of information that gave our days and times of operations (Unlike many shops we were open a full five days plus the five afternoon hours on Monday) At one point, many years earlier, there had been the tradition barber pole but vandalism and the cost of replacing it got to be ridiculous so, through the window in the waiting area, there was a dry point etching, coloured in, of a barber pole and hung on the divider between there and Rods chair. When you walked in it was impossible not to notice the detail, the thought that had gone into creating this; It wasn't a re-creation but an homage to the past.The floor was real pegged wood, the ceiling pressed tin; The walls were a faux William Morris Wallpaper with illustrations of bare knuckle fights, Lillian Russell, Dan Patch and framed newspapers declaring Teddy Roosevelt as the new President as decoration. Fans that slowly turned and had globe type lights in them depended from the high ceiling but the "working lights" were by each station and could be easily moved to where you wanted to work, close up. I mentioned the shower/sauna-of which there was no mention unless Rod or I invited you to use it or, usually, you, already knew about it, the products on offer the finest-Geo. Trumper from London was the bulk of them, our bath sheets which, if you bought them from us without a monogram said, "Rod's Barber Shop" in gold thread, highlighted by black. We didn't make a lot on them but enough to have them available and I cannot count how many guys came in looking for"those big towels". Many of them stayed for a shave or a cut and more than a few became regular customers. As there would have been 140 years ago, it had a hollow sound-buildings then were build to let the heat and the smells (the old West was not what one might describe as 'Sanitary') go up and out-but once in the chair it was an intimate experience, one the client just sensed would produce something good.We did and did not accept appointments. Exceptions were like the groom I mentioned earlier, people we knew well and knew they literally did not have the time to be, "Next!" Rod extended a 20%discount to all service men and first responders. This was not only done to help people who did important work but didn't, he felt, get paid enough for doing it. (I practically had to take the rinsing hose from the sink and cool him down the day he found the highest paid public official in the state was the football coach at the university; While he yelped, I read the rest of the article and found that was true in about 35 states... but I elected not to point that out to him. At least not just then. ) In other ways Rod was as modern as they come. No white barber smock, no waxed and curled moustache, we both dressed informally in Dockers and good looking, if matching, something I didn't like, short sleeve shirts, no Polos, no T shirts, except in winter when we tended to wear a long sleeved Henley under our shirts. Rod had studs in each ear and, if his shirt had been more open, double pierced nipples, a pair of barbells one going up and down the other across. There were also some tats, one of the Air Force logo, another of the fraternity he'd been in and, in a more intimate area, a barber poled inked on his cock. Nice guy, exactly as you saw him, home in the suburbs, wife, twin sons and a dog which periodically joined us. What ever made him think a Great Pyrenees was a good idea for small children eludes me but Clippers, the name of the dog, was lamb gentle, loving and, occasionally, had to be restrained from jumping up on clients to show their love by licking their faces. (Privately I thought he was addicted to shaving foam....) Mrs. Rod, I honestly don't know her first name, was apparently quite the suburban go-getter. A vice president of a local bank, she was the heart and soul of every good cause that came along;Rod once commented that tonight, when he got home, was the first time in eight nights they hadn't attended a banquet for something she was involved in. It came to me that one of the reasons for having the shop that far from home was to avoid being roped into joining her-or more accurately being volunteered by her-into doing good deeds. Not having a car also kept him from having to do "emergencies" of whatever nature resulting from something like....Mildred forgot to pick up the cupcakes so could he just be a dear and go get car, no go get. There were no family pictures, he felt they took away from the professional look we wanted, and that was fine by me although it passed through my mind that having an artistically arranged group of photos of my "regulars" doing what they liked to do might be interesting. Rod was somewhat methodical, easy to be around and more than understanding when it came to my "night job"and some day jobs as well. (Even though the fence was hard by by the shop, almost none of our guys who came in ever "made" me as the hustler just down the street. The parking lot for the shop was accessible more easily from the side street, ergo few ever drove past me. Also in my "working" clothes as a street salesman, I didn't look like me specifically. The cops, of course, knew who I was but to most, I could have been a sign advertising Levis or leather boots from which the copy had worn away.) The fence was fifty yards from the shop and in a pinch, Rod could whistle for me and I could hustle around back, change out of one set of working clothes, put on another set of working clothes and appear as if I'd been in the back room...doing something.

Sometimes as I leaned against my fence I wondered how long Rod could stay in this area. Some are referred to as places that are being re-gentrified, this was not one of those places. Indeed it was the shop and the policy about discounts for cops that probably saved my ass and the shop's window on more than one occasion; Cops tend to protect places and people they like and the shop was universally popular with the guys who were assigned to work our neighborhood-My protection was just adjunctive as I was well known as THE best blade man around, my other talents being presumed. Hooking isn't safe;There are those who disapprove of it morally, those who are just looking for someone to beat up and those who carry diseases and their way of repaying the world is to hand it on. The guys in their cruisers could have run me in every day for loitering but...all I was doing was leaning against a fence. Beyond that, given eyes that moved in one direction or another I could cue them as to which direction they might like to go in pursuit of whatever. At my other job, they'd drop by and if I wasn't involved with a client, quietly probe me as to what I might have seen, noticed, detected. My favourite was, as the guys called him, "Little Jeff" and that was because he was just over the minimum height to be an officer. But he was a tough little shit, had no problem fighting dirty and if you were in a fight, you definitely wanted him on your side. He was afflicted with terminal male pattern baldness so, periodically, I gave him a good head shave with a straight razor that lasted a couple of days. He and the guys with him were part of the neighborhood scene and were as unnoticed as the mail carrier until something happened. Like Rod, they went home at night leaving me as probably the only person living on the block.

Our block, such as it was, started at the corner with what had once been a bank but was now used for "storage" although of what was never made clear and no pick ups or deliveries were ever least during regular business hours. Next was Rods then two abandoned buildings, my fence, a wholesale car parts store, another "vacancy"and destined to stay that way followed by a hotel on the corner that had been condemned after a fire and most of the interior had fallen in. That was an event of late '48 and why it hadn't been taken down is beyond me; Not that it was rickety but...if you pushed against the bricks in some places they almost popped out the other side. All in all my fence was sturdier although to whom it belonged was a mystery.It was twelve feet tall, had a sign that said, "Posted, No Trespassing" that was almost illegible due to age and weathering not to mention the hundreds of paper signs, refuse from fast food places etc that had been pressed through the openings in the chain link. Actually, I turned them into a sort of surround for me.Carefully taking out an arc or paper and whatever, I left myself highlighted within a cheerful bower of multi-coloured oddments. One Christmas I made an effort, gathered up everything red and green to use as a sort of holiday wreath-around me-until Little Jeff said it looked cheap and I deserved better. For that I offered him, with the compliments of the season, a blow job in the place of his choice. He didn't even bother to blush, just started making the gulping noise reminiscent of a dying fish and floor boarded it down the road. Oh, and the road....didn't even have a name, just Sixth street. By counting I was the whore at 6712 6th Street. I thought about putting that on my cards.

The stairs from my place inside were in the back so the fact that I lived there was unknown save to a very few and the cops. Walking down the rather steep stairs in the semi-gloom is hard and doing it naked just makes it harder. By the time we hit bottom I'd made a mental note to find a hammer and do some work on nails that were popping up; The staircase was the sort built by construction crews when the place is being built and had never been replaced by something more substantial,

Once into the shop, and a few lights turned on, he was suitably impressed."When you said Barber Shop, this isn't exactly what I expected, real nice though".. and, slipping into his contractor mode, "Real fine work here, really like the pegged floor" he leaned down to look more intently, "Well shit in my hat, this is real pegged wood, best quality. Was this here and you guys sanded and repaired it....?"

"Nope, every inch of that was done by Rod and me. Fact is, apart from some plumbing and wiring that had to be up to code, we did it all, took four months and that floor was a bitch..."

"Yeah, but worth it, He ever wants to sell this place, that floor and your place upstairs will get him a good price, certainly will."

I had to laugh. "Remember when you dropped by my place of business a while ago? You notice any foot traffic? Any cars that looked parked and not abandoned? No, cuz there weren't any. If you see a guy here on this block of 6th Street, they're either a cop doing undercover work a tramp whose lost his way or someone headed here, to Rods, or looking for me. This place isn't going up, at best he'll get a few more years out of it before it's just not safe, his clients won't come here or we'll get fire bombed the rest of the block, we'll just implode. Knowing Rod, he'll stay too long, sometimes when I'm out and about I look at semi-rundown neighborhoods; This type of shop works better in some place old, it's the relic still going and, of course, we do pretty good work. Get in the chair, get comfortable while I get out my tools. First thing with you is to get out the lawn mower and reduce that hair to something that can be shaved, I wouldn't even put foam on it and try and run blade though that, you and the razor would both scream with pain and it's not my purpose to inflict pain on my least not in this job." He looked at me and grinned so I winked back at him.

Starting parallel with his ear lobe I ran those suckers up, down, back and forth; Some men say or think they've got a heavy beard, Jake was the epitome of it. Even with the clippers I had to go slow, for one, I was planning ahead as to the finished product plus I didn't want the clippers to get fouled in his beard and seize up. Stopping frequently, removing the comb and cleaning them, it was a good ten, fifteen minutes before I could step back and get a clearer idea of what I had to work with and, damn, he was one handsome motherfucker.Not the sort of obvious good looks but a calm directness that radiated authority, kindness and still was obviously as masculine as could be. Cleaned up and peeled, I could have had him standing by me at the fence and been endlessly jealous as car after car practically drove up on the sidewalk to let him get in. And, yeah, there was a dimple. Three of them on his face, chin and both cheeks plus two more only on his lower set of cheeks. Jake was one stud of the best kind;An almost child like innocence with a roaring sex drive that took time to satiate but would be a pleasure trying.

"Okay, now we have to plot what's next. What I'm thinking is about your family and how they're waiting for you, they want to do everything they can to make you happy, have you enjoy the evening, make sure you are diverted from thinking about Mikey....and they're well meaning, just misdirected. The last thing you want is to have to play the mourning man who's going to tough it out, slap a smile on your face and make sure that they know that YOU are okay. By the end of the evening you'll all be exhausted from just trying to make sure everyone is Happy, Content...."

"Christ, just what I don't want, I get versions of that everyday from all sides, some I didn't even expect...the woman in the window at the drive through where we used to get take out....somehow, those are the ones that sneak up on you, hurt the most because it's all suddenly there again."

"Absofuckinglutely.And that's were I come in and think I can do something that will help you and them although candidly, given our brief if somewhat intense, relationship, I'm on your team. Ready? I gotta tell you what I have in mind is radical...."

"Hit me with it....."

"What they're looking for is the Jake they've seen for years and, lately, the one who's in almost shock over what's happened to him. And that's to be expected if they didn't feel that way, I'd say get another family and start over but that's kinda what I have in mind for you.Starting over, give you a chance to stop them before they can wind up the sympathy machine and there is a way to do that; Remember I said they're expecting you as you are? Well, when I'm finished, you're gonna walk in as a Jake as they've never seen you. It will startle them to the point that they're so diverted with new questions, what they'd planned gets tossed under the rug, they'll be spinning after you leave and, if I were you, I'd do the proverbial eat and run. Give them their holiday but close it down before, as happens too often with families, holidays lead to memories and Aunt Unique or whoever just can't resist bringing "it" up...and then it's Katie bar the door. Their anxieties loosened by a non-connected event, it comes to you and the question, carefully, quietly asked, Jake how are you really doing..."

"I've already had that question too many times..."

"Yeah, well get used to it as you're going to hear it some more. There are people out there who don't know and will be shocked when they hear.Their first instinct is to call you and find out how you're doing can tell them...look at how long you've known each other...crap like that. You can't do anything about that, it's human nature. Twenty years ago I had an uncle, who was crazier than a peach orchard bore, who committed suicide. Just took a gun and offed himself. Gotta tell you, what remained of my family wasn't crying in their beer but we got foxed into having to seem like it was some sort of tragedy. Of course that died down but if I go home, go to the market, I promise you, someone will jump out from behind a display of canned peas and say, 'I just heard about your are you doing?' Well, I'm tempted to say, I'm doing pretty good, got a spot all to myself on a fence and when the weather's good I can clear a couple a thousand a night." I don't but the temptation is there."

Jake laughed-an encouraging sign-and reached his arms up to stretch in a perfectly normal way, he was relaxed, comfortable with me and it was time to lay my idea on him. I also made a mental note to trim under his arms, hairy is fine but King Kong is on the acquired tasted list.

"Are you up for it?"

"Whatever....what's it gonna be boss?"

"Nope I want you to be as surprized as they're gonna be so you'll thoroughly understand how diverted they will be." And stood back from him for a moment. "Also, I want you to look at something new, something that never stood by Mikey, that didn't shave together in the same mirror....just Jake and his memories but not Jake and Mikey as a mated pair...." Damn fool that I am a coupla tears ran down my face which caught him off guard but not so much that he couldn't lean forward, grab me and hold me. "Go for it".

It took almost two hours simply because there was a lot of hair in lots of places to be worked over. Razor, clippers, scissors, foam, comb, more razor, more clippers and then I was done and whirled him around.

"Holy Motherfucking Shit", and then he was silent. If nothing else, I am absolutely sure he'd never seen himself like that nor had anyone else. What I'd given him is what is called a "skintight Caesar"which is an ultra short haircut but just enough to slick down with a variation on a bang in front but one that was slightly pointed. It's hard to do because it's the sort of cut that shows any mistake and with his dark hair and white skull, that went double. He now sported an outline beard that just slid along his jaw line and, at one point, looped up over his upper lip. In fact, in terms of looks, it was terrific but in terms of a change: Only a Mohawk died fuchsia could have been more different. He ran his hand over his head, the beard..."Where's that come from , never had a beard." Well, while you were sleeping in the truck it grew itself for you. There's not much hair involved, it's just a bitch to shave in, and you've got dark hair which makes it show up clearly. Keeping it maintained is going to be up to you, the hair cut particularly. Just based on having cut lots of heads of hair, I'll bet yours grows fast and, again the colour, really contrasts with your skin. If this were summer and you had a tan on your head, it would be less noticeable.My suggestion is if you like it, you find a good barber who knows what he's doing and can maintain it for you. That beard is going to be tough for you to trim until you get used to it, if you even want to keep it see what I mean about when you walk in, they're gonna forget whatever else they had in mind to ask you but you'll have a whole new set of questions, such as why and where and when,.....but that's off topic as far as you're concerned."

There was a long pause while he just stared at himself in the mirror. While I was pretty certain, hate it as he well might, he wouldn't punch me out; if he did I'd have to respond and that would be unfortunate.

"Fucking A, this is fucking incredible, man, just what you kid brothers are going to be all over me about this...." and then he was silent. "I didn't know whores with a heart of gold were men...."

"Yeah, well it's a tight shop, the union is pretty tough on who they take in so.....Glad you like it...just a few more things and you'll be done."

I took my scissors and carefully trimmed the hair around his nipples so they were more apparent. It was obvious that Mikey must have worked them over on occasion as they were full, and had a raised, hard center that didn't get there without assistance.

"How about a treasure trail? Oddly, with as much fur as you've got there's almost a natural one from just below your pecs to your bush....just a few touches to make it clearer."

"Great but..who's gonna see all this beauty?"

"Well, for one, I am...and I like my men to look as good as they can...."And took the edging clipper and began making subtle cuts to the hair down to his belly and into the hair above his cock. On a whim, I got out my regular clippers, put in a long comb and gave his bush a trim so that his cock and balls, already shaved, were on full display."And then I was well and truly done as well as rock hard and sweating slightly.

"While I look this good, can we go upstairs?"

"That, sir, is part of the all inclusive 10,000th customer, you win a freebie gift bag."

He stood up and hugged me. "Matt I can't not do something for you, I have a pretty good idea about what you get...."

"Stop right there. You're my Christmas present to me. 'Member when I said not everyone that's lost fell off bridges? Well, just assume that you're a hunky stud, all wrapped up and beautifully decorated which I'm not going to find under my tree but in my bed. Lets go upstairs and fuck our brains out."

Walking up the stairs indoors with only a little light and Jake's hand on my butt, it was almost romantic....

The first step with almost any client is getting them comfortable enough to even begin to remember I'm there for sex, sex with them, and to calm down; At some moments I've wondered if I could get a tranquilizer gun, like ones at the zoo, to use on guys who were so nervous they threw up. That's not every one, some carried me through the door over their shoulder shinning my butt with their hand using their thumb to press in on my jeans to begin to massage my prostate through my perineum and my pants. I liked that kind of guy for two reasons, they knew what they were doing and they usually had a great sense of humour about it. To them, sex was as much fun and pleasure as it was physical release which meant that when we got to that point, boy did they get released. I AM HERE TO SHOUT!!!! And then they'd lay back, get their breath and go to work on me for which I was entirely amenable, also primed and ready but, as I often did with clients, I held off, making them sweat because it became a game of my cock against their hand/mouth/ass and they were going to see a sperm fountain or die trying; No one was disappointed. Ever.

Jake was not shy but neither was he blatantly direct. He put his hand out, I took it, was drawn to him where he nuzzled my neck, bit it, blew hot breath on me while I took both hands, placed them on his muscular ass and slowly kneaded them, worked a finger or two in him, could hear him make a deep seated sound that more than indicated pleasure;His cock was skewering my navel. I took him away a little bit, looked at him, smiled and kissed him, gently at first but adding my hand behind his head, my tongue sliding in and my remaining hand hefting his ball sac-which felt heavy and I could feel whatever was inside moving as if to say, Oh, Yeah, we're ready, Help us. I couldn't quite pick him up but I kissed him in three quarter time to the bed and we both sank onto it.

I'm sure there are those who prefer sheets that are wild and purport to be sexy but...I cannot comfortably sleep or fuck on images of skeletons, Harley Davidson emblems, football team shit or bodies riven with pain. My preference is for the finest Egyptian, white, thick sheets. The bed is kept clean, new sheets and there are no blankets, no quilts-they're for later-just the large white bed which is as fresh as a meadow, is over a great mattress and invites one to lie down, relax and wait for whatever will happen next. I've installed a heat lamp for cold nights and air conditioning only for the bed when it's hot. Comfort is essential to sex and I've done everything possible to focus on sex, not chill, or heat, or covers, or distracting linens just the white cloth against which every man looks good that's in my room. Below in my "other" bedroom", for some customers, but not Jake, I can reveal a mirror so they can get off on their performance. (No cameras, I guarantee privacy during the act and no souvenirs to take home unless they want an ass full of my DNA samples-no charge.) I've had guys want to be videoed or photographed but as carefully as is possible remembering they're in heat, I explain that in these times one picture may be worth a thousand words to them.....but many, many, more to those who will find it and, I assure them, it will be found. One question seems to quash the issue; "Would they like to be a viral video on Xhamster or RedTube?" (I am not on any porn site, working men on the corner tend not to be; If I had wanted to make porn, I could have, maybe still could, but I like my fence and Rod and the shop and the clientele I've got and, right now, I sort of loved Jake and didn't even bother to fantasize about what we might do as I was sure we were going to do it.

Once on the bed we lay there, looking at each other, kissing, occasionally touching more sensitive areas...I could tell that this had to have been his first time since Mikey died so I let him lead the way. At once I didn't want him to recreate what it had been with his partner but I also wanted this to be the transition, some of them, a lot of now and a set up or two into the future. Jake needed that and my sincere hope was that to some degree, I could live up to my high minded ideas.

His first idea and one of which I wholly approved, was to begin to move his head toward my cock while shortly his came to me. It's old fashioned but a good, long 69 is one of the best things two guys can do. Requires no acrobatics, no accommodation of the other, just enough space to lie on and a cock to suck with some balls in the area to be played with, gently squeezed, the perineum for a preliminary notice to the prostate that good things were coming its way. Your hands and legs are available to clasp, grasp. Put in a scissor hold, just lie along side your head as encouragement. I could have easily deep throated him but that was too quick and too soon; I had every intention of doing it but just then, licking his cock, nibbling his head and corona was about right; Must have been, it was what he was doing to me. Over time we both slid down so our cocks were well within the gate of teeth but not so far as to cause too much arousal. (I had to watch that with him, no doubt in my mind that I was the first, apart from his jacking off, man he'd been with and factoring in Mikey and his heavy arousal, slow and steady were the watch words. )

At some point, he brought his head to mine, removed it from his cock and whispered that he was ready, wanted me, desired me.....and, caressing his face, I told him just the same....and I'd be proud to be the first to break his second cherry...leaned in to see him smile and also grind his crotch into the sheets. Not for us was anything unusual, just a straight old fashioned fuck with him on the bottom and me working topside.

First thing was to slide some pillows under his belly and to put his arms above his head. Then I scooted around and looked at that great ass, work hardened but desperate to feel another man inside. Somehow I knew he didn't want a condom, so I was prepared to go in bareback.Took a moment to get myself a bit harder and then gently leaned down and in.

He was like firm, warm butter. You slid easily in but some push was necessary and he knew how to use his tail muscles. At once they formed a barrier while drawing you in. I had established a beach head when he brought out the big artillery, his sphincter muscle which began a massage that must have surprized the blood already in my bloated dick as it was sent a signal to send more, inflate me and try and repel the insistent pressing. Jesus he was good. I lay on top of him and whispered a string of affectionate profanities, daring him to get me off, threatening to rape his prostate, telling him he could do better, hold me, grab my sex rod with his ass and try and pull it off. Make me come, make me believe he wanted to be bred....and as we went on I got rougher, harder strokes, pushing further in, ringing his prostate like a bell, holding his arms which had come down, tight so they could not help, just in out, in out, harder, deeper, I could hear the slurp of his spit that had been on my cock and knew there were bubbles of them dripping out but there was one final depth, not for everyone but he needed it, wanted it and so I rose up and fell into him, his groan told me I was where I wanted to be, beyond the prostate, deep in him and feeling his intestines. His prostate was smashed against my corona and I was at full steam, only needing that one thing and then I felt the two bloods, my semen and, where I'd make a small tear, his blood. In one fast pull, I was out and up offering him my still squirting cock as well as the traces of blood, his blood, my semen, ours. He grabbed my still throbbing stalk and deep throated it, letting the blood and the cum drizzle down his throat. It was almost over save the intense kissing and feeling that followed. No words, just hands and tongues and fingers wherever they would go. I got part of my fist up him and wondered if that was something they'd done.

Slowly we fell into that point where there may have been more but we were too sated to do it. All we could do-and did-was hold one another. I rolled him until he was spooned against me, both of us heaving for lack of breath and both of us satisfied.

We lay like that for...perhaps half an hour and then I reached down, began to draw the sheets and duvet over us, hit a switch so the room would cool down and cuddling under the covers would be pleasant. Dragged ten pillows from the top of the bed, we both went through the entirely masculine thing of stretching and arranging pillows, getting comfortable with each other. He turned my head, looked into my eyes and simply said

"Thank You". I licked the tears from his cheeks, smiled, rolled back over and started the pleasant trip to sleep. I could feel him relax, reached around and played with my nipples while I lifted my foot and caught his balls with my heel but slowly, our activities gave way to passives and then I turned out the light.

While I had slept with a lot of men, it wasn't too often that I spent the night with them-although I had a rate for that. Also, this was my own place and not a hotel or motel, or even their place, this was my corner of the world and it felt strangely odd to have a man, admittedly one I liked, in my bed with me. Not a bad feeling just unusual. At some point I'd realized that I was not made for monogamy which would have included sleeping on a permanent basis with one person. That compounded with my varying taste in sex and practices pretty much eliminated a partner although I'd some nice guys make me offers.

When the sentence started, "Shadow, I am really frightened/worried/concerned about your safety/security/health..." and all this was leading to my being asked to bunk in with them, not, I was to understand, as their partner but a concerned which I could have added: Object; Lover. As I said, they were nice guys, I liked them to a point but the point was after the evening, or some part of it was over, and I was on my way back to the fence, carefully dropping the take at the gate in a secure place-the cash box at the barber shop. (I think that sometimes, particularly over a weekend or if a convention was in town, I could be very busy and there might be as much as ten thousand dollars in large bills in Rod's till. We never precisely discussed what I made for what I did but, clearly, it soared above minimum wage and was in the vicinity of executive pay if I'd got it on a regular basis.) The problem with hooking-and where I was doing it was that cold, or bad weather or a variety of other impediments could take away my source of income for days at a time.That's when I truly appreciated Rod and his allowing me to work with him. As much as anything, it kept me busy, I did, infrequently, find a client and I was damn good at what I did both at sex and barbering.While compared to life on the fence, it was small beer but I never had a day at Rods where I didn't clear at least five hundred plus tips and that's after I gave Rod 25% for the chair. We worked well together, customers were happy and up to this point, the neighborhood hadn't scared them away-although one good shooting in our area I felt could cut into our business in a matter of days. The very lack of anything on the street probably forestalled that but both of us were only too aware it could happen. I had a Concealed Weapon permit and, on weekends, I usually had a piece just in case. I always had a knife in my boot and, given my ability to strop a razor sharp enough to split hairs, my knife was more than capable of doing serious damage without having to push in very hard.

Somewhere in the night Jake got frisky, rolled over and began to make very direct suggestions in my ear. For them I was all ears and only too willing to follow up on what he wanted. Apart from the fact that he'd been pretty well drained over, I got a good fucking that climaxed us both and left me feeling satisfied. After we'd snuggled and done a little post fuck making out, I told him I expected him to sleep in, get up, make coffee, make breakfast-again and stick around until he wanted to head out. I had a six am appointment-It was Christmas Eve and if we'd accepted them, we could have had ten more than we did.The deal was on that day only shaves and trims or quick haircuts, just enough to look great for the holidays but what could be done in about 20 minutes. A razor shave, if you delete the massage and the hot towels and the other crappola that feels good can be given in about 12 minutes. Given some lee way to get them up, seated and then out, collect the money and welcome the next one, I could do four an hour. Now this is at the dead run, no time for friendly conversation, just foam, shave, out. Rod was able to do three an hour and by our absolute quitting time of 4pm, we were both so tired one more face or head and accidents might have happened.

At some point during the day I heard some bumping in the back and Rod went to see what was up. I hoped it wasn't Jake and that he was gone, not that I wouldn't have liked to see him, but he was on a mission and needed to complete it. Maybe I'd hear how it went. Maybe. On his way back Rod got close to me and said that he had a Christmas present for me but, uh, it was a little personal in nature so he'd had it taken up to my room....We'd joked about a fucking machine and knew him well enough to know he'd order one and have it delivered. Just not to the shop and, privately, upstairs I could open it without prying eyes, a request for a demonstration and all sorts of questions that I wasn't keen on answering. I winked at him made my thank yous and shaved on.

Forty five minutes later it was time to close up-we'd already had to turn away some stragglers who offered us anything up to and including their first born if we'd just....but we wouldn't. The door was locked and, as we walked back, all but one small light was turned off. In my"work room" Rod stripped, put on his going home clothes, gave me a hug, thanked me for being his partner and buddy and, again, expressed his appreciation for my continuing service. (I felt as if I was about to get a gold watch.) I mumbled through some sort of reciprocation, gave him a hug, followed him to the back door, stood there while he drove away-he'd rented a car for the holidays.) Waved him good bye, he honked as he turned into the street and was gone.

There was nothing to do in my "work area" and I was curious as to what Rod had got for me. He had a sly sense of humour that popped up once in a while, but on the other hand, he not infrequently came through with a really nice gift that showed he'd thought about it and wanted me to understand his appreciation. As I walked up the stair-with shoes you didn't feel the nails that had come loose- I wondered what it was going to be, the Zonk behind door number two or the great gift that would surprise and please me.

It was neither, it was Jerry chained and spread eagle to my bed with a bow on his cock a collar on his neck with a card stuck to his chest.

I am rarely if ever so taken aback that I cannot think but this was one of those moments. I was torn between my own very real exhaustion, the overwhelming surprize of Jerry and absolutely without a clue as to what I was going to do next. Just standing there in my work clothes, staring at what I thought I was emotional and physical overkill.

The surprize wasn't over. Jerry leaned up, the chains fell away-I hadn't noticed that there were no locks, he pulled off the blindfolds and the gag, got up and came to me.

"Don't you want to read your card......?
He took it off his sternum where it had been held by plain old Scotch tape-had it been me I would've attached it with a safety pin, just for the effect. He rounded me, took me in his arms, opened the card and read..."Matt, sometimes we all know just what to give you for Christmas. Don't let it go until its been well used and it's used you as well. Bro, we all love you, Rod, Jeff, Billy, Sam, and most of the guys who work the streets cruising to make sure you're safe when you're cruising. Fuck him all day Christmas."

It was on police stationery which made it, I don't know, doubly special. And that little Jeff was the second signatory was more than important. I turned and looked at him. There were questions but I couldn't find the first one, the one I really wanted answered as there were too many of them.

"You look lizard eyed, Matt, you worked pretty hard today I know so....just sag into my arms-before you fall on the floor-and we'll get comfortable and I'll explain as much of it as I can...."

Getting comfortable meant that he stripped me, with a little help, took me to my own bed, scraped off the rest of the chain which fell on the floor telling Marley we'd already had it and gingerly put me to bed then crawled in beside me.

I'd forgotten that he was a good kisser but he reminded me...."Okay, lets go back to that time at my place where you showed up as a gift...which is why I worked this out to be a gift for you, seemed only appropriate. After you left I almost followed you, dragged you back, would have done what I said and "rented" you every night for the next six months...."

"I wouldn't have accepted..."

"Well, yeah, I assumed that and I also figured that driving by your, uhm, place of business with an open car door would have worked until you saw who was driving. So that was out. Then it becomes more my fault, I got all involved with moving, things that never go wrong went wrong, it was two months and almost three dates in court with the landlord before I finally got moved in and then I felt...guilty...then I got the picture of you, what I should have done was run like hell, cuffed you and stuffed you but I was embarrassed, ashamed...not because I'd forgotten you, I hadn't but time is weird....if you don't like someone, there can't be enough time between meetings but when you do...back to back to back seems about right but if you break the chain....well, that's what happened.I sat in my big, beautiful apartment looking at the bed that I'd figured you'd like and punished myself for my own stupidity but then got more stupid and didn't call. Jesus that photo was an eight by ten accusation at what I hadn't done....but then...I got arrested or thought I had by the littlest policeman I'd ever seen."


"Yeah, says he knows you...."

"Oh my God Jerry, I'm so sorry, I apologize, I'll kill the little squirt and this time when I joke about giving him a blow job it will be with his gun...Oh, Jerry, Jesus, what was he playing at...."

"Matt, baby, here let me hold you....all those guys on the card, they think you're a great guy....I guess while I was sitting around feeling like shit because I hadn't called, you were in emotional free fall waiting for a call that hadn't come...."

And I did Jeff and the others.... but then I remembered, to a very select group of guys, like Rod and some of the cops, like Little Jeff, once in a while I talked about my "other" job and, as I remembered, I'd referred to Jerry as a "keeper" but I'd been a gift...and I looked at the card again. Two of the names were involved when I was "given" to Jerry as a gift...It wasn't making much sense but I could, sort of, see a connection however twisted it might be. I looked at Jerry. "They think a street whore is a great guy???" and thought about Jake and his crack about whores with a heart of gold being men....

"Yeah, they do. Rod loves you like a brother...after Jeff and his partner had a talk with me..."

"Jeff and his partner? Jeff doesn't have a partner, you're going too far, I see Jeff at least a couple of times a day in his cruiser and unless a partner is hiding in the trunk with the heavy artillery, there's no partner..."

"In other words, you've never heard of Skip, the great guy he comes home to, worries about whether his little man will be safe...sleeps with him, that partner."

There was a long silence while I rewrote social history. Jeff is gay, has a partner called Skip with whom he lives.....

"Helluva nice guy, couldn't meet two better guys if you tried."

"Who?Skip? You've met Skip, someone I've never heard of, someone who's partner I offered to give a suck job've met him and I didn't know existed...?"

"Yeah, Jeff brought him round to Rods while I was having my hair cut, boy does he do a good job."

I wondered if I might collapse. "You were having your haircut at Rods and I wasn't there, or down the street or in the back room?...Working?"

"Nope, you were attending a convention all dressed up in a business suit...."

And I remembered that. A regular needed to appear with a person, preferably male, to whom he was showing his products, seems you couldn't get in to look on your own, you had to bring a prospective "client"which, for those two days, was me. And of course people knew because I told them I was bored with the whole idea but the idea of getting my standard fuck rate without having to actually fuck was intriguing...Rod had to know because of scheduling and, as a laugh, I'd told Jeff to keep my fence warm and if any other professional cocksucker showed up, to shoo them off. So....of course they knew I'd be gone and, apparently had a meeting of the Matt Fan Club, unlikely as that seemed. Fumbling for words I said, "Did Rod let you use the Sauna and shower?"

"Sure, Skip and Jeff and I must have spent an hour in there."

I rolled over so he couldn't see my face and started to cry, that slow this-will-keep-going sort of soft crying that is of gratitude and confusion.

"Ah, come on, everybody wanted you to have something you wanted and that was me and we dreamed up the gag with the chains and the bows and the cards were supposed to be amused not distraught...Matt, please..."

"One night stands aren't supposed to break your heart or reappear or even be remembered. One night stands, even when they're nice guys who offer to pay you for every night for the next month are supposed to stay one night stands even if you're fucking each other twice a day and then making coffee. One night stands are just that....good for one night, and I'm the one who's supposed to be good and you're not supposed to care..."

"But apparently you did."

I looked him blankly, the answer was too obvious to bother to say it.

He smiled, put his arms around me. "Do you always wear all these clothes? Seems I can remember the first time I saw you, two ribbons and a card....." Slowly and with no intention of doing so in a provocative manner, I got undressed and just lay there, thinking...

"Tell me about Jeff and Skip "arresting" you...."

"It was kinda retrospect...I was coming out of my building when a man said, "Police, hands up" and a gun was stuck in my ass....."

"Jeff is very short..."

"But then he laughed, introduced himself, Skip and asked if I had a minute, they had a problem that was only partially police business but it did involve me at a personal level. Took out one of your business cards and showed it to me. 'Know this man?' so I said, sure, I knew him, you, well anyway, Jeff said that was part of their problem and immediately I could only think you'd been hurt or killed....Jeff's a quick one, he got right on it, said all was fine but that you were one sad hooker and they thought they knew why.That's when we set up the appointment with Jerry and, well, you can figure the rest."

Yeah, I thought, I could see the picture and the frame. And I was not exactly mad but annoyed that all these people who were my friends but had gone a little too far into my business and pulled Jerry out of my hat. Just to see something, and because I was a bit more composed,"What did they say about Jake....?"

He looked stunned, crestfallen, sad.....but I had one more arrow and stupidly I played it..."You're sitting on the bed where Jake and I were fucking each other last night...."

Some pauses are longer than others and this one was...unfortunate. I regretted it the moment I did it, the lost look on Jerry's face told me a lot and one of what I knew was that he'd been wounded and there was no reason for it.

Out of panic, I back pedaled as fast and honestly as I could. Jake meant nothing, just a nice guy who picked me up and...found out his partner had been killed and" Jerry, oh my God, Jerry I am so sorry. I guess....I was..."

He looked up and popped a semi smile...."You felt sorry for him and...I could write the rest but you already know. In a very small way you were getting back at me because you felt, God I hate to say this, it's so corny, 'Seduced and Abandoned'. Something like that."

I just hung my head because he was right and I had been an idiot and....lots of reasons. All of which overlooked that he was here, in my bed, because he wanted to be. Just then he diverted me by going in for a deep, tongue well involved kiss and I lost my train of thought.

" 'Member what you did the night I came home barely living and so tired from a rough day? You informed me that you were in the service business and getting me mopped up so I'd feel clean and fresh when I went to bed was just another service and then, I was watching, you almost left, almost....."

"I didn't want to leave, I guess you know that...."

"That's why I encouraged you to stay, catch a shower, crawl in and promised you a return engagement later....."

I remembered all that but mainly, that this man wanted me for some reason other than sex....I didn't know what but....something.

"Come on, you're tired, lizard eyed and what you need is a shower and a good scrub and being well dried'll understand if I skip the shave....better left to professionals."

And that's what happened. In bed, just before all my senses shut down I rolled to him and made him promise to be there in the morning.....I hadn't paid him for services rendered and he just smiled. He'd be there, a few details to work out, but when I woke up unless he was making coffee or trying to figure out if I took the paper, he'd be there. Smiling, I went to sleep.




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