Monday, July 21, 2008
The Rubens Gamble by Pat Brown excerpt from Men of Mystery: Homoerotic Tales of Intrigue and Suspens edited by Sean Meriwether & Greg Wharton
This excerpt is the opening to my story The Rubens Gamble by Pat Brown, published in the anthology Men of Mystery: Homoerotic Tales of Intrigue and Suspense edited by Sean Meriwether & Greg Wharton. The anthology was nominated for the Lambda award. for best anthology.
Men of Mystery: Homoerotic Tales of Intrigue and Suspense edited by Sean Meriwether & Greg Wharton
Publisher: Southern Tier Editions (May 14, 2007)
The Rubens Gamble
I was released in the morning, but it was late afternoon by the time I stepped through the iron gates of Crowhaven Minimum Security Prison for what I swear on my mother’s as yet unoccupied grave will be the last time.
There was no one to meet me. I hadn’t expected anyone. Any friends I might have had were long gone.
I clutched my oversized jacket -- I’d lost weight -- around my shoulders and faced the prospect of a two-mile walk into town. The thirty dollars in my pocket wouldn’t stretch to cover motel and cabfare and the fine state of Maine hadn’t see fit to make sure I got there safe.
A late afternoon squall struck. I turned the collar of my jacket up; I might as well have tried to stem Niagara.
The rain muffled the sound of the car. By the time I heard it, the bumper was on my ass and I nearly wound up in the mud-soaked ditch side-stepping it.
I swung around, freezing when I realized it was a custom-made Bentley limousine, and the guy stepping out of it was the best looking piece I’d seen since I last cruised Chelsea looking for dick.
He was around my age, mid to late twenties, clad head to foot in a deadly combination of leather and denim. He had spiky blond hair and his baby blue’s held mine. His mouth was the most fuckable thing about him. I could easily imagine stuffing my seven inches down it and my dick responded predictably.
Now you’re probably thinking, whoa, boy, a guy who just spent the last two years less a day incarcerated was getting it pretty regular. Well, non-consensual sex with a guy called Bubba never did appeal to me. And the hard core butt fuckers get sent up to Attica or the like anyway. Crowhaven was for the tamer, executive types who get caught borrowing company funds and socking it away in the Caymans. Most of them have wives who came for conjugal visits, so to say I hadn’t been getting any for a while is an understatement.
“Dmitri Alexandrovich Zalupkoff?” the hunk said, not tripping over the patronymic name my parents foisted on me.
Just the way he said it sent shivers of desire through me.
“Why don’t you come in out of the cold,” he said.
“What do you want?”
“I have been sent to ask a favor of you. Please.” He indicated the limo’s open door. “Let’s talk inside.”
I was going nowhere fast and the rain had picked up. If he didn’t care what my sodden clothes would do to that fancy upholstery, who was I to turn down a warm ride? Besides, I was curious. What kind of favor?
I slid onto the butter soft leather seat, shaking when rivulets of water shivered down my ribs.
My handsome rescuer adjusted something and a blast of heat washed over me. I sighed and leaned back, closing my eyes. When I reopened them, he was holding out his leather jacket.
“Take those off,” he said. “You will catch your death of pneumonia.”
He spoke with an old world courtliness I haven’t heard since I was last on the Continent. France to be exact. Picking up a commission for an Etruscan bronze I’d liberated from its former owner. Almost all that money went to pay the lawyer who had failed to keep me out of jail. The job that had landed me there hadn’t paid a dime. Hardly surprising, since I hadn’t delivered the goods.
I skimmed out of my clothes. His jacket smelled enticingly of his scent. I wrapped myself in it and inhaled.
“Who are you?”
“A man with a job offer.”
“Job offer,” I repeated. “What do you want?”
“It is not what I want, but what my employer wants.”
He waited. I realized he thought I should know the name. Torstead? It had a familiar ring, but...
“Torstead a cop?” Maybe they wanted me to rat out my last employer. “Sorry, like I told you guys the last time we talked, I don’t know nothing--”
His mouth twitched in a smile. “I am not with the police, Mr. Zalupkoff. Neither, I assure you, is my employer. He has a... business proposal he wishes to make.”
“Who are you?”
“My name is Kyril.”
No last name. Go figure.
Again the enigmatic smile. “At one time.”
No trace of an accent, just that formal way of speaking that said English wasn’t his first language. I was intrigued.
The fact that he called it that rather than the repatriated St. Petersburg told me Kyril had been over here a while. Probably immigrated with his parents as a boy, which explained the lack of accent.
Kyril picked up a phone and gave some low-voiced instructions to the driver. Minutes later we pulled into a strip mall containing a coin-operated Laundromat and a diner which featured a blue plate special for $3.99.
“Paul will take your clothes in to dry them.” Kyril handed me a soft green throw. “Cover yourself with this. I will get us coffee while we wait. Would you like something to eat?”
I was starving. Kyril took my order for corned beef on rye and a jumbo coffee and climbed out of the limo after I handed my clothes to the stoic driver.
The sandwich was ambrosia. Prison food might meet the daily food requirements but quality it’s not. I scarfed it back, even licking my fingers.
Kyril looked amused. “I did bring napkins.”
My face grew hot. “Sorry. It’s been a while since I had anything this good.”
“I could get you another--”
“No, that’s okay.”
He nodded and sank back beside me.
I took the napkin and cleaned my hands and face. Lying back against the soft leather seat, the heat and the food combined to make me sleepy. I cracked a yawn and didn’t have the strength to apologize.
I must have dozed. When I woke it was to find the car in motion and my clothes neatly folded beside me on the seat. Kyril’s dark eyes watched me.
I was all too aware of my erection under the blanket. So, it seemed was Kyril, judging by the way his gaze kept drifting over it.
“You are rested?”
“Where are we going?” I stole a glance out the window. Through the tinted glass I could make out the leafless forests slip by in the growing darkness. Black limbs dripped in the ongoing rain; it looked cold and desolate. I was glad for the warmth of the car.
“That, I’m afraid, is something you cannot yet know.”
As a bonus, an additional excerpt from LA Heat by Pat Brown will be posted on July 24th. The first excerpt was posted on February 4th, 2008.