Monday, May 4, 2009

The Paper Mirror excerpt by Dorien Grey

In this excerpt from The Paper Mirror, book #10 in the Dick Hardesty Mystery series by Dorien Grey, Dick and Jonathan are attending a party hosted by one of Jonathan's favorite writers, Evan Knight.

The Paper Mirror
GLB Publishers (September 12, 2005)
ISBN: 1879194570


“So how did it go with Evan’s writing friends?” I asked.
“Great!” Jonathan said, his face brightening. “That tall one is Phillip Tanner―he writes the Grant Moss detective series. I’ve read them all. The other is Charles Beeman…he won a couple of awards for his last book…The Ghost of Years,it’s called. I was embarrassed that I haven’t read it, and told him I would pick up a copy as soon as I could. They were both very nice guys. I’ll try to introduce you later, if you’d like. I was really impressed.”
Again, though, I knew full well Evan Knight’s attentions to Jonathan were based on more than his being a nice guy. But I was happy for Jonathan’s opportunity to meet people he admired.
We went back out to the patio for another drink before, as Jonathan suggested, hitting the buffet table. Jake, Jared, and the guy Jake had been talking to in the pool were nowhere to be seen, and there seemed to be several more guys wandering around without their clothes. Evan was just walking away from the bar, his shirt unbuttoned to display a very nice set of pecs and a forest of chest hair.
Watch it, Hardesty, a mind voice cautioned. You don’t even like the guy.
Yeah, well, my crotch responded, paraphrasing an old standard gay joke, I didn’t come here to fuck personality.
“You about ready to come in the pool?” Evan asked as he passed.
“In a minute,” I said.
“Shall we?” Jonathan asked. I noticed that he’d given Knight’s impressive torso a rather lingering glance.
“If you want,” I said.
I saw that there were several chairs around the pool with clothes on them.
“Don’t you want something to eat first?” I asked.
“Not if we’re going swimming,” Jonathan replied. “It can wait.”
Very un-Jonahan, I thought, but we detoured to one of the few still empty chairs and began taking our clothes off. Odd, I’d done this a hundred times in the past without a second thought, but now that I was with Jonathan…
You don’t want other guys to see him naked, a mind voice observed casually.
Well, damn it, I realized it was right. I didn’t.
But you don’t mind them seeing you? the voice asked.
That’s different, I thought defensively.
Oh, yeah? Like how, for example?
Get over it, Hardesty, the voice said. You are Tarzan. Jonathan is Boy. He’s your possession. You don’t own him.
It was right again, of course.
We undressed and walked over to the edge of the pool, where seven or eight guys were splashing around, or doing underwater laps, or floating on their backs. Jonathan stuck one foot in. “Nice,” he said. “Come on!” and he dived in. I followed.
I must admit, it was a lot of fun. Jonathan insisted on ducking me every chance he got, and we got into a couple underwater scuffles. We weren’t even aware of the other guys around us until all of a sudden we came up for air, laughing, and Evan Knight was there right in front of us.
“Enjoying yourselves?” He asked. He was able to touch bottom, and was standing right in front of Jonathan. I saw him staring at Jonathan…and not at his face. “Ah,” he said with a big smile, “very nice! Just as I remember it.”

* * *

It was as if somebody had just kicked me in the gut…hard.
What the…?” I heard myself say.
Jonathan looked quickly toward me, his face a study in mortification. “I…” he started to say.
“Oh, oh…sorry,” Knight said, his tone making it perfectly clear that he was no such thing. “No offense. But I knew knew you from somewhere. It wasn’t until after you’d left the other day that I remembered from where. We met at Hughie’s quite a while ago…you’ve changed so much I didn’t recognize you at first. You’ve really filled out nicely. Dick must be treating you right.” He reached out his hand under the water, and Jonathan stumbled quickly backwards.
He still looked stunned, and then I was afraid he might start to cry.
Knight looked at me, his face a mask of fake concern. “Hey, I’m really sorry if I opened any closet doors,” he said, his eyes shifting back to Jonathan. “I rather thought that might have been how you met Dick, too. No shame in being a hustler, especially if it pays off.”
I’m not sure quite what happened next. All I know is that there were little clouds of red in the water and Evan Knight was holding both hands to his face and a trickle of blood was running down one arm and dripping from his elbow into the water. I grabbed Jonathan by the arm and we waded to the steps at the end of the pool and got out of the water. There wasn’t a sound to be heard, except music coming from the house. I wasn’t aware of anyone or anything―just a bunch of statues standing around as if frozen in time.
I grabbed our clothes and we padded through the house, dripping water across the carpet, and walked out the door, stark naked.

* * *

And look for the June release of Aaron’s Wait, Book #2 of the Elliott Smith Mystery series, and for the July release of Roger/Dorien’s non-fiction Navy memoir, A World Ago.
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1 comment:

Victor J. Banis said...

OH, very nice, Dorien. I remember those parties - though never quite that much fun.