Monday, August 30, 2010
An ancient curse lives on in The Blood of Love by Victor J. Banis. An endless terror. A love that will never die. The Amorinii, "the Blood" - the undying sons of the loins of Amor, the ancient Roman God of Love. For desiring men, they are forever cast adrift by the Goddess of Love, Venus herself. Scorned and pursued through the centuries by those who would see them destroyed. For some men, love is a curse
The Blood of Love.
MLR Books (June 2010)
Samuel Barney’s “home” was just a room in a Tenderloin hotel for transients. He could have lived better, had often been coaxed by his grandson to move in with him in his Castro apartment,but he’d preferred to be alone. His loneliness was his only legacy from the great love he had once known.
The loneliness, and the mirror. He took it out of the locked drawer where he kept it, held it up and looked into it, as he did every day. He was not looking at himself, but at the shabby room behind him. Or, really, not even at that. He was looking, as he always did, for something. But for what, he had no idea. In some far corner of his mind, he knew there was something he should see, something that he had once seen, but that had slid away from his consciousness without recognition. What? He’d asked himself that question a thousand times or more, but still the answer did not come.
The mirror was small, no larger than a sheet of typing paper. The glass, cloudy with age, was surrounded by an elaborately carved bronze frame, inset with semi-precious stones. It was prerenaissance, maybe even late Roman, someone had suggested years before, and a collector had once offered him an incredible sum of money for it. He could sell it at any time, he knew, for enough to leave this seedy room behind and make a new life for himself.
He couldn’t bring himself to do that, though, and not only for sentimental reasons. He wasn’t sure how safe it would be to sell it. He’d stolen it, though that had been long ago, and whether anyone else even knew of its existence, he had no idea. Ethan did, surely. And must have known who had taken it. It had been valuable to Ethan, certainly—yet in the intervening years, Ethan had made no effort to reclaim it, which was in itself a mystery.
More than forty years ago. In some ways, it felt as if it had been only yesterday. He’d gone to Ethan’s apartment in not-quite Beverly Hills, unable to believe the note he’d gotten, that Ethan was gone, that they would never see one another again.
How could he believe it? They had been so in love, so devoted to one another. Yes, yes, he knew for certain they had been in love, and both of them. His had been no one-sided passion, his love for Ethan had been matched by Ethan’s love for him. On that score he had not a single doubt: Ethan had loved him too.
So, then, what possible reason could Ethan have for ending it so suddenly? It made no sense. What could have led him to pen that note? “Remember me fondly, please. Our time together has been very precious to me, more precious than you will ever know.” And then, one word, that had never before seemed so stark, so terrible: “Goodbye.”
At Ethan’s apartment he used the key Ethan had given him to let himself in, half expecting to discover that the lock would have been changed. It hadn’t, but it was clear at a glance that Ethan had gone. Or, at least, that he was in the process of going, of moving out. The closets were empty, his clothes, all his personal belongings gone. Only a few cardboard boxes, already taped shut, stood neatly stacked against one wall. And atop the boxes, the mirror, with a note attached to it, in Ethan’s handwriting: “Frank: Pack this for me, please, carefully. I didn’t trust myself to do it right.”
Samuel debated just staying there, waiting for Ethan to come back; but it did not appear he meant to return. This looked more as if someone else, movers perhaps, would be coming to finish emptying the apartment. He even toyed with the idea that they must surely be able to tell him where Ethan had gone.
But what explanation could he have given them for needing to know. This was a long time ago. Homosexuality wasn’t as accepted then. Certainly homosexuals had few rights. He knew that. At best, they’d probably laugh at him. Or, worse, throw him out violently. Maybe call the police. Homosexuals were still arrested then, often on the slightest pretext.
He left without waiting to see anyone, but he crumpled up the note and took the mirror with him, partly to have something of Ethan’s, and partly in the hope that Ethan would come for the mirror. He hadn’t even, at the time, thought of it as “stealing.” Certainly he had no qualms about taking it.
If he doesn’t care about me, he told himself, maybe he’ll care enough for it.
He went back to his own apartment with the mirror, a real apartment then, and not just a room in a seedy Tenderloin hotel. He got drunk.
Four years drunk, as it turned out, until he awakened one morning lying in some garbage in an alley, with no memory of how he had gotten there, with no money, everything he’d owned gone—except for the mirror. When he got up, brushing garbage and alley dirt off himself, he discovered the mirror carefully wrapped in his filthy jacket. He had somehow held on to that. Or maybe it had held on to him.
He stood in the faint light of early dawn, staring into the milky glass, trying to remember. Something that he had seen in the mirror, or half-seen, anyway, teased at his memory. Something that he wanted to see again, that instinct told him would solve the mystery of Ethan’s disappearance. The memory would not come. Like the mirror’s glass, the four years were shrouded in mists, and they had remained so.
He sobered up, got a job. Met and became friends with Annabel and her new son, Nate, the only people since Ethan who had really cared for him. He resumed his life—or a pretense of it. Without Ethan, it wasn’t really a life, just an empty ritual.
He’d gotten through it as best he could, had managed to regain some sense of self-respect. If he’d ever asked himself what it was that he had kept living for, ever delved into that question, he would probably have told himself it was for Ethan. Somehow, over the years, he had remained convinced against all odds that he would one day see Ethan again.
And, finally, so he had. He had recognized him instantly when he’d seen the photograph in the newspaper. How could he ever forget that face? He was certain beyond any doubt that the man he had accosted today was Ethan Soames, no matter what Ethan said to the contrary.
But that thought no sooner entered his mind than he asked himself, how could that be? Ethan would be as old as he was now, or nearly so. And the man today had been as young as Ethan had been back then. He hadn’t aged a day.
He stared into the glass as if he might see the answer there, but whatever the mirror’s secret, whatever he was supposed to see, had gone with his memory of those four years. And today, too…something flickered in his memory of that scene in the restroom. The artificial stink of pine. He heard the water running, Ethan’s voice as if from a great distance…he had a conviction that he had seen or heard something significant in those brief moments. But, what? Again, the answer refused to come.
Something moved behind him—and as suddenly as that, the mists vanished from his mind and he remembered. In a single instant, the mirror revealed its long held secret to him.
He turned. A man stood just inside the room, though the door was locked. How had he come in, through the locked door, without a sound?
Samuel said, “You.”
It was the last word he uttered.
To purchase the ebook, click here or the paperback at Amazon, click here
Monday, August 23, 2010
“The Shakespeare Conspiracy" by Ted Bacino is a gay love story. It deals with the intertwining of two conspiracy theories: the first, that Christopher Marlowe was actually not murdered days before he was to be tried for treason and, the second, that Shakespeare did not write the works attributed to him. But it’s also the torrid but tumultuous love between Christopher Marlowe and his new patron, Thomas Walsingham.
The two conspiracy theories have fascinated historians for centuries.
HOW COULD William Shakespeare become England’s greatest playwright virtually overnight when he had never written anything before and was merely a nameless actor? Historians have noted that he was better known “for holding horses for the gentry while they watched plays.”
And HOW COULD Christopher Marlowe, a known spy and the previous reining playwright in England, be suspiciously murdered and quickly buried in an unmarked grave -- just days before he was to be tried for treason?
The Shakespeare Conspiracy is a historical novel that intertwines the two mysteries and then puts the pieces together to offer the only possible resolution. The novel, a wild romp through gay 16th Century Elizabethan England, is a rapidly unfolding detective novel filled with comedy, intrigue, murder and an illicit love story. And most importantly, all recorded events, persons, dates and documents are historically accurate. You will…
Get the scandalous view of the real Shakespeare, with his sexual peccadilloes, illegitimate children and mistresses…
Wander through the gay world of England when it was acceptable to be homosexual just so long as one stayed within one’s own class – as did Kings like James I, Edward II, and others…
Observe Inspector Maunder matching wits with Marlowe’s patron and lover, Sir Thomas Walsingham – one cleverly hiding the facts and other cunningly discovering the truth…
See the arguments unfold showing the reasons that many historians have believed for years that it had to be Christopher Marlowe writing all those great works.
It’s a tale of murder, mayhem and manhunts in the underbelly of London as the Black Plague scourges the country and the greatest conspiracy plot of all time is hatched. It’s… The Shakespeare Conspiracy!
The Shakespeare Conspiracy
ISBN: 9781452050676 (ebook)
It had been only months since Christopher Marlowe and his patron, Sir Thomas Walsingham, had faked Marlowe's “murder,” but Marlowe was already becoming eager to have his new works staged.
Though few people (except for Constable Maunder) seemed to question the fact that Marlowe, scheduled to be tried for treason, would suspiciously die in a tavern brawl a few days before his sentencing for treason.
There were, however, some questions about his being buried immediately (and unceremoniously) in an unmarked grave. Odd for England's most famous playwright.
The problem was that Marlowe kept writing and now he wanted to see his works staged. In desperation Walsingham searched for someone who might agree to recopy these plays and take them to the Rose theatre as his own. Of course, Walsingham didn’t bother to tell Marlowe what he was doing.
When he heard about it, Marlowe exploded. “William Shakespeare? The guy who holds horses for the gentry while they're in watching the plays?”
Shakespeare, who occasionally did appear on stage, was better known at that time for the horse-sitting job that historians acknowledge he did more frequently. “Thomas, he's never written anything.”
“That's it exactly,” Walsingham countered. “He'll be just one more unknown, writing for the many theatres in London. Who is ever going to remember a name like `William Shakespeare?'”
But it really was too much to expect the arrangement to last. One day, every servant heard Marlowe's voice booming throughout Scadbury Mansion ....
“No, no, NO,” Christopher yelled. “You may not make changes in the plays. Not the lines, not the titles … nothing!”
Shakespeare seemed nonplussed. “Even if it improves it?”
Christopher let out a groan and grabbed onto a bookcase to keep from killing him. “Renaming it Like You Like It?”
“I thought it had a nice ring.”
Christopher took a deep breath and tried to be civil. “In Macbeth, Duncan sees the bleeding sergeant and is supposed to say `Go, get him surgeons.'”
Shakespeare looked surprised. “Isn't that what I copied?”
“No, William. You misplaced the comma and so it came out `Go get him, surgeons.'”
“Glory, Jesus. So I forgot the common.”
“Comma,” Christopher shouted.
Shakespeare, who had the reputation by that time of being familiar with every wench in London and even siring a son with Mistress Davenant, easily dismissed the issue of punctuation. “It's not what's written on a page that impresses women,” Shakespeare said brazenly. “It's what between your legs.”
“Or your ears,” Marlowe muttered to himself as picked up another page of script. “Look at this. It was supposed to read `They stole our dogs and raped our women.'”
“That's what it says.”
“They stole our women and raped our ... oh!” Shakespeare shrugged. Why was he the one always being picked on?
Christopher began going over more pages. Shakespeare, feeling insulted, sat in his usual bench for sulking. He was mulling over a question he had been afraid to bring up.
Suddenly he shouted, “You know, Christopher, I was half-way through a tankard of ale at the Owl and the Raven the other night when some bloke across the bar shouts 'Hey, William. Who is your beloved fair youth?' I yell back to him, 'What are you bloody talking about?' And he says 'The chap you keep calling my beloved in your new sonnets.'”
“I thought you knew,” Christopher replied calmly from the desk. “That was a reference to Walsingham. I wrote them to Thomas.”
“The Sonnets were written to another man!?” Shakespeare stood and was turning a shade of royal purple. “They were written to Thomas? Love poems to another man!? All of London must be laughing at me.”
“I'm sure Thomas isn't.”
“And do you know how people are referring to them around town? The Sugar Sonnets.”
Marlowe knew that was true. “Sugar Sonnets, huh? How sweet.”
Shakespeare kept muttering over and over again, “Love poems to another man….” Suddenly he shouted, “I was just living down that dedication of your bloody poem “Rape of Lucrece.” Painfully, he recited it from burning memory, “The love I dedicate to your Lordship is without end.” By then he was really angry. “My wife wrote to me. Even she was suspicious.”
“Remember what you always say, William: It had a nice ring.”
Shakespeare fumed. Finally, he decided to try retribution, “I forgot to mention. King James really liked Macbeth. The new King himself came backstage after the performance.”
Unimpressed, Marlowe kept working. “The new king is a big fan of witchcraft. That's why I started Macbeth with the three witches.”
No reaction from Shakespeare.
“The three witches? In Macbeth? You did read it?”
“Well,” Shakespeare began hesitantly, “I did copy it.” Before Marlowe could get suspicious, he changed the subject. “King James is going to sponsor our company at the new Globe Theatre.”
Marlowe didn't look up. “Well, I wouldn't get too close to the King,” he warned. “He does sleep with boys, you know.”
“Not the new King?” Shakespeare was staggered.
“Oh, god,” Christopher cringed. “You didn't say anything, did you?”
“Of course not,” Shakespeare answered; the tone of his voice showed he was trying to remember.
James I of England was thirty-six years old and already had an array of stories circulating. Though married, he had the reputation of nibbling at the ears and fingers of young attractive men while holding court - a habit that astounded his ministers. Of course, no-one would comment on it to him. That, however, did not hinder them from quietly mentioning their bemusement about this to the rest of the court, who in turn, mentioned it to all of London.
And his finger-nibbling was not his worst trait. He also was known for not bathing and his constant habit of playing with his codpiece.
Shakespeare was obviously trying to remember his conversation with the King. Christopher, who loved to goad William, added innocently, “The word on the streets of London is that, as it's worded around town, `Young men lie in his bedchamber and are his minions.'”
“What are minions?”
“Oh, don't ask” Marlowe's voice registered shock. “That's why he's called James the First. He gets first crack.” Then, enjoying the sight of Shakespeare squirming, he added sweetly, “Oh, William. Am I shocking you?”
“No, actually I'm quite comfortable with that sort of thing.”
“Oh? What sort of thing?”
“You know,” Shakespeare said, getting angry.
“No…what?” Christopher inquired innocently.
William Shakespeare had hate in his eyes, but really wanted to just evaporate.
To purchase, click here or to order from Amazon, click here
Monday, August 16, 2010
At the end of Neil Plakcy's Three Wrong Turns in the Desert, ESL teacher Aidan Greene decides to stay in Tunis, Tunisia, with bodyguard Liam McCullough and help him in his personal protection business. When Dancing with the Tide begins, six months later, Aidan has just returned from a bodyguard course in Atlanta, and is practicing what he’s learned with Liam.
A phone call kicks off their new adventure. Karif al-Fulan, a young Arabic pop star, has just come out of the closet, and received death threats. Liam and Aidan are hired to travel with Karif to the island of Djerba, off the Tunisian coast, where he is to lay low in a private villa owned by his record company.
Someone wants to kill Karif, and it’s up to Liam and Aidan to keep him safe. But will Karif destroy the burgeoning love between Liam and Aidan with his intimate advances? Between passionate romps in a private villa on the resort island of Djerba, off the coast of Tunisia, Liam and Aidan must face down bombs, guns, and the pressure of their own testosterone.
Who’s trying to run them off the road in Tunis, orchestrating rock-throwing demonstrations, and issuing death threats? What’s Karif’s connection to a prominent Palestinian politician? From poolside play to a Turkish bath to alley blowjobs in an island souk, these guys are good at getting into and out of trouble. But in the end, once Aidan and Liam save Karif, they still have to find a way to work together without destroying their romance.
Dancing With the Tide
When the computer was hooked up, I identified all the phones, mastered the codes for the intercom, and unpacked my bag and Liam’s. I looked out the bedroom window and saw Liam and Karif had left the pool and were splayed out on lounge chairs in the sun. It was time for this Cinderfella to go to the ball, I thought. I’d done all my chores and I deserved some fun.
I found three big beach towels in the hall closet, then stripped down. It felt funny to walk through the house naked, but I was confident that my body was as good as Karif’s, if not as muscular as Liam’s.
My dick was semi-hard as I prepared to open the sliding glass door to the patio area. I couldn’t help it; thinking of Liam does that to me.
I could see he was having that effect on Karif, too. Our client was fully hard, his dick wagging in the air as he stood under the shower by the pool. Liam was next to him, both of them washing off the chlorine. The sun was brilliant, glittering off something shiny inland of the villa. A cluster of birds soared on high thermals, their wings outstretched. As one of them swooped past I realized it was a kind of hawk, searching for prey and that reminded me that there were people out there who would hurt our client if they could.
I looked from the sky back to the shower. As I watched, unseen by either of them, Karif leaned up and kissed Liam.
My erection wilted and I dropped the towels on the floor, then bolted upstairs.
It felt like I was going to throw up, so I made for the bathroom, passing a startled Yaroush Harootunian in the hallway. Nothing would come up, but I felt tears trickling down my face.
No matter where we went, men and women were attracted to Liam, and I couldn’t help but be jealous, even though he insisted he wasn’t tempted by anyone but me. I felt so connected to him, and so I believed him. The possibility that I’d been wrong tore away at my insides.
Liam had fought his attraction to men as a teenager, through college and into his training as a US Navy SEAL. From what I understood, his only sexual contacts with other men had been casual one-night stands, furtive gropings in bars and rest rooms. He’d never been able to believe he could have a true relationship with another man until he met me in Tunis.
He said I was the first man he ever loved. Though we argued, over little things like wet towels on the bedroom floor, or big things like client tactics, we said “Love you” to each other a few times a day—waking up, going out, just before bed. I had been in relationships before, including an 11-year stint that had broken up just before I met Liam. I knew how magical and special the connection we had was.
“Aidan?” Liam knocked on the bathroom door. “Sweetheart?”
“Aidan. Don’t be a child. Open the door.”
I sighed, then reached over and unlocked the door, then leaned back against the vanity. My stomach was in knots and tears streaked my cheeks.
Liam opened the door and stepped into the lavish bathroom with me. He’d wrapped a towel around his waist, and his chest glistened with droplets of water. “Come here,” he said. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close to him. “You saw that, didn’t you?”
I didn’t say anything, just nodded my head against his chest.
“I backed away as soon as he kissed me,” Liam said. “I told him I was already taken. By you.”
“Really?” I looked up at him.
“Really.” He leaned down and kissed me. Even though I’m six-one, Liam still has about four inches on me. I love that about him, the sense that he is bigger and stronger than I am, that he will protect me from anything the world throws at us.
“I love the way you get jealous,” Liam said. “It shows me you care about me. And believe me, baby, I feel just the same way. If Karif had chosen you to kiss, I’d be ready to punch him in the stomach.” He leaned back. “But you have to remember this is a job, and he’s the client. It’s a matter of setting the boundaries. I made it clear to him how things stand. He just didn’t know we were a couple.”
“He knew. He asked me while we were waiting for you to get the rental car.”
“He asked you if we were gay?”
He backed away a foot, and crossed his arms. “I thought we talked about that. Our private life is nobody else’s business. If word gets around that we’re gay, what do you think that’s going to do to our reputation?”
“Get a grip, Liam. Why do you think we got this job, after all? Why didn’t they go to one of the bigger agencies with more resources?”
“Because no one else wanted the job,” Liam said.
“Really? Because the client is gay? What about the security for the Elton John concert in Tunis? You think Meridian Associates didn’t realize he was as queer as a three-dollar bill?”
“How? You think they were scared off by the fact that Karif got a couple of nasty phone calls?”
Liam is a smart guy, but sometimes he can be really dense. I saw confusion on his face as he processed the information. “So you’re saying Yaroush knew we were gay before he hired us?”
“I think so. And that means somebody had to tell him. Most likely somebody else in the private security business.”
“Does it matter, Liam?” I asked.
“You saw the threats Karif got. You’ve seen the way the Arab world looks at faggots like us. Of course it matters.”
“So fuck ‘em all,” I said. “We’ll prove that we can be gay and great bodyguards. We’re a terrific team, and if a client doesn’t want to hire us, it’s their loss.”
He smiled. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
“Of course I am,” I said, pulling him close to me. His towel came loose as we snuggled, and his dick rose. So did mine. He lifted me onto the marble vanity, and I shivered as my skin met the cold stone. “Let me warm you up,” he said, dropping to his knees.
My dick was hard by the time he rubbed his cheek against it, the roughness chafing against me but sending shivers throughout my body. “You know I love you, don’t you?” he asked, looking up at me.
“I know. And I love you, too.”
He licked his tongue up the length of my dick, and electric tremors ran through my body. How do you like this, Karif, I thought, as Liam swallowed me down to the root, then pulled back up, sucking like a vacuum cleaner.
Karif, I thought. Who was looking after Karif?
“Honey,” I said, as Liam nibbled lightly at the mushroom head of my dick. “Who’s watching the client?”
“Yaroush,” he said, looking up at me. “I told him we needed a couple of minutes.”
I should have known, I thought, leaning back on my hands and letting Liam suck me. He was a professional. He wouldn’t have ducked into the bathroom for a quickie without making sure the client was protected. We’d learned that in bodyguard school, although not exactly in those terms.
Liam sucked dick like he did everything else—with passion, with dedication, with talent. He reached one hand under my balls and tickled the very tip of my ass crack as he sucked me. The other snaked up to tweak one of my nipples.
He was like that guy in high school who could rub his stomach and pat his head at the same time—a true multi-tasker. He began bobbing his head up and down on my dick, faster and faster, and my orgasm raged through my body. I struggled to hold back the cries and yelps I usually made, worrying that Yaroush or Karif would be outside the door listening.
Squinting my eyes closed, grimacing my lips together, I let loose a stream of cum into Liam’s mouth, and my whole body went limp. Liam stood up, licked his lips lasciviously, and leaned back against the bathroom door, his stiff dick waving. He looked at me, then looked down at himself.
I hopped off the bathroom counter, laid a bathmat at his feet, and kneeled down. Liam’s dick was a thing of beauty, as far as I was concerned. Just above average in length and girth, it was more than a mouthful, big enough to fill me up front or back without overwhelming me. That morning it tasted like chlorine and sunshine. I swallowed him all the way, feeling his pubic hair tickle my nose, then began bobbing up and down.
“Oh, yeah,” Liam groaned, as I reached a finger up and began playing with his ass, just teasing the fine hairs around the opening. He grabbed my head and began pushing me down on his dick. While I had it in my mouth I tickled it with my tongue, and he groaned again.
I backed off, using as much suction as I could muster, and felt his dick swelling and throbbing, and knew he was close. I pushed my index finger straight up his ass and the muscles locked around me—and then he erupted, spurting hot cum down my throat.
By the time we left the bathroom, Karif had gone into his bedroom for a nap. Yaroush was on the phone in the living room, and I went into the kitchen to fix us all some dinner, feeling very satisfied. Hakim had left fresh shrimp in the refrigerator, and I skewered it along with green peppers, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. I figured out how to use the fancy rice cooker, then warmed up flatbread and lathered it with goat cheese as an appetizer.
Liam uncorked a bottle of Italian white wine, we called in Karif and Yaroush, and I slid the skewers under the oven broiler. Yaroush put one of Karif’s CDs on the stereo and we all sat down at the dining room table. Karif had a full-bodied tenor, and the first song showed his range, up and down. I loved the swirling sound of the saxophone in the background, the rhythm of the drums.
Karif pouted through the meal, sitting with his arms crossed. He refused the appetizer, then tasted the shrimp and called them overdone, even though I thought they were juicy and perfect. Liam and I talked to Yaroush about Karif’s career, the places he had performed and how well his CDs had sold. Karif only answered direct questions from Yaroush, usually with just a yes or no.
“I want to go out,” Karif said, when the CD finished and we were left without background noise. “I want to go to a club.”
“That’s not a good idea,” Liam said. “At least not for a few days. You should lie low until we know exactly what your situation is.”
Karif slammed his hand against the wooden table. “My situation is that I am stuck in this villa hiding, just when I should be out enjoying myself, making love with many handsome men!”
Yaroush and Liam frowned, but I understood Karif’s frustration. I came out of the closet my freshman year in college, and I was determined to get laid as often as possible. That only worked out to once every other month or so, but at least I hadn’t been shut up somewhere. As I fixed cappuccinos for us, I ran through things we could do to get Karif’s mind off sex.
I said, “Why don’t I clean up while you guys play some pool?”
“No,” Karif said.
“Come on,” Liam said. “I can show you some moves. It’ll be fun.”
Karif agreed grudgingly, and Liam led him to the pool table. Yaroush excused himself to look over some contracts upstairs, and I cleaned up. When I was finished, I peeked into the den. Karif leaned over the table, pointing the cue at a striped ball, Liam just behind him, his hand on Karif’s. Liam said something in Arabic, and Karif laughed. My heart flip-flopped, but I was determined not to overreact. I stood in the shadows watching as Karif lined up his shot, and Liam stepped back. Karif knocked the striped ball into the corner pocket, and he and Liam high-fived.
I could have joined them, lounging in the corner watching the game. But I trusted Liam more than that. Instead, I climbed up to our bedroom, where I picked up the Djerba guidebook and read that it was believed that the beautiful women of Djerba had fed Ulysses and his crew lotus flowers, and the men were so pleasantly intoxicated that Ulysses found it tough to make them return to their ships.
Well, that wasn’t the Djerba I’d seen so far, but maybe that would change. It was a pretty island, with charming towns and gorgeous beaches, but I wasn’t intoxicated yet. There were supposed to be more than a million date palms and hundreds of thousands of olive trees on the island, making it one giant oasis.
I read about each of the towns on the island, their markets and their specialties, and around eleven o’clock I started to feel sleepy. Liam still had not come up to bed, though, so I crept downstairs to see what he and Karif were up to.
It was sneaky to move so quietly, as if I hoped to surprise the two of them doing something a lot worse than kissing, but I couldn’t help myself. I trusted Liam—but I didn’t trust Karif at all.
They had given up on pool, and were sitting in the living room, on sofas across from each other, drinking from a bottle of Greek ouzo. As I watched from the staircase, I noticed that Liam’s glass was still full, as he refilled Karif’s. Satisfied, I went back to the bedroom and went to sleep.
To purchase ebook, click here
Monday, August 9, 2010
In 100 Whores, Memories of a John, by 2010 Lambda Award-winning writer Mykola Dementiuk, we are treated to a voice rarely heard, the voice of a sexually confused young man who visits New York City street whores, hooks up with men and boys in Times Square movie theaters, yet all the while attempts to have normal relationships with men and with women.
The first 100 stories are short, just like the experiences that inspired them. Revealing the inside secrets of picking up a street hooker and what happens after you do, Dementiuk is sparse with words but prolific in his sexual contacts. Following “100 Whores” are five short stories, full of unexpected action, humor, and unforgettable characters. The novella “Christmas Whore” concludes this volume of reality-based fiction with a longer treatment of bisexual angst and “queer” behavior.
The unusual story lines provide psychologically intense views of a disturbed young man in a not-so-pretty world of poverty, menial work, and sex pick-ups of a strange nature. All the stories take place in New York settings, including Times Square, Midtown, East River Park, and the Lower East Side.
100 Whores, Memories of a John
Synergy Press (July, 2010)
From Variety Photoplays:
Variety Photoplays stood on 3rd Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets as if boasting to all the shoddy and riff-raff abodes down below 6th Street on the Bowery. The old movie house was a denizen of vaudeville and burlesque followed by monster and cornball comedies that weren’t so funny any more, but it was my favorite place to go when I didn’t have much money to spend on girls. You could always see a picture from a few years before keeping you somewhat up to date. It wasn’t that expensive, either.
Up front you would be left alone, except for the guys going in and out of the bathrooms, which were in the front. The prospective urinators disturbed your picture watching, but in the back rows or upstairs your cock stood up at the ready, to be used and lavished by the queer guys hanging about, ready to take you any way you let them.
I had done it a number of times but always as a last horny resort, my longing being for women. But a mouth is a mouth, I figured, as long as it was smooth with fragrant aftershave; you just closed your eyes and let the feeling take over.
One early rainy afternoon, the other kids still in school, I went to the balcony where I saw a blonde hairdo shining from the seats. Instantly my penis was stiff and I was ecstatic. No one sat next to her, but hell, even with a boyfriend (if there was one going off to get her a Coke), the risk would have been worth it.
I nearly took a step back when I entered the seat next to her: an obvious guy made up as a girl, his stubbled face covered by makeup so thin that it seemed to force the shadow of his chin that much clearer and certain. I shrugged and settled in the seat next to her; there was no threat of a boyfriend returning, I was sure of that.
We looked at each other and she had a nice-looking blowjob mouth. My arm went round her shoulder, and somehow her shoulder strap came undone and fell down on my arm. That increased the stimulation I was getting from her and pretending what she was.
Suddenly, I heard loud female heels pounding behind me and a rough female-mimicking voice exclaiming, “Well, Miss Pretty, I was sitting there!”
I looked at what I saw standing there, a caricature of a female but obviously a man made-up, no matter how weakly, to look like a girl. Two girlfriends at a picture show, I thought. Where else but at the Variety?
I smirked and got up.
“Aw, don’t go,” said the queen, who was pushing her way to the seat I was leaving. “This was getting interesting.”
“Please, stay, baby,” gushed the first heavy-voiced mimic, joining her friend.
I blushed and made my way outside. Evening was slowly coming on and the whores were everywhere.
Man, she was young! Even younger then I was, and at seventeen I thought I was a full-grown man but she was what? maybe fourteen, fifteen, but certainly not a whoring woman.
Plus there was an aura of play about her, like she was dreaming of lollipops and dolls and little girl’s clothes, which I was sure she wasn’t going to find on 3rd Avenue and 13th Street.
I stood on the corner watching her pace about. Our eyes met a few times but I just stood there, let the whore come to me, I thought. Pretty soon that’s what she did.
She was heavily made up with lipstick and mascara that lined her mouth and eyes like some character from a comic book; she didn’t look real at all.
“You looking for a woman?” she said, not looking at me but at my mouth. I wanted to say, Yeah, you know of one? But I just grinned.
“Twenty dollars, mister.” she said, “Take it or leave it.”
As she talked I noticed her glance down the street several times; a teenage thug stood there, sucking on a cigarette.
Shit! I looked the other way. “Where at?” I asked, “The hotel? . . . ”
“Ah, no,” she hesitated, biting her lower lip. “Let’s go there,” nodding in the direction of her boyfriend thug, I assumed.
No way was I going to walk the street toward him! “Sorry, sister,” I said and walked away.
“Motherfucker!” I heard behind me and a torrent of Spanish curses. I did not turn around to see if her boy-friend thug came up the street. I quickly and quietly went home and jerked off.
From Cry, Baby:
She came rushing up the promenade, her red and black pleated mini-skirt flirting with the breeze, her black thigh-highs over her knees an inch or two below the hem. Her white-bloused bosom stuck out before her as if zooming her closer to me. A few times she nervously glanced behind her and stepped up her pace. I don’t think she even saw me until she was a few yards away, when her eyes widened as if in recognition — I had never seen her before — and her lips smiled as she veered toward my bench.
Make believe you’re my boyfriend! she gushed, once more looking down the promenade — from my vantage I saw no one — then dropped to the bench and snuggled beside me. There was no time for surprise or questions. I simply raised my arm around her, pulled her closer to me, and dipped my head to her pretty made-up face, sticking my tongue in her mouth. She didn’t resist, eagerly flicking her own tongue against mine. My hand moved onto her belly, underneath her blouse, and up her chest; a faint melting moan entered my mouth as I squeezed one small tight breast. The lavender coloring I glimpsed made me think of a Wonderbra commercial I’d seen on TV.
Hurried footsteps behind me almost broke me off from her, while she clutched me tighter to her, as if for protection. I stayed on her, my eyes nervously darting to catch a glimpse of whoever had approached.
Then I saw him, walking past by the river railing and glaring at us. Fortunately it was a guy my age, in his thirties, and not a boyfriend of hers in his teens. I don’t know how I’d handle a tough young kid, but I knew I wouldn’t handle it very well.
I glanced at the girl. She, too, was looking after the guy, and I knew there was but one way to show him my complete possession and hold over her: I let go of her breast, lowered my hand to her belly and onto her thigh. As I knew they would, her legs parted slightly. I reached under her short skirt and inched toward her cunt.
We shuddered simultaneously: the girl in my arms, the guy by the railing, and I most of all, ejaculating in my pants from the oddity, the perversity, the unexpected exhibitionism and strangeness of what was going on. It was beautiful!
The guy struck the railing with his fist, his face an ugly grimace of pain and hate, then he turned and stalked up the promenade, continuously striking the air with his open hands as if slapping someone — her, me, the both of us together?
The girl broke her face off me, panting and gasping for air, a dribble of saliva falling down her chin, and flung my hand out of her skirt and crossed her legs. She demurely tugged the too-short skirt under her thighs and looked at me. I squirmed uncomfortably, my crotch wet, but my soul at peace.
Who’s he? I asked nervously, nodding at the guy.
Her lips tightened, but I knew her anger wasn’t at me. She glanced in my direction then snorted as she glared after the guy.
Fucking jerk! she cursed. He keeps following me around, the idiot!
We both looked after the guy. He had continued up the promenade, then turned off onto a path leading to the river. I suspected he was making his way to observe us from across the desolate and dilapidated children’s playground behind us.
I glanced back at the girl: what was she, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen? Who the hell knew or could tell anymore? Still in school, that’s for certain, but even that wasn’t proof of anything, as her schoolgirl look was the fashion craze of the fall season. Even women out of school for generations were dressing up in demure little blouses, plaid minis, and thigh-highs that made them look more like burnt-out hookers than flirtatious fresh little kids at recess and play.
Still, the incredible inch or two of bare flesh below her skirt and above the thigh-highs was like a masturbating dream come true. How many times as a kid did I focus my mind and hands at grasping, kneading, caressing, groping that swatch of flesh as some girlfriend fought off my fingers and prevented them from rising higher and deeper? The memory of a soft warm thigh above a dark nylon-top still drives me into frenzies of arousal, erection, ejaculation, elation.
Though I may have forgotten faces and names, promises of love and passion, and images of be-nyloned and be-stockinged thighs that once smothered me with remembrance and bliss, holding this girl and looking at her skirt above her nylons was like holding and reclaiming all the dreams and longings of my youth. This one, finally, perhaps a generation late and a generation younger, was at last available and willing and unafraid of herself or of me . . . I almost came a second time just looking at her.
Do you know him? I finally asked, turning to the playground behind us. As I suspected, the guy was on the other side, across from us, still glaring but looking very sad — I must have taken something very precious from him. . . .
From The Dildo:
She stood before the porno-shop window display and studied his reflection as he circled behind her. He had been following her down 7th Avenue since 53rd Street, and each time she paused to look at record album covers, dresses and shoes, or radios and trinket jewelry, he would hesitate before a nearby store window and pretend to appraise similar goods while stealthily eyeing her a few yards away.
She had easily spotted him trailing behind her, and though his shy and wary approach was taking longer than usual — by now they should have agreed on the act, the price, the place — she was beginning to enjoy the ritual of chase and pursuit, the tease and lead-on, the tingle of being hunted and stalked.
Once she darted across a busy street and stopped before a lingerie store with mannequins clad in frilly baby-dolls — a few looking embarrassed in crotch-less panties and nipple-less bras — but when she abruptly turned, smiling and hoping to catch him gaping at her, she frowned and cursed. He was standing across the street, restlessly shifting and craning his head, trapped by the dense traffic moving before him.
He was old, but that didn’t matter. She never went out with the young guys anymore — the older they were, she reasoned, the less they got laid, and the more willing and ready to dish out the cash. The young guys in school thought she owed it to them after a treat of soda and fries, as if scum in the mouth was just recompense for the few dollars spent; like hell it was!
So she started coming to Times Square on weekends and walking around and getting picked up, or cutting school and finding a movie house where the fat ticket-seller didn’t care how old she was and let her in. There she could stroke or eat some cock and always get money so she could come back the next day or the day after that.
They drew closer to Times Square and the crowds and traffic thickened. It would be easy to lose him — since she was now being eyed by others — but she had baited him this far and was curious as to how and when their window-shopping dance would be consummated, as he was now pausing nearer and nearer with each window she stopped at; a few more store windows and he should be standing beside her.
She looked down at the dildos and vibrators, furry plastic strap-on pussies and blow-up dolls, pulling back her shoulders and puffing out her breasts. She saw his reflection in the window moving closer to her. She gasped at a large bloated rubber dildo, the crown-head massive and thick, the tight veins pulsing and eager. Suddenly his image was beside her.
I think I’d die if someone tried to shove that in me, she mumbled as if to herself, but loud enough for him to hear, and quickly turned to face him.
He started and blinked his eyes, then meekly smiled and glanced at her breasts. Women are made for that, he said, his nostrils quivering from her sweet perfume scent.
Oh, yeah? she snorted, and looked him up and down.
She turned back to the dildo and said softly, It’s like having a baby.
She was certain that she saw his image jolt in the window and quickly turned to him. I wonder what it feels like going in? She smiled to herself.
His eyes widened and he did indeed jolt. She grinned, darted her tongue on her lips, and glanced at his crotch. Turning back to the window and moving down the display, she paused to glance at the magazine covers pasted up on the finger-and-nose-smudged glass.
On each magazine cover a woman lay fucked in every imaginable position: in the mouth, in the cunt, up the ass, between the tits, sometimes with two or three cocks and one in each hand, sometimes by another woman with a dildo strapped on or one in her fist, sometimes on a bed or a grassy lawn, or on a thick shag rug or an alley sidewalk, but always in the throes of willing abandon and passion, or brutal resistance and rape. Hundreds of photos of fucked women, yet on each magazine photo the vital point of penetration — a cock in the mouth or cunt or ass proving the sex was real and not simulated — was covered by a strip of dull black tape.
Why do they do that? she turned and asked the man, pointing her finger to a taped-over dick up an ass.
He cleared his throat, looked away from her breasts, and glanced at the photos. Censorship, he mumbled, awkwardly scratching the back of his head, and looked down on her breasts again.
She smiled and pulled back her shoulders even more. Then how do you know she’s really getting fucked? She ran her finger along the taped-over dick and looked at him. You take the tape off at home?
He blushed, shook his head, and nervously looked around him. A few steps away he saw a man studying an open-mouthed blow-up doll’s head while glancing sideways at the girl and her finger on the glass.
That’s only for the window, he quickly explained, and moved to block the other man’s view of the girl. You can see the whole thing inside, he added.
Without the tape? she giggled, and glanced at the shut shop door. I’ve never been in one of these stores, she said, moving around him and pausing once more before the huge dildo and dolls, the other man just inches away and now boldly staring at her face, her breasts, her thighs and ass.
Want to go in? He rushed after her, his face grimaced, his eyes worried and nervous, and again he stepped in between the girl and other man.
The girl looked down at the dildo, up at the other man, then shrugged and puffed out her breasts. Okay, she said, and put her arm in his elbow and pulled him toward the porno-shop door. . . .
From Christmas Whore:
ON CHRISTMAS MORNING I walked out on Judy, instantly remembering I didn’t buy her anything but saying the hell with her! I thought she would come running after me, but I glimpsed her just looking sadly at me as I turned the stairway corner and heard her door close.
“Screw the bitch!”
I really didn’t want to go: I needed the sleep, and her apartment was big and roomy for that. Hell, it was big and roomy enough for a museum exhibit meant for displaying paintings and sculptures by Van Gogh and Michelangelo and not me sleeping there.
“Fucking bitch!” I cursed again.
Out on the street an early light snow had fallen and traffic was very sparse. A delivery truck and a cab passed by, but I ignored them and walked on in the windy, chilly morning.
I knew it was stupid to get into an argument with Judy, especially over what we were arguing about. I thought nothing of the fact I was disappearing into the streets again; how I had lived on the streets was my business. But she wanted to change that and have me live in what she thought was the proper role for me: she wanted to bring the 42nd Street world to a close and have me coming up in a prim and decent way.
Well, no thanks!
When Judy started hinting to me about changing, at first I thought she was kidding and paid her no mind, laughing and shrugging it off. It was clear from the start that I was a bit flaky and uncaring, but when I confessed to Judy that my excursions to 42nd Street were more than just movie viewing and involved actual stroking and bed-hopping with various men, whom I called my clients, she resolved to bring it to an end.
“Do it for me,” she’d say. “I’m important to you, aren’t I?”
I’d nod, knowing we’d go to bed and she’d forget for a while.
It was the late sixties, when gay rights were still a dormant dream. I never considered myself as gay or dreamed that one day I would be carrying a flag or banner in some parade or demonstration somewhere, it was just my quest for something different, just to meet someone, pull my dick out, and let him get to work stroking or sucking, until I came, or he came, or we’d both come and go our separate ways. No love, little connection, and Adios! Mañana! What did she expect from me? Marriage vows of eternal love? Screw that shit!
I fumed up cold windy 4th Avenue until I came to the Belmore Cafeteria on 28th Street, a 24- hour place, where I could get out of the chilly morning. A hot cup of coffee would certainly help.
I peered through the windows and saw the customers scattered at tables, sitting there like old forgotten Christmas decorations slowly going to waste. I took a deep breath and walked in. The place was warm, like a gentle caress holding you in and not letting you go. Strangely, I always felt right at home in the fake welcoming atmosphere.
I pulled a ticket stub at the entrance turnstile and took a tray to hold my morning meal, coffee and donuts. I wasn’t much of an eater and one donut would satisfy me for hours.
“That’s all you want?” the attendant asked, as if on Christmas morning I was supposed to get some more.
“Yeah, that’s all.”
He shrugged and rang up the meal on the ticket and I went to a table. I noticed a few old people sitting and eyeing me with half-awake eyes, as if I had disturbed them from their morning sleep; I even saw a few stretch out and settle back to their dreams. Pleasant dreams, I thought, but the Belmore was like that, they never closed and people ran up their tabs for days on end.
I took a seat at an empty table and got to chewing my whole wheat donut when I caught the eye of a woman at a table close by. Like the other denizens of the place she looked a mess, her hair and make-up undone — that is, if she wore any — and it didn’t take much imagination to envision what her panties and bra looked like, probably falling apart in human dirt and sweat. I smirked and took a slurp of coffee.
She got up from her table and came to mine. “Is this seat taken?”
I looked at her — probably late twenties, early thirties — compared to my age of nineteen. Judy was twenty-eight, a world of difference. I shrugged my head, intending to ignore her.
“Thank you, you’re a gentleman.”
I frowned; I wasn’t used to being called a gentleman. She put her jacket and purse on the seat next to her and sat there just looking at me slowly eating my donut.
In a way I was feeling a little bit pissed, as if she were interrupting me — which she was. I wanted to stew over Judy and how that fell apart. Self-pity is a good time killer, and I had plenty of that.
“It looks good,” she said softly. Her wet drooling mouth just stared at the donut I was nibbling on.
I shrugged and popped the last morsel in my mouth. “Sorry, there ain’t no more,” I said, taking a sip of my coffee. Will she comment on that, too? But she just looked down and scratched the top of her head. In the early morning light I could see flecks of dandruff weaving and falling to her white blouse. I snorted. Good thing she’s wearing white or there’d be definite marks of the dandruff she’s leaving behind.
I smiled; she looked at me and blushed but also smiled. I suddenly looked away. Her teeth were filthy! A creamy brown that looked like they hadn’t been brushed or even rinsed in days. I could just imagine how many days she had spent in the Belmore . . . probably all week.
“What are you doing up so early?” she asked curiously. Again I smiled, hoping she kept her mouth closed, but she smiled back at me, once again showing her filthy mouth. . . .
To purchase, click here
Monday, August 2, 2010
Rick Reed writes about Tales from the Sexual Underground, "I wanted to write about people who were not just out, but out there, people who lived their sexual lives in ways most of us could only imagine...and for whom the flavor vanilla had absolutely no appeal. I interviewed porn stars, prostitutes, self-proclaimed sex pigs, and delved into bizarre sexual practices. It was eye-opening, arousing, and a lot of fun (but never, never good clean fun). I also include here my favorite dirty stories. They all explore a side of life that exists not in the twilight zone, but in my favorite destination...the sexual underground."
Tales from the Sexual Underground
MLR Press (February, 2010)
ISBN: 978-1-60820-140-2 (print)
Guest Blog: The Truth—and the Myths—About Being a Slut
By Rick R. Reed
I have always considered myself a libertine, someone who subscribes to the old adage: if it feels good, do it.
In the midst of gay equality, one group that often gets shoved aside are those of us who present a more shocking, but no less loving, nature to the more conservative right wing. It is for these proud and daring gay men that I proudly submit the following.
The Truth—and the Myths—About Being a Slut
It’s not easy being a slut. Maligned, judged, and often misperceived, we sluts are often thought of as having no values, when the opposite is true: most sluts are filled with the milk of human kindness (or some fluid like that)…that’s why we end up being called sluts. So I’ve come up with this list of truths and falsehoods about being a slut, in an effort to educate the public on this often misunderstood segment of our populace.
1. A slut will sleep with anybody. False! Sluts often have very high standards. Just because we’ve been the pleasure connection to thirty gentlemen in one weekend doesn’t mean that we weren’t choosy. Just lucky…
2. A slut thinks about sex all the time. True. If you’re a good, practicing slut, most other concerns of life take a backseat (as you often do!) to when, where, and with whom you’ll have your next orgasm.
3. A slut has low self-esteem. Bullshit. Whoever started this line of malarkey was just jealous. Sluts simply realize what a gift their sexual organs are and are unselfish enough not to hold those gifts back from worthy admirers.
4. A slut is like a Petri dish, growing all sorts of nasty bacteria and viruses on their person. Well, this is both true and false. An inescapable reality of sluthood is that it’s like playing Russian Roulette. Sooner or later, you’re going to come down with a bug or two. But good sluts realize this and make it a point to know what preventative measures they can take and visit their doctors regularly.
5. A slut preys on the young. Yeah, right. Does that make Bill Clinton a slut? Wait, don’t answer that. A true slut knows that tasty sexual partners come in all shapes, sizes…and ages. Youth has its charms, but with age comes experience, wisdom, and hopefully, control…
6. A slut just can’t get enough. True. And what’s wrong with that? Sex feels good…it’s making someone else feel good, so where’s the problem? If you’re slut, you know that enough is never enough, unless it’s right after…then a cigarette or a bowl of Ben and Jerry (the ice cream!) sounds a whole lot better than having a big howitzer stuffed up some juicy orifice. Or does it?
7. Sluts smell bad. False. A slut, more than anyone else, knows that clean is sexy.
8. Sluts are open minded. True. A real slut knows there’s no end to sexual pleasure and what can bring it on, thus she or he doesn’t limit herself or himself to discovering the joy that a particular mammal, battery-operated device, latex lovely, fruit/veg, etc. can bring.
9. Sluts make bad husbands or wives. False. A true self-proclaimed slut has learned a thing or two about honesty, being true to yourself, and being communicative about needs. All those things add up to knowing how to make a relationship work.
10. Sluts are the answer to world peace. True. So true. Who do you think coined the phrase: make love, not war?
So, sluts unite…again and again and again. And let me know where you’re uniting (and if you have a sling). Slut Pride…it’s time has come.
To purchase, click here for the ebook or here for a print edition