Sunday, May 01, 2005

Chapter Two (Complete)

Aunt Tittie was wrong, however: Danny was neither a top nor a bottom. He didn't even comprehend the distinction, had never quite understood the point of becoming exclusively devoted to any one position or sex-act. For Danny, so long as it didn't hurt too much and didn't leave a mark, he was game for just about anything. He had preferences, certainly — he preferred traditional sex acts to kink, was not excited by humiliation, and had little taste for role-playing or elaborate fantasy; but barring excessive pain or marking, he would generally indulge his partners in whatever acts they wished, feeding off their excitement and taking pleasure in giving pleasure.

Danny had certain boundaries, of course — he wouldn't allow anyone to restrain him until a bond of personal trust and a few material safeguards were in place, and he was constantly vigilant against exposing himself to any of the many diseases carried via bodily fluids and unexamined skin — but he was curiously devoid of sexual inhibitions or fetishes. Anything that might give him physical pleasure, especially if it resulted in orgasm, was enthusiastically entered into.

This enthusiasm for pleasure informed all aspects of his life, in fact. Danny was a guiltless hedonist, believing that all forms of pleasure were good, and no pleasure was too small to be lavishly appreciated. However, he was also aware of the consequences of too much of a good thing, and so was very careful to moderate his pleasures, particularly those that dull the senses or dissipate the body: though he frequently indulged in rich cuisine, he always worked it off afterward at the gym and never snacked on junk-food; he used alcohol sparingly, and though he liked to get drunk on occasion, he always stringently detoxified his body afterward; he drank coffee addictively, frequently even to excess, but was careful to drink double the amount in water, to keep himself hydrated and to prevent the acids from damaging his digestive linings; he shied away from all but the mildest of recreational drugs, and never took anything if he didn't know exactly where it came from; and though he had a lot of sex, he enforced short periods of abstinence on himself whenever things started feeling dull, and never pushed himself to limits of endurance or sensation from which it is difficult to return.

As a result, he was blessed not only with an admirable constitution and unfailing good health, but also with such refined senses that he was able to find sensual pleasure in the simplest things. He took inordinate enjoyment, for example, in his daily bowel movements... which were as regular as clockwork, occurring promptly at six p.m. (give or take a few minutes). His bowels were so reliable that his daily movement served as a dressing-bell: when Nature called, it was time to get up and change for dinner.

Danny had returned from The Parrot at five-thirty, stripped off his warmups and put them back in the closet, then shoved his discarded gym-clothes down the laundry chute; after turning on the stereo to play something rich and soothing (starting with the Adagietto from Mahler's Fifth Symphony), he sprawled face-down on the living-room sofa for a brief power-nap.

He'd been too full of coffee and excitement to actually sleep, but he nevertheless made himself very comfortable, concentrated on modulating his breathing, and carefully stretched and relaxed each and every muscle in his body, starting at the space between his eyes, over the top of his head, and travelling down his back to his fingers and toes. Lulled by his own heartbeat and soothed by the music and a light breeze playing across his bare skin, he slipped into a sort of meditative semiconsciousness where only the music and the colors it produced in his imagination intruded on his mind.

And just as the resonating old Dutch bronze clock on the mantel finished chiming six, his body informed him that it was time to evacuate... and so began the daily ritual that Danny called "Second Morning," when he executed the elaborate preparations for an evening out; even if he wasn't leaving the house that evening, he would still take that time to bathe and see to any personal maintenance that might be required before eating his evening meal. Dressing for dinner was such a deeply entrenched part of his life, an ancient ritual performed by his entire family from cradle to grave, that he became acutely uncomfortable if he couldn't at least wash up and change his clothes in the evening.

After completing a quite pleasurable session on the toilet, he shifted over for a quite pleasurable session on the neighboring bidet — if Danny had a fetish, it was for hygiene; his anal cavity was at all times clean enough to eat off of, because (he reasoned) one never knew when somebody would. Besides which, his prostate received a great deal of stimulation from so much nearby activity, and a stimulated prostate is always a good thing.

Danny drew a bath in the big, deep Jacuzzi tub, pouring a generous measure of bergamot oil and sandalwood bubble-bath into the rushing hot water; while waiting for it to fill, he went into the kitchen to assemble a casual sort of meal, since he intended to go straight to The Brat without stopping first at a restaurant. Though Danny knew how to cook, he seldom ever did, and so his refrigerator was stocked mostly with restaurant leftovers, deli meats and salads, and fresh fruit and vegetables that could be eaten without preparation. He loaded a bronze lacquer tray with a half-pound paper package of sliced ham, a white carton of Mandarin beef with string-beans, a clear plastic tub of chicken Waldorf, a basket of the strawberries he'd bought on the way home, and a large cobalt bottle of Italian sparkling water, then returned to the bathroom just as the water had reached the fill-line.

Immersed in a sensory overload of hot water, wonderful smells, delicious (if simple) food, and beautiful music (the CD-changer had progressed from Mahler's Fifth through some opulent Bach organ cantatae and into the bittersweet gorgeousness of Mirella Freni singing Butterfly), Danny was once again blissfully happy; in the act of giving himself over to physical pleasure, he was able to blot out, for substantial periods of time, the little nagging dissatisfactions and worries that plagued him at other times of the day.

But he understood, on a mostly subconscious level, that pleasure could not be prolonged indefinitely... and that if it could, one would become accustomed to it and immune to its therapeutic effects. It was why he always tempered his pleasures with prudence, instinctively maintaining the happy benefits of physical pleasure by avoiding a dissipating surfeit of it.

Since he had over three hours in which to get ready, Danny let himself float for a little while after he finished eating, almost falling asleep as he enjoyed the sensations and the music (the stereo had moved on to a selection of somnolent Chopin concerti), completely losing track of the time... until he caught himself stroking his cock a little too intently, nearly wasting the orgasm that he'd been saving up all day (though he usually achieved at least five orgasms a day, and could count on eight or nine when properly inspired, he liked the boiling randy feeling in his groin that came from a day of self-denial, as well as the impressive stored-up power of the ensuing ejaculation).

Trying to think unsexy thoughts to regain control, he picked up a large sea-sponge and started scrubbing himself thoroughly all over, soaping and sloughing until every square inch of his skin had been gone over twice. Turning off the jets and opening the drain, he climbed over the side of the tub into the adjacent shower-stall to rinse off, then washed and conditioned his hair.

Danny stepped out of the shower and crossed over to the sink, letting himself drip-dry in the forced-air heat that came out of the bathroom floor-vents; he spritzed himself again thoroughly with the after-shower moisturizing spray and slathered his face and neck with a deep-cleaning moisturizing mud-pack filled with avocado and Sonoma clay. And as he waited for the mud-pack to set, he went through a meticulous brushing and flossing of his teeth, as well as scraping his tongue and rinsing with an antibacterial wash, studiously ignoring the cumbersome erection that continued to beg for attention like a big whining puppy.

As he stood there, performing all these rather excessive rituals of personal maintenance and gazing into his own eyes in the oversized mirror, he was visited by a familiar pair of nagging worries: nasty little bugaboos called How long will I have this, and What will I do when it's gone.

Danny knew that the fanatical moisturizing and prudent avoidance of damage would sustain his amazing beauty for longer than Nature intended, and his remarkable bone-structure would retain handsomeness even after the exquisite blush of youth was gone; but he was all-too-painfully aware that he would never be more beautiful than he was at that moment, that the only way left to go was downhill... he also knew that he had come to rely so heavily on this peak of beauty for his happiness and self-esteem that the inevitability that he would someday lose part or all of it filled him with a sinking, shrivelling sensation almost like terror.

Although this tiny pang of fear managed to finally quell the erection that was becoming painful with neglect, Danny refused to let the tiny terror get out of control; like an unwanted relative or importunate missionary, whenever such terrible knowledge might come to visit, Danny simply refused to entertain it... acknowledge it, certainly, but don't let it in. When he'd finished with his mouth and rinsed the hardened green goo from his face with cool water and a splash of astringent toner, he'd shown those disturbing worries to the door of his consciousness with the firm statement of I have this now and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it, which never failed to force him back to his preferred state of sunny optimism.

He was still a little wet when he left the bathroom for the dressing room, so he took a towel with him to protect the velvet dressing-table bench from his damp skin; settling himself comfortably before the brightly-lit mirror, he considered what to do with his hair and face. He wanted to look a little slutty, perhaps even a little trashy, but not outrageously so. After some consideration, he decided to fix his hair into a carefully untidy version of his usual cherubic halo, rather than a more stylized arrangement of curls, or slicking it down into a formal poll curling behind his ears, or pick-combing it out into a luxuriant lion's mane.

After carefully working a leave-in conditioner and a gold-tinted styling gloss into his hair, he separated his wet curls with a pick and wound them around his index finger, one lock after another, starting at the top of his head and working his way around in circles to the nape of his neck, until he had a cap of floppy brown corkscrews. Then he separated the locks on top for an asymmetrical zig-zag parting to the right of center, and left them to dry in place.

He then decided that, since the hair was going to be a little conservative, the face should run towards decadence. Though his eyelashes were enviably thick and almost an inch long, he applied a deep sable mascara that made them even thicker and longer, almost inhuman in volume; he also added a little smoky mink-brown shadow around the upper and lower lids, dramatizing the upward tilt of his almost-too-large eyes, giving himself a smouldering gaze and making the deep brown irises glitter unnaturally. A faint dusting of pearlescent gold highlighted the strong straight line of his nose and brow as well as the elegant curves of his cheekbones and jaw, and a matte pigment that was exactly two tones darker than his natural lip-color was applied to emphasize the exquisite scrollwork line of his plump lips, under a light film of wet-look gloss to make his mouth look as if he'd just been passionately kissed. It wasn't enough makeup to look like makeup, but it gave his face a startling perfection that would appear perfectly natural and exceedingly alluring in the inevitable dim light of a bar.

Appraising and finally approving of his face in both direct and indirect lights, Danny got up and crossed over to the closet devoted to the clothes he wore to clubs and other informal evening activities. He had already more-or-less decided on what shirt he wanted to wear, something he'd been saving for a special "adventure": a custom-made black silk funnel-neck jersey that was as sheer and smoothly form-fitting as hosiery, featuring elaborate Celtic designs embroidered in black silk soutache over the left pec and shoulder; the neck went halfway up his throat, the sleeves came down past his wrists, but every part of his covered torso was revealed and delineated by the thin layer of gleaming black silk. The shirt, which had been made especially for him by a couturier friend, came complete with a pair of low-cut sheer black silk boxer-briefs with the same Celtic soutache embroidery over the jock, so that they could be worn as underwear or as dance-shorts, and unnecessarily enhanced his big basket.

After sliding into these basics, he was left with a quandary about pants... jeans, of course, but what kind? Leather, denim, or velvet? Black or brown or green or indigo? Skin-tight or slightly loose or downright baggy? There were a lot of choices, all of which would go fine with the shirt. After ruffling through the stacks and slowly considering each of his numerous options, he finally decided on a pair of antiqued black denim hip-huggers, the beltline razored-off and frayed to reveal the top of the underwear and the beautiful etching of the pelvic girdle, close-fitting but loose enough to stand away from the body, with a big curly Blackletter initial "D" studded on the right thigh in faintly glittering black metal studs (there had been a matching "G" on the left, but Danny had picked off its studs after wearing the jeans once)... the studding was a bit much, but it balanced the embroidery on the shirt and gave him a rather "downtown" air.

The pants' boot-cut legs dictated that boots should be worn, so after pulling on a pair of fluffy charcoal-grey boot-socks, Danny wriggled his feet into a pair of Italian black suede shit-kickers with pointed toes and stacked heels, the dark titanium embroidery just one degree short of "flashy"; and with those boots and that pair of jeans, only one jacket could be worn, a motorcycle jacket of slightly distressed black leather, constructed with Regency flair and lined in raw silk, fitting tight around the waist and opening in rather foppish flaps of lapel around the neck.

Danny punched a series of numbers into an electronic keypad hidden behind a fake light-switch, which opened a tall concealed compartment behind the trifold mirror, then hovered thoughtfully over the little leather drawers inside that held his considerable collection of jewelry. After some thought, he decided that a watch was too prosaic an item to be worn with this sort of an outfit, and any necklaces or bracelets might ladder the fine knit of the silk shirt; nevertheless, he chose a couple of heavily carved platinum rings, one for his left thumb and the other for his right ring-finger, and then a small and simple platinum hoop for his left ear and a quarter-carat brilliant diamond stud for the right; thus arrayed, he closed the mirror on his stash and took in the completed effect.

After finger-combing his now-dry hair and mussing the curls artfully around his face, Danny decided, with a good deal of satisfaction, that he looked like Trouble With a Capital T... exactly the mien he wanted for an adventure such as this. He looked overtly sexual, perhaps even slutty, as he assumed in his mind a hustler would want to look; he also assumed a hustler would want to look like he could be bought, but not cheaply, and that he was well worth the most extravagant price.

Leaving the dressing room and heading down the hall, enjoying the staccato clunk of his wood heels against the wood floor, Danny tried to decide whether or not to drive his Jaguar to Polk Street... it wasn't a safe neighborhood, especially for an easily-breached convertible; and though he preferred having his car on hand in case he needed to leave in a hurry, he finally decided that it would be best to take the MUNI Metro down there, and then take a cab home (if indeed he ended up coming home, which he very much doubted).

Though it was the middle of spring, the night had turned cold and damp, so Danny armed himself with a pair of microfleece-lined black ostrich gloves and a simple black cashmere scarf to keep warm, slipped five $100 bills into the sole of each boot for emergencies, and grabbed a fistful of change for the train turnstile and any panhandlers who caught his attention. Then his PDA and wallet went into separate zipped pockets of his jacket, his keys clipped onto a metal ring inside another pocket, and he was ready to go.


Danny set off at a pretty good pace, a little put off by the clammy dampness of the night air; no one with curly hair and any amount of personal vanity can bear moist air with equanimity, no matter how much confidence one might have in one's product. He nevertheless enjoyed his walk down the well-populated and festively lighted streets enough to consider walking the whole distance; but it was a long way down to Civic Center and then up Polk, and his boots were made for dancing, not for walking two miles up and down hills.

Like many people who grew up in rural or suburban areas and learned to drive at fifteen, Danny had trouble adjusting himself to the vagaries of public transportation. He had enthusiastically explored BART and the various MUNI systems in his early days as a San Francisco resident, thrilled by the idea that one could get just about anywhere without a car; but he was soon discouraged by the noises, smells, and close quarters of the buses, trains, and streetcars, not to mention the often depressing people who rode them; he also discovered himself to be wildly claustrophobic, a phobia of which he had been entirely unaware until he got stuck in a crowded rush-hour Metro train that broke down in a tunnel on a hot day. And then there was the problem of waiting, for which Danny had little talent.

Unfortunately, in San Francisco, public transportation is inescapable: parking a car is nigh-on impossible in many parts of the City, and unless you are willing to spend a fortune on parking garages and leave your car in the care of sketchy attendants, or budget an extra half hour or forty-five minutes to circle a nine-block radius scouting for a space, it's easier to just leave your car at home.

When Danny reached the busy intersection of Market and Church, he considered his options: a bus, or a streetcar, or a train? He briefly considered a taxi, but had never quite figured out how to attract the attention of a taxi-driver, and had wasted hours of his life waving at speeding cabs without getting any results... coming home from downtown, there would be bustling taxi-stands and helpful hotel doormen who could be tipped or flattered into using their magic little whistles on one's behalf, but there were no stands or doormen in the Castro; one could call a dispatcher in advance, of course, but if one knew that far in advance that one needed a ride, one could just as easily call a limousine service.

He naturally preferred to remain above-ground whenever possible, but taking the bus or the streetcar meant stopping every block along the way; waiting for the bus or streetcar on Market Street also meant standing on a narrow island in the middle of traffic where one clutched a railing mere inches away from speeding cars; one was furthermore left open to the possibly judgemental gaze of the people in those cars... though Danny loved being looked at, he didn't care to be looked at while waiting for a bus or streetcar.

So, swallowing a little clutch of claustrophobic anxiety, Danny descended into the noisy, subterranean confines of the Metro station, dropped his quarters into the turnstile and automatically reached out to pull the transfer that he wouldn't ever use, took the escalator down to the platform, and found a place against the ugly tiled wall to lean while he waited for an inbound train.

While he waited for the train, wondering why it is that time crawls so slowly in the environs of public transportation, he tried to make the best of the unpleasant situation by observing the other would-be passengers in the station. But though he noted the admiring looks he received from several of the men and women on the platform, some open and some clandestine, all of the people in the station were woefully nondescript and sadly uninteresting. Danny put on his headphones and plugged them into his PDA to listen to music instead, cueing up a selection of Big Band favorites, but it wasn't enough to drown out the depressing visual aspects of the station.

The train came whooshing and rattling into the station in due course, a fairly empty N-Judah that didn't appear to have been cleaned at any time in the last decade; despite the sparsity of passengers, Danny clutched his still-gloved hands to a vertical bar near the door rather than wedge his ass (and his expensive jeans) into one of the grimy-looking concave plastic seats. Taking shallow breaths through his mouth and staring intently at his own reflection in the scratched plastic window, he focused on pretending that he was somewhere else as the train went clattering madly through the small, dark tunnels deep under the street; but try as he might, he was unable to think about anything except what would happen if there was an earthquake and the tunnel collapsed on top of him under the weight of twenty feet of earth and any number of tall buildings and God-knows-how-many cars.

Eventually the train arrived at Civic Center Station, and Danny sprinted up the stairs into the only slightly fresher air of the grubby, crowded little square at Larkin and Hayes, dodging past slower-moving pedestrians until he reached the wide open spaces of Civic Center Plaza and was able to breathe freely again.

The walk up Polk Street was longer than Danny had anticipated... since he didn't know the name of the side-street on which The Brat was located, only the landmark where he was meant to turn, he couldn't plot the distance on his PDA as he ordinarily would; and since he stopped frequently to give quarters to panhandlers and to wait for cross-walk signals to change, and had to navigate clutches of smokers blocking the sidewalks outside of restaurants and rock-and-roll clubs, he couldn't quite gauge how far he'd gotten... but it seemed like an awfully long way.

The panhandlers here on Polk were more depressing than the usual run: there were no mere drunks or sad schizophrenics or even eccentric characters spiritually incapable of living within the confines of society; these were, without exception, obvious drug addicts. And a number of them had quite apparently been beautiful boys not so long ago, before the drugs got them, and this loss of beauty connected to Danny's own worst fears and weighed heavily on his heart.

Though he was fairly sure that the panhandlers would use the quarters to buy more drugs, rather than to feed themselves or their mythical children as they often claimed, for Danny it was not an act of charity to distribute alms to these beggars; when he wanted to perform acts of charity, he wrote a check at a nice well-catered fundraiser or volunteered his time at some clean and tidy service facility.

These alms were instead an exercise in caution: Danny forced himself to look these unfortunates squarely in the face when he handed over the coins, and remember that they were human beings like himself, their state separated from his by the most tenuous of circumstances... he had money, beauty, and intelligence, but he could lose them all to the drugs, insanity, and bewildering reversals that had robbed these people of their lives. The practice of physically handing them quarters kept Danny constantly aware of the pitfalls that lay in wait for all of us, and he believed it kept him from making certain mistakes that might lead him to such a pass.

Danny came upon the left-turn landmark suddenly, his view obscured by taller buildings and wide awnings along a populous block... it was every bit as ugly as Aunt Tittie had led him to believe, and Danny stood gaping at it for some time before continuing on to his destination. It was a typical Beaux-Arts building of pre-Depression vintage (not Art Deco as Aunt Tittie had described, but then so few people even know there's a difference), perhaps a trifle ungainly in its design, bristling with bay windows and vibrating with quoins and medallions and coursers and pilasters; but to make matters much worse, some ill-advised painter had done the whole thing over in a number of brilliant colors, avocado and emerald juxtaposed with electric blue, teal, and aqua, interspersed with fuschia, peach, vermillion, and coral... a scheme that might have been charming on an elaborately millworked Victorian mansion, but was terrifying on a Beaux-Arts hotel, like a villain's lair out of The Yellow Submarine... one half-expected Blue Meanies to lean out of the windows and drop apple bombs. And this was just what was visible in the flattering sodium lamplight of night: Danny pitied the people who would have to look at it in the full light of day, especially with a hangover.

Tearing his eyes away from the noisome sight, Danny scanned the side-street for his destination, spotting the curved royal-blue awning with yellow lettering three doors up on the left. Before entering, he stood back at the curb to take a good look at the place, memorizing the exterior for future reference and trying to get a "vibe" of some sort.

The Brat presented a rather bland face to the street, the plain blue and yellow awning stretched over a plain black door between two curved walls of glass brick; these were set with small, high windows, which were apparently meant to display neon beer signs rather than allow a view in or out; one received an impression of collegiate atmosphere from the varsity-letter font used on the awning, and an impression of light and movement behind the glass brick walls, but the facade of The Brat gave nothing away.

The interior was similarly typical and non-committal: on the left of the entrance was a little alcove with a pay-phone, a cigarette machine, and stacks of give-away magazines and newspapers; the bar curved out from here and stretched about thirty feet along the left-hand wall; on the right was a trio of arcade-style video games flanked by two rather brilliantly-lit pinball machines, and the right-hand wall was made up of carpeted risers instead of booths, running the same distance as the bar; in the backroom, more risers took up the wallspace on the right and left, facing in on a pool table and a small parquet-floored open space in which dancing might occur but which at the moment was filled with three cafe tables and a tangle of bentwood chairs; the back wall was pierced by three doors, two of which were marked as restrooms and one marked "Employees Only." The lighting was dim but not dark, flatteringly filtered over the bar but with widely-spaced pools of brigher light on the risers and the erstwhile dance-floor; the collegiate theme was carried out with a few posters of college-age models in scanty athletic attire, the occasional college pennant, and the pervasive smell of old french fries and cheap beer.

Though the decor and design didn't give anything away, the people in the bar illustrated The Brat's raison d'etre quite clearly: all along the bar, older men sat with their cocktails, a dozen or so of them, taking advantage of the flattering lights, some talking to each other but most observing the twenty or thirty much younger men, who sat or stood in groups under the stronger lights around the pool table and on the risers... except for three older/younger conversational pairings, two at the bar and one at the video games, the inhabitants of The Brat were strictly segregated with johns on the left and hustlers on the right, leaving a fairly broad open space down the middle. And though the two separate groups interacted with the people on their own sides, the energy of the room flowed distinctly, almost visibly, from side to side.

Immediately upon entering (during an unfortunate silence in between the elderly disco tunes that habitually poured out of speakers in each corner), Danny realized that he'd grievously miscalculated his wardrobe for this adventure. The johns along the bar were practically in uniform, almost exclusively decked out in bland sportshirts and uninteresting khakis, presenting a solid front of vague anonymity. Across the room, the young men were dressed in a modified hip-hop fashion, with tight t-shirts and wife-beaters over their thinly muscled torsos and oversized jeans or sweatpants hanging low on their narrow hips; puffy jackets or oversized hoodies were the outerwear of choice, and enormous unlaced sneakers were the only acceptable footwear. Huge and elaborate-looking watches strapped to thin wrists were the standard jewelry, though cheap-looking silver rings, gaudy thick-linked neckchains, and glaring chrome eyebrow piercings were fairly common. There were a lot of colorful tattoos, strangely stylized facial hair, watch-caps with sports logos in the center, and insectile sunglasses with gleaming metallic lenses perched on the forehead or hanging under the chin.

There were no tight jeans, no leather jackets, no peek-a-boo tops, and certainly nothing nearly as high-quality as the immensely expensive couture Danny had on. And even beyond the clothing, he was separated from the crowd of boys by his apparent physical prosperity... though Danny was considered slender among his cohorts at the gym and the circuit clubs, he was a lot beefier than any of the boys in The Brat, due mostly to having a healthier diet; for though all of the boys were in good shape, and evidently worked out as much as their circumstances might allow, theirs were the tight underfed muscles of late adolescence preserved by the low-protein, high-starch diets that are the portion of urban poverty.

Their hair was exceptionally short or completely shaved, most likely cut with a pair of electric clippers in the bathroom; none of them had the resources to maintain a halo of pampered curls filled with high-priced styling products. Their skins tended to be spotty and dull, or else flushed and glowing unnaturally, but nothing as clear and healthy as Danny's.

And not one of them was beautiful. Most were good-looking, in one way or another, and some of them might have been much better-looking if they were happy, well-fed, and properly groomed... but for the most part, they had mean mouths and empty eyes, and were posed in aggressive but ludicrous stances that were meant to give them an appearance of toughness but ended up making them look gangly and belligerent. Each and every one of them stared openly at Danny as soon as he entered, sizing him up as possible income or competition, glaring resentfully at his radiant beauty or gaping enviously at his dazzling clothes, and either way completely baffled by his unexpected appearance.

The older men turned to stare, as well, and were just as baffled as the young men by someone so beautiful and so flashily dressed wandering into this specialized and out-of-the-way bar. Danny simply and obviously did not belong in this place. And if he had obeyed his initial impulse to turn around and leave, his life would have been very different in the coming months. But he was far too obsessed with this adventure to turn back, and was determined to see it through.

Danny walked up to the service rail at the bar as if it were the most natural thing in the world, smiling politely at the people he passed but not acknowledging the undivided attention he had drawn from every corner of the room, took off his gloves and opened his jacket, and waited patiently for the bartender to acknowledge him.

"Bombay martini, very dry, two olives," Danny said to the bartender, a remarkably ugly middle-aged man with a shaved head and elaborately tacky Chinese dragons tattooed all over his thick arms.... he was dressed in a black muscle-shirt and jeans, and looked like a cartoon of a retired boxer with his squashed nose and tiny porcine eyes.

"We ain't got Bombay, sweetie," the bartender practically sneered, "is Tanqueray OK?"

"Sure, why not?" Danny smiled as pleasantly as he knew how.

"You want that up, or on the rocks?"

"Up, please," he replied, but wished immediately that he'd ordered something else entirely when he saw the bartender pull a double shotglass from the drainboard instead of a martini glass. He was further dismayed when the bartender poured off-brand vermouth with a heavy hand into a dented metal cup with some ice and gin, then shook it much too vigorously before straining it into the wet room-temperature glass.

Danny thanked the man and left a good tip after paying for his drink, but the first sip confirmed his worst fears... the thing was practically undrinkable, bitter and sloppy, with little chips of ice floating around a pair of sad stale olives stuck on a rough wooden pick.

The transaction with the bartender, however, completely altered Danny's status in The Brat: the johns had seen that, even if he was for sale, he was far out of their pedestrian league, with his Bombay gin and his educated diction, and they pretty much struck him off as a potential purchase; the hustlers, on the other hand, had sized up his clothes as if the price-tags were still attached while he stood under the strong light at the service rail, had heard him order an expensive brand-name alcohol and settle for a slightly less-expensive brand as if it were an amusing inconvenience, and saw him pay for the six-dollar drink with a ten-dollar bill and not even touch the resulting change... this could be the break they dreamed of, a beautiful young man with whom it might be a pleasure to have sex, and who apparently had money, who could take them away from "all this." So while the older men's energy devolved from potential consumers to intrigued specators, the younger men started posturing and posing in earnest, trying to catch Danny's attention.

Danny was aware of this change in his status, but wasn't sure what to make of it. He stood at the service rail with his undrinkable drink, not knowing where to go... should he take a barstool among the johns, or find a place on the risers with the hustlers? To whom should he try to speak?

Scanning the boys on the right of the room again, Danny tried to choose the most attractive of them, or perhaps the most vulnerable-looking of them; but they all seemed strangely repellent in their shiftily armored sameness. He eventually found one, though, who looked different and therefore interesting, a healthy-looking youth with a square jaw and delicate bone-structure, dressed all in black and featuring luxuriantly floppy hair dyed a peculiar shade of dark purple. He was wearing pale-lensed sunglasses, too, which gave him a mysterious air; and though he sported a sparse and silly-looking fringe of hair along his chin, he was really quite attractive.

Making him even more attractive was the fact that, unlike just about every other boy in the place, he wasn't posing and posturing, or even looking at Danny; he seemed instead to be avoiding the light, avoiding being seen, and he was either completely unaware of Danny's presence or else making a really good pretence of ignoring it.

But just as Danny was about to launch himself across the left/right divide to strike up a conversation, the boy noticed someone else at the far end of the bar, an enormous middle-aged man in a loud Hawaiian shirt, strikingly tall and fat but strangely featureless and nondescript for someone so large, and went over to talk to him. The newly united pair started arguing quietly, the older man apparently scolding the younger and the younger man condescendingly placating the older, their interaction bespeaking a relationship of some standing.

Playing pool then struck Danny as a good idea, a natural and neutral activity in which he would be able to meet at least one person over the table and use that meeting as a wedge into the mystifying social structure of The Brat. But just as he was about to head over to put his name on the chalkboard between the restroom doors, a man sitting at the bar laid a gentle hand on the sleeve of his jacket.

"You look lost," the man said; he was smirking a little, apparently amused at Danny's discomfiture, but seemed otherwise friendly.

"I've never been here before," Danny allowed, taking a moment to study the man closely. He was younger than most of the men at the bar, no older than his early forties, medium of height and build and coloring, with a full head of neatly combed light-brown hair and a trim-looking body, very nearly handsome in a generic, WASPy way... a square, well-boned face, unremarkable brown eyes and low, straight brows, a long straight nose, long thin-lipped mouth, and tanned healthy skin.

But Danny realized immediately that this man was much better-dressed than he appeared from a distance; near-to, the practiced eye could tell his boring striped button-down Oxford shirt was from Turnbull & Asser, without having to see the label; his plain tan chinos were most likely Brooks Brothers, perfectly but unostentatiously tailored. The slightly scuffed brown loafers were handmade and English, and the gold Patek Philippe wristwatch was twenty-four-karat on an alligator band, antique and meticulously maintained, probably a family heirloom. To cap it all off, Danny spotted a plain gold Yale class ring with the insignia of an exclusive hereditary fraternity worked into the design.

Danny felt immediately at his ease with this man, who was so patently of the same social class as himself... in fact, his father Taylor Vandervere, his uncle Charles Vandervere and his grandfather Marcus Vandervere had belonged to the same fraternity, though at Harvard, and wore similar rings. Though he didn't care much for his father or his uncle or his grandfather, finding a little bit of familiar iconography in this bizarre place was like finding an old friend in a strange country.

"My name's Marshall," the man said, reaching out a square, strong, well-manicured hand in greeting.

"I'm Danny," he took the offered hand and was impressed by the strength of the grip and the heat of the palm.

"Why don't you sit down, and I'll get you a new drink," Marshall offered, indicating the empty stool beside him, "Ivan here couldn't make a proper martini if his life depended on it."

Danny agreed, stepped around to the offered stool, and slipped off his jacket to drape over the seat... sparking a sudden ripple of excitement throughout the bar.

"Goddamn," Marshall breathed, ogling Danny's magnificent torso, artfully displayed in its sheer silk casing, "you're too good for this place. Hot!"

Danny suddenly found it funny that this man of his own class thought he was a prostitute; and in a flash, a wicked little idea burst full-bloom in his mind.

It had of course happened before that an older, wealthy man in whom Danny showed interest had slightly misconstrued Danny's purpose, and assumed that he was a professional prostitute rather than an amateur courtesan. The first few times it happened, when they asked his price up front or offered him money afterward, Danny was offended by the assumption... and after that, he simply pretended to be offended, because in order to soothe the imagined hurt of assuming that Danny was a whore, the older, wealthy gentlemen would always buy Danny a really expensive gift of some kind, usually taking him to dinner and the theatre as well, and were thereafter enrolled in his roster of doting sugar-daddies.

Disappointed in the way his hustler-bar adventure had started out, Danny decided to salvage the evening by playing this game with Marshall, encouraging the man to think that he was a professional, but then pulling his Injured Pride act as soon as the matter of payment came up, just to see what he could get.

Marshall ordered a pair of fairly fool-proof Tanqueray tonics as soon as Ivan came back to their end of the bar, and Danny turned on the charm at full wattage, smiling and flirting while asking a carefully-constructed list of small-talk questions about Marshall's name (Marshall was in fact his last name, but he thought his first and middle names, Drayton Holyfield, too fruity for casual usage), his profession (he admitted to being a lawyer, but was vague about which field), and his origins (he was a fourth-generation San Franciscan but had been schooled back East at Groton, Dartmouth, and Yale).

Eventually, Danny's conversation wound down a bit, and Marshall turned back to the bar to order another pair of cocktails; and in the sudden quiet, Danny swore he heard Aunt Tittie's raucous unmistakable laugh somewhere at the other end of the room. He shot a look toward the sound, and spotted the same tall fat man in the loud Hawaiian shirt who had paired up with the purple-haired boy, seated at the far end of the bar; Danny had never seen Aunt Tittie out of drag, and had no idea what she looked like under the wigs and paint, but the man at the bar was about the right size, and there were tell-tale parrots among the hibiscus flowers of the shirt. But the man was looking off stage-right, in deep conversation with the man on the next stool, so Danny couldn't be sure.

But as he was looking in that direction, his gaze was arrested by the strange purple-haired boy, who was drinking a bottled beer and leaning against the large-man-who-might-be-Aunt-Tittie, his arm draped across the older man's shoulders; though his stance was casual, his face was rigid with attention, and the object of that attention appeared to be Danny himself.

He forgot all about Aunt Tittie and was just puzzling over why the purple-haired boy was staring at him, but even that thought was driven out of his mind when a cold, wet finger was suddenly thrust down the back of his jeans, deep into his ass-cleavage. He nearly jumped out of his skin, and whirled around to face the intruder.

"Nice," Marshall leered at him, withdrawing the finger and licking it suggestively, "smooth and hot."

Danny just blinked at him for a moment, too startled to react; but once he regained his senses, he decided that two could play at that game... he grabbed Marshall's hand and drew the offending finger into his own mouth, savoring the taste of the man's skin along with his saliva and a trace of the gin and tonic in which it had been dipped. With the finger held firmly suctioned in his mouth, Danny looked into Marshall's eyes and smoldered for a moment, then winked and curled his lip in a naughty little half-smile.

"Let's get out of here," Marshall said throatily, plainly aroused by Danny's bit of stage-business.

"Yes, let's," Danny agreed, sliding off the stool and throwing his jacket over his shoulder.

As Danny followed his new friend out of The Brat, he flung a glance to the end of the bar, trying again to catch the eye of the large-man-who-might-be-Aunt-Tittie; but although the purple-haired boy was still staring fixedly in his direction, the Hawaiian-shirted man remained stubbornly in conversation, and Danny simply didn't have time to go investigate. So, filing away the information for later consideration, Danny hurried out the door and found Marshall moving toward the corner and waving down a cab.

Danny caught his breath when Marshall boldly stepped out into the street with his hand raised imperiously, practically in the path of a speeding floursecent-green cab, which stopped abruptly in front of him with a terrifying squeal of brakes. Though wildly impressed with (and more than a little turned on by) such bravado, he was also unduly frightened, and decided that, if that was how you flag down a cab in this town, Danny would much prefer to take the bus.

Marshall held the door open for Danny, gave the driver an address, and climbed in after him. Danny was braced for further lewd behavior, but Marshall sat as primly and quietly in the back of the cab as one would sit in a church pew, didn't speak, and acted pretty much as if he were alone behind the driver; Danny surmised that Marshall must be the type of man who has a public face and a private face, each very different from the other, and the presence of the stolid turbaned taxi-driver was reason enough to put the public face on. Danny was half-tempted to do or say something outrageous and provocative, but decided that embarassing Marshall at this juncture would spoil the game.

After a circuitous climb, the cab eventually pulled up in the circular drive of a San Francisco landmark: the enormous, rambling, vaguely tropical pink stucco building that stands nestled into the crotch of Buena Vista Hill and Twin Peaks, which is visible at some distance from over half the city. Danny had often wondered what the building was, its assortment of odd-angled wings and Italianate cupolas along with its regular rows of smallish picture-windows and mingy decorative balconies might equally belong to a hospital or a hotel or an apartment building. Marshall paid the driver and held the door again as Danny got out of the cab, then led the way through the impressive iron-caged glass doors of the building.

"Good evening, Mr. Marshall," a uniformed concierge bowed obsequiously from behind his hotel-style desk... he was a round-faced middle-aged Asian man with an almost stereotypical accent and a wide squinty grin, dressed in gold-braided green livery that was slightly ridiculous but which lent an air of anachronistic elegance to the deep white marble lobby.

Marshall didn't respond, only nodded somewhat arrogantly, and marched Danny past the long marble-topped desk to the bank of bronze-grilled elevators at the far end of the cool, groin-vaulted hall; Danny looked around him, impressed by the elegant furnishings of the lobby, the quite good paintings and enormous French chandeliers and scattered Baroque chairs, but did not gape around him as a hustler would, nor comment on the design elements as he ordinarily would... the essence of this game was to give nothing away about his own background and education, but also to not specifically and deliberately mislead the man in any way that could be later held against him — it was a game of barely-noticeable nuances and delicately balanced misunderstandings.

Marshall's church-pew behavior continued in the elevator as it ascended to the eighth floor, and Danny's understanding of this facet of Marshall's nature led him to notice that there was a video-camera concealed in the front left corner of the ceiling. But the corridor was unmonitored, and Marshall's hand snaked down the back of Danny's pants as he led the way to the northern end of the corridor and unlocked a beautifully carved oak door marked 8A in elegant raised bronze.

Once inside the square foyer, Marshall was all over him like a ravening tiger, chewing fiercely at Danny's mouth while wrestling his coat off of him with one hand and roughly probing into his rectum with the other... Danny was shocked again, and overwhelmed, but before he could become accustomed to this rabidly passionate Marshall, he suddenly found himself completely alone in the foyer, breathless and wide-eyed with a slight burning sensation in his startled asshole, as the urbane WASP Marshall suddenly resurfaced and hung Danny's coat carefully in the hall closet, then ushered Danny into the living room and suavely invited him to take a seat on the leather Chesterfield sofa.

Danny found Marshall's sudden changes rather off-putting... he was himself always gentle and graceful in his movements, and though he could be as passionate and rough as any occasion demanded, there had to be a period of segue between his accustomed manner and whatever manner he put on for the benefit of his partner; Marshall, however, ran hot and cold without any warning or prelude, and Danny felt distinctly off-balance as he moved into the room and seated himself in a somewhat defensive posture at one end of the sofa, his arms stretched out along the back with his left ankle firmly planted on his right knee to form an effective barrier to his personal space.

The room in which Danny found himself was elegant, decorated with conspicuous expense and good taste, but was a bit too typical to be really beautiful. It was a spacious and well-proportioned oblong with two square windows on either side of a little fireplace at one end, two somewhat larger square windows in the long wall filled with a sweeping view east to the Bay, and bow-arched doorways leading back to the foyer and into the small dining room; the apartment featured herringbone hardwood floors, carved bronze light-fixtures, and recess-paneled plaster walls painted a soothing golden cream color.

The floor was covered with an unexceptional brown-and-green Bokhara rug, and the windows were framed with straight panels of celadon damask; the furniture was comprised of biscuit-tufted brown leather sofas and chairs, in the style of an Edwardian gentleman's club, with a few pieces of cream-colored velvet and celadon damask in the big throw-pillows and Queen Anne side-chairs tying it all together; the lamps were Korean celadon ginger-jars with parchment shades, and there were very few decorative objects on the matching square dark-wood tables that were of no particular style or period, just a few wood and stone boxes and the occasional empty Grecian-style bronze vase; the pictures were all lithographs of sepia-tint watercolors depicting ancient temples from around the world, framed in dark wood and spaced at exact intervals along the walls.

The dining room visible through the archway was filled with a matching eleven-piece suite of Queen Anne reproductions, and featured a chandelier that matched all the wall-sconces, but was otherwise exactly like the adjoining living room. One could not see into a kitchen or any other rooms behind the closed dark-wood doors.

In fact, aside from the large etagère filled with a series of leather-bound books that looked like photo albums and a small representative sampling of classical-music CDs (meticulously and unnecessarily arranged in alphabetical order by composer), the room was the kind that one would expect to find in a four-star hotel suite, or a high-end traditional furniture showroom, masculine and classy but completely lacking in personality and giving no clue to the identity of the occupant.

But a practiced eye might have noted that "no clues" constituted a clue in itself: Marshall appeared to be very secretive, for to create such a monumentally flavorless room in one's own home — not just to neglect making a personal statement in a room, but to painstakingly avoid anything so telling and inevitable as a special-interest magazine or a personal photograph — one would have to be actively seeking to mask one's own identity.

The decor made Danny a little uneasy on a purely instinctive level, but he did not fully consider the indicative oddness of such an impersonal living space until much later... he merely noted the generous costliness of the square footage and appointments, and added that to his game calculations: a man who could afford an apartment like this could easily afford to keep Danny amused.

Marshall retrieved one of the wooden boxes from a side-table, about the size of a cigar humidor but made of blackened teak and deeply carved in a primitive Burmese style; he opened it on the low coctktail-table in front of the sofa and removed a large oval mirror framed in multicolored antique Chinese cloisonné, a beautiful matching cloisonné-handled knife with an unusually squared silver blade, and a gorgeous matching cloisonné covered jar-and-spoon set that was probably intended for honey or sauce but which was filled instead with fine white powder.

Showing great concentration and a dazzling display of the pharmacist's art, Marshall spooned a heap of the powder onto the mirror and separated it into four beautifully uniform lines with the little knife; there was even a matching pair of exquisite cloisonné straws, perhaps modified from pen-handles or chopstick-ends, which Marshall offered first to his guest.

"No thank you," Danny refused with a gentle smile.

"It's coke," Marshall insisted, apparently nonplussed, "it's good shit, totally pure."

"Coke gives me an instant headache," Danny lied blithely — he actually enjoyed cocaine immensely the two times he'd tried it, but refused to use it again for fear of becoming addicted; yet he'd discovered that most people who used cocaine would get defensive and insistent when he mentioned this fear, so Danny invented the headaches — "even when it's pure. I'm allergic, I think. But you go right ahead, don't mind me and my allergies."

"How about some K?" Marshall offered, after neatly inhaling two lines and even more neatly returning the other two to the cloisonné jar without leaving so much as a speck on the mirror, "Or do you like crystal? I have some poppers, too, and some GHB? Anything you want."

"A martini would be nice," Danny wondered what Marhall's accustomed guests must be like, if he kept such a huge and varied stash in his home. Danny knew a number of people who kept drugs in their homes, and who routinely offered them to guests, but it had always been the one drug of the host's particular preference that was offered, not a wide-ranging pharmacopeia.

"Bombay, very dry, two olives?" Marshall remembered his order from The Brat, which Danny found unexpectedly touching.

Danny thanked him with a dazzling smile of gratitude, and Marshall crossed the room to the liquor table against the wall, which was set up like a shrine, warmly top-lit and flanked by a pair of Boston ferns on dark wood pedestals, with cut crystal glasses on silver racks and a dizzying array of bottles nestled into a Georgian silver galley-tray that, with the exception of the antique cloisonné cocaine "service," was probably the only remarkable piece in the room.

With his back to Danny, Marshall took a good long time mixing the martini and pouring himself a neat Scotch... and though Danny was more interested in cataloguing the room around him than paying attention to the mixing of his drink, he nevertheless heard a suspicious "clink" as a hollow cheap-glass object came into contact with a crystal object, a sound that was indefinably out of tune with mixing a martini.

When Marshall handed him the drink, Danny studied it closely without appearing to do so, his suspicions roused by the odd clinking sound and then confirmed by the not-very-clever grains of off-white powder which clung to the olives in the bottom of the glass.

Oh, great, Danny thought to himself while sniffing at the drink as if savoring the aroma, he's trying to drug me. And he's clumsily used a powder — what is this, Special K? ground-up tranquilizers? nobody would put speed or coke into a cocktail — when everyone knows a tab of LSD, or a few drops of the GHB he offered, would have slipped in without a trace. Now what should I do?

Although slipping unknown and poorly-chosen substances into a guest's cocktail is a crime against hospitality that should have sent Danny running, he was unwilling to let the game end just yet... a person so secretive and unexpectedly sly would be fun to gently blackmail, or better yet induce to reform; so he pretended to take a few sips of the drink, letting the tainted gin slosh against his closed mouth, and considered his options. All the while, Marshall watched him like a hawk, waiting for something to happen.

I need to stay in control, here, Danny reasoned, he's waiting for something to happen, so I'd better make something happen. After assessing Marshall with one of his patented smoldering bedroom-eyed stares, Danny launched himself across the sofa and on top of his host, treating him to the same ferocious face-sucking and ass-groping he'd inflicted on Danny when they'd entered the apartment.

Marshall was a passionate but clumsy kisser, relying too heavily on tongue and teeth (as Danny believed was fairly common among thin-lipped men), but Danny enjoyed their adolescent grappling more than he'd expected... he got hard immediately, and the sense of his own power (he had at least fifteen pounds of muscle and two decades of youth on the older man) turned him on, too. After ten or fifteen minutes of concentrated liplock and dry-humping, Danny pulled back and looked Marshall straight in his slightly dilated eyes, smiling a wicked, gloating little smile at his flushed, loose-mouthed, heavy-breathing host.

"So tell me," Danny growled deeply, his face only inches away from Marshall's, "what does Drayton Holyfield Marshall like to do?"

"Drayton Holyfield Marshall the Third," Marshall answered very evenly, "would be happy to show you what he likes to do."

Wriggling out from under Danny, Marshall led the way back to the foyer, through a door into a narrow passage, and into a dark room at the far end; as Danny joined him in the open doorway, Marshall reached in and flicked on the light-switch, revealing a playroom lined entirely in black vinyl panels. There were no windows, or the windows were covered up, and various devices of arcane usage were ranged along the walls... nothing like a torture chamber, no whips or paddles or spiked objects which would have sent Danny immediately out of the apartment, but rather a huge array of phallic sex-toys, traditional fetish gear, and assorted restraints.

And right in the center of the room was a huge, square, padded "playpen," a sort of upholstered box two feet high and eight feet wide, covered in black PVC rubber and filled with what appeared to be cooking oil.

"What do you think?" Marshall asked, pulling open the buttons on Danny's jeans and sliding them and his shorts down around his thighs.

"I think Drayton Holyfield Marshall the Third is very kinky," Danny laughed a little but then caught his breath as Marshall knelt down and swallowed Danny's cock right down to the pubic bone, then demonstrated some Olympic-level fellatio skills. He quickly became so enrapt in the exquisite sensations that he only barely registered what was happening when Marshall reached up to Danny's neck, caught hold of the top of his beautiful custom-made shirt, and pulled hard enough to tear the fragile black silk all the way down to the bottom hem.

"Hey! That was expensive!" Danny complained when he looked down and saw the ruined shirt hanging loose from his shoulders (noting, at the same time, a small bald spot on top of his fellator's head).

"I'll buy you a new one," Marshall mumbled around a heaping mouthful of cock, then resumed his heroic work. Danny bade a sad farewell to the ruins of the wonderfully detailed shirt as he shrugged the shredded silk off his shoulders and threw it into a corner of the room.

You bet your ass you'll buy me a new one, and a Cartier watch to go with it, Danny vowed, disgruntled, but his attention was quickly redirected to his cock and the amazing things that Marshall's tongue and throat were doing to it. If there is a disadvantage to having a big cock, it's that very few people can do much besides lick and nibble on it; Marshall had no such limitations, in fact his mouth seemed to have been built specifically for the purpose of swallowing large cocks, rather than for chewing food or making speech, and Danny was beginning to feel that the loss of his shirt was quite a small price to pay for such epic head.

Looking up into Danny's face, keeping him very distracted with the blowjob, and curling his arms around Danny's knees, Marshall started slowly shifting Danny across the room to the edge of the playpen. Danny was unfortunately so distracted by the fabulous blowjob that he wasn't even aware of having been moved, and so was shocked when he felt himself being pushed over the side of the playpen... he tried to catch himself, but with nothing to grab onto but Marshal's bobbing head, he toppled over backward when Marshall pulled his ankles out from under him.

Danny’s back hit the bottom of the playpen with a splash, spattering oil all over the place; much to Danny’s surprise, or rather to add to his already heightened state of surprise, the bottom of the playpen was not mere padding, as he had expected, but rather a waterbed mattress that swayed and undulated like a warm sea.

Marshall still held Danny’s ankles up in the air, stripping the jeans, shorts, boots and socks off of him; all the while, Danny struggled vainly for purchase against the roiling mattress and the sloshing oil; and though the oil wasn’t deep enough to cover Danny’s head, it was getting into his eyes and his nose, causing an irritation that, paired with the helplessness of floundering around in a playpen full of oil with one’s ankles held up over one’s head, was rapidly developing into rage.

But just as suddenly as everything else that had happened since meeting Marshall, Danny was free and sliding luxuriously across the oil; he turned over onto his belly and managed to get his knees under him, then grabbed on to the edge of the pen, giving himself a sense of control, and was able to assess the situation better as he watched Marshall hurriedly undress and step into the oily playpen with him.

After a moment’s acclimation, Danny found the warm oil and warm rubber waterbed rather pleasant; and getting a good look at Marshall nude was rather pleasant as well... though he had a little bit of a sag around his waist, and his cock wasn’t anything special, Marshall was well-muscled and smooth-skinned, obviously athletic and richly suntanned all over, easy on the eyes and inviting to the touch.

Marshall turned around a few times in the oil to get himself thoroughly lubricated, and then performed a sort of wriggling swim across the playpen until he was lying on top of Danny; they resumed their makeout session from the sofa, groping and kissing and biting gently, but their embraces soon developed into a wrestling-match... but unlike a proper Greco-Roman wrestling match, or even a more showmanlike professional wrestling match, these two were more interested in creating unusual frictions and suctions than in subduing each other.

Danny was finally enjoying himself completely; though his careful coiffure was ruined, and he probably had a trace of mascara running down his face (it was waterproof, but no makeup is oil-proof), wrestling about in the warm oil with a hard, hot man on the undulating surface of the black rubber mattress was more fun than he’d had all week; his first orgasm, which after a day's self-denial should have shot out of him in a graceful and impressive three-foot arc, was ignominiously caught between their writhing bellies; but Danny was well on his way to a second orgasm when Marshall’s holds started to become more intent and specific, alternating between trying to mount Danny and trying to pry his ass open, playfully at first but by degrees becoming more pointed in his attack.

"I really want to fuck you," Marshall breathed, nearly succeeding in getting Danny into a businesslike shoulder-lock and sliding his remarkably hard cock between Danny’s cheeks.

"Not in all this oil," Danny replied reasonably, never so far gone to passion that he would ignore the little practicalities of life, "a condom wouldn’t hold up."

"Come on," Marshall wheedled, trying again for the shoulder-lock hold, "We don’t need to worry about all that. I’m clean, and I’m sure you are."

"I’m not sure, and I don’t fuck without condoms, ever," Danny pushed away a little more firmly, and assumed he’d won his point when Marshall abandoned the attempt to mount him and returned to his extraordinary cocksucking. He brought Danny through his second orgasm in short order, practically wrenching it out of him, and swallowed the load before Danny could pull out. Marshall slid up Danny’s body again, kissing Danny deeply while pushing Danny’s arms up over his head.

Just as he had been guided across the room to the playpen while being expertly sucked off, Danny was completely unaware that the second blowjob had a similar purpose: without Danny realizing that he was being guided, Marshall had directed their combined movements so that they were eventually shored up in one corner of the playpen, then he started pushing Danny’s arms over his head while kissing him through his post-orgasmic euphoria.

Danny’s eyes popped open when he felt the cold metal handcuff closing over his right wrist with a grinding click; shocked one more time into utter confusion, he struggled uselessly against his would-be captor, but could not dislodge Marshall’s thighs as they firmly gripped Danny’s small waist in a strong saddle-hold... and since Marshall had the upper position, and knew well how to ride a bucking animal, his prospects for getting Danny’s left wrist over the edge of the playpen into the other handcuff looked pretty good.

"Hey, quit it!" Danny shouted, struggling to pull his left arm down with all his strength, but to no avail; with his right arm already immobilized above his head, and unable to brace himself against anything, Danny didn’t have sufficient strength to pull the arm downward out of Marshall’s two-handed, upward-pushing grip. Marshall didn’t answer him, but merely redoubled his efforts to get Danny’s arm manacled, "That’s not funny, stop it!"

Something snapped in Danny’s mind as he struggled there in the oil, and a rushing access of rage that he’d never felt before flooded into his brain. This man had mauled him and thrown him off balance, had tried to drug him, had ripped his beautiful silk shirt to shreds, and had dumped him unceremoniously in a pen full of cooking oil; and now he was trying to immobilize him without asking permission, and was probably intending to fuck him without a condom despite his stated conviction. Danny was suddenly so angry that he actually saw red, perceiving a crimson haze clouding around the outer edges of his range of vision.

The adrenaline released by this sudden rage gave Danny the extra strength he needed to free his left arm from Marshall’s grip; and in the strength of his downward swing, Danny clipped Marshall right across the nose with his elbow... unfortunately hitting his funny-bone on the bridge, increasing his rage with this added mind-scrambling pain. Pushing the startled Marshall off of himself with a solid knee-kick to the lower back, Danny launched himself spectacularly out of the playpen with a backward somersault that would have made his high-school gym coach proud, and stopped to assess how he could get out of the handcuff.

The cuffs were the standard chrome-plated steel model used by police officers and bondage enthusiasts all over the world, loosely attached to the outside corner of the playpen by a large steel eyelet hook; Danny was able to slide the connecting chain down off the hook and pass the empty left cuff through the eyelet to free himself from the playpen, then stood up to look around for the key that would remove the left-hand cuff from his wrist.

"You broge by dose," Marshall sobbed pitifully, wallowing around on the swaying mattress, trying to get himself upright while pinching his nostrils closed and tilting his head at a backward angle.

"I ought to break your fucking arm!" Danny yelled as he tore frantically through the various lewd props hanging from the wall, "Where’s the goddamned key to these cuffs, you dick?"

"Id really hurds," Marshall snuffled uselessly; having reached the edge of the playpen, he rummaged around on the floor trying to find something to stanch the blood, finally making contact with Danny’s sheer black silk shorts.

"Give me the fucking key!" Danny saw what Marshall had done too late to stop him, and realized that his shorts were now just as useless as the shirt; he continued to rage around the room, searching every inch of the toy-festooned panels, occasionally stopping to call Marshall names and demand the key. Marshall never answered him, merely mumbling and crying over his bleeding nose; and there were no dressers or bureaus or shelves in the room that might have held a key, so Danny left the room and the sniveling Marshall to hunt through the rest of the apartment.

The next nearest room was a lovely eau-de-nil tiled bathroom, and Danny stopped short for a moment when he saw himself in the etched bathroom mirror, his eyes wild and his teeth clenched, his heaving chest gleaming with the cooking oil that dripped from his ears and the ends of his saturated curls in big amber-colored drops, his cock still absurdly hard and bobbing comically in front of him... if he hadn’t been so angry, he might have laughed at the ludicrous sight he presented, but it did have a somewhat sobering effect on his rage to see how silly he looked. His search for the key became a little more systematic, though he still left a hell of a mess behind as he rifled through drawers and upended decorative boxes.

His fury ebbed a little more with each room, moving through the bathroom into a large bedroom furnished in another matched suite of Queen Anne reproductions, then a similarly furnished small study, then the front hall with its adjoining closet and powder room, back into the living room and the dining room, finally passing through a narrrow butler’s pantry into a small, odd-shaped, and immaculately sterile Moderne kitchen.

After rummaging through all of the drawers in the cupboards and peering into the brushed steel canisters along the grey granite countertops, Danny leaned back against the steel sink to catch his breath and try to reassess his situation. It looked pretty hopeless: covered in oil, his shirt and underwear gone, a pair of handcuffs dangling from his arm, stranded naked in a strange apartment with an even stranger man.

"No, I’m not stranded," Danny corrected himself aloud, taking a deep calming breath and heading back out through the butler’s pantry, "I still have my money and my PDA, I can have that concierge call me a cab, I can leave whenever I want. I don’t need a shirt, and I don’t need underwear, and I can get these stupid handcuffs taken off at any leather bar on my way home."

After stopping in the hall closet to retrieve his jacket (coming within inches of the handcuff key he sought, which was attached to Marshall's keyring in the pocket of the brown suede car-coat he'd been wearing), Danny returned to the black-paneled playroom and, ignoring the still-blubbering Marshall, started shoving his still-turgid body into what was left of his clothing; and though he had left a lot of the oil behind as he’d rampaged through the apartment, there was still more than enough of it on his skin to make it difficult to wriggle into his jacket and tight jeans, soaking through the fragile raw silk lining and the thin handsewn denim, and to slosh around in the handmade Italian boots, damaging everything but the jewelry beyond repair.

But his mad-money was still folded in the soles of his boots, oil-drenched but nevertheless legal tender, and his wallet and PDA were still in his jacket pocket... he would never get the price of a new shirt (much less a Cartier watch) out of Marshall now, but the losses didn't appear too great if kept in the proper perspective: they were only clothes, expensive clothes certainly, but at least his health hadn't been compromised.

“Will you please give me the key to these handcuffs?” Danny tried one last time to reason with Marshall before leaving, leaning over him as he lay in the oily playpen with his head lolling backward over the side with the not-very-effective fine-knit silk shorts jammed against his broken nose, which was still trickling blood and starting to turn purple.

"I’b nod gibing you anyding, you slud," Marshall spit at him, his voice vicious despite being clogged with blood, his bloodshot eyes and spattered face managing to hold a supercilious sneer, "you broge by fugging dose, you azzhole."

"Let me get this straight," Danny’s rage mounted again from this insult, and he reached down and grabbed a fistful of Marshall’s fine brown hair, "you tried to drug me and you tried to handcuff me and you tried to fuck me without condoms, all against my express wishes, and I am the asshole?"

"You’re jus’ a cheab fugging slud," Marshall screeched wetly, "a dobody, dothing biece of fug."

"Let me tell you something, Mister Drayton Holyfield Marshall the Third," inspired to even greater heights of fury, Danny pulled the yelping Marshall to his feet by his hair, yanking out a good many follicles in the process, the red tingeing his field of vision again, "I am not nobody, and I am not a nothing piece of fuck. I am Marcus Daniel Vandervere the Fourth, and Vanderveres don’t take shit like this from any cruddy little parvenu Eli dickhead Marshall. You got that, asshole?"

With a solid slap across the face, Danny shoved Marshall away from him and watched with satisfaction as he skidded wildly across the surface of his ridiculous playpen and fetched up in an unflattering position at the other side.

Freshly enraged, Danny stopped on his way out of the apartment and inflicted further damage on Marshall’s already overturned living room in order to work off the anger, pulling the anally alphabetized CDs off of their shelves, spilling three bottles of liquor over the furniture, and scattering several thousand dollars’ worth of cocaine from the cloisonné jar all over the carpet... nothing really damaging, but terribly expensive and inconvenient to put to rights.

Still worked up, but somewhat satisfied with his revenge, Danny slammed out of the apartment and pushed the call button for the elevator.


12,605 Words ~ 25 Pages

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