Martin minimized his screen and looked up sharply at the door.
"Just tuck it back in your pants ‘cuz I’m gonna open up the door now," came back the voice of his sister.
Martin scowled and got up to open the door himself. There was principle involved here. Principle and privacy -- no one should open up his door but him. Plus Martin had an opinion about older sisters which was pretty much summed up in one word, even if it wasn’t a word he’d be likely share with his own sister any time soon. At least out loud.
The boy stepped carefully around the edge of his computer desk and leaned over to get the door, grunting. Sandra slouched in the narrow doorway, arms across her chest. Her eyebrows knitted as she tossed back her long, light brown hair. "You changed stuff around," she observed.
Martin scowled but held back the sneer. "Yeah, well, if certain people weren’t listenin’ through the walls, I wouldn’t have to," he said grumpily. "So, now the bed’s against the outside wall."
"Yeah, and if certain other people gave it a rest now an’ then, I wouldn’t have to pound on the wall to make you quiet down. Some people have to get some sleep, because they work. And listening to you play with your favorite toy doesn’t make for an easy night."
Martin blushed and looked away, missing Sandra’s stifled giggle. She didn’t really mean to torture her younger brother... much. But an opportunity was an opportunity. Besides, she’d reasoned part of the purpose of being the older child was to make life at least a medium hell for the younger. She was positive it was part of her job description.
"Okay, look. Ma called an’ she’s gonna be workin’ a few hours late tonight, but they asked me to do an extra half-shift at the market and I could use the extra hours. Are you gonna be able to get your own dinner?"
Martin nodded, frowning. "Great. Dinner with Pops."
Sandra snorted. "Are you kidding? The Red Sox are on tonight. He’ll be down at the Buffalo, knockin’ back beers all night tellin’ everyone how he played a half-season of minor league down in Rhode Island. Or tryin’ to, anyway -- I don’t think anyone listens to that one anymore. If you want, walk it down to the King for a couple of burgers -- but remember. No fries, no cheese, and no thick shake. And definitely not a Whopper. They’re nothin’ but empty calories and enough grease to lube dad’s Ranger. And don’t even think of that other dump. That secret sauce of theirs is something NASA tried to burry."
Martin scowled again and Sandra’s voice softened. "Listen, Mart. If you want the zits to clear, you’ve gotta stop eating all the crap. The same with that gut of yours. Keep your face out of the Doritos tonight, okay? You’re lookin’ pretty good since you hit that growth spurt -- that couple of inches on your height stretched you out, so don’t munch your way back to a spare tire; you really don’t have to be like dad if you work at it." She ran her fingers through her brother’s hair. "And Kendra showed me some stuff she learned. I can cut this mop of yours so it’ll help that round face of yours and give it some shape. We could even lay in some color."
Martin eyed her suspiciously. "You mean like you did to yours last fall? No thanks. Half the kids call me ‘Torch’ now. I don’t need a platinum blond dye job just to prove it to the rest."
Sandra laughed, remembering the experience... and the ridicule of a dye job gone bad. "I’m not talkin’ anything that drastic... just some streaks, like you’d get from the sun. If you ever went out. I mean, it doesn’t hurt if you can dress up the package a little, Martin."
He gave her a mournful look. "I can’t help what I act like, Sand. It’s just the way I talk, that’s all. And my walk, well... I really try, but -- "
She sighed and dropped onto the edge of the bed with her brother, massaging the back of his neck. "I’m not talkin’ about all that stuff, Mart. Okay, you sort of, well..." She looked for the words.
"Well, yeah. You do. But I know there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it, and that’s got to be tough... I know what the kids are like." And I’ve been just as rotten to kids that are different. "But if you take some control of yourself, you can make the best of the plusses you got. You have a nice face. Not a movie star face, but a nice one. On top of that, you’re damn smart, and you’re not gonna be white trailer trash all your life. All I’m sayin’ is take some pride in yourself and work on it. There’s other kids like you at school, sooner or later you’re bound to meet one -- and he might have an extra push to open the closet a little if what he’s lookin’ at fixes himself up a little. You’re still going to that, uh, kid thing, right? The one the Unitarians run?"
Martin nodded, quietly filling in the blank. The ‘kid thing’ was the ‘gay kid thing’, but there was an unspoken understanding about pinning it down. "They kinda break up over the summer, but they’ll start again in the fall. I still got some contacts."
"Then that’s good. Make some friends first, then maybe you’ll find, uh - " She fished for words.
Martin looked up at her with his gray eyes. "Boyfriend, Sandy. Just like you an’ your girlfriends call ‘em."
She flinched. "Gimme some time, okay? It’s an adjustment. It doesn’t gross me out to think of it but, well - "
He nodded sadly. "I know. It’s weird... like me."
"You are not weird! Just, well..."
She sighed. This never went well. "Yeah, okay, it’s different -- for me to think in those terms, okay? It’s just different thinking of a boy having a boyfriend. I admit it, but I’m trying. And it’s not because I got a problem with you being, uh--"
"Gay. But you’d help things a lot if you stop kickin’ yourself in the ass sometimes -- like now, when I’m trying to help you out."
Martin brooded but gave her a sweet smile. She ruffled his hair again as she stood. "Okay, I got to get to work." She eyed the computer monitor. "If you’re doing what I think you are, just be careful in those chat rooms. You know about all the freaks in there."
Martin rolled his eyes. "Sandy, gimme a break okay? I’ve heard all about that girl last year, the one the cop from Keene tracked to demonstrate. All she ever told him was what town she was from and how old, and one day he showed up at her school an’ had her paged to the office."
Sandy whacked him on the side. "That’s right -- and that’s all she ever thought she told him. But around here, what town your from also says what school. The age says what year. Then she dropped her hair and eye color. And height. Then she mentioned her last class of the day was English, and the name of a club she belonged to. All in about two months - and little by little, the cop knew exactly where to find her until he showed up at her school one day and had her called to the front office and introduced himself… as a girl she’d been chatting with. She thought she was being smart... but with just a little carelessness, the guy learned everything he had to know to track her down."
"Well, don’t worry. I ain’t stupid."
Sandy’s lips twitched. No, but you are lonely... and sometimes, kinda desperate.
There was the blast of a horn out front and she peeked out the window. "That’s my ride. You just use that head of yours... the one on top with the brain. And if you decide to go out, don’t use that tube stuff on your face -- all that crap does is cover ’em, and that just cuts the air off so the pimples get worse. Use those cleaning pads I gave you to dry ’em out." She eyed the tell-tale white specs on his mirror. "And don’t pop the damn things - you’ll get scars. And it’s gross." She raced down the hall and stopped again to yell back. "And Martin? Take whatever it is you got stuffed down the front of your pants and put it in the laundry. No one is gonna buy it."
"Oh, mannn!" Martin turned a bright red, reached down inside his waist band and pulled a pair of white gym socks out of the front of his briefs. Knew a pair was too much. Woulda been okay if I settled for one.
He sniffed them a second, decided they were still good enough for his feet and tossed them back into the top drawer of the small dresser. He flopped back on the un-made futon. He’d gotten his mother to buy it a year ago to replace his bed. It wasn’t all that comfortable to sleep on, but it gave him something to sit on when he watched his own 19" TV set. More and more over the past two years, Martin’s nine-and-a-half-by-ten room had become his own private world. He had a place to sit and sleep; he had a small television to watch; and he had his computer. The computer took care of his music needs, played the digital movies he downloaded (including a private collection of select male porn), and gave him communications to the rest of a very private world he’d created for himself.
He was lonely... he already knew a lot of guys could "pass" in the straight world and keep the crap in their lives to a minimum, but Martin wasn’t one of them. He walked wrong, talked wrong, even moved his hands wrong when he did things. Martin heard the word "fag" early in life, long before he knew what it meant; and when he found out what it meant, mulled it over long enough to figure out it was true.
Early at school it hadn’t made much difference, no one paid much attention. But the older he got it did begin to matter. Some friends chose to drop him. A few parents told others they didn’t want them hanging around with "that kid", and snide comments from teachers weren’t unknown.
All of that, combined with an almost complete lack of interest (and ability) in what were called "boy" things, and Martin found himself alone more than ever. He fell in with the ‘geeks’ in his schools for awhile, but then a lot of the geeks didn’t much want him either. Even a geek liked having someone to look down on, to compensate for and vent their own daily misery. And in the pecking order of most schools, a straight geek was still better than a flaming geek any day.
Martin got up from the futon and clicked the chat window on his screen, even though he hadn’t seen the rapid blinking on the button that indicated a message. Sometimes, Windows skipped a few small details. He sighed, seeing no reply. He wandered down the short hall, past his sister’s equally small room, and came to the ‘living area’ of the family’s mobile home. Or Modular Home, as some of the newer one’s were called. No matter what the name, kids at school had another name for the people who lived in the scattered trailer parks around Salem, New Hampshire-one that almost out-did the fag label. Somehow, Trailer Trash had a nastier ring.
He edged between the small coffee table and the low-end 36" television with its shadowy, greenish picture and shook his head. Martin’s father was determined to get the best buy he could when he’d picked it up... meaning the cheapest. It meant a lot to Bertram Seduko to watch his ball games on the biggest set he could find, not that he paid much attention. Mostly the man would doze off shortly after he finished his six pack. The only time his father moved after that was at eleven o’clock when his mother would try to change the channel. Then he’d jerk up in his ugly plaid recliner and gripe about how he was watching the game, and she’d give up in disgust and walk down the length of the trailer to the master bedroom - a full 12 x 12 area that anchored their home.
Martin opened the refrigerator, eyed the box of Devil Dogs wistfully, and settled for an orange. After that he moved the coffee table and sat down in the middle of the room. Not for the first time he pondered that sometimes living in a twelve-by-sixty world had its disadvantages.
He started doing his sit-ups; Martin was proud that he was up to fifty, and wanted to get to a hundred. It was tough, though. He could only do sit-ups when no one else was around. Martin didn’t want his gut, but wanted his father’s ridicule even less. He’d started doing an exercise regime on a steady basis once school let out that spring. Down deep, Martin agreed with his sister-he stood a better chance of meeting someone if the packaging was a little better. Martin had no illusions about the legendary six-pack abs developing by the time school started in the fall; but twisting around in front of the full length mirror on the back of the bathroom door the night before lead him to at least think his ass was starting to get a little firmer looking. And he knew enough about what attracted gay men to each other from all the stories he read on the net that a bubble but was rated higher than a six-pack ab. The only thing more important was something that had also started to lengthen when Martin hit his growth spurt in the spring. His ruler confirmed what he thought he saw when he found it better to use a full hand rather than just the two and three fingers he’d been using when taking care of his other business every night. It was encouraging. Martin was content in the knowledge he might not only hit average height before long, but he’d stop being a shrimp in other areas, too.
He creaked his way into an extra five sit ups then lay back on the floor, but before rolling over and starting his push-ups, he cranked up the air conditioner. The afternoon sun had worked its way around the small poplar tree that grew next to his family’s mobile unit and the metal was beginning to heat up the interior of the place. There were two cooling units in the trailer, but his parents always locked their bedroom door. But Martin counted his blessing there was at least one. His mother had finally salted away enough money to buy the second large unit at Sears the summer before, and it made a big difference. Now after his private session at lights out, Martin opened the door to his room and set up his fan in the doorway to suck in the cooler air. But other times when people were up he stuck it out in his hotbox-cell with his one small window that only opened half way because it jammed, and his fan set on high to move the sultry summer night air over his body.
Martin increased his fifty push ups by an extra ten, then collapsed on the living room floor for a few minutes, breathing heavy but not gasping for breath like when he’d started with just ten. He glanced around, comfortable in the knowledge he’d be alone for hours, and considered stripping down right there to take care of business, but reminded himself to ‘save it up’.
You got yourself a date, boy-a date and a promise. He grinned. Martin was looking forward to a very hot cyber session that afternoon. He took pride in his ability to type one handed while the other was occupied elsewhere, and he’d developed a singularly perverse set of ideas about sex, thanks to his research reading on the web. Martin knew full well he was considered a room stud in the chat. He’d snuck in enough times under an assumed name to see himself discussed openly -- including by Ryan, his ex. Ryan claimed Martin gave the best net-head on the web.
Yeah, but it ain’t gonna be like you’ll ever get it again, Martin thought.
He scowled at the memory of Ryan. He’d actually known him real-time thanks to the Unitarian youth group at the Christian Formation Center in Andover, just across the state border. Ryan was almost the same age, and they’d been ‘set up’ by a group moderator and everything had been so cool... until the night when the two older boys who drove Martin said they’d take Ryan along with them out for something to eat after, and the boys could either have a real date -- or just some quiet time alone in the car together. They even offered to park on the dark side of the lot.
The fear flashed in Ryan’s dark eyes. "Dude, we can’t. I mean, here it’s okay to get together, and on the net... But if anyone from school saw me with a guy like you, they’d figure me out! I mean, I’d be toast if anyone saw us together!"
That had been tough. But not as tough as the next part, when Ryan grabbed his arm and whispered in Martin’s ear. "But sometime we can get together after school, y’know? I can maybe get a ride down here one day, or take a bus. We can do some stuff together, alone. You know, like we talk about in the chat."
Martin was pretty sure what Ryan meant my ‘stuff’. Martin was good enough for stuff... just not good enough to be seen with.
Martin had leveled his eyes on Ryan for the last time that night. "Ryan? Go fuck yourself, okay? You wanna do ‘stuff’, get a date with your hand."
Martin stood up, rubbed his arms. He marched back to his room, but the chat window was still empty. He decided on a quick shower, shucked his clothes off because it was easier in his room than the narrow cubby hole that enclosed a toilet, sink, and shower. He wondered briefly how his father managed in there, shuddered at the thought of the man naked and squashed into the booth, and indulged in a long, leisurely shower followed by a confident naked strut back to his bedroom. He twitched his naked butt to some music, secure with the certain knowledge that no one else could see him.
Martin was happy. He had himself a solid Promise for the afternoon, so he didn’t bother putting on anything more than a pair of boxers. It may have only been cyber, but cyber was better than solo when he’d thought iy over for awhile. Not as good as having some actual company maybe, but at least you knew someone else was getting a charge. A virtual hand in the bush was still better than just your own.
His buddy BlonBoi should be on soon. They met about the same time each day now, just to talk. And lately Blon had been hinting around... like maybe he was thinking of asking Martin to be his boyfriend. Martin had hopes. He’d rather have someone he could see and touch... but the logistics didn’t work. Maybe, once he got a driver license-when they both got one-they could meet. Until then - the chat had to do. He knew Blon lived in northern Massachusetts, but that was all - just like all Blon knew about Martin was his age and that he lived in southern New Hampshire. They didn’t even give their real names. He didn’t let on to Sandy, but Martin was well aware of the number of pedos who cruised the net, pretending to be in their teens, getting a vicarious thrill talking sex with young boys. One kid - Glenny - told everyone about the ‘kid’ he’d talked to for two years. They arranged to meet and...
Glenn’s boyfriend turned out to be a forty seven year old, over-weight, bald guy who told Glenn tearfully that he loved him so much he had to risk it all to see him just once. Glenny had the sense to meet his ‘boyfriend’ in a public place at mid-day - and when he heard his boyfriend’s story, jumped on his bike and raced fiercely into traffic, running red lights and cutting down side streets to get away. Glenn was lucky; he lived in a big city, and getting away was easy.
Martin was taking no chances. He kept distance with most of the guys in the chat room, watched what they wrote, and how. Some guys just knew too damn much about things in general... like, they’d lived through a lot more things. Some skipped the easy short cuts most took when they chatted and he saw them with suspicion. Others didn’t seem to know anything about things they should. Martin may have missed a few chances, but he’d rather miss out on an opportunity than risk finding himself trapped by a circumstance.
He broke off another segment from the orange he’d rescued from the living room and eased back in his swivel chair. Then the big, toothy smiley popped up in the Yeehah! chat window. The race was on.
Slowly at first, the way Martin liked it. His shoulders caressed, lips brushing his neck. Finger-tips slowly tracing down under his arms, hot breath on his skin. Just the two of them, the keyboard disappearing in their fantasy, words translated into physical actions. Sweating flesh met sweating flesh, every avenue of desire was explored even if it were badly spelled, and each boy found his secret desire fulfilled
Thirty minutes later, Martin pushed back from his desk, picked up his towel and began wiping himself down from his chin to his crotch before pulling his shorts up from his ankles again, then typed rapidly at the keyboard describing the hot white puddles and splashes on his skin. Blon then brought Martin into his final bliss; they curled together on a couch in front of a fire, under a thick, soft quilt on a cold winter night, describing their sharing of warmth and tenderness, drawing Martin’s head to his naked chest and stroking and kissing his hair until Martin drifted off into sleep in his arms. Blon always liked to wrap a session up in as much tenderness as he could, an effort Martin loved. It was the things he yearned for most from someone, things he craved more than anything else... acceptance, tenderness and affection.
BlonBoy_n_NoMa:So you think bout it?
NatureBoi615:I not sure.
Martin drummed his fingers. Blon had asked him twice now; he might not ask again.
BlonBoy_n_NoMa:What I got to prove? I’m real
Martin clacked on the keyboard into the chat window.
NatureBoi615:I don’t do pics.
BlonBoy_n_NoMa:C’mon, I send you some mine. I'm real not some old ped trollin for boy pics.
The boy swallowed hard. Blon was serious about their relationship, after all. Martin had a stash of pics... recent ones. He didn’t want to send anything old and have the guy think he was still a short, lumpy fourteen-year-old-almost fifteen-who got teased by his older sister for being the Zit Prince of Salem High. He’d never lied about his looks to Blon... but he hadn’t been generous with detail, either. And on-line, you didn’t have to worry about anything... unless you gave up a picture. Martin usually refused them when offered and never asked; they were almost always fake, copied from some net site or scanned from a magazine. Of course, some were more obviously faked that others. Some idiot even mailed out pictures of Justin Timberlake and swore they were him.
NatureBoi15:Got to warn you Im kinda fem.
BlonBoy_n_NoMa:lol lol don’t care I think is cute
NatureBoi15:You kinda like me? Fem i mean.
BlonBoy_n_NoMa:Nope but that dont mean nuthin to me. U I like. I will send pics, u send if u want
A pop-up on his screen told Martin that BlonBoy_n_NoMa was sending him a file.
What’s it hurt to look? Martin asked himself. He accepted the file, which turned out to be a small .zip. Martin created a new directory on his desktop, scanned the file, and then opened it with Win-Zip. There were five pictures in it.
Martin looked closely. They looked like they might be legit. They weren’t too posed, and seemed to be the sort of either staged or casual shots people snapped every day. The blond haired boy was dressed differently in them each time, and the hair was always different - definitely a good sign. They could be real. The boy was cute, too. He certainly looked the fifteen he claimed. He had pale blue eyes, Martin saw in one shot that was more-or-less a close-up.
BlonBoy_n_NoMa: So you like? Please ok? We been talkin maybe three months. Got to trust me now. Lol lol you sure sound cute to me!
He clicked the ‘file’ button on the window, browsed into his photo directory. Martin had two recent photos in it, and they were pretty good. He debated which to send, and went for both. The face shot, and a bare-top photo of a slendering-Martin in a bathing suit from the beach, taken by his sister who said he was starting to look a little hot these days. If it was a pedo trolling for pics, this was as good as he was ever going to get from Martin. He made them into a small .zip and relayed it to BlonBoy and waited.
BlonBoy_n_NoMa: WOW! You r soooooo hot!
NatureBoi15:LOL u lie good.
BlonBoy_n_NoMa: No dude you cute, and real. thought U wud send some air brush beach boi ad or sumthin but this is real and u cute!
BlonBoy_n_NoMa: So you gonna do it?
Martin tapped his fingers on the edge of the keyboard. Blon was so cool. He never pushed for the cyber, even at first, but made no pretense he didn’t know Martin’s reputation. At first, Blon turned it down point blank, and Martin knew that was rare. Then Blon accepted, and soon it was their ritual... but it always began tenderly, and ended sweetly. Martin loved it. The screen offered up a new message.
BlonBoy_n_NoMa: U gonna be my boyfriend or what?
Martin made a decision.
NatureBoi15:Yeah I be Yr boyfriend. Lol but yu gotta do sumthin. Now gut to tell real names. Just first, k? Im Martin.
BlonBoy_n_NoMa: YAAAAAAAY UR my guy now martin
BlonBoy_n_NoMa: Cool dude that nice name like you nice.
BlonBoy_n_NoMa: Listen I GTG but gonna send u 1 more pic with sum SKIN showin.
Martin made a face. Oh shit. Here we go -- just like the rest. He began clacking back.
NatureBoi15:Dude this gunna b nuther headless dick shot? No bother, got tun of those.
BlonBoy_n_NoMa: Nah nuthin shit like that. Was just kinda joke shot cuple yrs old. Hehe get to see SUM of my ass. Is far as I go. Friend an me changing
The download window opened again and Martin clicked accept. It was just a single .jpg file this time. He clicked it open and smiled. There were two boys, and Blon was looking over his shoulder and into the camera with a big grin. The picture had been snapped just as he was peeling his pants down and Martin got to see about a quarter of the kid’s butt. Martin smiled, wishing he could see the rest, and hoping that maybe he could... one day. He looked a littler closer at the picture, figured it had to be at least three years old. Blon looked like a little kid. He looked over the other boy too, who was standing in profile in a pair of whitey-tighties. Darker, a little more developed. But something… Martin clicked in the zoom a few more times for a better look. The picture had been scanned well enough so it didn’t pixilate too badly.
"Oh, fuck!" he said with a laugh and went to type a question back on the screen, but it was too late. Blon was gone, but he’d left a message behind:
BlonBoy_n_NoMa: Im Danny, n ur my boyfrend Martin Got to go Martin Sweetie see tonite reg time Byyeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Oh man, I gotta call someone about this," he said with a snigger. He grabbed the phone, thinking of who. He’d love it if he could call Drew, but he was gone. Then he eyed the clock. The only people he could really tell or show were all at work. That was the problem with having guys that were almost adults for friends; they had real lives, and most of that time someone Martin’s age wasn’t part of that life. Still, they were pretty good guys. He’d had a great time with Alan, David and Chris at the Gay Pride parade in Boston the month before.
Martin grinned and figured "What the hell?" and decided to rattle Dave Sciuoto’s cage a little with an email.
Dude what kinda secret life you lead? Found whole set of you and this guy doin it. How much to not tell Alan?"
Martin sent the email on its way then started to slowly click his way through the other photos, found the one he liked best and sized it for a picture. He grabbed a sheet of the pricey photo stock and ran it through. Later on he wanted to clip it down and buy a frame at one of the department stores along Route 28 in Salem, probably when he went down to pick up his dinner. He made a place for it on the shelf right next to his bed, so the last thing he’d see at night would be Danny’s face.
Martin smiled. It was nice to be loved.
* * * * *
Danny Doucette stood in front of the mirror, slowly running his hands over his chest before reaching over and splashing some skin softener into his hands. He’d rubbed in some Nair and gotten rid of the pesky hairs that kept growing in the center of his chest, and then his lower belly too, where a dusky trail kept sprouting. Danny was eighteen, and it was getting harder and harder these days to hide the signs of aging, but so far Danny managed to keep it in check.
He was lucky… he was short and thin by nature and lousy nutrition when he was younger and still developing, and that helped. His face still had a childish look to it, reinforced by the way he kept his hair and how he’d learned to control his facial muscles. Danny practiced at keeping his eyes open wide, like a child, and his features relaxed. That helped a lot. He had to be careful - when a boy got too old, the daddy lost interest. Danny had seen more than one kid replaced over the last few years. Like Kelley… easy going, sweet, dumb Kelley. Kelley told Danny his daddy -- Ted -- would never dump him like the others. Then the next time Ted showed up at Griff’s for one of his parties, Kelley was gone, replaced with a kid from Europe or somewhere who could barely speak English.
"It’s a great market," he remembered hearing Ted tell Griff. "The best buys are in the old Yugoslavia. The Czech’s are pretty good too, but they’re getting pricey. And the papers? Shit, there’s so many out-of-work forgers in Europe since the Communist block fell you can get anything you want. But you have to be more careful now," he added. He poured himself another drink from the martini pitcher. "Thanks to those damn terrorists, they go over the paperwork with a fine tooth comb. But what the hell -- the attorney general’s more interested in checking out I don’t have any porn and as long as the import is white, no bells go off," He chuckled. "Be a different story if I liked the dark meat for chicken."
"Well, I do like it darker, but it ain’t so bad as you think," broke in an elderly man called Sam. "Mexico is still great. Much easier, closer and cheaper. Hell - you don’t even need much for documents. I know a place where you just set up a quick adoption for some quick cash and that satisfies the Mexicans, they figure they got too many kids runnin’ around to begin with. Then I take a private cruise on a sail boat back to the states and it’s all set. Even with our government leaning on the immigration people, it’s still a snap. Pay some wet back a few extra bucks and he’ll run you anywhere. Then I arrange to meet a fishing boat somewhere in the Gulf a few days out, and we just head back to Louisiana or even Alabama. Plenty of money-hungry skippers down that way with the way the economy sucks. We look like day trippers pulling back into the marina, and the kid’s drugged up and sleeping and all anyone thinks is my grandkid fell asleep after a long day," he laughed.
"What about schools and stuff?" Ben asked. Of all the daddies, Ben was the youngest, barely twenty-five. His boy was the fourteen-year-old son of a neighbor who preferred her dates to her child, and had no problem leaving her son with a friendly neighbor who loved kids. Ben was just checking out the parties so far after making the careful initial contacts, before risking bringing his beloved Robert to more fully educate him. Ben liked most of what he saw so far, but it was understood by the group it would be awhile before Robert could be brought. The boy was new -- less than two months with Ben -- and needed time to grow, accept and depend on Ben more fully so the boy would understand what the man was trying to do for him. "Don’t you need paperwork?"
Sam snorted. "What schools? I’m like Griff-nice house out in the country. I keep pairs so they can entertain each other, not get lonely. Besides, I never keep ‘em past fourteen and then I drop ‘em off. What’s another spic on the streets of Boston? Shit, most of ‘em don’t even know what state their in. I even tell ‘em we’re in Canada!" he laughed. Then he eyed Danny. "That one’s getting old, Griff - time to trade down. Hardly worth it, even if he is good when they do a show."
Danny shuddered. He had nightmares of riding in Griff’s car and turning back into his old neighborhood and suddenly finding himself in the middle of Pawtucketville with twenty dollars in his pocket and the clothes on his back. And this time he wouldn’t even have his mother to fall back on -- Danny figured she’d drugged herself to death within a few weeks after Griff paid her for Danny. Hooker-addicts didn’t last long when they got their hands on too much money at once. Especially the one’s who sold off their only assets. His mother found out when Danny was eight she could get more money for him from guys like Griff than she ever could selling her own tired body.
Danny rubbed the cream into his belly, tested for nubs again, then picked up the scissors and started trimming his pubic hair. After that he thinned it out with barber scissors and shaped it up with a razor and followed through with more skin lotion. Griff liked boys, but he liked them to ‘look’ functional… old enough to have pubic hair, at least. Watching Danny perform with a ten or eleven year old was okay, but Griff enjoyed watching Danny come even if they couldn’t. Fortunately most of the Daddies didn’t complain as much as Sam about Danny being too old, since he still looked like he was in his mid-teens and would do the things their own boys couldn’t -- or wouldn’t.
Danny reached down and rubbed his hands up and down his legs, satisfied they were still hairless enough and smooth, but rubbed the inside of his thighs with more skin lotion to keep them ‘baby soft’, like the ads said. Then he gingerly ran his fingers between the cleft of his butt cheeks.
"Shit. Twice this week."
He pulled the electric razor down off the shelf and squatted with one leg up on the toilet and let it buzz its way through to get the worst of it. Then Danny dabbed himself with a medicated shaving cream in a tube and used a disposable razor to clean away the rest of the hairs. It was awkward but necessary, given Griff’s preferences for fondling and probing. And it was all about keeping Griff happy.
Satisfied, Danny took a fast shower to clean the residue off, but dabbed at his crack after with skin softener just in case. He slipped into a pair of shorts and the cheap, colorful canvas shoes Griff liked Danny to wear and an oversized tee shirt and checked the clock in the kitchen when he was done. He had a few hours until Griff returned and he had work to do, but made himself a quick snack -- plain lettuce, no dressings. He needed something in his stomach to keep it from growling even if he had to keep what he ate to a minimum. Danny couldn’t afford to let too much body weight build up since it would make him look older, but he couldn’t let himself get too bony, either. Staying boyish was the most important part of his job. It was made harder to maintain on nights when Griff would bring home a pizza or sub sandwiches. Danny would eat them to keep Griff happy… and then force himself to throw it up after. He couldn’t afford all the calories, and he worried the grease could raise pimples again.
Danny looked at himself in the big mirror in the kitchen, gave his best smile. "Fifteen, sixteen tops. You go, boy."
He went back to his room, moved around the toys he seldom bothered with anymore but kept for props to keep Griff happy… and the other sons amused when the daddy’s got together for a boy party. Even though he knew they were off Danny dropped an old shirt over the lens of the camera hidden next to his bed and put a book against the one concealed in the case next to his closet. He seldom bothered with the overhead lens above the bed anymore, since he knew it could only be angled straight down. Even if Griff left it monitoring, that one wouldn’t do him much good unless Danny decided to masturbate, something he did every night so Griff could watch if he wanted to. Mostly Griff only turned them on when other boys came over.
Danny flipped on the computer Griff built for him and checked his various mail accounts, one for each name he used on line. He picked up his clip board and made some notes - it listed his various chat room names and the names of kids he had marked as ‘possibles’; lonely kids who were gay or gay-curious he met on-line. There were many lonely ones, but Danny wanted the ones who fit a profile for what he wanted; and usually that meant not too bright, lonely, and a little desperate.
Danny pieced together information from what they let loose in the chat room, focusing on age and geography. He wanted fifteen or under because they were the easiest to con; and the more isolated they were, the more vulnerable they were likely to be. He’d brought five to Griff like this over the last few years… lonely kids seduced by their fifteen-year-old lover who was bold enough to swipe his father’s car and meet them, who took them to places and spent money on them. Danny was the on-line boyfriend who suddenly became flesh, and ultimately helped them to indulge their fantasies. Lonesome boys with indifferent parents who didn’t notice their kid would be missing for a full day were plentiful. Danny charmed them all over again when they finally met, kissing them but refusing more because he’d tell the other boys that when they finally did more, he wanted it to be because it was love and not just sex.
Danny smiled, thinking of how they always let down their guards once Danny refused to lead with the sex card. It usually clinched them. And after a few meetings when they relaxed more around him, Danny would bring them back to Griff’s house. He knew all too well how to turn on the cameras.
Besides, it wasn’t like Danny got much pleasure from the sex anyway. Sex was just a part of his life, something he did like bathe or watch television. He did take a thrill the way these boys looked up to him, surrendered themselves to him. But the biggest rush was later when he’d show them the videos he made, watch the horror on their faces when Danny played them back and said he’d show everyone what they did. Usually they blubbered and cursed him, and that was something Danny found he liked. But occasionally it was even better because they’d try to fight back. Like Randal fought back.
"What about you?" the dark-haired boy sneered. "You’re doin’ the same stuff as me."
Danny laughed. "You think I care if anyone knows I like it up the ass like you do? You fuckin’ dummy. I’ll make stills of these and print ‘em up an’ pass ‘em out at your school. It don’t even have to be a lot of ‘em -- I hand out five copies of shots with you takin’ a load in the face, how long’re you gonna last at school? Or with your parents? What’re the Bible-thumpin’ jerk-offs gonna think of their boy when they hear his voice beggin’ me to put it up his ass?"
After that, it was easy. For almost a year, it gave Danny a perverse pleasure to watch Randal on all fours, taking it from Griff, his eyes focused on Danny with unrelenting hatred -- and too scared of his born-again Christian parents to tell them what was happening. The early, secret session Danny taped had sound, Randal begging Danny to do things to him, to let him do things to Danny. Randal couldn’t even pretend he’d been forced. Randal was one of the very few boys Danny looked forward to using for sex.
But Danny was smart not to push it too far, and two months ago told Randal it was all over. Griff didn’t like it but they both knew as the boy got older he might be more prone to fight them or go for help if they pushed too far. At age fifteen, Randal left all smiles one afternoon with nothing more than a warning to keep his mouth shut when he was dropped off.
Silently, Randal swore he’d cut it off before anyone ever did things like that to him again. To him, the year spent with Griff and Danny was obviously God’s punishment for desiring the perversions that haunted his mind. Danny neither knew or cared the boy continued praying for God to take his life each night so he’d never be tempted again.
Griff was pleased because Danny took all the chances and he got diversity. Griff gave up the piano lessons, although he missed the seductions. He’d been surprised when he came home the first time and found the first boy waiting, unhappy but compliant.
Danny was resourceful, gotten a driver license on his own using the paperwork he’d decided to take from his mother’s his last day. It was his old Child Welfare file, complete with his birth records and a social security card, all he’d need for documentation to make his way. It hadn’t taken Danny long to find someone to teach him to drive using the net, a certified Driver Education instructor with his own school willing to help Danny -- in exchange for a little private servicing.
It was simple after that; forging his mother’s signature on a permission slip, bring the teacher along for his test, and then watching the mail for the follow-ups from the Registry of Motor Vehicles until his license arrived. Griff’s old Ford Taurus gave him the transportation he needed. And after deliberately getting himself stopped by the local police so they’d recognize the ‘kid’ driving and see all his papers in order including a license, they left him alone. He took the chance that in larger cities and towns, no one would pay attention. It wouldn’t do suddenly having to produce a license when he had a date in the car if they got pulled over.
Like Danny, Griff didn’t care whether or not the kids liked what was done to them... just that the boys were young enough so he enjoyed. Still, it wasn’t too safe to force things too much, so Danny limited the number of sessions with each target and spaced them out carefully. No more than once a month -- which was okay, since right now that meant one a week. Corey was thirteen and convinced he and Danny were in love. Sean was fifteen and just wanted the sex. Both put up with Griff because they had to.
But Danny needed replacements. There was a hole in the schedule still where Randal used to be, and one of the other kids liked the sessions too much and never needed any prodding to get together with Danny and Griff. Danny had to be careful -- Stevie was fourteen and could easily wind up being Danny’s replacement if he wasn’t careful. Not as a live-in the way Danny was, but often enough to keep Griff interested. Stevie was always asking to look at the photos of him and Griff together. The boy was always e-mailing Danny for another session.
"You gotta go," Danny said wistfully, drawing a heavy red line around the name. Life was hard enough without inviting disaster.
He went down the list, crossed out a name; the kid not only lived in Fall River but let it drop his father was a cop. Danny brought up the e-mail account he used for him and blocked the name -- the only name on the list; from now on the mail would go back, and he’d get the message sooner or later.
Shit, gonna have to come up with a new ID, he thought. He’d have to go through the list of names he’d used in the last two years and make sure he didn’t accidentally recycle one someone might recognize. The names couldn’t even be close -- Danny spotted more than one of his exes on line because the name was a variation of something they’d used before. Not every candidate was a sure thing, and once Danny found out there was going to be a problem, he dumped their relationship and never contacted them again.
Danny looked at another name but decided that one was too close -- only the next town over. He might recognize the house one day, and Danny went to pains to keep the address secret. He told the boys he had to be careful they weren’t spotted. Danny always switched the plates on the car before leaving the house, and when he picked his target up he made them lay down in the back seat of the car, drive the most round-about way he could and never let them sit up until the car was in the garage. They were young, horny and in love-and easily conned into believing almost anything.
The return leg was the same. Most of them accepted the precaution since they understood how cautious they had to be to prevent discovery. Fear of discovery was an important factor in the game Danny and Griff played. If Danny found the rare boy who said he was out to his family, he dropped him.
He smiled at one name. Martin… lonely, left to himself, and even better, he admitted that he had few friends because he was effeminate. Perfect -- the kid couldn’t even ‘pass’ as straight, which made him even more isolated. Plus he made it clear his parents weren’t around much and they didn’t seem to care where or how he spent his time. Summer days he could be available enough any time-and once school started again a Saturday missing wouldn’t be a matter of much interest. Danny could tell the kid didn’t live too far from his cable connection; his IP address showed he wasn’t lying when he said he lived in southern New Hampshire. Danny knew that limited him to either Derry, Wyndham or Salem, the only towns with that level of internet service and all close enough to drive. Martin was smarter than he liked… but from their conversations backed up by their cyber sessions also desperately lonely, and that worked in Danny’s favor.
Danny printed out the pictures of Martin and studies the face. Not the cutest thing in the world, he mused. But that baby face of yours’ll keep Griff in boners for a month.
He’d bring the kid along, be his companion on line, his lifeline, his lover. Danny would slowly make the boy want to meet with him -- not for sex, nothing too blatant at first.
They’d date; go to Canobie Lake Park for rides, go to the game arcades in and around the area, maybe even go to the beach for a day trip. If they saw kids Martin knew, he’d protect the boy if they tried to make trouble. Slowly, he’d show him how much he loved and wanted to be with Martin. And going out appealed to Danny -- he and Griff had to be careful about who saw them together. Danny hadn’t been inside a school since Griff sold his house in Haverhill after Anna was gone, and Griff completed the deal with Danny’s mother.
They lived in a rural town now, hugging the border on a large lot set well back from the road, behind a stand of trees. The house was hardly grand but it was private, no intrusive neighbors and that had been important when Danny was younger. He’d left the house alone rarely, but every weekend Griff took Danny on trips into Boston to have fun, where they didn’t know anyone. And they visited some of Griff’s friends, and Danny would hang for the day with their sons. He was well cared for… they went to a doctor in Manchester, a dentist in Cambridge, and another friend took care of cutting Danny’s hair.
They were all part of Griff’s network of connections. Some of them they partied with, some they just did business with, an exchange of favors for men sharing a common connection… men who loved boys, but because of what they felt to be foolish and cruel laws had to be careful and took care of special needs for service. So many misunderstood their love, and how the boys really and truly craved it.
Danny didn’t crave anything except that his life was easier than it used to be and that’s what Danny wanted. Putting out for Griff a few times a week and maybe a few of his close friends and their boys was a lot easier to deal with than some of the lunatics his mother brought home to him. Sometimes Griff liked his action rough but at least he never left bruises the way others did.
Well, Martin would find love with Danny. If things went the way he expected after a few meetings, Danny would confess his love for the lonely boy, tell Martin he wanted his own first time -- Danny always claimed to be inexperienced except in cyber - to be with someone he loved…
And then spring the trap. Pictures that could find their way around school. Pictures doctored so Danny’s face wouldn’t show but Martin’s would. The software was easy and cheap.
A thought flashed through Danny’s mind and he smiled suddenly. Maybe it’ll be like Randal and Martin’ll hate me after, but be too scared to say no and risk bein’ exposed.
Danny felt the instant throbbing between his legs at the thought and eyed the bed. Why not? If Griff’s got the camera goin’, he’ll see a damn big wad.
He kicked his shorts off and lay back on the bed, closing his eyes and smiled again seeing a scared, angry Martin being taken by Griff while Danny got to watch.
Oh yeah… oh yeah that’s the hottest thing there is…