Michael Arram







  Oskar wasted no time putting his plan in motion.


  Falkefilm had offices and studios on the Rodolferplaz, the top floors of a big, art deco building on a corner the great square’s east side.  It was a prime site, good evidence to Will even in his state of abstraction that Hendrik Wilemmin had rather more business interests than just Falkefilm.  The ground floor of Rodolferplaz 12 was organised round a superb pasacz, or arcade, of smart shops and cafés, the Leuwen Pasacz.  Huge stone art-deco lions guarded the entrance, along with bored-looking security guards.


  ‘There’s a problem with shoplifters?’ Will asked.


  ‘Yes, and Romanian beggars.  Also, we occasionally get foreign gay men obsessed with Falkefilm boys.  Despite Hendrik’s precautions, they track down his offices and camp in the pasacz cafés, accosting the new models and frightening them.  Hendrik has ways of moving them on.  The security guards tip him off when they turn up.’


  ‘You’re kidding?’


  ‘I’m afraid not.  Sexuality does some weird things to people.  Then there are the persistent Rothenian boys who desperately want to be taken on.  The unsuitable ones don’t always take no for an answer; you’d be surprised.  Here we are.’


  Oskar led Will to a big glazed door giving access to a lift, next to which was embossed a column of business plaques.  Floor 4 was announced to be the offices of Wilemmin IC Inc, with a list of subsidiaries, including the prominent sign ‘Falkemodel’.  A handwritten card taped next to it said blandly ‘Casting Agenciaj’.


  When they stepped out of the lift, Oskar cheerfully greeted the attractive receptionist, with whom he was clearly a favourite.  Framed and tasteful photos of Falkefilm boy models covered one wall.  There was a particularly fine one of Oskar smiling enigmatically in soft focus.


  Everything in the reception area was deliberately plush.  A couple of local boys were already sitting nervously in the leather armchairs, as impressed by the ambience as they were meant to be.  Will too was nervous, although not for that reason.  Studying the boys, who he decided were about eighteen, he saw they were well muscled and good-looking enough, although their eyes seemed a bit lacking in brightness.  Drugs or simply brainlessness? he wondered.


  Oskar appraised them openly.  He whispered into Will’s ear that sometimes twenty were auditioned there in a week.  ‘It’s almost chic for a good-looking boy in Strelzen to get a shoot at Falkemodel.  News gets round.  A surprising number of uninhibited gay and straight boys will do it just for the thrill.  Only a small percentage get taken on for the filming.  Hendrik sees almost all of them, so you’re not receiving any special treatment.  He has a remarkable instinct for the sort of boy who’s got it and will lay it out.’


  Oskar in turn was being eyed up by the new hopefuls, whom he disdainfully ignored.


  Will stood staring out through the big windows down on to the Rodolferplaz.  Immediately opposite was the enormous central fountain erected by King Ferdinand, a gift from his Italian relatives in Modena.  Water spouted and tumbled from a mass of involved Classical sculpture.  He could hear its splashing even through the double glazing.


  The cross streets of the busy square were full of trams and cars.  Rothenian workers were beginning to go out for lunch.  Foreign tourists swarmed the pavements and wandered the open central areas, guidebooks in hand.  It was all so normal, while the thing he was about to do was so very abnormal.


  The phone burred, and the receptionist nodded at Will.  ‘Mr Wilemmin will see you now, Mr. Vincent.’  He was directed along a carpeted corridor to the corner room of the fourth floor.


  He knocked at the door, then entered without waiting to be asked.  Hendrik was already on his feet, his back to the big windows that would have shown an excellent view down onto the square and the cross street, had not the vertical blinds been drawn.  Will shook the proferred hand and sank into the offered seat.  Looking him over in a frankly appraising way, Hendrik lit a cigarette.  He did not offer one to Will.


  ‘I imagine Oskar has told you what I have planned.’  He talked in his American-accented English.  Will nodded.  ‘I don’t suppose you have any experience in this sort of business?’  Will shook his head, words difficult to get out.  ‘I thought not.  But we don’t expect too much acting talent from our boys.’  Hendrik moved around his desk.  ‘To me you look a natural.  Don’t ask me how I know, but you have a camera face.  Now I need to see your body.’


  Will gulped but was ready for the request.  He stripped naked, staying in his seat.  He had worn cargo pants and a tee-shirt.  He had trainers but no socks, and Oskar had told him to forget about underpants.


  Hendrik looked down at him coolly.  ‘Get yourself erect.’


  Will obediently wanked himself till he obtained a partial response.  He jumped when Hendrik moved over, leaned down, manhandled his balls, gripped his penis and manipulated it fully erect.  He took his time about it, leaving Will gasping.  Then he moved back, looked at the result and smiled in a surprisingly kind way.  ‘You’ll do, kid.  I think you’ll do good.  I would even go so far as to say you are hot.  Get yourself dressed.’


  Will hastened to obey.  As he was lacing his trainers up, Hendrik sat back on the desk and said, ‘You’re not American unfortunately.  We could dub your voice, though I’d rather not, it never looks or sounds right and it is expensive.  Can you do the accent?’


  Will knew he could do something that closely resembled a New England seaboard twang, as he had shared a flat with a Bostonian year-abroad student in his second year at Cranwell.  He demonstrated.


  Hendrik laughed.  ‘That’s really good, Jason!’




  ‘You’re Jason Williams, Falkefilm’s latest signing and bottom boy, and the first Westerner on our books.  You’ll generate a lot of interest.  Welcome to the Falkefilm family.’


  ‘Er, thanks.’


  ‘You sign an exclusive contract with me.  I guarantee you at least two shoots and a modelling session.  Normally there would be coaching sessions and tryouts, but we’re in a hurry and you have after all been sleeping with Oskar, who is a master in the art of public gay sex.  Most of our boys have very little experience when they come to us, you may be surprised to hear, but we will take a chance with you.  So most of those preliminaries we will pass.


  ‘Oskar will have mentioned the money.  We pay cash on the nail.  The modelling session for the website happens today.  You know I have a project in mind that I want you to star in with Oskar, but that doesn’t happen till after your audition shoot, which you’ll do tomorrow.  I want the audition in the can to add as an extra to the American in Strelzen disk.  Also it will go out on Rothenian Boys 11.  You’ll receive a lot of exposure.’


  Great, thought Will, exactly what I want.


  He took the pen and signed his name on the dotted line, resisting the temptation to write ‘Jason Williams’.


  Having laid what he feared might well be his professional life on that line, he stood and shook Hendrik’s hand in the formal Rothenian way.  Stumbling back down the corridor to the reception area, he slumped next to Oskar, hissing, ‘He wanked my dick!’


  Oskar looked surprised.  ‘He doesn’t usually.  He must like you.’


  ‘Huh!’ Will sniffed, then added pathetically, ‘I’m glad you’re here.’  He didn’t see the ready tears start in Oskar’s eyes.  ‘What now?’


  ‘We go out and have a sandwich, until Bolslaw is in the studio.  He’s the best of the stills photographers.  I’ll come in with you, don’t worry.’


  They went back down to the Leuwen Pasacz.  At the far end where it opened on to a narrow back street they found a dark café-bar.  ‘This is where Falkefilm guys usually go.  It’s not as expensive as the tourist places nearer the square.’


  Will believed him.  The décor, the small huddled groups of local people and the untranslated menu would be off-putting to Westerners.


  They were in the café for an hour, taking their time over a coffee and baguette.  Will’s nerves were growing rather than otherwise, despite Oskar’s attempts to distract him with stories about Bolslaw and modelling.


  When they returned to the fourth floor, only one of the two tryout boys was left.  The other must have been turned down.  The survivor introduced himself as Fridric, a physical-training student from Zenden.  After the obligatory handshake, Will chatted nicely with him, finding him an open and friendly kid, although no big shakes intellectually.


  Fridric was still puzzling about what part of Rothenia Will’s accent betrayed when Bolslaw, a bald fat man in a tight tee-shirt, arrived heaving a big aluminium camera box.  He led the way through a side door and up some stairs to a bright loft space above the square, with tall studio windows.  The shooting area was heavily curtained and hung with a variety of fabrics.  Camera gear and lights were everywhere.  A space had been cleared in front of a white screen, the floor spread with rich fabrics and mats.  Oskar caught his eyes, and Will took centre stage.


  Bolslaw spent a while looking him over and turning him from side to side.  Then he took up a camera and told Will to lose the trainers.  He took a lot of shots of Will standing, squatting, sitting, kneeling, and cross-legged, saying things like ‘Cheeky grin!’, ‘Shy smile!’, ‘Pout!’, ‘Seductive!’, ‘Romantic now!’.  Will did his best, finding ‘Seductive’ the hardest.  The expression on Oskar’s face made him laugh out loud.  Bolslaw swore.  Will apologised, then tried to use his eyes to invite Oskar to have sex with him.


  ‘Fantastic!’ shouted Bolslaw.  ‘I’ve just come in my pants!’


  Will went through the same expressions with gradually less and less clothes.  Soon he was naked.  He didn’t have time to feel embarrassed, even when Fridric came in and started posing for another cameraman opposite.  He found an erection no problem with Oskar standing behind Bolslaw.  As the poses became more erotic and explicit, he had to expose his anus, pulling back his own cheeks, even inserting a finger.  Surprisingly, he did it without a second thought.  What sort of man am I become? he asked himself.


  ‘Okay,’ said Bolslaw, ‘kneel down and do the cum shot.’




  ‘Bring yourself off,’


  Will hit the buffer.  ‘I … I can’t, not just like that, not here.’  He was distraught.


  Oskar noticed and whispered in Bolslaw’s ear.  The photographer grumbled and grunted.  Oskar swarmed out of his own clothes and placed himself in the posing area.  With Oskar there naked beside him, Will felt an internal barrier crash down, exposing a whole new dimension to his character.  He could do public sex if it was with this man.


  Oskar started orchestrating Will very professionally in a number of joint erotic poses.  They smiled shyly at each other and Will began to enjoy himself.


  ‘Oh my God!’ shouted Bolslaw over the snap and whirr of his camera.  ‘This is the best!’


  They stood facing the camera with Oskar holding their erect penises.  He leaned in to kiss Will, and soon the kiss became abandon.  They lost the sound of everything around them.  When they surfaced, all they saw was astonished faces staring at them.  ‘Man!’ exclaimed a naked and erect Fridric, ‘do I want a piece of that!’


  Oskar smiled in Will’s face.  ‘Okay,’ he whispered, ‘the cum shot.’


  Will knelt down, faced Bolslaw’s camera, and easily obliged with six copious jets up onto his chest.  He forgot it was being recorded.


  As he was dressing, Bolslaw ruffled his dark head, and kissed it.  ‘Boy, you’ve really got it.  Want to see the previews?’


  They went over to the computer desk and waited for the downloads.  Oskar stood behind Will, gripping his shoulder hard as shot after shot appeared.


  A darkly handsome and erotic boy, who was surely not he, was shyly but shamelessly making love to the camera.  But it was Will, solidly muscled and toned, posing with another such man who was Oskar.  Their kissing was distilled passion.  The looks they gave each other were an incitement to riot.  The best shot, Will thought, was the one where he simply sat alone, naked and erect on a rug, his legs in front of him crossed at the ankles, laughing at an invisible Oskar behind the camera.  Innocence, love and shamelessness met in one beautiful body.


  ‘Christ, the boss has to see these; the camera loves you, kid,’ Bolslaw muttered.  ‘Pity about your skin tone.  But a bit of screening will help.  Go get some sun.’




* * *




  ‘So Jason,’ said Oskar with a quirky grin, ‘welcome to the Falkefilm family.’


  ‘Dinner is on you, Marc you bastard, for getting me into this.’


  Oskar looked serious.  ‘My Will, I’ve not forgotten your sacrifice, yet I do recognise in you what is in me.  You too have the recklessness and shamelessness.  You got a buzz from it, I think, the same way I have to admit that I do.  I am a born whore, and there is a whore in you too.  You liked what we were doing.  It is what attracted me to you when I first saw you.’


  ‘You’re telling me it was obvious in the dark, under the tree in Lindenstrasse?’


  Oskar looked briefly confused.  ‘No, I mean in my hall, when you fainted.’


  ‘I faint wantonly?’


  ‘You know what I mean.’


  ‘Er, yes, I guess.’  Will shrugged.


  They left the lift and exited Rodolferplaz 12 by way of the pasacz.  Will insisted on getting a tram to Bila Palaz and returning to the library.  He had not forgotten their commission for Matt despite the distracting things happening elsewhere.


  In the evening, they sat in the apartment, trying to calm Will’s nerves.  But they would not be pacified.  He got up and paced the living room, Marietta following him sympathetically with her eyes.  In the end he sat on Oskar’s knee and put his arm round his lover’s shoulder.  ‘So tell me – I think I have a right to ask – what was your first time like in front of the cameras?’


  Oskar gave a lopsided smile.  ‘I was as nervous as you, more so maybe, as I had little idea what was coming.  Hendrik has this system that takes you through stages to break down your inhibitions, gay or not.  First he makes you to undress for the still shots.  It gets you used to being naked in front of other men.  The second session is private tutoring with older models, who open up your ass and coach you in oral sex.  At the end of that session, they bring in the camera for you to strip in front of, and then masturbate for, and the older guy comes in and helps you jerk off.  You watch yourself on a video screen.  It was … weird.’


  ‘And how did you feel when you did the big shoot?’


  Oskar’s face went dead.  ‘Odd.  I was nineteen and had slept with quite a few men by then.  It had been easy for me to pick up other boys.  Some of the soldiers from the barracks weren’t even gay, I think, they just wanted something pretty in their beds.  And I liked that sort of sex, even if it was a bit amateur and always from behind.  But sex with Falkefilm men was different.


 ‘You can’t do those nice, gentle things you enjoy with lovers you have chosen: stroking buttocks, hugging and kissing.  It’s all heavy sucking and athletic fucking, posed so the camera can see what’s going on.  As you get trained out of the spontaneity and gentleness; you lose the ability to be truly intimate with and excited about another man.  It all becomes a pose, even the sounds of passion.’


  Oskar looked troubled at Will.  ‘I hope you keep your honesty and sweetness, my Will.  It’s what I’ve loved about having you in my bed.  You make me a boy again, even if there’s no difference in age between us.’




* * *




  Thursday was another day of nerves.  Will’s appointment at Falkefilm was for midafternoon, which gave his jitters plenty of time to develop.  At this session there would be no Oskar to hold his hand, or whatever else needed holding.  But Oskar offered him a lot of advice.


  He said hello to the same lady receptionist, who gave him a bright smile.  It was the Oskar connection, he guessed.  After ten minutes, a cameraman he did not know came in and introduced himself, then explained what the audition involved.  He complimented Will on his Rothenian, and also on the shots of the previous day’s session.


  He led Will up some other stairs and into a suite of furnished rooms.  The lights and cameras were set up in one with a big sofa, and cushions scattered over the boarded floor.  Will took a seat and waited.  His nerves were rising and his stomach was knotted.  An assistant, a young barefoot guy in cargo shorts, was setting up.


  Two men entered.  Will recognised Felip.  So it was to be with Max Wolf, one of Falkefilm’s finest. Will had watched him perform on DVDs and had been awestruck at his looks and stamina.  Now they were to perform together.  Will was on the verge of feeling complimented until he thought he caught a certain resentment in Felip’s pose that caused him to lose the buzz.


  The director had them sit side by side on the sofa and began giving his ideas as to the sequence.  Dialogue was up to them, though it would have to be in English.


  First Jason needed to introduce himself.  Oskar had warned him about this, so they had amused themselves by devising a pseudo-biography for Jason, not all of which Will would have the nerve to use.  By chance he had brought with him a hoodie from Tufts that he was going to use, along with a Red Sox cap.  They were told to get barefoot.  The camera lights came on, the board clicked, and the director said in Rothenian-accented English, ‘So Jason, tell us something about yourself.’


  ‘Hi!’ Will gushed in his best Bostonian, remembering not to look directly at the camera but at the director to one side.  ‘My name’s Jason Williams and I’m from the great city of Boston in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  I was born in Lexington and I’m a junior at Tufts majoring in English Lit.  I like reading James Joyce and Henry James.’


  ‘And how do you like Rothenia, Jason?’


  ‘I love it.  My grandmother was Rothenian, so it’s like coming home.’


  ‘And what do you do for fun, Jason?’


  ‘Well, there’s sex …,’ dutiful laughter from the crew, ‘but my game is baseball …’ he punched his fist in the air, ‘… go Sox!  Fenway forever!’  He ended with a relaxed drawling laugh.  It didn’t matter that he was over the top.  No one out there would believe the details in any case.  They just had to accept he was American.


  ‘And what do you think of our Rothenian boys, Jason?’


  ‘A nation of babes.  I can’t believe it.  The butts are to die for.  I wish they all could be Rothenian babes, man.  You just walk down the road, stare and come.’


  ‘And do you have a Rothenian boyfriend, Jason?’


  ‘Yeah.  He’s called Marc and he’s just … the other side of glorious.  Up for anything, so cool, so hot at the same time.  I get a hardon just talking about him.’  Will caught a raised eyebrow and a troubled glance from his co-star at the other end of the sofa.


  ‘That’s great, and you’ve met Max today, yes?’


  The camera moved back to show a grinning Felip.  ‘Hey, Max!  How’s it hangin’?’


  At that point Will saw what Oskar meant about Felip’s woodenness.  His face froze as he struggled for a response.


  ‘Cut!’  ‘Again!’


  ‘Hey Max!  How’s it hangin’?’


  ‘Hanging … er, fine, Jason.’


  ‘Cool, buddy.’  No response.  Oh come on, thought Will, this is stupid.


  The teacher in him took over.  ‘The guys here said you’ll be showing this New England boy something real new, Max.’


  ‘Er, that is the idea,’


  ‘Well, I’m always up for a New Frontier, dude.  Whatcha want me to do?’  The crew leader was looking gratefully at Will by now.


  ‘Let’s get a bit more relaxed, then,’ said Felip, taking off Will’s cap and pulling the Tufts sweatshirt and tee-shirt off in one go.  He pinched a nipple hard as Will assumed his trademark coyness.  ‘Hey, that fucking hurt!’


  ‘Hold it!  Let Max lead, Jason.  He’s the guy in charge.’  Will resumed his clothes and the scene replayed.  The pinch was just as hard, but he ignored it, just shifting in his seat.  When Felip moved down and sucked the other nipple, giving him a little nip with his teeth, Will responded with the necessary groan.  Felip moved back up and did the porno kissing thing, for which Will was ready, having practised with a world expert.


  ‘Put out your tongue,’ Felip said.  ‘I want to suck it.’


  Will did.  Felip was good, there was no doubt about it.  But he was putting out some odd signals.  A fixed salacious grin had now occupied Will’s face, which in the circumstances was the best he could manage.  He felt no passion for this man, beautiful though he was.  Their clothes came off, and Felip used a slick black dildo to open him up for the camera, which focussed in on his preoccupied expression and on the open hole between his legs that was the end result.  If I can do this, Will decided, then there is nothing I can’t do.


  The set moved onward, foreplay to oral to anal to climax, in the usual Falkefilm sequence.  Will knew what to do.  Oskar had coached him in resisting ejaculation during the long oral shots.  He had found out another reason why porn actors kept slapping each other’s butt; it distracted you from going over the top.  He found himself doing it to his partner almost automatically when he had Felip in his mouth.


  Felip was good, there was no doubt.  He led and controlled Will well.  Although there were not many laugh-out-loud moments, Will did his best to inject some humour and verbal foreplay into the situation.  He could tell he was fast becoming the crew chief’s favourite model.  Felip was the big mystery.  Will could almost have sworn Felip was getting very much into the spirit at times, yet at other times he was distant and professional.


  There were some unexpected moments.  He was supposed to lick Felip’s armpits, for which he had to steel himself.  When he did it, he was suddenly struck by a trace of a familiar odour under the heavy scent of body shampoo.  He just could not work out what it was.


  It was as Felip was finishing off and jackrabbiting him hard at the director’s urging – causing him real pain but exciting the director with the noises he was making – that Felip sucked a love bite on his neck.  Will threw him off.  ‘You fuck!  Why did you do that?’


  Felip looked helplessly at the director.  ‘Calm down Jason, it happens when boys get carried away.’


  ‘He had no business being carried away.  He put a mark on me.  I’m out of here!’


  He stood up and went for his clothes.  ‘Look, Jason, we’ll halt it there for the fucking scenes; we can edit it.  Just go back and jerk off with Max.’


  ‘Fine.  But I do me, and he does himself.  I don’t want his hand on my dick.’


  ‘Okay.  Fine.’


  They took their places back on the sofa.  As the cameramen were adjusting their angles, Max surprised him again by leaning in and saying quietly, ‘I’m sorry, Will.  I had no business doing that … I just couldn’t stop myself.  I really am sorry.’


  ‘Okay then,’ Will replied, softening slightly.  They sat side by side, wanking to ejaculation, giving each other grins a little less wooden than before.  Once it was over, Will wiped up and collected his clothes silently.  He said goodbye nicely to the crew.


  He looked at Felip, half-inclined to ignore him, but finally saw the sadness and – yes – heartbreak in Felip’s face.  He had loved Oskar, so much was clear, and he had lost him to Will.  Will surprised himself then by leaning in and kissing the man lightly on the lips.  Felip was just as astonished, but looked momentarily grateful.


  Will was glad it was over. At least the next time would be with Oskar.  He went into the showers that Falkefilm considerately provided for its employees.


  But it was not over.  As he was going down the stairs to the fourth floor, steps pursued him, and a fully-dressed Felip caught his shoulder.  Will stopped and looked back at the handsome and troubled face gazing into his.


  ‘You really should not be doing this, Englishman.’


  ‘So you don’t think I can cut it?’


  ‘That’s not what I meant.  This is not your world, and you will get hurt.’


  ‘You don’t fool me, Felip.  This is all about you and Oskar, isn’t it?’


  ‘Perhaps,’ the boy agreed after a pause, ‘but it’s also about you.  You have no idea what you are letting yourself in for, no idea at all.’  He released Will and returned upstairs.


  Will exited the pasacz on to the Rodolferplaz.  Pulling out his mobile he spoke into it at length while making his way towards Lindenstrasse.  Finished, he flipped the lid closed with a preoccupied look on his face.