We continue with more stories from my collection 24 Exposures, which was written around the turn of the century.
“Oh, so you’re married?” Kathy looked at the paperwork on the clipboard. “How long?”
“Uh… five years,” Myron said, trying not to let his voice shake.
“No. I mean, not yet.”
“Let me get the insurance papers for your wife, then.”
“I don’t need those. I mean, she has her own insurance and everything, so…”
“Ah. Then you’ll have to sign the waiver.” Kathy fished a form from a rack on her desk. “Are you covered under your wife’s policy?”
“What’s her name?”
Myron stammered for an instant. He hadn’t thought about this part yet. “Uh — Myra,” he said.
“Oh, what a pretty name,” Kathy replied. “Is that why you go by Ron?”
“Got it. I know this couple, the husband and wife are both named Kim. Now that must get confusing. Let me just go make a copy of your ID, and then we’ll introduce you around.”
She took his passport and I-9 form and walked out of the office. Myron sat there, twiddling his fingers, looking at the walls. It was a nice office, a little ritzier than his last place. They sold real estate and, according to one of his friends, the support staff was ninety-nine percent gay. He’d munged his resumé a little bit and landed a job in accounting. He could have gone for middle management, but that would have complicated things. This way, no one worked for him, so everyone was fair game. Besides, if things worked out right, he’d be the harassee, and he wasn’t going to complain.
Someone pushed a cart up outside the door, stopped, came in with the mail. Myron looked up, then had to look away. This boy was too painfully gorgeous. He was probably twenty-two at the oldest, tall, ruggedly cute. He put the mail in Kathy’s in-box, glancing toward Myron briefly.
“Hi,” he muttered, then walked out. There was a bit of a mid-western twang in that word. Myron let himself sneak a peak at the kid’s back as he walked out. Broad shoulders, probably a swimmer’s build that was barely hidden by his blue jeans and white, long-sleeved dress shirt. And out of the corner of his eye, Myron had noticed that those jeans were pretty well stuffed in front.
Outside, he heard Kathy say, “Thanks, Max,” and then she came back in, handed him his passport as he stood. “And we’re all set, Ron,” she gestured him to the door, extending her hand, which he shook. “Welcome to the ECM family.”
Myron sat at his desk, idly toying with his wedding ring as he studied spreadsheets. Brown suit, blue shirt, black tie. That was the hardest part, really — forgetting everything he knew about fashion. That, and remembering to leer approvingly when one of the few straight men in the office commented on some actress’s ass, occasionally throwing in a lewd comment of his own. Men certainly were pigs, weren’t they?
And he got to know Max, the mailroom boy, who was from Kansas and wanted to be an actor, and Chris and Billy and the other Chris and Cary and Doug and not one of them was over twenty-five and only one of them — the cutest one naturally, Max — wasn’t known as a total friend of Dorothy.
“The big secret is mixed signals,” Mike had told him when Myron had finally decided to take the plunge and begin the process in earnest. “Straight guys flirt all the time, except they don’t know they’re doing it. And gay men are afraid to flirt back with them, because that’s taboo, so it just cranks the pressure up more. The big trick is to make them want you without showing any interest at all.”
That had been the hardest part to figure out. Obviously, he couldn’t go around telling the boys, “Hey, nice ass.” But what, then? He was at a loss there and had been meaning to call Mike and ask him when, one day, Chris brought him a huge stack of papers and plunked them in the in box.
“Oh, thanks,” Myron said.
“Hey, it’s not like you’re going to actually do work with those or anything,” Chris said teasingly.
“Suck my dick,” Myron shot back, smiling, remembering to use the ‘d’ word and not the gay-giveaway ‘c’ word. And Chris blushed, looked down, thought a moment, then just went, “Uh, yeah,” and walked away.
Myron knew that look. That reaction. He’d scored a direct hit. Weird. And he cultivated the banter, played the game for a while and it seemed like the file boys were coming by his desk more often, hanging around in slow moments. He started telling them things were a little bumpy with Myra. She was spending more time out of town on business, and when she was in town, she didn’t seem to be as interested in sex. “And forget about getting blowjobs anymore,” he told Doug. “Quickest way to make a woman stop sucking your dick is to marry her.”
“Hm…” Doug said, raising an eyebrow. “And what are we going to do about that?”
Myron smiled, fished the proper response out of his repertoire. “In your dreams, Dougie-boy,” he said, grabbing his own crotch in straight-guy fashion. Doug grinned and walked away and Myron knew he’d thrown down the gauntlet. The trap was set, the game was meet — or was that “meat?” — and maybe all this incredible effort would be worth it.
“Wow, nice place,” Doug said as they walked into the apartment and Myron turned on the lights. He hung his coat in the closet next to Myra’s collection, went to the kitchen.
“Can I get you anything?” he asked. “Beer, wine?”
“Beer’s great,” Doug said, flopping on the couch, which was a bit too frou-frou for Myron’s taste, but it was his wife who’d picked it out, after all. Myron came in with two beers, handed Doug one and sat in the armchair.
“So, how’d you like the show?” Myron asked him.
“It was… interesting. Especially the second act.”
“Oh yeah, that. What do you think got into Christine?”
“She’s kind of a prude. Hey, I enjoyed that part of the show. Max sure has guts. To do that, I mean. In front of everyone.”
“Yeah, actors are all a little weird, aren’t they?”
“Max is a good guy. He’s just… confused.”
“Isn’t he… you know?”
“We all think so, but he doesn’t. Hey, did you know that Joyce is trying to make a play for him?”
“Joyce? Mousy Joyce in accounts payable?”
“Yep. Good luck.”
“Hey, pardon me for saying this, but even I think Max is a little light in the loafers.”
“God, I haven’t heard that expression in years. It’s so… shit, that’s something my mother would say.”
“Watch out, I might…”
Myron snorted, swigged his beer. “You guys are okay, really,” he said. “It’s kind of nice to work in an office and not have to play that Monday morning game.” He threw on his best dockworker voice, “‘Yo, Vinnie, get any pussy over the weekend?’”
Doug laughed again. It was such a vulnerable laugh. He was a cute kid, average height, naturally square shoulders, not a gym queen. He had one of those All-American faces that could only have come from generations of various European immigrants intermingling through the great migration, cute little upturned nose, high cheekbones, strong jaw, dark hair and steel gray eyes, slightly short upper lip and jutting lower lip that just screamed “Kiss me.” Doug took another sip of beer, wrapping those lips around the bottle, looked away a little uncomfortable. “So, when do I get to meet your wife?”
“Oh, one of these days. She’s in Houston for the week, on business. Again.”
“And, how is… everything?”
“Don’t ask. My balls are as blue as a frozen Smurf.”
That got a big laugh out of Doug, but he also turned three shades of red. Myron got up, walked to the TV. “Anyway, you wanted to see the tape, so…” He picked up the remote, went back to the armchair. He’d lured Doug all the way to the Valley with the promise of a bootleg editor’s copy of the next big blockbuster — Myron had decided his wife worked in The Industry — and the bait had worked. He dimmed the lights, pushed ‘play’ and sat back waiting for the tape to do its job.
The TV screen plunged into blackness, and then flashed to life, but this was no studio summer blockbuster. It was a big titted blonde, servicing five hunky men at once, via every orifice and both hands, moaning and shrieking in her best fake tones. Myron silently counted to five, then raised the remote.
“Oh, Jesus, sorry. Sorry,” he said, intentionally hitting pause instead of stop. “Wrong tape.”
Doug laughed nervously. “It’s okay,” he said. “You know, I’ve never seen straight porn. What’s it like?”
“Pretty much just like that,” Myron gestured with the remote.
“You think those boobs are fake?”
“Probably. Know how you can tell?”
“I have no idea.”
“They don’t slide into her armpits when she lies down,” he explained, secretly glad that he’d started listening to Howard Stern, strictly research, mind you.
“Really? That makes sense. She’s got an incredible body,” Doug added, pointing at the frozen image onscreen. Myron gave him a look. Doug explained, “Hey, just because I don’t want to fuck it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it. And you can’t tell me there’s not at least one guy on that screen, you look at and think, ‘He’s got a nice body.’”
“I hadn’t noticed.”
“Come on. The one on the right there, I mean, completely objectively, that’s a nice body, isn’t it?”
Myron glanced at the screen, looked down, feigning awkwardness. Then he drained his beer, got up, handing Doug the remote as he headed for the kitchen. “Yeah, I guess so,” he said. “But if I was at gunpoint, I’d take the guy with his dick in her left hand.” He went to the fridge, grabbed two more beers.
“Eeeew,” Doug said. “That’s the most disgusting one. You must be straight.” By the time Myron came back, Doug had pushed play and the boob-jobbed blonde was screaming and wailing in ersatz earnest. They sat and watched the TV in silence for a while, until the five guys had blown their loads all over the blonde.
“Well, that made me horny,” Doug said. Myron had finished two more beers by this point, said nothing until he noticed Doug looking at him.
“Yeah, well, okay, me too, don’t get your hopes up,” he said, adding a weak smile.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” Doug said, receding a bit into the couch.
“You want another beer?” Myron asked, lurching for the kitchen. Doug shook his head no, feet jittering nervously on the floor. Myron got one beer out of the fridge, from the six pack on the left, the one he’d previously dumped and refilled with water, then went back in the living room, stumbled and flopped on the couch, as far from Doug as possible.
“God, I’m drunk,” he said, waving the red flag. Doug had taken his shoes and socks off, undone a couple of shirt buttons. On the TV, a new scene had started. One woman, two men, kissing and licking her. Doug stared at the TV while Myron stared at Doug.
“So Joyce really wants to bang Max, huh?”
“Uh, yeah. You haven’t heard her? Shit, she’s probably told everyone but him.”
“I was kind of surprised at the theatre, though. That kid has got one really big dick on him.”
On screen, the blond put the woman on her back and stuck it in, and then the brunette climbed behind the blond and started fucking him up the ass. Doug stared, only having half heard what Myron had said. Then, as he looked at Myron, Myron looked at the TV, knowing what he’d see.
“Fuck. I didn’t know it was that kind of tape…” But he didn’t reach for the remote, he just stared at the screen for a long moment. He could hear Doug breathing now, a little ragged. He turned to the kid, going in for the kill.
“You ever do that?” Myron asked. “Get poked, I mean?”
“Doesn’t it hurt?”
“A little. At first. But then it feels… pretty incredible.”
“I could never do that. I mean, take it up the shitter. He looks like he’s enjoying it. Let me tell you something, never get married. I mean, to a woman. Myra, she won’t give me oral anymore, and the one time I asked her for anal, she looked at me like I was Charlie Manson. Do me a favor, tell her it doesn’t hurt all that much, maybe she’ll do it. It really doesn’t hurt that much?”
Doug shook his head, putting down his beer. He stared at Myron, face turning bright read, lip quivering. “Ron…” He looked away, then grabbed the remote, stopped the tape. The room got dark and quiet.
“I… “ Long pause. “Don’t get pissed or anything, okay? But, if your wife isn’t doing her job…”
“What do you mean?” Myron said, shifting on the couch to face the kid, trying not to sound as anxious as he was.
“Seeing Max tonight, and now that tape, and the beers… God, I am really, really horny and I know you are, and…”
Doug wasn’t looking at him, both hands clawed into the floral print sofa. He took a deep breath, then started to stand.
“Sorry, no, I shouldn’t have… I should go…”
Myron grabbed Doug’s hand, pulled him back onto the sofa so they were sitting right next to each other. He could feel Doug start as he did so, inhale sharply, scared.
“You know,” Myron said, “I’m pretty horny, too. Horny and drunk.” He let it linger just long enough, then added, “But no kissing, okay?”
Doug stood, took him by the hand and led him into the bedroom.