Saturday, December 27, 2008

Try and Take Me

You know what Jack White looks like? Guy in the White Stripes? Raconteurs? The band? This guy looked exactly like him. Spitting image. White skin, jet-black hair, pointy Ming-the-Merciless eyebrows, bright but sleepless eyes, about six-three. Shit, he may have even been Jack White. You know what I mean?

It was only by chance I was there at all. Robert knew somebody who knew Omar and could get us over to Omar’s place and into Omar’s New Year’s party. This isolated place about twenty miles out of town, in the woods—you take a gravel road to get to it, shrubbery thrashing the sides of your car all the way in. Robert drove. I couldn’t find the place again to save my life.

Tall one-room marble building in the middle of nowhere. Four ornate archways opened north, east, south, and west. Painted ceiling—gods or shit like that floating on clouds. Gauzy curtains caught the late December breeze. Italian tile floor. Pool of albino carp in the center. It was Omar’s custom-built party sanctuary. It had like no address. Totally off the grid.

The place itself was lit up like a football stadium, but all around it, for hundreds of feet, just torches and kerosene blast heaters. A string quartet playing on the lawn. And guys carrying trays full of champagne, martinis, berries, crabcakes, chocolate truffles, and little quiches with shrimp and sausage in them. Maybe two hundred guests, mostly men, informally yet trendily dressed.

And there, in the center of it all, was this guy. In a plain white tee, skin tight across the chest and shoulders, and blue jeans. A bottle of Coke in his hand.

He introduced himself as John. He knew Omar. “Like everybody,” he said, not suspecting that I, for one, did not know Omar.

The two of us stood out. Taller than everybody else. Standing in one of the archways, talking, kind of looking down at the others, laughing conspiratorially. This guy John looked so fantastic, so surreally beautiful and strong, my head felt a little light in his presence.

It was nearly dawn when we left the party. Robert was still around someplace, but I couldn’t find him to say goodbye. John borrowed Omar’s limo to take us back to town, to his place. We snaked an ice-cold bottle of Bruno Paillard and sprawled together in the back of the car, trading swigs straight from the bottle. The driver knew where to take us, so I figured John must be in fairly tight with Omar.

John had a loft in the warehouse district. Very eighties Hollywood bohemian. Six giant canvases on easels—acrylic Lescaux-looking horses—crumpled sheets of plastic everywhere. Huge leather sofa and Moroccan rugs. Two-thousand white holiday lights crisscrossing the ceiling beams.

We smoked a joint and fucked, then fell asleep entangled on a king-size futon in the corner. It was mid-afternoon when I awoke.

John was already up. Bright white light shone through rows of skylights, making his body glow and blur in my slow-to-focus eyes. He was in white briefs, practicing tai chi chuan, parting the wild horse’s mane. I studied the paleness of his skin, the deep purple of his lips and nipples, the baby-blue shadow round his mouth and halfway up his jawline.

When he saw I was awake, he pulled me up on my feet and guided me to a 10x10 gym mat at the other end of the loft.

“Let’s fight,” he said.

I’d wrestled a little in high school phys ed, like anybody, but that was it. “Fight?”

“Uh hm. We’re an even match. Mostly I get little guys in here, short or thin, emaciated.” He rubbed his chin against his right shoulder and looked me up and down. “Come at me. Try and take me.”

He was limber and bright, and I was still groggy—just slightly hungover, not much, since I usually don’t suffer much the mornings after. He slapped me, playfully but hard, across the mouth. That cleared the cobwebs.

“Shit, um, John, really I don’t …”

Before I could finish, he swooped into me, flipped me off my feet, knelt on my chest, and twisted my arm upright, through his right pit, his left hand pressing my face to the mat.

Pain shot through the length of my body. I groaned.

“Louder, goddammit. Make some noise, boy,” he said. “I wanna hear you hurt.”

I groaned louder. He twisted my wrist. My prolonged owww had a girlish whimper in it.

“That’s how I like it,” he said. “I want noise. Every action needs reaction. Got me?”

This guy didn’t know how strong he was. Sure, we were about the same build, but damn.

He wedged my arm between his thighs and dropped to his butt, walloping my chest and chin with his long, burly legs.

Something cracked. Tears were in my eyes, I kid you not. We both bounced about an inch off the mat on impact. I let out a screech, only partly to make him happy.

“Fuck,” I gasped.

“Sorry, bro. I mean it, really, sorry.” He released my arm and jumped to his feet. He pulled me up gently to a standing position, a big, boyish grin on his face. He stepped back and held up his arms to flex his remarkable biceps, his eyebrows raised in gleeful self-admiration. “Hit me back. Gimme your best shot, bro. Here.” He slapped his smooth white belly. “Hard as you like.” He grabbed my right hand, rolled it into a fist—Jesus, he had big hands!—and pressed it up to his diaphragm. His skin was cool on my knuckles.

I struck. Hard. He howled and bent over, but even as hard as I had hit him, he was overacting—the punch gave me a good sense of just how hard his abs were, like punching a chunk of oak with a quilt around it. I’d barely made a dent.

He straightened. “Again,” he said.

This time I feinted with my right and swung a wide left to the side of his nose.

He wailed and clapped his hands over his nose. When he pulled them back, I expected to see a spot of blood, but nothing—except that his nostrils looked flared and raw pink.

“That make you feel good, hot shot?” He managed a crooked smile, his eyes glistening. “One more time?”

“Look, John,” I stammered. “This isn’t really my idea ….”

“Bullshit. Hit me again. I dare ya.”

I squeezed my fists together in front of my chest. Took a few deep breaths and bounced twice between my right foot and left foot. This cracked me up. I couldn’t be serious. I covered my face and shook my head no.

John smirked, grabbed my hands again, and replaced them above my chest, letting his thumbnails trace the outline of my pecs, as he did.

“Your best shot,” he said.

I inhaled deeply and counted to five; then I drove my right fist solidly to his gut, maybe one, maybe two inches over his navel.

I’d barely landed the jab when he lunged and locked my head in his right arm, grabbed the band of my new melon-glo AussieBum, and in one breathless move flipped me over his head. I landed with a whack on the mat.

He fell back on me, driving his elbow right below my sternum, knocking the wind out of me. I was unconscious for three-quarters of a second.

I came to, looking straight up at John, his knee on my chest, his big guns bulging to the left and the right, and his hard cock stretching his snow-white underpants. He looked straight out of Tom of Finland. Once again, my breath was taken away.

His skin smelled like lemon, salt, and cornflakes. The exertion had given it a nice, even shine. He squatted down on me and kissed my mouth, his knees now bracing my ribs.

“You’re learning.” He blew on my eyelids, and when I blinked he ran his tongue over them. Stale marijuana and champagne on his breath.

He rested his body on mine, chest to chest, belly to belly, hard-on to hard-on.

“Resist me,” he murmured. “Try and break free.”

I thrust my hips up two or three times, and he smiled smugly. I felt his penis stir against mine. I felt something like a sharp intake of breath, only it was in my asshole. This guy was hot, and every ounce of his attention was fixed on me. I could feel the pulses in our veins, both of us.

Then he grunted deep in his chest. He grabbed me by the wrists and pinned them firmly to the mat over my head. I struggled, but he subdued me. He bumped his crotch to mine. Snorted like a pig. Smirked. His front teeth looked ready to plunge into my throat. His cock ground upon me in circles. Our tight nipples scraped each other, too.

I managed to free my right hand and grabbed the hair at the back of his head. I tugged at it mischievously. He grunted and thrust harder.

“Rough me up,” I whispered.

He butted his forehead against mine, pushed my head to the mat. He said, “Bud, I’m gonna knock you out.”

He was rock hard. Thick and big and brutal and hard. My balls felt heavy, and my cock surged up, free of my briefs, and slid across his skin.

“C’mon, man.” His eyes flashed, and he sneered. His breath hissed through his gritted teeth. “C’mon.”

I understood. I rolled over on top, smashed my forearm against his nose, felt his belly heave up to mine.

I pushed myself up to a squat, straddling his thighs. I peeled his briefs down his legs and off his feet. Then pulled down my own, letting my hard tool collide with his.

I rolled my cock over his. They locked together, and I pressed my belly down on his lower abdomen. Cool sweat covered every inch of us.

John let loose a mighty Aargh, a warrior’s roar. He bucked and threw me off to his side. He thrust his left leg through my thighs. I grabbed the back of his moist neck. He pushed his glistening chest on mine. Our cocks crossed like sabers between us.

Titanium hard, now. We stabbed ourselves into each other. We locked arms and let our chests and bellies chafe against each other. We rolled on the mat, him on top, then me, then him again.

He pushed himself up with his arms so he could slam his chest down on mine. Our cocks whipped each other furiously as we ground our bodies, full force, against each other. We were two meteors slamming into each other in space. We locked our arms, our muscles bulging and straining, skin slipping on skin.

We rolled over side to side and pushed ourselves up to our knees. Hearts banging together, hands clasped, we pushed to unbalance the other. Our stiff rods arched, throbbing, thrusting, about to burst, corps-a-corps—deadlock.

We groaned. Satisfyingly loud groans, guttural, strong, big, male. Slick skin grinding us—the cores of our being—to a fine polish.

I wanted us to cum together. I wanted this to end with both of us triumphant. So, at the last possible moment, I pulled back my head and stared steadily into his eyes. Our gazes locked into each other, guiding us like heat-seeking missiles.

Our bodies surged, flared red hot, and we exploded simultaneously. Like fireworks, the jizz shot up to our necks. We collapsed back into each other’s arms, dug deep into each other, rolled and thrust and slid and grunted and groaned and pressed and heaved, until both of us were screaming at the top of our lungs, howling ourselves hoarse.

We kind of melted into each other then. You know what I mean? Two big, burly guys, so unlike the svelte fashionistas back at Omar’s party.

For a long time, we lay there side by side, massaging each other’s well-lubed dicks with the tips of our fingers, playing on each other’s skin, training ourselves to breathe as one, seeing ourselves in each other’s gaze. We licked the cum and sweat off each other’s stomachs, chest, and neck. We kissed and breathed inside each other.

He rolled over on top of me, then, and just lay there, with his head tucked down on my shoulder. His full weight relaxed on me.

We were silent all this time. Then he said, “Told you I’d knock you out.”

It was like that. Everything had changed. I was never the same.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rusty and Max

Max? Sure, I can still take him. Have half a mind to rough him up right now.

Max wraps a towel around his waist and steps out of the shower, dripping wet, scratching his left ear. He’s thirty-eight, five-ten, one-hundred-eighty, olive skin, dark curly hair cut short, a full messianic beard, thick chest hair that narrows to a line pointing down to his vertical belly button, hairy thighs and calves that look firm, heavy, and impressive. A self-professed “tough Jew.” He has a breathtaking natural body built on little more than swimming, yard work, and Wild Turkey.

Known him all my life.

I’ve two inches and almost fifteen pounds on him. I’m Rusty. It’s my name, hair color, and overall skin tone, a mass of freckles and one fading tattoo that reads “No Problemo” in Gothic letters arching over my shoulder blades. Corrugated gym-toned abs. A trapezoid of auburn hair over my heart, between two studiously round pecs. I’m forty, but guys tell me I look no more than thirty. Most guess late twenties.

I feint a few jabs to his belly. He tells me to knock it off. He’s had his twenty laps. Time to head back to the wife and kids.

Not so fast, Max. Not so fast. I think you might be forgetting something.

He unhitches the towel, winds it up, and snaps it in my direction, a half-smile on his lips, showing a little teeth, white carnivorous teeth.

He fiddles with the combination lock, distracted, forgets his numbers, then quits halfway through. Light bulb lights over his head. Oh, yeah.

Oh, yeah, I say, dragging the word out for comic effect. The bet.

The bet, sure.

Last Sunday night watching widescreen football, I challenged him. For weeks we’d talked about fighting, hand to hand, what a charge it gives. Instant hard-on every time. The hard-to-speak-of eroticism of manly combat.

He confided that Becca and he used to wrestle in the bedroom, foreplay and just horsing around both, but she could never beat him. Sexy as hell, but not even enough action to work up a sweat. No competition, but a lot of fun. Gave it up after the twins.

I told him I still liked to wrestle—missed the old days at Waterville Academy when he and I would meet up at the gym and fight to submission in the mat room—guiltily beating off afterwards. Might he be interested in a wager, say, fifty bucks? A hundred, he said … next Thursday at HealthWorks. We shook on it.

Still on? I ask.

It’s on, chief. And I don’t take personal checks.

I pick up keys at the front desk and unlock the back room where the manager teaches Taekwondo to boys on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Switch on the overheads and do some stretches on the mats to limber up. Room smells of preteen angst and stale jockstraps. Max struts in a minute later, his damp navy-white Speedo back on, with towel round his neck.

I’m ready to pack some action, he says. Tingle some spine. Hope you like looking at the ceiling, Rusty.

Under his swagger I detect some shyness and nerves—it’s been more than twenty years since boarding school. It’s a tell the way he strokes his beard just now.

He shakes his arms and legs loose like a diving champ, then hunches down to a semi-squat.

Up or down? I ask. He chooses top, so I get down on all fours, huffing deeply, more for psychological effect than respiration. He kneels down beside me, grips my left forearm in his left hand, wraps the other arm around my back, resting his right hand gently on my abs. For several seconds neither of us moves. We synchronize our breathing. Then Max thumps my solar plexus with his fingertips.

Max tries to shove me down, but I pull in my knees and land on my butt, grab Max’s left arm and twist, driving his forehead down to the mat. I straddle his back with my knees pressed to his lats.

With unexpected agility, he rolls forward, springs to his feet, and reverses the armlock.

Pain shoots out my shoulder joint, jangling every nerve in my body.

Max maintains the hold, staring down at my kinked shoulder like I am a difficult math problem he needs to solve. We both breathe heavily, the first shine of sweat lighting our bodies.

Like him, I tumble forward. He tries to intercept, but I slide through his hands. Both on our feet now, we lock up, hands roving each other’s gaps and muscles, searching for a weak spot. Our left ears are pressed against each other, and I feel his beard scrape against my neck. Heat radiates off our skin.

He grabs my upper thigh and yanks it up. I hop on one foot, which he tries to kick out from under me. One strong push and he has me down on the mat. Our arms and legs knotted together.

Used to be, when we wrestled in high school, we could almost read each other’s thoughts, making each match a bigger challenge than the last. The physical closeness tuned us in to details we were not conscious of and, even if we had been, could not have found the words to express—changes in body temperature, smell, subtle shifts in eye direction, the sound of our pulses—we registered and decoded them, in a silent language of proximity, pressure, and motion.

Our hands clasp over our heads. I lock my thighs round his midsection. He bears down on me. I try to steer his body with my knees. I snap my hands from his and curl my right arm round his neck. His nose and beard scrape the skin under my armpit. I lean back, pushing his face to the mat while stretching my legs to jerk his trunk in the opposite direction.

I want him to tap out, but he just takes it, groaning. I raise my crossed ankles and drive them down hard on the small of his back. He grunts. I tell him to submit. He won’t.

I flex my biceps and squeeze his head tighter. The sweat on the back of his neck glistens under my armpit. I smash the heels of my feet to his ass. It pisses me off when a fighter doesn’t know he’s beat.

Then in one deft movement, Max slips his head free of my grip, lurches up higher on my body, escaping my thighs, and returns the favor, his hard bicep jamming my jaw, bending my neck back down to the mat.

He and I breathe heavily. His back rises and falls. Our bellies bump and slip on each other’s sweat. My legs thrash on the mat.

Not what you expected, eh?

He gives my head a slight twist. He slides off me and rises to his knees, still clamping my head tight to his ribcage. My left hand reaches up to his head, hunting for something to grab. He turns his head to evade my grasp.

He manages to stand and pull me up to my feet. He breaks his hold on my head and slips me into a half nelson. My right arm locked at a dire angle. His sweating hairy chest warms my shoulder blades. The pressure of his hand against the back of my neck is firm and punishing.

I’m getting hard now and wonder whether Max is, too. The friction of flesh on flesh makes the heart thump harder and tightens the scrotum. With no timidity, he lets me know he’s hard, too, mashing his wood against my butt.

I ball my right hand into a fist and twist suddenly to the left. Max follows but trips on the heels of my feet. I pull him down to the mat and drop on top of him with my full weight. I smash his chest with my elbow for good measure.

Max grunts and rolls over on his stomach. I straddle his waist and hook my forearm under his chin, resisting the urge to torture his beard. My cock nests comfortably in the crack between his tight glutes. His sinewy back slides under my chest and abs. I pin his knees to the mat with mine.

He moans. I give his head a chastising jerk backward. I slip up a little higher on him so I can grind my chin into the back of his head, a favored torment from our teenage years.

He reaches back and slaps my face. Hard. I taste blood. And all of a sudden the insides of my nostrils feel rusted.

I yank the back of his head against my breastbone.

Submit. I hiss the word.

Max groans but refuses to give up.

I maintain the hold, hoping the strain on his neck and shoulder muscles will wear him down. I rock him back and forth like a toy pony. For almost a minute here, we are frozen together, paralyzed in the elegant knot we have made of our bodies. The sound of our breathing fills the room. Max grunts and whimpers in a deep register, almost a lion’s purr.

I don’t mean to but I relax my grip, just enough for Max to slide down, thrust up his hips, flip me over, and land on top. His weight on my belly knocks the wind out of me.

I twist and buck him off me. Side by side, we seize each other’s arms and legs, shove and pull. Rapid negotiations, flashing muscle. Our necks locked together. Hot exhalations and muttered curses. I grab his Speedo in my fist, but he squirms loose. He grabs the back of my knee, but I pull back, and his body tumbles over mine. We roll over the mat and trap ourselves against the wall.

Without breaking our grip on each other, we propel ourselves away from the wall and roll back to the center of the mat.

Both of us are tired now, having started the match after a full workout. I grab Max’s wrists and cross his arms on his chest. He resists, of course, but I manage to overpower him. I nail his forearms to his chest with my left knee. He’s pinned. I reach back and hook his legs together and cradle them at the ankles in my armpit. I lean forward, over his head. He’s locked in a tight knot.

His face is wet, red, and veiny. I slap my hands three times on the mat right next to his left ear. I make it a slow count, adding insult to injury.

Max roars through gritted teeth. I hop off him, and he stretches out his arms and legs, breathing deep, staring at the overhead lights. I’m kneeling next to him, my hands palms down on my quads. We both drip sweat.

We both have throbbing and decidedly unsubtle erections to contend with.

As victor, I have right to firsts. I rub my fingers over the Lycra sheathing but not hiding my erection. As if hypnotized, Max turns his head to watch. My stiff cock pokes through the top of my briefs. I slide my fingers in the gap created between elastic and skin, letting my knuckles nudge the waistline down.

Max fondles the line of hair under his well-cut navel. His fingers working down to his Speedo.

I spit into my hand and massage the saliva onto my cock. Max rolls on his side, props his head up on his right hand, uses his left hand to stroke.

I’m not thinking of women. I’m thinking of Max. I’m not thinking of sex. I’m thinking of wrestling Max. I can’t speak for what Max is thinking about.

I roll my sensitive glans between my thumb and forefinger. I breathe through my mouth and lick my lips. The latticed veins fatten and stiffen.

Max strokes his penis languorously in the palm of his hand.

My dick is at the bursting point. I crawl over to Max on all fours, spread my knees wide, and lean back at the waist.

Do it, bro, I say.

I fondle the skin at the base of my rod. First, Max puts his fingers around my fingers as if to guide them. He matches the liquid rhythm of my stroke, and I pull my hand away.

His fingertips roll my sweaty nads to the same rhythm. He pulls the loose skin away from the tightening balls and works it between his middle finger and forefinger.

I pull myself up and reach over to reciprocate. His cock is straight and firmly set against his lower abdomen. I reach under his scrotum and massage the perineum, daring to reach as far as the edge of the anus.

Relax, I say. This is sweet.

His cock is shiny and pink. His pubes are silky black, unlike mine, which are coarse and orange. As I stroke his balls, his cock stretches up to his belly button and slaps against his taut skin. I press his penis against his treasure trail, warm it between my hand and his skin. Mine is stiff, pointing to the ceiling, balancing in midair—a teardrop of pre-cum at the tip.

Max and I look directly into each other’s eyes. We make soft grunting noises as the strokes accelerate, intensify. The slapping of flesh sounds nearly combative.

I shoot first. It’s like something silently pops in the brain when this happens. Then Max shoots … an agile streamer that seems to land on his abs in slow motion.

He relaxes and rests his head back down on the mat. I lie down next to him, our knuckles barely touching. We listen to our own breathing. Then, gradually, we hear the sounds of the world outside this room, distant and indifferent to us.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rumble in the Bungalow

Dan, buddy of mine, calls me at ten o’clock at night: “Help me, Ackerman. I’m feeling antsy—restless, ready to bounce off the walls. Wanna come over and fight?”

“You drinking?”

“Yeah, a little. All of a sudden I feel like bustin stuff up. Innarested?”

I’ve known Dan since ninth grade, always sat behind me on the school bus. His dad was a psychologist, and Dan used to tell me all the weirdo shit the pervs his dad treated did for kicks and chuckles—about half of it was shit Dan made up.

We became fast friends the day he said, “You got just the sort of face I wanna punch.”

“It’s a weekend,” I say. “Give me ten minutes.”

Dan lives across the bridge in a bungalow close to the beach. Here’s what he looks like, if you’re interested: five-eight, 135, blond, black eyes, smooth and sinewy, foxy-looking face like Kurt Cobain, heroin zombie pale, black scorpion tattoo on his lower back, and a black Celtic cross on his left shoulder.

(Sorry, you’ll have to make up what I look like for yourself. No good at describing me.)

Twenty minutes later I’m at Dan’s place. He’s bouncing on the sofa, shadow boxing, wearing metallic silver bikini briefs—stereo blasting Godsmack.

“Don’t come any closer, man,” he shouts. “I’ll hurt ya, Ackerman. I’m serious.”

I shed my civvies at the door. Except for the gray jockstrap and tube socks.

I make a wide arc around the sofa to the bar and pour an inch of Cuervo in a glass and bolt it.

Dan bounces and thrashes in mid air.

“Somebody here order an ass-kickin with the works?” I ask, rhetorically.

Dan kicks over a ceramic table lamp, does a clumsy backflip, but recovers his balance on the throw rug in front of the fireplace.

I put up my fists and charge in.

Dan doesn’t even pretend to back off, but comes right at me, punching the air. He’s been at this an hour, it looks like, already glistening with a fine coat of sweat.

I jab right at his nose. No point in being coy. I connect twice before he manages to land a solid left to my ribs. A heart-shaped splatter of blood blooms over his nostrils.

We both hop backwards a step and then spring back in a flurry of roundhouse punches. Even the blows that don’t land solid are good enough to take your breath away. We look like a diagram of an atom—or one of those tornados of fists, stars, and boots in a Popeye cartoon.

Then Dan jabs me straight-on to the face and knocks me over the back of the sofa. I roll over to the floor, taking a cushion with me, but in a flash Dan is on top of me, flailing away at my face again.

I jab my knee into his right thigh, and he loses his balance, crashes onto the solid-oak coffee table, displacing a glass ashtray and a stack of magazines.

I grab his leg and twist. He curses and slides off the table onto the floor.

I kneel down hard on his inner thigh. Palm of my left hand over his face mashing his head to the floor, right arm crooked under his knee, pulling up and over.

“I’m gonna kill you, Ackerman. Fuck. I’m gonna bust you open, man.”

“You’re not even up yet, loser,” I hiss.

He bucks and groans, and the friction and thrusting get me hard. Always does.

Sweat rolls out my armpits and down my ribs to my waist. My belly is heaving in and out as I gulp the salty air wafting in from outside. Blood drop bubbles up at my nose, and I wipe it against my shoulder.

Dan punches me in the ribs, but, wedged between the table and a chair and crushed under my weight, he isn’t in a position to load the shot with much force.

I bounce a little, to add pressure, punishment.

Dan’s red in the face, grimacing, with panic splotches up and down his chest and abdomen. He’s breathing rapidly, thrusting up with his hips.

I smile crookedly: “Looks like you lost some of your fight, stud. Submit now and I’ll fuck you sweet. Later I won’t be so easy on ya.”

“I ain’t beat, Faggerman.”

“Look beat to me, punk.”

My cock’s peering up now over my waistband, looking eager.

Dan thrashes and lunges up, grabs a fistful of my hair and pulls my head hard against the coffee table. I slip off him, and he slaps me across the face. Grabs my cock in his left fist and twists. I howl.

He leans in close to my face: “Still feelin sexy, gayboy?”

Oh, shit, I forget to mention—Dan’s straight, sort of. Not really a homophobe, but he likes to imitate one when we fight. Our usual deal is, he wins, I suck him off; I win, I ride to Hershey town. For me it’s win-win, but I can’t say what it is for Dan. Mostly, for both of us, the thrills are in the rumble.

And while I cringe in agony, hard-on snapping in my best friend’s grip, I may as well fill you in on some more background information I failed to bring up earlier. Namely, about two months ago Dan became friends with a straight surfer guy—a real homophobe this one, who could not get his head around how Dan and I could be such tight, affectionate buds, what with our different ideas on where to park our cocks. Dan really liked the guy, Christian, his name was, but obviously it was hard on him having two best friends who basically hated each other’s guts.

So, on my own, mentioning nothing to Dan, I found this bar where Christian and his fellow surfers hung out, and one night I followed Christian out to his car, explained the situation, sorta opened up to him about Dan’s dilemma and the painful situation for all of us, owing to Christian’s irrational prejudice, and proceeded to kick the living shit out of him, right there in the parking lot. Dan hasn’t seen Christian since, but he, knowing me as he does, has got to suspect something.

Anyway, back to the present, Dan’s boozy breath is hitting me in the face, and I’m folded up in pain, while he tugs at my pipe.

I roll into him, and we both tumble clear of the coffee table and other furnishings. Dan releases his hold, and we squat there, hunched over, glaring at each other’s eyes, in the clearing between the bar and the entryway to the kitchen.

Dan holds out both his hands, fingers splayed, for a test of strength. I lock my hands to his, and we push in, knee to knee. Pain’s still shooting through my sore groin, and my ears still hum after the late ordeal. Tests of strength usually mark the half-times of our brawls. Dan usually wins these things, which is why he usually initiates them.

I stretch my arms to get leverage, but Dan has about a half-inch advantage on me in grasp. Our foreheads butt together. Our biceps and back muscles flex. Our arms descend to stretch out horizontally, our sweaty chests press together, Dan’s face contorts, a pinched frown, as he concentrates on pushing my arms back. I feel the strain on my triceps and elbows. Dan shoves, and I lose my balance, my knees unbend, and he’s got my back on the floor.

He struggles to get up on my chest. I wrap my legs around his waist and try to pull him down. We’re both slick with sweat, no traction.

“Guess I should have phoned my girlfriend if I wanted some real competition.”

My head’s throbbing. I try to twist to shift Dan’s body off me, but he stays put, driving his weight down on me. Our bodies slide on the bare terrazzo floor. He arches his pelvis, clinched in my thighs, and shoves down—splat!—against the floor. He repeats the squashing thrust two more times, knocking a bit more wind out of me each time.

He grinds my knuckles to the hard mortar. His wet hair hangs limp across his forehead, dripping sweat in my eyes.

“Maybe I’m too tough for you, Ackerman. I’m no pushover like Christian.”

So, he knows.

“You beat my new friend up, old friend. Now he won’t even speak to me. I think the time has come for some payback.”

I squirm, trying to free myself, but he jams his forearm against the bridge of my nose and drives the back of my skull, hard, against the floor.

I unlock my legs and roll partly free of him, but he yanks me back by the hair and delivers a clear, heartfelt punch to my nose.

Now we’re both bleeding from the nose and mouth. And gleaming with sweat, and radiating fierce, animal heat. And once again we blindly exchange blows to the face.

I struggle up to my feet, but Dan latches on and pulls himself up with me.

He grips the back of my thigh and throws me down against a small side table, which smashes under our combined weight.

“Son of fucking bitch, Dan,” I’m gasping, breathless. “I’ve had it.” I try to push him off me.

He slugs me across the jaw.

“Not till I totally fuck you up, faggot.”

I roll over and once again try to get up on my feet. Dan grabs the back of my jockstrap and pulls me backward on and over his body. Gets up on his knees and tugs the strap down my legs and off. I get up on all fours, but he kicks my legs out from under me. Pulls down his silvery briefs, and his red cock springs loose, bobbing like an eager retriever.

“Let’s try something new,” he says.

He drops his elbow against my shoulder blades, and I collapse facedown to the floor. I thrust out my legs, kicking at his knees with my feet. I connect and hear the painful pop of his joints. I roll over and lock his head under my left arm. I pull his body down to the floor.

I let my wrist press against his throat in a punishing choke. He shoves his hands against my face. I loosen my hold, and he slides up my body. Our hard cocks cross as we grapple for top position.

Dan grabs my left arm and bends it behind my head. Pulls me up to my knees and slams me back down to the floor.

He locks both fists over his head and smashes them against the small of my back. I howl in pain. Spits into the palm of his right hand and rubs it between my butt cheeks.

“No, please, no,” I plead.

He dips his pulsing glans, glistening with pre-cum, into me. “Relax,” he says. “This will be good for both of us.”

His rod glides easily into me. “Damn, Ackmerman, you feel sweet inside.” I groan in pleasurable agony.

He reaches around and squeezes my hard nipples. His wet abs slap against the small of my back. Our balls clap together in rhythm.

He shoots, and it’s like his splooge fires all the way up to my lungs.

He pushes his face against the back of my neck, lapping up the droplets of sweat behind my ears.

He whispers: “You are my bitch, Ackerman. Nobody will ever be a bigger bitch to me. Yours is the face I will always want to punch. Yours. Yours is the ass I will always want to own. Fighting you makes me strong. We make each other better men, and we gain our strength in each other in combat. Nobody, man or woman, can stand between. Our rage is our desire. We are fierce, merciless, cruel, true equals. Only you understand my passion and my drive. Only you have the strength and nerve to stand up to me. My brother, Ackerman. You’re my brother.”

He grips the back of my hand in his hand and clinches it tight into his.

“When we are eighty … old men, Ackerman … living on our social security” he says, still in a whisper, “I will still beat the shit out of you.”

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Back in the eighties Brandon and I hooked up at a basement bar in Savannah.

I was traveling through from Jacksonville to Atlanta, late autumn. The memory of fried clams at the Olde Pink House lured me off 95, and a good scotch sounded pretty great, too, right about then.

Brandon was at the Planters Tavern downstairs, and we struck up a conversation, which led to his place on Jones Street. Wrestling trophies and some framed team photos sparked a conversation about our university days—his in South Carolina and mine in Rhode Island. We tried out a few holds, grappled a little on the floor, and had hot, heaving sex in his bedroom.

We saw each other three or four times in the following year—once at my place in Atlanta, the rest of the times at his in Savannah. Then we lost touch.

We had our separate lives—his in city politics, mine in fashion photography—and without actually forgetting about him, I kind of disappeared off his schedule and he disappeared off mine, having never really been more than casual fuck buddies who happened to share a fondness for wrestling for top.

Then a couple of months ago I got a Facebook request from Brandon, asking whether I was the same first name/last name he had known decades earlier. I was teaching art in Durham now; he had a horse farm outside Augusta, semi-retired. In a matter of days we were caught up with each other’s histories and planning a weekend at my place—a veterans’ tourney, he called it.

First thing, as he steps out of his Jeep, I am struck with is how handsome he still is. Sure, he’s lost some hair, but high cheekbones and a hawk-like nose retain the brute handsomeness that caught my eye 25 years ago. He looks damned fit, too. We eye each other and chuckle. I mix us a couple of Friday afternoon screwdrivers, and we sprawl on the sofa to watch an Old Reliable wrestling vid on VHS.

I laid out some mats in the spare room off from my home theater. We strip down, stretch, and compliment each other’s physiques. Brandon wears yellow-gold fight trunks, and I wear a bright red Speedo. As in the old days, Brandon launches into some trash talk to get the juices flowing.

“I guess I better knock some of that rust off your pecker, son,” he says. “May have to bust you up some too.”

We circle each other on the mats, then he lunges into me, throwing me off balance. I am able to spin over to land on top of him, but he powers loose and reverses, riding my back and raking his forearm across the bridge of my nose.

I buck him off me, and we spring to our feet, agile and strong, as if the years between now and back when have melted away. Sensing that we are tough enough to take it and dish it out, we throw ourselves more aggressively into the fight. We lock up catch style, pulling and shoving to throw the other guy off balance.

“Son, I’m about to fuck you up and down,” he drawls, with considerable charm, truth be told.

Brandon stands about two inches taller, but we match in weight and experience. His short brown hair is graying, but the fur on his chest and belly is dark. The gold shorts show off the firm curve of his butt and the contours of his circumcised cock. He’s not massive, never was, but his pecs are hard and flat, punctuated by small, erect nipples. He’s got a soft gut, like me, but a round and well-defined navel. His shoulders and back look broader than they were back in the Reagan years. His arms are sinewy and freckled, hairy from wrist to elbow. They move with liquid grace, flashing, when loose, like nunchuku.

Our arms grip, tug, and squeeze tentatively, groping for leverage, an open, unprotected spot, and a weakness to exploit. Maybe he remembers how vulnerable I am to sexual attacks: get me hard and my strength shrinks down to my balls—a cinch to overpower, strip, and possess. He can be attacked in the knees, or used to; a little leg torture could make him tap out in a matter of seconds.

I rush him and grab his waist, heave him up on my shoulder, drop him under me to the mat. He grunts as he hits the mat on his back.

I try to lock my legs on him, but he bucks free twice. I slap his face to taunt him. He crooks his arms up protectively, but I manage to slip past and deliver some resounding smacks anyway, a little harder than “playful” calls for.

He thrashes wildly to escape, but I manage to mount him, my balls pressed hard against his lower belly. I feel his cock stiffen at the small of my back. I grab his wrists and pin them to the mat on either side of his head. Wedge my heels into his hips and use them to bounce him up so I can smack him back down under my full weight. I drive his body down like this maybe four times, each blow pushing the wind out of him. He gasps.

I ride him, but his cock nudges against me, and I start to get hard too.

I grind him against the mat. He tries to squirm loose, and I use this effort to flip him over on his chest and apply a full nelson. I’ve got him now. Fists behind his head, I press his face down, smashing his nose and mouth into the blue polyfoam. My cock like a pistol to his back.

I hunch up on my knees, leaning into him, shoving his face harder to the mat, rocking forward to add to the humiliation and torment. He groans, more like a low growl.

I shove his face down again to gain some space to shift to a figure-four hold, attack his defenseless legs. His left calf behind his right knee, his right leg crooked on top of the left. I lie on my left side next to him, my left arm gripping him in a half nelson now, his face still smashed to the mat, my right leg riding his right. His right fist pounds the mat. Derisively, I backhand the base of his skull. My cock stiff against his shorts. His writhing and bucking massaging its veiny contours.

I relax the hold and shove his face back to the mat as I push myself up to my feet. He lies there, sweating, gasping for air, gathering his strength.

Just as he starts to push himself up, I drop down on the small of his back with my elbow. I roll over and jump to my feet, wait till he pushes up to all fours again, and slam back down on his back. He howls, tries to push back up, and I repeat the punishment.

I straddle his hips and squat down on his ass, bend his legs up under my pits in a Boston crab. His ankles twist over my hard quadriceps, and I lean back to stretch his torso. He groans.

“Submit,” I tell him, but he says, “Fuck no, shithead.” I snap him further back and then drop him.

He writhes under me, and I peel the gold shorts off his ass. Wrap them around his ankles and pull him back to the center of the mat. Then toss the glittering Lycra to the corner.

He paws the mat, struggling to get up. I jam my forearm up to his adam’s apple and pressure the carotid artery. Pull the back of his head against my breastbone. He claws at my elbows and bucks up against me. My biceps bulge at his neck. I look down at the veins swelling on his forehead. His sweat turns cold, and the struggling is now slow motion.

I let him go and push him down to his elbows. I spank his ass, leaving pink fingerprints against the firm white flesh. Experimentally I poke my right index finger into his anus, and it grasps the finger tight. I massage the moist interior in a circular motion, and he relaxes, permitting two, then three fingers to invade. His stiff cock slaps against his belly.

My left hand pushes his head down, as I pull my fingers free and flip him over to his back.

I shed my Speedo and hop on him, grinding my sweaty body down on his. I smother him, driving myself down on him in punishing thrusts. The smacking of flesh on flesh fills the gaps between our groaning. Our bodies writhe and flash. He pinches my nipples, and I grip his hands in mine.

He arches his back and prods my ass with his upright rod. He thrusts his pelvis up, and he enters me, momentarily, and then his muscular legs entwine mine and pull me down to him. I struggle to break free, but I lose my balance and his cock penetrates the darkness of my anus. His strong legs immobilizing me. The hot surge of desire incapacitating me. I collapse with my full weight to his chest, but too late.

He grabs the hair at the base of my skull and yanks my face towards his. His five-o’clock shadow scrapes my cheek. I taste the vodka and tobacco on his mouth. His cock drives harder into me, and he works his tongue into my mouth. His mouth is hard. It feels like I’m kissing a marble statue. Rhythmically, ridiculously, I break wind against his repeated stabbing.

My muscles go slack, and he works me like a marionette, licking my face, rolling me on my back, still impaled on good ten inches of tenacious cock, my legs straddling his taut freckled shoulders. He sucks at my nipples, while pulling my head back by my hair. My shoulders pinned to the mat—his cock pinning me to himself.

He shoots, and I feel his hot jizz fill me up.

He pulls himself out. He lifts me up to my knees, wraps his arms around me, and pushes his fingers into my loose and well-lubricated ass. My cock flops lazily against his, and he resumes sucking and licking my tit. His left hand massages the glans and veins of my cock. I am about to burst.

Then he stops. Every nerve in my body flashing, and he stops. He pulls himself away and hovers just inches from physical contact.

Then he wraps his legs around my waist from behind and rolls me on top of his chest. His feet prod my thighs apart, and he stretches me out. Grabs a fistful of my hair and wrenches my head painfully to his shoulder. Our hearts pounding, my torso and legs stretched out to their limits, sweat glimmering over every inch of us, I submit … totally, helplessly.

He chuckles with self-satisfaction and releases me. I collapse on my back like I’m made of rags.

Then he squats down on my face, his ballsack smothering me, and bends down and takes my cock in his mouth.

I cum, shivers shooting through both our bodies at once.


We rub off on each other—brainy as
chess, strenuous as sex—fingers locked in
to fingers, integrating groans and sweat.

Both wanting to dominate, to master
the other, to exert and exhaust, ride
the other man’s vigor like a bronco.

Heave and slide and grasp, stiffen and flex and
press, force towards force, tightening the knot of
flesh and pounding blood, bend and strain and grip.

We breathe more freely, inhaling the salt,
the musty heat radiating from skin
and Lycra and nylon, slippery cuts.

Man pins other man to the ground, exerts
the right to punish, command, and possess.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Backyard Rumpus

Dad sets up the ring for us boys. Four pine four-by-fours driven into the ground behind the garage, each three body-lengths from the next. Three thick ropes strung from post to post, the highest five feet off the ground, the lowest fifteen inches. Brown dirt floor.

“I want you boys to kick the shit out of each other,” Dad says. “Save me the trouble.”

Terry mimes some karate kicks to the air. Kiai! His shoulder muscles ripple, a motion carried down to his waist by his lats.

Terry’s my cousin and I hate his guts. His folks and little sister died in a highway accident 18 months ago, so he’s been living with us. Not adopted, so not my brother in any sense. Adoption would cost him some college scholarships down the line; his father (my father’s brother) was a cop. and the state provides for the kids of dead cops.

At first, I felt kinda sorry for him, but after a couple of weeks, he was just a scowling zombie I had to share a room with. Nothing at all like having the big brother I’d always dreamed of, which is sort of what my folks had promised me.

The trouble began when we would run into each other in the hall or in doorways—Terry wouldn’t budge, would even intentionally block my way, or bump up against me when we passed.

Then he started taking jabs at me, playful, sort of, except he wouldn’t smile. In time, the punches got punchier, and I could see in his eyes that he wasn’t trying to be funny or cute.

He’s popular at school—junior varsity football, track, debate—but at home he just stares at stuff, lost in his thoughts, lifts weights, and writes in a black spiral notebook he locks away in an old combination briefcase.

Polite to Mom and Dad, but acts like a jerk around me.

Without Terry, I’d be an only child again. Worse for me, I can see in my parents’ eyes that Terry is the kind of son they wish I was—square-jawed, curly-haired, athletic, polite, to a point—but never what you’d call friendly. Always something sad and brooding behind his eyes.

Me, I’m the overachiever who’s good at algebra and reads joke books and plays World of Warcraft. Kids pick on me at school, challenge me to fights behind the gym (I dodge them and run for home)—you’d think that Terry, being older, stronger, and related, would stick up for me. Instead, at home he punches me—punches hard—on my shoulder.

Ten days ago, I punched back, and he kinda livened up, bouncing around me on the balls of his feet, and started to jab … at my face! Finally, I just dove into him, but he grabbed me by the neck and flipped me on my back, sat on my chest, knees jammed into my armpits, held my wrists and made me slap myself with my own hands. Humiliating.

In the ruckus we busted a closet door and knocked down a framed photo of Gram, when she was young and rosy-cheeked, shattering it.

That’s the day Dad drove some stakes in the ground to build us a place to “have at it”: his words. Bought us each a pair of cheap boxing gloves—yellow for Terry, blue for me. Terry kinda perked up over the prospect. Made me feel kinda sick inside my gut.

Terry’s in plaid shorts and tennis shoes, no shirt. I’m wearing black swim trunks, sneakers, and a light-blue T-shirt with a rollerskating bunny on it. Both of us the same weight, 155 pounds, him all lean muscle and freckled tan, me big-boned and lumpy.

Even though I hate him, I admire the way his abdomen narrows at his waist, curving inward to an invisible point somewhere under his belt loops.

“Just don’t kill each other,” Dad says, wiping his hands on his pants legs, walking back to the house for a cigarette. “Mom wouldn’t like it.”

He doesn’t even hang around to teach us some moves, except to say we should probably shake hands first.

Terry flips over the top rope and lands on his feet, strutting around the ring, his arms upraised, making nasal imaginary-crowd noises.

“Get in,” he hollers, unusually good-natured. “This’ll be fun. C’mon.”

I crawl through the ropes and nervously bump my gloves against each other. Terry feints two or three jabs in my direction. The gloves whoosh in the air.

“Don’t act so scared, BJ. I won’t hurt you … not much.”

We touch gloves in the center of the ring like guys do on HBO. In less than a second he punches me square in the nose. My nose throbs and I smell blood, but there’s no wetness. Already this is rougher than I’m comfortable with.

Terry backs off and sort of dances with his back against the ropes.

I charge after him but he makes me chase him. Then he pulls up to me and we take some wild swings at each other, basically just skimming off each other’s body.

Terry’s got the build for boxing, but neither one of us knows what we’re doing. Good thing nobody can see us, what with the garage on one side and a high fence on the other.

He taps both sides of my head at once. Doesn’t actually hurt, but it does piss me off.

I punch him in the chest a couple of times. Once in the shoulder. He punches my shoulder in return. Then socks me in the gut.

Again we let fly some scrambled roundhouses and pokes and wind up entangled in each other’s arms, hitting the back of each other’s head and reaching round for the occasional light kidney punch to the small of the back. I smell the salty must of Terry’s sweat, the mustard on his breath from lunch.

We slow-dance in circles, chest to chest, until he shoves me back into one of the posts.

Then at half an arm’s length he slugs me in the jaw. Backs up a little. Comes back at me with another right to the jaw. Same place.

I feel stinging pain. My head feels heavy and unwieldy like a cast-iron fry pan.

My knees buckle. I hold myself up on the ropes. The cheap Wal-Mart gloves have unlaced themselves.

“Rat bastard,” I hiss through my teeth.

He gnaws at the end of his yellow glove, manages to pull it free of his right hand, and then pulls the other glove off.

I try to slip through the ropes to run back to the house. Terry grabs my trunks and pounds my belly with his fist. Too winded to call out, I try to kick him and fall on my ass instead.

The glove falls off my left hand, and I throw the other one off, too. Terry wraps his arms around my upper back, hands clenched under my sternum, his chin digging into my spine, and pulls me clear of the pine post. Hoists me up off my feet and drops me on my back on the ground. Covers my upper body with his torso for a pin, which he counts down by slapping the dirt.

I play possum.

He gets up and stands right over my head. I look up at him towering over me, his dark hair flashing in sunlight. Closer, the muscles in his hairy legs tense and relax. He reaches down and pulls my T-shirt over my head, whacks the side of my head with his forearm.

“Get up, girly.” He snarls. “Fight me. Or I will fuck you up.”

He strips the shirt off my head and tosses it aside. Backs off so I can get up on my feet, which I do, slowly.

He draws closer, circling me, his fists up.

I raise my fists, and he smirks.

We trade second-rate blows. His much more convincing than mine, though. His chest is taut and glistening with the first sheen of sweat.

Neither of us fights worth shit, but it occurs to me that we’re teaching each other as we go.

What the hell—I throw myself at him, and we swing fast and wild, missing and landing blows, pink contact-marks spotting our upper bodies. He drives his knuckles into my nose and upper lip. Desperate, I start to kick at his shins, which really pisses him off.

Thrusting his chest out and sucking his stomach in, Terry rushes me, making an ineffectual swoop with his left arm, followed with a tight, spring-like shot to my left eye with his right.

I hear humming and the next thing I know I’m on my back on the ground. Terry delivers a payback kick to my thigh and pulls back.

I get back on my feet. Terry’s eyes are blazing—like he’d like nothing more right now than to rip me apart, literally.

I feel punished already, hurt that my cousin should bear such an irrational grudge against me, but Terry makes good on it with a couple of punishing body blows.

Then he wraps his left arm around my head and throws me over his hip to the ground. Hops up and down on me a few times. Straddles my chest, grabs a handful of my hair in his left fist, and pounds his right fist to my face a good 5 or 6 times.

I must have passed out or something. I come to on the ground, feeling cold. The earth feels wobbly, and the scattered clouds overhead seem to tilt and whirl slowly.

Terry’s in the corner, arms propped on the top ropes.

“Let’s see who’s boss,” he says.

“You are,” I say, vaguely. Force myself to stand. Wobbly.

“No. We fight to the finish, till one of us cries uncle. It’s how it’s done.”

“Don’t want to,” I say, and turn to walk away.

He pounces on my back and pulls me back to him and we crash together to the ground. He’s like the Tasmanian Devil or something, tearing into me every which way he can. His flesh is hot against me. I’m confused and hurt—my eyes well up with tears, but I manage blindly to strike out at him with my fists.

He grabs me by the wrists and we test our strength. I surprise myself in holding out as long as I do, but eventually he drives my knuckles down to the dirt on either side of head.

He wraps his legs around mine and splays me out. His chest and stomach heaving atop mine. Again I smell lunch on his hot breath.

Then I feel his cock prodding my appendectomy scar.

I’m aroused too. We freeze in place. He stares into my eyes—with a dead expression on his face. All at once, we are breathing in time with each other.

I struggle, half-heartedly, but he holds on tight.

“I’m the boss,” he whispers hoarsely. “You are the slave.”

At the word “slave” his erection swells as it lurches up to twelve o’clock, between our lower abdomens and against my own hard rod.

With the cotton curtain of our shorts between them, the two cocks knead each other roughly. His hips dip deep into mine. He squeezes my wrists and moves them closer to my ears.

The point of his erect nipple scrapes mine.

Terry’s body undulates in a slow, swimming motion over me. He buries his face against my neck, and I smell the sour odor of his hair.

“You’re the boss, Terry,” I whisper.

“Shut up.”

I resist, try to shake my arms loose from his grip, try to writhe free of his legs. He tenses and bears down on me even harder.

He breathes heavily into my ear.

“Uncle,” I say.

“I said, ‘Shut up.’”

He drives himself more heavily into me, sometimes adding an aggressive thrust to his rhythmic churning, to legitimize the idea that we’re still fighting. Then his body shivers and he rests atop me, a dead weight.

We lie there breathing. I grind against his weight. Lukewarm sweat drips out of his armpit onto my shoulder. I crunch up into him, absorb his heat, feel my own cock quiver and then the loosening waves glide up over my body.

He puts his lips close to my ear and murmurs, with no particular inflection, almost like a memorized prayer:

“I ought to beat you up for that. I ought to kick your ass.”

Monday, November 10, 2008

Late Monday Afternoon

Loki comes out of the shower with hard-on bouncing up to his belly button. Smells of city tapwater and Dial soap, and stray, untoweled drops dribble off honey-colored hair and down his shoulders.

He smiles like he has just figured out some new rudeness to try out on me.

I am on the couch with Darcy the cat, grading student essay exams, in baggy cotton shorts, the stereo playing Eurythmics way low.

Loki plops down beside me, warm and clean, and Darcy hightails it upstairs.

After classes he’d headed to Tybee to catch some waves. Disappointed in the choppy water, he cleared out early and strayed to my house, unannounced. Parked his board in the corner of the living room, next to a painting he works on weekends, when he usually pays his visits.

Hard to ignore the upraised pork-sword and tight furry goolies underneath. His bright, unblinking eyes spell h-o-r-n-y as much as his cock does. My interest mounts. I put the folder and red ballpoint aside.

For several seconds we just stare at each other’s eyes, a quiet, ready-for-anything staredown.

“Let me undress you.”

He crawls over on top of me and unbuttons my shirt with his teeth and tongue. A slow process, but satisfyingly lewd. Finished, he brushes his nose up against my throat. The underside of his cock skims my stomach. He peels the open shirt off my shoulders and arms, hangs it around his neck, and then he unbuttons my shorts. He stands up to tug them off, tosses them and the shirt towards the cold fireplace.

Then he straddles my waist with his slim but sinewy legs, nutbrown and lightly furred. Flexes one bicep, then proves how perfectly matched its twin is. Sucks in to show off his well-defined abs. His dick rubs up on mine.

Leans down and puts his thumbs against my adam’s apple. I stiffen. He smiles, showing his teeth. My asshole tightens.

His penis tries to subdue my penis. We cross sabers and cock fight. Each stroke firms up our rods a bit more. He lunges low to jab at my balls.

I feel his triceps with my fingertips. Ouch. His nipples rise like Vietnamese paddy hats.

My dick is nightstick hard, and I jam it up to his crotch.

Almost imperceptibly Loki tightens his grip on my throat.

The game is to make the opponent cum first, then triumphantly force yourself into him.

Now the two fighters are planted firmly against each other. Concentration and lust try to drive the foe down. As much as possible we try not to move the rest of our bodies now. A subtle shift in my hip, though, and my cock rises to his glans, moist with precum, gaining leverage, like a toproll in arm wrestling.

Veiny and full up, the two rods level on one another. His balls mashing mine. He presses his whole body down on me, loosening the grip on my adam’s apple. His skin feels rubbery, taut, feverish. Chest to chest, belly to belly, we thrust into each other. His legs grapevine mine.

I realize my disadvantage and try to roll him over onto the carpet. He successfully resists. I raise my right leg, slightly, trying to ram his ballsack. He counters, pulling himself higher on me, locking his forearms behind my head, and mashing my face into his chest. My heart is beating against his cock, while my cock wags freely between his thighs.

His rhythm accelerates. I wrap my arms around his lower back and pull him in to me. A climactic spasm seizes him. He shoots into my hairy chest.

I tighten my hug, manage to turn him over, off the couch, and I crawl down, in semi-slow-motion, on top of him. For a minute he heaves under me, moaning, a sly satisfied smile on his lips. The starchy smell of Loki’s jizz surrounds us.

He grunts softly, under his breath. He makes a pretend struggle against me, muscles twist on muscles, which only serves to put him stomach down to the carpet, with my cock between his butt cheeks.

He pushes himself up on his hands and knees. Spreads his legs. I grab his still damp hair in my fist, and he groans. I don’t need spit to lubricate. The head of my cock presses into him.

“Relax,” I say.

“Uh-um,” he says.

I get in. He groans again, deep down inside himself, so deep I can feel it against the bottom of my rod. He pushes his ass up to me.

“Um,” I say. “Loki. My precious boy. You feel so nice inside. Nice.”

I fuck him for real now. His whole body, his skin, his viscera, his throbbing heart, open up for me. I pump into him—my upward thrusts are measured, firm, authoritative—like I am a steam engine, a drill, a hydraulic pump. My left arm hooks his throat and pulls him up to me in an arch.

“I’m cumming.”

His face reddens as I squeeze his windpipe shut. A small vein pops up at his temple. I pound harder, light-punching his gut with my right fist as I thrust. I start to howl, the noise fills my chest, and then escapes through my vocal cords, filling the whole house. I thrust again and again, slamming myself deeper and deeper and deeper into the wetness of him.

I release his neck. Stop. Breathe heavily, short gasps. Feel something almost electrical combing over the two of us. I pull my dick out of him. Lie down beside him, my left arm over his left shoulder.

He moans. Backs up to me. We listen to the music, knobbed down to almost mute: “These are my guns these are my furs this is my living room.” Darcy’s mewing at the top of the stairs. Then her loud motorized purring.

I lean in to him, blow playfully in Loki’s ear. He swats me away. After our hearts stop banging, after the sweat cools, after the room stops spinning, we rise, only to collapse again on the couch. Naked and entangled, victor and vanquished, man and man, solitary and together, whole worlds still spinning inside us.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gilles Pinned

Gilles in Paris--Gilles is Webmaster of the valuable and labyrinthine pictorial resource Archives de Lutte/Wrestling Archives.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Payback for Buck Cutler

X grabs me by the hair, hooks his forearm in my crotch, hoists me over his head, and tosses me at the turnbuckle, where I stick, upside down. He charges me and knees me right in the navel.

Blood rushing to my head, sweat stinging my eyeballs, all the lights over the ring blurring—it is like I am in a murky fishbowl with this guy.

At first, I hadn’t thought he looked so tough. Seen him fight once or twice. Wasn’t impressed. Sure, he was hairy, over six feet, big and round on top, black mutton-chop sideburns, steely eyes. But, damn, I’m big too, and I know how to hurt guys twice his size.

He takes three steps back, folds his arms over his massive belly, and just stares at me, studying.

I pull myself up on my feet, strike the palm of my hand against my temple, trying to get the motor in my skull to stop sputtering.

Again, he charges me—roundhouse chop to the jaw bats me over the ring ropes, onto the cold concrete.

Crawl up on my hands and knees. In the roaring dark.

Hear X’s boots crisscross the plywood. Boom boom boom. Then hear him on the floor. Next to me.

Grabs the back of my tights and hikes me up to my feet, pulls my head back by my hair, with a snap. Kidney punch. Spin around, just in time to taste the salty granite of his knuckles in my mouth.

Then locks his right arm around my head and rams it into the ring post. Sparks and pink spots, spinning in my eyes.

Fighting this guy is like fighting a Jeep. He’s all hardware, tousled with wet curly hair.

Dizzily I try to escape, one hand against the mat for balance. But in five seconds he’s on top of me again, belly to belly, left hand wrenching my ear, right fist pounding my face.

Months ago I messed up his little buddy. Cute kid, blond curly hair, honey-colored skin. Fast, acrobatic, a flyer. In 15 minutes I turned him into a meat pie. So X wanted me bad—talked it up for weeks—but I wasn’t scared. Shoulda been, though. Shoulda been.

He shoves me under the ring ropes and rolls in behind me. The damp heat off our bodies collides in the air between us.

Grabs my left arm, yanks it up, squats on my ribs, his crotch nestled in my pit, and twists. I grunt. My arm cracks. Presses his gleaming dark belly against the inside of my elbow. His right leg crushing the nerves out of my right arm, tacked down flat and numb to the mat.

Pulls my wrist into his chest and arches back. My feet kick against the matted plywood.

Scoots back lower on my back. Slips me into a full nelson and rolls on his back, me on top, links his legs round my waist. His heels tucked hard into my balls. Can’t even squirm—like a bug caught in a web. Shoves my head forward. Slaps the back of my skull.

“You make this look too easy,” he growls in my ear.

His right boot snags the inside of my left leg. Jams my head down again, to the breaking point. See my stomach, pinched pink, heaving in and out, over his right leg, flexing like a horse’s flank.

I’m helpless, pitiful, unmanned. This guy owns me and enjoys prolonging the humiliation. Imagine the blond punk watching somewhere, in a neck brace, enjoying the evening of the score.

Releases and shoves off me. I tumble over on my belly. He grabs my boots and squats down on the small of my back, a wrenching Boston crab. I roar in pain. Every inch of me blushing bright red. Clutches my knees, my boots hooked into his pits.

Rocks back and forth while I groan through my clenched teeth.

Bounces his ass on mine. Grinds my balls to the mat. Arches back, glancing back at me over his shoulder, my tendons snapping. Crotch up off the mat now. He reaches down and wrings my cock in his fist.

My scream rises up out of my groin and ekes hoarsely through my vocal cords.

Leans back even further. My hands pound the mat, leaving spotty blood prints.

He rocks his hips up in the air and comes crashing back down on my lower back—one, two, three, four times. I groan like I’m shitting cement blocks.

Breaks the hold. Feel like I’m melting away, losing consciousness, my heart pounding up into my throat.

Puts the heel of his boot against the base of my skull. Strikes a pose. Flexes.

I begin to black out. Paid back. Punished. And, just as the lights go out on me, he casually flips me over like a decked fish and pins me, his hot hard cock plugging my carotid artery.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pehlwani: Wrestling in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Pehlwani is the modern Indian sport, combining 2500-year-old Hindi wrestling and Persian-style wrestling. A fighter is called a pehlwan, Persian for champion or warrior.

Wrestlers train 4-5 hours, beginning at 5:00 a.m., using techniques adapted from yoga and Western wrestling. To wrestle, pehlwans grease their bodies and wrestle in dust pits. Victory is determined by decision (by a panel of judges), submission, or knockout.

Sawari is one training technique, in which pehlwans use another person's body weight to build mass and agility.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pitkoski v Hook

Spider Pitkoski. If a bottom-rung jobber like me can have a nemesis, it is Spider Pitkoski, elder son of Mike Pitkoski, founder and CEO of Florida All-Star Wrestling.

Spider’s an inch taller and five years younger than me. Not a terrific looking face, but a natural burly body built up on Mom’s roast beef and pierogi, high-school football, summers working construction, and now, nine years after turning pro at age nineteen, a ring-savvy knack for turning up the steam and sweat in the final stretch of a match.

Nine years into the biz, he’s starting to look a little out of shape, though, but who am I to judge?

Unlike me, Spider never fights outside the state, stays close to Daddy’s money, Daddy’s small chain of gyms, and Daddy’s bookings, which always pit the boy against butch though unprepossessing heels like me, in fact, mostly me, in one out of every 13 of Spider’s matches, me.

What can I say? I drop a good match, and I make the boss’s son look good. Spidey’s been good business for me. Our mat chemistry is good, almost perfect.

Although he’s not a huge draw for the fans, he gets some pop off the family name and connections. He’s tag-teamed a dozen times with the state heavyweight champ. His cousins, Punk’n’Patch, are huge hits around these parts, and brother Jojo is a handsome, up-and-coming rookie. Spider benefits by association with the three of them—getting fan mail from lonely girls and boys who could never hope to catch the eyes of Jojo, Punk, or Patch.

Jojo is at ringside tonight, in skintight black Aussiebums. He’s slim, young (just 22), a little wild in the eyes, more gymnastic and gym-toned than his big brother. Nicely shaped pecs, and one terrific heart-shaped ass that gets a lot of play when he fights on TV. Jojo circles the ring shouting out encouragement to his brother, pumping up the crowd.

My manager, Lord Travladore, has been officially banned from tonight’s event. He’s reportedly under lock and key in his dressing room. But I happen to know he’s visiting his sister Eleanor in Daytona Beach.

The ring announcer announces the two of us, the evening’s opening event. We’re set to wrassle for seven minutes, while the fans buy hot dogs and sodas and look for their seats. The hardcore faithful, though, have already filled the front two rows.

Neither of us makes a big show of it as our names and weights are called out. We raise our hands to the crowd, no expression on our faces, steadying our eyes at each other across the ring.

I’m a big guy with a gut. No gimmicks. I like to dish out pain, and can sell it good when it’s time for me to pay the piper. My reputation, such as it is, is for being authentic and mean—not outrageous mean like some frigging zombie character or Ayrab cannibal, but run-of-the-mill mean like your asshole brother-in-law, whom I probably resemble.

The bell rings, and Spider and I circle each other, crouching, ready to dive for a leg or lock arms in the center of the ring.

He slides in to me, catches me on his shoulders in a fireman’s carry, takes eight steps in a circle, a clear show of strength, and slams me on my back on the mat. I grimace but spring back up to my feet, rubbing my lower back, my belly already starting to push down my tights a little.

I motion to the ref that Spider pulled my hair—unlikely given my buzz cut.

We circle each other, unblinking eyes sinking deep into the other’s.

We lock up. The usual close clinch where we show off our well-rehearsed muscles to the crowd.

Spider pushes me back into the turnbuckle, shoving my shoulders back to the corner post, belly to belly, slapping.

Ref calls for the break.

Spider shoves off me, but comes right back with a right fist to my gut. Loud satisfying smack of knuckles against flesh. Ref pushes him back, but he bounces back into me, one, two, three hard ones to the solar plexus.

I’m holding on to the ropes.

Spider backs off, glaring, all business. He wants me. Bad.

His little brother skips around the outskirts of the ring, urging the paying customers to cheer for Spider and point their thumbs down at me. Some old lady with silver and yellow teeth yells in the front row, “Kill him, Spider, kill him!” Her neck and underarm wattles quiver as she does a little war dance. Jojo picks up the heat and eggs the small but game crowd on to “kill him spi-der kill him … kill him spi-der kill him ….”

I pull myself up on the top rope and lean over, intentionally letting the rope knead my belly unattractively. I shout at the crowd, “Shut up, losers.” Spitting the words. They laugh and cheerily call for my demise more loudly.

The kid, Jojo, positions himself right in front of me, jabs his bony finger into the air at me like a Pentecostal preacher on fire with the Holy Ghost and hoarsely leads the chant.

As soon as I turn back into the ring, Spider charges me, clotheslines me, and I drop on my butt with a dramatic—almost operatic—OWwww. This takes a second.

The crowd cheers. The nice thing about longstanding rivalries is that the cues are easy, and it doesn’t take a lot to get the story across to the fans.

Everybody knows that, when the babyface starts off strong against the older, more experienced heel, a third of the way through, the bad guy’s going to turn the tide, dominate the match until the face is reduced to raw meat, barely breathing, and then, and then, in the final minute, the heel will make a mistake, take a badly planned dive off the turnbuckle, for instance, which the hero will elude and, in a triumph of good over evil, roll up the heel, pinning him, the face’s ass on or just above the loser’s humiliated head.

Believe me, it’s an angle that never fails to satisfy.

Following up on the clothesline, Spider grabs me by the ear and pulls me to my feet. The ref shouts some terse warnings, but Spidey is lost in his thoughts. He Irish whips me into the ropes and then crashes his elbow across by throat on the rebound. I drop to the mat, bouncing twice.

In a flash Spider hauls up my left leg and twists my ankle while he anchors my right leg to the mat with his left foot on my knee. He spreads his legs wide and leans into my upraised left leg, adding weight to my pinned knee and pressure to my stretched hamstrings.

I pound on the mat with clenched fists, yowling in agony. The ref pantomimes asking me if I want to give up. I shake my head no. My whole torso is twisted, my back painfully arched.

Desperately I reach out and grab a ring rope. The ref makes Spider break the hold.

I pull myself up on the ropes. Gingerly. Spider springs back to action and tackles me, and we both fly through the ropes and land on the concrete floor below.

This hurts.

We lie there side by side, shaking our heads trying to shake out the cobwebs. Sweat drips off our bodies and gathers into reflecting pools under us.

Groggily, I try for a cover on the half-conscious Spider, grabbing his leg and thrusting my chest and stomach over his face, but Jojo rushes over and pulls me off, delivering an indignant slap to my face. Fists at his chest in a boxer’s stance, Jojo stands guard over his fallen brother.

I get up on wobbly feet and roll back into the ring. The ref starts the count of ten, but Jojo lifts Spider up and hoists him back onto the mat. I lunge and kick Jojo in the face, separating the brothers, and the handsome kid falls flat on his back.

Being bad has taught me a thing or two about taking an unfair advantage. I drag my opponent to the center of the ring, away from the ropes. I pound his face once with the sole of my boot, then grind it into the bridge of his nose, while he furiously, helplessly kicks and stomps. I grab his feet and stretch his legs wide and, in true payback-is-a-bitch mode, drive my boot into his balls.

Boos and hisses from the crowd. Jojo is back on his feet now, screaming foul at the ref, who, distracted, doesn’t see me drive my knee into Spider’s jaw. Spider and I have done this routine a dozen times, and the fans lap it up every time.

He groans and cups his hands over his crotch.

On cue, I climb up onto the top ring rope at the turnbuckle. Jojo’s at my back, slapping at the heels of my boots and hurling insults. He grabs the seat of my tights. My balance is not good up here, and Jojo distracts me as his brother slowly and heroically rises to his feet. The crowd is screaming its head off.

Spider charges the turnbuckle and climbs up to face me, for several seconds we stand there, precariously, eyeball to eyeball, our chests heaving with exhaustion and lust for dishing out pain.

He hooks my head in his armpit, and I hear his heart tom-tom into the side of my face. My hands flail, trying for a hold or a defense, but they slip off Spider’s slick body. He flips backward, tossing me clear across the ring.

He’s up on his feet, bouncing, in less than a second. I spring to my knees, arms outstretched, in classic begging-for-mercy pantomime. Spider crooks his arms into the fighter’s stance and looks around at the crowd.

The crowd is with us now. The seats that were empty have filled up. Everybody’s heaving, shouting, chanting “kill him,” Jojo is pounding the palms of his hands on the mat, syncopated to the fans’ incantation.

Spider pulls in closer. I take advantage and slug him in the gut. He crashes into me, fists flying. I do my wobbly lump bit as the punches keep coming like lightning strikes. His body is shining and poised. Each blow rocks mine. My round belly—a point of erotic pride for me—quakes to every jab.

Again he armlocks my head and spins me around, walloping my face with his free fist six or seven or eight times.

The audience’s newfound roar fills the auditorium.

He releases me and I collapse on my back with a resonant thud, my quivering gut a hill he’s about to charge and take. He stomps his boot to the space beneath my navel. Twelve times and then I stop counting. He climaxes with a double stomp to the chest.

The ref tries to tear him away, but the young stud will not be pacified.

He kneels next to my head, grabs me up by the ear, and punches me in the face. One, two, three times.

Then he pulls me to my knees, locks his arms around my waist, his chest against my back, hauls me upside down, holds me aloft for a good 20 seconds, then delivers a piledriver. My body crashing down like a demolitioned hotel in Vegas.

Lights out. Kaput.

My ears ringing with the screams of the fans, hailing the young hero, firstborn of the FASW empire, triumphing for the 100th time, perhaps, over his longtime foe. In a cocky kid-brother gesture, Jojo clambers into the ring and poses with his boot on my chest, grinning broadly, beaming with family pride, flexing his tight biceps to the adoring lights and flashing bulbs surrounding us.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Christian Fight

In the eight years I knew him, at church and later at the Christian college we attended together, I saw him really, out-of-control mad only once.

A guy named Christian in our dorm—blond, tan, muscular, and smooth, a cherry birthmark on the snow-white right buttock we could see in the showers, but positioned just so that Christian may never have known it was there—for some reason, Len took an instant dislike to him.

The guy looked like he was from Sweden or somewhere, but his name was English, Christian Lee Morrison, according to the college annual: about as Anglo-Saxon as can be. From Richmond.

What about him riled Len up I’ll never know. Even early in the fall semester, when the guys on our floor lined up against the hallway walls for evening prayer meeting, before lights-out, I would sometimes catch Len shooting the guy fleeting, askance, yet fierce scowls. On other occasions, even when the banter was friendly, I could sense Len bristle every time Christian spoke.

Maybe it was that he called himself “Christian,” and not something chummier like “Chris” or “Lee.” Just that? Maybe. Len was the sort to keep his reasons simple, bare-boned, hardly reasons at all, more like animal reflexes.

It occurred to me, too, that Len might be jealous.

But why? Nobody was more popular than Len, son of a well-known (in our circles) pastor of a Florida church with one of the ten largest Sunday schools in America.

Len, who made the girls sigh and the boys laugh, could have nothing to fear from Christian, who kept to himself, took his future goals and athletics serious, passed every course he took with a B, never sought the spotlight, and rarely took it.

Christian was handsome—beautiful even—his clear skin looked like you could see down into it, like a gemstone—but his unassuming nature tended to diminish the impact of his beauty, almost by intention.

He wore black Bakelite glasses even on the soccer field—some of the girls called him “Clark Kent,” in spite of his radiant white-blond hair and honey tan, mostly because the black intramural uniform nicely showed off his biceps, forearms, and thighs. Only in the showers did the glasses come off.

I had ample opportunity to observe him. We took almost all the same classes together our freshmen year. He tended to sit towards the back of the class, near the door, never speaking up or showing off, and vanishing almost as soon as the lecture ended.

I knew that Len bore Christian a grudging respect on top of his irrational hostility, because once one of the fellows in our bible study group called Morrison a fairy, and Len shot the guy a stern look and said matter-of-factly, “I wouldn’t want to have to fight him.”

But there was a fight, and it happened about two weeks after Christmas break.

Ten or twelve of us were in the locker room following P.E. Len was snapping his towel at the combination locks, making a racket—bragging about the accuracy of his aim. Christian, two other guys, and I were in the shower.

Len, still dripping from having just showered, with just a thin towel wrapped around his waist, shouted out to us: “Hey, girls, lookee this.” He tossed a bar of soap in the air and snapped it with his towel, and it propelled into the showers, landing against my heel.

“Hey, watch it,” I said. I was laughing when I said it.

Len wound the towel up tight and thwacked it against my lower back. The sound echoed. I jumped and bumped against Christian.

Christian looked up at Len and said, “Leave him alone.”

Len looked like he had been slapped.


“Leave him alone. You could hurt him.”

I started to say something then, to explain that this was just the kind of buddies Len and I were, horse-playing, all in fun, when suddenly Len whipped the towel against my ear. It stung like hell.

Before I could even feel the pain, though, Christian charged into Len, knocking him on his ass and sliding him across the tiles. The back of Len’s head thudded against the wall. The two other guys jumped out of the shower area, but everybody congregated at the doorway to watch.

I didn’t move. Christian stood, in a shoulder-wide stance, dead center, over the drain. For lack of a better word, he looked magnificent.

Len pulled himself up. The towel around his waist was soaked, but secure. Water drops navigated the hair on his chest and stomach, like marbles in a pinball. His eyes shot lightning bolts, the scar across his nose flushed, but a smirk played over his lips.

He put up his fists, and Christian put up his.

At first they just circled each other, their jabs connecting midway between their bodies, knuckle to knuckle. But then Christian caught Len in a headlock and began to spin him in circles.

His feet hydroplaning on the slick floor, Len landed five or six roundhouse punches to Christian’s back and chest.

Len pulled loose, but no sooner than he did, Christian caught him in an arm-twist. Len howled.

Christian kept his balance, feet apart, his cock and balls wobbling minimally, with a sort of Olympian decorum, even. Then he wrapped his right leg around Len’s left leg and brought them both down with a thud, a splash, and the squish of skin on skin.

They slid a couple of feet, fists and heels flailing.

The guys in the locker room were cheering Len on. “Kill him,” they shouted.

I crouched in the corner, to stay out of the way, and to hide my semi-hard-on.

Len drove his fist into Christian’s nose, and blood spurted out. It swirled in the water and vanished into the drain, like Psycho.

Christian grabbed Len by the neck and flipped him over on his back. Brought his flexed calves across his face, then planted the soles of his feet on Len’s forehead and jaw, yanked his arm up between his glistening thighs, gripping Len’s twisted wrist, again, right above his cock.

Len’s legs struggled for traction on the wet floor. The spray of one shower nozzle hitting him square in the face. He gasped and spat. Christian sat with his back straight, biceps flexed, arms bent like a statue of Anubis, blood darkening his upper lip.

The guys outside were screaming instructions to Len, all of them infeasible under the circumstances.

Christian let go and pushed himself away from Len. Wiped the blood off his nose. Thought the technical pin had put an end to the fight.

Another guy might have faced that he had been outfought, not Len. He sprang to his feet, unsteadily on the tile, and crouched like a wrestler.

His and Christian’s bodies collided and collapsed. It was like a clap of thunder. Len’s towel shook loose and fell to the floor. They grappled belly to belly and chest to chest. Len’s face rigid in a vicious, leering mask. Christian’s face oddly docile—through the whole fight he looked like he was solving difficult math problems in his head. Their bodies rolled under the steady downpour of the showers. Their slippery skin reflecting the overhead lights in flashes.

Len straddled Christian’s waist and drove wild punches into his face and shoulders. His only attack plan seemed to be to make Christian bleed more. Christian bucked and managed to catch Len in another headlock. Len planted the palm of his right hand against Christian’s face and pushed, one leg wrapped around Christian’s waist, his heel resting right under his opponent’s navel. I could see Len’s face turning bright red.

The two were wound tight into each other. The water cooled, and both men’s nipples turned small and hard. They breathed through the diaphragm; their bellies’ rhythmic heaving was the only movement for maybe forty seconds.

I inched my way to the doorway, close to the cheering guys, who ignored me.

For a couple of minutes, Len and Christian shuddered against each other like a couple of dogs that have caught each other by the throat. Banging their bones against each other and the hard tile had worn them out. Pink slap marks began to surface on their taut skin, as well as a round purple bruise on Len’s upper thigh.

Christian stopped the fight. Once again shoving Len’s body away from him with his powerful legs. He rose to his feet and pushed his way through the line of guys, none of whom had rooted for him. Still his back was straight, his face serious, his tan body nobly naked. He cleaned his nose with a cotton handkerchief out of his locker.

Not wanting to embarrass Len by staring—or daring to offer words of comfort, everybody turned away and resumed getting dressed alongside Christian. Nobody said anything.

Breathing heavily through his nose, Len got up on his feet. He walked past me without even looking at me—but I could feel the rage. It hit me like an icy wave. He grabbed his street clothes and found a corner bench where he could dress alone, his back to the rest of us.

Christian left first. Then gradually everybody else left, except for Len and me.

A long, awkward silence.

Even after I was fully dressed, I lagged behind, sat on a bench, staring down at the floor between my shoes. I could detect Len’s movements out of the corner of my eye. Eventually, he moved towards me, stood in front of me, glaring down at me.

“Look at me,” he said.


“I said Look at me.”

I turned my eyes up to his.

His steady gaze pinned me there where I sat.

“Stay away from me for a while,” he said.

“Why.” I could hear the whine in my voice.

“I don’t want to see you, so stay away.”

He left me alone in the locker room.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Prayer Partner, Len (for Dave and Bobby)

On the back of Len’s Honda, my crotch tucked against the butt of his corduroys, self-conscious I grip the passenger backrest behind me.

We are skipping Sunday morning service at the college, breaking one of the school’s holiest commandments—we could get suspended for this. Not to mention what the 12-pack of Buds Len steadies between his thighs might cost our eternal souls.

Cool, dry October air—the small Christian college town in the foothills.

Len has the keys to a vacant apartment. While Dr Jim delivers hellfire and damnation back in the campus chapel-torium, Len and I are fixing to cook up our own.

Len is a preacher’s son, proverbial trouble. Lost his cherry at fourteen to the good-looking daughter of a family of gospel singers back at his daddy’s church in Tampa. Six-foot-three, curly dirty-blond hair, a dashing scar over his northern Italian nose.

Haughty, superficial, hypocritical—he manages to carry his worldly bad-boy image in the same pocket as his Republican rectitude. I despise him, sort of, in a friendly way—but in my prayers I have promised God to love him as a brother.

Autumnal leaves part as he pulls into the drive. Next to the bike key, the shiny new key to the apartment. Belongs to some rich lady, friend of his father’s. We walk in, enjoy the hollow echoes of the empty rooms, smell of new paint and crisp virgin carpeting.

Len drops the beers on the breakfast nook, liberates two, and tosses one of them to me: “Drink fast. No electricity for the fridge.”

We pull the tear-shaped tabs and shuck them against the wall. Len opens the sliding glass door to the deck to let the brisk air in. The smoke of faraway burning leaves. He slides the door back to a crack.

He drains the can of beer and crumples the empty with one hand. Pressed to keep up, I gulp mine down, all but what I dribble from the corner of my mouth.

Len falls to the floor and does a dozen push-ups, then a dozen more with one hand. I can’t do that. I grab four more Buds, instead. We down the second two as quickly as the first two, facing each other, cross-legged on the floor.

We pop open the next ones, meditatively.

The beer goes down easy on my empty stomach, nourished with only a cup of lukewarm Tang for breakfast, homemade in the dorm room.

Len tugs his orange Izod off over his head and shoulders. He has an all-purpose athletic body that has yet to prove gifted in any one sport. Spade-shaped hairline on his chest broadens fern-like over his stomach, surrounding his crescent belly button.

Mainly I’m impressed by his sinewy forearms bristling with enthusiastic, gold-flecked hairs. He grins, mouth ajar, lips glistening with beer. Direct intense eye contact. The message: You now.

I unbutton my plaid shirt and toss it aside.

“You ready?” he asks.

“I don’t know.”

“You promised. I dared you, and you swore it. Before God.”

“OK, then.”

We unlace our shoes and unbuckle our belts, sway as we maneuver to tug off our socks and slacks without standing up. They all fall in a common clump against the wall.

I’m wearing regular BVDs from Sears. He has on a tie-dyed cotton bikini brief, with no fly, precisely outlining his trinitarian bulge. He smirks and explains that it’s a gift from an old girlfriend from high school—the brief, that is, not the bulge.

He slaps his stomach and then flexes his biceps on either side of his head—big pearly smile, long-lashed eyes crinkling at the corners.

I strike a pose too, more earnest, eyebrows bunching up with concentration.

“What next?”

“Indian leg wrestle, first. To loosen up.”

We lie beside each other, head to foot, foot to head, raise our right legs at a 45-degree angle. One two three. We lock up, struggle.

I have had unusually large calves and muscular thighs since age eleven, so I have Len’s feet over his head in less than 30 seconds. He chuckles appreciatively, admiringly.

We both roll over onto our hands and knees, circle each other on all fours, rise up, bandy our arms offensively, defensively, for maybe a minute, Len delivering some quick painless but insulting slaps to my cheeks.

Then we lock up. Our bodies are different. Mine is smooth, baby smooth almost, stocky, thick-boned, of medium height. Len has the musculature of a leopard.

Our knees together, arms strained evenly, muscle to muscle, at an impasse, something agitates Len’s physique even now—even motionless, his body seems animated in its contours, an irrepressible liveliness.

Suddenly he slides into me, wrapping his limbs around my neck and waist, all in one smooth movement—I feel locked into him.

I tap his forearm and he immediately releases. He is no longer grinning, but a fierce light glows in his eyes, joyous and intense.

We chat a little about what we learned in judo class—how tough, though short and slim, the sensei is. Then he pounces on me, but I roll him over on his back, after quite a strenuous struggle, press his shoulders down, and straddle his chest with my legs.

He reaches up and pinches a stray carpet thread off my chest. We remain there breathing together, looking into each other’s faces, warily.

Then he heaves loose, with a surprising ferocity, thrusts his forearm against my mouth. I taste blood, but just the smallest speck.

We wrestle, grinding our bodies closer and tighter together. Len’s face blushes brightly, except for the scar, which seems to blanch, the veins in his neck pop out, his skin glows with the first lacquer of perspiration.

His limbs hone in on the gaps in my stance, he winds around me, seeking a place to anchor his flesh in mine. I am slower, more deliberate in my movements.

He favors holds that paralyze and stretch. The contact is more bumpy and bruising than I had imagined.

Neither one of us loses his temper—but Len clearly wants to dominate me. He wants to make manacles and chains of his muscles and bind me with them.

We grapple at lightning speed. Me, methodically, move by textbook move, him, in explosions of controlled frenzy, like a spider wrapping up a fly in fast motion.

The fight locks us in tight together. What onlooker could then parse the writhing, crushing knot of us two, to label that elbow mine or that foot his? We grunt and groan, lapse into long rhythmic stretches of gasping for air. Our backs shiny with sweat.

The carpet and our sandpapery jaw lines chafe our skin. We are both solid and slippery quick. Now when we glimpse each other’s face, it appears to be in a state of shock, eyes dazed, or dazzled, cheekbones raw and severe.

Len breaks and falls back on his back. His glistening hairy stomach heaves up and down.

I am numb—my head empty for once—where thoughts and memories used to be, now only a low hum. I breathe in terse asthmatic gasps.

I rest my left forearm against Len’s chest, as if to steady myself. The apartment seems to be moving, then it seems that I am the one that’s moving, then next the skyline outside the window seems to be tipping backwards.

I lay my chest and stomach across Len’s. My right hand, absent-mindedly, fondles his left ear. His hand touches the small of my back, massaging, then patting. It’s not quite noon, yet it seems like dusk outside.

Then a wave of aliveness washes over me. My senses, more acute than ever, take in the room’s silence, the slick warmth of Len’s body under mine, the mineral taste of blood on the tongue, the faint smell of Len’s Aramis, the outline of his face looking blankly up at the ceiling.

Suddenly self-conscious again, I lift myself up on one arm and roll away from Len. I remember that this is my hometown preacher’s son. His eyes are closed, but he clasps his hands behind his head and grins.

“Did I hurt you?”

“No. You OK?”


He rolls to his side, props himself up by the elbow.

“You got a boner, brother,” he says, blankly and unalarmed. “I felt it there several times, against me. Guess that happens sometimes.”

“Yeah,” I say with equal lack of emphasis. “I think I read that someplace once.”

“I could have pinned you three or four times there. Easily. Thought it’d be more fun to keep the tussle going.”

I look at him. He looks at me. Slight hint of bullying bravado.

“I think we’ll call this one a draw. But I better not hear you telling anyone you beat me.”

I chuckle. It seems like a chuckle is called for now.

“We got to get back to campus before church lets out. Somebody will notice if we’re not at dinner.”

“I guess so.”

“Look, tiger. We’re doing this again. Soon. But I don’t want you going all queer on me, OK? If it happens, I’ll get rough on you next time.”

I feel my penis adjust itself in the crotch of my briefs, as if angling for a better view. I pull my knees to my chest.

“Sure. It was nothing. You should know.”

“I’m just making an observation. And no brag, just fact, if it comes down to it, I can take you. You know that. I can be the boss of you, if I have to be, brother. And I don’t want to hurt you, truly I don’t. But if you ever push like that into me again, I will have a bone to pick with you. I will kick your butt.”


“OK, then. Toss me one more beer.”

We walk back out into the cool sunlight. The sweat having dried to a fine scented powder on our skin. Len saves his shirt for last, letting the brisk hard breeze hit him and clench up his nipples, before slipping the shirt back over his head.

I settle in behind him on the bike. While buckling his helmet, he turns his head to me and tells me I’d better hold on to him on the way back. Safer that way. I reach around his waist with both arms, clasping my fingers over his belly. I feel its warmth, its soft heaving motion with each breath, the fine threads of his shirt. I slip up close behind him, leaning into his muscular back, feel the tension in his shoulders, remember that, minutes ago, that strength and energy were directed at me.


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