Friday, January 23, 2009

Ordeal of Drums and Five Torches: An Iron-Age Fantasy


Gwyet was a poor hunter, but he dreamed of being a prince.

In the kingdom of Emrys, eternal king of the Valley People and high priest of Nud, god of winter, Emrys favored only one prince at a time.

Unlike most kingdoms, principality in Emrys’ domain came not by birth or acclaim, but through survival of the Ordeal of Drums and Five Torches. In this ordeal, a challenger had to fight and kill the current prince with no weapons but his hands. The prince killed the challengers who failed to kill the prince. Only two could enter the Dungeon of Drums and Torches; only one could leave, and he would be Emrys’ prince and favorite.

Few elected to take on the ordeal, so many princes lived well past their rosy youths. The current prince, Trestyn, had seen just over thirteen-times-two winters. He had slain Exeos, the former prince, six winters past.

In Gwyet’s mind, it was his turn to be Emrys’ prince and cupbearer. He was thirteen-and-six.

Nobody knew the age of the everlasting Emrys, but the legend was he had favored some thirteen-times-thirteen-times-thirteen royal princes, which the elders took to represent the age of the natural world.

One day—and (need I say it?) long, long ago—Gwyet presented himself at the palace of Emrys in the capital city. He announced his intentions to the royal eunuchs, who tested his resolve and sincerity. They administered the Test of Three Golden Caskets, the Test of Three Porridges, and the Test of Quicksand, Boulder, and Cavern. Then, once Gwyet had sufficiently proved himself to them, the eunuchs dressed him in a white tunic and brought him before Emrys.

Gwyet had never seen such luxury as he saw in Emrys’ royal chamber. Nine giant tortoises, carapaces bearing maps of the nine known kingdoms of the world, encrusted with metals and precious stones, wandered the room freely, though lugubriously. Ornate stone columns propped up the high ceiling, carved with the images of youth with fine faces and physiques—princes or perhaps even gods. Carpets piled thick on top of carpets. And the king’s throne—gigantic—as big as some peasants’ huts—glittered gold.

The king himself, Emrys the eternal, was a giant of a man. Most men’s heads would reach only his chest. He wore a woolen peplum, heavy with beautifully wrought metal ornaments. His arms were big as tree trunks, tattooed with astronomical signs and animal emblems. His hairy chest and belly, round with muscles solid as stones, swelled like ox bladders. Thirteen-and-three precious metals pierced his ears, nose, and lower lip.

Next to Emrys’ throne stood a handsome man. Gwyet guessed he must be Trestyn the wild. Red haired and vulpine eyed, the youth wore an embroidered blue-green robe that covered him from shoulders to feet. Only his head and neck and hard but delicate hands were visible. His skin shone bright with oil and musk. Only the king could view his body—or a challenger in the Dungeon of Drums and Torches.

“Who are you?” demanded the king.

“I am Gwyet, a hunter in the forest.”

“Who are your people?”

“I have no people but my king, at his eternal pleasure.”

“What brings you here?”

“The desire to be your prince, my lord.”

Emrys and Trestyn exchanged glances. Gwyet averted his gaze, looking down at his toes.

“Are you prepared to face the Ordeal of Drums and Five Torches, lad?”

“I am.”

“And you will fight Prince Trestyn to the death?”

“I will, my lord, and I will kill him as a sacrifice to you and your god Nud.”

“You are sure of yourself, young Gwyet the hunter?”

“As sure as gods will allow, my lord.”

“So be it.”

The king clapped his hands, and the eunuchs returned and stood on either side of Gwyet.

The king stood and pointed his finger at Gwyet. “Kill this boy if he tries to escape. And bring him prepared to the Dungeon of Drums and Torches when the moon is highest in the sky.”

Trestyn stepped down from the throne and approached Gwyet. The two were of even height. As far as could be told, each young man weighed the equivalent of four sacks of barley malt. Gwyet thought the prince smelled of mint and vanilla. Trestyn said nothing but looked at the hunter disdainfully, before politely bowing his head. Gwyet bowed back, also without speaking.

The eunuchs escorted Gwyet out of the throne room and back to the great hall.


In the evening, the eunuchs took Gwyet to the bathhouse. There they fed him roasted meat and honey dripping from a pale wax comb. They gave him mead to drink.

They stripped away the white tunic and washed his fine body in a warm cauldron, then toweled it dry before anointing it with oil, speckled with crushed herbs. The oil made Gwyet’s skin tingle and blush. The eunuchs scraped the oil, dirt, and dead skin from the young man’s body with a small curved tool made of iron. They dabbed the boy’s dark hair with musk oil.

Gwyet lay naked on thirteen cushions. The eunuchs hummed and played music to help him relax. Gwyet had a handsome face, some of them remarked, fit for a prince. They also complimented the curves of his body, noting their firmness and elegance.

Gwyet’s eyebrows, they sang, were dark as the woods at night. His unblemished skin was the color of conch shells. His nose was straight with flaring nostrils. His oiled hair was the color of waxed ebony. He was strong and fast as a stag, but he had a wolf’s heart for the hunt and the kill. They sang of his beauty and his manly virtues. He would please the king, they predicted. He had a huge cock and an ass that smelled like ripe apples. He would kill handsome Trestyn the wild with his bare hands.

When the time was right, they forced the boy to purge his bowels and void his bladder. They tied a white loincloth round Gwyet’s slender hips. It cut deep between his firm round buttocks, hung loose, yet secure, over his cock and balls. They led him to the Dungeon of Drums and Torches.

Outside the freestanding chamber and circling around it, thirteen-times-thirteen musicians in loincloths just like Gwyet’s stood over tall stretched-hide drums. As soon as Gwyet appeared, they began to beat the drums, slowly and solemnly, in a cadence that predicted and controlled Gwyet’s stride and pace.

Off to one side, elevated high above the heads of everyone, was Emrys’ throne, moved from the royal chamber for this occasion. Emrys sat on the throne, naked, except for gold bands wrapped around his biceps and calves, and a wreath of mistletoe around his head. His cock was relaxed, yet massive, resting on his muscular thigh.

The eunuchs opened the portal, and Gwyet stepped through the passageway, into the dungeon. High over his head, five torches attached to the walls popped, hissed, and fluttered. The eunuchs closed the portal behind him. He heard them secure it shut, possibly with a brace. Suddenly the drumming stopped. He was alone in the dungeon that stretched ten body-lengths in every direction.

The far corners of the room were stacked with blackened skulls and bones, contestants who had entered and fought but never left the room. The red-orange walls were painted with flat cartoons of naked young men, each one peering down indifferently at Gwyet. The flickering torches gave the drawings the illusion of movement.

The drumming resumed, the pace the same as what it had been before. At the opposite end of the room, a portal opened, and the prince Trestyn stepped through. He wore a dark purple loincloth. His well-oiled body glimmered in the torchlight. His skin was pale. He had the body of a warrior, a hero of the old legends.

His orange hair had been oiled and pulled back behind his ears. His lower back, just above the white buttocks, was tattooed with a design of mistletoe garlands. The graceful and alluring furrows that narrowed from the prince’s hipbones to his groin bracketed another tattoo, the sleek silhouette of a fox. The gold-yellow hair of the prince’s crotch crested just over his loincloth.

The prince looked steadily into Gwyet’s eyes and spoke: “I am Trestyn, here to sacrifice you to the glory of our king and his god.”

Gwyet’s whole body grew tense. He looked steadily back into the prince’s pale eyes. “I am Gwyet. My body is strong, and my wits are keen. I will kill you, my prince. Forgive me, but what now belongs to you is soon my destiny. I will give you a good fight first, my prince, out of respect.”

Trestyn smiled: “This should be fun, young Gwyet. I have never had to fight a hunter.”

The two young men bowed courteously to one another.

Trestyn spoke: “Hunter, to honor you and Nud, god of winter, I will take pleasure in your body as you die.”

Gwyet spoke: “Prince, to honor you and Nud, god of the eternal king Emrys, I will take pleasure in your body as you die.”


The two young men circled each other. Their bare feet on the cold stone floor.

Outside the drummers increased the pace of the drumming, to stir the fighters and encourage a quick, decisive finish. Even so, these ordeals could last for hours. Maybe even days.

The prince lurched forward and grabbed Gwyet around the chest. Gwyet wrapped his arms around the back of Trestyn’s neck and head. The two pushed and twisted, trying to unbalance the opponent. Their bodies were slippery with oil, heated by the crackling flames over their heads.

The bodies lurched into sudden spins in either direction, as each man tried to overpower the other. Their feet slapped against the floor, arhythmically.

Gwyet tried to kink his opponent’s neck. Meanwhile, in tiny and gradual increments, Trestyn tightened his grip on Gwyet’s ribs.

The two fighters’ bellies rubbed on each other. The two young men drove their knees into each other’s thighs with ruthless fury.

Gwyet gained a footing and pushed hard. Trestyn stumbled backwards but managed to twist so that both men fell equally hard on the stone. On the ground it was harder for Trestyn to hug Gwyet’s chest. He tightened his grip and jabbed the knotted hands repeatedly to the small of Gwyet’s back.

Gwyet pressed Trestyn’s skull to the stone floor and pounded it with the heel of his hand. Trestyn loosened his hold, and Gwyet gained leverage, straddled Trestyn’s belly, and shoved the back of the prince’s head viciously to the floor.

The two shining bodies smacked into each other as Trestyn wriggled to free himself of Gwyet. He slammed his right forearm up to Gwyet’s nostrils and rolled. Gwyet rolled with him, and the two bodies separated.

The fighters scrambled to their hands and knees, and then sprang up to their feet. Drums beating faster and faster. Trestyn leapt at Gwyet’s head with a clenched fist. Gwyet’s knee thudded into Trestyn’s chest, pushing him back a body length.

The two men crashed into each other at the center of the chamber. Trestyn grabbed a fistful of Gwyet’s dark hair and tugged, flipping his opponent’s body over his hip. Gwyet bounced on the hard stone. Trestyn drove his foot to Gwyet’s ribcage, again and again.

Gwyet grasped at Trestyn’s leg but came back with only air. Trestyn leapt high in the air and landed on the points of his knees on Gwyet’s stomach. Gwyet spat blood and rolled to his side. Trestyn continued to beat Gwyet’s ribs with his fists.

Gwyet fought valiantly and furiously. He grabbed the prince’s red hair and pulled the back of Trestyn’s head to his chest. He gripped Trestyn’s ribs and kicked the prince’s feet out from under him, then flipped the man over his body and onto the stone. Trestyn cried out, and the drumbeats intensified, louder, faster.

In great pain, Trestyn rose to his feet. Gwyet stood, too, and glared at the prince’s face. He slapped the prince across the face three times. Then slapped again in exactly the same spot. Trestyn swung his fist at Gwyet and slammed it to his heart. Gwyet fell back, landed on his back, and tumbled over, then sprang back to his feet.

Trestyn bent back his head and yelled—a warrior’s howl that echoed along the dungeon’s stone walls. Gwyet was seized with fear, but responded courageously. He gripped the prince’s lower jaw and tried to wrench it free. His fingers clawed at his opponent’s lips and teeth. Trestyn scratched his nails across Gwyet’s eyes. Gwyet thrust his fist into the prince’s mouth and grabbed the man’s tongue in his fingers.

Trestyn raked his nails again across his opponent’s eyes. In pain, Gwyet released the tongue and instead smashed his fist into Trestyn’s rage-contorted face.

Terrified by their own sudden brutality, the two fighters fled each other, running to opposite ends of the dungeon. Trestyn hid his face in his hands. Gwyet trembled and wept. But there was no stopping the ordeal, once begun.


How long did the drumming throb along the dungeon walls with neither fighter moving? Who knows?

Gwyet’s stomach rumbled, and the young hunter began to move. Trestyn pushed up his body from the cold stone, stood straight and handsome as the prince he was. His red hair fell in wet clumps against his forehead and neck.

Gwyet spoke: “What is the beginning of the Ordeal of Drums and Five Torches?”

Trestyn answered: “It is hidden in a cloud of nothingness.”

Gwyet spoke: “Does our savagery have a purpose? Here or in a life to come?”

Trestyn answered: “In truth, its purpose is only the purpose we see in it, and the thing it makes us become.”

Gwyet spoke: “It will be fun to kill you, my prince.”

Trestyn spoke: “It will be fun to kill you. And it will please the king and his god.”

The two fighters approached each other, hunched their shoulders like apes, and breathed in hisses through their teeth. They wagged their fists at each other. Their cocks stretched the fronts of their loincloths. The muscles of their hard lean bodies rippled.

Trestyn lunged low and brought Gwyet down to the floor. Gwyet locked his legs around Trestyn’s hips, his ankles crossed at the lowest rung of the spine. The prince grabbed Gwyet’s head between his chest and forearm and tried to wrench the neck. Gwyet punched Trestyn in the ribs and swerved his hips. Trestyn’s hold loosened, and Gwyet pulled free of the choke. His leg lock slipped up Trestyn’s trunk to crush the belly.

Gwyet was on his back on the floor, his knees pinching into Trestyn’s ribs. Trestyn stretched his ivory-white torso up—the ribs quivering like fish gills under the skin. The fox tattoo pressing on the base of Gwyet’s cock. Trestyn’s navel stretching between Gwyet’s thighs. Trestyn thrust his fists down to Gwyet’s face, but his reach fell short of the mark.

Trestyn writhed, struggling to escape Gwyet’s powerful grip. Gwyet crushed the air from Trestyn’s body. The slick skin of both men, bodies in one knot on the cold stone floor, flashed with the sputtering torchlight overhead. Trestyn gasped for air. He felt faint. His skin turned clammy.

Outside the drumming was furious, demonic, roaring.

Gwyet flexed his thigh muscles. Trestyn whimpered. He collapsed on Gwyet in a near swoon. Gwyet clamped Trestyn’s neck between his sinewy forearms. Trestyn’s whole body convulsed and shivered. His face reddened, tears welled up in his eyes, his lips thickened and their color darkened. The eyes especially seemed to recognize his weakened position and his imminent death.

Trestyn’s body was loose as a man made of straw. Gwyet thrust his forearm hard against the prince’s throat. Constricted his thighs on the prince’s waist. Thrust his legs downward to traumatize the body more. Trestyn shuddered. His cock was painfully engorged, pinched into the crack of Gwyet’s ass. Gwyet felt his stiff cock press into the white flesh of Trestyn’s belly. Trestyn’s eyes rolled up, just a breath away from Gwyet’s face.

Gwyet tossed his opponent aside. Trestyn’s lips were blue and still, but his body still throbbed with animal life.

Gwyet loosened the dark purple loincloth from Trestyn’s hips. Naked, Trestyn folded into himself. Gwyet shed his white loincloth and tossed it aside. He grabbed Trestyn by the legs, pulled, and flipped the prince to his stomach. Trestyn mouthed an unheard prayer against the stone floor. Gwyet slid into Trestyn, into his dirt, taking the prince’s manhood as well as his estate. Trestyn groaned, barely conscious, in terror and rapture all at once.

The young hunter ground his hips into the dark inner flesh of the dying prince. In the end he grabbed Trestyn’s chin in both hands and snapped the head back to his collarbone. The sharp sound echoed along the dungeon walls. He felt the human flesh turn to moist clay under his touch.

Gwyet stood. He felt Trestyn’s ghost enter him. The blood throbbed in his veins. The ghost told him that he had won the battle fair and square. The ghost told him it was happy to be free of the world and its cares—even princely cares could be heavy, it explained. The ghost admitted that Gwyet was the better, more deserving warrior.

Gwyet tied the purple loincloth to his hips, symbol of his new estate. The ordeal had proved his destiny. Gwyet dragged Trestyn’s body to the black, papery bones in the corner. He leapt high and snatched one of the torches from its sconce. The oil of Trestyn’s body ignited in a blinding flash.

Gwyet went to the portal and banged on the door. The drumming stopped.


Trestyn’s bones and ashes remain in the Dungeon of Drums and Torches.

Outside Gwyet falls into the arms of the eunuchs. They carry him back to the bathhouse, wash his wounds, anoint his body with fresh spices, and dress him in an embroidered robe to enter the royal chamber.

They lead him to the throne room. Gwyet kneels at Emrys’ feet and offers Trestyn’s ghost as a sacrifice to Nud, and Emrys raises Gwyet up a prince.

He stands at the side of Emrys’ throne. He receives the king’s favors. He is the chief among all men under Emrys the eternal.

Next to Emrys, he is the closest to Nud of all the Valley People.

Nobody will ever see his nakedness again, except the king, until the day a new challenger arises, and Gwyet must face the Ordeal of Drums and Five Torches again.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Two Lap Duel

“These fellas wanna fight, JD.”

Ricky Di, the sprinter for the Tampa Bay Spitballs, had succeeded in clawing his way through the Memphis Bruisers’ tough pack, free and clear, till Bruiser veteran Vin Van Vaughn illegally left the infield and locked Ricky in a closed-fist headlock, throwing both players over the rail.

JD, Ricky’s dad and manager of the Spits, rubs his chin in an I-don’t-know-about-that way.

Ref Tony in his zebra shirt insists: “Look, JD, these two’ve been itchin to have at it all year. I say we call a two lap duel. Do em both good. Fans want it.”

A cheer from the crowd.

JD shrugs his shoulders. “If that’s what they want, OK then. Ask em.”

After trading a couple of wild punches with Van Vaughn in the stands, Ricky hoists himself back up on the banked track, removes his helmet, and waves to the fans. He wears the team’s skintight red and orange sleeveless shirt, his freckled biceps shining under the houselights. Snug white shorts show off his muscular thighs and firm round butt. He skates around the track before pulling up next to his dad at the mike.

“Ref wants you and the V-Man in a two lap. Anything goes. Y’up for it, son?”

Ricky flashes a wide smile, speaks right at the mike: “You bet, Dad. Wanna bust Mis-ter Vin Van Vaughn so bad I can taste it.” He raises his clenched fist over his head: “Triple V, tonight’s gonna be your retirement, old man.”

The crowd cheers again, the majority of whom are Tampa fans, the vast majority slavishly devoted to handsome young Ricky. The “mister” and “old man,” of course, are digs at Van Vaughn, who is twice Ricky’s age.

Ricky has close-cropped black hair and the vague blue shadow of an incipient goatee. His long lashes and elegant arched eyebrows look good even from where the crowd sits, some distance away. Up close his narrow square-jawed face is spectacular.

Van Vaughn, in the Bruisers’ bulky black and blue jersey, skates around the outside of the track, hurling insults and abuse at the jeering fans. He’s both the Bruisers’ manager and star player, so the fans lavish him with double the hate.

When the ref orders him back up on the track for the start of the duel, Van Vaughan protests. He says the duel is illegal, a typical Spitball pearl harbor. He accuses the ref of favoring Tampa and grabs his shoulder and complains that his on-again, off-again “injury” has flared up.

The ref stares him down and tells him it’s a two lap or a stiff fine and a two-month suspension, his choice. Vin clambers up on the track, red faced and spitting mad. He skates to the start line, scowling and nursing his sore shoulder.

Both players hand their helmets over to teammates, one of only two rules of the two lap duel: no headgear. The other rule is that, as usual, the infield is strictly off limits during the race.

No sooner does Ref Tony fire the starter pistol in the air, Triple V elbows Ricky in the kisser, knocking the boy on his butt. The crowd boos. The attack slows down Vin’s startup. Ricky recovers quickly, and both men build up speed.

“Kill him Ricky,” somebody from the Tampa team yells from the infield. “Fuck him up.”

Ricky catches up, stretches forward, and grabs a fistful of Vin’s scraggly blond hair and yanks it back. Vin’s skates fly out from under him, and he skids about six feet to the rail. Ricky circles back and smashes his skate on Vin’s chest. Vin hollers and grabs at Ricky’s leg but catches only air.

Ricky rolls backwards, staring his man down, his fists locked and loaded at waist level.

Vin pulls himself up and charges Ricky. The two trade wild punches until Vin grabs the boy’s head and swings him to the rail. He flattens Ricky against the railing with his body, and the two make short sharp jabs to each other’s back and ribs. Vin rubs his crotch up against Ricky’s hip suggestively, and the crowd gasps, then boos. Vin smirks and knees the kid in the groin. Ricky doubles over.

Vin skates away and back, pumping his arms in the air. He grabs the back of Ricky’s shirt and pulls the boy’s body up to his. Ricky wraps his arms around the back of Vin’s knees and pushes in to the man’s belly with his shoulder. Both players fall, but Ricky’s on top.

Ricky smashes Vin’s face with his elbow and solid triceps. The crowd roars their approval.

Vin pushes Ricky off and rolls over on his feet. He shoots a bird at a couple of middle-aged women screaming at him at the top of their lungs. Triple V has the looks fans here find easy to hate. Long dirty blond hair that looks actually dirty. Thick Manchu stache, steely eyes, sweaty skin, thick hairy forearms straight out of a Popeye cartoon.

He skates away, building speed. Ricky takes off after him. Vin coasts along, shoulders up, glaring contemptuously at the yokels in the crowd. Ricky hunches down for speed and catches up. Vin swerves back and forth across the track, blocking Ricky’s every move.

Then Ricky feints to the right, but ducks and scoots handily by on Triple V’s left, then slows and delivers a sound elbow smack to Vin’s mouth. Vin bends backwards, whirling his arms for balance, but stays on his skates. Ricky then rams Vin with his body. Vin swerves towards the railing but doesn’t crash.

The two men zip past the track’s southernmost turn at top speed.

Again Ricky aims his elbow at Triple V’s face, but Vin dodges the blow, slips in line behind the kid, and delivers a vicious kidney punch. Ricky hits the rail at his midsection and almost flips over the top. Vin mounts the boy’s back and slams his fist to the back of his head one, two, three, four, five, six times.

The ref is rushing towards them, when Vin separates but tugs Ricky by the waistband away from the rail. Vin wraps his right arm around Ricky’s head and begins delivering face blows with his left. The ref backs off but looks concerned.

Skating backwards, Vin wedges Ricky’s head between his thighs and makes grinding thrusts to the back of the kid’s neck, gripping Ricky’s tights in his fists and spanking the kid’s hard butt. The crowd screams foul, and Triple V blows them a sarcastic kiss. The Spits’ manager charges towards the fracas, face red as a beet, but Tony and another ref restrain him.

Ricky pulls free and shoves Vin back to the rail. He punches the older man’s face, trading fists, right left right left, ratatatat. Vin wraps his arms around Ricky’s chest in a bear hug while Ricky shoves his opponent’s chin up. The two crash into the railing and fly over, crashing to the concrete floor at the spectators’ feet.

The crowd goes wild.

Grasping each other’s stretch tops, the two men butt heads, while spinning out of control. Men and women in the front rows flee their seats but turn back to watch, unable to peel their gaze away from the savage grudge fight.

Vin pulls Ricky’s shirt up over the kid’s head. The spectators get a good look at the young man’s rippling back muscles, narrowing to his slim, elegant waist. Ricky punches Triple V’s gut and wrests himself free, dashes back to the railing and acrobatically leaps and rolls up to the track, landing on his skates. The crowd cheers.

Triple V is right on his tail, and the two men speed past the start line into the second lap.

Repeatedly Vin tries to pass Ricky, first on the left, then the right. Ricky blocks him every time, elbow poised threateningly.

Vin falls back a couple of yards, then accelerates, gets side by side with the kid, grabs him by the head, his right forearm crushing Ricky’s upper lip, then clobbers him with his left. Both men crash down, sliding and spinning on their butts.

Ricky gets to his feet first but gets no traction, his legs running in place. Van Vaughn jumps up and lunges for him, knocking him down and straddling his waist. Vin fires punch after punch to the boy’s pretty face. Ricky’s arms flail uselessly. Blood’s popping out of Ricky’s head in three or four places.

It looks serious. Two refs haul Van Vaughn off and away from Ricky. JD rushes over and gets right in Triple V’s face, calls him a son of a bitch and a cocksucker and two more choice vulgarities in Italian, slaps Vin’s face and spits in his eye, which is when the refs pull the angry dad back to the infield.

Vin turns back to Ricky, who is struggling to get back on his skates. Vin approaches, shoulders thrust back, eyes bright and bloodthirsty. Ricky gets himself up on one knee and launches his right fist to Triple V’s belly. The smack sounds to the corners of the auditorium. The crowd rises to their feet.

Ricky takes off for the southern curve, leading Vin by a good fifteen feet. The veteran crouches down to gain speed. Ricky crouches, too, his hands above his knees, casting sidelong glances over his left shoulder at Vin.

Vin catches up just past the southernmost point of the oval track, in the final stretch.

Ricky deliberately swerves into him. Grabs the older man’s baggy jersey and slings him against the wooden rail. He shouts at the man, veins bulging in his neck, and brandishes his tight swollen fists.

“Want some of this, old man? Do you? Do you?”

The two men grapple, tearing at each other’s uniform and throwing blind outraged punches. For a second, Triple V straddles Ricky’s hips and bears down on the boy, but the kid wriggles free, cursing at the top of his lungs. Ricky grabs Vin’s jersey again and thrusts the man headfirst to the railing. Comes up from behind and plants his skate square between the older player’s shoulders. Vin goes oof! and bangs his forehead to the track. Ricky jumps on Vin’s back, rolls, and throws the man on his back—drives his knee to Van Vaughn’s ribs, slaps the man’s face with the back of his hand.

The two men roll to their feet as one, almost as if helping each other, and then pull apart.

They race neck to neck to the finish line.

The crowd is on their feet and screaming.

JD shouts encouragement to his son. Members of both teams yell hysterically.

Twelve feet from the finish, Ricky veers left and clobbers Triple V with his forearm. Vin loses his footing and flies back, landing on his head, with a deafening thud and an ignominious grunt.

Ricky turns and glides across the finish, arms upraised, fists pumping the air. The auditorium explodes in applause, whistles, bullhorns, stomps, and shouts. Ricky tears off his top, and his smooth torso glistens in the hot white lights. JD rushes to his son, weeping. He grabs the boy by the hips and heaves him up to the air. Ricky’s arms form a V over his head. The thick black hair of his armpits contrast with the freckled ivory of his skin.

Vin Van Vaughn beats his fists on the track.

Ricky, exultant and beaming at the fans, grabs the mike and shouts, “Hey, Vin Van Vaughn, big man, old man. Next time you want to fuck with somebody, make sure you got the cojones to see it through. Hear? Now take your sorry ass out of my sight before I toss you out by the seat of your fuckin pants! And don’t you ever … EVER … show your ugly face in the state of Florida again, or I’ll give you double what you got tonight!”

The crowd shouts Loser, Asshole, Cheater, Shithead, while members of the Bruisers gather their fallen leader and drag him limping out of the auditorium.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Lair of Carlo de la Paz

Carlo is seventy-two. He comes to the club on Wednesdays, chats up a couple of boys he finds interesting, invites them to his place to fight each other. In his basement he’s set up a 20x20 pro wrestling ring, with canvas mat and vinyl-padded turnbuckles. Carlo never enters the match. He sits in the shadows and smokes Tareytons. He doesn’t video the match, he doesn’t cheer the fighters on, he doesn’t request particular holds or moves or punches. On the whole he seems to favor actual fighting, but he doesn’t complain when two guys simply pose and flex in skimpy trunks and clown around. At the end of the evening he pays each guy 25 twenty-dollar bills wrapped in a pink rubber band.

I know these details because some of these same guys come home with me from time to time, to fuck or to fight or to fuck and fight, and they tell me things. The guys tend to be young, with slim waists and tight, defined muscle.

Tonight Carlo is talking with someone a bit older. Guy looks like he’s in his mid-thirties. Tan, solid, 5-10 or 5-11, a jawline that throbs as he grinds his teeth. A bright generous smile. Dark chest hair peeks out at the collar of his v-neck T, and his arms are sinewy and covered with hair. Carlo buys the man a drink—a whiskey, neat. He laughs at something the guy says. From where I sit, the man looks incredibly handsome: masculine, unaffected, comfortable in his skin.

Then, unexpectedly, Carlo makes eye contact with me. He smiles. Tips his glass to me. I’m 45 in two months, sturdy and rectangular, with a startup spare tire round my waist, not at all Carlo’s usual type. He signals for me to join them. As far as I know, Carlo doesn’t know me from Adam, but as I approach, he calls me by name—let’s say it is Adam—and introduces me to Robert.

With an ease that belies the oddness of his request, he asks Robert and me if we’d be interested in beating each other up. Why not? we answer, smiling with our teeth, locking eyes, and nervously downing the rest of our drinks.

Everything at Carlo’s place is pretty much as I imagined it. Under his piss-elegant manse, furnished in Italian and Chinese antiques, with the odd Mbunda mask thrown in as punctuation, a carpeted stairwell leads to the fight lair, the ring garishly lit with bright spots and the whitewashed cinder-block walls decorated with boxing and pro wrestling posters from the Eisenhower years.

Robert and I strip and slip on the boots and old-fashioned knit trunks Carlo hands us—Robert in baby blue, me in cocoa brown. We climb up into the ring, test the ropes, look into the lights sheepishly, then back into opposite corners. Carlo sits nearby on an overstuffed leather chair, legs crossed at the knees, Tareyton in hand.

I spread my arms, gripping the top ring rope, and size up my opponent. Robert is muscular, a blanket of hair across his chest that tapers attractively down to his navel. His legs too are hairy, proportionate to his strong torso, striated thighs and dense, rock-hard calves. I bend at the waist, stretching to loosen up and make myself relax. I’m taller by an inch or so. My muscle is bigger but not so well defined. I’ve got more profuse and more unruly body hair. I’d say our butch factors are evenly matched, but Robert’s visible toughness intimidates me, especially now that he’s no longer smiling.

Magically the startup bell sounds. I shake myself loose of the turnbuckle and bounce towards the center of the ring, rolling my shoulders. Robert charges straight at me, brows down, eyes blazing. He slugs me cross the mouth with a hard right, then jabs me in the gut with his left. I fold in half. Robert wedges my head between his arm and ribcage and flips me over his shoulders. My back crashes to the canvas. OK, so we’re not going to clown around.

Robert backs off, bouncing from one foot to the other, his pecs loosely flexing, his fists poised right over his belly.

I roll over and jump back up on my feet. No sooner done than Robert is right there at me. He slaps me cross the face and shoves me back to the turnbuckle. Drives his knee to my abs. Three times. The guy’s face is serious as a car bomb. Clenches his forearms at the back of my skull and smashes my face to his chest.

My hands grope at his shoulders. I throw blind punches to his lats. Finally I get my hands up at his face, jam them hard against his mouth and nostrils. Manage to push my way out of the corner and shove him to the ring ropes. I punish his inner thigh with my knee, to tenderize the muscle. My whole weight presses his body to the ropes, while his chest hair burns my face.

Under the lights our bodies glisten with sweat. Our groans and the sounds of flesh smacking flesh echo cross the cinder-block walls.

I manage to thrust myself loose of him. His eyes bore into mine, his face frozen in a determined grimace. He attacks me with a pair of roundhouse punches at the center of the ring. I fire back to the chin, and he drops to one knee. I grab his ears and ram my kneecap to his lips. The knee comes back bloody, and Robert collapses on his side, stars and spirals spinning over his head.

I back away. See his shining belly contract and expand. His diaphragm quivers. One of his knees arched unsteadily to the spotlights.

I look over at Carlo. The man is motionless, silent, without expression in the dark.

I climb up to the top rung of the turnbuckle, something I always wanted to try out. I leap and land on Robert’s torso like a waffle iron. He grunts. His body thrashes. My chest bearing down hard on his, I grab his raised knee and pull it up to my armpit. With my free arm I pound on the canvas … one … two … but Robert powers out of the pin, pushes me off, and stiffly backhands me cross the jaw.

We get up on our knees, knee to knee, and slug it out. The glint in Robert’s eye tells me he’s liking this—punching no more or less than getting punched. I feel myself getting hard. We nearly exhaust ourselves, and in a matter of a minute we are propping our bodies up against each other.

Carlo intervenes. He rings the bell and orders us back to our corners. He tosses us each a towel to wipe ourselves down.

I fix my eyes on Robert at the opposite corner. Like mine, his towel is pink with blood. His glistening skin spotted with flecks of dirt off the canvas. He breathes deeply in and out. His eyes return my gaze. He nods respectfully, but with a hard glaze over his expression that means he won’t give an inch.

Carlo lets us cool down. After ten minutes, the bell rings in round two.

The blood pounds in my veins. Robert and I meet in the center and lock hands, my right and his left. The spotlights burn down on our shoulders. We test our strength. Push, pull, twist, squeeze. Then we lock our free hands together. Stretch our arms wide, bump chests and bellies, breathe through our teeth.

Robert bends my arms back, forcing me back three or four steps. I anchor my left heel to the canvas and stand firm, manage to push my arms back to an even position.

We break and circle each other. I reach over and slap Robert on the side of his head. He reciprocates. We lock arms and shove our shoulders together. Our heads and necks brace each other. Robert’s hot breaths on my strained traps. Our boots kick against each other’s legs, a kind of dance for testing for weakness and angling for dominance.

Robert hooks his leg to my left knee and knocks me off balance. I roll on my back, and he spins into a leg lock and falls on his butt. Pain explodes up from my knee to the sides of my head. I try to drive my right leg to his face, but he intercepts it and forces it to the mat.

It’s a classic figure-four submission hold, but I don’t give in. Instead I savor the pain, silently pray it toughens me. Robert smiles. He stretches back to add pressure to my joints. The skin shimmering against his ribs. The agony is exquisite, like lightning surging through my veins, my bones crumpling like breadsticks, or so it seems. I drum my elbows against the canvas, my throat too tight to scream. Robert rocks us back and forth, to pound in the last ounce of hurt.

My skin goes clammy, my legs numb. My temples throb. My dick stiffens in the knitted trunks, pushing upwards to the elastic waistband. Blindly I stretch out, feel the bottom ring rope against my knuckles, and manage to grip it. Robert breaks the hold and backs up to his corner.

The hold released, I feel a new wave of pain, almost as if the pressure of the hold had somehow been blocking part of the hurt below my knees. I hold on to the ring rope like a lifeline. I pull myself up to it, thrust my shoulder over it, inhale and exhale in deep gasps, greedy for oxygen. My whole body tingles.

Robert approaches. At first he just hovers, his eyes examining every detail of my helplessness. Then he grabs my boots and tries to pull me clear of the ropes. I hold on. He straddles my back and begins clawing at my fingers.

“Let go,” he growls. “Time to do this.”

My grip weakens. Robert drives his leg to my ribs. Five times. I pull my knees to my chest and roll over on my back. Robert stands and leans down, slapping and punching my arms and head. I drive my heel straight to his nads. He howls and stumbles backwards, bent over.

Reluctant to let go of the ropes, I just stare at him for several seconds. Then I pull myself to my feet. I charge at him and kick him in the face. He flies back and crashes to the canvas. I kneel down on his chest, grab his curly black hair in my left fist, and start pummeling his face with my right.

The bell sounds. Heedlessly, I sneak in two more punches before retreating to my corner.

Slowly, Robert rolls over on his side, crawls to the ring ropes to pull himself up, and then parks his butt against the opposite turnbuckle. He looks up at me, his face is meat, his gaze stiletto-sharp.

Carlo tosses us clean towels. The sweat and blood on my skin are now like grease. I rub the towel over my face, neck, chest, stomach. Between my thighs. Let the scuzzy rag drop to the ground. My cock presses hard against the brown trunks. All the more so when I catch a good look at Robert’s hard-on.

Robert pinches his pecs to massage them. He rubs the flat of his hand across his abs. He back-kicks the turnbuckle, impatient.

Round three: the bell no sooner sounds than Robert shouts, “Payback time, Adam.”

He thrusts his leg out from the waist, karate-style, and smashes my groin. The blow knocks me off my feet and flat on my face. Feels like I’ve got a wasps’ nest in my trunks.

Robert grabs me by the ears, pulls my head up, making sure my face brushes up the full length of his leg, over the firm bulge of his shaft, sliding up the skin of his belly, the thick hair of his chest, till he’s looking me square in the eye, not six inches away. He spits in my mouth, then butts his forehead to mine.

I see and hear all this more vividly than I feel it. The headbutt echoes emptily in my skull. Robert’s eyes are dead—bright but humorless. My body feels like a sack of shit. Everything’s like it’s under water.

Robert grinds my face to the top ring rope. Sliding my nose and lips a good four feet over the taut vinyl. I turn, my arms stretched out on the rope. Robert drives his knee to my chest, then thrashes my mouth with his forearm. I clasp the rope. He pulls me up by my boots and yanks me to the center of the ring, my shoulder blades smashing the canvas.

Groggily I open my eyes. Robert drives his knee to the back of my left thigh, then rests his right knee on my other thigh. His blue trunks clearly outline the engorged lump underneath. The tip, in fact, is nearly visible at his waistband, a bead of precum dampens the skin under his belly button.

He grabs my legs again and flips me over on my belly. My knees in his armpits, he drops his butt on my lower back. I pound the canvas with my hands and howl, tears streaking my face. He leans back, stretching my stomach and twisting my spine. His cock nudges the top of my ass. I stretch my arms to grab the ring rope, but it’s nearly a foot out of reach.

I start to tap out, but he leans back further. My tendons feel like they’re snapping now. I reach behind me and manage to grab a fistful of his hair and yank with everything I’ve got, pulling his head to the mat and forcing him to release one of my legs. I catch his neck in the crook of my right arm and choke him. He loses the hold on my other leg, and I pull up to him.

I try to rise up to my feet, but he grabs the bottom of my trunks and tugs them down. The elastic snags on my hard dick, but I know I’m showing crack and pubes right now. I kick his lower abdomen with my knee. Our bodies collapse together side by side. Our skin slippery and steaming hot under the lights.

I crawl on his back like a surfboard, my chest on his shoulderblades, my stiffy nestled teasingly between his firm, round cheeks. I brace my forearm between the bridge of his nose and his upper lip and jerk the back of his head to my throat. I wrench his head backward. He pounds the canvas with his hands and feet. I pound my hips to his butt, to hurt and to humiliate. His bucking only makes me harder.

“I give,” he groans. “Stop. Please. I submit.”

I let his head go. His forehead falls to his forearm. I ruffle his hair with my fingers.

Robert’s back heaves as he catches his breath. I grab the waistband of his blue trunks and pull them down off his muscular glutes, down his hard furry thighs, and let them rest below his knees. Robert keeps his face down to the mat and doesn’t move. I push my trunks down to my knees. Robert spreads his legs and raises his butt.

I dip into him, our bodies still slick and hot from the fight. Christ, he feels nice inside. Smooth interior muscle coils against the tender veins of my cock. Ass hairs drenched in sweat. I push and push. Skin soughing on skin. He moans. He reaches down and strokes his own cock, now glued to his stomach.

I pull out and rest my penis against his lower spine. I caress his head and pull it, gently now, to my chest. We roll on our sides. Robert shoots first, spattering cum up to the top of his hairy chest. I slide my shaft on his glistening skin. The inside of my skin seems to glow. I sense the vague dizziness of climax approach, and I shoot up to his shoulderblades.

We lie side by side. Not speaking.

I look up and see that Carlo has left the lair. On the leather cushion where he sat lie two green rolls of cash. My arms embrace Robert from behind, my forearms locked across his chest. My nose finds a place to settle between his ear and his dark curly hair. I whisper, “Can we do this again?”

He whispers, “Rematch, bossman. Definitely.”

This story was republished in 2010 in the anthology Muscle Men: Rock Hard Gay Erotica (Cleia Press)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Excerpt 2

Josh pulls his knees up to his chest. I slide my shoulders up the back of his thighs, then squeeze between them to rest my stomach on his, already damp with precum. His eyes are locked in mine, blank, hungry. I’m ready to master this bitch.

My heavy cock slides up between his crack and nudges his scrotum. His dick is pressed between our lower abdomens. I spit four times into my right hand. I thoroughly slather my tool, then lube round Josh’s hole. I slide in with an easy squish. His rectum sucks my bone in deep.

Josh moans. He shoots between our bellies as soon as I enter. His lips open and pursed. Eyebrows arched. Eyes only half open, rolling. Veins in his neck popping.

The sweet, starchy smell of his cum fills my nostrils, burns into my brain like musk.

I stab into him without care or gentleness, faster and faster, harder and harder. Josh yowls as my cock plunges towards his heart.

My hands are planted on either side of Josh’s head. He turns his head and bites my wrist. I barely feel it. Almost all my nerve endings have gathered together in Josh’s ass.

The fucking is unmanageable. Both our bodies thrash as if animated by some invisible engine, steel pistons sliding, heating up, vibrating, on jellied rails.

The bed quakes, possessed. Mattress working loose of box springs. Headboard maniacally drumming the wall. Josh loses grip on his knees, which drive themselves instinctively to my ribs. His arms thrash wide, knocking a small lamp off the nightstand.

I roar. I curse. I beg whatever gods or devils possess us now to take us over completely, engulf us in flames, leave no ashes.

I shoot and for three seconds both our hearts stop beating. Josh screams in my face, tears streaming. I go cold from by lower spine up to my shoulders. My cock pins him to the mattress. My buttocks clenches firm, drives down to him. For a fleeting moment I have the odd sensation of my soul entering Josh—as if I were inside looking out.

We are slippery with fresh hot sweat. Perhaps I meant to pull out before cumming, perhaps I should have taken precaution, perhaps that was part of the plan … I forget. The whole room feels like its rolling downhill.

Josh’s body and mine continue to crash into each other. He wraps his legs over my ass, locks his ankles together, and squeezes, greedily pressing every drop of jizz into him.

My body shudders, like a wild beast shot with a stun gun, and collapses on his. Side of my face against the side of his face. Our bodies, having melted into each other, begin tentatively to untangle, retake their original shapes, reassert themselves as separate beings. I pull out, Josh rolls on his side and curls up, as if just knifed in the gut.

I grab Josh’s hair and roughly pull his head up to my face. I inhale the scent of his submission, let it fill my lungs. Take that. You’re mine. I made you. I flex my muscles into him. Wrap him into me. For a few seconds he lies here stunned, like a hare in a snake’s coil. I drift out of consciousness as he tries to wriggle free.

Friday, January 9, 2009


For several seconds I lie on my side, study his face, just inches away. Soak him in with my eyes. Then I lean into him, inhale, take in his scent. Lick his cheekbone with dog-like devotion, lick his throat, his nips, both of them. Run my tongue down his abs to his navel, dampen the hairs on his treasure trail, kiss his hard cock.

I take his balls between my thumb and forefinger and massage. Lick the loose underskin of his penis. His body shivers. He puts his hand gently on the back of my head, not to guide as much as just to touch. His fingertips seem to read the bumps of my skull like braille.

I take him in my mouth, feel his head against the back of my throat. His pubes fill my nostrils. I suck his cock, wet noisy greedy slurps. My stomach growls. His cock swells in my mouth. My lips feel the pressure of the blood in his veins, bulging, glistening in saliva.

Taste his precum, salty and sweet, earthy, human, male. My right hand wanders up to his stomach. Fondling the abs it so recently assaulted. Then up higher, to pinch his nips.

Pull away, reposition myself at the end of the bed. Pull his body to me, raise his legs and rest the back of his thighs on my shoulders. Bury my face under his balls, licking the line that runs from his scrotum to his hole. Pushing him up and wider with my shoulders.

Spreading his cheeks, cupping them in my hands now, massaging. Nip them lightly with my teeth. Pinch. Spank them lightly with my fingers. Stab my tongue into his crack. He moans. My tongue draws wet rings round his hole. His heels dig in my lats. The rings get smaller and smaller, until my tongue slips past the skin and feels the smooth muscle of his anus.

Tongue flickers and darts like a hummingbird’s tongue. His hole contracts and relaxes. Josh sighs, from deep inside his body. He tastes of clay and spice.

I am rock hard.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Mickey Punishes Bernd

Already two things about Bernd piss Mickey off. The way Bernd’s hands keep floating up to Mickey’s face, twice to yank hard at his hair, and the bright tropicalia red lycra trunks, in contrast to Mickey’s basic black speedo.

Not to mention all the shit that led up to this fight.

Bernd thinks he can wrestle, but he can’t, which is fine by Mickey. Bernd has thick strong legs, but, as far as Mickey can tell, that’s all he’s got. If the German wants his ass pwned, Mickey is happy to do the honors.

Mickey hooks his arm round Bernd’s neck and draws it in to his side. Bernd jabs at Mickey’s ribs and gut, but Mickey jerks him up by the chin, throwing the heavier man on his back and stabbing his belly with his (Mickey’s) knee.

He straddles the man’s waist and tries to bend his arm behind his neck in a modified chicken wing, but Bernd keeps thrashing himself loose. The two men grip hands and push and pull, and it occurs to Mickey that he must look like a raptor struggling to free itself from a tar pit.

Finally he whips his hands free, grabs Bernd’s bicep in his right hand and uses his other hand to twist the guy’s forearm to the floor. Bernd says some words in German that Mickey doesn’t understand but still he doesn’t like the way they sound, so Mickey delivers three lightning-fast punches to the arrogant bastard’s mouth.

Bernd groans deeply and, for Mickey, the sound is gratifying. Mickey cranks up the pressure on his man’s bent arm and braces his knees against the man’s ribcage. Guy needs to think twice before he picks a fight, Mickey thinks.

Bernd arches his back and rolls, manages to bounce Mickey off him, and the two men lie side by side, tangling arms and legs, until Mickey breaks free and bounces up to his feet in a crouch. Bernd stands too, and the two men start to circle each other.

Bernd manages to land some sharp contemptuous slaps at Mickey’s mouth, which leads to fists and jabs, but Mickey gets in five hits to every three Bernd gets.

The climax is a roundhouse right to the German’s chin that knocks him on his back. Mickey stomps on his shoulder and drops his butt down on Bernd’s ribs. He flips his man to his side and fastens him with a proper crucifix armbar. Bernd wails, hitting a few high notes, and it’s music to Mickey’s ears. Mickey plants the sole of his foot firmly in Bernd’s sweaty pink shaved head. Bernd arches up, writhing in pain, and collapses—once, twice, three, four, five, six times—and Mickey ups the punishment each time.

Despite his mediocre (at best) combat skills, the German has a good strong body. Not cut or gym-toned, but round and hard, voluptuous. Bernd’s tan flat pecs gleam with sweat and blond chest hair. Sexy. Mickey admires the man’s shapely, sinewy thighs and haunches as they bend and thrash against the floor. He might even fuck him. But right now it’s enough just to fuck him up.

Bernd is either too tough to submit or enjoying the hurt, maybe both, but he’s not tapping out. The veins in his neck and chest bulge. Both men have boners by now. Both men are sloppy wet with sweat.

Mickey uses his legs to raise his man’s head and shoulders off the floor and then drives them back down. Gratifying thump of bone against hardwood. The German moans, deep in his chest. Mickey frees his right foot to thrust his heel to the man’s shimmering ribs and then reapplies the armbar.

Stupidly Bernd tries to roll into the hold, which makes it that much easier for Mickey to add to the pain. Mickey likes damaging this dumb fuck any way he can. He hurls some choice Belfast insults at him, not sure how much the German understands.

Seven minutes on this one hold, with no way out, is enough. Mickey releases Bernd and scoots away. The man’s just whimpering jelly now anyway. Bernd nurses his left arm and sits up.

Mickey advances, grabs Bernd by the ears, and hauls his ass off the floor. Bernd spits and mutters some Teutonic oaths that he’s just not man enough to back up right now. Mickey punches the German’s face, locks his head in his armpit, and flips him over his head. Crash bang thud and ouch, and, quick as you please, Mickey lunges and plants his belly over Bernd’s face in a cross body pin and cradles the guy’s left leg up so high that Bernd’s knee is nudging Mickey’s shoulder. As added insult, Mickey’s hard cock stabs into Bernd’s ear.

A definite victory.

Mickey rolls off his man, circles him, and peels off those fruity red briefs, giving Bernd’s hard glistening cock some needed air. Bernd grunts and moans, which is fine by Mickey, only makes him harder.

Instinctively, Bernd raises his knees up to his shoulders and elevates his throbbing hairy asshole. Mickey kneels at Bernd’s ass and rolls his speedo down to mid-thigh. He crawls between his man’s legs, resting their chests and stomachs together. His dick nests against Bernd’s crack. They thrust against each other for several minutes, a slow-motion simulation of their wrestling match.

Mickey drives himself deep into Bernd. Bernd shutters and moans. Mickey rhythmically thrusts and drums against Bernd’s flesh. His cock slides in the smooth mucous mud of Bernd’s rectum.

Bernd looks up at Mickey’s face studying his expression. Mickey figures his O face is funny, but intense—his upper lip curled over his front teeth, which are planted into his lower lip, hissing in grunting huffs—his brows scrunched down to the bridge of his nose—his squinting eyes bright and fierce.

Mickey finished what the German started. He’d taken the man down and controlled him. Beat him black and blue and then pinned him to the ground. Now he was driving himself hard into the man, claiming his prize in the snob’s abject submission.

Bernd should have known better, or maybe he knew just what he was asking for—he was outclassed by the handsome foreigner from the beginning. His taunts had raised Mickey’s ire, and he just didn’t have the stuff to back up his overconfidence.

Mickey pulls out and shoots his load on Bernd’s belly and chest and throat. Then he falls on him, and the two men lie sandwiched together as their erections subside and their moist skin cools.

Mickey wants to say something but can’t think of anything to say. Sort of what he wants to express is his immense satisfaction in being the man to provide the sound thrashing that Bernd no doubt has had coming to him for his entire life.


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