Friday, October 15, 1999


This story originally appeared on the Secret Garden website and is archived here at the request of author Doug Rogers.

The Beginning

He sat there for three full minutes, looking at the computer screen.
It seemed like three hours.
Damon Green finally clicked the mouse of his new computer on the button marked "Send."
Somewhere, far, far away, in the bowels of one of the servers for, Damon's message was written to disk, and a header was created, giving his name as the sender, and the first line of his message as the subject. The Yahoo computer dutifully posted the header to the message list in the Yahoo club "Sons 4 Dads." It was done.
The message was the last link in a plan that Damon has been implementing for almost two years. "God," he thought. "Has it been THAT long?"
His mother had passed away almost two years ago to the day. Damon had known that the old woman was rich, but the extent of her holdings was shocking, even to him. His father had been a rather highly paid civil servant, who had retired shortly before interest rates went sky high. His mother, shrewd old Scotswoman that she was, had invested almost their entire savings in high yield securities, and the totals just took off! By the time she died, that $53,000 investment was worth almost 3.5 million dollars! And there was no will. Nothing to probate. Damon was the only child, and his name was on, quite literally, EVERYTHING. It was his. Outright. He wasn't sure about the legality of it, but he just withdrew the monies from her accounts and put them in his own.
Even Ruth, his wife, had no idea of the amount of money involved. "Good thing," he thought out loud. "She'd be after it to waste on something or the other!"
The fact that there was little love lost between them any more had been one of the major forces in his decision to build an alternative life for himself. He looked around his new home. "Not bad, if I say so myself," he thought. Then he laughed. "I guess I really AM gay! I'm a damn good decorator!"
It was so. The bright colors... the contrasts of light and dark areas... the functionality of the soft, yielding furniture... it was what he had dreamed of. It looked like one of those pads in the gay porno movies that he and Charlie had watched when they could steal a minute or two.

"Charlie!" he thought with a snap! He hadn't even asked his best friend over the take a look at the new place. He picked up the phone and dialed.
He hung up at the seventh ring.
"Rats! I bet he stayed late at the bar!"
This time, the rich tenor voice and Irish accent of Charlie O'Toole answered the phone with professional gusto: "Charlie's Place! What can I be doin' for ye?"
"It's what I can do for you, Charlie!"
"Damon, me boy! It's glad I am to hear from ye! What would it be ye have on yer mind tonight?"
"A surprise, you old fart!"
"Well, a man needs to go with his strengths, I always say, and that's me strong suit! And 48 wouldn't be that old, now would it?" He laughed. "Was it a surprise that ye were talkin' about?"
"Yes! I have a new place!"
"Ye old bugger! Would it be that ye actually went and did it?"
"I did!", Damon replied! "It's in Frankfort. At 'The Fountains'."
"Yeah, but it's REAL pretty Charlie. I want you to see it. 2311 Fountains Road. Can you drive in tonight?"
"It would take three Derby winners in harness to keep me away!", he laughed! "In fact, I'll go ahead and get me arse on the road. Donnie'll be able to close the place tonight, don't ya know."
"Sounds great, buddy! See you in an hour or so!"
Damon logged back on to the net. He called up his message, now visible to all. He clicked to read it; to be sure it was what he had planned to say. It read:
Dad seeks Son
Tired of the rat race? GWM, 48, seeks GWM companion 18-25. Attractive new home in the Kentucky bluegrass area. Hope you like horses.
The last had been what he had debated over. It was meant to be the double entendre that it was. Being slightly larger than average between the legs had made Damon feel special as a teenager... Right up to the point that he was ready to enter his first seduction partner. The two 16 year-olds were ready to "do it" when the girl had gotten a good look at his engorged member and had immediately changed her mind! "No Way!", she yelled! "It won't FIT!" Of course, later that summer, she had changed her mind, and decided she liked the fit just fine! But Damon had worried a bit his first time with a new partner ever after.
He looked at his watch. Still 3/4 of an hour before he could expect Charlie.
A few mouse clicks took him into the "Secret Garden" chatroom. There were actually about 7 people there this evening, he noted with interest. The number of chatters wasn't often that great! He smiled and began to type:
Damon: Hi guys!
Rascal: Hi Damon!
Wants1Arm: hello
Pebo: how's it hangin'?
CarlQ: RU an amp?
Amy: Give it a rest, CarlQ!
CarlQ: Sorry... meant to make that priv.
Amy: Dear God!
Damon: ROFL... things never change, eh Amy?
Pebo: It'd be dull if they ever changed!
Damon: True. Hey guys! I'm in my new house!
Amy: Congrats!
Pebo: Great!
CarlQ: You got a new house?
Damon: And it's all mine! Even the wife doesn't know about it!
Mickey: You Divorced?
Damon: No. Don't have the heart to call it quits. This is sort of a secret place I bought just for me!
Mickey: Nice to be able to do that!
Pebo: You have a boyfriend to share it with? Har har har
Wants1Arm: I'll come share it with you!
Damon: Actually, believe it or not, I just posted a message in Sons4Dads looking for a houseboy!
Amy: You didn't.
Amy: Please tell me you're kidding.
Damon: Nope. Did it.
Mickey: How do I get to that club?
Pebo: What club?
Damon: Sons4Dads?
Mickey: Yeah. S4D
Damon: Is your email in your profile?
Mickey: Yes.
Damon: I'll go to the club and send you an invitation.
Mickey: You can do that?
Damon: I think I can. If I can't I'll give your email to a founder there.
Mickey: Thanks!
Wants1Arm: You a Dad or a Son, Mickey? ROFL
Mickey: Which you need, Arm?
Damon dropped out of the chatroom and checked Mickey's email. "Not much else about him in his profile," he noticed.
By the time the invitation was sent, Mickey was gone from the Garden chatroom. Damon visited a while longer, until there was finally a knock at the door. A peek through the security window showed the bright red hair of Charlie O'Toole on the other side.
"Come in, Charlie," Damon exclaimed, hugging his friend.
Charlie looked around the open area of the great room just off the foyer. "Dear God and all the Saints! Now... just who would be the decorator of this cathouse?"
"Me..." Damon grinned.
"Well, it'd be lookin' like the perfect seduction den," the Irishman replied with twinkling eyes.
"As usual, your talents for understatement serve you well," Damon jabbed back.
"So, be tellin' me, Dam," Charlie began as he settled into one of the over-stuffed chairs. "How'n the hell would ye be keeping something like this a secret from Ruth?"
"Not really a problem," Damon started. "She thinks I'm still working!"
"Until she would try to call your office."
"The office is still there. So is the answering machine. It's just not doing much any more! All I have to do is say I'm on the road through the week, and go home weekends to pat her on the ass and give her more money to spend, and the illusion is perfect."
"Could a man ask a simple question?"
"Why what, Charlie?"
"Why the secrets, me boy? The plans? This is quite a house of cards ye've built fer yerself! Why would ye not go ahead and be divorcing Ruth so that ye could be free to do as ye pleased?"
"Guilt." The one word answer was all that Damon could get out.
"And ye have none THIS way?" Charlie asked.
Damon sat there thinking. Perhaps Charlie was right. But starting the divorce proceedings was going to close the options. It would make the statements that life was about to change, and he was not sure how he would handle that.
"I'm not ready to feel that guilty, Charlie. Ruth and I have a... a history together. I don't care for her any more, but I don't know how she would handle being on her own. I'm just not ready to deal with it."
"Well, a man must do what he must. And I must say again what a grand place ye have here! How big would it be bein'?"
"The house is only 1400 square feet... but look out here..." He opened a curtain to reveal french doors and opened them. "A hot tub, and 42 foot oval pool!" Damon flipped on the night lights, and the pool glowed like a blue-green jewel from within. The outside area lighting showed the ten foot privacy fence, artistically hidden by ivy and other landscaping.
"Well, it's GRAND!" Charlie repeated. "That's the least to be said of it, don't you know?"
The two friends smiled at each other. Damon broke the silence.
"It's a shame I don't have my houseboy to share it with," he smirked.
"Aye," Charlie grinned. "That would be the crowning touch. So here we are, two old farts who won't admit they're gay takin' our fun from pretendin'!"
"Yeah. Maybe WE ought to move in together!"
They both chuckled. This issue had been discussed before. The two old friends had thought of exploring homosexuality with each other before, but neither was willing to risk the friendship. Besides, Damon was married, and Charlie wanted none of "cheating". He had finally experimented with a one-night stand with a young customer at his bar, but while the sex was great, the relationship had gone nowhere. .
Charlie grinned.
"Temptin', but no."
"I know," Damon smiled back. "But I thought you WOULD like to see the place... AND..." he reached for a tape on top of the VCR, I just happen to have the new Jeff Stryker!"
"You're a gentleman, Damon Green, and a great judge of poor movies! Put 'm in the machine and let's have a peek!"

Charlie had left about 3:00AM. As always, he and Damon had embraced fondly at the door, and Damon had gone to bed. So, it was about 9:00 the following morning when Damon had awakened. He drove to a nearby McDonald's and had what they euphemistically refer to as a "Big Breakfast." It wasn't that great, but it was quick and filling.
When he returned home, Damon sat down at his computer to check for email. Most of it was business related. While he was no longer actively soliciting business, his specialty advertising company would probably generate a good income on it's own for years to come. The steady customers who had been with him needed little maintenance, and most of that was now conducted via email. They would email the orders to him... he would email the order to the jobber. It was simple.
The email that turned out to be "The One" was about third from the bottom. It read:
I read your message in the Dads 4 Sons area. Tell me more about yourself. I am 23, but look younger. Blond, blue. About 6', 135. Need a place for the summer until school starts again. French, Greek, but no rough stuff. And by the way. What was that business about horses? You got some? Or ARE you one?
Jody Stringer
Damon's heart was pounding. "Damn!" he thought! "Hot Damn! Is it really THIS easy?" He paused, just long enough to make coffee, pour a cup, and collect his thoughts. He wrote back:
Thanks for your note. I am 48, and have only recently decided to come out of the closet. I'm also about 6 feet tall, weigh 165. I lost about 100 pounds over the last two years by diet and lots of hours at the gym, so am very fit! The horse comment is me... sort of. 7 1/2x7. Not really horsey, but larger than average. I have brown hair and eyes. Love to swim, travel, and have a really huge movie collection which I enjoy. Find my picture attached. Drop one of you if interested.
Damon Green
Damon sent the email, and tried to get interested in something else. Anything else. But it was a losing battle. He could not leave the computer alone. It was fortunate that he did not have long to wait. He was making a sandwich for lunch when the email program chimed that it had found more email in it's quarter-hourly poll of the server. It was from Jody.
Hi Damon!
I got your picture. Wow! You are a cool looking dude! And you don't look 48. Before I send you my picture, I guess I better tell you something. I am Mickey from the Secret Garden club. Since I have seen you there several times, I am guessing that you like amputee guys. Is this right? If it is, get back to me. I have a surprise for you.
Damon sat in his seat in a state of shock. The realization of what he had just read was flooding over him like a drug. "It just doesn't work out this way!" he thought! No one's luck is this good! You come out. You get a place. You literally advertise for a young, live-in lover. One applies, and he fits your personal sexual turn-on profile, right down to your most exotic interest! There IS a God."
Damon answered the email, and Jody returned with his picture. Not much else in the email text... just the picture. It was a snapshot, apparently taken at a beach somewhere. It showed a mischievous looking blond boy with close cropped (thank God, NOT shaved) hair, and a slim build. He was holding a beer can in his left hand, and was gesturing to someone out of the picture with the stump of his right arm. The limb appeared to have been amputated about 6 inches from the shoulder.
This was something Damon could not pass up. He emailed his phone number to Jody, and within 30 minutes his phone rang.
"Damon?" The voice was medium pitched. It had a vague west coast accent.
"Yes. Jody?"
"That's me!"
"Well, good to talk to you finally."
"Yeah. The email was getting to be a drag. Takes too long to get anything accomplished."
"Yeah, I agree," Damon returned.
"Well, look," Jody said, "What do you have in mind."
"Uh... I'm not sure I know what you mean," Damon stammered.
"The scene," Jody said flatly. "What sort of scene are you looking for?"
"Oh, the... uh... arrangements. Well... uh... I have a really nice home here... hot tub, pool, all of that sort of thing. I...well... need..."
"A Houseboy", Jody filled in.
"Yes. That's a good way to put it."
"Just one thing, man," Jody put in. "I gotta have a job for the summer. I'm goin' back to school this fall, and gotta put some cash down for it. About 3 or 4 grand. Can you hook me up with something there?"
"I, uh.. Believe you will find that your salary here will take care of that," Damon answered.
"Well, when would you like to start, Jody?"
"School's out in two weeks, but I got no way to get there to you. Where the hell is Frankfort, Kentucky, anyway?"
"It's between Lousiville and Lexington. You'll fly into Lousiville and I'll pick you up. What airport will you be leaving from? "
"Phoenix. In Arizona."
"I'll have a ticket waiting at the counter there for you."
"Awesome! Sounds like we are all set!"
"Well, see ya in two weeks, man!"
Damon hung up the phone not quite knowing what to make of his feelings. He was, of course, excited by the prospects of all that was in motion. But somewhere, in the back of his mind, something did not seem right. "I'm new at this... that's it," he told himself. But somewhere, he wondered if he was right.

May 23rd could not have been a more beautiful day. Damon slid into his car, buckled the seat belt, and pulled effortlessly out of his drive, making the right turn to hit the Interstate, and make the 45 minute trip to the Louisville Airport. Jody had called from Phoenix that morning, saying he had received the ticket, and would be boarding shortly.
The "cool jazz" from WJZL shortened the drive for Damon. And it helped him keep his excitement under control. After all. He didn't know this young man. This might not work out at all! But the majority of his mind was consumed with excitement. He was 16 again, going to pick someone up for a first date.
He arrived in plenty of time to see the plane touch down. The pilot expertly maneuvered the craft to the gate, and killed the jet engines. At least 70 passengers debarked, and Damon scanned each of their faces. Finally, a head of close-cropped blond hair caught his eye.
"Jody!" he yelled, waving.
Jody looked across the crowd, and saw the waving arm. He waved back, and made for Damon's location.
He smiled. "Good to meet you, Damon! I'm Jody!"
The young man extended the steel hook of his artificial arm to Damon. He grasped it, and shook. The cold of the steel so contrasted with the warmth of the smile that Damon felt himself become aroused! He quickly let go of the hook.
"Glad you made it, Jody! Good trip?"
"Yeah. Real smooth"
"Good. Let's go get your bags."
"Yeah. Here's the claim."
The two walked to the baggage claim area. Damon retried two suitcases. They, and the carry-on backpack that the boy carried constituted his luggage. Jody let him carry the bags to the car, without further comment.
They grabbed Taco Bell on the way out of town.
"You ever been to the bluegrass before, Jody?"
"Naw. Tell me when we get there."
Damon laughed. "We're HERE. You are IN the bluegrass region."
"Hell, it looks green to me," Jody snorted.
"It's not really blue," Damon explained. "Just a little blue-tinged. Look over under the trees... in the shade. See how it's a blue-green."
"Yeah, whatever. You got any music worth listening to around here?" He pressed the scan button and let it stop on some alternative rock.
Damon said nothing. He was not used to the passive rudeness of the Gen-X/Y set. His own children had certainly displayed it, but he had never gotten used to it.
When they pulled into the driveway, Joey perked up.
"Wow, man! Who's MX3?"
"You know your cars, I see," Damon smiled.
"Yeah. Yours?"
"Yes. I knew that if you were going to stay here a while, you would need some way to get around. I took the liberty of getting the automatic transmission. I trust you'll enjoy it?"
"Holy SHIT!" He yelled, as he opened the door.
Damon tossed him a set of keys, which he expertly caught with his left hand. In a moment or two, he had the door open, and was in the car.
"Want to take it for a spin?" Damon asked.
"No lie! Get in, Man!"
Damon strapped in to the passenger seat. Jody reached over the steering column to put the key in the lock with his left hand, and started the engine. He then extended the artificial arm, making an odd movement with his opposite shoulder as he did. The split hook opened, and grasped the gear shift. Jody shrugged back with his right shoulder, and the gear level moved to reverse.
They drove around for about 30 minutes. Damon was enthralled listening to the excited jabber... much different from the drive from Lousiville. He also enjoyed watching Jody work with that false arm. It was amazing how good he was with it!
When they finally returned home, Damon showed Jody his room, and offered to help him unpack. The boy said "No," and Damon left him with it. Perhaps a swim. Maybe THAT would cool him off.
He was on a float chair in the pool, drinking a beer when Jody emerged from the house. The dress pants and oxford cloth shirt of the trip had been replaced by shorts (or was it a pair of trunks?) And a tee shirt. He also noticed that Jody was wearing his arm and harness over the tee, as if he expected to take it off shortly.
"Got another brew?" Jody asked?
"The little 'fridge... by the hot tub."
Jody popped the top, and took a long pull at the cold beer.
"Try out the pool?" Damon asked.
"Nah. Not today. Too tired. Maybe tomorrow."
Damon was disappointed, but tried not to show it. He jumped off the float and got out of the pool, taking a seat across the white-painted iron table where Jody was sitting. Jody was fiddling with the wide rubber band that kept the split hook closed when he was holding something with it.
"These bands never do stay in place right," he said absently. He looked up at Damon and caught him looking at the mechanism. "Interested in how it works?" he asked casually?
"Uh... yeah, I am," Damon answered.
"This monster is pretty primitive, really. I'm gonna get one of those electric ones after school, but this is easy to use and it doesn't run down." He looked at Damon. "The cable here on the hook runs up the arm, all the way over to this shoulder strap. See?"
Damon followed it.
"And all I have to do to open the hook is extend it, and move my shoulder like this..."
"Have you always used an arm?", Damon asked?
"Pretty much," he said. "Ever since I got healed up after the accident."
"How long ago was that?"
"Uh... 11 years now. I was 12. The old man took me hunting. We were about to go under a fence. He put his shotgun against the fence. It fell when he started under it. Went off, and got me in the arm. I don't remember a thing from the time the gun went off until I woke up in the hospital with it gone."
"I'm sorry."
"Not near as sorry as he was. I guess he'd have spent the rest of his life kissing my ass if I hadn't come out of the closet!"
"So your family didn't take that well..."
"Well? Hell... they threw me out. Right out on the street. He made some crack about being glad to finally have my crippled ass off his back. My mother and I still speak occasionally, but not the old man. He just pretends I don't exist!"
"I'm actually sorrier to hear that than I am about your arm."
"Screw it. I'm gettin' by!"
Damon walked into the house to start dinner. He was thinking of how Jody must be feeling. Trying to sort that, and his own feelings out. He looked up and saw the that he'd been followed.
"Hey, man. I'm sorry. I know I sounded like a jerk."
"Not at all..."
"Yeah, I did. I'm sorry."
"No problem."
Jody get a mischievous look in his eyes.
"You really hungry?" he asked?
"Not really," Damon answered.
"Well," Joey began, "there's something I need you to help me with."
"Fine, what's that?"
Jody gestured to his false arm.
"Help me get out of this."
Damon smiled. He knew Jody didn't need help from anyone for that. He was offering it as a way to initiate contact... to "start something", and Damon was not about to turn it down. He turned off the burner on the stove... the English peas in that pot could just wait!
Jody led him to the great room, where he stopped in front of the large couch. He took Damon's hand, and placed it on the control harness on his left shoulder. Damon grasped it, feeling the warmth that Jody's body had transferred to it. The supple leather yielded to pressure, and slipped over the young man's sound, left arm. Freed of it's supporting pressure, the upper shell of the prosthesis easily slipped from the right shoulder, and Jody stepped back. He took a moment to raise the sock-clad stump and rotate the shoulder, obviously stretching the remaining muscles there.
Almost like a stripper removing her glove to throw to an eager crowd, Jody reached up and grasped the end of the stump sock. He looked at Damon out of the corner of his eyes, and slowly pulled the garment away. He smiled lasciviously, motioning the man to come forward, and examine his trophy.
"This is heaven," Damon thought, as he caressed Jody's stump, and began a deep, lingering kiss.

Reality Check
"I'll be back Monday morning," Damon said to Jody through the rolled down car window.
"I still don't get this weekend shit," Jody returned. "Kick the old bag's ass out and be done with her! That's what I'd do!"
"Well, it's not that simple. Besides. You need some time to yourself."
Damon put the car in reverse, and pulled away. He looked in the rearview mirror, and saw Jody closing the front door. "Good," he thought. "Everything normal. Everything just like it always is."
Damon didn't turn onto the Interstate. Instead he made the turn into the city. He was on his way to pick up a rental car for the weekend. The car was part of his weekend project. He was going to play detective.
It had started a couple of weeks before, in mid July, when he had found the foil condom wrapper in the bathroom trash. It would not have attracted his attention, normally. He and Jody always used them when they were having at each other. But this was different. He had picked the package up and read the name. It was the wrong brand! It was not his Trojan Magnum, and it was not Jody's Young Lover Slim. And it was not a case of Jody switching brands! Damon knew because, like almost every other expense of the house, he covered, and actually shopped for the condoms!
"The little shit." He had thought.
Not that this was the beginning of his disillusionment. Jody, as it turned out, was far more of a technician than a true lover. Yes, he was into sex, and into it in a big way. He loved the get and he loved to give. But Damon had the distinct feeling that there was no love there. Jody knew exactly what buttons to push and when. He understood what felt good to a man, and he made sure his partner got it. In short, Jody was a skilled whore.
His reverie was broken by the sign of the Car Rental Company. He walked in, signed the papers, and paid the extra $25 to have them store his car on their lot for the weekend. He climbed into the non-descript, mid-line GM car, and drove back to the house, parking about three houses down. As an after-thought, he set WJZL playing, low in the background, and slumped down low behind the wheel. He started to reach for a soft drink, and thought better of it. He might be here for quite some time, and the fewer bathroom breaks required, the better.
He could have had his drink. It wasn't 40 minutes later that Jody came out of the house. He was wearing his baggy swimming trunks and a tee shirt and flip-flop sandals, and had a large beach towel thrown over his right shoulder. He slid into the MX3, started the engine, and pulled out of the driveway. Damon started the motor of his own vehicle, and followed at a fair distance.
The city park came up fairly quickly, and at first Damon was puzzled as to why the kid was going to the public pool when he had a perfectly wonderful, clean, private pool just out the door. Then it became clear. Jody got out of the car, and slipped his artificial arm off, throwing it in the back seat. He wore no stump sock. Next, he turned the right sleeve of the tee up, so that the stump was not only fully visible, but the center of attention. He slipped a bill through the admission window, and went in.
The binoculars worked great! He was right there, watching everything. And what a show!
Jody first spread his towel out at pool side at the shallow end. Then he waded into the pool. There was a group of upper teens there, throwing a frisbee around in the pool. Jody watched a few minutes, then positioned himself where the frisbee would be sure to hit him. In an instant, he was in the game! Damon had to admit that he was a good player. He had enough years of practice making one hand do the work for two!
They must have played for half an hour. When it broke up. Jody sat on his towel. He was simply looking around, as though waiting for something. He rotated his shoulder a couple of times, and made several languid movements with his stump. Finally, a young man who might have been 18 or 19 came up and started talking to him. Jody obviously told him to sit down. As they talked, he took a bottle of suntan lotion from the pocket of the trunks, expertly flipped the squirt top open, and squeezed a bit on his chest. The rubbing movements were magic. Sexual was too tame a word to give them. Damon became aroused watching from a distance.
The boy obviously offered to apply the lotion to his back. It didn't take long for the application to spread to the shoulders, and then down the left arm. Jody turned to the boy, and said something. He looked around, almost to check and see if anyone was watching, and then squeezed a bit of the lotion into his hand. He then applied it to Jody's right shoulder, and continued it down his stump. Jody was obviously making movements with his arm remnant, and it was, just as obviously, getting to his helper. Again they exchanged a few words, and stood up. Jody picked up his towel, and headed for the exit gate.
The teenager followed him.
Had anyone bothered to check their rearview mirrors, there would have been a caravan headed back to the Fountains subdivision. Jody in the lead, the teenager in his car next, and much further back, Damon bringing up the rear.
The young men went into the house when they arrived. Damon parked a few doors down on the opposite side of the street from his earlier vigil. Again, he didn't have that long to wait. In slightly less than an hour, the exhausted-looking teenager stumbled out the door, and found his way to his car. Jody appeared to have money in his hand, and was simply shaking his head. Damon lipread the word "Chump."
"The little son-uv-a-bitch is turning tricks!"
It was, indeed, an obvious fact. Damon started to burst into the front door and confront him. But he held his peace. "Let's just watch a bit more," he thought.
It was almost an hour and a half before the door opened again. It was getting dark. This time, the slight amputee was dressed in tan slacks and a polo shirt. No arm. Again, the sleeve had been turned up. It appeared that the fold contained a cigarette pack, but the real purpose was clear. Jody was an exotic prostitute, and he was advertising his wears.
The nightclub he chose was not far away. He went in. Damon cursed under his breath, wanting to follow, but being afraid of being spotted. He waited.
Again, the wait was short. This time, the client was an older man. Someone roughly his own age. The man looked around, again checking to see that no one was watching him as he followed the prostitute to the parking lot.
The scene was repeated twice more before the lights went out in the house at 1:15 AM, and Jody did not come out.
Damon sat in his rented car, thinking. "This is not what I had dreamed of," he said aloud, almost dropping into a bitter laughter. "Not at all." He sat there for nearly half an hour, the cool jazz on the radio calming him, clarifying his mind. He started the car, and turned onto the Interstate, towards Lexington.
Charlie was still awake when he knocked at the door.
"Well, come in, me boy," he began to chortle. "Ye look like the devil's own little corner of hell, ye do! Whatever would be yer problem this time of tha mornin'?"
"You ever notice how dreams are better dreamt than lived?"
"Beggin' yer pardon?"
"We dream about things all our lives. Our wishes. Our desires. And finally, we get them. Sometimes by hook... sometimes by crook... and sometimes they just fall into our laps. And Charlie, the dreams are shit!"
"It'd be me guess that somethin' has gone south between you and that little one-armed cutie of yers?"
"Yeah. I should have seen it. He's a prostitute Charlie. When I've been coming here weekends to be with Ruth, he's been turning tricks at the house!"
"The devil!"
"The truth."
"How'd ye be knowin' this, me boy?"
"I stayed in Frankfort today and watched him!"
Charlie was silent for a moment. Damon broke the quiet.
"The cheap little slut. The cheat."
"And of course, Damon, ye've been faithful to him."
"Of course!"
"Except on weekends."
"What? What are you getting after?"
"I was just thinkin' of how it must have seemed to him, with you goin' home to Ruth and all."
Damon was poleaxed.
"Hell, I don't know what IS right anymore, Charlie."
"Right is better sorted out in a mornin' than in the dark. Lay yerself down on me couch, and sleep for a while. We'll talk when ye awake."

It didn't take Damon nearly as long to drop of as he would have thought. The tension of the day had drained him, and he slept well. It was nearly noon when the smell of bacon frying awakened him. Charlie O'Toole was standing behind his breakfast bar, laying out a spread that would have dazzled his customers.
"Smells good," Damon called.
"Well, that bein' the case, I'd drag me arse over to this table and get a plate of it, were it bein' me!"
Damon complied only too gladly.
"How does the world look with th' sunshine to view it?" Charlie asked as he sat down to join his friend.
"Clearer," Damon answered.
"How would that be?" Charlie returned.
"I have exactly what I paid for and what I deserve."
"Oh, and what would that be?"
"A talented whore. I advertised for one. I hired one, during our first telephone conversation. And, damn me, I treated him like one."
He paused.
"Aren't you going to argue with me on any of this, Charlie?"
"I'll stop ye when I hear somethin' that don't sound right," was the flat response.
"Well, I had that coming I guess..."
"Ye did."
"But I'm going to do something about it."
"That be'n'?"
"It's been business. Especially with him. I'm going to drive to Frankfort, and I'm going to finish the transaction. I've already paid him for August. I think it's time I give him his bonus, and send him on his way."
"Well, that would sound like a good start," Charlie nodded.
They finished the brunch, and Damon insisted on helping with the cleanup. By the time it was all done, and the two men had driven back to Frankfort it was nearly 2 in the afternoon.
Damon turned into the driveway, and noticed that the MX3 was not there.
"Out recruiting more business, I'd guess."
"Perhaps," Charlie answered. "What a say we wait on the lad inside. Me thirst is botherin' me!"
Damon fumbled with the keys, and opened the front door. They walked in, and Damon went to the refrigerator to get two beers.
Charlie called from the great room: "When did yet get rid of the tape machine and yer stereo system? I was thinkin' they'd be brand new!"
Damon walked into the great room. Charlie was right. The units WERE missing. He went to Jody's room. It was, of course, empty.
Charlie asked gently "How much did he take?"
Damon looked around. "Doesn't look like that much. The VCR... the stereo... a small 'fridge from the patio... his clothes..." Damon opened a drawer at his desk. "...and about $1000 in petty cash."
"And th' car," Charlie added.
Damon laughed. "That's the funny part. It is his. I had it put in his name. I wonder if he'll notice that on the registration before he ditches it."
Charlie chuckled. "Want me to call th' police?"
Damon smiled back. "Why? So I can tell them that my gay live-in prostitute robbed me?"
"I see yer point. So what now?"
"Jody has closed his part of our transaction for me. And, I suppose it's a lesson learned, Charlie."
"The question, me boy, is where do ye go from here?"
"To a divorce lawyer. First thing Monday. So that the next lover I take won't feel like a whore when I go home weekends to my wife. It's the only fair thing to do."
"Yes, i'tis," the Irishman nodded back.
"So," Damon said, turning to his friend, "you have any idea where I could find a great lover who'd want to be my best friend as well?"
Charlie laughed.
"I was thinkin' ye were never gonna ask, me boy! I was thinkin' ye were NEVER gonna ask!"

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