WARNING: the story contains references to drugs,
scenes of a sexual nature and strong language.
Previous Installments ~ Part One
The room had a rancid smell of cigarettes and rising damp, and the dust in the air irritated Ryan’s lungs, making him cough hard.
“You keep coughing like that. Are you sick?”
Lying next to him, George looked over with pity and Ryan moved away, shifting to his side of the bed.
“Just a cough,” he answered, dismissive.
“You’re not ill with some contagious disease, are you?” George sounded concerned.
Ryan turned to look at him. “Worried, are you?”
George lowered his eyes. He always did when Ryan stared directly into his face.
“Your idea not to use condoms, not mine.” Ryan sneered.
“I would have, if I knew you were-”
“It’s just a cough.” Ryan sat up and put his feet down on the rough old carpet. He shivered in the chill of the badly heated room, then recovered his clothes and started to get dressed.
“Are you going already?” George’s disappointed voice reached him from behind.
“I’ve been here over an hour. For what you pay me, long enough.”
“Money!” George moaned. “It’s all about money, with you.”
Ryan stood up to zip his jeans. “What did you think it would be about?”
Again he looked at George’s blushing face and noticed his eyes shifting behind his round spectacles.
It was difficult to believe it, but that little, unassuming, softly spoken, chubby, balding man, who, with his bow ties and jackets that strained across his stomach, resembled a children’s TV character, and always started their encounters with pleasant, friendly conversations, was an aggressive, at times even vicious dominator during sex.
They had met twice, sometimes three times a week for almost a year, now, and as much as Ryan disliked him, he could not sniff at the regular income that came from George.
Ryan stretched to grab his T-shirt and George seized his arm.
“Look at you!” His soft voice betrayed dismay. “You’ll have to inject in your stomach soon, to find a vein that is not hardened or swollen. Is this what I’m paying you for?”
Ryan pulled his arm away. “You pay me to fuck me.”
George shook his head. “You could get away from all this, if…”
Ryan slipped the T-shirt over his head and pulled it down, covering his pale, almost transparent skin. “If what? If I let you fuck me for free?”
“It wouldn’t be like that, you know it.” George was still avoiding his gaze. “We could-”
“I’m not gay, George. I told you many times.”
“But you screw men.”
“They screw me.”
“So you’re looking for pussies, is that it?” George’s voice was suddenly shrill, like that of a child having a tantrum. “Who are you shagging? Is it that monstrous tranny you live with?”
Ryan finished getting dressed in silence. He sat on the edge of the bed to do up his trainers.
“Well?” George was starting to annoy him with his petulant voice.
“You owe me eighty quid,” he replied, coldly.
“Is that what I’m worth to you? Eighty quid?”
Ryan gulped down the words that had come to his lips.
What had worth got anything to do with all that?
George was still in full flow.
“What am I doing, talking to you about feelings?” He snapped. “What would the likes of you know about that?”
Again Ryan stopped himself from answering and squeezed his fist.
Pictures of the last hour were still playing like a film in his mind, the physical and verbal abuse, the insults, the put downs, the humiliations. Was this the same man, now, talking to him about feelings?
Ryan inhaled deeply.
The likes of him…
“I am a rent-boy,” he stated unemotionally, “and a junkie. I can’t afford feelings.” He paused to cough and felt George’s body moving behind him, the man’s face pressed on his back.
“You are playing games with me,” he said. “You do have feelings. I can tell when I kiss you.”
Ryan’s body shook.
“You laughing or coughing?” George tightened his grip on Ryan’s shoulder and Ryan turned to look at him.
“Man…” He struggled to find his voice which came out with a strange croak. “You pay me for this shit. You want me to kiss you, I kiss you. You want me to talk dirty, I talk dirty. You want to piss on me, you can piss on me. As long as you give me my fucking eighty quid, I do anything you want me to. I don’t give a shit about feelings.”
George shoved him violently, almost throwing him off the bed.
“Eighty quid!” He shrieked. “You think you’re worth that much?”
I’m worth nothing.
“I’m worth what I decide.” Ryan stood up and wore his coat. “I set the price.”
“You scum!” George’s eyes were shifting madly around the room, as if he were looking for an escape. “You filthy scum! You are robbing me, probably giving me some horrible disease. God! I need air.” He kicked the blanket off and got up too, looking strangely vulnerable in his nudity, now that Ryan was fully clothed.
“Don’t look at me!” He screeched.
Ryan shrugged.“ Just give me my money and I’m out of here.”
George had recovered his hideous white briefs and his checked shirt. He reached for his wallet and got a few notes out.
“Here.” he stretched them to Ryan, who took them and counted them.
“What’s this shit?” He immediately exclaimed. “I told you, the price is eighty.”
George pulled up his trousers avoiding Ryan’s eyes.
“That’s what you’re getting,” he mumbled.
“Forty pounds? Are you fucking messing with me?”
George turned to look at him. For the first time that night he kept his gaze and Ryan could look into his small, dark eyes, filled with fear and contempt, with desire and disgust, all the ambivalence that George harboured inside.
Since their first encounter at Lola’s bar, Ryan had learned quite a bit about the man, when, at the beginning of each meeting, they simply lay next to each other and talked, following George’s wishes. They were far more intimate moments than sex, and made Ryan uncomfortable. He didn’t want to feel close to anyone, least of all that slimy little man struggling with his sexuality, forced to seek company by paying someone like him, fearful of his own desires and inclinations. He didn’t want to feel sorry for him. He didn’t want to feel anything. As he had said, he could not afford to have feelings.
It was difficult to feel pity for George, anyway, when he would suddenly stop talking and order Ryan to strip to then punish his young lover for all the self loathing he lived with, shouting at and abusing him to exercise that little power he felt was still his.
But now they were not having sex.
“Give me my money, man.”
George trembled, but didn’t move.
“I told you.” Once again he averted his gaze. “That’s what you’re getting. We didn’t enjoy ourselves tonight.”
“What the fuck are you playing at?” Ryan moved closer to him and George suddenly seemed smaller than usual. “Enjoying it? Just give me my fucking money!” He grabbed George by the shoulders.
“You want to beat me up?” George felt limp in his grasp. “Will you enjoy it, if you beat me up?”
Ryan pushed him away with such force that George lost his balance and fell, knocking over the night table. Ryan launched a punch at him and didn’t encounter any real resistance; he got hold of the man’s wallet, which he slipped in his coat’s pocket.
George’s body was shaking hysterically, Ryan couldn’t tell if by laughter, sobs or both.
He stood up and coughed and wheezed, before he was able to speak again.
“Enjoying it!” He spat. “You make my skin crawl, you fucking bastard! Don’t come looking for me again. I can do without this shit.”
He gave one last look at the pathetic figure crumpled on the floor, the battered face and bleeding lips. Then, he opened the room’s door and left.
Continues in Part Three