dontravis.com blog post #630
Hope everyone survived Turkey Day and got a kick out of my oddball story last week. Try to do better this week with another two-part short story.
BOY FOR SALE
Colin Ragner didn’t like the looks of the place. Side street bistros unsettled him. A middlin’ sized sign with dancing lights identified it as the Lost Soul’s Bar and Grill. He’d stood in the night shadows across the street for a quarter of an hour and watched the traffic. Men and women—and some individuals hard to pigeonhole—arrived as singles and departed as couples. If the joint wasn’t a gay bar, it was at least gay friendly. Not his kind of place.
Colin sighed. Didn’t matter. That’s where he had to go. He’d kept his mark waiting for fifteen minutes, now he needed to go inside. Tossing the cigarette he hadn’t smoked, just toyed with by rolling across his lips, he stepped into the street, avoiding a puddle. Rained most of the afternoon, merely overcast tonight.
The blue door swung open at the touch of his fingers. Oiled and balanced. Heavy and expensive. The entryway was properly dark. Management wanted just enough light to make everyone look good. Patrons wouldn’t see blotches and blemishes on their tryst for the night until lights went on in someone’s apartment later. Confirmed his impression. A hookup joint. Classy one, though.
A hefty black man stood unobtrusively near the door. Muscle on the lookout for hellions. Apparently, Colin didn’t register on his trouble meter. The man nodded courteously and allowed him through.
The bar—long, gleaming, and probably ebony—stretched along the right side of the room while the seating area opened to the left. No booths. Tables only. Linen covers. He’d hate to pay their laundry bill. The band stage stood vacant at the far end of the big room. Probably didn’t have live entertainment until weekends. There’d be a cover charge if musicians were performing, and no one had collected a penny when he entered.
A decent crowd ranging from black tie and gowns to poplin and denims sat around the place. Only six or so occupied stools at the bar. He spotted his mark among them and understood the meeting venue. The guy was blond and good looking, the kind who could lounge around for half a day waiting for the right hookup. Briefly, he wondered if the young man was really gay. Didn’t really matter. Colin knew a big sissy who could take on the entire Redskins line one at a time and be standing at the end… be it fighting or fornicating.
Colin took a seat at this end of the bar. Let the guy come to him. Be interesting to see his approach. Blondie had already spotted him, of that he was certain. He’d seen a flicker in the guy’s eyes in the big mirror that ran behind the bar.
His mark was not patient. As soon as Colin was served, he picked up his highball and moved down beside him. “Wagner?” An error or checking for accuracy.
“Ragner,” he said.
“Right, Ragner. I’m Tolliver. Thought for a while I was being stood up. But you were just being careful, right?”
“You have what I’m looking for?”
Colin caught a glint of humor in the blue eyes. Gay. Definitely. Okay, that fit.
“Course not,” he answered. “Not about to bring that kind of money to a joint like this. Got more sense than that.”
The look of amusement deepened. “Oh, you want to get me off to yourself, do you?”
Colin played the game. “Didn’t figure you’d object to a hotel room.”
The grin turned into a broad smile. “Yours or mine?”
“Mine, I think.”
Tolliver raised his voice a bit. “So long as it has a bed.”
Playing to an audience, most likely. If not, there might be trouble in the offing.
“Well, Mr. Colin Ragner, I haven’t eaten, and they have a great menu here. Let’s take a table and order before we go to your place. On you, of course.”
Colin frowned. “I didn’t come to this joint for a meal. I came to do business. You have the kid?”
“Oh, you’re anxious to see our boy, aren’t you. He is a delicious handful, I can tell you.”
Colin lifted his head. “He’s okay?”
“Of course, I wouldn’t sell you damaged goods. Barton—that’s his name, you know—is one good-looking kid. Handsome of face and form, as they say. Just the right age. Eighteen. Gay but not a fem. Matter of fact, he’s downright macho. Off hand, I’d say the price is right.”
“Okay, then let’s stop screwing around and go get him.”
“After dinner. My first name’s Kevin, by the way. You can contain yourself long enough to dine with me, can’t you? Besides, you’re a hunky dude, Colin. I want everyone to see what a catch I made this evening. Jason, that’s the bartender, he’s already giving me a thumbs up. He might ask for your phone number before we leave. Not terribly handsome, but a body to die for.”
“Keep your dirty mouth shut, Tolliver.”
“Touchy, aren’t we?” The blond stood. “Let’s take a table now. I’m in the mood for a grilled salmon steak. With asparagus and sweet potato, I think.
Colin gritted his teeth and trailed the man to a table in the middle of the room. At least, the guy didn’t swish when he walked.
What’s going on here? Who is Colin Ragner, anyway? He obviously doesn’t cotton to gays, but he’s buying a boy? Either the guy’s a monster, or there’s something going on we don’t understand yet.
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