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6-10 Recap: Volume 1
A drag queen scorned, street brawlin, and a love triangle on the dance floor of Roscoes in Week 2 of BOYSTOWN. Volume 2 will launch 8/27, right here on ChicagoPride.com and the GoPride network!

CHAPTER 6 - NO FURY LIKE

Hunter managed to fit everything he owned into three large garbage bags. Fuck this life sideways: he was starting over. Hearing the "girls" cackling in the living room, bumping mixers of blow and poppers only reinforced this. Gathering all the bags in one swoop, he opened his bedroom door, chin held high and entered the Lioness Den.

"Well, well, where does this one think she's going?" DeLisha de Ville snarled, quickly gumming the stray blow on her upper lip.

"I told you Daryl, I'm moving the fuck out." Even under the heavy concealer and miles of fake lashes, Hunter could still see the venom and bitterness seething through her.

"Ay papi, don't go," said Cucina Cerrada, moving her long Carmen Miranda-eque train off the seat next to her. "Party with us."

"She thinks she's too good for us, Cucina," DeLisha continued, affixing a Capri Light to the end of her extendable cigarette holder. "She thinks she's moving up in the world."

"Movin' on UP!" scream-sang Sarah-Bra Palsey, so named for the jittery and manic way she lip-synched Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" when she first entered the scene during a Drag Race at Roscoe's. "To the EAST SIDE!" Sarah-Bra was in full character now, bouncing up-and-down giddily as she scream-sang.

"Well, to the east side of the street anyway."

"To a DEEEELUUUXE APARTMENT... !"

"QUIET!" DeLisha's ferocious command shut Sarah-Bra so abruptly mid-bounce that her wig fell crooked as she landed. DeLisha rose with a coked-up grandeur that would've made Joan Crawford green with envy. She slowly and specifically extended her long and bony arm out towards Hunter, the index finger pointing accusingly. ‘You think you're better than this. But I know you. I remember where you came from. You're nothing but a low-class, two-bit go-go boy. You were born in a trailer and you'll die in THE GUTTER!"

Hunter rolled his eyes. "You done? Cuz I gotta get goin'."

DeLisha scrunched her face in a smirk as she slithered towards him. "Oh no, darling, I am nowhere near done." She unbuttoned her double-breasted Jackie-O knock off, fished out a torn-open letter hidden under her falsie, crumpled it up, and threw it in Hunter's face. It was from Harold Washington College. Hunter should've been shocked that DeLisha opened it. Should've been, but it was shit like this that made Hunter want to move out in the first place. DeLisha slunk back down to the couch smugly as Hunter read with dismay something that she'd known for a week: Hunter's financial aid had fallen through and he wouldn't be able enroll in the fall.

"So you see darling, nothing is changing for you. Nothing. So squelch your delusions of grandeur and stay with us."

"Fuck you." Hunter said simply as he headed for the door. He threw the rejection letter back at them so suddenly that Cucina screeched something in Spanish and kicked a platform shoe up, knocking Sarah-Bra over. "Oh and you can keep the money you stole from under my mattress, Daryl. See you, like, never." And he was gone.

"NOOO! Don't go!" DeLisha screamed, reaching for the door with both arms. "You need me! You... I NEED YOU!" She broke into sobs as Sarah-Bra recovered from her almost concussion, bouncing up and down and clapping.

"Again! Again!" squealed Sarah-Bra, her Chrissy Snow wig still crooked and jiggling with each bounce. DeLisha slapped her, wiping angry tears from her face. She would get Hunter back, no matter what it took. Hell hath no fury like a drag queen scorned.

###

CHAPTER 7 - DAILY GRIND

Charlie didn't necessarily need the cash; he was just doing a favor for a friend. He hated summer school more than low-carb wine, so Molly owed him huge for subbing. Her lesson plan was easy enough; it was the same section of American Lit that he taught in the spring. He let the students off the hook by letting them catch up on reading Catcher in the Rye and finishing the essay due to Ms. Meacham by tomorrow. In the meantime, he did what any ol' sub does: he caught up with his friends via text:

TRISTAN: OMFG, you SLUT! The Bitches saw you doing The Walk! I could DIE!
CHARLIE: Whatever. Where were you? I texted you!
TRISTAN: BRB

BECKA: So did HWSNBN try to talk to you?
CHARLIE: Kinda? He called out as I bailed.
BECKA: What a weirdo! Get over him already!

TRISTAN: OMFG, I don't know if I can tell Charlie.
CHARLIE: Tell Charlie what?
TRISTAN: Oh, sorry, wrong text.
CHARLIE: WTF?!
TRISTAN: BRB

DAVID: Wait, so you hooked up with your new roomie?
CHARLIE: Yeah. But like, before he was. It's complicated.
DAVID: And he's a Go-Go Boy?!
CHARLIE: Don't get me started.
DAVID: Have you guys talked about it yet?
CHARLIE: BRB

OTHER DAVID: So you can make it?
CHARLIE: Hellz yah! He's gonna be so surprised!
OTHER DAVID: Do you think I can really fit 30 candles on the cake?
CHARLIE: He's going to kill you!

Grindr sound.

BTOWNVERS: Looking for?
CHARLIE: Dates, friends, fun. HBU?
BTOWNVERS: Whatever.
CHARLIE: Maybe we can meet up sometime.
BTOWNVERS: BRB.

"Mr. Parker?" Charlie recognized Alex as he approached the desk. He had him for English I when he was a freshman. It surprised him that Alex was in summer school going into senior year; he was very bright.

"Yes, Alex. How can I help you?"

"I've already read this book. Three times. I've done my essay. Can I sit at the computer lab and work on my blog?"

"Sorry, Alex. The computer lab is closed during class time. Maybe you can, um, move ahead?"

"There is no 'ahead.' This curriculum was built for idiots. I've read everything on the list and have all my papers finished."

"Well maybe, you can just sit quietly and wait for everyone else to catch up?"

"That's going to be the story of my life, isn't it?" Charlie couldn't help but smile at that. He wished he was as sure of himself when he was that age. Alex started to go back to his desk but then turned back and leaned in close.

"You know, Mr. Parker," he whispered. "You really shouldn't be on Grindr while you're teaching class."

"I... what? Not even!"

"I heard the sound. We ALL heard the sound."


*


Tyler couldn't be any more excited to be interviewing with the HRC. He shook the manager's hand and before the manager could sit down, the floodgates of gushing just opened:

"First, let me say how important the HRC is to me. Everything you guys stand for, all the human rights. And campaigning. Yes, definitely campaigning. Because what would human rights be without campaigning, right? I mean it's such a service to all of us, humans, all humans. Gay or straight or black or white or Hispanic and everything. I'm gay. Not that that should get me any special treatment or whatever, I just... it means a lot to me. For obvious reasons. I mean, I hope to get married someday, gay married, like real married, not like that other thing they're trying to pretend is marriage? But yeah, it's all thanks to the HRC, really... I mean, where would we be without you? Like the movement, the gay movement. I mean, not that I've been in it for so long or whatever, I'm, you know, only twenty-one and I just came out... but still VERY VERY in the loop and stuff, and I mean, I could've gotten a job at Starbucks or whatever, but who wants to sling coffee every day of their life. I want something meaningful. So yeah, I can't wait for this opportunity to work for the HRC. If you'll have me."

The manager looked up from his clipboard. "So. Tyler. Right?" Tyler eagerly nodded. "You can start right away?"

"I can start today if you'll have me, sir."

"Good. Consider yourself hired." Tyler had to resist the urge to hug him. He found a job, with the HRC! His life had meaning! He was on his way to finding a place in this city!

An hour later, Tyler was on Clark and Diversey, with a clipboard, asking people if they had a minute to support gay marriage.


*


Just drown in the beats, Hunter thought. Close your eyes and think about the cash.

Men were grabbing at him. Whatever. Let them think what they want. Let them think they can have you; do the dance, get their cash and be done. It's nothing but the beats inside. Grinding to the beats inside. Everything is the beats inside.

Some old skeezer comes up, puts some money in his jock, tries to get a little frisky. Hunter graciously licks the guy's face as he takes his hand away. It's a means to an end, Hunter tells himself. Fuck financial aid; fuck the system. You'll get there. This is your fresh start, no matter how much longer you're stuck at your dead end. It's a means to an end.

Seriously, Skeezer is on fire! He won't take no for answer. Dance away from him, Hunter. Skeezer grabs Hunter's jockstrap and tries to pull him back. Hunter kicks him; he falls back. Skeezer throws a drink in his face. "You're a low-life piece of shit! You'll never amount to anything!" Big ol' Darius comes up from the front, pulls Skeezer away and pushes him out the door.

Close your eyes. Think about the cash. And the beats inside. Nothing but the beats inside. You're not a low-life piece of shit. You will amount to something.

Another guy grabs at Hunter, bills flashing in his hand. Means to an end, Hunter. Keep on grinding, for now. Nothing but the beats inside.


*


Charlie was making coffee when Tyler stepped out of the shower. Tyler had that Midwestern cornfed thing going for him and Charlie had to actively not look. Tyler hadn't said much about his new job, but Charlie was glad that he was getting somewhere. As Tyler went into his room, Hunter came in the front door, covered in glitter and sweat, wearing hardly anything. They hadn't talked about That Night. Should they? Charlie offered him a cup of coffee, but Hunter waved it away, grabbing a towel from the hall linen closet.

"Rough day at the office?" was all Charlie could think of to say. Hunter managed a wane smile and headed for the shower.

###

CHAPTER 8 - TRISTAN BE BRAWLIN'

It's not that Tristan hated Dollar Drinks at Spin; any excuse to see that cutie Shane behind the bar was actually quite welcome. It was the sheer principle of having to slum it due to financial reasons that made him salty. He'd already blown through most of the money Daddy had wired into his account at Best Buy and Akira. And if any of the A-Gays saw him go into Spin on a Wednesday, he would die. Just die. But a gay has to drink, so here he was, queuing up with the rest of the plebs, waiting to shell out $1 plus tip for a watered down well-Cosmo. He whipped out his Louis Vuitton encased iPhone and called Charlie; he was good to spot him for at least five drinks.

"Hey Tristan. What's up?"

"Where you at, boo? Come dollar drink with yo' mama!"

"That sounds great," chuckled Charlie, "but I'm actually going to this event at Sidetrack. All the proceeds tonight benefit this queer youth shelter, Haven."

"Ugh, BENEFIT?!" His dwindling pocketbook motivated Tristan's mock disdain. Sure it seemed like a good cause or whatever, but Tristan was broke.

"Dude, Jess Godwin is playing, and JC Brooks from the Uptown Sound, a bunch of really SICK artists!"

"Ugh, BENEFIT?!" His dwindling pocketbook motivated Tristan's mock disdain. Sure it seemed like a good cause or whatever, but Tristan was broke.

"Dude, Jess Godwin is playing, and JC Brooks from the Uptown Sound, a bunch of really SICK artists!"

"Ok, first, my name is not dude. And B, why are you talking like that?"

"Um, I dunno. I just... "

"Charlie you're changing. I don't know if I like it. Join me at Spin, before it's too late."

"Wait a minute. You hate Spin."

"Hate is a very strong word, Charles."

"And double wait, what is it that you can't tell... "

Shit. "Oh, there are my Bitches!" Tristan lied, waving to no one. "Gotta go." Click.

Tristan made it inside just in time to beat the $5 cover. Last thing he needed was to waste five drinks on just getting in. It was such an awkward time to be there; hardly anyone was there. He did a fruit loop, attempting to look approachable and fierce at the same time. No one was biting. He sat at the front bar for five minutes, waiting for someone to buy him a drink. He finally gave in and bought himself a vodka cranberry. The shame of it all. If his friends could just see him now. And that's when that bitch Jaison came strumpeting up.

"Bitch, you late!" Tristan was incredulous.

"Seems to me I am right on time," worked Jaison as two bar-light cute boys parted ways for him.

"Buy me a drink!" Jaison knew how to work a dollar drink and was back in five minutes, double fisting for the both of them. Tristan's confidence renewed and palette refreshed, he scanned the scene once more as Jaison trolled it on Grindr.

"Oooh, bitch, this trick is FOINE!" Jaison exclaimed, gleefully Grinding away with this random. Tristan wanted to see, so he snatched Jaison's Mark Jacobs encased iPhone and looked. On the screen, he recognized the orange complexion, the spiky hair, the Jersey Shore wannabe fist pump. He'd seen him before.

"Bitch! That's the fucker who robbed me!"

"Hell no, he is too FOINE! And he mine!"

"Trick, look, I know who I had over my house and I know what fucker dicked me then stole my shit. His ass blocked me on Grindr, but I'd recognize that fucker from his thumbnail. That's HIM!"

"Ooh, girl, whatchu gon' do?"

"We gonna catch him." They slapped five, feeling like Charlie's Angels, minus the Lucy Liu. Grindr said he was only 284 feet away; if he wasn't at the bar, he was close.

Tristan deviously typed to Jersey Shore on Jaison's Grindr: "Let me take you home, boo. I'll ride it off."

The reply came instantaneously: "Hell ya, with your fine ass. Let's go."

"Meet me outside of Spin in five minutes."

Jaison was perfect damsel-in-distress bait as Tristan hid in the shadowy gated alcove next to Spin. Tristan had to keep his cool as he saw this Situation-lookin' motherfucker sidle up to Jaison, being all suave, smelling of Aqua Velva and Aqua Net. Jaison acted coy and demure and as Jersey Shore leaned in for the kiss, Tristan stepped out of the shadows to confront him. Jersey Shore recognized him right away and bolted, Tristan hot in pursuit.

Jersey Shore dodged his way around the small groups of boys and hags on the way to Spin while Tristan just pushed them aside. As Tristan crossed Aldine, he could see that the fucker was gonna try to hide out in Scarlet. Before Jersey Shore could even pull out his ID, Tristan made a flying tackle, pushing him back into the crowd of smokers outside of Scarlet. Straddling Jersey Shore as he lay on his back on the sidewalk in shock, Tristan surprised himself by punching the living daylights out of him. Jersey Shore got a few good punches in, bloodying Tristan's nose and eye, but he was running on too much adrenaline to care.

"Ooh, Bitch, you gotta see it," Jaison said to Efrain on the phone. "Tristan be brawlin'!"

"Hang up on that bitch and call the cops, stupid!" Tristan yelled to Jaison as Jersey Shore ran out of steam. Starting to get winded himself, Tristan used the last bit of strength he had to hold Jersey Shore's wrists down, laying all of his weight on him. As the heat of the moment died down, they both panted for breath, sweaty, bloody and looking at each other dead in the eye. As the police sirens pulled up, Tristan could feel Jersey Shore getting excited underneath him.

"Goddammit," he thought. "Of course the hottest hook-up of the year was the one who robbed me."

###

CHAPTER 9 - ALL THE OTHER BOYS

White wine and long hot showers were Charlie's guilty pleasures and at the moment he was indulging in the latter. Candles lit, the newest Christopher Dallman tracks blaring, Charlie could really lose himself in it. He could've sworn he heard the bathroom door creak as the new club remixes of "Nighttime in the City" gave way to the beautiful, flowing original, which was crazy because he swore he was completely alone in the apartment. He was hearing things, he decided, as he turned towards the showerhead to rinse off the shampoo out of his hair and ears. And as he turned to reach for the peppermint body wash, he was face to face with a naked Hunter.

"Hey," Hunter smiled.

"Hey," said Charlie, both confused and turned on. "Um... did you need the shower?"

"No," Hunter chuckled, revealing more of the crooked smile that immediately brought Charlie back to That Night at Cocktail.

"Well, I'll just be a minute... " Before Charlie could finish, Hunter wrapped one arm around the small of Charlie's back and drew him close.

"Take your time," Hunter said, inching closer for the kiss. Just as their lips were about to meet, the shower curtain opened and there stood Tyler, in the cornfed buff.

"Hi," said Tyler, grinning from ear to ear.

"Um... hi?"

"Room for one more?"

"Come on in dude," Hunter said, sidestepping to allow Tyler clearance into the shower. The steam rose as the hot water pounded down on the three of them. Charlie wasn't sure what was going on nor was he sure that he cared. Hunter slowly caressed his face as Charlie caressed Tyler's. They all looked at each other, longingly. Lustfully. Was this really going to happen? As the three of them leaned closer, lips aching to meet, "Nightime in the City" gave way to the loud, angsty chorus of "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

Which was Charlie's ringtone.

And Charlie shot up awake on the couch, his phone ringing loudly next to a half empty bottle of chardonnay, his Macbook opened to unfinished curriculum planning, and with an unsettling hard-on. God, who was he, Pamela Barnes Ewing? And could knowing that reference make him feel any older or gayer?

"Hello?" he answered hurriedly, getting up and walking away from the couch (and hopefully the dream.) He checked the caller ID quickly: it was Other David.

"Hey, just wanted to remind you of David's surprise party this weekend."

"For sure, Other David. It's in my calendar."

"Cool. Becka and Brad have keys, so they'll be at the condo to let people in while we're at dinner."

"Great."

"You ok, Charlie? You sound... disturbed."

"Yeah. Yeah, just... nodded off working on fall prep."

"Geez old man, it's not even nine o'clock yet."

"Hey! I'M not the one turning thirty!"

"Yet."

"Good night, Other David."

What did the dream mean? Probably that he needed to get laid. The last guy that Charlie hooked up with was... well Hunter. Before he knew that Hunter was Hunter. And he couldn't even remember the specifics of it. He was due for a good ol' fashioned roll in the hay. He ruled out doing the online or Grindr thing; it just wasn't his bag. Sure it was convenient if he was absolutely desperate, but in the end it gave him a headache.

When he first downloaded Grindr, he messaged a cute guy with "Hey" to which the guy replied "How original! Come up with something other than ‘hey'!" To the next guy, he messaged: "Evening handsome. You seem like a really nice guy. How are you?" to which that guy replied, "Too much, guy. Not lookin' for all that." And then there was the string of acronyms and coded words like DDF and PnP and generous$; when he finally thought he'd learned them all, a whole new lexicon sprouted up. He found guys online to be much more confusing than guys in real life. And besides, whether he was going to meet Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now, there was something to that electric spark when people first meet that can't be replicated in an app. And it'd been forever since Charlie felt that.

He sent out a blanket "You out and about?" text to the group labeled in his phone as Bar Buddies. Cody and Mark were at Roscoe's, so Charlie took a really quick whore bath and joined them. It was pretty bustling for a Thursday. He did the rounds, saying hi to Jonathon and Keith and the other staff before finding Cody and Mark in the patio with a pitcher of Magic Hat #9.

"Why are you guys drinking mixed drinks?" Charlie asked, pouring himself a pint.

"That's for you, young Charles," said Cody.

"We know how you drink," added Mark. And with that, they dropped straws in the pitcher.

Charlie didn't know whether to be ecstatic or insulted, but he was never one to turn down a free pitcher. Cody decided that they needed shots, so Mark went him to the bar as Charlie held their spot. The straws floating in the pitcher of beer made him chuckle and he thought, what the hell, and started to drink from one.

"Does the straw make it taste better?" asked the cute, shaggy blonde guy that Charlie apparently didn't notice was noticing him.

"Nah, it's just... my friends' idea of a joke. And I thought, why the fuck not, right?"

"You're right. Why the fuck not?" cute guy grabbed the extra straw and put it in his pint. Charlie offered his hand.

"Charlie."

"Josh," said cute guy, shaking it. They smiled at each other, sipped their drinks, and then smiled at each other again. There it was: spark.

"You look like you just flew in from the Hamptons," teased Charlie, in regards to Josh's light pink polo, fitted khaki shorts, and boat shoes.

"You don't like the way I dress?"

"Nah, it's cute. Just, usually I'm the preppiest-of-us-all."

"Well, even when you're slumming it you look good."

"Hey! Who said I was slumming?"

"Well, we're in the patio of Roscoe's aren't we?"

"Oh no! Dede and Binky might see you and tell all the other girls at the Ladies Who Lunch Debutante Ball. Quick! Let's hide you!" Josh laughed hysterically. Sometimes, all you gotta do is commit to a bit, thought Charlie.

"So you're cute AND hilarious." Josh paused. Charlie blushed. They sipped drinks. They looked at each other again. They smiled.

"Listen," Josh started.

"Joshua!" called a cute, effeminate guy, dressed near identical to Josh except in purple polo.

"Over here Mason," Josh called over, sighing and rolling his eyes slightly so that only Charlie saw. Mason ran over, nearly tackling Josh, and kissing him on the mouth.

"Who's this?" Mason glared at Charlie.

"Mason, this is Charlie. Charlie, this is... "

"Boyfriend. Mason. Hi. Let's go. I'm over it."

"Sure, just a second," said Josh as Mason heaved an exasperated sigh and stomped to the exit. "It was... "

"Come ON, Joshua!" whined Mason, just as Cody and Mark returned with the shots.

"It was really nice talking to you," said Josh before quickly running after Mason. Cody and Mark looked at Charlie who simply grabbed a shot and downed it. His game was so off, he'd just assumed that Josh was interested. Figures.

"Belly up to the bar, boys. Next round's on me."

After recounting the story to Jonathon at the back bar, he spotted them a couple of shots before they ordered a round to take to the dance floor. Fuck it, Charlie was just going to dance his troubles away. Mark and Cody found their ways onto the stage and hoisted Charlie up. Losing himself completely in the flashing dim lights and this year's gay national anthem "Call Me Maybe," Charlie looked out into the crowd to see if maybe this night wasn't still salvageable. In the sea of blue and dark, he could've sworn he saw a light pink polo. As the music got faster and Charlie got sweatier, it appeared that the dot of pink polo was getting closer, almost fighting its way through the crowd.

"I'm just drunk," Charlie thought, closing his eyes, singing out loud "all the other boys try to chase me... " then someone pulled him off the stage. The pink dot and him were face to face.

"Hey again," said Josh.

"Hey again," said Charlie. He realized that they weren't shouting over the music. They could just hear each other.

"I just... here's my card. Maybe we can hang?"

"What about... ?"

"Look, I just... I don't know. I knew when I left, I felt awful that I'd never see you again. Which is stupid I know. So here's my card. Do with it what you want. I hope... I hope to hear from you." And he fought his way back through the crowd. And as the chorus "Call Me Maybe" continued on repeat, Charlie hated that his life had been reduced to becoming the mirror image of this year's gay national anthem. Fucking typical. He looked up at Cody and Mark. They were too busy dancing; they hadn't noticed. But it happened; Josh came back. He felt it too: the spark.

###

CHAPTER 10 - HOUSE RULES

Hunter hated putting on the glitter lotion shit, but the shimmer accented his pecs and biceps. Hazards of the trade, he supposed. He heard the front door open and close and peeked his head out of the bathroom. Tyler came in, looking completely drained.

"Hey dude!" Hunter called out.

"Hey," Tyler responded, his voice completely lifeless.

"Um, I've got beers in the fridge if you want. Help yourself."

"Thanks man." Hunter wondered why Tyler was gawking at him on the way to the kitchen until he realized his cock was out and flapping around. Oh well; if they were gonna be roomies, Tyler and Charlie would have to get used to it. He quickly finished slathering on the glittery shit, threw on the jockstrap that accentuated his junk, and joined Tyler in the kitchen.

"Looks like you had a rough day, dude," Hunter said, cracking open a PBR. Tyler nodded, dejectedly. Poor kid. "Look, I gotta get to work. Why don't you stop in and have some drinks. Forget your troubles?"

"I can't afford that right now."

"Don't worry about it. I'll take care of you."

"Cocktail right? You dance there?" So Charlie had told him. How much, though, Hunter had no idea.

"You got it."

It was pretty dead in the bar when Tyler showed up. Usually the place didn't get going until 10:30 or 11. Carlos (a.k.a. Axel) took the stage, so Hunter was on shot duty, per usual. With no prospective shot buyers, he waved Tyler over to the bar and introduced him to the bartender. "Jimmy, whatever my buddy here wants, I'll take care of." He set his shot tray down and leaned on the bar next to Tyler.
"How's the job?"

"It sucks dude! Nobody wants to talk to you. Seriously, nothing blows as much as getting rejected by everyone who walks by."

"Think of it as dating practice. Everyone hears ‘no' more than ‘yes'."

"Yeah right; like you'd know anything about that."

"Hey! I get a lot of rejection. Look at where I work. The second guys hear what I do, they're out the door. Or, they only expect one thing."

"Yeah, when Charlie said you were a dancer, I thought it was for music videos or ballet or something." Tyler laughed, Hunter joining in.

"So, what else did Charlie tell you about me?" Hunter nonchalantly asked.

"Just that he was having a drink here and saw that you were a dancer. And that Boystown is too small sometimes." Tyler was too green and too honest for this to be a lie. It was a reprieve for the moment, but Hunter wondered how long they were going to put off talking about that night. Or if they ever would. A Skeezer sidled up to Hunter, rubbing up on his thigh, no cash in hand. Hunter dismissed him and the Skeezer walked away, dejected.

"Geez! That must happen a lot!" Tyler exclaimed, watching the guy walk away.

"Yeah, some guys don't realize that it's all just a show. That we're not theirs for the taking."

"Must make it real easy to meet guys!"

"Are you kidding? Twice as hard, man. Even the fuckable guys that come in here, they all see me as just some piece of ass. Plus, house rules dude. Don't hook up with the clientele."

"Wow, you're stronger than I am. You've never broken that rule?"

"Well, maybe... if like the guy's really cute or if there's just something about him that's... there's more to him, you know? Like maybe something... I dunno."

Tyler leaned in gleefully, eager to trade secrets. "So how many times have you done it? Like, broken the rule, I mean?"

Hunter didn't need to take time to figure out the number. "Once."

*

Charlie was making breakfast when Hunter came in from work. "Morning," he said.

"Morning dude. Is Tyler at work?"

"Nope, he's passed out. You kept him out pretty late."

"Yeah, poor guy needed it."

Charlie looked at Hunter, searching for any hidden meaning in that. Hunter poured himself a cup of coffee and sat on the counter top, facing Charlie directly.

"Um... listen dude. We should probably talk about that night."

###

CALL TO ACTION: Author Danny Bernardo needs your help! Please visit: http://igg.me/p/203358?a=1020165

###

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25. Possibility (Series Finale)

Today started like any other day. Charlie turned over and was met with the blinding morning sun shining in his face. He got up begrudgingly and started the morning coffee before heading to the bathroom take his morning piss.  He washed his hands then splashed some water on his face. He studied

24. Another Pint

Though Tyler was walking with clear intent and purpose and his earbuds were firmly in, blaring Jay Branan's cover of  "The Freshmen" in his ears, he heard the question clear as day:  "Do you a minute to save the children?" He stopped and smiled to himself, remembering how not even a year a

23. No Big

Charlie ignored all of Hunter's protests to just wait for the Halsted bus and hailed a cab home. "We're coming from the hospital," Charlie insisted. "He'll understand. And I'll tip him extra." Hunter's room was tidier then when he left it: Charlie must've cleaned up once the doctor had given Hunt

22. Waiting

The rain that fell in the cemetery felt more like an early June rain than a late August rain. Still...none of it felt real. Charlie couldn't remember the last time he wore his black suit. Tristan's funeral? Fitz's funeral? He couldn't remember who had given the eulogy. All he could do was throw a ro

21. Rage and Love

Part of him felt like he'd been sitting at the bar waiting for a drink his whole life, while part of him felt like he had just gotten there. Mostly, he was amazed at how awful the service was. How long until someone was going to take his order?   "Sorry, I just picked up this shift," said

20. Here Again

Tyler came into the room to find Charlie reading "The Little Prince" to Hunter. "What ya doing?" he asked.   "I've read somewhere that coma patients can hear you if you talk to them. I ran out of things to say so I started to read aloud."   "You ran out of things to say?" &n