The daily serial fictional based on Chicago's Boystown neighborhood: Boystown series by Danny Bernardo

Follow us    Twitter Twitter

23. Or Something

Hunter always preferred to get to Chicago Comics in the middle of the day to avoid the after work crowd on New Book Wednesday. After a quick perusal of the racks, he brought his stack of books to the counter and took his earbuds off.

23. Or Something
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Digg Gmail Addthis Printer Friendly
Hunter always preferred to get to Chicago Comics in the middle of the day to avoid the after work crowd on New Book Wednesday. After a quick perusal of the racks, he brought his stack of books to the counter and took his earbuds off.

"A little light this week," said Hunter's favorite counter guy Ralph, as he rung up the three books.

"There's no new ‘Morning Glories' this week," said Hunter. "And I can't afford to keep up with all the ‘Avengers vs. X-Men' tie-ins. I'm just gonna stick with my main books."

"You're gonna hate ‘X-Factor' this week," Ralph said.

"Meh, unless Rictor and Shatterstar start making out again, I'm just killing time between issues anyway," scoffed Hunter.

"Heard that," came a chuckle of agreement from behind Hunter. He turned to see a cute guy with Buddy Holly glasses and faux-hawked pompadour.

"Hey Scott," said Ralph, grabbing Scott's subscriptions. "You're here earlier than usual."

"Yeah, working from home today," Scott said, perusing his stack as Ralph finished ringing Hunter up. "There's no ‘Morning Glories' this week?!"

Hunter smiled at that. Ralph bagged up Hunter's comics as Hunter settled up and waved him off with a smile. Yet somehow, Hunter wasn't quite ready to go. He watched Scott organize his stack, hand it back to Ralph to hold, and hit the racks for other finds.

"What the fuck are you waiting for?" Ralph whispered loudly. "Go get him!" Hunter nervously approached Scott as he stopped in front of the new "Batwoman."

"Ugh, DC?" Hunter found himself saying out loud. That got Scott's attention and Hunter had an internal facepalm moment.

"What? Sometimes I like my books to be more fantastical and less allegorical. Don't even get me started on what's going on in ‘Avengers vs. X-Men.' It's pissing me off."

Sigh. They spoke the same language. "I was so rooting for the X-Men when it first started."

"Well, yeah! Mutants are inherently the metaphor for being gay." Uber sigh.

"I'm Hunter," Hunter said, extending his hand.

"Scott," Scott said, giving Hunter his card. "Listen, I gotta settle up and get back to work. But if you're free tonight... "

"I'd love... shit. I've got to work tonight."

"Some other time then. What, are you like a server or something?"

"Or something."


Tonight was especially crazy. That's it what seemed to Hunter at least. As summer starts to die down, the bars are either flooded with people trying to sneak in their last licks of pre-"back to school" fun or completely dead. Tonight was more the former. The skeezers were especially frisky tonight and Hunter had to remind several of his clientele that "no meant no." This line of work was starting to bother Hunter. Sure, he could make twice as much on a good night as his jean-jockey friends would make in a week. But he wondered if he'd be stuck here forever. Or at least until they dragged his wrinkly old ass out.

The bar was a sea of sweaty men and grabby hands. Hunter waded through with his tray of shots, his ass and crotch prime targets for the grabbing. Hunter often wished that he were ugly; then people might ask him what he thought instead of only being interested in what he looked like. He thought about Scott. He wondered what it would be like to actually on a date with a guy, to just have dinner and talk, maybe have a good night kiss before he retired respectfully up to his apartment alone. He wondered if things would've gone differently with Charlie if he hadn't been a go-go boy. He wondered if he'd ever get out of this place.

Steve was sitting at the end of the bar as he came up with the tray. "Hey handsome, how's my favorite landlord doing?"

"Oh you got more than one?" Hunter pecked him on the cheek and offered him a shot. "Please get that sugar water away from me."

Carlos (a.k.a. Axel) took the tray from Hunter; it was Hunter's turn on stage. Here's where Hunter made bank, especially on a night like tonight. He worked best when he just closed his eyes and focused on the beats, feeling the beats of the music thumping inside of him. If he felt a hand on his body, he'd open his eyes, make them want him. When he first started dancing, he convinced himself that he was like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman." Years later... he felt more like the hooker best friend she left behind. No one ever wondered what happened to her. Hunter was beginning to understand why.

Hunter was on fire tonight. Guys were lining up with bills, tucking them in his underwear. He did a little tease for them and pulled the outer layer off, revealing a jockstrap that bunched up his junk all the way to the front of the pouch. He knelt down to kiss a patron on the cheek who was waving a twenty at him. And as he rose up, looking out into the crowd of his admirers, he saw him: Scott. Scott looked at Hunter for a minute, shook his head, and made his way to the exit.

Hunter jumped off the stage and fought his way through the crowd and out the door, but it was too late: Scott was gone. People on the street hooted and catcalled as Hunter just stood out on the street in his jockstrap. Steve ran up right behind him and put his arm and his shoulder. Hunter immediately fell into his arms and began to weep. He could take complete strangers telling him he was a piece of shit; it was something else entirely when he could look at someone he liked and saw it in their eyes.

"Who was he?" asked Steve.

"Just some guy," Hunter sniffled.

"Sure doesn't seem it. Are you happy working here?" Hunter's silence was all the reply Steve needed. "You have way too much potential for this place. You really do."

"You think so?"

"I'm about to open a bar. What do you know about slinging drinks?"


Charlie poured himself a cup of coffee as the bacon sizzled in the frying pan. Hunter came out of his room, half asleep, in his gym shorts.

"Hey, you're usually just getting in. Slow night at work?

"Do you remember the movie ‘Pretty Woman'?"

"Hunter, I'm a gay man pushing thirty. Of course I remember the movie ‘Pretty Woman'."

"Do you remember Julia Roberts' friend? The down and out hooker?"

"Kit De Luca? Sure. Why?"

Hunter checked his phone. Scott hadn't responded to his text. He probably never would.

"Do you ever wonder what happened to her? Did she stay a hooker?"

"Of course not," Charlie said, pouring Hunter a cup of coffee. "Julia Roberts gave her the three thousand she'd earn that week. Told her to start fresh, she had potential. She totally got a second chance."

"Potential," Hunter chuckled to himself, sipping his coffee.

"Why, did someone give you three thousand dollars last night or something?"

"Or something," Hunter smiled.


CALL TO ACTION: Author Danny Bernardo needs your help! Please visit:


Hunter reminds me a little of a male stripper I met at the Lucky Horseshoe in boystown one my single trip there. He was very nice, allowed me to buy him a drink...we talked for awhile. We both had a good time, very casual. Strippers, pornography film stars, gigolos, prostitutes...the only thing that separates these people from the rest of us is the fact they get money and/or gifts from others when sex is involved as opposed to the rest of us fools who do it for free, LOL.

by WalksTheEdge on Mon. Oct 28, 2013

hahaha thanks! i totally hoped that i'd meet someone like that when i picked up my books at chicago comics. no such luck... LOL

by that1guydannyb on Wed. Aug 15, 2012

Just delightful! Scott sounds gorgeous... Meeting a man in a comic book store.. *dreamy*

by Kyle on Wed. Aug 15, 2012

As a part of our commitment to upholding a high standard of transparency, we wanted to let you know that uses cookies to improve your user experience. We've updated our cookie policy to reflect changes in website tracking laws. By continuing, you agree to our terms and provide your consent to our use of cookies.