DELROY BEACH, A memorial was held Tuesday for all 25 volunteer firefighters who lost their lives in the fire that consumed Delroy Beach's Hiatt Suites in November of 1997. In dedication to the men, Mercy Drive was closed off and the current crew of Ladder 82 paraded the shopping district in their new 450 HP Ladder Tower engine. Photographs of the deceased were adorned with flowers around the foutain in the plaza.
I kiss Claudia on the cheek while I call the elevator that opens directly into her penthouse. I board the elevator and notice she's still holding my hand and continues to do so until the door cuts her off. After I pop two Xanax and empty the remainder of my flask of Canadian whiskey into my can of Diet Coke, I realize there is dried semen on my stomach and I start pulling it off, ripping several hairs out in the process.
There are three black boys singing Christmas Carols just outside Claudia's building. I instinctly drop some change in a guitar case and start getting chills from my leaking penis.
I parade down the Palomino drag, stopping briefly at Estradi's to see if Paul is working. I don't see him right away, so I walk through the alley and to the staff entrance in the back of the restaurant. Paul stands with one foot against the building, a shadow towering over the Staff Only sign on the double doors, smoking the remainding drag of a cigarette. He sees me, stubs the cigarette out on the wall beside him and skips over to me with arms spread like a marionette. While in my arms, he reaches under my chinos, grasps my ass and smells the collar of my Prada jacket. Headlights blind us momentarily as Paul's relief pulls up to a spot in his Mazda, blaring Bon Jovi's take on a familiar Christmas tune. I regain my sight in time to see Paul roll his eyes far into the back of his head in disgust before the music is muffled and then cut off. Paul gives me a light kiss on the forehead and walks over to the parked car. I light a menthol and reach for my nonprescription Armani lenses.
I hear giggling and see the two walking back, Paul now holding a joint in his hand. I cap off my Diet Coke and extinguish the cigarette after two drags. Alejandro brushes past me and Paul now stands in front of me running his fingers through my hair, "It's going to cost a little more this time," he takes a large drag and offers me a hit while he exhails into the backlit alley.
"Do I get more this time?" I know the response and then wonder why I bothered asking the question. I attempt to withdraw it but he cuts me off before I can apologize.
"Not even close. You want this. For Christ, Phil, I can see your mouth watering. Go jack off if you want more from me, you fucking pervert." He kills the roach and steps on it and begins to walk back into the restaurant and I hesitantly hold his arm back while I reach for the Gucci wallet Claudia got me for my birthday on the slopes in Aspen last year.
Paul smiles and looks across the alley while he unbuttons the top button of his tuxedo shirt. "Not here," I say as I grasp his defined arms. I see the three black boys walking home with a now-closed guitar case. I see a middle-aged man bouncing a basketball with a missing arm, "Let's get on the roof this time. It's sexier."
"I don't know, Phil, I just got off a long shift," Paul begins to whimper, "I'm pretty tired, sweety." He makes a pouty face and bats his eyelashes before I pull out the Derringer and hold it directly against his prick.
"You will do precisely what I say at no cost tonight, Paul"
I can't tell whether his eyes are glazed over from fear or if it's just that he's high. I can't tell whether his lips are trembling because he's on the verge of crying or because it's cold outside. I can't tell whether he's turned on or horrified.
It's hard to read the rape victim.