CHRISTENING

I'd done it again.

I lay back against the padded seat, lids wilting and eyes blurry and mouth lightly speckled with white, smiling to myself: I'd done it again.

I was exhausted. And I'd gotten what I'd wanted; again. I'd gotten more. So it was a euphoric vibe that ran through me as I lay there in half-sleep.

You could be assured of that... Then.

*           *           * 

"Done well, lad. D'you want a smoke?"

White Shirt motioned to the darkwood shelf on the wall of the booth. It looked like a collector's cabinet.

"Black, red, blue, pink, gold of course..."

"Green?" I laughed.

He looked at me. "Weed."

I shrugged. Couldn't hurt now.

"Fair enough," he smiled.

He lit the Marlboro for me, and then lit his own, and then the booth behind the curtain was filled with the blur and the smoke and the smell of joe.

"Done it before, have you?" White Shirt guessed.

"Done what?"

"Don't be an eejit. How many cocks you sucked?"

I couldn't help but fidget. "None – I mean, none else..."

"Bless," he murmured, and took a long drag. The flatness had returned.

I presently felt my muscles... "Sorry..." unwind.

"How old are you?"

"15."

"Nice."

"I'm on gur."

"And you will be."

"What?"

"Done anything before?"

"...Kip."

"Damn."

"It was alright."

"How long were you there for?"

"Three days."

"Oh?"

"I ran away."

He was quiet for a minute. He tapped the ash off his cigarette, and I did the same.

"What happened then?" he asked, and I think he sounded genuinely interested. For a change. "I mean, looking at you, I'd say you were a bit of a lawdy daw, but I've a feeling that's not the case."

I didn't say anything.

I saw him smirk. "So you've had tricks before?"

"...One."

He leaned forward. "Tell me." I didn't. "Come on, kid, you'll have to loosen up round here."

I pulled the leather wallet out from my jeans pocket. "A razzer took me home."

"Shit. Gardaí's like that these days, kid."

I frowned. Like what?

"He was nice," I murmured, and wondered for some reason if that was really the right thing to say.

White Shirt laughed softly to himself.

He opened his mouth. Closed it. Opened it again and said, "I'm sure he was," with a lukewarm smile; "You'll probably be lucky like that."

I frowned again, just for a second, and then he stretched out his hand for the second time.

"I'm Seamus," he said.

Seamus.

I took his hand; "I'm Sheedy."

"Not now you're not," he said, and he withdrew his fingers from my palm.

I was typically taken aback.

"You gotta change your name in here."

I waited – for a reason, mainly, but also for his eye to stop twitching ever so slightly at the corner, and for him to tap off the grey head teetering on the end of his cigarette.

There was a hint of teeth as he said, "So, what's your name?"

Then I called myself by my new name for the first time;

"...Aiden?"

I watched as any possibility of tension in him vaporised. He even smiled. He tapped his cigarette. I did the same.

"Aiden," he confirmed, "Good. Nice name for a rent boy."

I laughed.

He finally stubbed out his cigarette, and, laughing, I did the same.

I laughed again. I couldn't stop laughing;

...I'd done it.

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