Quench by Craig Laurance Gidney

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He won't ride in cars anymore. It reminds him of blowjobs, that he's a queer.

--"Vicky's Box," Throwing Muses

The city flames before him.  The moon, a ball of ice, slides behind polluted cloud cover.  Ben watches with apathy.

    Once this held excitement for him, this hunt.  Now, it’s all too familiar.  A ghost of anticipation gnaws in his guts.  The flower-frond street lights, the hot musk of 2 a.m. summer air - so what?  It does nothing to him.  But he must be here.  He must.

    In black jeans and shirt, he’s camouflaged for the night - he’s learned this trick long ago - stands on the corner of the parking lot.  It’s dark here, with no activity.  He won’t go into the woods.  It’s too predatory in there, but he can feel their eyes, warm and sick through the fence that separates him from them.

    Headlights.  The muted scream of wheels pulling into the lot.  The car is green, the color of bile.  The car stops right in front of him.  His heart’s pounding.  Will this one be handsome?  A window slides down sensually, revealing a swarthy man wearing dark lenses.  His lips are full.  Ben stands still, challenging him to speak.

    “What ya doin out here, kid?”

    “Nothing.”

    “Nothing, huh?  What a place to be doin’ nothing.”  The lips crack a smile.  “Would you like to do nothing with me?”

    Ben doesn’t answer.  He just steps to the passenger side of the car, trembling.  He gets in the car.

    As the man parks his car, Ben drinks it all in:  the smell of pot and beer, the sight of  the man’s ripped jeans and tight tank-top.

    “So, ah, what’re you into,” he whispers.

    “I don’t know,” Ben stammers back.

    The man takes his hand and moves it onto his crotch.  Ben feels the hardness there.

    “You like that, don’t you.”

    Ben doesn’t answer; he hates it when tricks revert to porno-film banter.

    “You wanna suck it, don’t you.”

    He could be anyone, anywhere.  Ben convinces himself as he lowers his head onto the now-exposed cock.  The flesh tastes bitter.  The man looks around, barely noticing his half-hearted attempt.  Ben feels hands pushing the back of his head, causing him to gag on unloving flesh.  Ben gradually acclimates himself to this feeling.  Just as he gets his rhythm, the man pushes his head away roughly.  In a hurry, he zips up his pants.  Ben sees why: a figure is slowly walking across the parking lot.  The figure seems to peer into the car.  The figure’s hand drops to its crotch, and gives it a squeeze.  That’s a signal; he’s a fellow hunter.

    The man next to Ben unzips his pants again, and begins to beat off.  By this time, Ben is no longer interested.  He listlessly cups the other’s balls.  As he does so, the man spurts, mumbling his scripted responses.  As he cleans up Ben is opening the car door.

    “Thanks, baby,” the swarthy man says, not even looking up.

    “Yeah,” says Ben.

***

Age Twelve:

    The New England coastline was evil, craggy and red, like a Martian Valley.  Waves crashed against the rocks like they did in the movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, all glamorous and fake.  The boy scowled from the back seat.  He knew he’d hate this trip.

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