Faery Hill – Part Two

I parked on the street. There was always parking at this time, the time just after the dinner rush, but before the bar rush. I lit a cigarette as I got out of my car. Jack Lats’ was one of the only establishments in the whole city that allowed their patrons to smoke. A city ordinance had banned the activity from all public business, but the owners fought for their right to allow smoking in their establishment. An obnoxiously bold sign was posted outside that read, “This establishment allows smoking in doors. If you don’t like it, take your butt somewhere else.” They’d been sued, of course, but won the case as a privately owned business. It didn’t hurt their bottom line. A lot of gay people were smokers.

I walked into the bar, my eyes immediately accosted by its dim presence. The neon signs lit like beacons on the wall above the main bar and around the room. The dance floor was not on. It was too early for all of that. A few drinkers scattered throughout the place. A couple in the corner, awkwardly close to each other, a few friends grouped at the bar corner, a few more pairs sitting at high tops puffing away and laughing. The juke box was playing a kick-back Madonna in her retro, dance glory. Adam was working the bar, a client. He looked up when I walked in and smiled, winking as he mixed a drink for a solo barfly.  He turned to me when done.

“Hey, my man, what’s going on?” He was a mullet wearing, mustache baring gay man. A Village Person in the flesh, I always thought, and wondered how the gay culture had circled back around to that stereotyped look. Facial hair, groomed or not, had become a fad among the gays again. Made it a little easier to distinguish a top from a bottom, but that was beside the point.

“Not much. Just doin’ my rounds, you know.” I looked at him squarely. He knew I meant business.

“Cool, cool. Can I get you a drink? I’ll go get Danny.”

“Sure.” He always served on the house. Another perk of being a drug dealer. I never had to tell him what I wanted. He always knew. A whiskey man, I flavored it up with a coke and a splash of grenadine. My own Jack Cherry Coke. No one else ordered it, he told me once. Tossed a couple of cherries in it.  James disappeared from the bar, walking to the back where the office was. By the time I’d about finished my cocktail, he’d returned, inviting me back. No one paid attention to us, consumed by their beverages and company. Smoke wafted in the air, billiards clicked, Madonna was on a marathon, a modern era song now pulsing with the latest synths and rave beats.

“Lexxie!” Danny squealed. “Well if it isn’t my favorite top daddy in the whole wide world!” Danny wasn’t the only one whom referred to me as Lexxie, but I did prefer Alex. He was a total blouse from what I’d been told. I’d never known him sexually, despite being invited to numerous parties throughout our brief history together. I never went even though I could probably wrack up new business. I was particular about my clients, and didn’t need many. It also helped keep a low profile and limited the amount of runs I’d have to make. Sometimes all you needed were the right people to be successful.

The office was small, but nice. It looked clean and everything seemed to be in proper place. The lights were provided by a few table and floor lamps. The carpet looked new and clean. He remained at his desk; a multi-drawered credenza. A flat screen computer, paperwork and files, and a desk lamp sat idle before him. There was a long couch and coffee table to the right, ash trays and pillows decorated the furniture. A small fridge sat in the corner, and a large cabinet occupied opposite corner. The place was well put together and not what you’d expect in a dive like this. Danny was clean faced with a short, styled coif, and fit with toned arms. He wore a tight black shirt and slacks. He was older than he looked, more of a daddy than I was.

“Thanks for stopping by, Alex. I always appreciate the visit.” I liked how Danny got straight to business. He never seemed big on wasting time.

“For sure.” Danny stood up and opened one the doors on his credenza’s second level.

“Sooo,” he intoned, “A G for an 0, right?”

Danny hadn’t bought as much before. He musta’ been prepping for a party or something, “Yessir.” I dug into my coat pocket. I pulled out a baggie of pearly silver white dust. It was best smoked. I couldn’t imagine this drug been around long enough for people to try different, crazy ways of consuming it. As far as I knew, no one had ever mainlined it. Danny licked his lips as we made the exchange.

“Thanks, Alex. I deeply appreciate it,“ he said again. I think he was fiending.

“For sure, man. Anytime. As long as I stay wired, I’ll always be there for you.”

Danny shook my hand and pulled me in for a hug. It was customary with him. I embraced back as he stroked my back with a flat hand. I semi forced a release. He laughed. We didn’t much small talk, and it was okay by me. I was usually in and out. Sometimes I caught a drink, other times a hit with Brett, another bartender. I hadn’t seen him this time.

“I guess I’ll see you around, Danny.” He bowed and agreed cordially. I hugged him again, and turned away. The scene was not as awkward as it read, it was just extremely formal. A business transaction.

“Be sure to grab a couple drinks on me. Adam, you take care of Lexxie.” Danny was pointing in the air towards Adam, who stood by the door looking at his phone.

“Sure thing, Danny.”

Adam, the mustached and mulleted bartender and I walked out of the office, back into the dim sanctuary of the dive bar. I had a couple more drinks at the bar with him. It was the best way to pass rush hour in this city. Madonna was still playing on the jukebox. Musta’ been a die-hard fan in the audience today. He gossiped a bit about Danny, remarked how he was throwing a smasher in honor of Jimmy, a good friend that’d gone missing. He’d been ill, and then one day just was gone. We took a shot to Jimmy. My head began to swirl a bit. Motion swiveled. Another bartender came in. Eric. Eric was a hot, young one. His toned and muscled physique was a fan favorite and a reason why he worked the night shift. He created more loyal patrons in his waist-hi jeans, the band of his jockstrap usually riding over his beltline, making patrons thirstier every time he turned around. Adam and I shared another shot as Eric finished his set-ups. All the barflies were to themselves at the moment, none requiring attention or another round. Adam and I had been laughing and enjoying each other’s company when he asked if I wanted to share a hit with him out back. I obliged, not intent on leaving downtown yet. The traffic was still thick.

 

“Faery Hill” is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. Short fiction, part two of five. 

 

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Faery Hill – Part One

My heart rate was elevated and steady. Perspiration beaded down my temples, sliding below my jaw line. He was warm, almost hot on my skin. We’d been fucking long enough we’d both caught a sweat, the lubrication of which caused our flesh to slip against each other. It turned me on more. I felt my body tense, my veins tighten, my joints lock. The shock of release always stopped my breath. Jarod moaned, the presence of my discharge heavy in his body. I sighed, relieved. He sighed, content. I didn’t do this often, but I’d known Jarod for a long time. He was one of the only ones I enjoyed bare. He was one of the only ones who let me. Jarod pulled himself off me, my dick already becoming flaccid, though still sensitive and pulsing. He turned around and looked at me from the bed. He smiled, pressing his head into the pillow, moving his head side to side as if still in a state of ecstasy. He shrugged his pale shoulders comfortably, his naturally thin body with a sheen in the dim light.

“That felt so good.” He said, giggling. I agreed, braced over him like a captor. I looked him in the eyes. We got together every now and then to enjoy each other’s company, and other things. We could go for hours, and sometimes I was game for that, but usually I needed sometime to recoup my vitality.

“We should do it again. Did you take one of those pills?” he asked caressing my forearm with his fingertips.

“Not today.”

“Awwww.” He whined coyly. He sighed lightly again, “Well, there’s always next time. Thanks for bringing by my package.”

“Of course.” I was Jarod’s delivery boy, as he liked to call me. Once a week or so I’d stop by with his usual purchase. A fun drug that was popular among the community. When I became open about selling I was surprised at the attention I started getting from all the boys. I had gone from invisible to a desirable john. That’s how it felt anyway. But Jarod had always been there. He’d been around long before them. We even started using together before I invested in selling. I was not the kind to use drugs for sex; I’ll admit I allowed myself to if the boy was hot: slim waist, thick hips, round ass, cute face, but it was nothing like me and Jarod. I thought of him as a friend, too. I had my rounds to do before the night was done.

“You making deliveries today, huh?” he asked, sitting up. I had hopped off the bed, kicking off the damp sheets.

“Yeah. You up to anything later? Maybe I can swing back around?”

“I’m free all day.” Jarrod perked up.

“Cool. You’ll probably be riding that till I get back.” He smiled.

 

I made my rounds, trying to sell out before too long. It wasn’t hard. I had a few clients in the city’s northwest where those living comfortably above median income stayed. Tea Town it was called. Some people referred to it as hill country, but I knew better. It was just greener per capita with highly groomed lawns and tall security walls. It wasn’t the true hill country of rolling verdant mounts, and small rocky peaks. My clients lived there all the same. These were the ones that bought the most. They were typically older men, overweight, balding, or flesh a withered paper bag. They always asked for sex. Sometimes I let them give me a blow job, but I made it clear that the favor was in no way for exchange of goods. It was to sate their appetite. They could use the drug for whatever activities they had that did not include me. With this drug in their arsenal, it was no problem. It was a favorite aphrodisiac in the scene. Everyone was using it.

By the time I left Tea Town half my day was gone and I’d head south to the city center. There were several clients downtown and in the surrounding neighborhoods. The area had become more gentrified over the years, to the point that buyers were paying hundreds of thousands for shit properties that’d been around for decades and never saw money or care. The curse of new money struck the town about one to two decades ago, and it had seen rapid growth in development, but a decline in heart and morale. More people called the streets home these days, and more homes became B&B’s and law offices, studios and tech agencies. It was amazing to me how many of these affluent types were into drugs, there was a consistent patronage here. And they were all gay. My people.

It didn’t bother me at first. I thought it was great, the ability to fit into the private lives of so many well-to do and prominent people. Even the ones popular in the scene considered me their friend. I was the go-to guy. Not many people deal’d what I had and it was hard to come by. Of course, what they didn’t know is that my provider dealt exclusively with me. But I was the one responsible for introducing and spreading the latest craze in recreational drug use. The drug was best described as giving users the alertness and high of ice and the rush and euphoria of poppers. It nearly lasted as long, too. It was great for sex. People used it everywhere, from private homes, to clubs, to bathhouses and who knows where else. I’d turned a profit running the junk, and had nurtured a healthy nest egg for myself. Far as I knew, no one had ever OD’ed on it; my benefactors assured me it was harmless as weed. They said there were no side effects. I couldn’t believe it when I first tried it. Something this good had to have side effects. They also never talked about where it came from or how it was made. It was mysterious to me as my benefactors. I started having doubts about the whole thing when some of my longtime buyers began to disappear. It was no big deal at first. At first I thought they’d just stopped using, but then it was three buyers, then four and five. I began to doubt the side effects claim and knew something was up.

Driving through traffic was a pain. Sometimes it took three times the drive time it would when traffic was light. Twenty minutes to cross the city became an hour if I was lucky. The city loomed before me as I approached it on the interstate. What had once been a gorgeous skyline, crystalline views on a blue cloudless day, now seemed hazy and jaundiced. Proud, modern buildings that once gleamed, now dulled in the haze of dusk. The buildings had become expectant sentinels demanding reverence; they were no longer inviting and desirable. The once verdant parks had begun to keel, the trees baring their skeletons, the grass patching to dirt and filthy soil. I exited the interstate on a down ramp, a tall concrete edifice advertising local law enforcement: a female officer, a smile beneath accusing eyes, some message about drinking and driving. Half the straight men in the city would probably drive drunk if it meant being pulled over by her. As I slipped below the ramp to street level, the sky light changed. It went from a putrid yellow orange, to overcast shadows and gray. Red brake lights lined the street for a mile. Drivers waited with frustration in their cars, isolated lone drivers trying to get home, trying to get wherever they needed to go, probably running late, always forgetting about the traffic, never planning ahead. I always did the same, but fortunately where I had to be was usually on my time. Trips during rush hour had become a practice in patience, and I had patience in reserves.

I was headed to an area of downtown called Faery Hill. It was a ‘neighborhood’ for the alternative lifestyle. Gay bars and clubs, gay owned stores, specialty shops and restaurants, the local bathhouse, gay B&B, all sequestered to a chain of blocks on the west end of downtown. There were some high end boutiques and restaurants north and south of the strip, but Faery Hill was more inviting for the traveler, price-wise, and looked it—well traveled, diverse, and used. Incidentally, this was also where my dealers lived. I had to make a run to one of my preferred watering holes, Jack Lats’ Inn. It wasn’t the most popular bar on the strip. It was old, it was dark, but it was reliable. It reminded me more of a dive bar with a small, LED lit dance floor and several pool tables toward the back. The patio looked out onto a back alley where drunks went to purge their wasted earnings, and the homeless used for a private latrine. The owner and bartenders were nice, and half of them were my clients. They’d put in a sizable order and were expecting me shortly after opening. Late as it felt, I was on time.

 

“Faery Hill” is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. Short fiction, part one of five. 

 

Indecencies Of The Sun

There was a vague sadness clinging to the stiff morning air. It wasn’t cool, but it should have been. It should have chilled his bones. It should have bitten his fingers so harsh they force retreat to stave off the pain and rigidity. The sun had risen, the golden light swelling across the horizon. The effervescent light refracted in his eyes, caused rainbows and geometry to flash before him. They reminded him of the ghosts he’d lived with. The sullen guilt and shame he’d summoned long ago. He thought about the mystic’s gentle words that sung to him about enlightenment. How she synced with his life back then and recited the hidden wisdoms that mocked him. That ultimately paralyzed him. The ghosts were beautiful. Prismatic diamond white, rainbow sheen. Faint and fleeting.

Fuck the sun.

The ocean glimmered before him. The whitening light glistening off crest and crease. He came here before, the point where sky met water. It had become a ritual, an annual retreat he attended. He wasn’t the first, but he carried it on diligently. It was a segment of his personal history he’d hold dear. Summoning the sun on Christmas morning. Watching with the light. He never found himself to be esoteric, but he knew he thought differently. He found himself surrounded by people different in their own way, their perspectives waited and respected. Sometimes insecurity welled up, but he pushed through it with a pretentious confidence. Sometimes it was laughable. But that’s where he found his strength to push past it. He found himself alone on the beach, encircled in a private bubble, a round of energy that isolated him from everything in the universe. Alone. He listened to the silence. Not even the rush of waves penetrated the sphere. He felt the warmth of the sun. The light unavoidable. It comforted and pacified.

This would probably be the last time he went. A decade of returns in observance of the sun. It rose in the west on these shores. He never understood the mechanics of it, but such was the perception held by all. There was something backwards about the beach, and the dirty water it held. He looked at the ripples as they curved and crashed into the sea wall. He listened to the splash and slosh of the water. The sounds of the beach returned. The sea gulls repetitive call, a breeze blowing in his ears, the distance static of ocean waves. The voice of friends.

“Are you done, Nev?” the voice was calm. Nev glanced to the side, his face remained forward.

“Do you want me to be?” he felt a spark of rebellion in him.

“Do you always have to challenge?” The voice peaked a bit. It caught Nev’s attention. He grinned subtly.

“There’s something different this year,” he started, but his voice trailed off. He turned to his friend whom had entered Nev’s protective bubble.

“Everything is changing, Neville. We’ve done what we came to do.”

“You know how I told you where I was. You know, in the grand scheme of things?”

“Step seven.”

“Yeah. There’s gonna be at least one more.”

“I’d certainly hope so.” Neville’s friend paused and added, “but you know we’re safe for now.”

Neville stared out to the ocean again. He became mesmerized by the glistening light that danced on its surface. For miles a field of electric light dazzled across the horizon. It illuminated specters across his face more radiant that the sunlight. The warm winter settled distinguished from the others, a mark of something different for the future he had planned. The visions and paranoia dreamed up by the many had fallen away, the fears of the masses buried with the old world separate from the new.

 

 

Yellow Moon

The light was dim. The room was awash in the soft buzz of iridescence. I moved close to him, and he close to me. I felt a current between us, a thick air that fuzzed. It seemed to reach to him and pull us together. I kissed him. I was ensconced in electricity. I trembled slightly. So did he. We’d known what we wanted for months; had denied it to our hearts. The golden haze that crowned around us; the cascading rivets of plumes and petals wan with the spark of belief.

 

“Yellow Moon” is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved.

 

To Look In Vain

He took a tentative glance at the screen again. He waited for a response. They were on the other side just wasting time. He knew it. What were they doing? He became anxious in a huff beneath his breath. He’d been at it for three hours. He sat up off the floor again and walked to the bathroom. The lights were bright day light and the vent was running. He dragged from his pipe. The incendiary tongue flicked stoic. He waited for the signal to alert him. He rubbed his crotch. Another five minutes had passed. He tried thinking about something else. A distraction. He could pay a bill. That would help. He opened another window. He listened for the signal. Glanced at the screen. It glowed in a colorful grid like a sordid and shameful all male rendition of the Brady bunch square. He couldn’t help but to refresh. He recognized a new face. Ugh, he thought, him. What’s he doing over here? He knew exactly what he was doing there, even as his contact went off line and the minutes passed. Sometimes there wasn’t a point. He may not have been ready and tempted fate too much. He may have been impatient trying to find him. Or something. Shallow as it was, fleeting and anonymous, the warmth it provided, wrapped itself around him and fired upon his flesh a memory he constantly desired.

 

“To Look In Vain” is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All right reserved.

 

 

Celestial Hemorrhage

 

There is a nonchalance in the air of creativity. Ambiguity plays a vital part. Destruction in the dust of long lost memories and reticent goals. Integrity welling up in pools of deep sapphire. The dam, though cracked, is fortified and strong. Hands are reaching from the void. They scrape the blackened heavens, push the stars aside; they strike the sparkling orbs inside the eye. Beneath the waves and sullen wet horizon, a striking birth is moving a blessing in the air. The light that ruptures water into rolling waves, ascends, a celestial hemorrhage of starlight and dazzle. A warm promise is born, kissing heaven’s darkly tufted clouds, marrying life to exposition, and constant sharing of insights.