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. 

 

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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.

Only Dictators Win the Lottery and Have Private Planes

The following is an excerpt from my novel, The Distance To The End. This excerpt comes from chapter 2, I believe. However, in the final revision, a nice chunk was edited out. I initially included it because I thought it important to convey a specific aspect of Nick’s character. But the content slowed the read, an unnecessary speed bump, as it were. So, I guess this piece qualifies as a deleted scene. The Distance To The End was published in 2016; for more information, click the “Books” tab at the top of the page. In the meantime, enjoy a glimpse into what never was, but may have been…

 

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Neville had always told me that he pictured himself from a very young age as the type of individual who was very successful and powerful. He dreamed big. He said at the age of five instead of playing Ninja Turtles with his friends, he was El Capitan, the commander of a vast army, busting down the doors of citizens and exerting his force. Fortunately, Neville had no military experience and probably never would. There were other things about his aspirations that were more humble, opening a business or something that would generate net worth or fame, or both. What he hadn’t told me, as he explained on the way to a private airfield, was that he had won the lottery. I was stoked for him, and could certainly understand why they had insisted on paying for the trip. A private airplane was something he always wanted, and flying from western California to Las Vegas was a quick trip by plane. Neville was ebullient. We could drink and just relax. Neville also knew, as well as Raoul and Gladys, that to fly, this would be my preference: private and not having to deal with the hoopla of current airport security. That’s right, we live in the year 2012 and security is the fad with politicians and big government, and let’s not be bashful, because the TSA workers weren’t with their groping and touching. I didn’t prefer to fly publicly because of the goons who ironically cop out on their own rights by violating others. The TSA, the “Traveler’s Security Agency,” a security agency contracted by the government are responsible for running security checks at airports. Some argue, they are just doing their job being part of the TSA and so one cannot really blame them. They are people just like you and me. And I never denied that. These are well meaning people, just trying to make ends meet one way or another, but it is also important then, that these people understand basic rights and, like diligent military folk, uphold their oaths and not infringe on the rights of others, regardless of chain of command or bureaucracy or paycheck. Of course, it’s a job, so I guess it’s not the same. And, of course, I had friends and associates who did not care either way. Members of my family, for example, were adamant they didn’t mind being felt up or microwaved in a big DNA microwaver. In fact, they insisted the radiation was healthy for them in a joking manner, and that they loved their healthy green glow, or that it staved off cancer. What was unfortunate was all the unknowing TSA employees who were constantly exposed to the radiation of their own machines.

Gladys had had her own run in with the TSA. They were actually in the process of filing suit against the agency. Gladys is claiming charges of sexual harassment, among a few other charges. She’s really going for the jugular on this one. Gladys is quite happy with the private plane.

We landed smoothly, buzzed off a bottle of champagne Neville had been saving for his plane’s maiden voyage. He was tempted to smash it along the side, but we had convinced him to drink it instead. Flying into Las Vegas was fun. The run of homes and retail centers all leading to the strip of new hotels and casinos, all tiny little boxes growing, growing till lavishness and verbosity, elegance and grandeur are the order. My heart smiled as the wheels touched down and we bounced ever so slightly in Neville’s nondescript personal plane, and the personal pilot, like all personal pilots in the imaginations of all, cleared us to exit, opened the hatch, and dropped the stairs. Neville stood at the top, a wily prince with an empty glass of champagne.

“Now that’s how I arrive!” he screamed and threw down his glass, it shattering on the concrete. He stepped down; we all followed. The captain opened a hatch on the back and began to unload our luggage. Raoul smiled. The sky was blue and the sun was bright, a stiff breeze carried the heat away and cooled the tarmac.

 


thedistancetotheend-med

The Distance To The End is available now. Order it at your favorite bookstore, or purchase it online by clicking on this link: https://www.amazon.com/Distance-End-Michael-Aaron-Casares/dp/0692667830

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Strangers With No Home

I got off the bus on Travis St. next to a small park that was a hang-out for all the bums and vagrants. The vagrants weren’t too bad in this city, at least not in my experience, and you could shoo them off easy with a stiff glare and pursed lips. One time I was standing outside a nightclub after a rock concert and a drunken hobo came meandering by. I was busy talking with my friends and I suppose he thought I was talking to him and he just yelled out, “What you say, boy?” I was taken aback at first, but then I manned up and shot back forcefully, “I wasn’t talking to you.” His eyes glazed over and he turned and started walking, mumbling to himself again as he had been before his mistaken moment of lucidity. I don’t know what I would have done if he had decided to pursue a confrontation, but in a way I’m glad. I had only been in one fight on the streets. I ignored the people sitting in the park, waiting at the bus line for their next meal. Of course they asked for money but I didn’t have any to give them. It wasn’t safe to give out money to one in front of their friends because then they would all ask you for money and for some reason the homeless tended to have a photographic memory and they could spot you out of a crowd if they knew you had a giving hand. I felt bad for most of them. Sometimes I wondered why they chose to do it. Sometimes I think some of them really believed that they had no alternative, especially the ones that had a fit with the government. I talked to one once who told me that he wasn’t gonna work because the government was taxing his income and taking money out of his pocket and putting it into the pocket of bankers that didn’t even live in America, bankers who didn’t like America. He said as long as they were going to do that, as long as they were going to continue to be un-American and break the laws of the Constitution that he wasn’t gonna work and pay for their condos and face lifts. I told him he was wrong and that working was good and that it was what we were supposed to do because of the law. He laughed in my face and told me there was no such law and that I needed to grow a mind of my own and find out the truth. Most people believe they are crazy, homeless people. Of course I thought that if what the man was saying was true, he wasn’t giving himself any credibility by living on the streets. No one would believe him and things would never change.

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“Strangers With No Home” is a vignette written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved.