Market Value

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Market Value

A tall, pale man shuts the door of the little closet safe where his cellphone vibrates to unanswered calls, and moves away, smiling. The man gathers the clothes from yesterday’s big meeting – an oxford shirt and brown slacks, and dumps them over his safe. Deciding the heap looks unnatural; the man fetches a pair of fine leather shoes from the bathroom floor, and throws them on top for good measure.

            Now that’s a mess I can take pride in.

But this is a lie and he knows it. The rest of the closet, thanks to the nana who comes on Tuesdays and Fridays from the outskirts of Santiago, remains a harmony of pressed shirtsleeves, neat sweaters, and fancy leather shoes. Camouflaged within the closet rests an open blue box with a handsome man’s watch that glitters in the light like a patiently watching eye.

The man takes out different things to wear today: tee shirt, jeans, sneakers – a second cell phone. “Good clothes,” he says while remembering a day long ago when he had no money for fun clothes or any clothes – when he gave away his last pesos to an old friend who only laughed at his poverty, his rags. Now the friend is long gone, a vanished shadow of a buried past.

Never again.

The closet slides shut without a sound.

Moments later in the mirrored elevator, where burning lights give no chance for flaws to hide, the man takes the measure of himself with methodical honesty. He sees a balding man with some wrinkles who looks 32 or 33 but is in fact only 25. His body is lean, hard, and tall. The combination of age and fitness projects a calculated air of discipline, trustworthiness, and responsibility. This is helpful in Chile. Here in this new country he is always someone’s fantasy – a rich overseas gringo, an investor with white skin and a big smile. No one needs to know more.

In the private car park the man’s second cell phone rings once, then quiets. A number flashes on the screen. LLAMADA PERDIDA.

He texts back: “Me pinchai?”

A text: “Oye, como estay? vai a llegar?”

He responds: “Ya voy.”

$$$$$$$

On the toll highway, a midnight-black Renault reflects the light from streetlamps lit at twilight, scattering their light along the oily black surface of the road where colours form, then vanish. Night falls quickly, and soon the starless sky is completely black. Only the Renault’s broad yellow headlights provide evidence that the car is there at all – that it moves between dark spaces. Once arrived at the outskirts of Santiago between faceless warehouses and dingy concrete slaps thrown down like unwanted toys, the Renault rumbles and purrs alone over pock-marked asphalt and discarded newspapers. A cold wind blows from the mountains.

In the distance, three bums crowd a metal can with a fire, warming themselves. Getting closer the man sees the bums are just young men, teenagers. He rolls down the window.

“Hola, buenas.”

A skinny guy from the group looks over and moves towards the car door, long dark curls spilling over his face.

“Wenas.” He responds.

“Dónde está el Fáiser?”

The skinny man looks away. “No lo veo hace raato.”

There is a silence, but within seconds a shadow emerges from the side of the shapeless buildings and move towards the car.

Skinny speaks up: “Ah… Ahí está po, aquí viene el Fáiser.”

Fáiser gets into the car without a word and both of them take off as the moon rises and little pinprick stars begin to make themselves known, now unobscured by raggedy clouds.

Fáiser speaks first: “Evan, you look thin. Are you ok?”

“I’ve been busy, very busy… and stressed,”

“Maybe you should relax then,” says Faizer placing a hand between Evan’s thighs, “maybe you should call more.”

“I don’t always have the time,” Evan responds, looking away from the hand, “You’re quick. Is that why they call you Phyzer?”

Faizer laughed. “Yeah. They called me Viagra at first. But Faiser sounds better.”

“Sounds German,” they said at once.

Chile knows its fantasies.

            Then the pleasure took over, and Evan drove in circles, not trying to get anywhere but simply hoping not to crash. The big palms on Alameda swayed huge and out of order against the chill winds.

Evan placed his hand over back of Faizer’s head when he was almost done – his hair was black and sticky with gel, his mouth hot. Pulling him up gently his face was revealed in the faint glow of crude yellow streetlamps, open apartment windows, dingy neon signs, and the distant but insistent light of the stars and moon above, and he was beautiful – golden, pale, delicate, fine, spotless, thin, a piece of china, captivating. Evan kissed him even though Faizer’s mouth was still sloppy, and said, “Come home with me.”

“Sure.”

$$$$$$

In the apartment there was already an envelope with Faizer’s name on it written in red marker resting face up on the kitchenette table. Gringos could be strange like that.

“Here, take this,” said Evan, handing it over.

Silently, Faizer opened the envelope, and counted money as Evan asked a question: “do you always want to do this?”

No thought Faizer, but that is something he would never say to a client. He’d been asked rude questions like this a thousand times, but answering rude questions was better than being forced to listen to the typical problems of rich and closeted faggots. The distant wife, lazy sons, slutty daughters, and money problems – they always felt the need to tell everything.

But Evan was not like those. He always paid generous and he was never cruel or nasty. He was business-like. He never told stories about his life.

“I want to be a dancer some day.” Responded Faizer. It was the truth.

Why not tell the truth? Thought Faizer. Does this rich gringo with envelopes of cash want to make it happen?

Evan chuckled. “A dancer? Are there dancers in Chile?” He then abandoned the topic and started babbling about banking in Chile, businesses, and marriage.

Faizer wondered if there was anything so different about gringo Evan after all. He couldn’t see beyond his money and prestige any more than the fat old men with small cocks and tiny brains crawling all over Las Condes.

“Wanna fuck?” said Evan.

Still, there was something to like about his directness.

“Sure.” Faizer answered.

Let’s get to work.

$$$$$$$

Hours later, the vibrations from the closet safe grew bothersome, and looking over with a sigh, Evan declared in English he was going to shower. He lumbered to the bathroom and Faizer rolled over on the bed, tired, his eyes wandering the room, and daydreamed.

Observing Evan’s half-concealed pink shadow behind the frosted-glass shower door, he wondered if he could ever land a big rich guy who might also be kind and nice. In a fantasy spanning seconds Faizer – whose real name was Diego –imagined Evan was a lawyer who sold real estate to other rich foreigners, and that on days when Diego was not teaching dance at his school or performing in the theatres in Lastarria and in Providencia – they would take trips to the south – seeing farmhouses in Chiloé, vineyards in Curicó, and houses in Valparaiso. In Valpo they would travel the mad tangle of switchback roads to find multicolour homes dangling over huge cliffs between the sun and sea. Then Diego, who would no longer be called Faizer by anyone (not even himself), would decorate and beautify the houses with the talent for art lurking somewhere within him.

The shower steam filtered into the bedroom as Diego fantasised about different lives possible with sufficient money, love, or both. He did not want someone who would hit him or surround him with his muscled arm in the night, whispering threats – like that last one, the jealous one.

Those days are over.

From the mist where Evan’s hid somewhere in the haze, a voice came out: “you might need to go soon.”

Without a word Diego got up and started gathering his clothes, which had each fled to obscure and invisible corners of the room, like little mammals seeking warmth. First he searched out his underwear and pants, then his socks and shirt, and gathering them all into a little pile on the bed. Enjoying the feel of the air on his skin, he decided to stay naked and take a look around the apartment. In the hall near the door, he found a big mirror, and took a careful look at himself, observing his tight little naked body, clean clear skin, sharp defined muscles, and thick, small penis.

Time to go. He thought

As he dressed his belt clinked, the buckle cold against his skin. Diego’s clothes hugged him in all the right places, enhancing his necessary beauty.

Evan would call again.

A voice interrupted from the shower: “When you leave use the stairs to the garage. Not the front door.”

Diego felt anger. He’s ashamed of me. He doesn’t want the nosy old men at the door to see.

Diego quickly gathered all the belongings he considered his before leaving. Softly, the door clinked shut.

$$$$$$

Evan took his time washing Faizer off his body. When he left the shower the boy was long gone. One of Faizer’s best qualities was that he always knew when it was time for him to exit the stage, to disappear.

Laying down in bed, Evan questioned if he wanted Faizer to disappear. Unbidden, a fantasy came: coming home some day after a meeting, after working, after smiling and saying yes at the right times to the right people – Faizer – or whatever his real name was, was waiting for him – all 5ft 3 inches of him. Evan would pick him up and brutalize him with a kiss and learn each and every one of his many parts, including his mind, and begin a journey towards a growing life where both of them could share a soul – an honest life.

Evan was ashamed of himself and his faggoty dreams.

The safe soon interrupted. The phone inside had now vibrated itself against the metallic side of the safe and was emitting a constant:

KRRRRR KRRRRRR KRRRR KRRRRR

Annoyed, Evan moved over to the open door of the closet, and with a little shock, noticed that the men’s watch was now gone. Faizer made it to the fifth visit – a record.

We almost had something.

Less angry than sad, he grabbed and crushed the little blue box that once contained the watch and threw it in the trash.

Sweeping aside the pile of clothes from the safe and throwing them on the floor, he opened the safe and reached a hand in.

12 missed calls. Jesus Christ. And all from the same one.

Evan put on his smile and called the number back.

“Evelyn! Hooola! Si es que lo tenía apagado, si…. Tranquila! Tranquiiila! No no es así. No es imposible. Si, se me mandaron un paquete de trabajo bastante grueso, si parece que el mitín de ayer salió súper….”

And while talking to this woman interested in shared bank accounts, advantageous marriage, and children, Evan stuck his hand into the open mouth of the tiny cold safe, and still smiling, still nodding and repeating, “yes, yes,”– he took out an identical men’s watch from an identical blue box – and positioned it in just the same way, half hidden but wanting to be seen – in the recesses of his own personal closet.

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A Page from Alucin’s Diary: A Flash Fiction


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Alucin

It is a common thing to lie, and it becomes commoner when lies become necessary to survive. Therefore I have decided to be honest with the pages of my diary, and to record in it my true thoughts and impressions.

1. Last night I dreamt that someone I knew years ago licked my face from top to bottom with one big lick. I licked him right back, and I woke up.

Now it is not common to be happy about such things, but when I got up that morning, I was smiling.

Borders of Heaven, Part 2 of 2

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Borders of Heaven, Part 2 of 2

Previously published in B magazine

Before I knew it the hounds of war were upon me once again. I felt a tap on my shoulder, and turned around in my chair.

“Why Hello There!”

“Hello.” I responded.

A well muscled blonde haired high school graduate greeted my eyes; he must have been into wrestling or football. Beautiful eyes too, a clear opalescent green complete with utterly unblemished milk-white skin. I may not be on varsity but I think I’d definitely let him wrestle with me anytime. It had to be sports of some kind, something rough, like lacrosse with lots of stick play – you sure as hell don’t get that kind of physique from sitting on your ass eating brownies.

He interrupted my moment of undisguised gawking with a well-rehearsed speech, restarted from the beginning of a training tape somewhere and repeated for my edification: “Hi! Have you ever heard of the Church of Latter Day Saints?”

I did not waiver for a second. I knew my next line. The company of the nice Mormon boy would be nice to have as an art piece, but not good for much more. At this point mine was not to question why, but mine was just to do and die.

“I’m sorry.” I said to him “I’m just way to gay to be a Mormon, ever.” 
He looked shocked and confused, maybe despondent. Apparently no one had ever used this line on him. Just call him an annoyance, an unchristian heretic or an ignorant follower of Brigham Yong’s bullshit – no doubt he had heard it before and was prepared for it. But this? He had no answer. Just panic. In a daze he silently got on his bike, clad in his tight Mormon biker missionary attire, and rode away.

Nice ass.

Alex interrupted my thoughts again, nudging my side with his elbow, “Works like a charm.”

“Sure does,” I said.

We then finished our lunch in peace.

Borders of Heaven, Part 1 of 2

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Borders of Heaven

Part 1 of 2

Previously Published in Issue one of B Magazine 

(http://www.bmag.us/)

These days I always see them before they see me.  Not only that, but I also know all the ways and means to avoid them. In the past it wasn’t always so. In fact it was the total other way around, I would without exception walk right into it, utterly blissful in my considerable ignorance. There was no specific place to be, so lets get that out of the way. There was nowhere they could not be found, and nowhere they would fail to find me. I didn’t exactly blend in. I was a Westerner. It stands to reason they would pick me first. Why shouldn’t they?

I could be anywhere, in the street walking from one place to another or in a shop – even in a restaurant, and there they would come up to me and ply their wares. Christ! Can you even imagine? In a restaurant trying to eat your rice or drink your tea or whatever, and then this random person comes sauntering up to you. If I was in a shop or restaurant when it happened the staff was never any help, regardless of the class of the establishment. Cheap or expensive, they let it happen. I think they thought I wanted it to happen, which never failed to make me sickly uncomfortable. It would be a greasy feeling, like something nearby was wantonly dirty, but I would get over that in time though. I could see their side of it well enough; so many Westerners go to far places on the Earth just for that very reason, which apart from being unfortunate and embarrassing – is also the truth.

They were always young, very young. I only ever met one exception to that rule. Right out of High School was their normal age, faces still fresh with the last whispers of childhood. No doubt their mothers loved them very much, how could they not? They were only trying their best to do what they had to do; they might have even thought it the right thing under the circumstances. Some of them may have come from broken homes, or no home at all, and this was just a better life in comparison. I don’t hate them really; it’s just that they always made me so uncomfortable, so uneasy, so awkward that the situation cannot be allowed to pass without comment. That and the fact that, by the end, as I have already told you, I could see them coming for me a mile away.

They were without fail from the countryside, whenever I got so far as to ask where they originally came from. I never met a single one of them actually from Taiwan. But believe it or not the strange thing was though, that whatever country they came from, Russia, Philippines, Canada or the United States they always came from some rural and lonely place. Some town I imagined nearly untouched by the passing of time in other parts of the world. Their world is definitely one different and distinct from our own. Their clothes varied greatly, from the clothes of a world-weary and inexperienced highschooler in far, far over his head to suits and elegant dresses prepared with the greatest care, attention and cleanliness. The ones who knew their work well were much harder to shake, and their outward appearance reflected it.

Doubles were quite frankly the normal arrangement. It was unusual to be approached singly – unusual but not unheard of. Some pairs were both male, others both female and the remainder a combination of the two, obviously. I have been approached many times by both sexes. They always spoke English and never Chinese. I would often reply in Chinese, though I got the sense that they never understood me well when I did. The women were sometimes awkward, still too adolescent to be fully mature, but too adult and experienced to truly be children. Some of the women were to tell the truth – hopelessly ugly. What was the point of going out if you are just going to terrify your mark? The rest that weren’t ugly weren’t necessarily attractive either.

I don’t remember the faces of those women being a trip to Hollywood, so let’s leave it at that.

The men were another case entirely. Some were downright sexy by any standard. I remember this one fair-haired boy from Utah. . . What a body! I could see plenty of it through his bicycle riding clothes, or whatever you call them. Others were ugly. Hotness garnished generously with a biggie-sized portion of fugly. I have never been a fan of coleslaw.

My first line of defence is pretty obvious and often used, and It didn’t take me long to come up with “I’m gay, sorry, no thanks”. Obvious, quick and utterly devastating. There was nothing to argue with, no way to convince me. Of course there are a lot of other ways, but this one is the easiest. But just in case that didn’t work there are other useful strategies that could be equally effective.

“Dear God!” Alex interrupted my speech.

“What is it?” I looked at him intently.

“Here comes one right now!” He said in a quick and clandestine way, like a 4th grader trying to whisper before the teacher got too close. I could feel the football being passed to me at this point.