Frankie Fey

by Rigby Taylor

Chapter 49


After six hours of chasing the guidebook around every must-see sight in Madurai, Frankie and Lucien reluctantly took their seats on the train to Rameswaram.

'That was brilliant! In all the other cities we took guided tours. They're useless. Can't hear or understand the guide, can't see properly because of all the other tourists craning their necks, and you're rushed away just when things get interesting. It'd have taken a week with guides to see all the things we've just seen in less than six hours. I wish we were staying another two days.'

'You can stop again on the way back.'

'I'd like to, but my return flight's booked so I won't have time if I'm going to see everything else.'


'I'm so glad I decided to get off the train.'

'Yes, that was clever of you.'

'Those amazing towers… what're they called?'


'Yeah, those and the temples and the city. It's just right, you know? Big enough to be interesting, not so big you feel swamped. And so green and lush, and more like I imagined an Arab oasis to be than an Indian city. Flat roofs. Groves of date palms. And the houses all blues and pinks and whites and over everything a sort of… tranquillity, despite all the human busyness going on. I felt I'd like to live there, but then it's easy to feel like that when you don't know the disadvantages. And I can't imagine a foreigner would be very welcome. And I'm glad I won't be here in April for the festivals. According to that brochure thousands of pilgrims come to see the Temples. Their architecture I'm beginning to appreciate, but not the reason they were built—all that religious claptrap.'

'How can you talk without breathing?'

'I can't.' He paused and frowned. 'Was I raving?'

'Your enthusiasm does you credit. As for religious claptrap, without it the temples wouldn't have been built. At its philosophic heart Hinduism isn't silly. Unlike Christianity it makes sense even in the scientific age. Ancient Romans gave the plebs bread and circuses to keep them happy; Indians give them temples and celebrations.'

'You're a cynic.'

'I tell myself I'm a realist.'

'My memory's shot. What's the name of that temple with the four towers - gopurams and the magnificent courtyard with a square lake in the middle and all those pillars and the red and white stone?'


'Yeah. And all those people using it as a social centre as if it's normal; not all pious and holy like if you go into a church in Boston. It's a used and useful space.'

'And oddly serene despite all the colours and statues clambering over everything.'

'And the King's courtyard! Those massive sandstone columns, and complex arches, and the red infill… such splendour. Apparently they have concerts there. It'd look great at night.'

Frankie agreed, amused by Lucien's enthusiasm. Honesty forced him to accept that it had been more fun to visit the spectacular buildings with someone who appreciated them than he'd expected. Probably because on his own he'd also have seen the decorative excesses as a waste of money. Had he lost his sense of the frivolous? Was he becoming an ascetic prig? Was life always to be a serious thing? He couldn't remember the last time he'd laughed just for fun. Perhaps…' No, he wasn't going to think anymore. He always thought too much.

They sat in contemplative silence as the train, filled mainly with busy, chatting happy Indian pilgrims of all ages on tours of Hindu Temples, raced through lush green countryside, past small lakes, forests, farming land, plantations, across rivers. Both young men were relieved to be informed by notices outside the toilets, that they were on one of the new 'Green' trains, so if they flushed the toilet their faeces would go into a holding tank, not between the rails as on every other train in the country.

And then they seemed to be flying over the water across a long bridge so narrow it was invisible from inside the carriage. A spit of land on the left jutted into slightly choppy water, protecting a fleet of small fishing boats. Among the trees, houses looked as if they'd be flooded at high tide. And then they were on land again traversing a tropical island with sandy soil, palm groves, market gardens, houses and roads and motorbikes and cows and cars and bicycles and walkers and then into the town itself. It was getting dark and the lights looked romantic.

Not far from the station they found a double room in a small hotel that catered for the less affluent devotees on Temple tours. After a walk through busy, crowded streets and a meal at an outdoor barbeque type place, they drank tea in the tiny hotel garden before going up to their hot and muggy room.

As neither cared which side they slept on they tossed a coin and undressed. Lucien paused in confusion when Frankie hopped naked into bed. Frankie pretended not to notice, but was amused when Lucien also stripped and slipped quickly between the sheets.

'I suppose Margaret is telling the others I'm gay, and as soon as she gets home she'll be broadcasting it to the whole office.'

'She won't when she realises it will make her look like a fag hag who is so unattractive she couldn't get a man to sleep with her. She'll make up a story in which she dumped you because she had a better offer.'

'I'm not gay.'

'Neither am I.'

'I never thought you were.'

'Good. What are you then?'

'I'm just… I'm just normal but …'

But fastidiously discriminating. You're waiting until the right woman comes along.'

'Yeah! That's it exactly. How'd you guess.'

'It's a common delusion among men like you. Most give up waiting and give in to peer and parent pressure and marry, only to wish they hadn't.'

'Why do they wish they hadn't?'

'Because they meet a man who arouses in them the desires their wife can't.'

'Doesn't that make them gay?'

'Only if they tell everyone they prefer sex with men.'

'I'd never do that!'

'But don't you think parading down the street yelling that everyone must love you because you like sex with men will change people's attitudes?'

'Fuck no! It'd make them hate me.'

'So you think it's normal for people not to like individuals who do things differently from them?'

'Yeah, of course.'

'That makes you normal. And if one day you find a boyfriend, share a house, be a good citizen and don't make a song and dance about being queer, then you'll be treated the same as everyone else—which isn't very nice, usually. But that's another story. There are millions of men like us who prefer males to females, who consider it a personal, not a public matter. And if it wasn't for the homophobia preached by religion, and militant queers telling everyone they love sucking cock and licking arses while demanding they be loved by the whole world, most of us would have no problems other than those that all humans have.'

Silence greeted this homily. Then… 'You said men like us.'

'I did.'

'Do you think I prefer men to women?'

'You preferred me to Margaret.'

'But that wasn't for sex.'

'Who mentioned sex?'


'Speaking of sex,' Frankie yawned. 'Margaret was angry because you didn't fuck her. How did she try to arouse you?'

'I don't think she did.'

'Come on… in the train she was exposing so much tit she looked as if she had her knees tucked up into her blouse. And her lips were painted as red as a pussy on heat. Who was she trying to arouse if not you?'

'Any man she could, I guess.'

'Come on, humour me, Lucien. What did she do alone with you in bed? I'll pretend to be you lying here like a wet blanket, and you be Margaret trying to get me to screw you.'

'I can't… it would be…'

'Ah forget it!' Frankie snapped. 'She was right. You're pathetic. G'night.' He rolled on his side facing away, adjusted his pillow and prepared to sleep.

A good thirty seconds later a heavy hand grasped Frankie's hip and shook it roughly. 'This is what she did on our first night in India. Ready?'


'She shook me really hard and snarled, Lucien! You can't just turn over and go to sleep! My sex hormones are bubbling in my veins.' Lucien reached down and took hold of Frankie's penis. 'What a useless little tail,' Lucien sneered, waggling it around. 'Are you a man or a homo!'

'I'm just tired,' Frankie said trying to disengage himself.

Lucien raised himself on his elbow, took hold of Frankie's chin and forced him to roll onto his back. 'Close your eyes.'

'Is that what she said?'

'No, but I'll be embarrassed if you look.'

'Okay.' Frankie closed them.

Lucien straddled him and ground his hips into Frankie's groin, squashing his scrotum. Frankie yelped and reached down to free himself. Ignoring his groans, Lucien took Frankie's wrists and held his palms against his 'breasts', massaging himself with them. 'I'm offering you a woman's most sacred gift and you refuse to get an erection! You aren't interested. You don't deserve me!' Lucien began bouncing up and down, punching Frankie on the chest and wailing softly.

Frankie burst out laughing uncontrollably. He couldn't stop. Tears poured. He tried to be silent because of other hotel guests, but that made him choke and splutter.

'What's so funny?'

'Poor Margaret,' Frankie gasped when he had himself under control. 'Using all her womanly wiles to turn on a man and only succeeding in turning him off. Would you like to know how I would have approached the same task?'


'You're right. It's a stupid question.' Frankie managed to sound slightly disgusted. 'You're terrified I might think you're not a red-blooded heterosexual hero. Forget it.' Frankie again turned on his side, adjusted his pillow and prepared for sleep.

'I wouldn't mind.' The whisper was so faint Frankie almost didn't hear it.

'What was that?'

Louder. 'I wouldn't mind.'

'Ok, lie on your side facing away from me.'

A full half minute later Lucien felt a single finger tracing up his thigh, triggering a tingle that ran right through him. Then the sheet was tossed back and Frankie said softly, 'Has anyone ever told you that you have beautiful skin?'


'It's lightly tanned,' he whispered, stroking it softly. 'And all over. Where's your tan line?'

'I'm a climber. A group of us do it naked. Without clothes it's easy to get scratched on rocks so it adds an extra challenge.'

'I know the feeling.' Frankie's hand brushed lightly over Lucien's flanks. 'Powerful thighs. How'd you get them?'

'Tramping miles into the hills to go rock climbing.'

Frankie slid his hand up to Lucien's shoulder, then lightly massaged his arm. 'Strong arms for a lean young man.'

'That's from climbing.' The voice was dreamy. 'We use our arms all the time.'

'Nice strong neck.' Frankie lightly kissed it, sending a shudder through the body against which he was softly pressed. His hand slid down and caressed Lucien's belly. 'A six-pack no less. Fitness freaks should take up climbing instead of sweating it out in stuffy gyms.' He ran the palm of his hand along and under the far side of Lucien' face, gently turning his head towards him.

As if mesmerised, Lucien rolled onto his back and gazed up at Frankie in what looked a little like fear.

'Your eyes are almost black in this light. And I like that bump on the bridge of your nose.' Frankie hoisted himself up and over until he was hovering just above the other man, their bodies just touching, then slowly lowered himself until every possible square centimetre was in delicate contact.

Lucien' entire body froze. His eyes stared above and beyond Frankie's head. He began to vibrate and moan softly.

'Are you Ok?' Frankie asked nervously, rolling off.

Ignoring him, Lucien roughly grabbed Frankie's hand, wrapped it around his own erection and used it to pump violently until he sprayed over his chest.

Frankie pulled his hand abruptly away. 'That was not the intended result.'

Lucien's sigh was soft and drawn-out 'It's the result I needed. And you never even touched my cock or balls.'

'Unnecessary. That's what bugs me about the word homosexual. It makes everyone think of sex, and to most people sex is cocks and cunts. And…' he shrugged, 'heterosexuals imagine we want what they want and are as inhibited and unimaginative as they are. It's why their relationships fail after a while. Just shoving your cock into a hole isn't a mind expanding activity.'

'But being stroked and admired is! No one has ever admired me before. I've always thought I was a skinny runt. My chest's not big and nor are my shoulders.' He gave a soft giggle. 'It made me feel really sexy, even though I knew it wasn't true.'

'What I said was true.'

'I wonder if Margaret had done to me what you just did, would I have been turned on enough to screw her.'

'Do you wish she had?'

'No way! Thank goodness she didn't! I might have stayed on that train with those boring people! Oops, the cum's starting to run. Quick. Pass the towel, we can't make the sheets sticky, what would the maid say?'

Frankie got out of bed, found the towel and tossed it to Lucien who couldn't stop grinning while cleaning himself. He looked cheekily up at Frankie. 'Why don't I feel stupid?'

'Beats me, I would if I was as overweight as you.'

Lucien sat up; shocked. 'Seriously? Am I fat?'

'Love handles are just the beginning, soon you'll be as roly-poly as your friend on the train.'

'And will you like me then?'



'Yes. We have only the one body and we know how to keep it healthy, so there's no excuse for treating it with contempt. I find it impossible to like people who abuse themselves. I can feel pity. I can understand their reasons. I don't discriminate against them, but I cannot admire or like them.'

'That does it. I'll stop eating until I'm as lean and sexy as you.'



'So you can attract lots of young men who will do to you what I've just done.'

'Well… yeah.'

'Don't hold your breath waiting for them. From what I've read most gays aren't too different from heterosexuals when it comes to sex. Whip it in, whip it out and wipe it and don't give a toss about your partner's pleasure.'

Lucien failed to take the hint. 'I suppose you've done it with hundreds of guys?'

'No. Those are the sorts of queers who give same-sex-oriented men a bad name. There are very few men who turn me on.'

'What type do you like?'

'Not a physical type in the usual sense, more of a character type that's reflected in the physical body, if that doesn't sound too pretentious.'

'It does, but go on.'

'They must be clean and slim and fit and healthy and alive and perky and comfortable in themselves. And we must share some interests, values and characteristics. And, of course, they must like and be interested in me as well. That's why I could never be a rapist; if the victim didn't like me and what I was doing, I couldn't do it.'

Lucien had again paid no attention to Frankie's message. 'That's a very narrow field. Have you met anyone like that?'

'Now and again.'

'Am I really fat?'

'No, just incipient love handles.'

'That's a relief.' He yawned.

'Yeah, I'm tired too,' Frankie agreed, lying on his side and pulling the covers up, hoping Lucien wouldn't want to talk.

He didn't. He lay down and was snoring in seconds.

Frankie lay awake, mulling. The minute Lucien had grabbed Frankie's hand and forced him to finish him off, he'd realised the guy was just another selfish prick interested in no one but himself. Didn't even ask Frankie if he wanted to jerk himself off, or offer to do it. Not only that, but Frankie knew a great deal about Lucien, while Lucien knew nothing whatever about Frankie, and clearly wasn't interested in learning anything. Unfortunately, it had been his idea to get Lucien to leave the train, so he was morally obliged to stick with him for four more days. How could he have got it so wrong? Was he a sucker for sad tales? First Jürgen, now this idiot.

He woke feeling grumpy but determined to use the next few days as a test of his self control. He would remain calm, pleasant and friendly no matter what, refusing any further sexual contact. He could forgive Lucien for being what he was, but couldn't forgive himself for being such a poor judge of character.

Their morning walk led them up crowded, colourful, pleasantly scented and busy streets towards the sea and a four storey white building fronted by arches with gold pillars. Three square, domed towers graced the roof, and colourful statues occupied niches on each floor. The dominant feature was a gigantic sculpture along the roadside boundary depicting a godlike figure and a giant snake that was wrapped around a mountain, its tail pulled by classically inspired heroes.

He followed Lucien through an elaborate gateway surmounted by a curly arch. Standing on the lintel gazing down at visitors were four brightly coloured, life sized, classically styled figures that wouldn't have been out of place in Ancient Greece. Inside the gate was another gigantic sculpture of someone lifting up a mountain. For ten rupees they entered the building and gaped at the sculptures of gods and demons arranged in scenes from Hindu myths. Apart from the gigantic snake sculpture out front, all the others were painted in bright colours, giving an idea of what Ancient Greek temples and sculptures that we always think of as white, must have looked like at the time.

After bidding the god and giant snake farewell they walked past beaches that in places appeared to be more litter than sand, probably from all the ships that passed on their way to and from Kolkata and other ports. Fortunately, men riding blue bicycles attached to blue trailers were busily filling them with rubbish and removing it.

A short distance along the shoreline three large red arches gave access to a wide ghat leading down to the choppy, murky sea in which scores of men and women, mostly fully clothed, although some fat men were shirtless in lungis, bathed to purify themselves.

Leaving the sea they headed towards a pure white gopuram poking above the rooftops. Apart from a couple of wide, clean, pleasant pedestrian-only streets swarming with every type of human imaginable, the other streets in the business area left no doubt they were in India. Two and three storey flat-roofed buildings in desperate need of repair, maintenance and paint, cluttered with huge signs. The road/footpath filled with more signs and motorbikes, poles, chairs, tables, people… and over it all a mare's nest of electricity wires.

As they approached the truncated pyramidal gate tower they were pleased to see it was as elaborately carved with swarming figures as the ones in Madurai. The entrance was at the end of a cul-de-sac. It's facade as massive and beautifully sculptured as anyone could desire. Frankie was delighted to learn from a passer by that it was dedicated to Shiva. That made him think of Shiv, and he hoped he was Ok. To right and left behind and beyond the roofs, he could see the tops of palm trees, domes and more cross-hatched electricity wires. He couldn't decide whether the casual mess surrounding the holy place was endearing or sacrilegious. The difference between European countries' precious approach to religious buildings and their environment, and the relaxed, usefulness of India's when it came to their temples, was interesting.

'In my opinion,' Lucien declared, 'the attitude of these people to their sacred places is sensible and therefore I prefer it. Buildings are to be used, as well as admired, not to be stuck in a glass case only to be opened on special occasions.'

They wandered on. Lucien drank from a tap in the park, laughing at Frankie's warnings of gastric enteritis. He also ate an ice cream from a street vendor, then they ate at a small restaurant in a commercial street lined with single storeyed concrete buildings painted blue and orange and yellow and white, all in need of maintenance. In a parallel street, water hoses dangled over the edges of roofs, an electricity pole was planted in what looked like a chimney, and the road ended in a grove of palms and tropical trees. In the middle of the narrow street a three-storey 'temple' had arisen made of wooden poles hung with brightly coloured cloth and large tubes of fabric that looked like columns supporting a fabulous pyramid and dome. On the second 'storey' of this obviously temporary construction, a stage had been prepared for the God, and the entire structure was mounted on a wheeled platform to be hauled along by men pulling on giant jute hawsers that looked strong enough to tow an ocean liner.

When half a dozen men, shirtless in lungis, picked up the ropes to test them, they would have looked like the gods pulling on the giant Snake in the sculpture - if they'd been lean and fit instead of fat. Their bellies protruded, breasts sagged, and that, together with the tottering, towering, exuberantly colourful Temple on wheels, made Frankie laugh softly. From delight, not from cynicism or contempt. Suddenly he was in love with this crazy land, even though he knew that this temporary temple would join what the conservationist in Chennai had called religious rubbish.

That afternoon they explored further along the coast. The port was full of small fishing boats as well as a passenger ship that plied the coast as far as Kolkata. Wherever a sand spit reached into the sea creating a sheltered cove, small fishing boats were anchored against the wind, which was strong. Large birds were blown overhead. The sea was grey blue, the atmosphere humid, the skies filled with windswept clouds. They walked to the end of a sand spit from which they could see the long sandbar stretching out into the sea towards Sri Lanka, but the thirty or more low islets that were called Adam's Bridge, curved into the distance and disappeared over the horizon. Sri Lanka was too far away to be seen from sea level.

The advantage of being in a country where everyone else loved crowds, was that it was possible to find spots with no humans. They discovered one such place around the point, and decided to swim. They'd been told the currents were unpredictable, and dangerous creatures abounded in the water, but it wouldn't hurt to wallow in the shallows. Lucien's sandals and shorts were barely off before he raced towards the water. Unfortunately, he didn't make it, having to squat halfway. The stench of a liquid litre of half digested food drifted on the wind.

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead