Book 1: Billie Joe's Journey

by Rick Beck

Chapter 13

Welcome To The Jungle

Dennis came to the door and peeked in. Two minutes later he was back with John. I ignored them and pretended to be asleep with Harvey. I lay there thinking of what to do. Harvey's erection pressed into my leg. An invitation? It didn't matter.

Every erection I had come into contact with until now had been for me. I'd taken advantage of them. Sex was a new discovery, and it thrilled me more than anything had ever thrilled me before. It made me feel more alive than I had ever felt.

Harvey's erection repulsed me. He did not use it, or act as though he was even aware that it snaked from his towel and onto my thigh. He was still as death. His breathing was deep and labored. His arms held me gently as he slept.

When we left it was getting dark. I carried my bag and heard Dennis yell, "Don't come after ten, and don't bring anyone else here for us to feed."

I wasn't coming back. I couldn't come back to their house. It was a dirty house. I couldn't get the picture of them using Harvey out of my brain. When I looked at either of them, or at Harvey, I saw them fucking him and him eating them like it was something he lived to do. It turned my stomach. John came to the door when I got to the bottom of the steps. He waved and gave me a pleasant smile.

"Wait, Harvey," I said, and ran back up to the door. John cracked the door.

"Because you been nice to me I'm telling you this. I don't care about Dennis. You were nice. I won't be back. I saw what you did to him. I can't stay here. Harvey has the AIDS."

John's face went from a smile to concern to dread. The door stayed cracked as I jumped down the steps, grabbed my bag and ran to catch up with Harvey who had continued to walk back toward the gay section. We walked along in silence. He kept looking at the twenty dollar bill.

"We're going to have pizza. That's what I want."

"Shouldn't you save it for a room?"

"I'm clean. I want pizza. I'm going to treat you Billie boy. I wouldn't have this windfall without you. You shall be my guest."

"I didn't take you there to do that."

"Doesn't matter. You took me there. I did it, and I got money for us to have pizza. Worked out all the way around."

I didn't enjoy the pizza. It had all the things I liked on it, and Harvey got the Never Ending Pitcher of coke, so I peed three times before we left the pizza joint. He spent all but two dollars. He bought a cigar and a big candy bar. He broke the candy in half. He took the larger half and gave me the other. I stuck it in my bag.

We passed people he waved to. He turned in circles and talked as they turned in circles and walked until they could no longer hear each other without yelling. He talked to girls and guys and men and women. He was happy as a clam, but I couldn't forget what I knew. I couldn't forget him curled up next to me like a little boy. I couldn't get any of the pictures out of my head. I hated Harvey. I knew I hated him.

Harvey leaned against the wall by the diner where we met. I didn't know if he was throwing me back, or it was just a place he hung out. A black dude stopped and they talked. The black guy danced to music I couldn't hear. His hair was twisted and tied in dreadlocks that looked dirty and the ultimate in an attempt to make himself appear as horrid as possible. He was at least six four or six five. I thought of the basketball that should be in his hand. He'd been on the streets three years. He was nineteen. He acted twelve, and looked twenty five. I thought I could smell him. I could no longer smell Harvey, but I could see him. I always saw him on his knees, between legs, with men grunting, groaning, sweating over his nakedness. I saw him dirty.

He charged out across the dark street after a teenage girl. A car blew its horn and he pirouetted in front of it, thrusting both his hands into the air in a gesture not meant to endear him to anyone. He pumped his fingers up and down in the headlight spotlights as though there were some gigantic cow above him he was trying to milk. The screeching tires stopped their noise and then the human screeching also died as the man drove away. Harvey leaned against a wall and talked, and when the girl walked away he indicated I should follow. So much for being thrown back.

"We got a place to crash. It's an abandoned hotel. It's clean enough, and there are mattresses. Can you believe it. They say they were left for us kids."

We walked up the block and a white Beamer pulled to the curb in front of us. Harvey lit up and yanked the door open. He threw himself in the front seat and leaned to kiss the lips of the driver. I couldn't see him. I didn't look.

"Hey, Kid! I'll be back in a few. Stay by the diner. We'll have breakfast in bed."

He laughed like he had the world by the tail. The BMW moved carefully up the hill and turned right.

I watched the other people. The real people. They marched along in their pretty outfits and costumes. They were clean and sparkling and neat. The perfection they tried to attain seemed just beyond their reach. The pretty styled themselves up to magnificence, and the ugly hid themselves under glasses and hats and tried to appear to be someone else. The men stopped and looked at me and my bag. They said things to their partners and gave me long looks over their shoulders. Some talked to me, and I played dumb . . . "I'm waiting for someone . . ." and then their knowing laugh. I felt like a caught fish lying on the dock.

Fifteen minutes after the BMW left my view, it discharged Harvey again, with hugs and waves and another twenty dollar bill. He waved it in my face with a delighted, triumphant smile.

"I still got it kid. A little soap and water and I'm hot. Nice guy. Bobby. I only blew him. I don't let the nice ones do anything dangerous. I do have a conscience about that, Billie Joe. I see how you look at me. I treat people the way they treat me."

I said nothing. I watched him place the money down in his pants. We stood and spent an hour not talking. More talking to the passers-by. More kids who belonged in safe homes and in warm beds. The number of them shocked me. I thought "a few, a dozen", but I counted thirty he knew to talk to just in our block. I saw others that looked lost, alone, hungry, and scared. There was always fear in their young eyes. All of them and me.

"You ready to sleep?"

"I guess."

"It will be cool. You'll like it. Anything you want they'll have. Beer, grass, a toot for your nose. Everyone chips in on the weekend. We are all in the chips on the weekends."

The building was boarded in the front, but when you slipped down a narrow opening between buildings you reached a hole no man could get into. There was a smell I couldn't identify when we went into the building. It was burnt and pungent. Then there was another smell I did recognize. It was sex. The building seemed alive with the smell of sex.

We climbed up near the top of the six stories. I held my bag to my body, and followed Harvey.

"Why don't we get a motel? Wouldn't it be better?"

"You don't spend money on a motel when we got a nice dry place. Motels are when it is cold and wet and you are too filthy to score a trick. You got a lot to learn."

We ended up on a floor that was devoid of interior walls. The framing still stood, but we acted as through it wasn't there, stepping through onto the open floor. There were six mattresses spread around.

"Hey Harvey! Tried to find you to tell you the hotel was open again."

"Gene! Hey, dude."

They hugged. Gene was tall and very thin. There was no shape to him except straight up and straight down. He had straw colored hair and wore only a white pair of briefs that showed a bulge that I couldn't help but stare at. His teeth tried their best to press out of his mouth, seeming to be way too many for a single mouth to hold. Harvey's hand was in the back of the boy's underwear as they talked.

"Hey guys! Harvey made it. Thought he had a weekender going. Whose your friend anyway?"

Gene looked me over and studied my bag.

"This is Billie Boy. Gene, Tony, that's Timmy, Bryce, and Donald. Hi Don. Where you been hanging? How are those lips tonight."

"I been to old man Shutt's. He picked me up and was in one of those moods. He wanted to . . . you know. All the time. You know how he gets. Lasted two weeks. I scored a fifty when he dropped me. Bought us some weed and Doritos. Five big bags. That way I might get some."

"Good work, kid. That young ass is what they all want. We can't score for you being out there," Harvey said.

"How old is he?" I asked.

"You thirteen yet Don?"

"Shit Harvey! I been thirteen since last month. We had a party. Remember?"

"Yeah! I don't remember. I was wasted. If he says so. Nice kid. Tight ass. Better lips. You'd do well letting him work you over. He likes new guys. He'll be after you before the night's done. Oh, he likes Gene. Big dick. Can you beat it, thirteen year old size queen. He's going to be a real queer."

"You do it with him?"

"We all do it, Billie boy. When it's slow we need to practice. It's more fun when we get together. I'd rather be with guys my age. I just do it with old guys for the money. Mostly, anyway."

"Right Harvey. Mostly. Tell him about Bobby. Tell him how you always wait for him, but he don't stop for you any more."

"Fuck you, Gene!" He pushed Gene away from his hand.

"I just left him half an hour ago!"

He gave him the one-finger salute and pointed to a mattress: "That's Sharon."

"High, Billie. You want a girl friend?"

"No! I'm cool."

"You mean you're a faggot?"

"Cool it, whore. Billie's a good guy. He got me food, a shower and twenty bucks. I didn't even need to buy a motel."

"Gee Billy, nothing he can do I can't do better. How about turning me on to it," Sharon said.

"It's ancient history. We blew it off."

"He got offended because I took it up in the ass and ate some dick. He's still a nice country boy at heart. We'll have to teach him about the real world. No free rides at this hotel."

"Fucking came to the right place for his education. We're going to do an all nighter tonight. We've all scored something, and it's time to parrr-ty," Gene said, moving to sit on a mattress against the far wall. Don sat next to him pulling off his underwear. Bryce immediately sat on the other side and put his hand on Gene's skinny thigh as he read something he was holding. They looked to be near my age. Bryce was older but not by much. Gene appeared closest to my age in appearance. It was hard to tell, which made my age less important. Sharon I couldn't even guess. She looked thirteen and thirty at the same instant. Tony and Tim were oldest by appearance. No one had on clothes except Sharon. Don and Bryce were both working on Gene's package like they were familiar with it. I could see through the flickering candle light that the head covered his belly button as Don rubbed it while leaning his face against his chest. Don rolled joints as Bryce tried to see how low he could pull his balls. Bryce's face rested on the inside of Gene's thigh.

"When you get him ready let me know," Sharon said. "I haven't had a real man in a week.

"You'll have one tonight," Gene said.

"Come on guys. No joint until you get me all the way hard. That's the deal."

"She'll get more than one," Bryce said, holding his small erection through the material of his underwear.

"I don't think I want to stay here, Harvey. I'm not into mass orgy shit."

"No one will bother you, Billie boy. It's safe here. You can go to sleep. I'm getting naked. Someone's got to start the party."

Harvey stripped out of his clothes and sat beside Bryce, using his hand to stimulate himself. I sat on the mattress closest to the stairs and watched the candles flickering. Tony laid on a mattress by himself. Tim made out with Sharon.

The black guy with the awful hair came in. He was greeted as Ty. He ignored me and went over to where Sharon sat. Another guy came up the stairs and stood in the doorway. He watched Gene passing around a joint. He watched Sharon being passed from Ty to Tim. They made out. He sat down beside me on the bed.

"Got a smoke, kid?"

"Don't smoke."

"Smart. I shouldn't. I'm Gil."

He shoved out his hand and I thought maybe he was my age. He had very blond hair and a firm grip. He leaned back and watched the two beds where the action was taking place.

"Can't decide whether I'm straight or gay tonight. What do you think, kid?"

"Billie Joe."

"No! What is it you like to do?"

"I'm with Harvey."

"Shit. Harvey's with everyone. I'd find a new boy. He isn't long for this life. He's been sick months. Doesn't do anything for it. Dead meat. Fucks with people's heads. He won't live long. You gay?"

"Why you say that?"

"He pisses people off. Not a guy you want to be too close to. He sleeps around. Got the big A."

"We're just friends."

Gil put his hand on the front of my pants. I slapped it away.

"You're right. Straight tonight," he said, and kicked off his shoes and dropped his shirt beside the bed as he went to Sharon and waited for her to take air before kissing her

"Gil. I got me two real men tonight. If I did dinge it would be three. Sorry, Ty. A girl's got to draw the line somewhere."

Ty stood up like he was angry. His chest glistened in the flickering light. He was very thin, and yet the muscles rippled on him. His skin was dark mahogany, and looked much nicer than his hair. He came over and sat beside me kind of dejected.

"You do dinge, country boy?"

"I'm just visiting," I said.

"Good answer. Don't mind these guys. Sex is all they think about. It's like that when you're going to die soon. You take it where you can get it. Don't get involved. You'll be dying with them."

"You got it?"

"We all got it. Maybe not Tim or Tony. They're still trying to be straight. Everyone but Gil I know has it, and I don't see how he can't. He's always up here on the weekends."

"Why don't you get some help?"

"You related to Mother Tracy, or whatever the bitch's name is. We don't rate no help. We're kids. Poor. Black. We don't have anyone that's going to give a fuck when we croak. They drop us in the rubber bag and drop us in a hole. That's their help. They got to buy them B-1's and nukes for all occasions. You think they got a dime to help out kids their own parents don't want? Costs money to treat AIDS. There isn't any for us. Not if you don't play the game. I don't play."

"Why don't yours want you?"

"My parents? My mother, really. I'm big. I eat too much. I don't listen well, and I'm a faggot."

"You were kissing a girl."

"It doesn't make you go sterile, country boy. Girls need loving just like guys do. Sex is sex. You takes it where you gets it. I just like to ring Sharon's chime. She can't handle me."

"Why do you wear your hair like that? You aren't a half bad looking dude. Why do you make yourself look ugly?"

"Fuck you white boy. I'm an Afro-American man. This is style. I don't wear it for you to like."

"You're maybe seventeen or eighteen. You are handsome under all that hair. Why do you want to turn people off?"

"You don't know nothing, kid. It's me! It's the way I feel. I got the right to do what I feel. I told you I'm nineteen."

I no longer thought I could smell Ty. He leaned there watching Gil screw Sharon while she made out with Tim. Tony played with her tits as she jacked him off. Tim jacked himself off. I looked for Harvey and he was sucking on Bryce while Gene hovered over Don's rear end. Don was the smallest boy, and Gene had the biggest dick. It seemed to be no problem for either of them. Don leaned on his face with his ass up in the air. I could see Gene holding Don's hips and working his own. Gene certainly wasn't being gentle, but Don made no objection. Bryce had his hand in Don's crotch while Harvey was sucking him through the hole in his briefs. When I looked back at Sharon, Tony was screwing her. She was sucking off Gil who jerked off Tim who kneeled next to the mattress with his hands on his hips. Gil was thick and Sharon could only get down on the head. He crouched over her mouth and held onto Tony's shoulders with his free hand.

"You don't do anything?"

"Sorry Ty. Not like this I don't."

"I guess I'll be back. Hang in there kid. I don't know how you can watch and not want in on the action. I've got to get out of here. Nobody wants a nigger tonight."

"Come on big Gene. I need a real man now these boys got me worked up."

"Fuck you, Sharon," Gil said.

"Don's just getting me worked up for you, Sharon," Gene yelled, still working on the raised rear.

When he stood up, I tried to see his dick clear. It seemed red, and was pretty thick. It moved around straight out in front of him as he went to Sharon. Tony took Gene in both of his hands as he knelt between Sharon's legs. He aimed it at the target. Gene extended his arms and made no contact with Sharon. He held himself up over her body, and he moved down while Tony directed him into the opening until I could see his pubic hair mixing in hers. That was the only place they made contact. He seemed to be doing push-ups as he let his hips and arms do all the work. Gil and Tim watched intently as Tony continued to let his fingers touch the meat as Gene worked. He seemed no more gentle with Sharon than he had been with Don.

"That's it, big boy. Slide it all the way in. Yes, you are a man. Give it to me, Gene. I've waited for that thing all week. Yes. Oh, yesss! Ohhh! Fuck meeee!!!" she screamed at the top of her lungs.

She held Gil's and Tim's meat while watching Gene down between her legs. I watched him disappear inside and then pull himself all the way out until the fat head seemed to be glowing from the friction. Sharon moaned and groaned and said she was cumming three different times in the half hour that Gene worked on her. He never did finish, but stopped and pulled it out of her after her third orgasm. He stood over her, a mixture of skinny boy body and huge thick man meat. His body glistened with sweat as he went to stand in front of Bryce who tried to suck him off. I watched as Gene sat down and rolled Harvey onto his stomach. Harvey now sucked on Don, and Gene screwed him no more gently than he had Sharon or Don. No lubricant and no rubber. He just shoved it to him as hard as he wanted while Harvey seemed focused on Don's small dick.

I finally got an erection, but not one I wanted to use. I liked sex, and I couldn't wait until the next time, but I knew this wasn't it. Maybe it was because Sharon left. The smell of sex ran through the entire building and different guys erupted and let their loads spray on each other, the mattresses and the floor. The objective appeared to be to make the biggest mess. No one seemed to object to anything, and they traded partners like they handed around drugs. Only Tim and Tony stayed away from the continuous action. They slept together on a mattress in the far corner.

An hour or so after Sharon left, she came back with a high school guy in a letterman's jacket. Another guy in a big leather coat followed them onto the floor. They stood and surveyed the room.

"What the fuck's this shit," leather coat said.

"Don't mind them. Faggots come up here too. You aren't here for them. You bought an evening with me. You guys cool it now," Sharon demanded.

"Look at the dick on that boy," the letterman said.

"Boy's abnormal," leather coat said.

"Dick's big as he is."

"I don't like being watched," letterman said.

Sharon spoke to the room at large. "You guys take a break." She turned again to her new clients. "They got to stay up here. They won't bother us. Maybe they can learn what a real man is like. You might get them to go straight." Sharon rubbed the front of letterman's pants and spoke to the rest of us again. "You guys give us some privacy."

Underwear was put on and Gene said, "There's mattresses on the other side. We can finish up there."

I stayed put and everyone else went out through the wall behind me. Sharon placed her lover on the mattress where she'd been doing the other guys. I noticed leather coat watching Don's ass as he passed by him, naked with his hand on Gene's ass. Harvey had noticed too.

Harvey came back and dropped beside me saying, "Watch me get leather boy. He wants a BJ. Bet you."

"You're nuts."

Sharon got letterman's pants down to his knees. He had a smooth round ass. His blond hair made him look like an innocent little boy. He had a raging hardon, and placed it between Sharon's legs. It looked very smooth and about average length.

"That's tight. You're tight. I thought maybe big dick there might have fucked you, but I can see you go for real men."

He talked as he fucked her. She pulled his shirt up and rubbed his chest.

"You're a stud. Football?"

"Wrestler. 187. Three time divisional champion. You like it this way? You like a man's meat?"

"Yeah! You're the best, honey. You're a real man. You must have done this to a lot of girls. You're a big one all right."

"I been around. I know how to do it. I'm not hurting you am I?"

The boy paced his words with his fucking motion. I couldn't help but think how stupid he was.

Leather coat watched, rubbing himself through his jeans. The funny thing was he stood where he was watching his buddy's ass and not where he was putting his equipment. Harvey stared up at the bulge and licked his lips as the guy looked down at his mouth just inches from him. The guy kept looking at him funny and squeezing the outline of his manhood while Harvey ate it up. I could tell by the front of him that he couldn't wait. A wet spot had appeared on his jeans as he stared most often at the smooth tender ass of his buddy. He suddenly became nervous as Harvey continued watching him while getting closer.

Letterman started moaning and groaning two minutes in. He growled and grunted and stood up with his average meat still dripping on Sharon's legs. He put himself away and brushed past leather.

"You're turn, Ben. Thanks for showing me this place."

Sharon stood up and followed letter man, saying, "You want to play with me you got to pay. Come back when you got twenty bucks. I changed my mind about the freebie."

Leather coat stood looking at the mattress where Tony and Tim slept naked. He walked to where Tony's ass was pointed up at his face and he reached down to touch the crack. He rubbed himself and then looked at Harvey and me. He walked across the floor unzipping his pants. His dick was hard as stone and a little longer and thicker than his buddy's. It was cut and the head was well shaped. I heard someone at the bottom of the stairs and turned waiting for them to come into view so I didn't have to watch Harvey with this guy.

"Need a little help there sailor," Harvey said, in a low sexy voice.

"Not your kind of help. He punched Harvey's face. Harvey bounced off the mattress and landed on the floor, still as death as the guy grabbed me.

"I want me this little boy. You ever been fucked little boy. You're going to get fucked now."

I fought him as he ripped open my pants. I bent my knees and he hit my face a couple of times, but I balled up so he couldn't get a clear shot. I tried to kick him and he pulled my pants off my ass and ripped my underwear to shreds in three or four frantic motions. I twisted and turned under him, but he outweighed me by fifty pounds. The more I struggled the closer his dick got to my asshole. Just as I felt him sliding into my crack I heard a thud, and he was off me. Ty stood over him with his fists in the air at the ready. Leather boy looked up at him from the floor.

"Come on. I want this to be fair," Ty said. "You think you can come in here and rape little kids. You ain't met me yet have you? Just call me the Piper."

Leather boy got to his knees and prepared himself to lunge. Ty waved his fists in large circular motions and kicked the guy in the head. The crunch made my whole body shiver and my stomach turn over. Ty's huge foot hung over his face and he let it dangle there for a few seconds and stomped him with another crunching sound. He stood with his hands on his hips looking down at the quiet leather boy.

"I hate fair fights," he said, soft, like a whisper.

He yanked me to my feet and dragged me through the door with my pants hanging off my ass. His hand was almost on my dick, and he took me down the stairs to the second floor where he dropped me on a mattress in a dark corner. I heard him unzipping his pants.

"You haven't been fucked yet have you new meat. If you're going to hang here, someone's going to fuck you sooner or later. I guess it may as well be me. Sorry about the size of my dick. You know how niggers are. I'm thirteen inches when I'm fucking white boys. Twelve all other times. Can you imagine what you would feel like with this up your ass, white boy? Don't be bashful, touch it . . . I said touch it! I want you to know what I'm fucking you with."

I cringed and recoiled at his yelling at me. My hand reached out to touch it. My fingers looked like a toy on it as it thickened. The skin felt soft and smooth.

"That, my friend, would open you up so you would never be any good to no one but Ty. If I use that on you, you are mine from that day on. You'll play hell getting a white boy to do you any good after I get done with you."

He slapped my hand away and put himself away. I shook and cried from relief and from fear. First the leather guy and then thinking Ty was going to fuck me was about all I needed to finish a pretty bad day. I cringed on the mattress waiting for him to kick me with his size fifteen shoes. He looked even bigger and more intimidating now.

"I told you to get your ass out of here awhile ago kid. This place will kill you. Just like its killed us. Get your fuckin skinny shitty little ass out of here before I decide I want to fuck you. Don't think I won't. I have a moment's weakness right now. I just can't bring myself to rip that virgin ass of yours wide open. That might last another minute. Two at the most. So you best run, kid. When it gets really hard, I don't think too good after that. I just rip open white boy's asses."

I buckled my stretched pants as I fell down the last five stairs going down to the first floor. Sliding on my face in the dirt, I jumped up still moving and stopped only to locate the hole. I almost lost my bag getting out of there. I hit the street and looked to the right where crowds of people still walked up and down. I straightened my clothes and dried my eyes. I went to the diner and sat all alone in the back and drank one cup of coffee after another. I cried and I shook each time I thought about leather coat and Ty, and I knew I didn't like San Francisco much. I thought about calling Earl, and my parents. I couldn't until I calmed down.

I saw Ty an hour later leaning on the wall with his back and looking down at me through the window. I refused to look at him, but he leaned there staring and making me squirm. He finally disappeared only to reappear in the aisle as the huge man in the white apron objected to his coming inside. Ty pointed a big black finger at him and glared but didn't speak. The man went back to wiping. Ty sat down across from me.

"Having fun yet in the big gay city?"

"Yes, sir."

Ty laughed.

"What you scared of white boy? If I wanted to hurt you, you'd be in the hospital now. Remember leather boy?"

"Mostly you right now."

"You ready to ask for help?"


"I know a guy. He's cool. Helps gay kids. Runaways. He'll give you a place for a night. He'll feed you and let you shower. He'll give you one shot at getting off the street. That's all you get. Then you are a lost cause like the rest of us. He'll want you to go home so you don't become one of his."

"Why would he help me?"

"Cause you need help. You need to go home, kid. You need to get off these streets before they eat you up."

"Why did you do that?"

"What? Save your ass and then scare shit out of you? Great attention getter ain't it? My dick makes most guys faint. You only peed your pants. I don't care about fucking white boys any more. Harvey, Don, Bryce, they were all a kick, but when you start dying, you start losing interest. I don't care any more. I'm a nigger. I know it. You know. No big loss. You're a squeaky clean white boy. Someone somewhere cares about you, skinny. You ought to go back to them before Bubba finds you, or before you're dead like us."

"Why do you talk that way about yourself?"

"What way? Lost cause? Dying? 'Cause I am. I know what I am, white boy."

"Nigger. Why do you call yourself that?"

"Let's get real casual like here, kid . That's all I am on the streets. In this society I'm just a nigger. The fact I'm gay makes me an outcast to other niggers. White people see me as a nigger before they know anything else. 'Dinge.' 'Jungle Bunny.' 'Nigger.' Whatever you want to call it. It's a fact in this country. Damn few people can see past the color of our skin. Damn few. I been on the streets. I know. Even the other kids call me that."

"I never saw that. I mean your being black is no secret, but I saw that ugly hair before anything."

"It's me kid. My hair is ugly, I'm ugly! Not to worry. I know what I am. Get out of here before you find out who you are. Go home. Let me think I saved someone's life. Let me think what a nice guy I am tonight."

"You are a nice guy."

"Me? Shit! I can afford to be nice. Was a time I'd a fucked you all night and then all day tomorrow. You're lucky kid. You caught me after my prime. You caught me on the way down hill that's all."

"How old are you? Really, I mean. You ain't no nineteen," I tried to be realistic without expecting the truth. What difference did it make?

He looked around like someone might be listening. He looked across the table at me and leaned on his long arms and put his face in mine.

"Fifteen three months ago. You tell anyone, I'll rip your balls off. Do you believe me."

"About ripping my balls off? No, not really. About being fifteen? You're as old as you say you are is how I see it," I said, as he smiled at my wisdom.

"Twenty. The streets and AIDS'll do that. When I first come out I was skinny as you. All the white guys loved me. I guess you white boys are deficient in the dick department, because they all slobbered and moaned about my big dick. The first guy let me fuck him. I fell in love with him because I never thought anyone could take me up the ass. I was twelve then. I had maybe ten, eleven inches. It's still growing. Getting wider, anyway. I don't see the guys that used to pick me up . All dead I guess. I don't know how many I killed personally. I didn't know I had it until this year. I got raped when I was thirteen. Two guys dragged me into a van. Nasty guys. They took turns fucking me. I never did that before. I did fuck a couple of asses, but never took it before. They tied me up and used me for two days. Threw me out near the freeway by the bridge. One wanted to kill me. The other said it would be a shame to waste all that dick. The one offered to cut it off for him, but he tossed me out before the guy could stop the van. I ran my ass off. Hid for a day before going back out. I shit myself, pissed myself. I was a mess. That's when I met Todd. He's the guy will help you out. He's cool."

"What about you?"

"Me? I've had the pneumonia once. They say after that it's down the tubes in a hurry. I feel okay. It hurts to breathe some mornings. Hurts to blink my eyes others. I get by."

"You saved my ass."

"You'd a done it for me if it was different. You'd a saved some little kid you saw someone doing that to him. Just remember, you get in that position, don't fair fight him. Kick that mother fucker hard as you can. You might not finish him off, but he won't be wanting to be kicked no more. Guarantee you that."

"You're a kid. You're fucking younger than me."

"Shit. You're dreaming. I'm nineteen. You're a little kid. I'm an old man."

"I know the truth."

"Nobody cares, kid. Forget it. I'm dead."

"I want to get a motel room. Stay with me while I think about what you said."

"You want me to stay with you?"

"You can shower. I'll get some good food. I've got some money."

"I can score a motel room for a week down below the district for fifty bucks. The guy always has a few rooms he can't rent. Tore up . Heaters don't work. Showers leak. Toilets are broke. They're heaven compared to The Hotel. He rents to kids for a price."

"He's gay?"

"Isn't everyone?"

"I won't do that."

"You don't have to. I'll hold up my end. You come up with fifty. That's an even split my boy."

I went into the bathroom and opened the sock bank. I took the fifty dollar bill out and took it out and handed it to Ty.

"Son of a bitch! You are the First National Bank, kid. Now I can buy me some reefer, a couple of meals, and still have enough for some smokes."

"Motel room. One week. You put up the balance with all that equipment you're letting go to waste. My name ain't kid, kiddo or little boy. I'm Billie Joe."

"You drive a hard bargain, kid. Ah . . . Billie Joe. I need a warm bed more than I need reefer. It fucks up my lungs too bad. I try to smoke, but I just cough and puke. A warm bed. A shower every day for a week. Sounds like heaven to me. I ought to save more white boy ass. I might do that. No profit in fucking them."

He leaned forward and put his face in mine again. "Don't think this gets you off the hook, kid. You're going to talk to Todd. You're going to go home. I'm going to save your life one more time. Don't deny me that. Don't let me die without thinking I did one good thing in my miserable life."

"I've got the feeling you've done a lot of good things in your life. You don't deserve to be out here, Ty. You don't deserve to have it."

"Yeah! Life's a bitch ain't it? I guess if I pray, and donate a lot of money, and hold my mouth just right, the good lord he might be a smilin' right down on my black ass and be a curin' me, boy. Dream on! He's too busy planning plane crashes and wars. The old white goat.

"Give me twenty, thirty minutes. I don't think Barney will want it tonight. If he does I'll try to get off real quick. Just sit here. Don't go out. I have a feeling that white boy's going to be a little pissed if he wakes up. He'd recognize you. He wanted in your ass bad. Just sit back here, and I'll be back in half to an hour. Don't move."

He slid out and his big green jacket no longer made him look so large. His hair no longer looked so dirty or ugly. He seemed like a nice guy. I was still scared shitless, and I needed someone to make me feel safe. Ty made me feel safe for some reason. He could have hurt me bad, but he didn't. He seemed to have his heart in the right place.

Time went by while I shivered. It was over an hour, and I thought I was out fifty dollars.

Ty leaned his back against the window and tapped for me to come out.

"Shit, dude. I jewed him down to forty. He had an old man wanted something in a large. Doing old Barney a favor is good business. We have a week plus the rest of tonight is on the house. Bless his good old fat heart." He waved the key as he spoke to me.

The motel room was the last one in the rear at the top. The toilet ran constantly, and the floor was wet, but the beds were soft. The musty smell passed after a few minutes while I sat watching the black and white television that was mostly snow. Ty sang in the shower. He sang in the shower, and he sang in the shower. He must have washed for an hour. He had ten bars of that little soap he got from the guy that ran the place. I think he used them all. The shower went off and I heard him playing with the toilet. He jiggled and wiggled different parts as it continued to run. Then I heard him bang and slam it, and it grew very quiet. He emerged triumphantly through the door. He came out with a towel around him. His waist must have been twenty-four inches . His muscles shone with the water, long lean and hard looking. His hair hung down straight. He looked beautiful with his ebony skin shinny next to all that hair. He dried his hair a little at a time with a pile of towels he had brought in.

"Let me brush it out for you, Ty," I said, getting my brush out of my bag.

I knelt on the bed behind him and brushed in long strokes down to the middle of his back. He watched in the mirror as I worked behind him. His hair became softer and dried completely. It was black as coal. Against the ebony of his skin, it was a marvelous contrast. He looked at himself in the mirror as I worked on him.

"I'm still a handsome fucker. I don't look so old any more. You're just trying to get me to change my hair style."

"Funny what a little water and soap will do."

"Yeah. It's a modern miracle. I don't know about you, but I'm beat, kid."

"Quit calling me that."

"We are talking chronology versus experience. I beat you all to shit every time."

"You aren't dumb. You use big words. You're pretty smart."

"An A student until I got caught with my neighbor . Then I was history in the making. I went back a few months later. They moved somewhere back East. Saint Louis. Louisville. I don't remember. I went back on my thirteenth birthday thinking they'd talk to me. Take me back. Gone."

"How old was your neighbor?"

"Marvin? Forty? Fifty, maybe. He taught me about sex. Neatest thing I'd learned since Nintendo."

"That sucks."

"Marvin did. A velvet mouth. That's when people could still handle me. Nap time, dude. Need my beauty sleep . I'm wasted."

I laid there in the dark trying to organize in my head the events of the past twenty four hours. I got up and took a piss. I slid into the bed next to Ty and wrapped my arms around him. He rolled over and hugged me.

"I was afraid you wouldn't want me to touch you. Thanks, Billie. I still like being hugged more than anything."

"Me too," I said.

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