by George Gauthier

Chapter 1

Tending Bar

"What can I get you, sir? A mixed drink?" I asked, indicating the premium libations shelved on the mirrored wall behind me.

"Or would you prefer something on tap?"

"What I would prefer, pretty one, is that scrumptious body of yours, though I suppose it is not on offer."

"I am afraid not. Drinks only. If it's a rent boy you want, you need to look elsewhere. I just tend bar."

I get propositioned a lot in my job tending bar in one of the trendiest gay watering holes in the city. It goes by the overly cute name of Something Else Again. In truth I got hired almost entirely for my pretty-boy good looks and scrumptious physique rather than for relevant work experience or good references though I did have to prove my skills at tending bar.

No surprise in the hunger in his gaze. The man was looking at a wet dream made flesh: a blond twink blessed with a face far prettier than any boy's rightly ought to be with a flawless complexion and fine boned features: high cheekbones, a straight nose, and subtly pointed ears suggesting an elfin heritage. Throw in large green eyes set wide apart under finely arched brows with lashes too long to have ever have been meant for a male, and you have a face which is irresistible to males who fancy pretty youths, and that's not just me saying so.

Physically I am incredibly fit and flexible and agile and far stronger than I look. I might be slender, smooth muscled, utterly glabrous, and slight in stature standing barely three inches over five feet, but unmanly though that might make me, mine is one of those physiques which really is more about quality than about quantity.

To encourage the gay public to come up to the bar and to keep them returning for refills or just to chat me up, my employer requires me to show a lot of that physique – virtually all of it in fact except for what little is covered by a tiny cache-sexe, a silk pouch held in place by constricting elastic ring at the top. Nothing else.

Though I am not especially well-endowed that pouch barely contains my manly parts. The White silk contrasts with my overall tan. I have no tan lines or body hair for that matter even at the fork of my legs. I tend bar barefoot and bare-ass with only gold earrings and a gold neck chain to complete my "ensemble".

The cache-sexe was not my idea of a work uniform. I did expect I would wear something flattering and sexy, much like what I wore to my job interview: a sleeveless form-fitting shirt, leggings much like those ballet dancers wear though the seat did not delve into my cleavage, and comfortable shoes.


As soon as the owner saw me walk into his office, his eyes lit up. He told me that I was perfect for the minimalist look he had long wanted to try out behind the bar but could never hire what he needed: a cute and shameless twink with the skill of a professional bar tender. Then I walked in looking for a job.

Then he told me to take off my clothes. I shrugged and stripped.

"I can see that you are not body shy, kid. But I'll need to check out behind the bar. Follow-me."

He handed me the cache-sexe and put me to work for two hours. The reaction from the crowd was everything he had hoped for. I was hired at a goodly wage.

Anyway, to get back to my interaction with that customer, after ordering a drink, the man asked:

"Uh kid, don't take this the wrong way, but is it even legal for someone so young to mix and serve alcoholic drinks? I mean, you look to be three or four years shy of twenty-one. So, while a job as a bar-back might be kosher for a teenager, actually tending bar is a big no-no. At the very least it would earn this place a stiff fine, and the authorities might even shut you down. It's bad enough when a bar just serves underage customers but far worse for it to have underage staff working behind the bar."

"Thank you sir for your concern, but I am older than I look, enough so that my employment here is fully legal. Also legal, though just barely – er no pun intended – is my manner of dress, if you can call it that, at least when I am on the premises standing here behind the bar. I would not care to venture out onto the street with next to nothing on."

"Next to nothing is putting it mildly, youngster. Why from behind there is no way to tell you aren't completely naked. You would be lucky if it were just the cops you ran into on the street. The boys in blue would only make an arrest and haul you off to jail, but around this neighborhood a rape-bait boy like you might easily get dragged into an alley for a good-natured gang bang of epic proportions."

Shaking his head in admiration, he added jokingly:

"No offense Twinkletoes, but, nice guy though I am, I might not be able to resist the temptation to join in the fun."

Running with his joke I allowed as how it was not only outside where I might be grabbed for a gang bang. Why during peak hours, cute bare-ass twink that I was, I had to keep the bar between me and an impatient, demanding, randy, and rambunctious crowd. Above all I could never go onto the floor to help the bar backs tidy up lest I be seized, dragged to the back room, and laid spread-eagle over the pool table for a rogering by one and all.

"And I am not sure whether our bouncers would come to my rescue or maybe join in the fun. Woe is me!"

We chuckled at my likely fate both indoors and out, after which my admirer took up his drink and made way for the next customer.

With a hefty trust fund I did not really need my job or any job really. Interaction with my customers, especially my regulars, was why I went to work at all. Tending bar allowed me to flirt, banter, and joke with an interesting set of guys and get to know them while they got to ogle my scrumptious body close up. Sometimes, shameless show-off that I am, I obliged the guys by twirling around to give them a good look at me 360 degrees.

Sure exotic dancers get to show off too, twerking their booty and dancing lasciviously, but they work in isolation up on stage without any real contact with their admirers. My regulars may not be my friends exactly, but by and large they are a good-natured bunch. So I am happy to come in three evenings a week, Thursday thru Saturday, and tend bar and only that. I always made it clear that private assignations were not on offer, not even for the owner. I'm no rent boy, not these days anyway.

Part of my allure was looking no older than seventeen despite papers claiming four extra years, though in strict truth I was indeed far older than that and not by just a few years but by more than three thousand. For my true identity is that of the immortal youth Ganymede, sometime prince of Troy and later cupbearer to Zeus and his fellow Olympians.

Which is why at that moment I am going by the name of Troy Ganymede, my latest "incarnation" and one of the very few times when I used my real name, more or less as an in-joke with the first name taken from my place of birth, the ancient city of Troy in Asia Minor, though a thousand years before the war which Homer wrote about in his epic. So I really did have a lot of experience serving drinks and not to just to anyone but to a supremely exclusive clientele: the Olympian gods of yore, who are still around though in occultation, meaning they no longer make their presence known.

After my shift I took a shower, got dressed in practical clothes, and picked up my weekly pay envelope which included a double share of tips. The total amounted to a tidy sum – all of it in cash, none of which gets reported for tax purposes since I prefer to avoid entanglements with officialdom. Nevertheless I pay my fair share toward public purposes though an anonymous annual payment "in lieu of taxes" as the lawyers put it.

I never wear flashy clothes on the street, certainly nothing with a famous designer's initials or logo. I don't need to be trendy or to borrow some famous designer's cachet. I can attract plenty of attention no matter what I wear, just by being who I am. That is not a brag – just a fact. So I dress sensibly, clothing myself in what any young guy might wear in the sweltering heat of summer: polo shirts, T shirts, or tank tops matched with poplin shorts or loose pants made of a modern lightweight stretchable and breathable fabrics like ice silk or bamboo viscose.

From the perspective of many centuries, continual changes in clothing styles are ridiculous and wasteful. By now the human species surely should have figured what kind of clothes work best in different environments. Admittedly once in a great while there comes along a good reason for changing fashions. Tunics and robes for males were just fine for thousands of years and are still what is worn in Arab countries. Form follows function so men started wearing pants when they took to riding horses. Cloaks went out of fashion when we stopped sitting astride horses or riding in coaches but sat in automobiles. (You do sit astride motorcycles, but they move too fast for cloaks.)

Too bad. I very much miss the romance of swirling cloaks and capes. I am sure that I would have looked just fabulous in the blue and silver tabard of a musketeer. And yes, I can handle a rapier with the best of them, and most other bladed weapons as well.

My lack of concern for style is not a matter of saving money. I am quite well-provided for, so price is not a consideration except that, having started with literally nothing, not even the tiniest scrap of clothing when I was kidnapped to Olympus, I cannot bring myself to waste money on anything especially clothes. So I shop on-line and order cheap but well-made garments which I suspect are sourced from sweatshops in third world hell-holes.

I normally wear a pair of plimsolls. That's what the Brits call a light sports shoe with a canvas upper and flat rubber sole. I never wear flip flops or sandals, flimsy footwear which gives no support and little protection. More important, you can neither run nor fight effectively in sandals or flip-flops.

The gay part of town is pretty safe, but you never know whom you might run into or have to run away from. It comes down to probabilities. In a normal life you might never run into serious trouble on the street whether from a drunk, a bully, a thief or a nutcase. Those with poorer luck might have to deal with two or three such encounters. For an immortal like me, running into bad guys is mathematically inevitable. It's only a matter of When, not If.

It does not help that my diminutive dimensions, comeliness, apparent youth, and seeming innocence make me a target for persons of ill intent.

So I strive to maintain situational awareness and wear practical clothes especially good shoes, which give me a chance to disengage from an attack, break away from the bad guys, and take to my heels. Sure I can handle myself in a fight if I have no other choice, but why risk it? You can get badly hurt even if you win, so better flight than fight.

Fatal Encounter

My shift ends two hours before last call at three a.m., which is fine by me since I am a morning person, preferring to rise with the sun. Working till one a.m. was late enough, thank you. Besides few of my regulars were night owls. They worked for a living.

Taking my leave of patrons and fellow staff I headed home. On foot it's an easy walk of fifteen minutes or so along quiet streets. As has long been my practice at night I walked along the curb while, without being obvious about it, scanning the street ahead, paying special attention to shadowed doorways, stoops, and shrubbery all the while listening for anyone approaching from behind.

Sure enough, two men armed with knives stepped out of the doorway in which they had been lurking. I checked behind me to find another guy gripping a sap in one hand and a knife in the other closing in from the rear.

The three assailants looked alike, not in the sense of a family resemblance, but they were so similarly unmemorable that they didn't both to conceal their features. Medium height, medium build, brown hair and eyes, complexions which were neither particularly fair nor swarthy, so they were of no particular ethnicity: not Irish, Italian, Latino, or Scandinavian, nothing you could put your finger on. They were so average in every way that if it ever came to it, they would be nearly impossible to pick out of a police lineup especially one from the other.

My options were running away or fighting them off, though with odds of three to one I could not hope to simply disarm them as I could with a single foe. Now if I fought I would have to strike hard at the vulnerable points on the center line of the human body aiming for a quick kill. I won't describe exactly which techniques I would have used since I don't want folks who read this trying them at home, but suffice it to say that at least one of the robbers would have died and likely more than one. But no, the contents of my pay envelope were not worth a single man's life, not even that of a thief.

Unfortunately the decision was taken out of my hands when an older guy turned the corner and blundered into the proceedings.

"What's all this? What's going on here?" He demanded.

"It's a robbery, Pops," the thug in charge told him sardonically.

"Nice of you to show up and add to our haul. Hand over your valuables peaceful like, and you won't get hurt. The same goes for you Squirt. Oh, and we know that you just got paid at that fag bar you work at, so don't try to claim poverty. Give it up."

I sighed and made to hand over my pay envelope, willing to part with my cash as long as I kept my ID and the key fob for my apartment and was not attacked in earnest. Nor did the other robbery victim offer any resistance. He was reaching for his wallet when he suddenly froze and exclaimed:

"Hey, wait a minute! I know you two. You're the guys who collect protection money over on Hobart Street."

The head robber nodded, conceding:

"So we are. This robbery gig is really a sideline of ours. It's just too bad that you recognized us. You see, we can't let you ID us to the cops. Another felony conviction would tag my cousin and me as three time losers, so we would be looking at serious time. Nothing personal, but..."

He left off, raising his knife. The implication was clear.

"Nooo, Nooo! Don't kill me. Look, I..I..I won't talk. I promise. I won't tell the cops a thing."

The thug let out an amused snort at the frightened passerby's desperate and obviously unreliable promise to keep his mouth shut then stepped forward and slashed his throat. The poor man lost consciousness immediately, fell to the pavement, and bled out.

With their attention on the other target of the robbery I had been able to ease back a step, enough for a head start. Spinning around I took off running in the direction of a nearby alley. Two thugs gave chase while the third robber emptied the pockets of the man he had killed. I knew they had to kill me to shut me up. I might not know their names and their descriptions would normally be of little help but I knew enough to let the cops track them down through their connection to the protection racket on Hobart street.

My pursuers chortled, sure that I had foolishly trapped myself in a dead end alley, but I knew the area quite well and had chosen the alley as my battleground. Running in there was actually a tactic on my part to string them out, get them out of sight of passersby, and take them on separately, ideally one at a time.

I dodged the three dumpsters lined up along the left hand wall, then, relying on my climbing skills in the sport of parkour, I ran full tilt at the brick wall at the very end of the alley. Using my momentum I took two vertical strides up the face of the wall, the rubber soles of my plimsolls giving a momentary grip on the rough surface. Just as I started to slip down I grabbed the bottom rung of an old-fashioned fire escape and pulled myself up to the landing. My pursuers could only watch in dismay as I climbed past the fourth floor and onto the roof.

They halted and cursed their luck before turning around and walking back to way they had come. I heard them slamming the covers of two of the dumpsters in frustration as I raced along the rooftop to the front of the building just in time to see the third man head into the alley. No cops around so no sense in blowing the police whistle I had in my pocket.

No one else was in sight, so there were no potential witnesses. Fine by me, for what I knew I had to do and really wanted to do to those evildoers. I had stood by and let them kill that passerby, holding back, not wanting to endanger an innocent party during a melee when I might well have defeated them handily enough. Instead I had stayed my hand only to watch those three murder the poor man. So in part his death was on me, so mine had to be the hand which slew his killers.

I shinnied down a drainpipe and reached for my only weapon, a short flail which I carried to defend myself against dogs. Not much of a weapon really, it was just a lead ball strapped in heavy cord with a ring for a finger at the end for a grip. It gave me less than a foot of reach but long enough to smack the snout of an attacking canine. Not of much use against human attackers as it was too easy to block, it was all I had.

Light as I am on my feet and thanks to the rubber soles on my plimsolls, my first target never heard me coming up behind him. I felled him with a smash to the back of his skull. One down, two to go.

I picked up his knife, holding it in my left hand (I am ambidextrous) with the flail in my right. Thus properly armed I charged the other two. Though surprised by my headlong attack they separated so as to come at me from two directions which, from my perspective, was an opportunity to take them on one at a time.

Instead of showing fear at odds of two to one I unnerved them as I grinned at the clumsy and amateurish way they wielded their weapons. Shouting angrily about how I would pay for the cowardly way I had struck their friend from behind, they rushed at me, stabbing and slashing for all they were worth.

Which wasn't much. Their approach to knife fighting was all offense and no defense, but cold steel can parry as well as stab or slash, something they had never learned to do. Nothing improves your fighting skills like practice, and thanks to my longevity, I had multiple lifetimes to practice my moves. Besides which my foes were baffled at how to cope with a lefty.

I had of bit of luck too when the ball of the flail struck the elbow of the man on my right as he raised his left arm to block. The pain did not make him drop the knife held in his other hand, but it distracted him at the worst possible instant. In short order, thanks to combat skills honed over centuries of training and experience I had little trouble dispatching them both. They had brought knives to a fight with someone who was unbeatable with a blade, almost any kind of blade.

Meanwhile the leader had struggled back to his feet and called out to his friends for help. It seems that the blow to the back of the skull had left him blind. Stepping inside his guard I swung the flail to crush his windpipe leaving him to choke to death, an instance of the punishment fitting the crime.

It took but a moment to wipe my fingerprints off the grip of the dead man's knife and to press it into the hand of its owner leaving just the one set of fingerprints on it. With no conspicuous bloodstains on my clothes I left the scene and made my way home uneventfully. No hue and cry and no cops. The last thing I needed was entanglements with officialdom.

Four lives lost. What a waste of human potential!

All right three of them were petty criminals trying to up their game, but even they were not cold blooded killers. It's possible they had never killed before, had maybe just broken arms or capped knees for their boss. In their side gig they set out to rob people, not to put them in their graves. So call them callous and greedy but not overtly bloodthirsty. Circumstances forced them to resort to murder though circumstances they had largely brought about themselves.

So whatever their initial intentions, once they had killed the older guy and came at me with fresh blood on their hands and murder in their hearts, I considered their lives to be forfeit. I am all for live and let live, but the corollary of that motto is kill or be killed. Besides, dead men tell no tales and their victim needed to be avenged, the poor devil.

It was just my good luck that night that my confrontations with the thugs both on the street and in the alley were not picked up by surveillance cameras. Despite four dead bodies the case offered no productive leads for the cops to follow. The connection to the protection racket on Hobart Street actually pointed them in the wrong direction. So the unsolved killings eventually wound up in the cold case file.

And so ended this most recent of my many adventures and misadventures down the years.


In the wake of my encounter with those robbers I need to explain the reasons I do not go about armed. The only knife I carry is a Swiss Army knife, a tool or rather a set of tools rather than a weapon. I do not carry a real knife or a handgun.

Like Tom Selleck in "Quigley Down Under" just because I don't carry a handgun doesn't mean that I don't know how to use one. I am a dead shot and always trained on whatever type was the best tech of the era, whether the matchlock or flintlock firearms of yesteryear or today's fully automatic assault rifles. I do own a couple of long guns with which I practice marksmanship at the range though I do not hunt recreationally. I really like how the Barrett sniper rifle lets you reach out and touch someone at almost unbelievable ranges.

That said I much prefer living in civilized societies, ones where I do not have to go about armed, as opposed to the kinds of societies Hobbes wrote about in "Leviathan", where people live in continual fear and danger of violent death, and where the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short which is the case today in tribal societies and most of the third world. It's bad enough having to worry about street crime in the West.

In our fair city concealed carry is legal but badly hemmed in with irksome restrictions which make it impractical to carry. Guns may not be taken aboard public transportation, onto school grounds, into houses of worship or public buildings whether state or Federal. In a car the weapon and ammo must be locked up separately. Private businesses can opt out by putting up a notice barring guns, but the rule is the opposite with private homes whose owners must grant permission to bring a gun in.

In weighing the odds, I concluded that carrying concealed contrary to regulations was more likely to get me in trouble with the law than it would protect me from bad guys. So I don't.

You should understand that the rule of thumb for street shootings is: Three Shots in Three Seconds from Three Feet Away. Now if I am already that close to a bad guy I would rely on my superior reaction time, speed, and strength to turn the tables on the shooter. Not carrying also protects you from mistakes when you draw prematurely or without sufficient justification in the eyes of the law. It is also true that gun owners can be targeted by criminals who want to steal it.

Another reason for my reluctance to carry a gun is that innocent parties might catch a stray bullet during a shootout on a subway car or on a crowded street. Even outdoors what goes up must come down; bullets or baseballs, it is all the same. Look at the annual death toll from celebratory gunfire in the Balkans, Russia, the Middle East, South Asia, Latin America, even the United States. I don't want something like that on my conscience.

So I'll leave guns to those who really need them in their work, cops, security guards, or bodyguards. I have no use for the gun nuts in this country and their radical view on the Sixth Amendment. That said, I sympathize with sensible gun owners: gun collectors and country folk like hunters, farmers with their varmint rifles, and recreational and competition shooters.

As to home protection, there are plusses and minuses with guns. I will admit that home invasions are much less common in the USA than in Britain precisely because criminals in the UK know they will not have to face an armed householder. The down side is accidental shootings, especially the risk that kids might get their hands on a gun, or that domestic disturbances might turn deadly.

I don't know what the answer is to mass shootings or school shootings but arming everyone is not the answer. Is any occupational group less likely to use a gun than school teachers? As for armed citizens who save the day, the news if full of stories of shootings but you virtually never hear of someone ordinary citizen intervening to save the day, even though guns in private hands outnumber the citizenry by a considerable margin.

Spooky Old Mansion

My lodgings were in a spooky old mansion built of red brick. All four floors above the utility spaces in the basement had long since been divided into rental accommodations which were full sized apartments, not single rooms as in a boarding house or a college dorm. I lived on the fourth floor, the top storey, in what had once been servants quarters. The non-load bearing walls between seven small rooms had been torn down and larger windows installed to provide cross-ventilation and fine views to the east and south. It was a two bedroom unit, one of which I used as my den, plus a living room with a breakfast nook where I took my meals. The full bath and small kitchen were more than adequate to my needs.

A hatch and drop down ladder in the ceiling of the hallway outside my door allowed access to the roof for lounging and nude sunbathing. During conversion the narrow servants' runs, the builders closed off concealed passageways formerly used by staff. A copy of the original plans for the building showed me the location of the passages, their concealed doorways, and a spiral staircase which connected all four floors though not the roof. Had I really been covered with blood after my fight with the muggers, I could have snuck into my apartment without anyone being the wiser.

The servant runs put me in mind of a line from a creepy old black and white movie where a character warns "These old houses are just honeycombed with secret passages."

Indeed they were. Back in the day the houses of the rich were often built with secret doors and corridors, primarily servant runs to let the staff move around discreetly without mixing with the quality folks but also places to hide treasures or for quick escapes during periods of unrest or persecution. After the Protestant Reformation secret Catholics in the British Isles often built so-called priest-holes in their homes.

So now I had the run of a network of secret passages. Heady stuff, let me tell you. The kid in me just loved it. Besides you always want a back door just in case you have to make a getaway

I did not tell any of the other lodgers, one of them even a friend with benefits, about the servant runs, lest voyeurs or maybe worse take advantage: perhaps drill peep holes to spy on residents for perverse enjoyment or for blackmail. Rapists might lurk in the shadows behind concealed doors waiting for their chance. I did not really think any of the residents was really a creep like that, but you never know. How many times some serial killer is unmasked and the old lady next door professes her confusion about how such a nice young man, one who had carried her groceries in for her, could be the monster portrayed on TV. Besides this was my secret for now but how long would it remain one if I told anyone else?

The kitchen had a hatch which opened onto a dumbwaiter shaft making it easy to lift groceries up or to lower trash down to the pick up point at ground level. And in a pinch I could slide down the ropes and sneak out that way too, pausing only to grab a concealed backpack with fake IDs, cash, coded lists of contacts and safe houses, a change of clothes, etc. As far as I knew, only my friend Kyle and I, on the third and fourth floor respectively used the dumbwaiter system.

Despite all the excitement earlier, I had no trouble falling asleep on my queen sized futon. A little guy like me could easily get by with a twin bed if it were used only for sleeping, but you really need a queen size for twosomes and threesomes.

As on most nights I slept alone and for only a few hours, waking up just as much refreshed as a normal person would be after a full eight hours. Things can get awkward with some guys who think that when I abandon our bed after so short a time together in the sack it is a reflection on them as lovers when it is just me needing less sleep. Fortunately my downstairs neighbor Kyle did not have a fragile ego. He saw for himself how little sleep I required and adjusted accordingly, which is why he was a friend with benefits, but we kept separate quarters.

When you think about it, people who get eight hours a night spend a third of their lives asleep. With six hours it still amounts to quarter, which is a lot of down time from conscious existence. I am so lucky that I can get the full benefit of a good night's sleep in three hours and still enjoy waking up reenergized and feeling that all is right with the world. After a bit of a stretch I bounce out of bed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to face whatever the day has in store.

As it happened that particular morning was my day for a monthly visit from an avatar of Hermes who checks up regularly on those of us in the Olympian community who are not in residence in Olympus, meaning the pocket dimension slightly out of phase with the rest of the planet where the Olympians really dwell when at home, not atop that windy mountain peak in Greece. Sure, these days we can keep in touch with modern telecommunications, but a visual check in person makes sure everything is OK and that we are free of constraint and not under duress.

The avatar is just a disembodied bit of Hermes' consciousness which looks like a blob of sunlight hovering in the room. Hermes and I have been lovers off and on for millennia, but the avatar cannot take on a solid human form the way the god can.

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