by George Gauthier

Chapter 2

The Olympians

Before I go any further, I should explain about the Olympians. It is a story I pieced together from conversations I took part in or simply overheard as I went about my duties as Zeus' cupbearer and bed warmer not only for him but from many of his fellow beings, both the twelve Olympian gods and others who had assumed the form and the role of the Heroes of Greek mythology including Theseus, Perseus, and Bellerophon. I know I must be leaving a lot out, but this is what I can tell you.

For starters the Olympians are not really gods, meaning supernatural beings, though with their vast powers they might as well be. They are space aliens, currently sojourning on Planet Earth, engaged in their favorite pastime – call it cosmic cosplay – having taken on the roles of the pantheon of divinities worshipped by the ancient Greeks: the Twelve Olympians and a gaggle of lesser deities and Heroes. They never impersonated deities tied to a locality, like the god of the River Scamander or a dryad stuck in a particular tree. Far better roles were available like the four winds, or personifications of love, fertility, wine and ecstatic excess, etc. I don't really know their numbers, but there must be several hundred Olympians on Earth.

The story of their species began while dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Originating far out in our own Milky Way Galaxy on a rocky planet with a nitrogen and oxygen atmosphere much like ours, the beings who later became the Olympians were a cold-blooded six-limbed species with internal cartilaginous skeletons, an amalgam of reptile and insect, if such a thing can be imagined.

After they developed advanced technology their space faring civilization spread over dozens of solar systems via colony ships which sailed far slower than light speed. In time they sought to cast off mortality by transcending biology entirely. Most uploaded their consciousnesses to what we can think of a giant computers the size of continents buried deep underground. Almost anything was possible in the virtual universes which their disembodied consciousness inhabited. And since everything happened at electronic speed, the crammed much more experience into a hour than when they were corporeal.

Others of their kind would not abandon reality, reasoning that no matter how fantastic and varied their electronic worlds might be, they would still be limited by their own imaginations. Reality had more variety to offer. So they uploaded their minds into nearly indestructible constructs made of adamantine metals, robots if you will, with the Olympians as the ghosts in the machines.

Both populations existed for eons, safe from the ills which flesh is heir to, nearly immortal and invulnerable. Nearly but not quite. Predatory space faring civilizations which later developed FTL drives were a potential threat.

The Olympians who lived a virtual existence migrated their entire cybernetic civilization, disappearing into the void between galaxies which no other species wants. Those Olympians whose minds dwelled in individual constructs dematerialized, shifting their minds into constructs made not of matter, for even adamantine metals were vulnerable to destruction, but of energy and the very fabric of space. Now truly invulnerable and immortal, at least until the heat death of the universe, they explored widely, sojourning for thousands of years in each solar system they visited.

Over eons their existence as mere onlookers rather than as participants palled and ultimately proved boring. The Olympians found themselves at a dead end. All they could do was watch younger civilizations grow and develop. They did not participate in the civilizations which others had built, but they no longer had one of their own, existing as they did with neither bodies nor physical instrumentalities.

They ultimately realized that their worst mistake had been to abandon biology. Constructs can interact with reality but cannot feel emotions or experience physical pleasure. To be sure biological existence can be problematical and even messy such as with the need to periodically void bodily wastes but nothing beats being alive and able to feel, to enjoy emotions, food, sex, music and art, to have fun and to experience the satisfaction one gets from physical achievement, putting one's muscles and main strength to the achievement of some purpose, even if only recreational.

While the Olympians took on human form they could feel human emotions and fully enjoy the pleasures of the table, the glass, and the bed, i.e. food, drink, and sex. Playing at divinity gave the Olympians something to do, something which they discovered was a lot of fun. On the plus side they could interact with credulous humans by levitating, flying or turning invisible, performing feats of strength or miracles of healing or destruction, or by rewarding virtue and punishing folly. On the minus side they sometimes played mean tricks on their worshippers and often took sides in their petty wars – a favorite pass-time of Ares in particular.

The god-like bodies they created for themselves are not mere elven glamours or seemings or mental images projected into the minds of humans. Their bodies are physical and biologically human though enhanced in ways far beyond the upgrades they made to my still basically human body.

Came the fateful day when Zeus perched atop Mount Parnassus surveying his domain, the region around the Aegean Sea. From afar he spotted the boy later celebrated by the poet Homer as the loveliest youth born of mortals. I'll take the compliment though Homer never met me and could not have appreciated my beauty even if he had. Homer was blind. Though there must be some truth in the hyperbole since I am the only boy on record whom Zeus ever took as a lover.

Lust stirred in Zeus's loins. He took the form of an eagle, swept down from the sky, snatched me up in his talons, and carried me off to Mount Ida, where he resumed his human form and ravished me repeatedly for hours on end. In plain language Zeus kidnapped and repeatedly raped a hapless fifteen year old boy finding it so enjoyable that he had to take him back to Olympus as a permanent sex slave.

To make it official, Zeus dispatched Hermes with a gift of four white stallions to compensate my father King Troas, for the loss of the services of his fifth and youngest son. It was really a forced sale, for whatever my father's wishes, this was an offer he dared not refuse.

Admittedly I was no virgin before my abduction, having willingly explored my sexuality with boys my own age. I had also been used by older males, though often not by my choice. The truth is that the most important service which I provided the ruler of Troy was in the bed chamber, where my charms were made available to those whom my king wanted to please or to reward, whether successful generals, flattering courtiers, or foreign ambassadors.

In those days, a boy was said to come "into bloom" around age fourteen, soon after puberty. Bloom was a period of supreme desirability which lasted till the first appearance of facial hair. So at fifteen I was at peak bloom and in great demand.

Peak bloom meant not only that I was desirable to others but also very desiring of others. This was my time, the juices were flowing, and like all boys in their teens I burned with sexual yearnings. So it was no wonder that I responded so enthusiastically to Zeus's overwhelming masculinity, however much it had not been my idea in the beginning. I may have started as the victim of a kidnapping carried off to captivity against my will, but in time I turned into Zeus' enthusiastic sexual thrall.

Zeus after all is a god or as close as makes little difference. His very touch is magical, literally. So when his fingers touched, stroked, and nipped my erogenous zones hormones flooded my bloodstream setting me afire with desire. I sweated, trembled, shuddered and shook, repeatedly swooning as I moaned, sobbed, and screamed, soaring on wings of desire to heights never dreamed of before. It was the most intense sexual experience of my young life, since equaled only by assignations with Apollo and Eros.

Understand that by Eros I mean the Olympian in his original form of a slender winged youth, the god of desire, erotic love, and attraction, known to the Romans as Cupid. Later iconography bizarrely portrayed Eros/Cupid as a chubby toddler, which was not only off-putting in the extreme but the most blatant form of sacrilege I ever encountered.

Anyway, to get back to the events of my first day, on his return to Olympus Zeus terminated the employment of his original cupbearer the goddess Hebe, giving her away in marriage to a demigod and appointed me to the job she had just vacated. I was set to work as a naked wine boy ever at Zeus' beck and call, conveniently available whenever he got the itch but wanted a change of pace from his wife or other females, human or divine. Often another of the Olympians would crook a finger at me as a signal to "attend" him.

Since Zeus did not care for a boyfriend with body hair he asked Asclepius the god of medicine to concoct a salve, a permanent depilatory, to remove all of mine, precious little that I had at that early age, and to halt any future growth though it was Apollo, god of healing, who pulled rank and insisted on applying it himself. Not that I minded. Asclepius usually took on the form of a kindly gray-haired old doctor, while Apollo favored what in modern times would be called the California Surfer Dude look.

The salve got spread everywhere including my face so I never grew the beginnings of a beard, not even peach fuzz so technically my period of "bloom" has never ended.

That is the Olympians for you. No, they are certainly not evil, but they are self-centered and often quite highhanded in their dealings with mortals.

I have to give Zeus this much. Unsought for though his advances were, he was a careful lover even during that first afternoon of endless mountings. He kept his weight off me so I could breathe freely and repeatedly used his healing powers to ease the pain caused by his thrusts into my fundament and to stop the bleeding it caused. Once he even repaired a fistula brought by his overly enthusiastic pronging, then resorted for a while to intercrural intercourse to give my poor torn hole a chance to finish healing.

Remember I am a little guy and was barely five feet at the time. Zeus in his human form stands about six-nine and is powerfully built though he is not bulked up like a body builder or weightlifter so he is more of a normal big guy rather than a body builder like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jason Mamoa or Alan Ritchson of "Reacher" fame.

Olympians could have created huge bodies and presented themselves to humanity as the "giants in the earth" from the Bible. This was a species of humans believed to have walked the earth in prehistoric times, a myth likely based on chance finds of the leg bones of mammoths or perhaps of dinosaurs. But where would be the fun in stomping around in bodies so huge that they could hardly interact in any meaningful way with humans, certainly not sexually.

Whatever his initial crimes toward me Zeus made up for it when he granted me immortality. While keeping my body essentially human I got upgrades to all my systems, starting with the mechanisms of homeostasis (stability of physiological processes) and telomere rejuvenation (to keep me ageless). Also denser bones reinforced with tensile fibers, stronger musculature, tendons, and ligaments (partly to keep me from getting hurt during energetic sex play), more efficient gas exchange (better breathing), faster reflexes, etc.

With these upgrades I am three times stronger than I would otherwise be, endowed with strength which is always a nasty surprise to my foes. My strengthened musculature, matched with faster reflexes and a reinforced skeletal system (bones, ligaments and tendons) lets me react and move my limbs far quicker than normal, certainly faster than any foe would suspect. Also I can hold my breath for six minutes, run like the wind, and jump like an Olympic athlete.

The upgrade to my body included improved senses meaning not just the classical five but the others we don't always think of as senses such the sense of balance and the proprioceptive sense, plus echolocation like the blind use to sense objects around them.

That said, I am no comic book superhero, no Batman or Green Arrow, patrolling the streets nightly seeking to thwart evildoers. Anyway I am really more suited by my apparent youth to the role of a teenage sidekick like Robin or Speedy or Kid Flash. The publishers always claimed that teenage sidekicks gave the kids who read comics a character they could identify with. Maybe. To me the homoerotic subtext was obvious: bachelor heroes shacked up with teenage boys, always described as their legal wards. Like what is wrong with this picture?

Unfortunately that gimmick made comics vulnerable in the 1950s to a crusade led by an overwrought psychiatrist named Wertham whose bestseller "Seduction of the Innocent" set off one of those moral panics which plague the American pubic from time to time. The result, after Congressional hearings, was self-censorship in the form of a Comics Code Authority and the suppression of many genres, dooming horror titles like my personal favorite "Tales from the Crypt". Three decades of blandness in comics ensued till the advent of the graphic novel.

Asclepius tells me that the very slow aging by which my body has matured from fifteen to seventeen in the last three thousand years or so will eventually stop. I will never get to twenty. As an immortal I have no fear of disease or of the decrepitude of old age. I am gifted with powerful recuperative powers, but I am not indestructible. I can be killed. In time I must meet my end whether by foul play or by misadventure. So unlike the Olympians I will never be a witness to the heat death of the universe, a major disappointment, as I am sure you can appreciate.

So thanks to the stirring in Zeus' loins I did not die in obscurity, my name known to no one. Instead I was immortalized in song and story and in the arts becoming in time celebrated as one of the four great paramours of the King of the Gods. Like the four continents, the four paramours of Zeus became a theme in Western art. All four of us paramours, Io, Europa, Callisto, and myself were persons whom Zeus had seduced or abducted.

Our association with the king of the gods lead to our names being given to the four planetary-mass moons of Jupiter discovered by Galileo in 1610 although it was the names coined by Simon Marius, their independent discoverer, which stuck. The moons are just below naked eye visibility so less bright than Saturn, the dimmest and farthest away of the classical planets. You can see the moons with ordinary binoculars. Which is why they were the first Solar objects found by telescope after the six classical planets themselves. (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were unknown to the ancients.)

The largest of the four Galilean moons as well as the largest moon in the Solar System is Ganymede, larger even than the planet Mercury though less massive. The fact that the moons orbited a planet other than Earth dealt a death blow to the earlier Ptolemaic model of the solar system, the geocentric model where everything orbited the earth. Even the Copernican model had not predicted moons in orbit around other planets.

Pole Dancer

There was a new attraction at the Something Else Again, the trendy gay watering hole with the overly cute name where I worked; a sexy acrobatic pole dancer. The owner himself thought up the gig which I had to admit was a good one and likely to bring in lots of customers.

You start with a comely hard-bodied youth, one rather slight in stature, slender, lithe, and lightly muscled, with a petite physique standing barely three inches over five feet, so one of those wiry physiques which is is more about quality than about quantity. His skin is utterly glabrous without even a hint of body hair.

He looks to be no more than seventeen, despite what his false papers claim, hence a scrumptious twink with hair the color of corn silk and 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 the face is simply irresistible to any male who fancy pretty youths, and that's not just me saying so even though the boy I have just described is myself.

This was not your typical pole dance, all loud music and quick movements. No, I moved slowly. My act was athletic and erotic and terribly naughty, a series of lascivious poses performed stark naked. I was as much a contortionist and acrobat as a dancer, changing position smoothly, holding each pose for a moment to give the audience time to snap photos before gliding into the next pose – or is it the next contortion. I might hold my body upside down or right side up, or straight out from the pole with only my hands and one foot in contact with the steel of the pole. Such feats require unusual strength especially from so slender a body.

Many in my audience no doubt perved on the thought of embracing my supple and flexible body and fucking me seven ways from Sunday. Admittedly some of what I did on stage did carry over to my lovemaking technique in bed, shameless boy that I am.

After my admittedly salacious act a bouncer collected the tips which enthusiastic fans had thrown at my feet. I mingled with the crowd to let them see me up close, to chat me up, and yes, to feel me up too, though the bouncers watched lest no one got too enthusiastic, so no gang bangs on the pool table as I had joked about.

Still things could get out of hand as happened only recently. There I was surrounded by admiring fans, touching, stroking and petting the pretty youth whom all desired. Hands reached out to pat my shoulder or stroke my hair, others to fondle my ass or to tweak my nipples. Fingertips stroked gently along my ribs and below, bringing a rush of heat to my loins and sweat glistening on my skin. My cock engorged, oozing a dewy drop at the tip.

Trying to head off an accidental climax, I opened my mouth to ask everyone to please ease off a bit and let me compose myself, but the mischief was upon them. They could see where this was going and would not let it stop. A big guy took my open lips as an invitation and put two fingers into my mouth.

"Suck. Suck it boy. Suck and keep sucking! You know you want to."

I shook my head, but he just grinned.

"Your head says no, but your body says yes."

Meanwhile strong arms held my limbs, rendering me helpless. Now bottom boy that I am, what could I do but surrender to the good feelings coursing through me? So I started sucking in earnest. In no time my member was fully erect and throbbing with the beat of my heart, responding not only to the tactile stimulation but also the crowd's male pheromones permeating the air around me.

A hand closed around my cock but not to pump it. The fingers merely gripped the shaft, while the tip of the thumb teased my sweet spot. That did it – bringing on an orgasm of epic proportions. Body shuddering, hips thrusting, screaming inarticulately the whole time, I shot my spunk again and again as the crowd cheered me on and cameras captured the action.

Strong recuperative powers or not, that orgasm took a lot out of me (er, no pun intended). When my knees buckled I nearly sank to the floor but remained upright thanks to the strong arms of well-wishers. Post coital lassitude was fully upon me, and who knew what might have happened as I hung there helpless, at the mercy of the lusts of the crowd.

But they were a good bunch of guys and cheerfully made way as the bouncers surged to my rescue. Though instead of taking me somewhere private, they just laid me on the stage, giving patrons a chance to take even more salacious photos.

I could hardly complain. I had given them their chance at me, and wasn't I almost obligated to do so? Had I held myself apart and not let my fans approach me, why I would be nothing but a cock tease, a boy who lets you see him but never touch.

The idea of doing the pole dance wholly nude was just the third step in my boss's plan to capitalize on my sex appeal. The second step had been making me trade in my cache-sex for a fake fig leaf the size of my hand and made of silk which fastened to my manly parts by two elastic rings, one around my whole package at the join with the belly and the other near to the bottom where a smaller ring kept my member discretely behind the fig leaf, as long as I did not get an erection.

Total nudity behind the bar would not have been appropriate. A lascivious pole dance was entertainment; mixing drinks was a mundane job and a bar too prosaic a setting for the display of the manly parts. Hence the fig leaf as a concession to modesty while serving drinks.

I think the part I liked best about the pole dancer gig was that I performed under the stage name Ganymede, the hero or really the victim of the Greek myth and a name near and dear to gay boys and boy lovers everywhere. It derives from the myth of the Trojan youth abducted and ravished by Zeus and then taken up to Olympus to serve the king of the Greek gods as his cupbearer, a fancy term for a naked wine boy ever at his beck and call, conveniently available whenever old Zeus got the itch but wanted a change of pace from his wife or other females.

But Ganymede was not just my stage name, it was my real name, both my current surname and my original name, the one given me three thousand years ago by my father King Troas of Troy for I was the real Ganymede, the original, the immortal youth celebrated in song and story and with even a planetary-mass moon named for me, one of four orbiting the planet Jupiter named for the so-called paramours of Zeus, the king of the gods identified by the Romans with their chief god Jupiter or Jove.

The names of the Galilean moons, proceeding outward from Jupiter, are Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Ganymede is largest of the four and the largest moon in the Solar System (over 5,000 km in diameter). It is even a bit larger than the planet Mercury (4880 km) though less massive.

Spooky Old Mansion

Done for the night I headed home passing the spot where I had run into muggers not so long ago. I gave a thought to the older man who lost his life when he walked in on the robbery and recognized two of the thugs. I felt so bad for him. Call it fate, call it karma, but with three strikes you're out, which in his case meant: Wrong Time, Wrong Place, and being The Man Who Knew Too Much.

I avenged him, not that it did him any good nor did he ever knew I did it. Such a waste! I cannot fully express my repugnance for criminals, malingerers, and freeloaders of all sorts who never contribute anything to society. With them it is all Take and no Give. As the saying goes, some folks add value while others only subtract.

The mugging happened just across from a big park where on other nights I had indeed yielded to temptation and crossed the street and gone for a naked run under the light of the moon, following the cross country track I knew so well, my clothes hidden under a bush. I mean, when you have gone whole decades without wearing a stitch, why bother with clothing if you don't have to?

It wasn't a case of exhibitionism. Officially the park closed at dusk, so no one should be around. And the cops rarely entered the park after dark unless someone reported screams or a fire.

Eventually my good luck ran out one evening as the path I was following emerged from a copse of alders into a clearing which turned out to be a crime scene. I heard the report of a handgun and and saw the young perp running away leaving a middle aged man kneeling on the ground, trying to staunch the flow of blood from a wound which did not look too bad. It was just that he could not reach it very well to put direct pressure to control the bleeding.

His eyes widened when he saw me approach.

"Not that I am a believer or anything, but are you my guardian angel or a harbinger of death? And why are you stark naked?"

"Actually I am neither an angel nor a harbinger, just your friendly neighborhood streaker."

"Is that still a thing, streaking? Listen kid, can you help me? I already called 911, so the cops and ambulance are on the way, but I am losing quite a lot of blood."

"Yes you are, though perhaps not so much as you think, but let me see what I can do till they get here."

I located the correct pressure point to constrict the flow of blood to the wound and used his undershirt as a compress applying direct pressure to the entry wound. It was a good thing I had come along since the guy could give the 911 operator only a vague location of where they needed to come so it took them some time to get to us.

After what seemed like an age but was really only about ten minutes, help arrived. My nudity did not phase the EMTs a bit. Thoroughgoing professionals, they ignored my state of undress as irrelevant to their task, took my report of the first aid measures I had employed, thanked me for staunching the victim's blood loss, and went to work, stabilizing him for transport.

The cops were another story. The senior cop was a veteran sergeant named Delaney.

"A streaker eh? All right Tinker Bell, seeing as how you were such a big help with the victim we will overlook any irregularities about your presence here after dark and in a state of nature. Go home and don't come back."

"Sure thing officers, and thanks for not running me in."

"You did good, kid. So we're letting it go...this time. Understood?"

"Loud and clear!"

I got back into my clothes and set off for home. On foot it's an easy walk of little more than ten minutes or so along quiet streets to my lodgings in a spooky old mansion, long since divided into rental apartments. I lived on the fourth floor, the top storey, in what had been servants quarters where the walls of seven small rooms were knocked down and the rooms combined into an airy and sunny apartment with two bedrooms, one of which I used for a den.

Though Victorian style prudery has faded in this country America alas is still not ready to embrace Freikörperkultur which is German for Free Body Culture but Nudism in plain English, though given the high percent of obesity in the population of this country this may not be such a bad thing.

Ideally America would be more like modern Germany with its slimmer citizenry and in not being overly fussy about the undraped human body. America is actually quite schizophrenic about nudity and sex. Look at those silly TV shows like "Naked But Afraid", the whole point of which is to appeal to the voyeuristic urges of the audience, yet the show has to blur the naughty bits, lest they offend the sensibilities of the viewers. Make up your mind already!

There has been some progress. Movies and TV nowadays are much more explicit about sex and about showing the human body. Simulated sex by actors who, to all appearances, really seem naked and actually engaged in sexual congress are common enough. Yet nude beaches are still rare and forget about nude volleyball in the public parks of our cities. Such a shame.

Though Americans really do need to get into shape before parading around in the altogether. I am not one for fat shaming; such cruelty is not in my nature, but I don't see obesity as something to celebrate either. I don't understand why fat people demand respect for corpulence as it it were a civil right. I'm sorry, but "plus-sized" women, meaning fat ladies, should not model bikinis. That is way too much plus for good taste, whereas I and most folks gay or straight prefer a lot more minus in bikini models. Obesity is not sexy, and there is no denying that it is unhealthful.

The next day at mid-morning I went up on the roof. A hatch in the ceiling in the hallway outside my door allows access to the roof for lounging and nude sunbathing. Unrolling a yoga mat I lay down with a good book, or rather an electronic book reader which has a screen which does not get washed out by bright sunlight.

Omnivorous reader that I am, I love e-ink book readers, tablets, and all the other tech which lets you search for books, buy or borrow them from the public library, or download free books. A electronic book reader weighing less than half a pound lets you tote hundreds of books at a time. You can find almost anything on any subject from philosophy to porn. You do need a tablet with a color screen to appreciate art books and comics – oops, I mean graphic novels.

"Nose buried in a book again, Troy?"

Without looking up, I knew from his voice and feigned supercilious tone that it was my auburn haired downstairs neighbor Kyle, a friend with benefits. Like me Kyle had climbed onto the roof fully naked, all five foot eight and 140 pounds of him.

As to why we were casual about nudity up on the roof, it's like this. With so many of the residents of our shared mansion gay and the rest gay friendly, clothing was more or less optional in the public areas of the building. None of us was self-conscious about being caught out nude when we went downstairs to check the mail or to the laundry room. It helped that most of us renters were good-looking young males, the kind you want to see going around in a state of nature or at least shirtless. We did have some tenants in their thirties and forties but all were quite well-preserved.

A privacy fence around the garden out back expanded the clothing-free zone considerably. You had your pick of seating whether on Adirondack chairs, lounges, stools, even a pair of rocking chairs, or at a couple of picnic tables. If the heat started to get to you you could step under the outdoor shower. No enclosure or shower curtain of course. That would spoil the show. A shelf held liquid bath soap, back brush, and loofah for those who wanted to clean the sweat off their bodies or just to open the pores.

The sinister reputation of our spooky mansion, once the scene of an infamous family annihilation, kept nosy parkers away.

Like many gingers Kyle hadn't had much body hair anyway, just tufts in the usual three places and a dusting on the arms and lower legs, all gone now thanks to modern depilatories created by human chemists, not Olympian deities.

Sexy as all get out, Kyle had sky-blue eyes and a peaches and cream complexion, enhanced with just the lightest scattering of freckles, which made startled passersby do double takes, wondering how any guy could be that good-looking, sort of like with Rob Lowe in his prime.

Not for the first time Kyle told me that I should get out more, circulate, go places and engage with the social whirl of the guys in our circle and beyond.

Instead there I was, all by myself, lying supine, working on my tan, buns kissed gently by the rays of the morning sun, and absorbed in whatever it was I was reading. I explained:

"It's a boy-meets-boy paranormal romance novel about a gay vampire whose boyfriend is a werewolf, two species normally deadly enemies. So kind of a Romeo and Juliet story though without the tragic ending since it was tagged HEA, as in Happily Ever After."

"Why am I not surprised?"

I felt Kyle's hands on shoulders squeezing and kneading.

"Hmmm, you're all tensed up Troy. Here let my talented hands work their magic and give your overstressed body one of my patented Shiatsu massages. Lie down flat."

Once I was fully prone with my arms along my flanks Kyle went to work on me. Well versed in Shiatsu techniques from his Junior year in Tokyo, he massaged my muscles with his fingers, thumbs, elbows, knuckles, and even his feet, then went to work on my joints, manipulating them through their full range of motion.

A smart smack to my rump was a signal to turn over so he could do my front. Kyle's talented fingers went to work everywhere though he was careful of my halfway tumescent cock.

"We'll save that for later," he promised.

With that he opened a bottle of sun tan oil and started to spread it all over my body.

"This is a special concoction of my own devising, it's a mix of SPF 10 sun tan lotion and olive oil."

"Olive oil? What am I a tossed salad?"

"It's good for your skin. This golden tan you are so proud of already gives you most of the protection you need as long as you don't spend too much time sunbathing. You gotta avoid the most direct rays of the sun when it is high in the sky."

Glancing over at my Kindle, Kyle asked:

"Don't you ever get tired of your endless reading? Studies show that bookworms sacrifice quality time with significant others to their preoccupation with the written word."

"Oh really? Please text me the citations to those studies, and maybe I will add them to my reading list."

"You know Troy, with all the fiction you read, you have so much less time for books more worthy of your attention like literature, science, history, and self-improvement."

"And how could I possibly be improved, Kyle? Moi, the cynosure of the gay community in our fair city?"

Sweeping my hands down my flanks I added:

"You can see for yourself, all this and brains too!"

Just a running joke between the two of us, me the bookworm, he much more into the social whirl, budding scientist though he was. So Kyle was brainy all right but more into serious stuff like STEM subjects than I was. He rather disapproved of the time I wasted on what he dismissed as trashy fiction. But then, I needed so much less sleep than most that I had more than enough time for what he would consider more constructive pursuits. And I do read a lot of non-fiction.

Karl did have a shelf with a couple dozen books of the self-help or self-improvement genre, mostly about psychology and relationships but also a book of useful tricks for mental arithmetic, now sadly neglected in an age when everyone has a calculator on his cell phone. He even had a hoary old volume, handed down from his great uncle, about winning friends and influencing people, which I always considered highly manipulative. I read it once mostly to be forewarned about the largely transparent techniques which the author's followers might try on me. Kyle also had three paperbacks which did meet with my approval, books about improving one's vocabulary, something like the old rubric in the Reader's Digest "It Pays to Increase Your Word Power."

You used to be able to tell a lot about a person by the books in his personal library, though much less so these days, with so many of them invisible in digital form.

"Hey, I like genre fiction whether I'm reading fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, or novels of alternate history. At least I don't waste my time on westerns, thrillers, or bodice rippers. You have to give me that."

"Yeah, OK, but besides the printed page, what about all the time you spend watching action and adventure stuff in the movies and on TV?"

Adopting a superior tone I opined:

"There is something to be said for superheroes, explosions, and car chases."

"Like what?"

OK, he had me there, though I knew for a fact that he liked to watch YouTube videos about engineering marvels, controlled detonations, conflagrations, and natural disasters like landslides, earthquakes, tsunamis, sink holes and the like. And cat videos.

Kyle lay down next to me and dozed for a while, taking the sun for just an hour. Gingers don't tan easily and need to establish a base tan early in the season. Hence his special mixture with olive oil of all things.

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