Monday, June 11, 2012
A Thousand Word Thursday story by Thorny Sterling
By Thorny Sterling
I sat in my usual booth with an open bottle of beer in front of me. Well, it hadn’t been my booth for 3 months, 14 days, and about 2 hours, but I sat here considering maybe changing that.
I looked up and there’s lean and lanky Tommy Chester. He’d been half the reason I’d stopped coming in here. He’d started bartending here, and it was no longer the place I could get away from the temptation of him in this hick town. Bad enough he worked behind me at the mill all day, now he was here too? Three months, 14 days, and about 2 hours ago, I’d gotten smashed lusting after those ropy arms, that silky black hair, and those big brown eyes only to have a near-death experience on the way home by being on the losing side of a run-in with a telephone pole.
I’d given up drinking and stayed away from the bar ever since.
“Don’t drink that,” Tommy said. “You don’t need it.”
I wrapped my hand around the cold glass. “What’s it to you?”
He slid into the booth opposite me, those long legs bumping mine as he settled.
“You’re not as alone as you think you are, Jeff.” He’d pitched his voice low and stared into my eyes when he said that. Now he wedged one knee between mine and gave me a rub.
I jerked and stared at him. Was he telling me…? I mean, everyone knew about me now after the biggest loudmouth in town — my own sister — had seen me in an alley over in the next town letting that guy suck me off. I was an outcast now in just about every way. I’d figured it was just good business that made Angie actually take my order despite the sneer she’d given me before, during, and after she’d brought this beer. It’d been the same at the grocer and gas station; if I handed over money, they didn’t do much more than glare.
Tommy sighed and shook his head, but there was a little curl to his mouth. “I am too,” he said. “Just haven’t gotten caught yet, is all.”
Holy Jesus. “Son of a bitch.”
He frowned at me.
I pushed the damn beer away and leaned over the table, tried not to yell. “Are you telling me that all this time I’ve been wanting you and you’re queer too?”
Tommy chuckled, the smile making his handsome face go all kinds of cute. “Guess I am.”
He bit his bottom lip as he grinned and hooked his leg so he had mine caught right there under the table. I reached down and gripped his thigh. Maybe in warning, or maybe just because I could touch him.
“People are gonna know now,” I told him even as I felt up that tight muscle. “Any man seen with me for too long’s gonna be my secret lover.”
A laugh bubbled out of him. “I don’t give a good goddamn anymore.” He pointed at me. “I figured out what my dick’s for because of you and if I have a chance to have you, I’m fucking taking it.”
It’d be tough, maybe even worse than hell, but if I had somebody to lean on when it got too bad to take alone… Well, then.
“Wanna get outta here?”
I didn’t care if he meant the bar, town, state, or planet.
“Yeah, I do.”
Nowadays, I still live in a little hick town, still get that look or a couple foul words from the ignorant, but I drink only on special occasions. Like our fifteenth anniversary. I’ll hold a bottle high and toast to love with my Tommy by my side.
Thank you, Thorny! Gee, if you can do this much with less than a thousand words, I'd love to see what you do with a short story or a novel! I read Thorny's blog, where he talks about life and books and love and Jazz, and makes me feel like there's hope for humanity.