by Matsuri Yuri (祭 百合)
Heat rose off the grates by Gradys’. The air was viscous with smog, smoke, and all the other beautiful substances the city offered. Smith’s eyeliner was smudged, his hair a mess, and his lipstick needed to be replaced after the last job. The fucker had yanked his hair as he sucked. He wondered if the guy might forget to wash off his cock before he went home to his wife. The bastard deserved it.
Gradys’ was a mom and pop store, strictly munchies and crack. Supposedly, some people shopped there just for Cheezits and such and not the sweets in the back of another kind. Smith leaned against the alley wall. He looked like a fucking bum, and that wasn’t good for business. Nobody wanted to fuck a stinking wino – or in his case, a stinking crack addict. All he had to do was turn a few tricks and he’d be sleeping in a warm place tonight, but Smith barely felt like moving. Coming down was a bitch and a half.
There was a bit of light shining through and Smith squinted. The sweetest ass of Third Street was right there, smiling at him. Cherry, boywhore extraordinaire. Smith licked his chapped lips and looked into the constant neon explosion that was Cherry’s enthusiasm.
For once, Cherry wasn’t dressed like Angel from Rent. Even if Cherry was a bit too pale to pull off the Latino look, he got the act down pat. Today, he was dressed like Lady Gaga. Latex, a crazy wig, and combat boots. He was just androgynous enough to make the drag work. There was an epicene quality to him, enough that he could take on just about any costume, male or female, and pull it off with enigmatic allure. His johns didn’t care if they were getting sucked off by drag Angel or Lady Gaga, but Cherry loved it just the same. It made things more interesting, he’d said once. Kept things from getting boring.
“Hey baby. You ok over there?”
“Great. I love coming down,” Smith said. “It’s my fucking favorite thing it the world.”
“I told you to stay away from meth. Pot is fine, crack ain’t too bad but meth will fuck you up.”
Smith hmmed and let his head loll about. Cherry was the only bit of color in a place like this.
“It’s not meth.”
Cherry clucked disapprovingly. “That’s it, you’re coming with me. I got myself a nice hotel and I’m getting myself some clothes. I slip some money at the front and they look the other way. They might as well call this place ‘The Hooker With A Heart Of Gold.'” Cherry tittered at his own joke.
“Won’t it affect your customers?” Smith said.
“They’re your customers too, sweetie,” Cherry said. “Remember? Your job? Are you too gothic to care? I think you’d at least care about where your next hit is coming.”
“Not gothic,” Smith muttered, pushing back his greasy black hair that was always in his face, a face which was now rough with stubble.
“Whatever you say, dear,” Cherry said. “Come on. My treat.”
“I can’t say no to that,” Smith said.
“No you can’t,” Cherry agreed.
He helped Smith up, and put his arm about him as they walked – stumbled really – out.
“You’re way too young to be this old,” Cherry said.
“I was born old,” Smith said.
The place was nice. Cherry wasn’t kidding when he said that he’d gotten good this time. It was better than most of the fleabag motels he’d spent time in. There were no leaks, and the place was clean, though a bit bland. But things never stayed bland long with Cherry around. He’d had even started to put up his things, so he must really be in there for the long haul. A feather boa here, a bowler hat there. Cherry could’ve been a great drag queen lounge singer if he could actually sing. Cherry had a singing voice like a canary being strangled.
There was only one bed, as Cherry never slept alone. Beige carpets, white walls, a tv and the other necessities. Clean, uniform, and soon to be covered in shiny things if Cherry had any say in it.
“I’m headed off for a shower,” Smith said.
“Mmmhmmm,” Cherry replied absently. He was reapplying his lipstick, a glossy twenties red.
Smith stared at his arms. There were barely any marks anymore, if only because it’d been a while since he last shot up. His skin was pale, like some kid from Bumfuck, Indiana. Cherry was the one from Bumfuck, not him.
The bathroom was as white as a hospital. And he’d know, not just because he’d watched shows; he’d spent plenty of time in them during his teenage years. He stepped into the spray. Instead of the usual hotel lot, there was Old Spice for when Cherry was a boy, and Herbal Essences, for when he was a girl. It wouldn’t do to give it away when he was playing the part. He borrowed the Old Spice and rubbed it into a lather. The dirt from where he’d lain on the alley was stripped off, along with his old dried makeup. Steam wrapped around the room, as warm as a fisherman’s sweater. He leaned into the spray and let it assail his body. Three washes for everything to get every last bit of grime off, and he was done.
His clothes were gone when he got out. He tried to remember to see if he’d forgotten to lock the door, but then it was just Cherry. He wouldn’t put it past him to break in just to steal his clothes.
He toweled off and put on a terrycloth robe until he was only faintly damp. Then he opened the door, leaving the steamy room behind him. When he came out, Cherry was full out Marilyn Monroe. A blonde wig, a silky white dress like the one she’d gone over the grates with in that infamous photo.
“You look much better, doll,” Cherry said. He fluttered his fake lashes. “The stubble really wasn’t your thing.”
“So. What do you think?” Cherry said. He spun around, and the white silky dress spiraled with him.
“Not a bad drag,” Smith said.
“I sent your clothes to be washed.”
“Good. They needed it. Thank you,” Smith said.
Cherry patted the bed and Smith sat on the edge of it. Strains of Feliz Navidad filtered through on one of those old busted-up tape decks. It was decorated with stickers and colorful duct tape.
“It’s not Christmas,” Smith said.
“I like to play Christmas songs all year long. It’s like trapping that feeling in a bottle and letting it come out a little at a time whenever I need it.”
“Do you play this while you service them?” Smith said, a bit harsher than he meant to.
“If they want me to… I live to please. See, I don’t have that angst thing you have. Life’s too short. I came here willingly. I like sex, and I figured I might as well get paid for all the fucking I was doing. Besides, I like to share the happiness. I feel like I’m doing these johns a good deed. It’s practically volunteer work. The money is just a donation – a formality.”
Cherry smiled his most sultry smile. It was like honey falling down, a long sweet drip on his skin. “You sound jealous.”
“I’m not fucking jealous,” Smith muttered. He rubbed at his cheeks, still red from the wash.
“Mmmhmm. I hear you have a few piercings,” Cherry said.
Smith stuck out his tongue to show his barbell.
“Nice. I’ve never gone with a boy who had a piercing there. Does it really make the oral better?”
“I wouldn’t know,” Smith said.
“Got any more?”
“Maybe,” Smith said.
“How about we keep each other warm? I won’t charge if you won’t charge. I scratch your back, you scratch mine. Deal?”
“Got any happiness to spare?” Smith said.
“Oh I’ve got plenty of happiness to spare. I’m just bursting with happiness.”
“I know. And you know I’m not talking about that,” Smith said.
“I don’t do that stuff, it’s far too expensive. I’d hit up and there’d be none left over for the next act. Besides, I don’t have anything to run from. I like my life,” Cherry said. “I had a man who liked it, though. I have a little extra. You have to play with me first, though.”
Cherry climbed on the bed and advanced towards him on his hands and knees, the dress pulled up high enough that Smith could see pink polka dot underwear. “What enthusiasm! I’ve seen people more excited about getting their teeth pulled.”
Smith summoned the strength for a half smile.
“That’s a little better. I can be a boy for you if you prefer. I admit I don’t get very manly, though. Sebastian from Brideshead Revisited is about my limit.”
It’d been a fantasy from the time he’d seen Cherry with those red, cocksucking lips bursting into a smile. Getting him out of the clothes and peeling back to see what lay underneath. Smith always watched the world around him. He sat at the sides of life and fit pieces together. It was all in little gestures, in the things they didn’t say when they were blabbing away. He could tell who was fucking who, the junkies, the soccer moms who were having affairs.
“Get naked,” Smith commanded. “All the way…and get rid of the lashes.”
“Can I keep my shoes on at least for a while longer?” Cherry pleaded.
“If you want,” Smith said.
Cherry hummed as he stepped onto the bed and shimmied out of the dress. He slipped off the bra with the fake breasts, and stepped off the bed, graceful and lithe. There were always some wipes around in case he had to change costumes fast. He never knew when a client was going to want to change genders or from whore to schoolgirl in five minutes.
A few wipes there, a few brushes here, until there was nothing but his high heels and fake eyelashes. He even removed the wig and set it aside. Cherry’s hair was a dark blond that blended into brown with faint limp curls. His skin was pale with a blue undertone, and his eyes really were that hazel shade. Apparently he liked that part of himself enough to share.
“Now, tell me your name,” Smith said. His legs were crossed under the terrycloth robe.
“Why be so serious this time? It’d kill the mood,” Cherry pouted.
“Because I want to see you stripped down to nothing, until even the Cherry-mask you put on is gone,” Smith said.
Cherry quirked a smile. “If you tell, I’ll tell.”
“You first. You’re the one who’s doing the stripping now,” Smith said.
“It’s Phil,” he said finally. “Philip Cohen. Now isn’t that a turn off?”
“It’s the biggest turn on of the evening,” Smith said.
“Ha ha. Nice to hear. Now spill it. I want to hear how someone chose a hooking name like Smith of all things.”
Smith leaned back with his hands behind his head and stared at the bland white tiles above. “When the first guy asked what to call me, I said he might as well call me John Smith since John Doe was already taken.”
“Ooh. Cryptic. I guess it caught on. Now tell all.”
“…Gerard Blumfield Jr,” Smith said finally.
Cherry laughed, clear and bright and fell on the bed beside him with nothing but his shoes and his ridiculous polka dot panties. “Well Gerard, isn’t it about time you get naked?”
He wrestled on top of Smith, and pushed the terrycloth robe aside. There was that one tattoo on Smith’s chest of something dark and tangled, a briar in shades of night. He’d gone on a bender, and even he couldn’t say what the fuck it was supposed to be if asked. Cherry licked the tattoo, all the way down to his pierced right nipple, and lifted the circle of the ring in his tongue.
“Are you a masochist? I could bite you if you want~”
“I’ll pass,” Smith said.
Cherry sat astride him. Smith slipped his fingers under the skintight panties and pulled them down. They were already bulging out with Cherry’s erection. Smith himself was hard already. He’d been hard ever since Cherry picked him up, and he thought that was something they both knew.
Cherry ground their dicks together, moaning as he did. No matter what he did, Cherry took life for all it was without holding back. So what if dressing like Judy Garland wasn’t kosher in that neighborhood? He’d do it because he damn well felt like it. And for all the sweeties, the dears, the eye fluttering and coquetry, that was real.
“Now the question is, am I going to get to see that legendary tongue first, or do I get the first honor?” Cherry said saucily.
“Why choose?” Smith said.
Cherry smiled, indulgent. “Why indeed.”
He got up, abrupt, so much that Smith ached for the lack of contact, of him, the warmth–
“What do you want? Apple? Strawberry? Banana? I don’t have any Cherry left, I don’t think,” Cherry said, with a little laugh to himself.
“Apple,” Smith said.
Cherry threw the bright condom to him. “Want help putting it on? We could do each other.”
Cherry’s dextrous fingers slipped the condom down, in a way that was slow, and maddening, and more half a handjob than simple help. He repaid the favor by bending and licking down for every inch he pulled down. He’d have liked to pull it down with his teeth, but he didn’t want to break the damn thing. Cherry leaned back, already throwing around sluttish expressions of ecstasy even before the act had started. Cherry’s cock was now a bright yellow. Smith’s was red. They looked like they were wearing fucking cock raincoats.
There was an awkward moment of getting situated. Cherry twisted about until they were positioned right for a textbook porno case of sixty-nine. He gripped Cherry’s tight little ass and swallowed as much as he could take. Flavored condoms never really got rid of the latex aftertaste, but it was better than getting some disease. Smith didn’t bother with subtlety much. The harder he sucked, the faster they’d come and the sooner he’d be off on another high leaving his body.
Cherry let out a gasp and bucked against him. “Oh fuck–! It does make a difference,” he said, the last part ending with a whimper.
Smith just chuckled, which made little warm reverberations go through. Smith could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch. He knew all the little ways to prepare for a better fucking. Drinking something hot – or cold, humming, lolling his tongue again. Smith could tie a cherry stem in a knot with his tongue and he suspected he wasn’t the only one.
Then, as if his honor as a hooker was being deeply insulted, Cherry took his turn, having finally gotten coherent enough to lick at his cock in his teasing, light way. Cherry gave oral like he was enjoying a treat; Smith gave oral like there was a shotgun to his head and if he didn’t suck hard enough, he’d get his head blown off. It was a contest of two different people, two types, forceful and sweet, negative and positive.
Cherry groaned and bucked, his grip on control flitting away as he came. He didn’t bite down, or gag, but finished his job until it was Smith who was groaning, feeling the heat in his groin seep out and then explode in a nerve shower of pleasure running through his veins.
The thing with sixty-nine was when you were done, there was a flaccid dick in your face, and getting out of that position was a bitch. But they managed it, with some minor bumps. Cherry flopped beside him, his leg next to Smith’s head.
“You really do have the best tongue of Third Street,” Cherry said teasingly. “Now I just have to know, is the rest of you that good?”
“Already? Jeez, you really are insatiable,” Smith said.
“I’m always ready. It’s why I’m good in the job. Sometimes clients have to pay me to stop.” He got up, picked up the Lady Gaga wig and did a pose.
“Let me take a ride on your disco stick~”
“Have you got any lubricated condoms?” Smith asked.
“Like you have to ask,” Cherry said. He flicked through a large fruit bowl of different kinds of condoms, and finally picked one. He got on the bed on all fours, condom in mouth. He looked up in a way that was so coy, so alluring that Smith figured even straight men couldn’t have kept it in their pants to a look from Cherry.
“Fuck me more, darling,” Cherry said.
They switched out the condoms quickly, the colorful for the more useful in this respect. Smith looked for more lube, but Cherry brushed it away.
“Maybe you don’t like it rough, but I do. This is more than enough for me.”
Cherry climbed astride and they eased together. Cherry bit at Smith’s lower lip, which turned into a nibble, and then a kiss. Smith gripped his ass and squeezed as he thrust in. It’d been a long time since he’d had a fuck like this. Derrick had left last year, no money to spare beyond food, shelter and highs – not necessarily in that order. He’d missed it. Missed the feeling of another person’s body tight across his cock and the deep, warm abyss of losing himself. It was as good as any drug high, maybe even better with someone who was good. Cherry put his arms about him and kissed him as he thrust in and out. Moans slipped between them, his, Cherry’s, until it was just incoherence and the silent calm that came with fucking until all the mess in his head was shut up and there were just bodies – hot and slick and moving together in ways that were a mockery of intimacy, but so, so good.
He woke up to Cherry smiling at him.
“Good still-night, Gerard.”
“Still night?” Smith said blearily.
“Well it ain’t morning yet,” Cherry said.
“I got you some happiness to spare right here.” Cherry pulled out a
little white packet and shook it.
Smith stared at him, his veins already screaming, sweating, starving for the next hit.
“Have you ever had someone snort coke off of your chest?” Smith said.
“Surprising, I haven’t,” Cherry admitted. “And I’ve done some wild things. Once, I dressed like Smurfette, blue skin and all. Another time, someone asked for lederhosen.”
“Want to try it?”
“I’ll try anything once if it’s sex,” Cherry said.
Cherry lay back, still as Smith used one of his last dollars to snort the drug, white as snow from his chest. When he was done, Smith’s gaze was far off, glassy, gone to some warmer place. This was release, this was a taste of something better in his world. He laid his head against Cherry’s chest as Cherry stroked his hair. And shuddered, as if a second wave of orgasm had flooded through him.
“Oh, baby,” Cherry said.
Cherry ran his hands through his hair, down his back as they both came down, from drugs, from sex, from orgasm all woven together in the same existence they lived, just propping up their lives.
Smith stumbled out into the harsh light of day. This had been one of the more profitable jobs he’d run across. All life was whoring in one way or another. Even if Cherry-slash-Phil had been one of the kinder ones, he’d still asked for recompense. At least it’d been a nice dick to suck, and he’d gotten an orgasm and a hit into the bargain. The warm place to stay had only been part of it. Now he was back to the streets where cold alleys were his kingdom and he was always only a few limp dicks away from his next high.
In this life, it was all he could ask for.
Smith was passed out right in front of that damned Calvin Klein billboard. Those people weren’t real. They were mannequins with heroin habits and fake souls. Not real. Nothing.
He looked up to the grey sky that peeked out above him. A smear of color peered down at him beyond all the greys.
“Hey baby. Want a light?” Cherry said.
He wore a large faux fur coat, as real fur was cruel. He took off the fur, and beneath it, and the hat were plain clothes, no wig, so that it wasn’t Cherry that was before him, but Phil. “I had to keep my reputation. But I thought it might be a turn on to see me naked under here.”
“It’s nice. You’ve changed your mind on coke?” Smith said.
“No, but you looked like you needed a bit of sunshine in your life, so here I am! I’ve been looking all over for you. Another bad run?”
“You know what they say, don’t spend it all at once,” Smith said.
“Oh baby,” Cherry cooed. “Don’t OD yourself, now.”
“I’m still breathing,” Smith said. “What brings you here?”
“You. See, we’re both addicts. I like sex, you like drugs. Not much difference. We’ve got the same job. Why don’t you spend some time with me? I’ll keep you warm,” Cherry said.
“I’m a bastard. Why the hell would you want me around?”
“Nonsense. I’m sure you’ve got a daddy somewhere. The correct term is asshole. Lucky for you I like nihilistic assholes, eh? Besides…” Cherry chewed on one of his nails.
“You’re the first person who asked to really see me naked. I can’t help feeling sentimental.”
Cherry held out his hand. “So how about it, baby?”
Smith took his hand.