by shukyou (主教)
Bud clutched the matchbook tight in one sweaty paw as he hiked the two miles from where he’d gotten dropped off off to his final destination. He hadn’t dared give the driver of the ride he’d thumbed the right address, so he’d told the man that friends would be meeting him here at the filling station on the outskirts of town. But the truth was he was looking even farther out on the skirt than that, so to speak.
He tried, as he walked, not to think of his friends, his actual friends, the ones that weren’t planning to meet him tonight at a filling station or anywhere else. Even to call them ‘friends’ seemed strange, though he didn’t know what other term would work. They were able seamen, just like him, and they were assigned to the same merchant marine vessel, and so they knew his name and talked to him. He supposed that counted as friendship, though he didn’t have much to match it against. He’d told them he was headed off tonight to visit a cousin, and they’d let him go without a word. Some of the other men got teased when they went ashore for the evening, the others insinuating that where they said they were going wasn’t where they were really going, but not ol’ Bud. He was steady, predictable, reliable — all of which, Bud figured, were nice ways of saying boring.
If only they could see him now. In fact, Bud had no idea what they’d say, to view him as he trudged along the side of the road in the late summer heat, sweat soaking through his shirt beneath his jacket. It wasn’t anything illegal he was doing. Yeah, there were places where it was, and he’d been warned off against those. But here, a full mile outside of the city limits, the law had nothing to say.
In the growing dark, he saw the place shimmer like an oasis against the last pink-orange light of day. A series of exposed bulbs lit the tall sign by the turnoff from the main road that labeled the short, boxy building as The Golden Spoke. Bud didn’t have to look at the matchbook in his hand to confirm it; he’d looked at it plenty already, at least a dozen times a day every day since he’d had it passed to him by another sailor in another port. On the front flap was the establishment’s name and cross-street address. On the back were four words: FEMALE IMPERSONATORS OF DISTINCTION.
Bud had no idea what made a female impersonator distinct. In fact, he had only the barest idea of what a female impersonator was, period. But he’d spent the last eight months with the idea crawling around his brain like a fever. He couldn’t ask anyone — they’d laugh at him for wanting to know, or laugh at him for not knowing already, or both — so instead he’d tongued the notion like a loose tooth. Tonight, he’d know.
There was a big man at the door, taller and broader even than Bud himself. He had a broad, handsome face, and the light brown skin of his arms was clearly lined with green-black ink on his forearms beneath where he’d rolled up his sleeves. He took one look at Bud as he approached and gave him a little half-salute. “Evenin’,” he sad in a pleasant southern drawl.
“Evening,” Bud responded, feeling out of place with his flat midwestern vowels. “Is there, ah, a password I need?”
“No, no,” answered the doorman with a grin. He didn’t bat a lash at how Bud looked or where he’d come from, and Bud supposed he wasn’t the first patron to arrive on foot. “I’m just out here to keep an eye out for trouble.”
A chill stabbed at Bud’s stomach. “I didn’t come here looking for trouble.”
“Course not,” said the doorman. “You came here for the show. First time?”
Bud nodded as he clenched his hands in the pockets of his suit pants. He felt so silly, dressed in the nicest thing he owned, a grey wool set that’d been his father’s. He hoped in the dim twilight it wasn’t apparent how many times it had been mended, or how threadbare it was at the knees and elbows.
The doorman’s grin widened even more, and he winked at Bud, which Bud was very sure he didn’t know how to feel about. “Then you’re in luck. Cover’s free tonight for first-timers. Now get inside where it’s cool.”
‘Cool’ wasn’t the word for it; the inside was downright cold, with the air conditioning rumbling through the dark, low-ceilinged club like a late autumn storm. The suit that had been so ridiculous just minutes ago was now fair protection against the artificial elements. Bud rubbed his eyes a moment and let them adjust. The inside was ill-lit in the extreme, with much of the only light coming from candles on the tables set up around a raised walkway. There were some couples there, the women drinking and smoking right alongside their dates, but most of the clientele were other men. Bud swallowed hard and shifted his feet, then walked to an empty table for two. A cute little farmgirl of a waitress came to take his order, so he took a whiskey, figuring it was the kind of thing a real man drank. The other seamen drank whiskey, after all, and so had his father. He could be in good company.
When the waitress came back, she set down the drink — and then, to Bud’s surprise, took the seat opposite him. He looked up at her with undisguised surprise on his face, and she giggled. “Charlie says you don’t seem like you’s from around here,” she said, resting her elbows on the table and perching her chin atop her folded hands.
“Charlie?” asked Bud.
The waitress pointed toward the door, presumably to indicate the man on the other side of it. “Where you from, then? Somewhere far off?”
Bud shrugged. “Minnesota far enough?”
“Minnesota?” She laughed, making her braided blonde pigtails sway. “I ain’t never been there! Where’s that, out near California?”
Bud pointed straight at the ceiling, hoping that the gesture conveyed up north and not on the moon. “Top middle or so.”
“Well, if that just don’t beat all!” The waitress gave him a playful wink — and there was something in it, something similar enough to the way Charlie the doorman had winked at him, that Bud found himself actually looking at the bright, pretty thing across the table from him. Her nails were painted bright pink, but he saw for the first time that they were on knobby fingers, and the way her tied flannel shirt gapped exposed a little more of the false architecture of her undergarments than Bud supposed she might have wanted.
Oh. So that was what they meant by ‘distinction’.
The waitress glanced back over her shoulder to the bar, then sighed. “All right, I’ve got to get back to it, and then I’ve got to go get ready for my number.”
“You’re a performer too?” asked Bud.
The waitress beamed. “Everybody’s got at least three jobs around here. Means things ain’t ever boring, though! Tell you what, you stick around later after the show, and I’ll show you around backstage and maybe hear some Minnesota stories. All right?” Without even waiting for an answer, she blew him a kiss and sashayed back to work.
Bud watched her go, but before he could think much more about the encounter, the few house lights left went dim, and one single spotlight snapped onto the center of what Bud could now clearly see was a stage. The curtains parted, and Bud wasn’t fully sure what he expected to walk out on stage — but whatever it was, it wasn’t what he got. The emcee was a small man, even as he used the stage’s height to loom over the crowd. He had a gangly cut to his face, handsome and youthful in a Frank Sinatra sort of way. Bud and his friends had caught From Here to Eternity on their last stop in port, and the emcee reminded him of Sinatra’s character there — though in a crisp black suit instead of army kit.
Tipping a trilby on his head, the emcee pattered his way through some warm-up banter with the crowd, much of which involved addressing several audience member by name, or at least by nickname. Bud supposed to made sense that a place like this, far-out from town as it was, was the type to survive on a base of regulars. “We have a show tonight for you, dear ladies, gentlemen, and other unmentionables,” the emcee quipped, “we have a show indeed! You’re in for quite a treat tonight, as those girls have been working their boobs off to prepare it for you! And in this case I mean it literally; why, Mickey Collins was up here the other night rehearsing her little number, and–” The emcee blew a crude raspberry right into the microphone while at the same time miming leaning forward and having something fall out of his shirt, which caught the crowd into hysterics and even made Bud smile through his nerves.
“Oh, what a show, what a show,” the emcee continued as the laughter died down. “What a show indeed, lesbians and gentlemen — and a special welcome to those, of course, who are both at once.” The lights were such that Bud couldn’t see just who made a rude gesture at that from the other side of the stage, but there was enough laughter to show that no harm had been done. “I am, as always, your host this night and every night, Leo Golden, your very own Golden Boy, bringing you a lively lineup featuring Kit Howard, Pokey Samuelsson, Mickey Collins, Dixon Thomas, Lee Lee Garcia, and of course, everyone’s dream girl, Mr. Suzanne Smith!”
The spot swung from Leo the emcee to the curtains behind him, long drapes of gold-sequined material that sparkled like the preachers of Bud’s Depression-era childhood had always said about the streets of Heaven. A single foot emerged in a glittering red high heel of impossible altitude, which brought up a wave of hoots and applause. Bud found his own hands had closed into a kind of rictus around his glass, so he forced himself to clap, to be normal, to let himself go. No one was watching him here, after all, nor could they see him in the dark even if they had a mind to.
A roll of notes came from a previously unseen piano player beside the stage, and Bud heard the most beautiful voice that had ever crossed his ears, a husky, milky alto that began, “Tired of bein’ lonely, tired of bein’ blue…“
The curtains parted, and there was the promised Mr. Suzanne Smith, standing in a floor-length evening gown that shimmered silver in the way the curtains waved gold. Bud followed it all the way up her body, starting from those magnificent red shoes, up her miles-long legs, to the curve of her hips and heavy push of her breasts against the low-cut neckline. Her shoulders were bare, but her arms were covered to well above the elbows with magnificent opera gloves. “I wished I had some good man, to tell my troubles to,” she continued as Bud worked his gaze up to her face — and oh, was she a beauty. Her blonde hair was flattened in wide waves against her head, coming to a stop just behind her ears, where two earrings as sparkly as chandeliers swung and reflected the light with her every move. “Seem like the whole world’s wrong,” she sang with beautiful lips painted the color of a heavy wine. His mother had always sported her silver WCTU pin proudly and lambasted alcohol as the Devil’s Drink at the slightest provocation; he didn’t let himself wonder what she’d make of a place like this, or him in it. “Since my man’s been gone.”
And then — wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles — she saw him.
No, Bud thought immediately after, that was a silly notion; she was a performer, she was playing to her audience, she was the same professional polite as all the cabaret girls he’d seen in all the other cities where his friends had dragged him out and he hadn’t been able to refuse. But no, he’d swear to it: she saw him. She turned and those lush, full lips of hers lifted at the corners into a wicked smile. “I need a little sugar in my bowl,” she crooned, almost begged, as she looked right over the microphone at him. “I need a little hot dog on my roll,” she continued, and that dirty line won a set of appreciative whoops and whistles from the audience — especially as she reached around behind her and gave her own backside a sharp smack. “I can stand a bit of lovin’, oh so bad, I feel so funny, I feel so sad.“
Bud couldn’t breathe. His lungs were still working, of course, still drawing oxygen into his body, but that was miles away from behind able to breathe. With a wink and a kiss blown in Bud’s direction, the beautiful Mr. Suzanne Smith set off back down the stage as the second bluesy verse started up. She was a vision, an absolute goddess of a type that Bud in his younger days had only been able to read about in adventure novels. There weren’t girls like this in Tenstrike, Minnesota. Hell, there weren’t girls like this anywhere.
What Bud couldn’t stop turning over in his mind, though, was how she wasn’t exactly a girl. Or was she? She was girl enough to look at, to be sure, but underneath– What was underneath, anyway? Under that sparkly silver dress, beneath her pretty painted makeup, was she just like him? Or was it the other way around?
She finished her number to a round of applause, one that reminded Bud to shut his jaw and stop gaping like a hooked fish. She was a performer, after all, and she’d put on a good show, and she deserved to be recognized for it. She’d done nothing in his direction that she hadn’t turned out to the rest of the crowd minutes later, anyway, so there was no sense mooning over her.
So moon over her was exactly what he did for the rest of the evening, even through all the other ladies’ numbers. The pigtailed waitress turned out to be Pokey Samuelsson, whose singing voice was sweet and childish as she begged the audience to help her find her “daddy with that big long slidin’ thing“. A previously unheard trombone accompanied her, and when Bud looked, he could see that it was played by Charlie, the bouncer from earlier. He slid that slide of his back and forth as she gasped with pleasure between verses and grabbed between her legs, much to the delight of the audience. At the end, she bade him up on stage with her and let him dip her in a deep, passionate kiss that nearly brought the house down.
As the evening went on, Bud found himself relaxing more and more — though he couldn’t quite keep the blush from his pale Scandinavian cheeks every time the material got racy. The second glass of whiskey helped, too — or was it the third, or even fourth? He had to confess, he hadn’t been paying that much attention to his glass, except to notice that no matter how much he’d had, it’d never gone dry. Either way, that certainly wasn’t helping keep the red flush from his face. How would he explain to his shipmates where he’d been, when he showed up blotto like this? Maybe the folks at the bar would let him sleep it off there, and he could hitch a ride back in the morning, making up some story about getting stranded.
Every time he thought about going back, though, he took another drink. There was nothing wrong with serving at sea, of course. It was noble and patriotic and all the other things they told boys like him as they shipped out. It would build character and make a man out of him. Everybody wanted to make a man out of him, as if somehow, despite his broad body, they could tell that whatever he was, it wasn’t enough. It was never enough.
By the time Leo came out one last time to thank everyone for being there, Bud had his whole request rehearsed. He’d find Pokey — she’d been so kind to him, after all, that maybe he could impose on that kindness a little more — and bargain to help sweep and wipe tables if they’d just let him spend the night somewhere in the vicinity of the building. Inside would be nice, of course, but if they didn’t trust him in there with all the liquor, then just out under the awning by their front door. In his life, he’d had beds far less hospitable than the shady side of a building.
As it turned out, though, Pokey found him. Bud had just managed to find his feet when he felt a pair of hands encircle his elbow, and he turned to see her beaming up at him. She was made up for the stage, with her eyes lined artificially wide and her eyebrows painted in with two perfect arches, but her smile was genuine. “Enjoy the show?” she asked as the other patrons made their way around them to the door.
“I did,” said Bud, clearing his throat. He hated to ask; he hated to impose at all, especially after all the welcome he’d been shown already. Maybe he could offer to pay them. He didn’t have much, barely enough to cover his bar tab, but perhaps it would be enough. “Could I–“
“Come on!” Pokey said, tugging him toward a heavy black curtain marked with a handwritten ‘EMPLOYEES ONLY’ sign. “Said I’d show you around, didn’t I?”
He supposed she had. “All right,” Bud said, letting himself be led back.
“You’re a pretty handsome fellow, you know that?” Pokey asked as they walk. “Got that good, strong jaw I like in a man.” Bud didn’t know what to say, so he stammered a few syllables, making Pokey giggle some more. “And I bet you fuck like a beast.”
That made Bud trip over some invisible obstacle, and Pokey just laughed and laughed. “Um,” he said, not sure what to tell her about his sexual experiences, or general lack thereof.
“But the headliner gets first dibs,” Pokey said with an audible sigh in her voice, and before Bud could let the meaning of that sentence process all the way, they had turned the corner into a dressing room that contained several racks of clothes, a wide mirror covered with bare light bulbs, and Mr. Suzanne Smith herself, caught in the act of peeling her gloves off her long, freckled arms. Pokey shoved him forward. “See there, Suzy? I didn’t let him get away.”
Bud supposed he had resigned himself to the cold, removed demeanor of a true goddess, someone so far above mortals she barely had the time to notice them, much less take on the burden of interacting. When Suzanne smiled at him, though, there was no affectation in that warmth. “Thank you, darling,” she said, blowing Pokey a kiss before reaching out to take Bud’s hands. “So this is our handsome guest.”
Unable to look her in the eye, Bud stared down at their feet. Hers were still in those incredible red pumps, which were stacked enough to make her almost as tall as he was; he’d worn his fanciest shoes, but next to hers, they seemed dull and decrepit. “I, ah,” he stammered, trying to work together words to convey even a tenth of what he was feeling here, “I liked the show.”
“I could tell,” Suzanne said as she squeezed his hands. “I know that look.”
“What look?” asked Bud.
Suzanne tapped Bud’s nose with one red-manicured fingertip. “The look of a man who’s found the answer to a question he didn’t know he was asking. Will you come sit with me for a minute?”
Bud swallowed hard as he nodded and let himself be led to a little sofa in the corner of the small room, half-hidden by one of the racks of clothes. He cringed as he heard the springs creak under his weight, but Suzanne just smiled and let one of her legs drape over both Bud’s knees.
“A lot of men want to be with me,” Suzanne began, “and I hope you won’t take it as vain that I say so. It’s just the nature of the business, and the role. And I’m not too proud to say there’ve been times where if that hadn’t been true, I wouldn’t have eaten, if you know what I’m saying.”
Though he had no experience with such things himself, Bud nodded.
Suzanne smiled and leaned in closer. “And you want me. You’d love to have me right here on the couch, wouldn’t you? Don’t be ashamed, you don’t have to deny it. You don’t have to deny wanting anything here. You’d love me to bend over while you gave me all you’ve got and more.”
For the second time in as many hours, Bud found himself unable to breathe, much less speak. He didn’t need to, though; he’d spent the whole evening no less than half-hard, and now, with Suzanne this close to him, he was afraid his cock was about to split open the front of his trousers. He may not have known exactly what he wanted to do, but he knew he wanted it so much his hands were shaking.
With a grin, Suzanne leaned closer and put her hand right over the bulge in his trousers, giving him an appreciative squeeze. “Oh, yes,” she moaned in her husky voice, “I’d let you give me all of that. Is that what you were thinking about when I was on stage?” Still grinning, she shifted her position so she was straddling his thighs, hiking up that silver dress until almost all of her long legs were bared. “Thinking about getting me over and putting that sugar in my bowl?” She squeezed his cock again as she wriggled on his lap. “And you’re not the kind of man who’d ignore my little something special, no. You’d give all of me the attention I deserve.”
He wanted to tell her to stop — not that it wasn’t good, but that it was too good, and if she kept moving against him and talking like that, he couldn’t be held responsible for what happened next. But she didn’t stop, and he didn’t want her to. He gasped as she pushed her hand against his throbbing erection, trying to bite back noises he was only half-aware he was making. Then he was coming inside his pants, shooting his whole wad without taking off even a stitch of clothing first, torn between the sting of embarrassment and the amazing feeling of release. He’d been with girls before, sure, but none of them had ever made him feel like this.
Suzanne laughed and bent down to kiss him, and he reached for her, wrapping his arms around her. The whiskey was immaterial; he was drunk on her, intoxicated by the sheer ability to touch her. He ran his hands up and down her sequined back, making her laugh and writhe as he learned the curves of her body. She was an impossible creature on so many levels, and yes, he wanted every inch of her.
“And if that’s all you’d wanted, you could have had it, and I’d’ve sent you home a happy man,” Suzanne said against Bud’s mouth. “But like I said, I know that look.”
“What look?” asked Bud, his voice barely more than a whisper.
Suzanne smiled and stroked his chest. “The one that says, you don’t know whether you want to tear me out of my panties, or put them on yourself.”
It was a good thing, Bud would realize later, that her whole weight was on him, because otherwise he might have bolted right there, just gone sprinting off into the night without direction or purpose, just knowing that he had to get out of there. He couldn’t even have sworn which way town was, or if he’d had the stamina to make it back even to the edges of civilization; he would just have run the same way he’d been running for years. But with Suzanne astride his lap and her hands flat on his chest, all he could do was freeze in panic, like a hunted deer hoping that if it stood motionless for long enough, it might become invisible.
Suzanne could see him, though, couldn’t she? She’d seen him from stage, and she could see him right now. There was no foliage for camouflage, no way to put on his uniform and pretend to be one of the real men. Bud’s heart pounded with the irrational fear that he might now be in danger, that she or someone else might use this knowledge to hurt him. It was a ridiculous thought, surrounded as he was by the trappings of female impersonators of distinction, but he couldn’t shake it.
For her own part, though, Suzanne stayed quiet and let his initial wave of panic pass before she leaned down and kissed him again. Somehow, this touch was less passionate and more compassionate, a kiss of understanding. When she drew away, she leaned aside and let him see himself in the mirror behind her. He looked the same as he had before, of course, only now his mouth was smeared red with her lipstick. He brought a hand to his face in wonder and watched as his reflection did the same time.
“Do you want to be a woman?” asked Suzanne, with no weight to the inquiry. Any answer would be the correct one.
Bud swallowed once, twice. He looked at his burly frame and regulation-short haircut in the mirror, then marveled at the contrast between that and the artificial darkening of his lips. After a long moment, he shook his head and sighed. “I don’t know what I want to be.”
Suzanne outright beamed at him. “Then you’ve come to the right place,” she said, slipping off his lap and standing. She took his hands and pulled him to his feet. “Come on, up with you.”
Bud obeyed, wavering unsteadily. The semen in his underpants was starting to become unpleasantly cold and sticky, and he wondered how long it would be before it seeped through his trousers, or how he would explain that.
But Suzanne was already ahead of the problem. “Strip,” she ordered as she turned back to her mirror.
Bud again did as he was told, already realizing that things just plain went easier when he let Suzanne take control. He set his clothes aside, laying them flat over the arm of the sofa, until he was as bare as the day he’d been born. By the time he was done, Suzanne was back with a wet cloth in one hand. She wiped it across his face, clearing up the lipstick she’d smeared there with the kiss, then opened her mouth in a loose ah shape. “Like this,” she said, demonstrating again.
Bud realized that he was meant to imitate this, so he did, letting his mouth fall open. As he did, Suzanne produced a bright red tube of lipstick from her other hand and twisted the tip out. He remained as still as he could while she painted his lips, his heart pounding with so many emotions he couldn’t name or separate them all. At last, her handiwork finished, she stepped back and turned him so he could see himself more clearly in the mirror.
He had lovely lips, which was something he’d never known about himself before this moment. Some of the other performers, including Suzanne herself, had to paint outside the proverbial lines to get the classically feminine shape to their mouths, but she had only colored inside the lines God had given him. He couldn’t help looking beyond that work, though, and he felt his shoulders sag as he took in the full weight of the contrast. He had broad shoulders and a broad chest, a rectangle that could never be made into an hourglass. “I don’t,” he began, frowning at his reflection.
Suzanne stepped up behind him and rested her chin on his shoulder in a companionable gesture. “Don’t what?”
“Look like … you,” Bud finished at last. “Not just like you. Like any of you.”
Suzanne laughed and ruffled his hair. “First things first, I don’t look like me.” She gestured up and down her body, still curvy and perfect beneath her silver dress. “I get here minimum three hours before the show every night. Not even Marilyn Monroe rolls out of bed looking like Marilyn Monroe. And second,” she continued, raising a finger to shush him, “this is a costume. What’s real is far more complicated.”
Bud wasn’t honestly sure he understood all of that, but if she wasn’t bothered by the confluence of his painted lips and his hairy chest, then maybe he didn’t have to be either. He flexed his hands into fists and released them, trying to get the rest of his body to relax as well. He focused instead on his face in the mirror again. Maybe he still didn’t know what he wanted, but this was a good start.
Suzanne stroked Bud’s cheek. “Can I do a little more?”
“Okay,” said Bud, who shut his eyes and allowed her to put on eyeliner and a deep purple shadow, then tease out his lashes with thick black mascara. When she was done, he certainly didn’t magically look like a woman, but he didn’t look half-bad, either. In fact, he looked downright good.
He heard the sound of the doorknob and turned to see Suzanne opening the room’s door wide. Charlie and Pokey stood behind it, both of them grinning away. Bud felt like he should cover up, but he only had so many hands, and he didn’t know if he should go to shielding his face or his genitals. So instead, he took the middle ground and did neither, leaving his hands by his side as Suzanne admitted the couple into the dressing room and shut the door behind them. It had been a small room already with two people in it, but with four, it was downright cozy.
“Wow,” Pokey said, sounding honestly impressed. She turned to Suzanne. “So does he fuck like a beast?”
Bud’s cheeks turned red enough to match his lips, but Suzanne just laughed. “I have high hopes,” she said. She walked over and let Charlie put his arm around her waist the same way his other draped over Pokey’s shoulders. “But right now, I’m more interested in how pretty he looks just like this.”
“Oh, he’s real pretty,” Charlie said, looking at Bud with a leering grin that made Bud’s cock jerk back to life again. “Do you mind?”
“Be my guest,” Suzanne said, gesturing in Bud’s direction.
With a confident smirk, Charlie stepped forward, closing the difference between him and Bud. Bud had always hated men like this, cocky sons-of-bitches who usually wanted nothing more than to take everyone around them down several pegs. He’d learned to mistrust and even fear the violence inherent in their attitudes. But even he had to admit, it was something very different when that arrogance was looking at you and licking its chops.
“Yeah, you’re a pretty girl, aren’t you?” growled Charlie as he reached his hand around to cup the back of Bud’s head. Heart pounding, Bud let him be drawn closer to Charlie’s body, with only Charlie’s clothes between them. “What a good girl with a pretty little mouth. I bet you suck cock real good, don’t you?”
Bud had no idea how he sucked cock, honestly, as he’d never had the opportunity. He’d thought about it before, of course, though all his fantasies had teetered on the brink of excitement and disgust, unable to decide which side he’d fall on. Now, though, the thought of having Charlie’s cock in his mouth made his head swim.
“You want to show the other girls what a good job you do?” asked Charlie. “Get on your knees and show me how you treat a real man.”
True, the idea of being a real man, whatever that was, had never been appealing to Bud, not really. But the idea of sucking one off? That, he could do. He sank to his knees and undid Charlie’s fly with trembling fingers, gasping as the last button came undone and Charlie’s cock flopped out. It was circumcised and thick, and the sight of it made Bud’s mouth water. He opened his lips wide, just like he’d done to let Suzanne paint them, and took the head of Charlie’s cock in just behind his teeth. He licked at the slit with his tongue, tasting a saltiness that just whetted his appetite for more. When he closed his lips around the shaft, he heard Charlie groan, which he figured meant he was doing something right.
Pokey came over to kneel next to him, pressing her breasts up against his back — and it was then Bud realized that whatever he’d thought of her undergarments before, her perky little breasts were very much real. It seemed he didn’t have this all figured out at all, not by half, but in a way, that was comforting too. “Relax,” Pokey said, petting Bud’s throat. “Do you like how he tastes?”
As much as he could with a cock in his mouth, Bud nodded. Looking down at both of them, Charlie smirked. “You know, he sucks cock almost as well as you do,” he told Pokey.
Pokey stuck her tongue out, then nudged Bud aside. As he sat back on his knees, Bud watched as Pokey took Charlie’s cock deep into her throat and held it there for a few seconds, then pulled back, gasping for air. From over his shoulder, Bud heard Suzanne chuckle. “You better take that back,” Suzanne teased Charlie, “or you’re going to be sleeping on the couch tonight.”
“Nah,” Charlie said as he tugged at one of Pokey’s ponytails. “I know just what my girl needs to get me back in her good graces. She can’t get enough of Ol’ Charlie.”
Pokey rolled her eyes as she nudged Bud back forward, encouraging him to take the position she’d just vacated — if not at quite such a depth. “He’s an asshole,” she told Bud, looking up at Charlie as he did. “But God, is he good in bed. I’ve got his dick in me every night, so I don’t mind a little sharing. Just remember to send him home when you’re done with him. You want to see what he looks like when he fucks me?”
Bud nodded again, eagerly. That was something else he’d thought about before, and again, he hadn’t known whether to feel an attraction or a repulsion. Faced with the opportunity to get a closer look, though, he could only say yes eagerly.
Pokey kissed his cheek and stood. “Then suck him good and hard, and get him ready for me.” She reached for a tube on Suzanne’s dresser, then dropped her shorts and underwear so that Bud could see her backside was all her own. Pouring a little clear oil onto her fingers, she reached around behind her to lube up her asshole, then bent over the couch where Suzanne had straddled Bud. “He got you all ready?” she asked, turning back over her shoulder.
“Just a sec,” Charlie said, pulling his dick out of Bud’s mouth. He grabbed Bud’s shoulder and pulled him to his feet, then kissed him hard in a way that was completely unlike the way Suzanne had kissed him, but made him feel the same dizzy euphoria. “You’ve got a pretty mouth,” Charlie said against Bud’s lips, at a volume low enough that Bud didn’t figure the others could hear. “I’ll fuck you as a man and I’ll fuck you as a girl. Whichever one you like, I like you both ways. You just come to me whenever you’re ready, little Rosebud, and I’ll give it to you good.”
“Yes,” Bud whimpered as he leaned into Charlie’s embrace. “Please.”
Charlie chuckled and kissed him again. “Don’t worry. Good things come to those who wait.” He reached down and squeezed Bud’s ass, then let go of him with such suddenness, Bud might’ve fallen down had Suzanne not been there to draw him into her embrace. Charlie had other things on his mind, though. He crossed the length of the dressing room in a single stride and slid his hard, spit-slicked cock right into Pokey’s ass with a slamming thrust. Pokey yowled and arched her back, but even so, Bud could tell it was a good noise. Charlie grabbed her hips and started pounding away, while Pokey shamelessly gasped and cried out loud enough to be heard beyond the dressing room’s door. If anyone out there had any doubt about what was going on inside here, they were probably deaf anyway.
The door swing open again, revealing the short yet imposing figure of Leo. “What the fuck is going on in here?” asked Leo, though the grin on his face told that he wasn’t exactly disapproving. He was out of his suit, wearing instead a white t-shirt that revealed the contours of two surprisingly large breasts, which had been about the last things Bud had expected to see under there. “Who told you you could use my dressing rooms like this?”
Without losing a beat, Charlie looked over his shoulder. “Your pussy want some? Get in line.”
“My pussy doesn’t need a dick like you,” Leo snapped, rolling his eyes.
Charlie cackled. “That’s not what you said night before last!”
Leo made a perfect disgusted sound, then turned to Bud. “Pay’s $50 a week. $60 if you can keep this asshole from slipping it to everyone on staff.”
“Pay?” asked Bud, who was standing completely naked and covered in smeared makeup, backstage at an establishment he’d only visited once in a city he’d never been to before, knowing that in a few hours, his shipmates were going to rise for roll call and wonder where the hell he was. “For … singing?”
“No!” Leo scoffed. “Well, I don’t know. Can you sing?”
“Play an instrument?”
Bud shook his head.
“Well, you’re big, so that’ll have to do for a start.” Leo sized Bud up, then shook his head. “Maybe you’ve got other undiscovered talents. We’ll figure those out as you go. Cot’s in the back, unless you’ve got a place of your own?”
His whole life long, Bud had never had what he’d been able to think of as a place of his own. Now, however, he was starting to. He’d never liked the life he was leaving behind, after all. They’d come looking for him, but not too hard, and certainly not in a place like this. He’d never had many personal possessions to begin with, and none of those were truly irreplaceable. His parents had enough children and now even grandchildren running around their struggling farm not to worry too much about an odd one gone missing. “Okay,” he said, with all the ease of stepping off a thousand-foot cliff. All that was left was to let gravity take him the rest of the way down.
“Great.” Leo smiled at him and gave him a thumbs-up, then looked over at Charlie and Pokey, who were fucking with theatrical intensity and volume. “Shut the fuck up!” he shouted at them, which just made Pokey moan harder. “Look,” he said, turning back to Bud, “if all you do is keep him too busy fucking you to make this godforsaken racket, I will consider this hire a success.” And with that, he shut the door and left them to it.
Bud looked at Suzanne, who shrugged and kissed his shoulder. “I think you’re going to fit right in here.”
“How do–” Bud looked around, at Charlie, at Pokey, at Suzanne, at the dressing room, at his own reflection. “Why? Why me?”
Suzanne laughed. “Because I had that same look to me twenty years ago, and somebody else saved my life by seeing it on my face.” She squeezed her arms tight around his waist, then reached for a light blue robe hanging on a nearby hook and draped it around his shoulders. The sides just barely closed together around his much larger frame, but modesty had never been much of a concern for Bud, and he didn’t see the need to start now. “Are you hungry? Because we can go get a sandwich and come back, and these two will still be fucking like rabbits. You won’t miss anything, I promise.”
It was a completely absurd suggestion that made perfect sense, and if he didn’t have to be embarrassed about wanting sex, then he surely didn’t have to be embarrassed about being hungry. “Yes, please,” Bud said, taking Suzanne’s hand. She twined their fingers together and led him out of the dressing room and into what was in the process of becoming his new life.