Deadly Scorpions Ate My Shirt!

A desert adventure by Igirisujin
illustrated by quaedam


Jimmy Olsen slapped his tattered passport on the table and pointed to the first page. It’s a long shot, he thought, but it might just work.

“Do you know what this says?” he asked.

Seid Suhail shook his head. Smoke eddied around his furrowed brow and collected in a thick layer beneath the trading post’s low ceiling. He bent over to examine the dog-eared page with a sceptical expression.

“It says that Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.” He smiled and pushed the passport towards Seid Suhail. It was lucky for him that the Arab trader had no way of knowing that Olsen was in the Sahara without the embassy’s knowledge or consent. “Assistance, Seid Suhail, and protection. Keid is still a British province. That means you have to help.”

The Arab trader looked at Olsen like he was crazy. “You can pass,” he said. “That’s not the problem. But nobody will go with you. There are no maps of that region. No man has ever entered Eram and come out alive. It is very bad luck.”

“How do you know the ruins are there,” asked Olsen with a grin, “if nobody’s ever returned?”

Seid Suhail sighed. “There are some things only the English need to be told,” he said grimly. “There is nothing in Eram worth seeing. You will only die, and then there will be an enquiry, and men with guns will come from the city and accuse us of murdering you for your money. I would not go there for a kingdom.” He took a long drag on his hookah and spat out the fumes. “And neither should you.”

Olsen took the passport back. “There won’t be an enquiry,” he said quietly.

“Even so,” replied Seid Suhail. “Why do you want to go there, anyhow?”

Olsen only shook his head. He had spent his life exploring, and it was the only trade that he had not yet tired of. He had travelled half of Africa, and traded for diamonds in the shadows of the mountains of the Moon. He had dived on wrecks for gold, hunted man-eating leopards through the dusty streets of Indian towns and captured rare animals in the South American jungles. But the world was smaller, these days, and he’d found himself hunting for the few corners left unmapped. An Oxford archaeologist had paid him good money to find the lost city’s location. It had given Jimmy an excuse to head into the desert once again. He relished the challenge.

They sat in silence for a while. Olsen shifted his weight uneasily as the old scar on his knee, the one where the Gold Coast shark had gouged him, began to throb.

“I could talk directly to the guides.” he said.

“As you wish.” said Seid Suhail. “But they won’t go no matter how much money you offer. Two men tried last year and they were never heard of again. Nobody has returned from that desert alive.”

Olsen tucked his passport back into his pocket. “There must be somebody in Keid crazy enough to guide me,” he said. “And if you can’t help me, I’ll just go alone.”

“Then you will die.”

“Then I’ll die.”

Seid Suhail frowned. Jimmy Olsen held his breath.

“The authorities in Cairo won’t be happy to hear of a dead Englishman,” he said.

In truth, he doubted that the Cairo embassy would ever hear of his death, and even if they did they wouldn’t care two bits. But the prospect appeared to worry Seid Suhail far more than it worried Olsen, and Olsen was well used to wielding any weapon at his disposal.

Seid Suhail shook his head. “I am sorry,” he said. “I can’t help you.”

Olsen shrugged. “I guess I’ll leave,” he said. “After all, I’ll have to get up pretty early tomorrow.” He massaged his injured knee with the palm of his left hand, wincing as muscles tensed beneath his fingers. “Suppose you just forget about it.”

“There is one man,” Seid Suhail said reluctantly.

Olsen smiled.

“He’s not a guide. He’s a foreigner like you. American, I think. But he may have maps.”

“An American?” Olsen asked suspiciously. “Here? Is he a spy?”

“An aviator,” Seid Suhail said. “His plane has broken down. He’s waiting here for parts.”

Jimmy Olsen shrugged. If a desert guide could not be found, good maps were the next best thing. He swatted away a coil of smoke from Seid Suhail’s hookah and asked “Where can I find this aviator?”

Seid Suhail scrawled an address in pencil upon a scrap of parchment and pushed it towards Olsen. “Here,” he said. “But don’t say that I didn’t warn you.”

“I won’t.” Jimmy said. He took the paper and headed straight for the aviator’s house, but the landlord shook his head.

“Try the airfield,” he suggested.

Jimmy limped off to try the airfield.

The airport, like most things in Keid, was a strip of dusty sand. A battered aeroplane painted in peeling desert camouflage stood at one side of the runway. A cargo net had been draped over one wing to fashion a makeshift tent. Olsen walked over to the tent and cleared his throat. “Hello?”

The plane smelt of grease and hot metal. Even Olsen, who was by no means a pilot, could see that she was in pretty poor shape. He ran his hands over one battered panel, noting the unmistakable scars of bullet holes, and jerked his hand away as a man ducked under the plane’s wing.

“Nice to see a friendly face, all the way out here,” the aviator said as he straightened. “My name’s Memphis. Johnny Memphis, at your service.” He thumped the perforated panels of the plane with affection and held out a grease-stained hand. “And this is Kittyhawk.”

Jimmy shook it. “Jimmy Olsen,” he introduced himself as Memphis wiped his hands upon an oil-streaked rag. “At yours.”

Johnny Memphis was shorter than Olsen. Most people were. He wore tattered engineers’ overalls that, like his plane, had seen better days. But there was no fault with his hospitality. He pulled up a discarded crate to serve as a chair and offered Olsen a drink from a canteen that tasted faintly of oil before listening politely to Jimmy’s explanation.

When Jimmy was done, he shook his head.

“Can’t be done,” he said. “Those maps are my ticket out of here.”

Olsen frowned. “I can pay.”

Memphis shook his head again and stubbed his cigarette out in the sand. He chain-smoked incessantly, smoking each one cigarette down to the filter before lighting a fresh one from its stub. He handled the cigarette and lighter with surprising grace, flexing long-fingered hands that would have looked more at home on an artist than a mechanic. His skin was bronzed like Jimmy’s from years of desert travel, although from his features Jimmy had a feeling that the darkness of Memphis’ skin owed more to genetics than exposure to the sun.

illustrated by quaedam

“I can’t leave without my charts,” he said. “They’re worth more than your English pounds to me.”

“I’ll bring them back.” Olsen said.

Johnny Memphis shook his head. “From the sound of things, you might not come back,” he said. “And then I’m stuck.”

“Come with me,” Olsen said impulsively.

Memphis frowned. He took a deep drag on his cigarette and tipped his head back, clearly savouring the nicotine. “Are you serious?” he said as he exhaled through his teeth.

Olsen nodded. “I need to get to that city, Mister Memphis,” he said, helping himself to one of the aviator’s cigarettes. “Seems like you’re the only one who can help me.”

“Just Johnny,” Johnny Memphis said. He took an enamelled lighter from the pocket of his overalls and flicked the cap open, leaning in close to light Olsen’s cigarette. “How much are you paying?”

Jimmy inhaled. “Thanks for the smoke,” he said, and named a sum.

“Don’t mention it.” Memphis said, watching Olsen speculatively through eyes half-hooded against the sun. “Buy me a few parts, you’ve got yourself a deal. When do we leave?”

“Tomorrow,” Olsen told him.

Johnny Memphis leaned back against the plane’s perished rubber tyres. “Suits me. This girl’s not going anywhere.” He reached back and ran an affectionate hand along the struts of the Kittyhawk. “A little desert adventure should help to break up the day. There’s just one thing-”

Olsen sighed. “Don’t tell me that you’ve already changed your mind.”

Memphis shook his head. “No chance. But I just need to check. There’s not much wildlife around here, is there?”

Olsen frowned. “This is the desert,” he said. “It’s famous for having nothing.” He ran through a mental list of all the animals he had seen since entering the Sahara. It was not a long list. “There may be some camels.”

“I’m okay with camels,” said Johnny Memphis.

“Why?” asked Olsen.

“Me and mother nature don’t get on,” Memphis said. There was a grim, haunted look on his face that puzzled Jimmy Olsen, but he had long since learned that most men in wild places were running from something, and didn’t think it fit to inquire.

“Eram is a ruin,” he said. “There’s nothing there but a bunch of tumbled stones. Maybe some inscriptions. But that’s all.”

Johnny Memphis grinned. “Sounds like an interesting place,” he said. “All right, Olsen. Let’s do it. Let’s find some real adventure.”

They set out at dawn in Jimmy’s tattered Jeep. The car ground its way across the gravel plains with a slow and inexorable certainty. They left the city behind within the hour. Its low-rise mud brick buildings melted seamlessly into the plains beneath the vast and empty desert sky.

Jimmy Olsen drove, hands sweating on the narrow rim of the steering wheel. Johnny Memphis lounged back in the seat beside him with both feet on the dashboard and recited bearings from his charts.

To Olsen’s surprise, the aviator was a good companion. He had an almost-inexhaustible store of dirty jokes to match his supply of cigarettes. Olsen had warmed to him down at the airfield, but now he was starting to downright like the man.

He watched as Memphis bent his head and tried to light his cigarette–no easy task in the front seat of a breezy, jolting car. Memphis’ eyes narrowed as ash fell into his lap, and he scowled at the flame like it had personally offended him. There were crows’ feet in the corners of his eyes that made Olsen review his estimate of the aviator’s age by a few years.

He crunched the gears down to second and thought about sliding his hand onto Johnny Memphis’s knee and pretending that he had missed the gear lever. He wasn’t sure if the aviator would welcome the contact, but he had learned from experience that a few months in the wilderness could have the straightest man considering an alternative lifestyle.

Better not, he thought as Memphis finally lit his cigarette. The aviator gave Olsen a sidelong glance and Jimmy Olsen wondered if he’d caught Olsen studying his face.

“Want one?”

Olsen shook his head. “Are you sure we’re on the right track here?”

Johnny Memphis nodded. “Positive,” he said. “My maps never lie.” He swapped his cigarette from one hand to another and flicked ash out of the Jeep’s open side. “Some place, this.”

“It’s beautiful,” Olsen said. He knew that the desert was not everyone’s taste, with its sandy scrub and cloudless blue sky. “Look at those mountains.”

He nodded to a low crest of hills some distance away. The sandstone rocks had been sculpted into fantastic shapes. It was a sight, Olsen thought, that would rival Arizona’s Grand Canyon, and it meant all the more to him because so few people had seen it.

Johnny Memphis looked at the hills and whistled. “Yeah, beautiful. But I’d rather see it from the seat of my plane. You fly?”

“Once or twice,” Olsen said, and told Memphis a story about hunting rogue lions in the Serengeti wastes.

Johnny Memphis laughed in all the right places, and when the tale was done he said “You really have been everywhere, haven’t you?”

“I’ve done my time,” Jimmy Olsen said. He squinted in the setting sun. “Speaking of time, we should really make camp for the night. We’re doing well, but it’s easy to lose your way out here in the dark. It’d be a shame to miss our target now.”

Johnny Memphis cast a doubtful look at the sandy wastes. “It’s your call, Olsen,” he said. “I guess you know what you’re doing.”

“Trust me,” Olsen said. “I’ve camped in places much worse than this. We’ve got petrol, spare tyres, and plenty of water.” He spun the wheel and brought the Jeep to a halt beside a patch of thorny scrub. “Those bushes will make good firewood.”

“Whatever you say,” Johnny Memphis looked doubtful. “I’m sleeping in the truck.”

“You’ll find the sand more comfortable than you think,” Olsen said. He pulled the handbrake on and went around the back of the Jeep to loosen the straps that secured its canvas cover. He lifted down an axe, three jerry-cans of petrol, and a couple of rough woollen blankets. “Help me light a fire.”

Memphis shook his head. But he dug a fire-pit in the stony ground and helped Olsen collect enough wood for a real blaze. By the time the sun had dipped below the horizon the wood had crumbled down to coals and the flames were tinged with blue light. Jimmy Olsen held his hand above the blaze and jerked it back after a second. He brushed at his arm where the fine blond hairs had crisped in the heat.

“I think it’s hot enough.”

Johnny Memphis crouched in the passenger seat with his legs dangling over the side of the truck and his blanket wrapped around him like a poncho. “I’d say so.” He looked up at the cloudless desert sky as Jimmy Olsen pulled a package of dried meat from the trunk.”It’s colder here than I expected.”

Olsen shrugged. “It’d be warmer,” he said, “if you’d come nearer the fire.”

Memphis glanced at their surroundings and pulled a fold of the poncho over his head. “I prefer it here.”

Olsen shrugged and handed him the food. Johnny Memphis did not come down off the car seat. Olsen wondered if he had somehow managed to offend the aviator. It was certainly possible that Johnny Memphis had worked out the meaning behind Olsen’s close observations in the Jeep that day. But as he passed Memphis the food the pilot’s hand lingered upon Jimmy’s a little longer than it should have in a way that made him doubt that was the case.

“What are you afraid of?”

“Things,” Memphis said darkly.

Olsen waved a hand around them. The sky was clear as glass. The Milky Way streaked above their heads like a path of sprinkled sugar. “There’s nothing here but stars.” He stretched luxuriously flopped onto his back. “It makes me wonder why I ever spend my time anywhere else. You do not get this in cities.”

“It makes me wonder why I ever go outside,” Memphis said darkly as he bit into the meat.

“Well, you can’t get more outside than this,” Olsen said, wondering as he did so what exactly was the matter.

“Thanks for reminding me,” Memphis said. He finished the meat, wiped his hands upon his grease-stained trousers, and lit another cigarette.

“You should slow down on those cigarettes,” said Olsen. “I’ve heard they’re not good for you.”

Johnny Memphis snorted. “What are you talking about? They’re perfectly good for you.” He took a deep drag, tilted his head back and exhaled pursed his lips in a way that had Jimmy Olsen thinking unthinkable thoughts. “Just what the doctor ordered.”

“I’ve known a few doctors that would disagree,” Olsen said. He sat up and shifted awkwardly on his blanket to hide his arousal. There was no sound apart from the hiss and crackle of the coals. On his trips into the jungle he had often heard small animals moving through the brush, but here there was nothing except for Jimmy and Memphis and the powdered desert sky.

After a while Johnny Memphis tucked his cigarettes into his shirt and wrapped his blanket around his shoulders. “I need to piss,” he said matter-of-factly. “Are you sure it’s safe?”

Olsen nodded. “There’s nothing except us for miles,” he said as Memphis dropped down from the Jeep, scowling at the shadowy surroundings as if an enemy would jump out any minute. “It’s safe.”

“Don’t go anywhere.”

“I’ll be here,” Jimmy Olsen said, wondering even as he said it where the hell Memphis thought he was likely to go. “Don’t lose sight of the campfire.”

“No doubt of that,” Memphis said grimly. He pulled the blanket up around his shoulders and marched off into the darkness. Olsen heard his footsteps scraping along the stony desert, a stream of liquid hitting the ground, and then silence.

He drifted off into a doze, eyes half-slitted, staring at the flames and wondering just what it would take to get Johnny Memphis to join him on a blanket near the campfire.

A scream jolted Olsen from his reverie. “Olsen! For Christ’s sake, Olsen, help!”

Jimmy Olsen leapt from his crouch into startled movement. He took a brand from the fire and easily picked out the silhouette of Johnny Memphis standing very still against the dunes. His trusty Browning semi-automatic was immediately in his hand.

“Memphis!” he called. “What’s up?”

“I need you to come here right now,” Johnny Memphis said through gritted teeth, “and I hope to God you’ve got a gun.”

“Can do.” Olsen made his way across the sandy plain towards Memphis. The aviator was poised in a crouch, shirtless and sweating despite the cold. A huge desert scorpion, its sting raised and pincers spread wide, snaked its way across the gravel towards him.

Olsen took careful aim. “What happened to your shirt?” he asked as he blasted the scorpion into fragments of chitin.

Johnny Memphis inclined his head. “Over there,” he said.

Olsen followed the movement and saw a crumpled ball of cotton lying rolled up in the dirt next to Memphis’ discarded blanket. One sleeve bunched and rolled with movement. Memphis made a strangled sound as a second scorpion scuttled from the empty sleeve.

“It’s like this all the time,” he said as the enormous scorpion scurried towards him.

“You could have warned me,” Olsen said as he sent the insect to oblivion with a single squeeze upon the Browning’s trigger. The cartridge flipped out and landed hissing in the sand.

“I told you I don’t get on with animals,” Memphis said through clenched teeth. He made no move to collect his shirt, so Jimmy Olsen took a second look. It was a good look. The aviator had none of Jimmy’s height or width, but he had a lean and wiry body with graceful limbs and those slim, elegant hands…

“Pass me the torch,” Johnny Memphis said. Jimmy nearly jerked back in surprise as he realised the aviator was nearly touching him. He’d moved closer without Olsen even noticing. “I think I can see movement.”

Jimmy Olsen squinted. As he saw the black tide creeping towards them across the sand, he realised it was nearly already too late.

“Back to the fire!” he shouted, firing into the air and hoping the shot would deter the horde of scuttling scorpions from attacking. As far as he could see, it had no effect whatsoever.

They dashed back towards the campfire. Olsen could see that it was already too late to start the Jeep. He tucked the gun into the waistband of his trousers and ran to the back of the car. Fumbling with the canvas straps, he pulled out a jerry-can of petrol and thrust it into Johnny Memphis’ hands.
“Draw a circle around the camp!” he shouted. “Big enough for us and the Jeep. I’ll hold them off.”

He drew the Browning and hoped to God he had enough bullets left. Taking aim at the multiple glittering eyes that gleamed between the lead scorpion’s spread claws, he fired a fusillade of shots.

“Jesus, Olsen!” Johnny Memphis cried as he began to dribble petrol around the fire. “They’re everywhere!”

Olsen fired at the deadly insects until his magazine was empty. Memphis used the time Jimmy gave him to complete the circle. He took a flaming thorn-branch from the fire and ignited the petrol. Flames blazed up, catching many of the scorpions by surprise and incinerating them immediately. The clicking tide withdrew.

Olsen wondered if their retreat was permanent. He sank down by the fire and dug for another clip in his trouser pockets. Memphis came over to his side, still half-naked. The amber skin of his torso was streaked with ash from the flames.

Olsen nodded. “You keep an eye on that side of the camp,” he said, pointing with the muzzle of the Browning to the one half of the circle that didn’t include the Jeep. “I’ll cover this side. Yell if you see anything.”

Johnny Memphis nodded and settled down in the sand with his back against Olsen’s.

“Why does this happen to you?” Olsen asked him as he fed the magazine into his gun.

Johnny Memphis shrugged. “I have no idea,” he said. “Why do you think I’m out here?”

“I don’t know,” said Jimmy Olsen. “But as I’m out here with you, why don’t you tell me?”

Memphis gave him a long look. “Okay,” he said, “I’ll tell you. When I was a kid we lived in Florida. Mom only figured out something was up when I got attacked by alligators four times before my third birthday. That isn’t normal for a kid.”

Olsen shrugged. “I’ve been to Florida,” he said. “Alligators aren’t that uncommon.”

Johnny Memphis cast a wary eye into the dark. “Right. Four attacks by alligators. Twice by snapping turtles. Twice by feral pigs. And once by a giant otter escaped from some zoo. Coincidence?”

Olsen shook his head. “I don’t think so.”

“Neither did my folks. Luckily enough, my Dad was in the Forces, so we moved around a lot. Only trouble was, he got posted to Alaska.”


“Alaska,” Johnny Memphis said. “Two words. Polar bears. Now, I can tell what you’re thinking-”

“I doubt it,” said Jimmy Olsen. “But go on.”

“Alaska was a bad choice. So we moved to Hawaii, and that was the best of the bunch. It doesn’t seem to work on birds.” He stretched, shivered, and moved a little closer to the fire. “Or fish. Although I was once nearly drowned by a giant clam.”

“A clam?” Olsen asked.

“It closed on my foot.” Memphis rolled up his trouser leg to show a pale ring around one ankle. “Nearly took my leg off.” He was shaking now, and Olsen guessed it was a mix of adrenaline and the cold. He reached into the sand and dug out his own blanket. Shaking the grit off, he handed it to Memphis.

Johnny Memphis took it. “Thanks,” he said. “You’re very relaxed about this.”

“You could say I’ve done this before,” Olsen said. He sighted down the barrel of the pistol at the scuttling darkness and tried not to think about the warmth of Memphis’s body pressing against his back.

Memphis half-laughed. “What, saving some dumbass?”

Olsen shook his head and realised that, back-to-back as they were, Memphis couldn’t see him. “No. I’ve been in my share of hard situations. I used to do this for a job.”

“I thought you were an explorer,” Johnny Memphis said. “That or a spy.”

“Bits,” Olsen told him. “I’ve done some hunting. Worked for zoos, as well. I’m a half-decent surveyor, and I can fake a working knowledge of any kind of archaeology you care to name. Spent a lot of time in deserts. But I’ve never seen any scorpions behave like that.”

Johnny Memphis shifted and suddenly froze. Jimmy Olsen could feel his spine stiffen through the woollen blanket.

“Olsen,” he gasped. “There’s one on me.”

Olsen spun He caught a glimpse of a small dark shadow darting down Johnny Memphis’ leg towards the sand. He knew he was far too close to shoot. Using the barrel of the pistol like a scoop, he flicked the scorpion off into the flames. It hissed as it burned to embers.

“Jesus,” Memphis moaned. “I think it got me.” He shrugged the blanket from his shoulders and brushed his hands down his torso, twisting as he examined every inch of his skin. His hands came to rest on a raised blister on his side, just above his belt. “Here.”

“Let me look.” Olsen came over to his side and knelt down. Memphis’s skin was flushed red around the bite, and he could see a small welt marking the centre of the wound like a dartboard. He brushed his index finger carefully over the wound. Memphis’s skin was taut and soft over hand-raised muscle. He realised that the aviator probably thought himself about to die and withdrew his hand, the pads of his fingers burning with the memory of sensation. “You’ll be fine.”

“Aren’t they deadly?” Memphis stared disbelievingly at Olsen.

Olsen shook his head. “Not just one. The large scorpions are relatively harmless. The smaller critters are the ones you should watch out for. You’ll be feverish for a day or too. Maybe a little bit light-headed. But you’ll be fine.”

Johnny Memphis slid the waistband of his trousers an inch further towards his hips as Olsen leant over him. “So we never were in any danger?” he asked as he examined the bite more carefully.

“I wouldn’t put it like that,” Olsen said. “I’ve never seen so many scorpions attack together.” He cast a grateful glance towards their fiery barrier. “But it seems that they don’t like the flames. I think we’ve had it for now.” He looked down at Memphis and paused as he realised the aviator was leaning towards him. There was a definite bulge in the crotch of his trousers.

Olsen caught his breath. The desert around them was very still. Johnny Memphis watched him with a mixture of arousal, guilt and fear.

Jimmy Olsen swallowed. “Is that a gun in your pants,” he asked softly, “or are you just very pleased to see me?”

A disbelieving smile spread across Johnny Memphis’s face. “That is such a cliché,” he said as he reached up and ran his hand across Olsen’s ass.

“Clichés are there for a reason,” Olsen growled. He leant forwards, taking most of his weight upon his elbows, and kissed Johnny Memphis’ mouth. He tasted sweat upon chapped lips, and went deeper.

After he pulled back Memphis looked up at him with dark eyes and asked, “So you think I’ll live, doc? Because that was a pretty poor attempt at mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, if you ask me.”

“There’s only one way to be sure,” Olsen told him. He raised himself on hands and knees and slid down Johnny Memphis’s body. He ran light fingers along the ridges of Memphis’s collarbones, down the hollow in his throat, and around the curve of one pectoral to the hollowed planes of his abdomen. When his hands found the welt left by the scorpion’s sting, he lowered his mouth to the wound and sucked.

Memphis gasped and arched under him, his body tensing. His erection pressed against Olsen’s shoulder as Memphis used one hand to push his own pants down around his hips. It was a short stretch for Olsen to move his mouth half an inch, from the wound to the tip of Johnny Memphis’ cock.

Maybe, Olsen thought as he sucked, he’d found the reason why half the world’s wildlife was out to get the aviator. Johnny Memphis tasted good. Like smoke and dirty cream.

He sucked until his jaw ached and until Memphis’s breath was coming in deep, hard gasps that shook his body and drove his hips up into Jimmy Olsen’s mouth. The aviator’s hand clenched in the desert sand beside Olsen’s head.

“You don’t–” he gasped.

Olsen shook his head and went right on going. The ache in his jaw was passing from pleasurable to the edge of pain when Memphis shuddered, gasped, “Fuck,” just once and came in Olsen’s mouth.

Olsen swallowed and rolled off. He spat into the ashes of the fire and looked around, expecting the camp to be overrun by insects following their moments of inattention. But there were no scorpions to be seen. Dawn already tinted the sandstone massifs around them. He looked back at Johnny Memphis just as the aviator wriggled back into his pants.

“What about you?”

Olsen shook his head. “Later,” he said. Eram was waiting for them, and Jimmy Olsen had always been one for the slow burn. Besides, the thought of sitting next to Johnny Memphis all day, thinking all the time about exactly what he could do to that slim, lithe body was going to be nearly as good as the sex itself.

Johnny Memphis got up. “Suit yourself,” he said and looked at Jimmy Olsen through his lashes. “Thanks for saving my life. I’ve never seen any sort of bite treated like that before.”

“I’m not surprised,” Olsen said, grinning. “It’s an ancient technique I learned on my travels. From the mystical Monarchate of Dhamsawy.”

Johnny Memphis stretched. “I shall have to visit the Monarchate of Dhamsawy,” he said. “But when we do, we’re taking my plane.”

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