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Risky Business by Jerry Cole (1)

Chapter One

I am filled with such a wellspring of bliss that I can’t even understand myself. In the next room over from where I lay on the daybed (we hardly ever sleep in the actual bedroom), I can hear the sound of the water falling and hitting the tiled floor of the shower.

It’s early, almost too early to be appropriately deemed “morning”, but just on the cusp of the streetlights blinking out in anticipation of the morning sun starting to rise.

He enters the room, wearing only a pair of what would be workout shorts if he were the type to go to the gym. He doesn’t though; he doesn’t have the time. It doesn’t matter because the amount of activity he puts into everything (walking around, playing recreational sports and just… fidgeting) keeps him in pretty good shape. His long hair is rendered darker and still dripping with water.

He laughs.

“Sorry,” he says. “I woke up before you and didn’t feel right. I just had to take a shower.”

“It’s no problem,” I say.

I’m trying to play it cool, but the mere thought of the water coursing down his naturally well-built body makes me a little stiff and that’s not something I say casually. Until I met him, I could have sworn that I would never be the sort to lose control over myself when faced with such carnal prospects.

“Are you trying to seduce me?” I ask as he swaggers over to where I lay on the daybed.

He laughs.

“Honestly,” he said. “I just really needed to take a shower.”

“Then why do you have to look so good afterwards?” I ask.

We’ve established this sort of repertoire. It’s engaging and comfortable to be sure, but it also helps us distance ourselves from the painful truth. The fact is, the two of us, what we have going on, has an expiration date.

Don’t panic. Nobody’s dying. It’s not anything as dramatic as all that, although I’m sure there are some drama mamas who would be all about that sort of tragic love story.

Oh. I just used the word “love”. Didn’t I? That’s no good. I’m going to have to suppress that one.

But he’s sitting so close! I can’t help myself. I lick my lips. He reads the signals right and leans in for a kiss.

This wasn’t how I had intended for things to go; I was just in town for a job and when he showed up, I thought I had just made a friend. I thought he’d be someone to while away the hours that I did not spend working, so that I’d have some comfort living in this place I hate so much!

Even though we have already spent more nights on this daybed together than I actually had in my cavernous, company funded apartment together, every kiss has a probing quality, as if the both of us are constantly seeking out something we hope the other can deliver, but aren’t inherently expecting. Whenever we connect in that way, it is incredible.

“I feel a bit overdressed,” he says.

I laugh.

“Compared to me,” I say, glancing down at my naked form. “I suppose you’re right.”

He smiles.

“I can take care of that,” he says.

I help him remove his shorts, revealing a semi-erect penis, standing right in front of me.

“Nothing like hitting things hard and heavy first thing in the morning,” I say.

It’s some pretty lame banter, but at least I’m trying. He shows his appreciation by offering me a palliative smile.

With the smoothness of two separate streams converging, he slips in alongside me and our bodies meet. His hands begin to wander down the landscape of my body and our lips connect as our bodies grind against one another.

I become completely hard as does he. This is happening; it always happens with us once we start. Neither of us ever loses interest. We’re like the stereotype of two greedy teenagers.

His wandering hands gracefully slide down my back and cup my butt. They grasp and knead, coursing their way down until he’s grasping onto my thighs. In turn, I run my fingers through his hair, careful not to pull so much to cause him pain, but it’s difficult to be so conscientious in the throes of such a lustful reverie.

I lower my hands to fondle him. The silky softness of his testicles fills my hands and he moans in response.

“You’re so hot,” he says. “This is so hot.”

I pull back a little so I have room to lower myself, plying him with liberal, hot, full, open mouthed kisses all the way down the length of his torso.

I settle between his thighs, completely besotted by the scent of him. It is as if something else besides me is controlling me as I part my lips and take him into my mouth, starting with the testicles that I had been rubbing and squeezing up until this point.

I run my tongue along the center seam, up the shaft of his penis and finally cover his swollen, pink head with my mouth. He moans and grasps my shoulders as a way of encouraging what I was doing.

I’ve always been the sort to respond well to encouragement. As such, I take his entirety in my mouth and bob up and down on his velvety smooth penis.

Everything I experience is a collage of beautiful sensations, from the strangely melodic sound of his moaning, to the glorious taste of his pre-ejaculate, to the fresh fragrance he always has after a shower.

I know you might say, but Ron, everyone smells fresh after a shower! Trust me when I tell you that this particular man has a specific musk that blends gloriously with being so freshly clean. I was singularly intoxicated by him.

“Hold up,” he says.

He lifts me as swiftly and effortlessly as if I were made of cotton candy. He kisses me passionately and lays down on his side so that I can continue what I was doing while he reciprocates.

His penis filling my mouth with its unnaturally large being once again, my moans are stifled by it as he does the same to mine with enthusiastic vigor. His body becomes my playground as I allow my hands to wander up and down the territory that I have come to know and love.

“Love!” There’s that word again! This really is a problem!

The experience is a symphony of sensations and, as a result, I begin to lose control. I want to gasp, but I do not remove my mouth or stop what I’m doing in any way. I want him to feel something at least resembling the pleasure I am feeling in that moment.

If my ability to read his moans and bodily reactions has become as adept as I think it has, I’m not doing such a terrible job. His pre-cum continues to flow into my mouth at an increasing rate and his body undulates against mine.

He moans with increasing urgency. He is cresting. Which is good, because so am I.

What follows is a surge, a temporal lacuna. We are so aligned with one another that we climax simultaneously and all the stress and tiny indignities that built up since we last saw one another are released onto one another (quite literally!).

But then my phone begins to chime. Speaking of stress and indignity, I am forced to respond before my heart even has the opportunity to slow and the post coital bliss fades.

“What is it?” I ask.

“Hello, this is Officer Coates from the police department,” says the man on the other end of the phone.

I’m more than familiar with Officer Coates, unfortunately.

“What is it?” I ask. “Did the deli manager get caught shoplifting again? I’m sorry, but he’s no longer our responsibility since I let him go.”

“It’s not that,” says Officer Coates.

“Then, what is it?” I ask, extremely perturbed and with heightening agitation.

“It’s just…” Officer Coates trails off. “You’d better get down here.”

And so, with barely enough time afforded to clean myself off and give a kiss to my now gently resting lover, I head out. He’s not salty that I had to leave him like that; he understands the situation.

Now, here I am, standing in the parking lot of my own client, locked out, apparently. It’s hard to believe that mere hours ago, I ran my hands down the well-built body of the most handsome man I had ever seen in my life. As I leaned over and gently pried open my lips, slipping in his soft, warm tongue, I smiled and thought, I truly have nothing to worry about; the fact that I started the day like this makes everything perfect.

Oh, how wrong I was!

It’s eight o’clock in the morning and I have had enough! Only Horatio stands by my side as the employees of the Fresh Face Co-Op strike in the form of a lock in.

“This was supposed to be the day I didn’t come in until ten!” I groan.

“Obviously, this takes precedence over sleeping in,” says Officer Coates, who stands by my side. “If things are bad enough that they are on strike, surely, you can spare a few hours of sleep.”

I give the stocky man in uniform a blank stare. Oh, how I am on the edge! There is no denying it. Everything that is happening today is tipping me closer and closer to falling over and I don’t know when that will finally happen, but I have a feeling it is soon.

“So, what’s the game plan?” I ask.

“You tell me,” says Officer Coates.

“What do you mean?” I ask. “Aren’t more police officers coming?”

Officer Coates looks a little taken aback by this. He pulls away from me, as if I had asked him for his gun. Now, more than ever, I want to punch him in his smug, lazy, face.

“Not unless things get out of hand,” he says.

“So, you’re just going to clear them all out?” I ask. “All by yourself?”

I don’t even need to hear what Officer Coates has to say next. The look on his face says it all. My heart drops into my stomach and I feel as sick as I have ever been since coming to this god forbidden state.

“I’m just here to make sure things don’t get out of hand,” says Officer Coates. “They’re well within their rights to strike.”

“But what are they even requesting?” I ask.

“You should know,” Officer Coates respond.

He has me there. As the temporary general manager of the Fresh Faced Co-Op, my people out west sent me there to fix the place, not make it worse as I have apparently done.

“Frick!” I exclaim ruefully. “Frick it all to heck!”

I should mention that my years of working customer service have rendered me completely unable to swear even in my own head. It’s like those monks who take a vow of silence only to find that they’ve lost their voice years later from disuse. Only, in my situation, my ability to say anything “spicy” has atrophied to the point where a midwestern P.T.A. president would find my vocabulary bland.

“Perhaps I can help,” Horatio pipes in.

He probably can. Horatio is an employee at the deli of the Co-Op. He’s always been something of an outsider among his coworkers due to his work ethic, his common sense and his willingness to touch meat.

I turn to Horatio, showing him he has my attention. He is a short man but built like a gosh darn brick wall. I’m pretty sure he weightlifts, seeing as how I once saw him haul a full pig carcass out of a van to a luau we were catering all by himself.

“Can you enlighten me on any of this?” I ask.

“No,” Horatio says. “But I can tell you what’s going on.”

Knowing Horatio’s sardonic sense of humor, I can already tell that he’s trying to make the best of a situation that I’m not going to like.

“They watched the farmers down south strike and they got inspired,” Horatio explains.

“Inspired by what?” I ask. “Those farmers claim to be working under untenable conditions.”

It’s true. I heard of the specific farms years back, which was why I released a memo to all associated Co-Ops not to carry any of their produce. We’re talking about people with very few options being forced to work under the hot sun for sometimes as long as twelve hours without bathroom breaks. The Fresh Faced Co-Op is air conditioned, pays a living wage, enforces legally mandated breaks and is notable for the fact that all the cashiers are given stools to sit on while they check out customers so that they don’t destroy their feet and spine. These were all changes I had been proud to implement.

Horatio shrugs at my bafflement.

“They’re mad you fired Rhonda,” he says.

My brain breaks.

“Rhonda used the hours she was scheduled to wander away from her register and shoplift!” I exclaim.

“I think they mostly want to protest,” says Horatio. “Though, it doesn’t look good that you fired the old lady.”

From the building, a single face masked individual emerges. They hurl something in our direction. It is a glass bottle that shatters in front of us. I see that a piece of fabric had been shoved in the opening and lit on fire. It burns out quickly and lamely.

Like all the washrags at the Fresh Face Co-Op, this one is flame resistant and since the rush of air snuffed out the pathetic embers that just barely managed to take hold, it is only slightly charred at the edges. Besides, whoever had hurled this sad attempt at a Molotov cocktail, apparently didn’t know that a bottle of locally sourced gourmet white wine vinegar is not the ideal combustible.

Freeze frame. Voiceover: you’re probably wondering who I am and how I got to this spot.



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