Mariposa Honeymoon - Chapters 15 and 16
published December 11, 2018
Mike the Spike judges a wet Speedo competition, and Pierce discovers he has an admirer.
After being spritzed down by Manolo, Todd clutched the wad of clothes he had worn into the club and apologized his way through the crowd. En route to the stage, his bare feet left a trail of watery footprints. The DJ pointed him backstage, where he placed his clothes on a shelf, as the others had before him, and joined the end of a line of wet and almost-naked men.
Todd stared ahead at the backsides of his fellow contestants, who varied wildly in terms of height, weight, age, and fitness. Near the front was Blu, immediately recognizable from his hair color and his unmistakable butt which was now testing the limits of his blue Speedo’s elasticity. Blu glanced back and waved when he spotted Todd. Todd grinned back uncertainly, not sure how he’d been convinced to go through with this. Todd had never been much of an exhibitionist, but he assumed an extrovert like Blu must do this sort of thing all the time.
Backstage, Pierce had located a throne of sorts, which was pretty much just an old chair from a dining-room set, spray-painted gold with threadbare red upholstery. He hastily brushed it clear of dust and cobwebs and lugged it to the stage for “Mike the Spike” in his capacity as judge of the wet swimsuit competition. Derek cautiously lowered himself onto the relic, hearing the wooden chair creak ominously beneath his substantial weight.
Assuming his role as emcee for the contest, Pierce stood in the spotlight with the wireless mic and cued the DJ to start the first song on the all-Prince playlist he had lined up: “1999”. “All right,” Pierce addressed the crowd, “who’s ready for some blatant, gratuitous, and dehumanizing objectification of the male body?” The assembled throng roared approvingly. “That’s what I figured! Now, I expect you to treat every one of these contestants with the dignity and respect they deserve, because every single one of them is brave enough to come up onto this stage, unlike all of you chickenshit motherfuckers!” Pierce strutted across the stage, pointing at the audience, who cheered with gusto at being labeled “chickenshit motherfuckers”.
Pierce crossed back to the DJ booth to check the sign-in list and announced, “Our first contender is a local boy who goes by the name of Miguelito, which I believe means ‘Little Mike’ in Spanish, but only when Mike the Spike is around would anybody consider this guy ‘Little Mike’. Let’s hear it for Big Little Mike!” He gestured to the wings and Miguelito clomped up a small flight of stairs to the center of the stage, where he eagerly threw his weight around. Despite his size, his movements were remarkably nimble and his enthusiasm was infectious, leading many in the crowd to clap encouragingly for him.
Standing behind the judge’s chair, Pierce leaned down and whispered into Derek’s ear. “Don’t make it obvious, but take a look at the D.O.G. at the bar.”
Derek turned his head subtly and scanned the bar at the opposite side of the cavernous room. He muttered out of the corner of his mouth, “I don’t see any dog.”
“D.O.G. Distinguished Older Gentleman. The old coot in the three-piece suit. Looks like Stan Lee’s Mexican equivalent.”
With that clarification, Derek took another glance and did notice an elegant gray-haired man with a neatly trimmed mustache and a gray pin-striped suit, swirling a tumbler of something liquor, his dark eyes hidden behind shaded glasses but his focus directed toward the stage. “Okay, I see him. What about him?”
“He’s been staring at me all night,” Pierce said. “It’s weird.”
“Somehow I doubt this is the first time you’ve ever attracted the attention of some lecherous old guy in a gay bar.”
“It’s not, but the thing is, I don’t think he’s really a lecherous old guy. I think I’ve located our little bellboy Chico.”
Derek looked back at the older man. “You think that’s Chico?”
“Sure, after a bottle of ‘Most Interesting Man In The World’ Mariposa. Check out the way he fills out that suit. He’s in too good a shape for somebody that old. Most guys that age look like a human-sized raisin.”
Derek thought this was a stretch. “Maybe he just takes good care of himself. Ya know, exercises, eats healthy…”
“Drinks Mariposa… Look at the bone structure. In fifty years, that’s exactly what Chico’s gonna look like.” After another look, Derek had to concede there was some resemblance between this gent and Chico.
A whoop from the audience brought Pierce’s attention back to the contest. Miguelito was jiggling his ass at the crowd, threatening to snap the waistband of his overly-stretched-out swimsuit. Pierce rushed over and used his body to block as much of the audience’s view as he could, nudging Miguelito toward the wings. “Okay, that was Miguelito and the twin moons of Cancun! Let’s hear it!” Some of the crowd cheered, others moaned in disappointment that the spectacle had been interrupted.
At the side of the stage, Pierce spotted Blu at the front of the line, taking deep breaths with his eyes closed. Pierce took a step down and told him, “I just want to tell you, if you wanna back out, that’s fine. You’ve already proven to me that you’re way more than sufficiently gay.”
Blu opened his eyelids, fixing his intensely blue irises on Pierce. “Get over yourself, Pierce. I’m not tryin’ to prove anything to you,” he said defiantly. “I’m doin’ this for me.”
Pierce had to admire this spirited attitude. “All righty then,” he said, walking back to center-stage and switching the mic back on. “Our next contestant comes from California, which, as you’ll soon see, is a very blue state. He may not have the biggest redwood, but I guarantee you’re gonna love his Beverly Hills. Please give a warm hand to the boy they call…BLU!” Pierce signaled the DJ, who played Prince’s “Sexy MF” as Blu sauntered confidently onto the stage, thrusting his hips forcefully from side to side. The moment he heard the whoops and whistles from the crowd, Blu knew there was no turning back. His modest goal was to seduce the entire audience, but most especially the man seated in the gold chair.
Derek was thoroughly gobsmacked by the youthful nymph gyrating suggestively before him. While any obvious signs of Charles were long gone, this even seemed to be a new iteration of Blu. Cavorting with a saucy attitude and boundless energy, he hadn’t even shown this much exuberance in bed that afternoon. Although Charles had never heard this song before, Blu found himself instinctively in sync with its syncopated rhythms. Blu guided his mesh-gloved hands slowly down his ribcage, then swept them teasingly along the curves of his butt, all while undulating his abdomen like a practiced belly dancer. Pierce egged on Blu’s behavior by singing, “Sexy motherfucker, shakin’ that ass, shakin’ that ass,” and the club patrons enthusiastically joined in the chant until the bottles behind the bar began to rattle.
With a sly grin, Blu set his sights on Derek, shimmying backwards across the stage toward the big man’s chair, standing between his legs and waggling himself lower and lower until his ass cheeks brushed against the crotch of Derek’s leather pants. Derek’s concerns about the long-term effects of Mariposa on his buttoned-down spouse were brushed aside in the moment, as the Spike became engorged in reaction to the feisty twink’s point-blank twerking.
Pressing his palms together over his head, Blu spun around to face Derek, thrusting his pelvis back and forth. “So this is what it’s like,” Blu shouted with a smile.
“What WHAT’S like?”, Derek asked.
Derek regarded Blu skeptically. “C’mon, you’ve had fun before.”
“I thought I had,” Blu admitted, “but I had no idea!” He giggled and swept his hands through his hair, then scooted back toward the foot of the stage. With his back to the crowd, Blu gave his ass a few more shakes and planted his feet apart, then bent at the waist. Two days ago, he couldn’t have touched his toes. His head upside down, he stared through the gap between his legs, his blue hair hanging toward the floor in wild tangled strands as the music halted. He remained frozen in position, breathing shallowly, as the audience erupted in an uproarious ovation.
Pierce dashed over and exhorted the crowd, “All right, let’s really hear it for Blu!” The applause surged as the spritely dancer stood up and spun around to face the crowd, blowing kisses before executing a balletic curtsy and prancing offstage. Pierce shook his head in amazement, announcing, “Wasn’t that incredible? He’s certainly set a high bar! Let’s see who’s up next.”
Backstage, Blu’s reception was mixed. Some congratulated the pixie on his performance, while others were noticeably cool to the competition. Blu saw Todd was off to the side, pulling his ripped jeans up his legs. Blu scampered over to him. “You goin’ somewhere?”
“More like ‘goin’ nowhere’,” Todd replied with a sour expression. “How’m I s’posed to top that?”
Blu sputtered his lips dismissively. “It’s not a competition,” Blu insisted, just as Pierce asked “our next competitor” to come to the stage. Todd pointed to the backstage speaker as proof of his point, then zipped up his fly and reached for his shirt. “Screw him,” Blu said. “Think of it like you’re running a marathon. The point isn’t to beat other people. It’s to prove to yourself that you can do it. Look at me. I’ve never felt as jazzed in my life as I was just now, because for once I felt totally free to be myself.”
“Yeah,” Todd countered, “but yourself can dance. What if I go out there and look like a total ass?”
“Ass is what they’re lookin’ for! Who gives a shit what they think? They’re a roomful of horny drunk tourists you’re never gonna see again. But I’m tellin’ you, they’re gonna go ape when they see you.”
Todd shook his head. “I wouldn’t be so sure about that.”
“What’s not to like? A hot young guy who’s about three inches of fabric away from being buck naked? You could stand still, pick your nose, and drool like an idiot and you’d still win honorable mention.”
Todd chuckled, then asked in total sincerity, “You really think I’m hot?”
“Damn, baby, you’re fine as hell,” Blu stated, such effusive pronouncements now flowing freely without a moment’s pause for editing from Charles’ inner propriety censor. He remembered the question he’d been meaning to ask Todd ever since this afternoon’s refinements. “Hey, tell the truth, you still think I look thirty?” He linked his fingers behind his head and flexed his small but toned biceps.
Todd laughed, embarrassed. “I dunno what I was thinkin’ eariler. Musta been bad lighting or somethin’. You definitely look younger than your brother. So which one of you’s older, you or Red?”
Blu pondered it a second and said, “Actually, we’re exactly the same age. So whattaya say, Iowa? You gonna chicken out, or are you gonna show those guys what you’re made of?”
Todd held his shirt in his hands and gnawed on his lower lip as he contemplated his options.
Pierce worked his way through the rest of the line, bringing to the stage contestants of varying degrees of finesse and pulchritude but none who exceeded Blu in terms of pure crowd-pleasing showmanship. Only Todd remained at the foot of the stairs, with Blu standing beside him offering moral support. Off mic, Pierce double-checked whether Todd was still participating. When Todd nodded, Blu gave him an encouraging pat on the back.
“Okay,” Pierce announced, “our final contestant has journeyed all the way from Iowa to be with us today. For those of you unfamiliar with Iowa, it is famous for two things: steers and…our next dancer! Please welcome to the stage…HAWKEYE!” Pierce cued the DJ to play “Delirious”, and Todd hustled nervously onto the stage, doing his best to match the song’s upbeat tempo.
From behind him, Todd heard Blu shout, “Your pants!” Todd looked down and discovered that he had neglected to remove his gray skinny jeans. He took a few steps toward the stairs, planning to remove the pants offstage, but Pierce snagged him by the elbow and dragged him into the spotlight to disrobe in full view of the rowdy spectators, who had grown more boisterous with each successive dancer. Todd faced away from the crowd, unbuttoned and unzipped, then nervously inched the pants lower, inadvertently putting the tease in his striptease. The crowd noise grew as more and more of Todd’s muscular butt was revealed in its shiny golden wrapper. Hearing the reaction, Todd peered over his shoulder, thinking he must be missing something exciting, only to see every eye in the club focused directly on him. Still trying to move in time to the music, he squirmed to release one leg from his pants, then used that foot to step on the other leg’s cuff, only to lose his balance. He hopped clumsily across the stage before toppling into Derek’s lap. Gales of laughter rolled through the club.
Derek chuckled as he looked down at the panic-stricken kid. “And what can I get you for Christmas, young man?”, he asked like a jovially lecherous Santa Claus.
Against his back, Todd could feel something hard and cylindrical inside the big man’s leather pants. Todd thought that he must not be too bad if he could arouse a hard-on from Mike the Spike. Determined to continue, Todd stood up, threw the pants offstage to Blu, and took a deep breath.
As Todd spun around to face the dance floor, he could hear a collective gasp, followed by cheers, whistles and other lascivious noises. He gave Derek a worried look, only to see that the porn star’s eyes were riveted on Todd’s swimsuit. He shot a glance at Pierce, who was now standing behind Derek’s chair and whose attention was directed at a similarly low angle. Todd worried that something had gone wrong. Was one of his balls poking out from under a seam? Had he unknowingly shot his load and created a big cum stain on his Speedo?
When he looked down, Todd saw no such catastrophe, just the shape of his obviously erect penis bulging against the slick fabric. In the excitement and frenzy of the moment, he hadn’t realized how much he had plumped up. As a boxers-and-board-shorts man, he’d never seen his hard-on filling a Speedo to capacity. He had to admit, it looked pretty impressive. Todd nervously shifted his weight from one foot to the other, snapping his fingers with the music, but could tell the audience expected more. He’d never learned choreography, but he did know calisthenics, so he shifted into a set of vigorous jumping-jacks. Those proved to be a hit, mainly for how much his package bounced with each one.
Pierce leaned down and muttered to Derek, “How’d he get through customs, smuggling that banana and those pomegranates?”
“Not really fair,” Derek replied in a lecturing tone, “you stuffing the ballot box like that.”
“What do you mean?”
“Obviously you spiked his drink with a little bit of Mike the Spike to boost his chances of winning,” Derek said, patting his own temporarily generous endowment.
Pierce was offended by the suggestion. “I did no such thing. Whatever meat he’s packin’ is 100% genuine uncut Iowa pork.” He looked 100% sincere.
Derek let out an impressed whistle as he turned his attention back to Todd, who had now switched to burpies, alternating sides for one-handed pushups with each repetition. After completing a dozen of those, Todd stood with hands on hips, breathing heavily, considering what to do next. From offstage, he heard Blu call out, “Try the pole!” Todd looked around and noticed a silver stripper pole at each side of the stage, connected by a high bar running between them. He had no clue how to pole-dance, but he had plenty of experience doing chin-ups. He jumped to grab the horizontal bar and pulled himself up easily. The crowd started to count his reps, growing louder with each successive number and celebrating each completion. Eventually, Todd’s pace slowed. As he attempted number twenty, his arms were tuckering out, but with the crowd’s encouragement, he summoned the strength to pull his chin slightly over the bar. The place went berserk.
Todd dropped to the stage, beaming but exhausted. He took a bow, then staggered offstage and collapsed onto Blu, who wrapped his arms around Todd’s sweat-slicked torso. Todd huffed and puffed against the bare skin of Blu’s shoulder. “See? I told you you’d be a hit,” Blu shouted into Todd’s ear. “Didn’t know you were hiding that secret weapon down there.”
“It’s not all that big, is it?”, Todd asked, always having been too shy, too worried about being caught, to check out other guys’ junk for comparison, except through the safety of porn. “I mean, I’m no Mike the Spike.”
“Nobody is,” Blu said, “but if you don’t want it, I’ll be happy to take it off your hands.”
“Naw, that’s okay,” Todd laughed, regaining his balance. “I’m kind of attached to it.”
Pierce asked that all of the contestants return to the stage for the final judging. Blu and Todd led the way and stood at center stage, flanked on either side by the others. Derek rose from his chair and took up position behind the line, holding his hand over each participant’s head in turn as Pierce urged the crowd to applaud for their favorites. By far the largest ovations were for Blu and Todd, with the applause reaching similarly rafter-shaking levels for each.
“Sounds pretty close,” Pierce said, “so I think we’ll have to call on our expert judge for the final selection.”
Derek took his duty seriously. In the grand tradition of beauty pageants and reality shows, he pretended to agonize over the decision, but the outcome was never in doubt. Although it might strain his already-shaky marriage further, he knew it would be unfair to choose his husband. Not only could he be accused of nepotism, but the qualities which had made Blu so popular with the voters were all attributable to Mariposa. By contrast, if Pierce was to be believed, Todd’s assets were completely natural, his performance unenhanced. When he felt his dithering had gone on long enough, Derek placed his hand over Todd’s head and waved it ecstatically. The crowd roared its approval and Pierce shouted “Hawkeye!” into the mic.
Todd didn’t realize he had been “crowned” until Blu screamed “Congratulations!” directly into his face and impulsively planted a kiss on the Iowan’s lips. Todd was startled but found himself automatically kissing back. Once the kiss had lingered slightly longer than Derek was willing to tolerate, he wedged his hands between them and pushed them apart. Blu glanced up at his glowering husband and stuck out his tongue.
Todd looked down at the sea of bodies packing the dance floor, overwhelmed by the response. He heard one high-pitched whistle screeching over the din and turned toward it. About halfway back, a head taller than the men surrounding him, with a pinkie finger wedged into either side of his mouth, stood O.
Mortified that he had been caught, Todd ran toward the wings, sliding on his bare feet as he doubled back to retrieve his discarded pants. Shielding his face, he ran through the club toward the men’s room, blurting out “Excuse me” to everyone with whom he collided. Glancing over his shoulder, he could see O urgently pursuing him across the packed dance floor. In his frenzy, Todd didn’t realize that he was letting the dangling pantlegs drag across the floor. His bare foot became entangled in the denim and his body tumbled forward. Only a collision with the clear plastic panel in the bathroom hallway prevented him from taking a direct header. Instead, his face squeegeed down the plastic as his limp body slid down to the floor.
Clubgoers instantly circled around their fallen hero. Manolo the bartender raced over, noticing a hairline crack at the point where the plastic panel had been impacted by Todd’s forehead. He shook his head and declared in Spanish, “We gotta get rid of that thing.”
O brusquely shoved bodies aside in order to reach Todd. As he knelt beside his dazed friend, O yelled, “Anybody got some water?” Someone behind him placed a plastic cup into O’s hand and, without thinking, he immediately flung its contents onto Todd’s face, simultaneously drenching him with frigid water and pelting him with ice cubes.
With a single emphatic “OW!”, Todd spluttered to alertness and covered his face with his hand to deflect further projectiles. Wiping the back of his hand across his eyes, he said, “I know the water in Mexico is dangerous, but jeez…” As his eyelids flickered open and he saw O’s concerned face looming over him, the panic that had caused him to flee in the first place returned. He flailed his arms in a frantic attempt to boost himself to his feet. “I gotta get some fresh air.”
“Hang on, buddy,” O said, “I got ya.” Slipping one arm behind Todd’s neck and the other beneath his knees, O hoisted his friend off the floor and asked, “How do I get outside?” Various hands pointed in different directions, so O carried Todd into the bar area, shouting “‘Scuse me, comin’ through!” to clear a path. Todd’s ripped jeans hung from his dangling right arm, his index finger caught in one of the belt loops.
O headed toward the first door he saw, which happened to lead to the smoking patio. He nudged the door open with his foot and carried Todd outside. The space was currently unoccupied but reeked of recent cigarettes. “Not exactly fresh air, but…”
Todd insisted, “This’ll be fine. You can put me down. I’m not a baby.” O lowered Todd gently onto a bench and stepped back as Todd recombobulated. Todd crossed his arms across his chest and rubbed his hands briskly over his skin, suddenly cold from the night air and the ice water still clinging to his face. O’s unexpected presence remained a mystery. “What are you doing here?”
“Guess I could ask you the same thing,” O said with a shy grin. “Last I saw you, you were on your deathbed, you big faker.”
Todd looked at the ground and rattled off a story as he rocked back and forth. “Well, I started feelin’ better, so Nick said, ‘Hey, why don’tcha come out with me and Blu and Spike,’ and so I thought, ‘Why not? They’re cool’, and so we came over here, only they didn’t tell me what kinda place it was, and then when we got here, they gave me some tequila ‘cause they said it’d relax me, and the next thing you know, they’re tellin’ me I should enter this contest and I said no, but they were pretty insistent and so, against my better judgment, I went through with it but I didn’t really wanna…”
O found Todd’s version of events amusing. Todd had always been a lousy liar. “I dunno, bro, you looked pretty comfortable up there.”
Todd looked up, defensive about the implication of O’s statement. “Oh yeah? Well, how come YOU’RE here?”
O sighed. “I just really needed a break from Kev and Bart and all their constant yammering. On the beach, Nick had been talkin’ up this place, said it was a lot of fun, so I figured I’d ditch the Bicker Brothers and check it out for myself.”
Todd chuckled. “Guess he didn’t tell you it was a gay place.”
“No, he did,” O said matter-of-factly. He took a seat at the opposite end of the bench, careful to give Todd his space.
It wasn’t quite connecting with Todd yet. “Hang on a second. I can understand wanting to get away from the guys, but why’d you wanna come to a gay club?”
“Prob’ly the same reason you did,” Todd said with a nervous chuckle, looking up to the starry sky.
The clouds lifted. Todd stared at O, the imposing, confident jock, and suddenly saw someone just as innocent and uncertain and vulnerable as he was. He had never suspected. “You…?” He didn’t need to finish the question. O’s meek grin was enough of an answer.
“Didn’t figure I’d run into anyone I knew here, except maybe Nick and the Spike. Now I’m just mad I got here too late to enter the contest. Coulda given you some competition.”
Todd laughed. “Yeah, right, you woulda kicked my butt.”
“Your butt I coulda beaten. Your front, we mighta been neck and neck. Seriously, dawg, how’d you keep that salami hidden from us all these years?”
Todd smirked. “I didn’t want you guys to feel inferior.”
“I liked all your exercises,” O said, trying his best to keep the conversation light and platonic. “You could stand to work on your form, though. I can help you with that. I mean, if you’d like me to.”
“I’d like you to. Thanks.”
“Don’t mention it,” O said casually.
“THAT’S what you don’t want me to mention?” Todd’s knees were shaking and his skin was covered with goosebumps, not solely due to the air temperature. “All of a sudden, I feel kinda dumb, sittin’ here dressed like this.”
O thought for a moment, then reached his hands toward his collar and extracted himself from his polo shirt. Out of habit, Todd turned away, then realized that probably wasn’t necessary any more, at least around O. His head swiveled back toward O as he tried to split the difference between peeking and gawking. As O placed his wadded-up polo on the bench between them, he asked Todd, “Feel better now?”
Todd realized that O was trembling just as much as he was. As he allowed his eyes to linger on O’s ripped physique under the twinkling lights of the patio, Todd swore he could hear the threads of his Speedo straining to hold together.
In contrast to the tender awkwardness on the quiet patio, things inside had turned hectic and rancorous.
It had begun as soon as Todd fled for the men’s room and the other contestants dispersed, leaving Blu, Derek and Pierce onstage.
“You’re not seriously upset over that,” Blu said as Derek visibly fumed over Blu kissing Todd. “It didn’t mean anything,” Blu insisted. “I was just caught up in the moment and got a little giddy.”
“That’s what I’m worried about,” Derek responded. “The Charles I know doesn’t get giddy, and he doesn’t go around kissing people he barely knows. Hell, you didn’t kiss ME until our fifth date. I’m afraid that, when this is all over, you won’t go back to normal.”
Pierce wrinkled his nose. “You seriously miss ‘normal’ Charles?” He turned to Blu and said, “I mean, no offense, but…” Blu shrugged, no offense taken.
“Of course I miss him,” Derek declared. “He IS the man I married.”
“I’m still the man you married, honey, only now I’m fun-size!” Blu sidled up to Derek, rubbed his hand along the bulge in Derek’s leather pants and cooed, “Admit it, babe. Didn’t we have a good time today?”
Embarrassed that his husband was feeling him up in full view of an appreciative crowd, Derek pushed Blu’s hand away and took a step back. The gawkers near the stage groaned their disappointment. Many of them walked away, their attention diverted by some hubbub in the men’s room hallway, followed by somebody being carried in a hurry to the smoking patio.
“Sure,” Derek admitted to Blu in a hushed voice, “this afternoon was great, but tonight, I dunno, it feels different. I’m having a hard time seeing the real you in there.”
“I keep telling you,” Blu insisted, “THIS is the real me. Charles was the facade!”
Pierce stepped in, attempting to play peacemaker. “Derek, I really think you’re overreacting.”
Derek turned angrily to his old roommate, using Mike the Spike’s intimidating growl to full effect. “I’d stay out of this if I were you. After all, this is your fault.”
Blu stepped up to defend Pierce. “Don’t get mad at Pierce because I’m having a good time. I think you could stand to lighten up. I swear, you’re the only person I know who could turn into a porn star and still be boring as fuck.”
“You hear that?”, Derek said, glaring at Pierce. “The real Charles would never say anything like that. Three days ago, he was dignified and classy. Now he’s swearing like he’s Eminem with Tourette’s!”
“I can still be dignified and classy and shit,” Blu insisted with a sassy snarl. “I might look like a clueless himbo, but it’s still me in here.” He tapped an index finger on his temple. “And in here.” He moved that finger and tapped it over his heart. “I’ve just got a more open mind to go along with my sassy little package. I dunno about you, but I’m happy Pierce gave us the Mariposa. It’s changed the whole way I look at things, and I damn well hope that doesn’t go away in the morning. But as far as I can tell, these last three days haven’t taught you squat. I’m worried that, when the Mariposa wears off, you’ll stop having a huge dick and go back to being one!”
That stung. “You’re lucky I know you didn’t mean that. It’s just the Mariposa talking. C’mon, let’s go somewhere more private…” He squeezed Blu’s upper arm and tried pulling him toward the wings.
“NO!”, Blu insisted, yanking his arm out of Derek’s grip. “If something’s bothering you, you tell me right here, where I’ve got witnesses.” He gestured to the remaining spectators, who were viewing this spectacle as if it was a live Mike the Spike movie. If this followed the formula of his movies, the argument would inevitably lead to some hardcore fucking, and perhaps even a threesome.
“Okay,” Derek said, “I’ll tell you what’s really bothering me. When all this started, you thought Pierce gave us that six-pack because he was trying to break us up. I told you you were nuts. But now, I’m starting to think you were right.”
Pierce objected. “Hey, now, wait a sec…”
Derek shifted his focus to Pierce and spoke firmly. “No, now’s when I get to talk. I think Charles always suspected that you wanted me for yourself, but I never bought that. If you ever wanted to make a move on me, you had ten years to do it before Charles was even in the picture.”
Blu interjected, “Maybe Pierce never really appreciated you until he had competition.”
“No, I don’t think that’s it,” Derek said as he paced, sounding every inch like Mike the Spike during the climactic explanation that closed every one of his movies. “I don’t think he was just jealous of you. I think he was jealous of both of us. I think it bugged the hell out of him to see two people who genuinely cared for each other, who had things in common, who actually wanted to spend their lives together. All these years, I was Pierce’s apprentice, the square who wasn’t as worldly and experienced as he was, the dorky wingman who could always be dragged out for a night on the town because he was never busy. I gave him someone he could always feel superior to. I may have been gay, but I was his straight man. But now, I was finally doing something that he hadn’t. I’d found the one thing he wasn’t brave enough to do. I was getting married! And he couldn’t stand it!”
Pierce scoffed. “Do I need to do my wedding toast for you again? First of all, I’m not secretly lusting after either of you, okay? Don’t flatter yourselves. For one thing, you guys are way too old for me.”
Blu piped up. “But we’re all the same age!”
“Exactly,” Pierce said. “Second of all, I am not jealous of you guys.”
Derek looked triumphant. “Aha! I caught you. You told me yourself this morning that you always envied me because I could be anonymous.”
Pierce shook his head. “That’s not the same as being jealous of you for getting married.”
“Oh, no, don’t try to weasel out of it with your usual word games,” Derek said, building to his summation. “The funny thing is, you were right. I always did feel anonymous when I was around you. You might be smaller than me, but I was always in your shadow. I’d go to a club and the only thing people would ask me was, ‘Is Pierce here?’ Then one day, I met somebody who saw me for me. And I liked what I saw in him. Maybe that looked boring to you, but it sure felt like love to me.”
“Awww,” said Blu, tears welling up in his eyes. “C’mere, ya big lug.” He shuffled over and embraced Derek.
At that moment, the final two spectators on the dance floor turned away from the stage, griping to each other. The first one muttered, “Man, I never woulda guessed Mike the Spike was so sappy.”
“I know, right,” replied his friend. “Homey should stick to porn.”
Derek laughed. “Guy’s got a point. As a porn star, I’m a major letdown. Good thing I got oral surgery to fall back on.”
Pierce stepped closer to the couple. “Listen, guys, you gotta believe me, I never meant to cause any problems between you two. I just wanted you to have a good time. And I appreciate the concern, but please don’t worry about me out in the cold, lonely world by myself. I’ll be fine. And if someday, god forbid, I start gettin’ a little too old and pathetic to turn on the club kids…well, I can always drink a bottle of Mariposa and be young and sexy again just like that.” He snapped his fingers and smiled, unperturbed by this fate.
Derek shook his head. Pierce was never going to change.
Seeing that the commotion had calmed in the club and on the stage, the DJ called out. “Yo, Pierce! Are we done with the dramatic interlude yet? Can we get back to the music?”
Pierce gave it a few moments of thought, then hustled over to the DJ and made a request with a glint in his eye. The DJ nodded and Pierce stepped back to the middle of the stage with his wireless mic, directing Derek and Blu to take a seat on the “throne”. Derek had hoped his time in the limelight was over for the night and was suspicious of Pierce’s intentions, but Blu was eager to see what Pierce had in store. He shoved Derek onto the chair and straddled himself over Derek’s right leg, strategically aligning the crack of his ass over the speed-bump created by the Spike.
Pierce spoke into the mic and beckoned the crowd back toward the dance floor. “Okay, kiddies, it’s time to remember why we’re all here: to get wasted and to get laid. And I want to kick things off by dedicating this next number to a couple of very good friends of mine who just got married, Derek and Charles. Unfortunately, they couldn’t be here tonight, but I know they’re here in spirit, and, despite what they may think, I truly wish them nothing but happiness. Monotonous, monogamous happiness.” He nodded to the DJ and the music began. It was, of course, another entry from the Prince catalogue, and Pierce gave it his all.
Derek instantly recognized the tune, but couldn’t immediately place why Pierce had chosen to dedicate this particular song to them. Blu didn’t care, bouncing merrily along with the music and, in the process, causing the Spike to thicken and harden further.
As he reached the chorus, Pierce moved toward Derek and Blu and sang the crucial lyrics directly to them: “I may be qualified for a one-night stand, but I could never take the place of your man.” It was the nicest way Derek could imagine being publicly notified, “I have absolutely no interest in fucking either of you.” He nodded approvingly to Pierce.
When Pierce finished, he insisted that Derek and Blu sing something. Blu agreed, hopping to his feet eagerly, while Derek remained seated and tried to beg off. Blu grabbed Derek by the hand, making a futile attempt to cantilever the immense body to a standing position. Derek only caved when Blu pouted and called him a mean old party-pooper. They reviewed the list of available titles and quickly settled on a song that they both knew. Pierce approved the selection and made his introduction. “We’ve persuaded tonight’s guest of honor to do a number, accompanied by our wet Speedo contest’s Mister Congeniality. You’ve all heard of Ebony and Ivory? Well, let me present to you, for the first time anywhere…Black and Blu!”
He handed the mic to Blu, and Derek leaned down so they could share it. Prince’s “Kiss” began to play, and the couple zeroed in on the scrolling lyrics on the karaoke screen. Blu’s voice was painfully off-key, but he compensated with boisterous enthusiasm and wildly unjustifiable confidence. Derek did his best to sing bass harmonies, despite never knowing which note Blu was going to hit next. “You don’t have to be beautiful to turn me on,” they sang together. “I just need your body baby, from dusk till dawn…”
Through the dry-ice fog over the dance floor, Pierce noticed Todd and O reentering the club from the smoking patio. O was shirtless, and Todd wore only his Speedo, clutching his gray jeans in his arms. Pierce ducked backstage to grab the rest of Todd’s clothes from the shelf and walked through the club, intercepting Todd and O to the bar. As he handed Todd his clothes, Pierce asked, “Everything okay?”, although the answer was obvious from the giddy smiles on Todd and O’s faces.
“Yeah,” Todd replied, still looking a bit dazed, “everything’s great.” Feeling a bit chilly, he slipped into the t-shirt, but continued to be clad in nothing but a swimsuit from the waist down.
“Awesome,” Pierce said. “Glad you decided to come, Theo.”
“So am I,” O said, his hands buried awkwardly in his pants pockets.
“Hey,” Pierce said to Todd, “I owe you a prize.” Todd scrunched up his face to indicate that a prize wasn’t necessary, but Pierce had already stepped toward the bar and snagged Manolo’s attention. “¡Hola, Manolo! Give our winner here a shot from your special stock. Get one for his buddy, too."
Manolo nodded, knowing just what Pierce meant by the “special stock”. “Anything in particular?”
“Your choice,” Pierce said with a wink. “Use your imagination!”
Manolo took a long appraising look at Todd and O. Inspired, he unlocked a hidden door behind the bar.
Pierce turned back to Todd and O, who were caught up in the performance onstage. Blu was cavorting saucily, as if he’d been studying Pierce’s more salacious moves, and even Derek was attempting some lumbering dance steps. “You got to not talk dirty, baby, if you want to impress me,” Derek insisted prudishly.
Blu snatched away the mic and declared, “You can’t be too flirty, honey. I know how to undress me.” Blu teasingly tugged down the waistband of his Speedo to reveal a hint of his ass crack before Derek stepped in, grabbing the microphone and slapping a hand over Blu’s butt.
“I want to be your fantasy,” Derek sang as best he could. “Maybe you could be mine.”
Blu crawled on the floor, poked his head between Derek’s legs, and reached up to snatch away the microphone, just in time to declare, “You just leave it all up to me. We could have a good time.” He grabbed the waistband of Derek’s leather pants and pulled himself to his feet. As he rose, he pressed his tongue against Derek’s exposed skin, licking the big man from his navel to the cleft of his pecs.
Pierce shook his head in amazement. Even knowing the power of Mariposa, he found it astounding that the openly flirtatious duo onstage were, in reality, the two dullest people he knew.
Blu’s intensity built through the final verse and chorus, as he outscreeched Prince’s original rendition before handing the mic to Derek for the final line. As Derek grunted, “I just want your extra time and your…”, Blu took a few steps back, then made a running leap, wrapping his arms around Derek’s neck and his legs around Derek’s waist before engulfing his lips in a kiss. They kept going as the crowd exploded with applause, and were still snogging when the ovation had dwindled to silence and the DJ had moved onto a new song. Neither Blu nor Derek wanted the moment to end.
As they watched the conclusion of the performance, O had draped his own arms around Todd’s neck, and Todd was clasping his hands around O’s forearms. When the spell of the song was broken, they both looked surprised, as if they had fallen into this intimate configuration without being aware what they were doing. O instinctively tried to pull his arms away, but Todd hung on tightly to keep them exactly where they were.
Manolo had returned to the bar with two shotglasses and motioned over Pierce, Todd and O. The Iowans looked at the drinks curiously. “What is this, exactly?”, O asked.
Manolo pointed to the shotglass nearer Todd. “For Señor Hawkeye, a strong muscular spirit from Norway.” He indicated the drink closer to O. “And for you, a light and spicy Jamaican number.” He then placed a third glass on the bar, a tumbler containing a dark brown liquid.
“What’s that?”, Pierce asked, having only asked for two drinks.
“That is for you, Señor Pierce,” Manolo replied. “Courtesy of your admirer at the end of the bar.” He tilted his head to indicate the Distinguished Older Gentleman whom Pierce had noticed earlier.
Now, at even closer range, Pierce was positive that the old timer was a Mariposa-matured Chico. He picked up the free drink and took a whiff. He was enough of a connoisseur to know instantly that it wasn’t Mariposa. Way back on his first visit to Mexico, he had learned how to recognize the sharp and bitter tang common to each of powerful concoction’s “flavors”, so that he wouldn’t accidentally combine two different varieties and alter himself irrevocably. What Manolo had served up smelled more like turpentine on the rocks. Pierce wasn’t a huge fan of hard liquor, but, out of politeness, he lifted the glass in a toast to the geezer at the end of the bar. The geezer raised his own glass in reply and gestured for Pierce to join him. Not wanting to be rude, Pierce excused himself from Todd and O.
As Manolo stepped away to serve another customer, the boys from Iowa picked up their shotglasses and clinked them. Todd tossed his back, unprepared for the physical wallop the mysterious liquid delivered to his nervous system. He braced himself against the bar to keep from falling and dropped the glass to the floor, where it shattered. Within seconds, his body was flooded with a feeling that he could only describe as orgasmic. Wobbly, he looked at O, who had placed his own shot back on the bar untouched. “What’s the matter?”, Todd gasped. “You’re not drinking yours?”
O shook his head. “You know how much I had to drink just to have the guts to walk into this place in the first place? I’m lucky I’m even standin’ up.”
“You don’t know what you’re missing,” Todd assured him, his skin tingling, his muscles involuntarily flexing. “This shit is, like, life-changing.”
As O reconsidered his decision, he heard a voice slice through the chattering crowd, chanting “O! O! O!” before climaxing with an ear-splitting “Ohhhhh-klahoma!”
O turned to see Blu cha-cha-ing toward them, dragging Mike the Spike behind him. Exhilarated from his performance, Blu slapped a hand onto O’s well-developed triceps and asked, “What are you doing here, you sexy thing?”
O managed to get out the words, “Well, uh…”, before Todd loudly cleared his throat. Blu followed the sound and saw Todd glaring back, a look of possessive intensity on the little blond’s normally friendly face.
“Oh!” Blu instantly pulled his hand away and brushed it through his tangled, sweaty hair. He quickly assessed the facial expressions and body language of the Iowa boys, then pursed his lips in a knowing grin. “Ohhhhhh” was all he needed to say as he gave Todd and O a sly smirk.
Although Derek had doubted Pierce’s deduction at the exercise park that Todd and O were gay, he couldn’t help but notice the unmistakable closeness between the two now. He realized he was a fool to question Pierce’s expertise in such matters. “Nice to see you guys again,” he said in Mike the Spike’s booming voice. “You happen to see where Pierce went?”
O looked baffled, but Todd remembered the bartender calling Nick “Señor Pierce” and assumed Nick’s last name must be Pierce. “Oh, he’s right down there,” Todd informed the Spike, pointing to the end of the bar.
Derek and Blu saw Pierce chatting with the older gentleman who Pierce had pointed out from the stage. Blu was surprised to see Pierce in such close proximity to someone who looked to be, by even a charitable estimate, in his fifties. “What’s he doing with that guy? I didn’t think Pierce was interested in anyone who wasn’t born in this century.”
Derek leaned down and informed Blu, “Pierce is pretty sure that’s Chico from the hotel.”
“Chico?” If Blu squinted, he could detect a slight resemblance, but then again, he’d seen first-hand how thoroughly Mariposa could radically reshape someone, both inside and out. If he could become Blu and Derek could be Mike The Spike, why couldn’t that suave old dude be cute little Chico?
“So,” Derek asked, turning back to Todd and O, “you boys gonna hang around here for a while?”
O seemed open to the idea, but Todd stepped in assertively, slinging his arm around O’s waist. “We got a long drive in the morning, so I think we oughta be getting to bed.”
O shrugged and declared with a chuckle, “He’s the boss.”
“Don’t you forget it,” Todd said, surprising O by giving his ass an unanticipated squeeze.
“Awwww,” Blu whined, genuinely sad to see Todd go. He pulled Todd in for a hug and whispered, “I’m so proud of you.”
Todd hugged back just as tightly and replied, “I’m proud of me too.”
After they parted, Blu lunged toward O. “You get a hug too,” he said, wrapping his arms around O’s bare midsection. When he let go, he shook his arms excitedly and commanded Derek, “Oh, honey, take a selfie of all of us!”
The man Derek married was not a hugger, and he had certainly never asked to be in a selfie. It was official. Charles had left the building. With some effort, he removed his phone from the pocket of his leather pants, stretching out one mighty arm until he could fit all four of them into the frame. He counted out loud, “One, two…” On “three”, Blu squeezed the bulge in Derek’s trousers and Todd gave O a peck on the cheek. The camera captured Derek and O’s startled expressions. Derek offered to take another photo, but everyone seemed happy with the way they looked in the first one.
Blu insisted, “You gotta post that on Facebook! Caption it, ‘Best honeymoon ever!’”
Charles’ uncharacteristic actions were now piling up so fast, like skidding cars in a blizzard, that Derek couldn’t keep track of them all. “I thought you hated Facebook.”
Blu grinned back. “I used to hate a lot of things I never tried.”
Derek decided to stop searching for signs of Charles and just enjoy Blu for however long he lasted.
Todd told Blu, “Be sure to say goodbye to your brother for us.”
It took a moment for Blu to register what he meant. “Oh! Red! Yeah, almost forgot about him! I’ll give him your love.”
Todd and O waved down the bar to Pierce, who looked up and nodded, then turned back immediately toward the older gentleman, engrossed in conversation. As they prepared to leave, Todd noticed O’s shotglass still resting on the bar. “You sure you don’t want that?”
O gauged his level of drunkenness and confirmed, “Nah, I better not.”
“Shame for it to go to waste,” Todd said. He considered offering it to Blu or Mike the Spike, but instead, in a single swift motion, he picked up the shotglass and downed its contents. He could immediately sense internal turbulence as the new drink mingled with the traces of the previous shot which lingered on his tongue. This was followed by a series of tremors cascading through his body like a string of firecrackers going off in rapid succession. He toppled forward, but O caught him before he could fall. “You okay, bro?”, O asked.
After a moment to compose himself, Todd looked up with a lopsided grin, gazing directly into O’s eyes with cocky assurance. “Oh, yeah, babe, I’m fantastic.”
O was taken aback by such unexpected confidence from his little pal, but couldn’t deny that it turned him on. He took Todd’s arm to steady him as they headed toward the door. Blu and Derek watched them depart like doting parents, if doting parents fixated on how sexy their kids’ asses looked as they walked away.
As the two college buddies stepped outside and walked back to the van, O’s mind was racing as he considered the repercussions of the evening’s events. Tonight had confirmed many things he had long suspected about himself deep down but had been afraid to explore or even admit. He was relieved that several days of driving stood between him and the next time he would have to face his girlfriend or his football teammates. Even more importantly, he wouldn’t see his parents until the end of the semester. The longer he could delay that conversation, the better. Of more immediate concern, he assumed that he and Todd would be able to keep quiet about tonight around Bart and Kev during the road trip back to Iowa. After all, they’d both kept their desires concealed this long. What was another three days?
Upon reaching the minivan, O pulled the keys out of his pocket and asked Todd, “You wanna drive or should I?”
Todd growled, “Oh, I’m drivin’,” and slammed O against the vehicle, surrounding O’s lips with his own. Even Todd wasn’t sure where this aggressiveness came from, although he suspected the shots must be amplifying his already raging libido. Logically, he knew there was no way he should be able to push O around, yet here he was, empowered like one of those parents who can suddenly pick up a car single-handedly in order to save their kid. He could swear that his t-shirt was tightening around his neck and arms and across his chest, and his pale skin even looked darker under the street lights. He felt like the Hulk, only fueled by horniness instead of rage.
For a moment, O considered pushing Todd away, a reflexive flinch based on years of carefully maintaining a certain outward image. On any other night, if some dude had tried to kiss him, even if that dude was his friend, O would have pushed him away and threatened to punch his goddamn lights out.
On the other hand, he thought, “Fuck it, I’m gay.”
He went with option two.