I hope you are enjoying The Drape Man so far. Here’s installment number three:
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At first I can’t move, I sit on the floor with my mouth agape, not moving, but he puts down his glass and he approaches with a hand raised over his head and I don’t want to get hit again, so I say, “Okay-okay . . . all right.” I seize my shirt and tug it over my head and then I am bare-chested and I toss the shirt aside and I think of how carefully I chose it from the collection in my closet, how I wondered if Evita might approve of the color and style I selected.
This guy — the drape man — doesn’t give a shit what clothes I wear; he only wants them off me.
I work on my shoes, loosening laces while the drape man returns to the dressing table and sips from his drink. I try to think of something I might do to change his mind, to deflect him from his mission. I tell him, “Friends are coming over any minute now — two of them.”
He snickers again, he stares into his glass. Then he looks at me with a shit-eating grin on his face. “I’ll bet one’s named Evita …”
My belly muscles jump.
“… and the other is Jacob.”
I swallow and my eyes burn. How does he know all this?
He reads my thoughts. He says, “Don’t you get it? Evita and Jacob don’t exist.”
Now I get it. I lower my chin and weep. My shoulders quake while I remove my shoes and socks. I plead with the drape man, I say, “I’ve never had sex with anybody before; I’m a kid. I am fifteen, not eighteen. Please go; I won’t tell anybody you came here, I won’t say what happened.”
“Of course you won’t,” the drape man says.
He approaches and grabs a handful of my hair, then he drags me to my feet and I howl at the pain racing through my scalp. Again, I smell his body odor and the liquor on his breath. He says, “I need another drink before we do business.” Then he leads me to the kitchen, still clutching my hair in his fist, and he makes me fix him another drink. I tremble like a whipped dog, I’m so scared I drop ice cubes, I have difficulty unscrewing the cap on his flask. Tears cloud my eyes and I can’t focus on anything but fear.
After I make his drink and give it to him he releases my hair and his hand travels south, to the back of my neck. He keeps it there and pulls me to him, pressing his lips to my cheek. We stand together before the sink and he sticks his tongue inside my ear, he rolls it around and it feels like a worm trying to work its way into my brain. Then he withdraws and whispers, “Justin’s scared, isn’t he? Justin’s a pussy . . .”
I lose control when he says that, I sink to my knees upon the kitchen floor and I sob like a three-year-old. I lower my head and grasp the drape man’s ankle with both my hands. I press my nose to his boot toe and beg, “Please don’t . . . please don’t.” Snot pours out of my nostrils and my tears dampen his beat-up shoe leather.
The doorbell rings: Ding-ding.
The drape man straightens his spine, he goes rigid and jerks his face toward the foyer.
The doorbell rings again: Ding-ding.
The drape man clutches my hair, he squeezes. “Don’t move.”
I keep still.
The doorbell rings again: Ding-ding. Ding-ding.
“Who is that?”
I say I don’t know.
He yanks my hair, real hard. “Get up, pussy.”
My knees crackle when I rise. I wipe snot from my upper lip and sniffle. Keeping my gaze upon the vinyl tiles, I tremble. This guy has me under his control, completely. I have lost the right to choose what I’ll do and what I won’t. I think to myself: This must be what rape’s about — one person exercising unlimited power over another. Then it registers: He may kill me afterward.
The doorbell rings again. Then again.
The drape man still grips my hair. With his free hand he reaches into a pocket and he produces a folding knife, one he opens by pulling on the blade’s edge with his teeth. He holds the weapon — five inches of stainless steel and sharp-looking — before the tip of my nose. I glance back and forth between the blade and the kitchen floor. His liquor breath and body odor stink worse than ever. He whispers, “We’ll both go to the door, Justin. You will send this person away, whoever it is. Understand?
I bob my chin.
He lowers the knife and presses the flat of the blade to my crotch. He says, “I swear to God, if you try any shit I’ll slice off your dick and make you eat it. Is that clear?”
I shiver and bob my chin some more.
He holds my forearm while we walk to the foyer. He stands by the part of the door with hinges. He whispers into my ear, “Open it a crack.” Then he nudges his knife tip against my ribcage, he applies the slightest pressure and I flinch.
Bryce occupies my doorstep. His bicycle lies upon the grass behind him, chrome reflecting moonlight and our porch light. He wears slip-on sneakers and board shorts and a t-shirt with the sleeves hacked off. He says, “What took you so long? I must’ve rung six times.”
I can’t look Bryce in the eye. I say, “I was in the bathroom.”
“I tried calling your cell phone; you didn’t answer.”
I explain how I left it at school.
Bryce jerks his chin toward the driveway. “Whose truck?”
“Some guy measuring for drapes.”
“At nine o’clock?”
I shrug and study my bare feet.
“What happened to your face?”
He points to his own cheek, he says, “There’s a blotch.”
I touch the sore spot on my face. “I fell in the shower.”
When I look at Bryce his forehead is creased and his eyes are narrowed. “Aren’t you going to invite me in? he says. A martial-arts flick starts at nine-thirty.”
He takes a step forward, but I narrow the door opening, I leave a small gap. I say, “I’m not feeling good; I’ll go to bed in just a minute, right after the drape man leaves.”
“So early? It’s Friday night.”
I shrug again, I can’t hold Bryce’s gaze. “You should go,” I say.
He takes a deep breath, puffing his lips and tilting his head to one side. He stands with his hands at his waist, frowning, for maybe five seconds. Then he says, “All right. I’ll see you tomorrow, I guess.” He walks to his bike and rights it. He climbs onto the seat, then he pedals away in the moonlight.
The drape man whispers, “Is he gone?”
“Close the door and lock it.”
I do as I’m told. The drape man closes his knife, he grabs my hair again. He takes me first to the kitchen where he seizes his drink, then to my parents’ bedroom. I tremble anew because I know what’s coming: he will hurt me, not caring. I am nothing but flesh, raw meat to the drape man. I’m his pussy boy.
I ask permission to use the bathroom. The drape man says okay, but he won’t give me any privacy, he stands in the open doorway, watching me piss and wash my hands. Then he takes me by an arm and leads me to the bed and he tells me to sit. He takes a gulp from his drink, then he lights a cigarette, he stares at me while he blows plumes of smoke. He taps his ash into a china dish, one I bought my mom for Christmas when I was ten. She places her engagement and wedding rings into the dish when she goes to bed at night, it offers a poem:
To one who bears the sweetest name, and adds a luster to the same,
Who shares my joys, who cheers when sad, the greatest friend I ever had.
Long life to her, for there’s no other,
Can take the place of my dear mother.
After he stubs out his cigarette and finishes his drink, the drape man unbuttons his shirt, he takes it off and drops it to the carpet. Then he pulls off his t-shirt. He comes to me where I sit on the bed’s edge and he grabs another handful of my hair from a spot just above my forehead. He yanks until I raise my chin and look at him. Brown fuzz sprinkles his chest and a nipple is pierced with a silver post. A tattoo decorates one pectoral — a depiction of a human heart that looks like it’s built of bricks. A yellow banner floats across the heart, it proclaims, “Can’t break this.”
The drape man lets go of my hair and his hand travels to my chin. He chucks it once or twice till my gaze meets his, then he strokes my lips with his thumb, back and forth. He spreads my mouth and he polishes my front teeth with his thumb tip and I smell his cigarette. His breath whistles through his nose.
Moments later he sits on the mattress, next to me, and his eyes study my face while he combs his fingers through my hair. I can’t look at him long, my gaze keeps dropping to my lap. Oddly, my trembling has lessened. I suppose I have resigned myself to my fate. My true hope is the drape man won’t kill me after he’s done. If I do exactly as he says, if I fully cooperate, perhaps he won’t stab me to death. Maybe.
He lowers his hand to my chest and he pushes me backward till my upper body lies prone on the mattress. My bare feet remain upon the floor. The drape man’s hand travels over my torso, he makes circles with his tobacco-stained fingertips, beginning with my neck, then moving across my chest and down to my twitching belly, then past my navel, to the waistband of my jeans. He opens the button with a bit of effort, then he lowers my zipper and spreads the flaps, exposing my boxer shorts. He squeezes my limp dick through my underwear while I grind my toes into the carpet and my limbs stiffen. I gaze at the ceiling.
He lets go of my dick, then he rolls on top of me and his chest pressures mine and his chin lies upon my shoulder. I weigh about one-fifteen and he must weigh one-eighty, at least. His bulk makes it tough for me breathe.
The drape man places one hand behind my head. He lifts it and turns my face toward his and he smooches the tip of my nose, then my forehead. He rubs one side of his face against mine and his stubble scratches my skin, making a noise: gritch-gritch. His breath quickens. With his free hand he seizes my chin and lowers my jaw. He covers my mouth with his and our lips come together and his tongue enters my mouth, meeting my tongue.
He tastes awful: a combination of cigarettes, bourbon and tooth plaque, and I fear I may puke. He examines every corner of my mouth with his tongue, he runs it across the surfaces of my teeth and gums, he investigates the underside of my tongue and traces the insides of my lips. He takes his time, holding my chin in place. I feel his heart hammer inside his chest. Breath steams from his nose, it warms my upper lip.
The kissing lasts several minutes. It feels like months. I keep my eyes closed and I try to not think about what transpires, of what I’m becoming. Finally, he releases my chin and withdraws his mouth from mine and he raises his head but he keeps his torso on top of me — I am pinned to the mattress. He looks into my eyes with a playful expression on his face, he makes a gentle smile and raises his eyebrows and he tilts his head to one side. He strokes my cheek — the one he slapped — with his thumb. He whispers, “I love you, Justin. I want you to love me, too.”
Then he lowers his mouth to my neck and he sucks tender skin, nibbling with his front teeth, giving me a love-bite, a branding of sorts. He smacks, he works at his task, and I grit my teeth because it hurts, like a crab is pinching me. I close my eyes for a long moment and I listen to the drape man slurp.
Copyright Martin Delacroix 2009
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It’s overcast and cool in Berlin today and I’ll need to wear a light jacket when I go food shopping this afternoon. It’s a good day to stay indoors and write.
On days when I don’t visit the gym, I’ll take a three-mile run. (Yeah, I’m an exercise nut.) There are not any parks in my neighborhood this year, but about five blocks from my building is what Germans call a “kleingaerten”. This is a community of small cottages on individual plots of land. Each plot is maybe the size of a tennis court. People who are apartment dwellers visit their cottages on weekends and holidays, and they grow flowers and vegetables on their plots. They’ll often stay overnight in their cottages. The plots are immaculately kept and quite beautiful. Germans know how to grow flowers, believe me! Anyway, this ia a perfect place for me to run, as there is no vehicular traffic and the pathways are cinder, which makes for nice running.
Last of all, I want to thank all the folks who visited my blog yesterday. It was the highest traffic day I’ve had since I began this blog in December 2008. Please, visit often.