I have the greatest admiration for triathletes. The discipline and training are something most people could never dream of enduring. A triathlon involves three events: a 750 meter (0.47 mi) swim, a 20-kilometer (12 mi) cycling event, and a 5 kilometer (3.1 mi) foot race, one after the next.
I used to run in distance races, during my law schools days in Tallahassee. I mostly ran 5K and 10K events, and I did pretty well. But I quit competitive running when I moved to the Tampa Bay area; the competition here is way too intense. Still, I kept running — mostly three mile jogs — for decades, until my doctor said my knees couldn’t take it any more. I’d recommend distance running to anyone. It helps with weight and appetite control, and it helps you sleep better.
Every year, a major triathlon is run in St. Petersburg, FL, Hundrfeds of men and women participate, and the sights are pretty amazing. All these guys run past you in Spandex, and it’s enough to drive a gay man into frenzy.
So, did everyone enjoy yesterday’s initial segment of Winston Quirk, my newest “free fiction” offering? Here the second segment, for your reading pleasure. Remember, it comes with the following caveat:
*This story contains graphic depictions of sexual activity between two adult males. If this sort of material offends you, or if you are under the age of eighteen years, you should not read Winston Quirk.
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Copyright Martin Delacroix, 2010
When I’d finished bandaging Winston’s elbow, we repaired to my living room. I opened two bottles of beer, and then I sat on the sofa, while Winston occupied an easy chair. He wore khaki shorts that showed off his sinewy legs. Taking a sip of beer, he smacked his lips.
“Nice and cold,” he said.
I asked how long he’d toured the islands.
“Nearly three months, and I’ll do another before I return to Nassau.”
“What kind of sailboat?”
“A twenty-four footer, single-masted. You’ll have to come see.”
I told Winston I’d like that. “But,” I said, “surely you won’t stay in Man-O-War any longer?”
He drank from his beer, shrugged and swallowed. “I’m not a guy who’s easily intimidated. Perhaps I’ll stick around.”
I made a face. “That might not be good for your health. Next time they could do more serious damage.”
He drained his bottle and didn’t respond.
I asked if he’d like another beer.
“Only if I’m not disturbing you.”
“Of course not.”
“Sure, then,” he said. “That would be nice.”
Winston was twenty-two years old. He’d recently graduated from the College of The Bahamas, in Nassau, earning a degree in education. His father was a high school principal, his mother a grade school teacher, and Winston planned to teach school himself.
“I minored in biological sciences with an emphasis on oceanography. I also spent nine months in Miami, studying at the College of Marine Science.”
When I told him I taught journalism at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, Winston raised an eyebrow.
“You look awfully young to be a college professor.”
He asked how old I was, and I told him thirty-four.
He said, “You don’t look it. I’d have guessed twenty-eight, maybe.”
I shrugged. “I’ve always looked younger than other guys my age. When I was in college people thought I was a high school kid.”
“Hey,” Winston said, “be glad for it. You look really good for your age.”
I felt heat rise in my cheeks.
Winston’s eyes narrowed. “You’re blushing. How come?”
Now the tops of my ears burned. I lowered my gaze and studied my sandals, feeling embarrassed.
I said, “I’m not used to getting compliments like that.”
When I looked up at Winston, he stared at me with a smile on his lips.
Crinkling my forehead, I said, “What is it?”
He shook his head, still smiling. “Nothing,” he said
I thought, What’s going on here?
We talked about his boat tour. So far, he’d explored Great Exuma, Long Island, Cat Island and Eleuthra. “I saved The Abacos for last because I’ve always heard they are the most beautiful of the Bahamian islands.”
“Don’t you get lonely?”
“Sometimes, yes. I’m a sociable person, and there are times when I don’t speak to another human for days at a time.”
Winston explained how his style of touring was called “gunkholing.” He’d sail along the coast of an island until he found a protected cove, preferably one with a beach. He’d set his anchors and lower his sail and make himself at home for a few days, then move on. He owned several books on the subject, he said, and his charts also helped him locate suitable places for anchoring.
“When you’re not under sail,” I asked, “how do you spend your time?”
He raised a shoulder. “I keep busy. I use a Hawaiian sling to spear fish, and I snorkel for spiny lobster. I also catch fish with a rod and reel. I read a good bit, paint watercolors, and there’s always maintenance on the boat to be done.”
He explained how at least once a week, he’d dock at a marina to procure fresh fruits and vegetables from a village store. “And I always buy an ice cream bar,” he told me. “It’s a weakness of mine.”
The time had reached eleven P.M., and Winston stretched his limbs. He rose and his knees crackled.
He said, “I’d best be getting along; it’s late.”
“Do you think it’s safe? What if you encounter your … friends, or someone else like them?”
“Why don’t you stay here?” I said. “You can walk home in the morning, and you won’t have to worry about your safety.”
Winston shook his head. “It’s kind of you to offer, Dane. But I’ve imposed on you enough this evening.”
“Nonsense. You can sleep on the sofa.”
He lowered his gaze and worked his jaw from side to side. Then he looked at me and said, “All right. But may a take a shower?” He pointed to dirt smudges on his legs. “I don’t want to soil your furniture.”
I told him sure. After bringing him a fresh towel, I pointed toward the bathroom. “There’s soap and shampoo. Help yourself.”
Moments later, from behind the bathroom door, I heard Winston’s belt buckle tinkle, and the sound made me shiver. I tried to imagine how he might look naked. I’d never had sex with a black man before; I’d never even considered it. I had no black friends or neighbors. I didn’t consider myself a racist, but I had never felt attracted to African men. Deep inside myself, did I consider them inferior persons? Many of my Gainesville friends clearly did.
I thought about the compliment Winston had given me, then the little smile he’d made when I had blushed at his remark. Was it possible Winston was gay? He’d said nothing about women or girlfriends during our conversation, and in my experience not too many straight guys took up watercolors as a hobby. But Winston was Bahamian, he came from a different culture than mine, and I couldn’t assume much of anything about him.
He emerged from his shower wearing white briefs and nothing else. He carried the rest of his clothing and his sandals, and the sight of his athletic physique made my mouth go sticky. I swallowed and tried not to stare but it was hard not to. His belly was flat and striated, and the pouch of his underwear displayed a randy bulge. A line of dark hair descended from his navel, contrasting nicely with the lighter color of his skin.
He placed his clothing and shoes on a ladder back chair. Then he sat on the sofa, next to me, smelling of soap and shampoo.
I looked at his muscular thighs, at his calves dusted with dark fuzz, and I felt a tingle in my undershorts. Trickles of sweat slid from my armpits, making their way down my rib cage. My voice cracked like a teenager’s when I asked Winston what time he’d like to rise in the morning.
“I’ll make us breakfast,” I said.
Winston looked at me and smiled. Then he leaned toward me and kissed my cheek.
My belly fluttered at this intimacy.
He said, “You’re an awfully sweet guy, Dane. Are you this nice to everybody?”
My face flamed and I lowered my gaze, thinking, Holy shit. Maybe—
“What’s wrong?” Winston said.
I looked up at him and drew a breath.
Go ahead, Barger, ask him. If he’s not interested, he’ll say so.
“You don’t have to sleep on the sofa,” I said. “You could sleep in my bed if you’d like.”
Winston held my gaze while his lips parted in a grin.
“Would you be in the bed also?” he asked.
“Sure then,” Winston said; “that would be nice.”
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Okay, readers, that’s all for today. I hope you’re enjoying your Saturday, wherever you may be.