Excerpt from A Short Story, THE VALDETIAN
My short story, THE VALDETIAN, appeared in the Cleis Press anthology SHOW-OFFS. The book, edited by Richard Labonte, was published in 2013. Here’s a sample of a story that's a little different from my usual work.
I lay panting as my companion crawled off of me and strode into the bathroom. Stretching lazily on the bed, I waited to witness one of the most marvelous transformations on God’s green earth. Ajax Froman had entered the shower a handsome, virile, sexually sated adult; he would emerge as a fetching, loose-limbed nineteen year-old adolescent in baggy clothes trailing an air of naïve innocence. The amazing thing was that both images were accurate. At times, he seemed downright otherworldly…for lack of a better term. He was an incredible sex machine packaged in a slender, lightly sculpted body who considered an intimate relationship with another male as no big deal. Nonetheless, he had thus far honored my request to guard our secret from the rest of the world.
“Hey, man.” Jax gave me a crooked smile as he returned to the room running long, tapered fingers through dark brown locks that curled when damp. “That was awesome. I dig doing it with you.”
“Right back at you.” I adopted his patois. “I dig that big equipment you sport, Sport.”
Jax beamed like he was lit up by neon. “You like it, huh?”
“Sure do, my man. But I can’t keep from wondering who else gets a helping of it.”
“Nobody. I kinda like to stick with one guy until it’s time to move on.”
That sent a spasm of alarm through me. “Anybody else on the horizon?”
“Naw.” He shifted into a more comfortable slouch. “Well, there’s this jock at school. He’s been sniffing around. Think he might be about to make his move.”
I sat up abruptly and tried to hide my fright. “A jock? Didn’t know you went for that type.”
He gave a characteristic shrug that was so sexy I started tingling. The scent of soap and body lotion assailed me. “Don’t usually, but this guy’s hands-down hunky. The kind you get wet dreams about. Only problem is, he probably sees himself as a top, too.”
“He know about you?”
“Naw. He’s just…attracted, I guess you’d say.”
Jax went through his usual pat down, checking pockets for keys, wallet, and whatever else he carried in his camo pants. “Gotta go, Babe.” He leaned down for a kiss. Jax was a kisser. Learned it from movies and TV, I expect. And he’d learned damned well. The taste of his full lips almost rekindled my fire.
“When can I see you again?” I asked as he pulled away. “Next week?”
“Can’t. Got midterms. Be studying or taking tests all week. How about the week after?”
“Fine, so long as you don’t find time to squeeze in that jock.”
“Robert? Naw. Don’t think so. Probably won’t happen for a while.”
As usual, I suffered withdrawal symptoms the moment the door closed behind his trim butt. The beautiful kid had really gotten to me after only three sessions, the first of which was purely platonic. To fight my “post-Ajax depression,” I got busy around the house. At the top of the list was the front lawn, assuming I had enough strength to follow a mower around the yard, which was problematic. The sun was almost down, so perhaps the twilight air would revive me.
As I headed for the garage door on uncertain legs, the phone rang. At least I thought it did; the tone was weak and off-key. I picked up the receiver and answered. There was silence for a moment, but as I started to hang up, a wracking rattle that could have been a breath came over the wire.
“H…hello?” I said uncertainly.
“That boy…he did you good. Really good.”
As shocked as I was, I managed to notice the voice was strange—metallic, yet with intelligent inflections. It had to be someone playing tricks with one of those voice-altering devices. I grinned broadly.
“Ajax? Is that you? I’ve already admitted that you’re the best.”
“A-jax. He is a beautiful human being, is he not? And he has a big appendage. Much bigger than yours.”
“You don’t have to fish for compliments, you good-looking son of a bitch. You come on back, and I’ll show you how beautiful and manly you are. And, yeah, you’ve got a big sausage.” Silence. “Ajax? Are you there?”
“The handsome A-jax, he is not here,” that odd voice replied.
Angered and fearful that I was being outed, I gripped the phone and made my voice harsh. “Who is this? Answer me! Who’s on the phone?”
Silence, and then a noise that could have been laughter, although it sounded like no laughter I knew. “This is your phone speaking.”
“Yeah, yeah! Who is this? If this isn’t Ajax, how did you know about him? What’s going on here?”
“I know about A-jax because I watched him perform his fantastic sex act upon you. He does it so gracefully and so forcefully.”
“You what? Impossible! We were in a—” I swallowed my tongue.
“Yes, in a closed room. But I watched nonetheless. It is a pity he can perform only for such a short time. He is a great pleasure to watch.”
“Such a short time? The kid worked on me for better than thirty minutes!” Oh, crap! I’d admitted it aloud. Yes, but to whom had I confessed? Someone from work? From the law firm where I’d practiced for the past three years? “Who is this? You bastard, tell me who you are!”
Silence for a long moment. “You would not understand.”
“What’s to understand? Just tell me who you are so I can sue your ass to hell and gone for invasion of privacy.”
A crackle of static came out of the receiver, and somehow I understood it was a sigh. “I am from far away, a place you will not know.”
This joker spun a good tale, but he wasn’t perfect. As he talked, his voice lost some of its tinniness, sounding more normal. “Try me. I’m pretty good at geography.”
“Geography will not help you. I am a Valdetian.”
“Where the fuck is that? And what’s your name?”
“Far away.” The voice took on a note of resignation. “Beyond reach. And my name would be unpronounceable to you. You may call me Valdetian.”
“Where are you?” I started going into my lawyer’s deposition mode.
“All around you.”
My back puckered as I scanned the room. I was alone. “Bullshit!” I lost some of my professional cool. “Cut the crap and come out where I can see you!” The hair on my arms stood up.
“You are not ready yet. I am not like you.”
“Then what are you like?” My skin crawled. My eyes searched the room, and I wished that I had turned on the lights. It was coming up on dark, and the vanity lights from the bathroom Ajax had left burning only half-relieved the gloom.
Another silence, and then, “Like this house.”
“My house? My house is talking to me? I’m supposed to call my house Valdetian?”
“I am not your house. I merely…utilize it.”
“You’re not making any sense.”
“I warned you would not understand. Perhaps this will make it clearer. I have two forms; my own, and this house.”
“Where in the house?” I grabbed the question out of the air. Was I going crazy or was this was really happening?
“Everywhere. I can abandon my own shape to shelter in an inanimate environment when danger threatens.”
I snorted…actually snorted. “Come on!” My turn to pause. “This Valdetia, is it in Europe or Asia? Or maybe Africa?”
“My home is Valdetia. I am Valdetian. Like your home is America, and you are—”
“Yeah, yeah! I get it. Look, fella. I’m a reasonably intelligent man…for a lawyer, that is. You don’t expect me to really believe—”
“Hang up the telephone,” the voice ordered so sternly that I instantly obeyed. “You see,” my grandfather clock said to me, “we do not need an instrument of communication to communicate.”
I about jumped out of my skin. “Get outa here!” I was reduced to street talk.
What in the world is a Valdetian, and what does one look like? If you’d like to learn the answer to those questions, get a copy of SHOW-OFFS, ISBN: 978-1-57344-817-8 or 978-1-57344-843-4 for the E-book.
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