markwildyr.com, Post #89
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As Diego goes about exacting his revenge, things are going swimmingly. Can this keep up or will William Conseco—known as Rocco—be the fly in the ointment. What pretext will Diego use to get who he considers to be the only real man in the flaky group isolated and under his control?
Let’s take a look.
A worm of guilt worried Diego over the weekend. One minute he wallowed in self-doubt; the next he reminded himself what had happened to him was no dream, no nightmare. He reviewed things and decided to go to the next name on the list. William Conseco, known as Rocco to his friends, worked at a gypsum wallboard plant north of town, a place where it would be difficult to have an “accidental” meeting. This man was different; he wouldn’t go for any of the zombie bullshit that panicked the first two. And he wouldn’t let anyone arrange a date for him. Of course, the paralytic poison would work, but how to isolate him in order to administer it presented a problem.
In the end, he asked Stocky where the guy hung out. After naming a sports bar on the north side, the man made a pitch.
“Look, Diego. I’ll go with you again—willingly—if you’ll call this thing off. I’ll do whatever you want.”
Diego eyed his workmate. “I believe you liked it. But no deal. They’ve got to pay. All of them.”
Diego shot pool at the Eight Ball on East Lomas for three nights running before Rocco showed up. The tall young man did a double take when he spotted him but walked on over to a vacant table with a couple of guys…coworkers from the plant, probably. A bit later, Rocco stopped by on his way to the men’s room.
“Hi, it’s Diego, isn’t it?” He held out a hand. His grip was firm, confident.
“Yeah. That’s me. How you been?”
“Doing great!” The dark eyes leveled a speculative look at him. “You?”
“Okay. That was quite a party we had that night, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah. You went a little loopy, but it was okay. Didn’t know you hung out here.”
“Just discovered it by accident. Seems like a decent place. Like to handle the cue sticks now and then. You up for a game?”
“Let me go drain the pipe, and you’re on.”
Wavering because he felt this man could have been a friend under other circumstances, Diego steeled his resolve with images of the lean, muscular frame atop him without his permission.
They were an even match on the billiard table, splitting four games. Then he joined Rocco and his friends at their table. The night passed pleasantly without an opening, and Diego returned to his apartment unfulfilled.
Over the next two weeks, Headhunter saw Rocco at the lounge three or four times, but always in the company of others. Finally, Diego watched from his car in the crowded parking lot of the popular hangout until he discerned a pattern. Most of the guys from the plant drove to the bar in their own cars, usually arriving at about the same time. After another week, his patience paid off. Rocco drove in alone on Friday evening about five minutes after the others arrived. Headhunter met him as he exited his vehicle.
“Diego!” the good-looking young man exclaimed, genuine pleasure in his eyes.
“Buy you a drink?”
“Naw. You owe me a lot more than that.” He fingered the silver ring on his right hand.
“Huh?” The man turned to him in confusion.
“You remember that first night we met?”
Rocco frowned uncertainly. “Yeah. We put away a lot of booze.”
“Yeah, and took advantage of me afterward. You shouldn’t have done that.”
Headhunter saw denial flare and die in the brown eyes. “Naw, I shouldn’t. I’ve felt bad about that ever since.”
“Why’d you do it, Rocco? I figure we could have been friends.”
“I thought we were.” The man eyed him nervously. “I don’t know. Mob mentality, maybe. It was Ritchie’s idea. Said he’d done some research and you tribal guys fooled around with one another all the time.”
Headhunter shook his head. “I expected that of the others, but I never pegged you for a mental zombie. You think for yourself.”
“You’re right. That was a cop-out.” Rocco shrugged as if he was unable to come up with a rational reason.
“I think you just wanted me?”
Rocco put some resolve in his look. “Dunno. Maybe the idea got to me on some level.”
“Then it should have been between you and me.”
“I didn’t even know you back then. That was the first time I laid eyes on you.”
“So you just went along with the idea of drugging and raping me? You gotta pay, my friend.”
“In kind, brother.”
In the dim lights of the parking lot, Headhunter clearly saw the other man blanch. “You saying tit for tat?” Rocco demanded. “Sorry. No way”
“What am I supposed to do, just forget about it?”
Rocco shrugged. “I’ll apologize, and then we’ll go inside. I’ll buy the drinks.”
“Sorry. In my culture, that doesn’t cut it.”
“Mine neither. So what do we do, slug it out right here in the parking lot?”
“Wherever. But I’m going have you after I beat you.”
“It’ll take a man to do that.”
“I am a man. The most man you’ve ever known. What’ll it be?”
“Not here. We’ll go somewhere private. Don’t worry, I’m not going to run away. That would only delay things.”
“You got that right. Where?”
“There’s an old gym where some of us work out on the weekend. It’s closed tonight, but I’ve got a key.”
Headhunter followed Rocco’s pickup to an empty parking lot beside a small, stucco building in the North Valley. Neither man said a word while Rocco fumbled with the key. Headhunter followed him inside. The place was dark except for a small night light at the back. That suited Headhunter just fine. His cat’s eyes saw everything clearly.
“Might as well be comfortable while we beat up one another,” Rocco said, leading the way to a thick wrestling mat. He stood in the middle to strip off his shirt and kick out of his shoes. Headhunter followed suit.
“You sure there’s not another way to do this?” Rocco asked. “I’m open to anything reasonable.”
“Okay, take off your pants,” he answered easily, studying the other man’s stance. Rocco had done some boxing; Headhunter wasn’t much for boxing, but he was good at fighting.
“Can’t do that, amigo.”
“Did you get a thrill out of what you did to me?”
Rocco dropped his arms and considered the question. “Yeah, I did.”
“You like having an audience watch you perform?”
The other man flushed. “Not particularly. Probably would have enjoyed it more if we were alone.” He stood with his naked torso gleaming in the dim light. “But it wouldn’t have happened if the others hadn’t been there. Needed a spark to get it going. Ritchie was that spark.”
“That’s what I figure. But now I’m going to enjoy it more because we’re alone, and I can take my time.”
“Won’t be that easy. I’m not gonna lie still and let you do it to me, not even if you manage to whip me, Diego.”
“Didn’t think you would. But I will do it.”
“Gotta get the best of me first.”
“That’s not much of a problem.” Headhunter suddenly rushed the other man, managing to lock him in a bear hug. Rocco flailed ineffectually with his imprisoned arms and butted with his head without doing much damage. Linking his hands behind the struggling man, Headhunter conjured the image of an anaconda. Becoming a constrictor, he crushed the broad chest in his embrace. Rocco dropped to the ground and frantically rolled across the mat, crashing into furniture and equipment, desperately trying to break the suffocating embrace. Headhunter held on doggedly. He was whipped if it became a matter of standing and trading blows. That had never been his way.
With arms like the coils of the serpent he conjured, Headhunter tightened his grip, twisting his hips away from Rocco’s thrashing knees. All the other man could do was to beat at him ineffectually as the breath was slowly squeezed from his lungs. Headhunter felt his opponent’s strength ebb. Rocco held on longer than most, fighting for all he was worth, even after the lack of oxygen caused his muscles to fail. He was a scrapper. Finally, his efforts became weak as he struggled to draw breath into his constricted lungs.
“Had enough?” Headhunter asked, fighting to keep the excitement out of his voice.
“Can’t…breathe,” Rocco gasped.
“I’ll let go, but it’s over.” He realized once the young man in his embrace drew a decent breath, he’d fight again. Headhunter released him and quickly pinched the man’s arm. The recessed needle in the silver ring bit. He doubted Rocco even noticed. He hadn’t used as much of the poison this time. If he’d guessed right, it would only produce lethargy, not paralysis.
He was keenly aware of his rising excitement as Rocco’s naked flesh pressed against his chest… maybe because this one had fought him like a man, challenging his right to retribution.
“Hey…Diego. Can’t we…do…this…’nother way?” Rocco’s breath was labored. From the exertion or from the drug?
“Afraid not,” he answered, rising to his knees and fumbling with the other’s buckle. Hands quickly grasped his wrist, but they had no strength in them. He easily twisted out of their grasp and opened Rocco’s fly, strangely excited by what he was doing. Over the next half hour, he exacted his revenge on this man who could have been a friend if things were different.
Shaken by the experience, Headhunter pulled on his clothing. “You’ll be all right soon,” he said. “The stuff’s already wearing off. I can feel you move a little. Can you talk better now?”
“Some,” came the muffled reply.
“Good. Because I want to know if this thing’s over? As far as I’m concerned it is. You took me; I took you.”
“Better stay…outa…my way. But it’s…over.”
“Suits me fine,” Diego breathed. “Don’t want to have much to do with you anytime soon, either. But I hope you mean it, Rocco. I wouldn’t want your Sicilian blood to come up with a vendetta.”
“Not Sicilian,” Rocco mumbled. “I did wrong. You did wrong. That makes a right, I guess.” The man laboriously turned on his back. “It’s over. I swear. But keep away from me, hear?”
“I hear you. Now I want you to make another oath to me. You don’t say anything about this to the others.”
Rocco gave a snort that could have been a laugh. “Don’t worry. Don’t want… anybody to know about it anymore’n you do.”
Wow! Don’t know about you, but that was steamy, so far as I was concerned. Do you feel an attraction? Even so, it’s hard to see these two macho men getting back together.
See you next week.
Amazon permits you to read a short passage of my novels, Cut Hand and Johnny Two-Guns. I also believe the STARbooks-published River Otter, Echoes of the Flute, and Medicine Hair are still up. I sure would like to get the final book in the Cut Hand Series, Wastelakapi… Beloved, published, but it’ll take some help from readers to get Dreamspinner interested.
My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:
Website and blog: markwildyr.com
The following are buy links for CUT HAND:
DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b
And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!
Until next time.
New posts at 6:00 a.m. on each Thursday for the life of this serial; thereafter, the first and third Thursdays of the month.