By Mark Wildyr
The killer looked down at the boy at his feet and fought a rising irritation. How come the kid still looked so good? Death hadn’t done a damned thing to diminish the little queer’s looks. Wasn’t right. When you’re dead, you oughta look the part.
The boy hadn’t sensed danger until it was too late. A nano-second later, the bullet splintered his sternum and punctured his heart. The man gave a disgusted sigh and stowed the small handgun in his waistband. Then he calmly walked down the dark alley, moisture from the boy’s lips drying on his half turgid penis.
Albuquerque Police Detective Calvin Grajek muttered a curse as the telephone interrupted a set of curls. Early morning calls at home were never good, and this one was no exception. Body. Alley. Yeah, he’d go straight there. He hung up and headed for the shower.
Cal knew from the address what he’d find. The site was on the fringe of a Rabbit Run around East Central Avenue, once historic Route 66. If his hunch was right there had now been five gay murders over the past two years, and since his old partner was prematurely retired by a heart attack, Cal was the detective in charge. Together, they’d gotten nowhere. On his own, he hadn’t achieved much more than to gain some introspection into the city’s deviant culture. Until this started, Cal figured a queer was a queer was a queer. Now he understood the gay underground was at least as complex as mainstream society. Come to think of it, it wasn’t so underground anymore.
Cal parked his unmarked Ford four door behind a black-and-white in what was known by locals as Indian Alley. For a couple of miles, the broad, mostly paved alleyway half a block south of East Central paralleled the thoroughfare through a commercial neighborhood of 1930’s-style one-story shop buildings. A few had been restored; most simply struggled against decay. A well-traveled route used by the homeless, drunks, Native Americans, and a host of others avoiding curious eyes, the alley was an unlikely place for murder, although it had seen more than its share of mayhem over the years. Most of the area’s habitués would deny seeing anything. It truth, they probably hadn’t, either from alcoholic haze or a lifetime of keeping their eyes glued to the ground.
Several people were already on hand, including Cal’s new partner, Brin Haskell. Who the hell named a kid Brin? The guy’s personnel file showed it was short for Brindle, but that begged the question. Who’d name a kid Brindle? This was the twenty-eight-year-old’s virgin assignment as a detective, and Cal suspected the guy’s drive was fueled as much by the fact he was the nephew of a deputy chief as by natural enthusiasm.
The new detective stepped away from the small group of uniforms to greet him. Crap, the guy didn’t look much older than most of the victims. Hispanic with a gringo name. Tall, athletic, good-looking, recently divorced. Cal wondered if Brin’s obvious dislike of gays was cultural or a defensive measure, although there was nothing soft about the guy.
Brin shook his head. “Another one.”
“You can tell by just looking?”
“A kid. Teens. One to the heart like the others. And yeah, I can tell. If I get the willies, it’s one of them.”
“I like that,” Cal said dryly. “The scientific approach.”
Brin flushed. “Give you ten-to-one odds.”
“No thanks. Given the location, you’re probably right.”
As they reached the body, Cal studied the blond youngster sprawled on his back, face pallid in death, his grotesque Kiss T-shirt made even more so by a glob of crusted blood. There was already a distasteful odor. The sound of nearby traffic signaled that life went on. While uniforms put up the crime scene tape to keep the curious at bay, the detectives slapped on latex gloves and made a quick examination of the corpse before the crime scene boys arrived and chased them off.
Cal read from the ID in the kid’s wallet. “Kevin Kenally, Sixteen-years-old. What a waste.”
“Been a waste for a couple of years already,” Brin muttered.
Cal rounded on him. “What’s with you, Haskell? He’s like any other kid. What’s he done to earn your scorn? Maybe you oughta go work another case.”
“Look, I don’t like queers, okay? But that doesn’t mean I’m not a good detective. Doesn’t mean I won’t do my job.”
Cal brought his voiced under control. “You’re right. And you might as well get started. There’s gay bookstore with a private teenage hangout called Brothers and Sisters next door just a couple of blocks down the street. Go see if you can learn anything useful.” Cal removed a snapshot of the kid standing with an older youth from the victim’s billfold. “Maybe Kenally was there last night. See if you can find out who he left with. Use this snapshot until I can get a better picture. And see if you can find out who the other guy in the photo is.”
Cal read momentary panic at being sent into the lion’s den alone, but Brin rallied. “Right. What’re you gonna be going?”
“Notifying his parents. Wanta trade jobs?”
“No, gracias,” the slender detective said acidly.
The boy’s mother collapsed like someone had jerked the stuffing from her stout frame. The father, an aggressive business type, started protecting the family reputation right out of the box. Only the older sister seemed to fully recognize the situation. Cal had to admire the way she stood up to her old man, answering the detective’s questions about the boy’s personal life. Although Cal didn’t have a copy of the picture he’d given his partner, Doreen, the sister, told him it was Aaron Luff in the snapshot with her brother.
Aaron, she said, was an older boy who hung around with Kevin and his friends. Kev had a crush on him, but she didn’t think anything had developed. Reading between the lines, Cal guessed she hoped nothing had happened for her own reasons. She knew Aaron was a freshman at the University of New Mexico and lived on campus, but after class he usually hung at the Zimmerman Library or around the Student Union Building.
Upon leaving the Kenally residence with four or five better photos of Kevin, Cal made the rounds of the adult video stores in the vicinity. The boy was too young to be admitted, but some of the operators looked the other way, figuring a buck was a buck. Judging from Kenally’s family background, he wouldn’t have needed to hustle, but that didn’t necessarily mean anything. Naturally, none of the joints even knew the kid…until he hit the Lovely Lady.
The pinch-faced, pimply clerk studied the photo carefully, oblivious to the close, airless environment of the place. “The little shit! What’s he done?”
“You know him?”
“Chased him out half a dozen times. Always sneaking in and riling up my customers. Little fucker propositioned one old guy right out here in the open before I could get to him. Hope you catch him and lock him up in Juvie!”
“Was he here last night?”
The clerk pursed his oily lips a moment. “Naw. Been a week since I seen him. Try the Pussy Galore, they ain’t too particular about who they let in. Their equipment’s so shitty, a good-looking little queer might draw some business.”
“Was he effeminate?” Cal asked.
“Not really. Saucy. Pushy. You can tell what he is, but he don’t shine no beacon on it, if you know what I mean. Don’t act like a little princess, but don’t come across like no macho kid neither. What’s the little shit done?”
“Gone and got himself dead.” As he left, a middle-aged man entering the sleazy place gave him a long, speculative look, finally dropping his eyes before the detective’s hard stare.
He’d already questioned the equally oily and pimpled clerk at the Pussy Galore, so Cal made his way to where Haskell was doing the heavy questioning. The Universal might be a gay place, but at least it was a real bookstore without films or peep shows. The Brothers and Sisters Club, or the BS as it was more commonly known, was a cheap social club for gay teens too young to get into regular bars. They were more likely to mine gold in those places than anywhere else. Cal nodded to the street cop on the door and entered the storefront club with bare, cracked tables spilling out onto the sidewalk. Over the years this large, open room had housed an art gallery, a thrift store, and now a club that served chips and pre-wrapped sandwiches with soft drinks. Cal speculated about the ‘Sisters’ since there wasn’t a female in sight, at least not an anatomical female.
Brin Haskell dominated the place by virtue of both badge and masculinity. His partner’s ears flamed as he questioned a shy-looking youngster across a tiny table. Cal almost laughed aloud. Detective Haskell was well aware of the admiring glances cast his way. These kids would have wet dreams about him for a week. But at the moment fear, excitement, and guilt fouled the room…fear of the killer stalking them, excitement at the proximity of the law that routinely hassled them out of boredom or disgust, and guilt because of their lifestyle. These teens challenged their Christian-Judeo upbringing by frequenting a place like this and by outrageous dress and behavior, but were not yet secure in the knowledge that it was really okay.
Cal watched his partner’s demeanor carefully. The detective managed to contain his prejudices, but a little hostility leaked out occasionally. When Brin finished with the kid, the two men went outside to compare notes.
“Definitely maricón,” Brin said. “Nobody admitted to being a partner, but everyone knew of someone. Said the Kenally kid hustled some. Didn’t need to, but got a kick out of it. The other kid in the picture’s named Aaron Luff.”
“Yeah, goes to the University. I called the registrar. His last class gets out in half an hour. I’m going over there now. You dig any dirt on him?”
“Other than being a fruit, you mean? Older than most of these guys, but hangs at the cub some. Seems to be a special friend of the vic. Boyfriend probably. The uniform radioed in for his record, but didn’t find one. The Kenally kid got cautioned about male prostitution once, but wasn’t arrested.”
“Okay, I’ll go catch Luff. You finish up here, and I’ll meet you back downtown. We’ll review everything. Did the lab guys get photos and a sketch?
“Yeah. We got everything we need. They left the tape in the alley, but the winos are probably already parading up and down the place.”
Cal caught his partner’s eye. “Brin, the kid’s old man is obnoxious as hell, but he’s got some clout. Owns a couple of businesses. You can expect to hear from your uncle on this one.” The new detective had the decency to flush.
Cal’s first impression of Aaron Luff was of a handsome, wholesome, all-American college boy. The kid’s thick brown hair bounced when he walked. He filled out his Save the Whales T-shirt impressively. Probably did some weights. The detective could see why the dead boy’s sister harbored hopes. This was no limp-wrist, but still there was something about him.
“Aaron Luff?” he asked, stepping in front of the young man. “My name’s Calvin Grajek. I’m a detective with the Albuquerque Police Department. Can I talk to you a few minutes?”
“Sure. I’m dry as a bone. Can we go over to the SUB for a coke?”
“My treat,” Cal said as they exited the Engineering Building.
“What’s this all about?” So far as Cal could see, it was mild curiosity. The youth certainly wasn’t in a panic over being accosted by a detective.
“You know a Kevin Kenally?”
“Kev? Yeah sure? He in some kind of trouble?”
They approached the big, low-slung Student Union Building or SUB in campus lingo. “Good friend?”
The youth frowned over the question before answering. “Yeah, I’d say so.” He stopped suddenly; Cal almost ran into him. “Not like that. I mean, he’s a good kid and all, but he’s kind of young. He looked at me more like a big brother.”
“Not according to his sister,” Cal said resuming his walk toward the cafeteria. They selected drinks, and the detective paid.
“Doreen’s got an imagination,” Aaron laughed, coloring a little. “I’ll admit that Kevin would like to get closer, but I’m not a complete fool. I’ve got a scholarship that I’m not about to jeopardize with a minor.”
“Good thinking. This okay?” Cal asked, indicating a corner table.
“Sure. So what’s up with Kev?”
“He’s gay, I take it.”
“Yeah. Somebody turn him in for soliciting? I told him to stop picking up old guys.”
“Old guys?” Cal asked quickly.
Aaron leveled a smile at the detective. “Older. Older than him. You know, your age. How old are you, detective?”
“Thirty-three,” Cal answered before thinking. “And you?”
“Nineteen. I’m legal.”
“Meaning, you’re fair game for the older ones?”
Aaron darkened a moment, but the hale-fellow-well-met resurfaced almost immediately. “Is that your way of asking if I’m gay? Yeah, I’m gay. But I don’t have that kind of relationship with Kevin or any of the other guys at the BS.”
“That his hangout?”
“Home away from home, Detective. He feels more comfortable there than anywhere else in the world.”
“More so than with his own family?”
“He’s smothered at home. His father detests him. Shit, call a spade a spade. His father hates him. The guy’s an ex-jock going to fat, and Kev doesn’t measure up as his son and heir. His mother denies the obvious and pulls him into everything she does. He feeds off it, wanting to be his mother. Doreen’s got the squarest head in the whole family.
“That was my take, too,” Cal said easily.
“So what kind of trouble is the little shit in?” Aaron asked, sipping his drink.
The detective waited until he had put down his glass before answering. “The worst kind. He’s dead. Somebody killed him last night.”
The youth across from him looked as if he’d been slugged. The color drained from his face. The brown eyes went dead, and then brightened with sudden tears. The broad mouth worked a couple of times before any words passed the lips. “Dead? Kevin? Kevin Kenally? Who? How?” Comprehension dawned. “Another one? The GG killed Kevin?”
“GG?” Cal asked. “Who’s GG? You know him?”
“GG. The Gay Ghost. That’s what the kids at the BS call him, the guy who’s killed so many of us. He got Kevin? Oh, Jesus! I gotta go see his mom. And Doreen. They must be going crazy!”
Cal laid a restraining hand on the youth’s corded arm. “Aaron, I need some help on this one. I’d like you to come downtown with me. You might help corral this guy. Put an end to it all.”
“How? I don’t know anything! Shit, I didn’t even know Kev was…dead.”
“No, but you’re older than most of these kids, a little more down to earth. You know them, move among them. You may have some information you don’t recognize as important. For instance, you knew that Kevin hustled, warned him against it. Do you know any of the men he picked up? See any of them?”
“No. Well, I saw one when he got out of a silver Mercedes the night I gave him hell. It was dangerous, you know. Not just the men, but disease, too. Told him if he really wanted—” The young man choked off his words.
“Come on, Aaron. Now’s not the time to hold things back.”
The youth collapsed against the table. “I wasn’t completely truthful about me’n Kevin. I mean, it’s true that we never touched one another, but…but Kevin loved me. He’s always trying to go to bed with me. But I was serious about protecting my scholarship. Being gay’s hard enough in this world; I don’t need legal problems, too. And his old man would have been down on me in a minute. Had me thrown in jail. Anyway, Kevin knew I liked him, too. He begged me to wait for him. Two more years, he was always saying. So when I tumbled to the fact he was hustling, I got on his case. He promised to quit.”
“Were any of the others at the BS especially friendly?”
Aaron smiled wanly. “Lovers, you mean? No,” he shook his head. “They weren’t his type. You’d be amazed at how few of them actually do things with one another. Somehow they’re always looking outside for love. Actually, you’re more his type than any of them. He liked black-haired, manly guys. You’re a handsome man, detective, just the kind he’d go for,” Aaron added boldly. The youth’s head drooped as a thought struck home. “If I’d thumbed my nose at the law and given him what he wanted, he’d probably be alive right now.”
Touched, the detective responded. “I doubt that, Aaron. In my experience the thrill of the chase is damned near irresistible to these boys. It’s like making a conquest with the money as a trophy. But it’s a temporary conquest leaving them free to go their own way.”
The young man met his gaze, eyes full of unashamed tears. “Yeah. I went through it myself a few years back. Can…can I see him?”
“Later, Aaron. But first, I want to pick your brain for every scrap of information you have. Will you let me do that?”
“Anything if it’ll help catch the son-of-a-bitch who killed Kevin!”
Later at police headquarters, Cal noted the changes Brin Haskell underwent as they interviewed Aaron Luff at length. Brin had been expecting a flaming queer and warmed to the confident masculine youth he confronted. Then he grew distant, confused this kid who could have been his hangout buddy was a pervert. Brin’s upper lip went stiff, but he handled himself professionally.
By the end of the day, they had a pretty good picture of who Kevin Kenally had been. Probably a pretty likeable guy when he wasn’t trying to shock you with his sexual orientation. About halfway between a painted fem and a macho bullyboy. He laughed a lot. Made his friends feel good about themselves and about him. He likely had more sexual partners than Aaron knew, and probably occupied both sides of the mattress. Enjoyed oral, was less tolerant of anal sex, although he was constantly proclaiming his ass was Aaron’s anytime, anywhere. If he’d chased girls instead of boys, he’d have been a pretty typical teenager.
Cal took Aaron to see the body mostly to gauge the youth’s reaction. He doubted that the boy was the killer even though he had no alibi. He’d been at Zimmerman Library or in his room studying for a test. Much of that time he’d been alone. Aaron Luff’s pain at the sight of his would-be lover would have been hard to fake, but people slaughtered loved ones every day of the week.
The detectives touched all the bases, re-interviewed the parties, looked at the forensic evidence…and got nowhere. They accosted Indian Alley travelers for a month, scaring the hell out of most and sending a few scurrying back into the darkness from whence they’d emerged. They satisfied half a dozen outstanding warrants, confiscated weapons, and probably frightened a few out of a couple of years of their lives. But they didn’t learn a damned thing about the killer.
Kevin Kenally had been a hundred thirty-five pound, five-foot nine healthy male with normal development and no sign of disease. Other than Aaron Luff, he had no emotional attachments, lots of acquaintances, and a few close friends. The boy, as an avowed homosexual, wasn’t particularly popular at school, where he was a sophomore, but was tolerated because of his wit and personality. Kevin had spent most of that fateful night at the BS, leaving alone around eleven. An hour later, he lay dead in an alley not two blocks from the club.
As with the other four cases, there was semen in the boy’s mouth, throat, and stomach. The DNA extracted from the sperm matched the earlier murders. The single bullet came from the same gun. It was the same killer. But without a suspect, DNA isn’t much good. It’s not like a fingerprint that can be checked against vast databases to snatch a single unknown individual out of anonymity. That was also true of the twenty-five-caliber bullet taken from the boy’s chest. Find the pistol, and they could prove it was the murder weapon. Until then, ballistics were useless.
Days passed. Calls from Brin’s uncle and the mayor’s office and Kevin Kenally’s parents grew less frequent. Other cases intruded. The killer’s trail evaporated, if it ever existed. Three months passed.
The man strode confidently down the sidewalk neither seeking the darkness of night nor shunning occasional pools of light. He was on the north side of the street so this was properly Central Northeast, home to a series of small antique shops, bars, a convenience store, and a couple of cheap motels. The sprawling UNM campus lay to the west; the gay hangouts to the east. A graceful figure came into view a block away. It could have been male or female, but he was betting on the former. He’d already ignored two prospects, both unattractive. His daddy had instilled a sense of pride in him, and he wouldn’t approach anyone unacceptable. The indistinct figure materialized into a slender young man with hips a bit too wide and shoulders slightly too narrow, but the face was heart-shaped and arresting. The man maintained eye contact as they passed. Then he paused and turned. The youth halted.
“Where’s the action around here?” he called in a deep voice. They liked deep voices. Stirred them up.
“Depends on what you’re looking for?” The boy took a few tentative steps toward him.
“A little relief. I’m from out of town. Been away from the wife too long.”
“You looking for a woman?” The youngster stood in front of him now. The chest looked decent. Yes, quite acceptable. Eighteen or so.
“No, I don’t run around on my wife…with a woman.”
The boy smiled, his feminine side seeping out as his defenses relaxed. “Married, huh? Married guys really know how get it on.”
“Interested?” The man swept the street for sign of observers. A car was halted at a light half a dozen blocks to the east.
“Might be,” the boy played it cool. “My name’s Luis. What’s yours?”
The man ignored the question. “Look, either you are or you aren’t. I don’t feel comfortable standing here discussing it.”
“Come on.” The boy took ten strides and disappeared around the corner. The man caught up with him in the dim recesses of an alley. “It’ll cost you, but I’ll do a good job for you. Blow you for twenty. Or you can fuck me for forty. We can we go to your motel.”
“I just want a quick blow. Right here’s okay.”
“Naw, I got a better place.” Without waiting for an answer Luis took off. Two blocks later, they left the commercial zone and entered a residential area. The boy turned into an ink-black alley and made his way to a huge cardboard crate. “In here,” he said.
“That’s all right. I’ll stay out here,” the man replied walking up to the opening of the crate as the boy entered. “You have a flashlight?”
“I wanta watch you suck me.”
“Oh. Wait! I’ve got a candle. Hold on.” A moment later, a subdued light glowed through the cardboard. The boy’s head appeared at the opening and pressed against his groin. “That okay?”
The man looked down on the tousled head. “Yeah. Perfect. Take it out.”
Obediently, the boy freed him from his clothing, exclaiming over the size of the rapidly hardening cock. “Wow! Wish I could see you naked.”
“Pull my balls out, too. Suck them first.”
“Uh…how about my twenty dollars?”
The man fished a bill out of his pocket. The boy pressed his lips to the testicles the moment his hand closed over the money. The man shivered slightly at the touch. Then the lips closed over the head of his engorged cock, and the killer about lost it in the excitement of what was to come later. He thrust his hips, throwing the boy off balance. He clasped the youngster’s head and drove himself into the open mouth. The boy choked, but the man held him tight, fucking the warm throat like a woman’s vagina. In minutes, he felt it coming. It was not just an ejaculation; it was more…far more. It was pleasure and power. The exquisite electrical discharges almost brought him to his knees, but it was his wildly spurting seed christening this perverted child’s journey into the beyond that gave him the iron-hard erection. His was the last cock this twisted, queer hustler would ever suck! He clutched the struggling head tight against him and hunched one final time, ramming the entire length of his cock down the boy’s esophagus.
“Shit, Mister!” the boy gasped through a bruised throat when he was finally released. “Thought you was gonna kill me! Man,” the youth rubbed his throat as he sat on his heels at the opening to the little shelter, “you really get it on it, don’t you? Bet you fuck like a demon!”
“You were right.”
“What? That you fuck good?” The boy peered up at him, backlit by the flickering candle of his makeshift love nest.
“No, that I’m going to kill you.” He raised his hand. The little pistol barked. The boy collapsed, grasping the killer’s legs in his death throes. The man arranged his clothing, put the gun away, and stepped out of the corpse’s embrace. He grimaced in distaste as he turned the boy over and fished the twenty-dollar bill out of his trousers. He noticed blood glistening on his shoes, but wasn’t overly concerned. Finding a patch of grass, he wiped his soles carefully and then made his way back to his car. Everything was quiet. He hadn’t even disturbed the neighborhood dogs. His daddy would have been proud of him. It’s not your fault, his mummy would say.
Grajek cursed aloud when the phone rang. He knew what it was before he answered. Body. Alley. Same as the others…except. He sat up in bed and asked the dispatcher to repeat the address. It was on the north side of Central. Shit!
Haskell was already at the scene looking fit and rested. Cal felt like a stepped-on dog turd. “Another one?” he asked sourly.
“Out of the area a little.”
“Few blocks,” Brin acknowledged. “But it’s a queer killing all right.”
“Gives you the willies, huh?”
“Heebee jeebies, man.”
There wasn’t much question about Brin’s conclusion. The boy had died with an erection; his trousers jutted out obscenely.
“At least this one’s not a niño,” Brin muttered.
The body lay half in and half out of a cardboard and wood crate that had originally housed a refrigerator. Someone had dragged it to a secluded place partially hidden by bushes and turned it on its side as a make-out place. Two soiled blankets served as a makeshift bed. A puddle of wax in a tin can had apparently been a candle at one time. This alleyway wasn’t so heavily traveled and they discovered footprints, finding the place where the killer had scraped his shoes over a scraggly patch of green.
“Blood,” Brin said, squatting for a closer look.
“Looks like it. Now we have a footprint.”
“Shit!” Brin said in disgust. “We’ve got DNA, ballistics, footprints, a couple of pubic hairs…everything we need to hang the guy. But we gotta find him first.”
“We know something else, too,” Cal said. “The guy must be presentable. This kid went into a dark alley with him knowing that five others had been killed.”
“Or,” Brin added darkly, “it’s somebody he knew. These kids are not afraid of him, Cal. I wanta talk to that Luff character again.”
“Let’s let the guys finish up here. We’ll canvass the houses on either side of this alley. By that time, the BS should be open. It’s Saturday, so there’ll be a few kids around.”
The area was an older settled neighborhood, and its residents appeared just as old and just as settled. One woman three houses down was an insomniac and claimed she heard a noise like somebody whacking a board against a fence post around three that morning. No one else had heard anything at all.
The news of the murder preceded them to the BS. The place was crowded with excited, frightened teenagers. The owner, a beefy, middle-aged, balding man called Pelon was serving soft drinks to his nervous, energized clientele as quickly as he could pop the tops. Wilson Charlie Hartshorn, AKA Pelon, was an ex-druggie, but according to the neighborhood cops the BS wasn’t a drug drop. A lot of the kids did drugs, but not in Pelon’s place, and he wasn’t supplying them.
The big room fell silent as the two detectives entered. As cynical and hard as this lot was supposed to be, the head and shoulders Polaroid of last night’s victim got to some of them. They knew Luis Espada by his street name, Blade. Appropriate, since Espada meant sword in English. He was a known male hustler who lived in the south valley. Apparently, Blade didn’t hang with the BS bunch much, but wasn’t a total stranger either. There was almost palpable relief when they realized he wasn’t really one of them, although Cal knew they missed the point. The killer didn’t know that and probably didn’t care.
Brin had his shot at Aaron Luff. The freshman came in half an hour after the two detectives arrived. Cal watched him interact with the kids closest to the door and considered here was a man-boy among a bunch of boy-men. Aaron hadn’t heard about the latest murder, and it hit him hard even though he hadn’t known Blade except by sight.
“Never been to bed with him?” Brin demanded.
“Not your type, I guess,” Brin didn’t bother to keep the sneer out of his voice. “Where were you last night?”
“Library till ten and then to the dorm. To bed,” he added.
“Alone?” Brin shot back at him.
Aaron’s composure slipped a little. “Yeah, alone. I don’t take lovers to the dorm. Causes talk.”
“I’ll bet. Where do you take them? You have a place all staked out? Like a refrigerator packing case, for instance?”
Cal noticed the slight hesitation before the young man shook his head. “Don’t know what you’re talking about, Detective Haskell. You must think we fuck like rabbits, but we have lives, too.”
“From what I’m seeing, you support yourselves by fucking.”
Cal stepped between the two. “All right, cool it! Brin see if you can locate anyone at Espada’s house and start learning all you can about him. If he hustled professionally, he’s probably got a record. I’ll finish up here.”
When the young detective was gone, Cal and Aaron took a seat at one of the outside tables where it was a little more private.
“Do you own a gun?” Cal opened.
“No. Don’t like them. Had a 22 single shot rifle when I was a kid, but when I killed a squirrel with it, I put it away and never fired it again. Surely you don’t think I had anything to do with these murders.”
“One way to tell,” Cal said easily. “Give us some of your DNA. That’ll clear up that little matter once and for all.”
“Sure,” Aaron agreed quickly. “What do I do?”
“You can come downtown sometime Monday, and a technician will take a little blood.”
“Done! But why me?”
“There have been six murders, Aaron. All gay boys. The killer’s someone from around here. These kids know about the murders, yet they keep going into alleys with the killer. Can you see one of them as a murderer? No? Neither can I, unless they scratch one another to death fighting over a man. You’re older, stronger, and respected by these boys. You’d have access.”
“My God!” Aaron exclaimed. “There are half a million people in this county! It could be any one of them. Why bring it down to me? It’s because of that Mexican detective, isn’t it? He doesn’t like me. Hell, he doesn’t like queers at all! They’re such hypocrites! All that macho bullshit, but I know almost as many Hispanic gays as Anglos. But he doesn’t like me in particular. Why?”
“You threw him, I think. You’re right, he’s not fond of queers, your word, not mine. He expected you to be like the rest, but you weren’t. You acted and sounded more like him than these guys. When you admitted you were gay, he felt tricked, I guess you could say. As for why you? I want you to give the sample so we can prove it wasn’t you and get him off your case.”
Aaron sat with his chin on his chest. “What a fucking world! Some sick creep kills my friend, and now the cops thinks I did it. Shit, I loved Kevin, detective. I was willing to wait for him. And then I would have loved him to death!” He sat up, aware of his words. “I mean…”
Cal laughed. “I know what you mean, Aaron. And the kid would have been lucky to have you.”
Aaron Luff’s eyes flickered over him. “Do you mean that?”
“Yes,” Cal replied slowly. “I do.”
“Have you ever…well—“
“Have I ever had a relationship like that?”
Aaron nodded. “I know you’re the law and everything, and I probably shouldn’t be talking like this, but for some reason it’s important to me. Have you ever been with a man?”
“Isn’t that a part of growing up? But it’s not a part of my natural makeup.”
“I understand. I was damned near grown before…” Aaron Luff halted and looked across the little table. “God, you’re handsome! Kevin’s only been gone a few months, and here I’m having feelings!” Shocked by his admission, the boy blushed furiously and got to his feet. “Sorry.”
“No need for an apology. I’ll take that as a complement.”
“Thanks. Monday, huh?”
“Just tell the desk officer why you’re there.”
The man lay in his bed masturbating. What was happening to him? The image of the little hustler’s dying moment had already faded from his memory, although he could still feel the slimy, faggot mouth on his cock. Maybe if he made himself cum, he could keep from going out tonight. Then his daddy would be proud of him. That didn’t happen very much. Not since he was a kid. Not since his old man caught him with his cock in another boy’s mouth. Ran off the other kid and ranted and raved about hellfire and damnation awaiting all buggers and perverts before beating his young son. God would smite all ‘unnaturals’, his daddy had sworn. Drive them into a dark, cold grave.
He was afraid of dark, cold graves, but his mummy said it was the other boy’s fault. The good-looking ones were the worst! They tempted a body into foul sin. They’d lost their souls. So the next time the boy wanted to do it, he beat the sinner with a stick…but not before he emptied his balls into the vile creature’s filthy mouth!
That had been a long time ago, and everything had been all right until three years ago when he went on a honeymoon with his new wife to San Diego. Some depraved, good-looking Mexican had teased his cock out of his pants right in Balboa Park with his bride at a picnic table not a hundred yards distant. The marriage hadn’t lasted long after that. Not because she knew, but because he knew. Shortly after she left he figured out his holy mission.
Abruptly, the man came, spewing like a volcano, his semen abnormally hot on his chest and belly. He rubbed it all over himself, matting it in his pubic bush and chest hair. He even sucked a little off his fingers, wondering why he’d never tasted his own cum before. Shameful, loathsome creature, his daddy’s specter accused. It’s not your fault, his mummy’s shade cooed.
Brin Haskell sat at his desk reviewing the files and fighting depression. He should have gone home hours ago, but this fucking case was getting to him. They were nowhere! That maricón, Aaron Luff, had come in earlier this week and given a DNA sample. The results weren’t back yet, but the fact that he came in voluntarily most likely meant he wasn’t the guy. If he wasn’t, then who? There wasn’t another suspect on the horizon. ¡Dios! It could be anybody in the whole fucking state! Or someone from Texas, Colorado. An aggie from Arizona. Un hombre Mexicano. Or some Ute from Utah! Every one of those places was no more than a day’s drive. Fuck! Focus, Haskell. Stop wandering. It was somebody right here in this town. Somebody who hated queers. But if that was true, why did he stick his verga in their mouths and shoot semilla down their throats? How could he even get it up for them? The thought made his skin crawl.
“Hey, got something for you, guapo,” one of the clerks said, dropping a piece of paper in front of him,” managing to brush his arm with her hip.
Looking up, he smiled at the attractive redhead. Guapo. Probably the only word in Spanish she knew. “I’ll just bet you have!” his response came automatically. “You can show me anytime, Chica!” He’d never got it on with a carrot top. Was she as hot as her hair implied?
She winked cheerfully. “Looks like you guys are getting sloppy,” she laughed and sashayed out of the room.
He watched her out of sight and wasted another minute fantasizing before getting back to business. He picked up the paper. A fingerprint! They finally had a fingerprint. It had come from a small leather band Luis Espada had worn around his neck like a choker. The fucking killer had made a mistake. They had a match!
“Holy shit!” the young detective yelped, half rising from his chair. Then he dived for the phone and punched in a number. Cal’s electronic voice asked him to leave a number. Brin threw down the telephone and tore out of the room.
Cal Grajek left the BS after another round of useless questioning. The novelty of the cops invading their haunt had worn off, and some of the guys were beginning to resent the intrusion. Pelon understood the way the big world worked, however, and was unfailingly cooperative, calling down the jeers that were beginning to surface.
For lack of anything better, Cal stalked the alleyways, walking half the length of Indian Alley. He made several adult theater operators nervous by chasing off a couple of underage patrons. He hit a few beer joints, straight as well as gay, but there was no gossip that was useful. Half the guys caught by the law got tripped up by bragging or letting things slip to friends and relatives. On this case, Crime Stoppers had learned zilch!
Eventually, he found himself at the Zimmerman Library on the UNM campus and realized that he was looking for Aaron Luff. The young man was on the basement level searching through some archived material on microfilm.
“Hello, Detective,” the youth said with a smile when Cal made himself known. “You come to give me the results of the DNA? The handcuffs aren’t out, and I don’t see any backup, so I must not be a bloodthirsty killer.”
“The DNA’s not back yet. Takes a little time. No, I’m just at loose ends and frustrated.”
“Oh,” Aaron said, uncertain what to make of that remark.
“Feel like talking, or are you on a deadline?” Cal asked, nodding toward the microfilm canister the youth held.
“Let me replace this, and I’ll be with you.”
They left the library and strolled down to the duck pond, ignoring people who brushed by them in a hurry to live their lives. Perversely, a couple of lovers were the only other people moseying along casually.
“It sure would be easy to forget you’re a cop,” Aaron said suddenly. “I mean, I’m comfortable with you. I don’t feel you’re looking down on me.”
“Why would I do that?”
Aaron’s laughter was bitter. “Ask your Chicano partner. He’s more representative of your kind.”
“If you could change it, would you?”
“Being gay, you mean?” The youth dropped onto a stone bench and thought over the question. “Right at this moment I would, but when I think back over my life I’m not so sure.”
“Tell me about it,” the man said, sitting beside the youth.
“Is that Detective Grajek or Cal asking?”
Aaron sighed and made quotation marks with his fingers in the air. “I grew up thinking I was ‘normal.’ I spent my time trying to make it with girls. I did it, too. But you know what? It was work. Wasn’t anything pleasurable about it except for about thirty seconds and the bragging rights guys afterward. Then one day I realized that’s all it was. I went to all that trouble so I could exchange stories with the guys. So I quit running after girls and started lying about my conquests. It was better that way.”
The young man scooped a stone from the walk and skipped it on the pond. “Then one day this guy I hung with called me on it. I confessed, and he told me I was looking in the wrong place. Then he showed me what he meant. That was two years ago.”
“Two years ago!”
“Yeah, I’d been trying to live my life as a heterosexual until two years ago. And when I understood, all the pressure melted away. Achieving a climax had been the only pleasurable thing about a social relationship with girls. Now the whole thing, the companionship, the sharing, the pursuit, the foreplay, and especially the climax, they were all really special.”
Cal shook his head. “I’ve never heard it expressed quite like that. It looks to me like you simply exchanged one set of problems for another.”
“In a sense that’s true. But at least it was the natural me dealing with my own problems, not a phony me trying to be someone else and dealing with that dude’s screw-ups. I don’t know if that makes sense to you, but it does to me.”
“So sex with a man is more natural than sex with a woman?”
“For me it is. There’s no comparison.”
“And…and you can get it up with a woman?”
“Last time I tried, it worked just fine. But I didn’t really enjoy it. It was like, I don’t know, like Society was forcing me to do it.” Aaron looked over at Cal. “You said the other day that you’d tried it. Didn’t it work that way for you?”
Cal shook his head. “Not really. It was a schoolboy thing. Thrilled the hell out of me at the time. And in all honesty, we did it more than once, but I grew out of it. Moved on to bigger and better things,” he added with a grin.
“Like boobs and big hair,” Aaron laughed. “I don’t suppose you’d care to tell me what you did?” the youth asked slyly, glancing out of the corner of his eye. “Can’t believe I’m talking like this to a cop.”
Cal shrugged. “The basics. Got it off. Pretty primitive.”
“Then you’ve never really had the experience.”
Cal looked at the smiling young man’s face broken into planes by the mercury vapor lights around the pond. “If I were paranoid, I’d suspect you worked for Internal Affairs and were wearing a wire.”
Aaron smiled and lifted his arms. “Feel free to check for yourself. Please.”
“Was that a proposition?”
“If that was Cal asking and not the cop, then the answer is yes. I’d like nothing better than to show you what I meant, make it happen for you.”
“You’re a good-looking stud, Aaron. I’m tempted to take you up on it.”
Aaron turned sober. “Oh, God. If only you would!”
“Having a tough time of it?”
Aaron nodded. “When Kevin was alive I didn’t exactly hold myself chaste, but if I got with someone it was casual. Didn’t mean anything. He understood I couldn’t be celibate. Neither was he for that matter, but we were both careful about getting involved with others. Since he’s gone…well, there’s been no one. Haven’t wanted to get with anyone.” He searched Cal’s eyes in the darkness. “Until I saw past the badge and discovered you. I’d like nothing better than to relieve some pressure, make you feel better. It would be good for both of us.”
Cal tried to backpedal. “Look, I didn’t mean to lead you on.”
“You didn’t. I led myself, but I couldn’t help it. I’m really attracted to you, Calvin Grajek. I think even your badge and gun are pretty.”
Cal laughed aloud. “First time I’ve ever been called pretty!”
“Not pretty, maybe, but handsome as hell. They say symmetry is everything for some people. Not me. I like it that your smile’s a little lop-sided. I like it that one eye turns up at the corner a little more than the other. “
“I get the picture,” the man held up a protesting hand.
“Did I offend you?” Aaron asked.
“No. Frankly, if I was gonna try it again with somebody, it would be you.”
The youth sat up straight. “Can we go to your place?”
“Whoa,” Cal laughed nervously. “I didn’t say I was gonna try it. “
“I know what you said. But I get the feeling we can help one another.”
“There’s a killer out there somewhere that needs hunting down.”
“You’ve gotta take some time for yourself. Let me massage the tension out of you. I’ll stop whenever you say, I promise.”
“What’s in it for you if I say stop?”
Aaron laughed self-consciously. “Probably a night without sleep. But I’ll also have had some companionship and human contact.”
“A guy who looks like you shouldn’t be short of human contact.”
“I can find somebody within fifteen minutes. But it wouldn’t mean anything. With you, I think it would.”
“Let me get this straight,” Cal put some banter in his voice. “You’re seriously proposing an illicit relationship with an officer of the law while sitting by the duck pond on the University of New Mexico campus?”
“You got it,” Aaron affirmed. “I’ll do things nobody’s ever done for you. I’ll make you feel like you’ve never felt before.” He stopped abruptly. “Or I’ll turn you off so much you won’t ever be tempted again.”
“Damned if I don’t have a mind to take you up on it. God, if my partner ever found out.”
“He won’t from me. How about it?”
Ignoring the vibration from his ringing cell phone for the dozenth time, Cal Grajek stood, a little self-conscious of his swollen condition. Aaron noticed and turned loose a hundred-watt grin.
“Not my place,” Cal gave up his internal struggle. “No motel. We can’t go to your room, so that leaves—”
“That leaves it in my hands. Come on!” the youth said. “I’ve got just the place. Not plush, but comfortable.”
They walked east of the campus for fifteen minutes. Aaron didn’t speak, but he was careless about brushing against Cal’s shoulder now and then. Cal grinned inwardly at the boy’s little intimacy. Aaron led him to an old wooden building that looked like an abandoned garage. So this was why the boy hesitated when Brin asked about a hide-away.
A key released the lock from its hasp, and Aaron threw open one door. By the dim light, Cal saw the place had been fixed up in a rough way. A match flared before the youth closed the door, shutting out the faint moonlight. Aaron lit an ancient oil lamp and lifted his arms to indicate the small enclosure, now softly lit by a flickering glow.
“I found it last winter. Looked like it was deserted so I put a padlock on the door. When nobody cut it off, I sort of fixed the place up. Not bad, huh?”
Cal glanced around him in. Thick curtains sealed the windows. Scraps of carpet covered a crumbling concrete floor. There was an ancient stuffed chair and an old mattress neatly made up with a faded cover.
Having second thoughts?” Aaron asked quietly.
“Is it all right if I touch you? Not anywhere intimate. I’d just like to see if you’re as solid as you look.”
“It’s okay. I understand. Not your thing.”
Cal moved over beside him. “It’s just that I don’t know how to get started. If you were a girl, I’d know what to do.”
Aaron shrugged. “So do that. Do what feels right with them.”
For a long moment Cal stood without speaking. Then he shrugged out of his windbreaker, tossed it aside, and drew the boy to him. They were almost of a height. Aaron’s smooth cheek lay against his. There was very little stubble on it. Cal reached up to finger the youth’s chin. Aaron shifted his head. Their lips touched. Cal flinched, but allowed the boy his way. Aaron’s lips were soft; his tongue pressed between Cal’s lips, tickling him, unleashing something within the man. His arms went around the boy. He kissed the near-man as he would a woman, his tongue searching, finding, twisting. It took a second for Cal to realize the moan was his. They swayed for a moment in a tight embrace before the youth broke away and slowly unbuttoned Cal’s shirt. He twisted his fingers in the thick hair and stroked the pink nipples gently.
“You do weights,” Aaron said, fingering the man’s hard stomach and lean sides. “Wow!”
Lost now, the detective tugged at his belt. In moments he stood naked, basking in the boy’s admiring gaze. The deep eyes raked him, taking in every detail of his body. Without a word, Aaron slowly disrobed, as if performing a strip tease. The slender build, the sculpted, hairless chest and shoulders, the lightly corded arms were what the man expected, but the heavy cock rising from Aaron’s brown bush was a surprise. Cal’s own body reacted to the sight, and after a moment, Aaron grasped his cock.
“Uncircumcised,” the youth muttered. “You hardly ever see that any more.”
“Problem?” Cal asked through a scratchy throat.
“No. A bonus. I like it.”
The young man dropped to his knees on the bed and drew Cal to him, taking the rigid penis into his mouth. Cal looked down the length of his long torso at the handsome head working at his groin and was overcome by a myriad of foreign sensations. A sharp, tingling radiated from the man’s core to every part of his being, initiating a long, slow, incredibly delicious buildup in his balls.
Suddenly Aaron stopped bobbing up and down the length of his cock. “Lie down,” he requested softly.
Cal did as he was asked and took the boy’s erection in his hand. Thirty-three years old, and he felt like a student before a master. Aaron enjoyed his touch a moment before lowering his head to suck the man’s tits, sending new jolts through him. Aaron worked his way through the mat of chest hair and down the naked, hairless stomach into the dark thatch ringing the big cock. He moved to his balls and sucked gently. Then he suddenly sat astride Cal and leaned forward to kiss his lips.
“Trust me,” Aaron whispered, centering himself and sitting down on the hard shaft. Cal gasped as he slid deep into the boy’s channel, his quick revulsion washed away on a tide of powerful emotion. This man-boy was giving him his entire self. No one had ever done that before. The women he’d fucked were out after a fucking, but Aaron Luff was doing this for him.
Abruptly, Cal turned them so that he was on top. He paused a moment to gaze into the soft brown eyes that danced by the flame of the lantern, and then began to fuck. Aaron raised his legs to give him better access, and he drove into the boy so deeply he feared he’d caused injury. But the cry was one of joy, not pain.
“Oh, yes, Cal! Yes, do it. Man, what a cock. You’re a beautiful man. Fuck me. Hard!”
Cal lost himself for the next twenty minutes. He plowed the boy roughly until he neared climax; then eased off to stroke the boy’s throbbing cock. Then he found a rhythm that led to a violent crescendo. He stroked the boy’s insides lovingly, fucked him wildly, thrust languidly, and explored deep, unsuspected feelings. Finally unable to control himself, he rode the boy furiously, sweat beading his brow and dropping onto Aaron’s golden chest. Nearing his time, he seized both brown nipples and kneaded them madly as the first convulsion struck. He groaned aloud as his cum shot into the boy.
Yelling his own pleasure, Aaron grasped himself and beat a tattoo against his belly a dozen times before he was gripped by a powerful climax. His internal muscles grasped the big cock inside him and milked semen from the panting detective. Finally through his orgasm, Cal collapsed atop the boy, basking in a sexual afterglow he had never experienced before.
“That was as great as I imagined it could be when I first saw you,” Aaron said. “I never dreamed I could have you.”
“But you didn’t even know Kevin was dead the first time you saw me.”
A cloud passed over the youth’s eyes. “No. And I knew my agreement with him was in jeopardy. But I couldn’t help myself.”
Cal laughed half in embarrassment. “I never was very good at this disengagement stuff.” He made to rise.
“I wish we could stay the night,” Aaron said plaintively, catching at Cal’s naked shoulders. “Was it okay for you?”
“It was fantastic. Everything you promised and more.”
The boy smiled in delight. “Really? You’re not just saying that?”
“I can honestly say I never experienced anything like it.”
“Thank you, Cal. Thank you! Thank you!”
As the man sat up, the youth rolled off the mattress, totally unselfconscious about his nakedness. He poured water from a jug onto a cloth and pushed Cal back on the mattress.
“Let me clean you up,” he said gently.
“Dirty job,” Cal muttered, half-ashamed.
“Not to me. I get to touch you some more.”
“Be my guest.”
Moments later they stood and prepared to dress.
“Please,” Cal said, stopping the boy with a hand on his arm. “Don’t. Let me look at you until I leave. I want to remember you this way.”
“You don’t want me to go with you?”
“No. It’s time to part for the night.”
“Can we do this again?” Aaron asked with a slight frown.
“We’ll see,” Cal said, his resolve weakening as he relived for a second the peerless experience this young man had given him. Then he steeled himself and pulled on his light windbreaker. It had to be done.
Aaron Luff saw the pistol the moment Cal drew it from his jacket pocket. He was faster than the others. He leapt sideways, and the bullet missed his chest, catching him in the left shoulder, hurting but not slowing him appreciably. He hit the floor and rolled toward the lantern, grasping it as a second shot hit him above the kidney, almost paralyzing him. Feebly, he heaved the lamp, his handsome face twisted by pain and disbelief.
Cal easily sidestepped the flaming missile and fired a third time. It caught the naked youth squarely in the chest. The boy died staring at the man he had gifted with his body.
The killer whirled at the sound of crackling flames, and then decided this was the perfect answer to the fingerprints he’d left all over the place. That was the one thing he couldn’t afford to leave behind. A fingerprint. As a law enforcement officer, his were on file. The flames built as he found the lock the boy had removed from the door, stepped outside into the black night, and secured the hasp. Then he carefully wiped the metal of the lock clean and turned to stride casually out of the alley. There were advantages to being the detective in charge of this case. He could investigate the hell out of it and discover exactly how little was known.
He frowned into the darkness. It was different this time. An unexpected sense of regret banished the rage and revulsion and humiliation he usually cultivated. This boy had shown him new parameters. Would he ever feel the same about his holy calling? He hunched his shoulders and shook his head. It didn’t matter. It was a sacred mission, and nothing would stop him. He wasn’t that weak!
See, daddy! I made him pay! I didn’t want to, but I did it anyway!
Lewd! Perverse! Filthy fornicator! Evil!
It wasn’t your fault, son! It’s the good-looking ones who make you do it!