Product Placement

Chapter 8 - Flip Flopped

Francis had been doing quite a bit of thinking since that day in the alley.

At first it was nothing. Just a twinge of memory that helped him get off, blended with all the others. But the more he saw the storyteller the more the recollection of that day pushed its way to the forefront of his thoughts. What's more, the more he seemed to see Butch, the less time he actually spent with Butch. It was perplexing – but with school and work and other engagements (Butch's girlfriend) their lives were more or less tied up. And the more Francis came to realize this, the worse he felt.

He had run into them today. Butch barely noticed. He lifted his bi-haired head, smiled a little, and waved. Francis returned the gestures hurriedly and turned before the girl at Butch's side had time to do the same. He was sure he felt eyes on his back, watching him leave, but when he peeked around the corner of the alley he ducked into he saw well enough that he was already forgotten. It made his chest hurt unnaturally to the point he thought he might have had a stroke - but he was much too rational for that.

This being said, Francis was a bit of a wreck. This whole instance bothered him much more than it should have. It stuck under his skin and wormed around his gut and bored into his brain and wouldn't let him alone even if he begged. It was peculiar and horrifying, the way he was so stuck on horror-fanatic. He was captivated for no reason. The more he was left alone with his thoughts the more he desperate he became.

It wasn't just a want anymore; it was a need.

That more than anything horrified the hustler. He couldn't remember /needing/ anything in the longest time, and even if he had needed something he got it without much thought. This… this was an entirely different manner. He wondered if it was just because he couldn't get it and he was just being a spoiled brat – wanting what he couldn't have. But not-so-deep down he knew it wasn't true. This was a peculiarity he couldn't explain and couldn't write off, not with it being so goddamned persistent. And it scared him how sudden, how strong this hold on him was.

The fact that he needed Butch so desperately, wanted to see him so badly it made him physically ache – it wasn't good. It couldn't be healthy. There was no way it was normal for him, to feel this incredible gut churning desire grip him so completely it made him unable to think. It wasn't good. It wasn't right for him to want like this.

So he sought out other… sources.

"Hey there, big boy." She cooed, sliding up and around him "I was hoping you'd come by… thought you forgot about little ol' me."
"Flatterer." He breathed softly into his ear, her slim hand sliding over his broad chest. "Let's go."

And he obeyed, following her swinging hips and her coy smile and expensive perfume without another word, feeling hollow but fulfilled.


Butch was having a pretty okay day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, he'd scared the hell out of a few kids with his story and he had a date lined up for that night. Things were going pretty okay, even by Butch's usually pessimistic standards. Only trouble was he was getting kind of hungry, and he was low on cash, so he had to go to the crappy Deli instead of Kelso's. A bit of an inconvenience, but nothing spectacularly bad – certainly nothing to outright bitch and moan over.

Shrugging to himself and taking the liberty of cutting through a few backyards of people he didn't know, Butch made his way to the cheap place downtown. He hopped a fence and nearly crashed into a few garbage cans. Being the graceful and selfless guy he was, Butch righted them and looked around to make sure he wasn't spotted being clumsy. He was about to carry on, but then he heard something. He squinted into the mostly-shaded alley and saw nothing.

But now Butch was curious. And he had to know what the noise was or he was going to think of something horrible – but then again that wasn't all that horrible of an outcome either. He was running a bit low idea wise. An alley-dwelling monster might just be the thing to scare the next batch of kids. Curiosity had a rare victory over new story material, and off Butch went, hunting for the monster he was already making up in his head. He searched around dumpster, pausing and skittering around and pausing again, listening for the scraping, ruffled noises drifting around the alley. Butch eventually determined that the noises weren't coming from this alley, so he checked the next alley over.

It took a few minutes for him to register what he was seeing.

Butch started from the top. He clearly saw two brunette haired heads thought he couldn't quite see the faces that went with them. One was male, taller, blocked by a curly mass of piled-on, styled hair. There was quite a bit of tanned, smooth skin beneath larger, paler hands that freely roamed their expanse. There was a flash of red over which the thick fingers skimmed, backed by a solid mass of grey. The noises were coming from there. Whatever they were –human bodies, Butch fancied – they were moving and writhing there against the old wall, half hidden from sight but out there in the open.

He watched Francis as he leaned down, whispering softly into the mass of curly brown hair and a delicate ear while Butch looked at him but not at him. The hustler smiled, his lips and fingers pressing to skin while the opposite body wiggled impatiently and he realized that her panties were tangled around her knees. Butch gaped and somehow made his brain work long enough so he could force some sense out of the situation. His eyes darted around every which way like a spooked, caged bird. He didn't know where to look or even why he was still looking. Aside from it being a very private moment this was Francis and an Ashley and Butch was more than sure that he was never ever supposed to have seen this.

But as luck and all coincidence would have it, just as Butch was going to vanish into the adjoining alley and forget this ever happened, Francis lifted his head and their eyes locked, and the image of Francis with his arms wrapped around Ashley T, kissing her and holding her and doing things to her was burned into his memory forever.

Butch fled before anything else could go wrong, some indescribable ache in his chest wailing at his ribcage. His mind was blissfully blank as he ran, guiding him home on autopilot. It remained that way until he was home free, and even then Butch crushed whatever thought was in his head with a movie he knew by heart, mouthing every line silently until there were no more lines to speak.


Joey came home that weekend expecting a quiet schoolwork reprieve sprinkled with long overdue little brother taunting. What he found was a mostly empty house and a very occupied basement, lorded over by the creepy brooding phantom that was Butch. After the drive home he was in no mood to fight for his old room (which was just as well, Butch didn't seem to be in a talking mood anyhow), so he hid in the upstairs guest room for about a day or so.

Joey ventured out quite a bit, checking around the town and meeting up with old pals. It stuck him odd that he hadn't seen hide nor hair of Butch for the past couple of days. He was hoping to at least get one jab in before he had to go back to school. No sooner had he thought of venturing into the basement one morning did Butch magically appear. It startled the hell out of him, actually, seeing Butch look like that. He seemed more screwed up, more weird and out of it than usual.

"Morning." He greeted
"Sleep well, little brother?"
"Hm? Oh. Yeah. How's life?"
"Ain't bad. Yours?"

The elder brother sat at the table in silence for a few moments. He looked at Butch, who looked at a fixed place on the table. Joey looked back at the clock on the wall and saw it was actually noon, which explained why Butch was out and about at this point. For some unfathomable reason Butch looked to Joey like a man who had just lost everything. But he shook his head and decided Butch was either hung over or being a ball of teenage angst, so he got them both a soda and sat back down.

"Mom tells me you gotta girlfriend." Joey said, a slight tilt to his voice when he offered the soda.
"Had." Butch corrected. "Had a girlfriend."
"What happened?"
"We broke up." Butch muttered "She… she said I wasn't what she thought I was."
"Mm. Girl code for she found someone else to fuck."
"I guess."
"You gonna be alright?" Joey asked after a moment, watching his brother nurse a soda like someone would nurse a scotch "What was her name, anyhow?"

Butch paused, swirling the soda bottle a little. Joey waited in the uncomfortable silence. Sometimes he worried about his little brother. He was a strange kid – to be honest Joey wasn't even sure if what Mom said was true. He thought his little bro had hooked up with that big guy who sold weird stuff - that guy who he caught Butch sleeping on top of a little while back. The younger didn't ring the straight bell too loud – he turned grey spying on him kiss his girlfriend that one time. But Mom was usually right about these things, and Butch did admit to having one, even if it was taking a long time for him to remember the name. Wound too fresh, maybe?

But, just as Joey was thinking that maybe, just this once, he was wrong about something, Butch turned to him. He smiled a little, awkwardly, maybe a little sadly, and took a gulp or two of the soda.

"You know…" Butch said, "I don't think I could tell you if I tried."



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