Product Placement

Chapter 22 - Keeping Calm


A day off.

These words were alien to him. But, being forced, he had no choice. No choice but to wander around and look for something to do. Fingers would flip out on him if he went home to his garage, and Tammy was probably on the lookout too. He couldn't go back there just yet. School was over for the day. He didn't really have people to go and talk to that weren't hustler-related so he was out of luck for company He thought about getting food, maybe coffee, but those places would be mobbed. He didn't want to deal with a crowd – he' be too tempted to work. He hated waiting around, but he really had no choice.

Maybe people-watching would kill some time.

He settled on the wall, crossing his arms. He watched people stroll across the street. He saw a few joggers. He saw an old jogger lap them further up the road. He saw a dog walker. He saw some skateboarders he was pretty sure were too old to be skateboarding. He was a couple of really nice cars pass by. He spotted a couple in the adjacent alley, spending a little time together. He watched a child across the street run far to fast and fall, right into the pavement. It was almost comical, but he wasn't laughing. He watched the mother, he supposed, lift the child up and brush off the sobbing kids knee and hug him but his mind was elsewhere. Somehow, that seemed so familiar, so lucid it was almost like he had fallen.

He remembered running. No. He had been walking. He had been looking at all the store windows, trying to get mom to look too but she didn't want to look and she was so angry and she teetered and wanted to go home but grandpa didn't want that he wanted them to be out on a walk so Francis was looking around he was looking around and his mom that lady she was getting frustrated and angry and she hated the little boy there and she pushed him down and he fell and he gasped and his leg was open and he was bleeding and it stung so he cried and grandpa the old man he was upset now and pulling him onto the sidewalk and yelling at the smiling lady and whispering to the crying boy and he needed to sit down he needed to sit down right now or he was going to puke.

Staggering into the nearest alley, he covered his mouth. This… it was strong, this time. He was usually able to best the memories. It was hard to put up the golden child front but he had done it for so long now that he should be better than this. Deep, deep breaths through some fingers. Keep it inside. Just relax. It will pass. It always passed.

He felt dizzy still, his mind wandering around like a sick animal, teetering on its feet, almost certainly ready to fall right over. He took a few breaths, struggling to keeps his eyes open while he brain seemingly pitched around his skill with all the grace of a practiced drunkard. He tried to make himself resurface in the real of things that made sense, out of the reach of memories terrible and good alike. Just a moment. He'd only be a moment. He just needed to think. His stock, items he was carrying. That was better. Bits and pieces of his life came back to him and he eagerly snatched them up, rebuilding that front he was supposed to keep intact.

His name was Francis. He was a hustler. The best Hustler in these parts. He had hundreds of contacts, seven of which he needed to talk to before the day ended, fourteen he needed to remind of debts before the seventeenth, and another twenty or so to talk about trading. He went to high school, this was his tenth year. His grade in English was lacking a bit – and there was a paper due in two weeks. Nothing he couldn't get done on his lovely day off. He was thinking about having pizza for dinner – he cooked up the rest of the chicken for dinner last night. He wasn't sure if he had laundry to do but he could take care of that when he got home. He loved old music and was made fun of for it. Hs parents had vanished somewhere, leaving him an empty house he really should fill because he was already slipping. He could call Butch – the only real non-hustler friend he had the only sex friend he had ever remember having. Butch wouldn't be busy. He never did much of anything. He should do that – go find Butch. He felt better already.

He wondered, then, why Butch calmed him so.

Surely it shouldn't be so. Butch was everything he wasn't, or at least everything he didn't want to seem like to his customers. Butch was a compulsive, obsessive liar. He wasn't (or at least wasn't supposed to be). Butch smoked like a chimney and hid in alleys scaring people. He was clean and relatively approachable. Butch seemed like a stalker at times. He, at worst, seemed shady. Butch couldn't be trusted. He could. Butch was flighty. He wasn't. Butch was –


All this aside, Butch was really… something. Unique. Unlike him-one (though the best) of many hustlers- he'd never seen another Butch. He was interesting and engaging and kind of addictive, if that could be applied to a personality. Butch was a friend, a confidant, and ready, willing, and able to service his needs. Regardless of what they were. It was part of their arrangement. It hadn't moved past sex, but it had run the gamut from there to innocence.

Butch was…comforting. That much was true. He was there constantly, almost eerily right there when he needed him. If he was having a bad day, Butch would appear once or twice to ruffle his feathers and get him back on track. A little bit worse of a day and he'd stick around, playing buddy. Make it a it worse and Butch was more than willing to get on his knees and suck him off, or writhe under him while they humped each other. And should he be past that realm of comforting, then Butch would agree to have sex. It was a… better way to get rid of his anger than punching people or relentlessly following them to shake down left over debt. Butch didn't mind. He liked it rough, almost relished in the bruises and bite marks. The rougher it was the more he liked it.

But there was something wrong with that. The more it happened… the more Francis wanted it to stop. He wanted to… not be angry any more. He wanted to be gentle, kind, loving. It confused him. He had no feeling, no reason to feel like this toward anyone. He thought it was because Butch was a friend but he had other friends and he was never affectionate – if that was even the right word- toward them. They were more like business partners. Maybe it was the sex that brought them loser, figuratively speaking. But Butch didn't seemed this vexed. He knew what he wanted and he took it or received it or whatever he felt like that day.

Confusing, but the more he and Butch cashed in on their exclusive deal, the more he felt like doing things that were…. Abnormal. Things that he saw in movies but never bothered to do with any other bed partners. He was kind of looking forward to meet with the storyteller, keeping him close, watching him. He made sure that certain people left him alone. He made exceptions for him – sales wise and personally. Hell, he didn't even have to have sex to satisfy him (though it was a much better way to end the night). Making out was more than fine. Holding him after sex when it happened – even keeping him in his bed for the night- was a first for him.

It wasn't as if he was against it, it was just odd. It was fine. He'd just never been exposed to it. He had his share of hookers and less than reputable women. He hadn't felt any need to cuddle them. He hadn't exactly been coddled as a child, either. The only person who had treated him really, honestly with love and affection was his grandpa – and he'd died years before. His uncle was a huge dick, trying to use him to get more cash. His father was no better, and that was on the rare occasion his dad was even home. And his mother – she was the worst if them. Now that he thought about it-

He wrinkled his nose. He was better than self-pity. So his family sucked, so what? Never bothered him before. It was… just they way he was taught, was all. That was it. Dwelling wouldn't do shit. He was getting all this nice guy stuff from movies, probably. Nature versus Nurture. Nature, apparently, wasn't dominated solely by family. That didn't seem like the right way to treat Butch, the way he had been treated, so he found another position to copy. Emulating something fake. Fake with Fake. It worked better that way. Butch appreciated it. Maybe.

He was going to lose his mind if kept thinking.

Hustler stood, rubbing his temples. Maybe a day off was a bad idea. He couldn't sit still, couldn't relax. The only thing that calmed him was work. Or at least that used to be the case. Butch was now the new calming tool, the new drug, the new process. A refreshing change, a stronger high. He might tire of it eventually but it was okay for now. Hustler coughed and stepped into the light. The sun helped him wake up, slip into a more normal mindset. Kept the dark parts, dark memories away. No, that made him sound crazy. He wasn't crazy – he was just a bit… off. Not that anyone would know. He just needed to keep working.

He stepped out, trying not to stagger and toddle about, taking a few breaths. He'd go bother Fingers, get some trading in. He could forget, then. If that didn't work, he'd find Butch. Butch worked. Butch was more than enough. Even sitting there, a movie, dinner, something, anything to keep him from thinking please.

"Hey there babydoll."
"I'm going to punch you."

Butch snickered at him, blowing a few smoke rings. Another thing. Butch was calming and frustrating. He'd recently picked up that Fran and Franny hadn't bothered him nearly as much as it did a month ago. He'd been trying new nicknames. Hustler had tried to keep from reacting, but he couldn't help it. It was getting insulting.

"Don't like that one, baby?"
"Something buggin you, sugar?"
"Nothing aside from you."
"Really? Is that why you stared angrily at the garbage can for ten minutes and then staggered out like a drunk?"

Francis twitched, looking up at him. He'd been there long enough to be seen. Who knew what Butch had seen, what he could have muttered. He didn't, he'd been thinking you leave when people think it's called privacy you asshole.

"No, seriously, are you okay?"
"You look kinda sick."
"Are you busy?"
"Uh… no."

Before Butch could even bother to shoot back with some sarcastic remark that was probably on the tip of his tongue, Francis had shoved him into the alley and claimed the tongue in a kiss. Butch squirmed a bit but relented and returned, gripping his coat. This was good. This was right. He felt better already. His mind cleared when he pulled back, panting a bit while Butch tried to kiss him again. He gripped the bi-colored hair and pressed his forehead to Butch's, shutting his eyes and breathing. It felt good. Felt better. He wasn't thinking much anymore.

"So are we going somewhere?"
"Yeah. Just a minute." He opened his eyes, finding Butch looking a bit confused "Yeah. Let's go."

Butch grinned and kissed him again, pulling him into the alley, sliding him back into the dark. It was alright, though. He was alright as long as he had someone else there. It made him more sane. He could play the role he was supposed to play when there was someone to watch. Butch didn't seem to mind, stopping often as he guided them home to kiss or grope him. The more he stopped, the more they touched and the closer they got to the bedroom the better Francis felt. He remembered who he was, how he was supposed to be. Butch was here. This was more than enough.



This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola