Hearing the police (Gardai) sirens I directed my army mates to hide the M270 in one of the empty outbuildings along with the men in combat gear. Rhondda and I followed. We camouflaged the launcher with tarps, bales of straw, tires and anything else we could find. Then we climbed the ladder to the hayloft. This would pass a quick inspection but not a thorough search.
The people remaining outside appeared as ordinary farm folk. Four blue and green police vehicles with flashing blue and red lights came down the driveway. Seeing no violence, one of the officers stepped out of his car; remaining behind the door of his squad car he shouted, “Who is the owner of this property?”
Paddy waved his hand, stepped forward and said, “I’m Paddy Murphy, officer. I’m glad to see you. Is the army doing testing nearby? Look at the mess they’ve made of my house and barn. We were minding our own business when we saw the smoke trails then mortar shells smashed into the yard then into the house and barn.”
“Are you familiar with mortar shells then?”
“I did two tours with the Royal Irish in Afghanistan. I saw plenty of mortars there. I’ll show you the spent casings.”
The officer said, “We haven’t been informed of any army weapons testing activities in the area. I can assure you that the army doesn’t conduct this type of test close to populated neighborhoods.”
The officer examined what remained of the mortar shells. “These appear to be from 80-millimeter shells, the range is about 6 kilometers. That’s the radius of the area these shells were fired from. Have you had any problems with your neighbors? Is there any reason they should want to kill you or anybody on your property?
“No, I know most of the neighbors. We’re a contented lot on the whole. We see each other at market, that sort of thing.”
“We’ve been having trouble with a motorcycle gang nearby. We’ll get a search warrant and inspect their clubhouse. Do you mind if we take a look around here?”
“Be my guest,” said Paddy.
“There seem to be a lot of people here, more than a regular farm crew. Can you explain that?”
“Yes, officer we’re constructing a homeless shelter for vets returning home with PTSD and anyone else who requires emergency housing. We’re doing this in cooperation with the local social service facilities. When we’re finished we’ll have doctors, social workers, addiction therapists and anything else required. Do you suppose that any of our neighbors carries a grudge against the homeless?”
“I’m not doing any speculating, but if you’d show me through your house we’ll see if there is any evidence. Was anybody killed or injured? This place looks like a war zone?”
“No, officer, there were no killings.”
After having a good look around the police concluded their search and advised us they would keep us informed.
Paddy called everyone together, “We’re safe for now but we need an underground bunker for the rocket launcher and any weapons not being used. It will also be a place to hide if the situation gets worse.” With the construction machinery on site, the bunker was quickly dug, covered and camouflaged so it looked like the ground had never been disturbed.
Paddy continued, “I’ll phone the army commander to let him know what has happened. I’m sure he won’t take kindly to his troops being mortar bombed.”
I called a meeting of everyone at the farm. “I said yesterday that anyone who wanted to leave would be provided transportation. That offer still stands. That being said I assume that everyone in attendance is here for the long haul.
“I’ll tell you what we know: The biker I killed near Carlow was very respected by the gang. According to the newspaper, close to 300 members from all around the world attended his funeral. It said that he ‘used to have Bible talks at work in the mornings and prayer meetings in the afternoon.’ Police described him as ‘hard-working, friendly, but private.’ He had no criminal record. His girlfriend read a tearful statement and won the heart of a nation. So, that really makes me feel like shit.
“Had I not killed him he, or another gang member, would have killed me and Rhondda. In addition to that, I killed another gang member in the United States and many of his brothers came here for the funeral. Because Rhondda was with me on both occasions she will be considered an accessory after the fact. Paddy, by harboring a fugitive, is also implicated. Not a very positive situation all around.
“We can expect an attack at any time. It’s doubtful that gang members will be riding motorcycles or wearing club patches, that would make them obvious targets. We know that they have access to every kind of weapon from handguns to rocket launchers. Luckily, thanks to Paddy and our military comrades we have an even greater arsenal of weapons. It is expected that the gang will make the first strike. That is likely to bring in the police which further complicates matters. They won’t yet be aware of my involvement in the murders, gangs have a ‘no comment’ policy concerning the police.
“Soldiers have installed surveillance cameras covering every angle of the clubhouse. If anything out of the ordinary appears we will be informed. At present, all we can do is wait and be ready to act immediately to anything they throw at us. I asked yesterday if any of you had contact with any members of a biker gang. Any information they could pass on would be of help. If they have grudges against this gang they may even offer assistance.”
A mortar shell hit close to the house and another hit near the barn. In quick succession, two more followed striking both the barn and the house. War was on. Luckily, neither of those buildings were occupied. We had seen the trajectory of the two rounds, so we knew where to direct our offense. A platoon of mercenaries in full battle gear and camouflage headed toward the area. The range of a mortar shell is approximately 6 km. Our troops immediately brought out an M270 multiple rocket launcher and fired 3 rockets toward the disappearing trail of smoke. It then moved to another position. Our ground forces would advise if we had made an effective strike. If nothing else we shook up our adversaries and showed them our superior firing power.
All was quiet for a while. then we heard the sound of assault rifles. One of our troops identified the distinctive sound as being that of an M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle used extensively by US Marines in Afghanistan. There were brief bursts of fire then silence.
A tall, bearded, scraggly looking man wearing a red and black plaid flannel shirt approached me. “Patrick,” he said, “I’m Ted. I think I can be of help.”
“I was a hunter and trapper in northern Canada for 29 years. If I can get within shooting distance of bears without being seen, I can certainly do the same with a bunch of clumsy bikers. I can handle any kind of gun but prefer a bow and arrows. I prefer quiet and it seems more sportsmanlike.”
“I’ll take you to our Sergeant-at-Arms and see how we can equip you. Bows and arrows may be in short supply.” We managed to find him a sniper’s rifle that he was familiar with then he headed in the direction of the mortar trail.
Another man, tall, gangly with long greasy hair asked, “Can I get a gun, perhaps a nine millimeter and a shotgun.”
I said, “I notice that you walk with a slight limp. Are you a war veteran?”
“No, a friend shot me. The bullet went in here,” pointing to his thigh, “it broke my femur and came out the back of my leg. They had to cut me open to put the rod in.
“I got it at a house party, there was lots of booze, drugs, but I decided to leave. My bro asked for my gun. I took it out of my pocket, took the clip out, but forgot there was still a shell in the chamber. It had a hair-trigger, much too sensitive. When my bro took my gun, he accidentally shot me in the leg.
I asked, “Why did your friend want your gun?”
“‘Cause he wanted to shoot the guy.”
“I assume you’ve done time in prison. We won’t hold it against you.”
“The last time I was in prison was in 1995. I was in Collins Bay for nearly five years.”
I asked, “What were you in for?”
“Bank robbery. I was just seventeen, selling drugs, robbing banks, boxing. That’s when I was sparring with George Chuvallo and Shawn O’Sullivan. I still got it.”
I said, “I’m sure you can be of great help to us. Talk to Paddy, our Sergeant-at-Arms.”
I got a call from one of our mercenaries at the front. He said, “We sure surprised them, they scattered like rabbits. They’ve locked themselves in their clubhouse. We’ll wait for them to come out. I’m sure that one of our rockets could annihilate them if that’s what you want.”
I said, “Hold your position. We’ll hold a brief meeting to decide on our next step.”
I called another meeting. I said, “I think we have them on the run. We have the choice of sending rockets at their clubhouse. That would probably kill everyone inside. Is that what we want, or should we wait to see what happens next?”
General agreement was to wait. In the distance, we heard the sound of police sirens.
I called together a group of farm guests. I said to them, “I have some important news that I must pass on. An international biker gang is trying to kill Rhondda and me. It’s my fault. I take the blame and full responsibility. It’s your choice whether you want to face that danger or not. I know it’s not what you signed up for. As you can see we have a lot of military presence. There can’t be better protection than that. If any of you have any combat experience please let me know. If you have medical skills that may be of help, please let me know. If you personally know any member of a biker gang, please let me know. If you feel you must leave transportation is available.
“I spoke to Sean yesterday about a book I’m planning to write concerning people that have been forced onto the streets. What would you guys like the public to know about your situation?”
“I’ll talk to you,” said Darren (a college graduate and Gulf War veteran). “Do you have your pen and paper? First of all, we aren’t you guys, we’re not a group, we’re individuals. We come from different places, different backgrounds, different religions. Some of us don’t even like each other, but we congregate to have a beer, smoke a joint, to be with others who don’t judge or abuse us Physically or verbally. We accept everyone here as they are.”
“I can appreciate that. I didn’t mean to lump you all together. I stand corrected. I’d like to tell your individual stories the way you wish to express them. I think that if the general public was introduced to you and the situations that you’ve endured they would be more sympathetic. Perhaps, we could help end the abuse.”
We ordered a full English breakfast to be brought to our room. The dress code for the restaurant is smart casual, whatever that means. In any case, we weren’t in the mood to make small talk with other diners. I phoned Paddy at the farm to hear if there were any new developments. He informed me that our pictures had been linked to the farm, they had probably been circulated to airports, seaports and major cities in Brittain. There was no purpose in another change of identity. The farm was in danger and we were the cause. Paddy had contacted his friends with the Irish Army and military contacts worldwide. We decided to head back.
We drove to the Chaplin’s Fancy dress where I purchased a Boris Johnson wig, Red went with a Theresa May. We have no love for British politicians, these wigs were simply inconspicuous. An Elvis and Marilyn Monroe wig would cause a lot of attention, even though they’re both dead. We next went to a thrift store where we purchased fairly conservative pants, shirt and jacket for me and a shapeless casual dress and coat for Red. We weren’t trying to make a fashion statement, just the opposite. We also purchased hats to complete the disguise and as something to hide behind.
We drove back to Holyhead and tried to stay out of sight until it was time to board the Ulysses. On board, we stayed in our room on Deck 10. We sampled the bottles in the mini bar and fell asleep shortly after. Our arrival back in Dublin was uneventful. there was little likelihood that anyone knew what kind of car we were driving. We avoided the busiest traffic routes and reached the farm just before nightfall. Paddy greeted us with a big hug and we sat at the kitchen table and drank Jameson.
Although the Irish Army couldn’t help us officially there were 1,600 active Reservists and plenty of soldiers on leave who had offered their personal assistance. We even had representatives of the Army Ranger Wing the special operations force of the Irish Defense Forces. Paddy had installed closed-circuit cameras covering the entire farm, these were monitored 24 hours a day. We had guards hidden around the perimeter fence. They would keep us advised of any intruders. We didn’t know how many gangs had been recruited. Intergang warfare kept many of them separated. Around 200 bikers gathered in Limerick for the initiation ceremony of a ‘full patch chapter’.
The last biker battle had been simmering for several years. Issues over patches and respect had resulted in numerous violent incidents. This led to the clubs attempting to broker a peace agreement over beer and wings – and it ended with countless bullets fired, nine bikers dead, 480 weapons recovered (151 guns, plus assorted knives, brass knuckles, batons, hammers, just everything), 20 injured, and over 177 arrested.
The pay for a security contractor is off the charts. Some mercenaries make from $500 to $1500 per day. Money to militarize the farm was not an issue. We would need our mercenaries to go undercover and report on the activities of the nearby gangs. This wouldn’t be an easy proposition. It had been reported that the clubhouse “had dozens of security cameras pointed in all directions making it impossible for anyone to approach the site without being seen. Also, it was bullet and blast proof. With plenty of food and water as well as a generator, the club would be able to sustain itself in a locked-down state for several days.”
Paddy said, “The law is on our side. We’ll fight a defensive battle. Those motherfuckers have no idea of our potential strength.”
With the construction equipment already at the farm, we could dig trenches for troops and pits to hide tanks and other military vehicles. There was a steady stream of military vehicles entering and leaving the farm. Hopefully, this would deter any direct attack. Primarily, the vehicles were providing food and construction materials for the homeless shelter, they were also transporting troops and state of the art weapons to be used when needed.
With our briefing over, Rhondda and I took a leisurely walk to view the progress on the building of the shelter, the establishment of on-site medical personnel and kitchen facilities. The construction, with military assistance, was progressing fantastically.
I saw Sean, who we’d brought to the farm, sitting on a stump, appearing to be enjoying the rare appearance of the sun. Ireland is green because of the rain. “Hello, my name is Dean. How are you enjoying the accommodations?”
“It beats living on the street. Accommodations, as you call them, are still temporary but I’ve been able to keep dry and have had a full belly every day. While I was begging on the street I had problems with accepting food from strangers. One guy gave me a homemade muffin. After I ate it, I felt a buzz like I’d had four hits of LSD. I was able to make it to the Cymru Shelter. That was the only place I could think of to go. I was able to lie down and it eventually wore off.”
I said, “I’ve heard similar stories from other street people. Vulnerability is a life-threatening danger. I’m planning to write a book about it. Perhaps you could mention that to your friends. I’d like to get to know as many homeless people as I can. Everyone will remain anonymous. I won’t be wearing a wire. I don’t judge anybody. Do you think that it will help to tell your story from another viewpoint, a more accepting viewpoint?”
“Yeah, I’ll mention it, but I can’t promise anything. Many people have told us things that never happened, so expect them to be skeptical.
“I see the way that shoppers on the sidewalks look at me like I’m some kind of scum. The guards (police) have started issuing fines to anybody caught begging or rough sleeping. At least 51 people have reportedly been convicted of breaching a public space protection orders (PSPO) for begging or loitering and failing to pay fines up to £1,100 since 2014, while hundreds of fixed-penalty notices of £100 have been issued. Cases are said to include a man jailed for four months for breaching a criminal behavior order (CBO) in Gloucester for begging – about which the judge admitted: ‘I will be sending a man to prison for asking for food when he was hungry’. In another case, a man was fined £105 after a child dropped £2 in his sleeping bag. The world is going crazy. If people can’t afford a place to stay or food to eat they certainly can’t afford to pay a fine.
“I don’t know what people are upset about. I have a real job. I sit on the sidewalk and greet people. I’m a greeter. I could work at Walmart.”
We awoke to the sounds and smells of a castle. I looked at the huge tapestry, the coat of arms and portraits on the wall. I asked, Rhondda “Do you trust me?
“What do you mean, trust you?”
I pulled out a blindfold and said, “Would you trust me if you couldn’t see what I was doing? I’ve got a fantasy where one of us is in charge during sex. What do you think?”
“I could go along with that.”
“Do you consent to be tied and spanked with this Sweet Sting Riding Crop from the Shades of Grey Bondage Collection?”
“I consent, but will it hurt very much?”
I was a novice at this, but advised, “We’ll agree on a safe word, a prearranged and unambiguous sign to end whatever we’re doing. The most common safe words are red, yellow and green representing the traffic signals for stop, proceed with caution and go. What word do you choose?”
“Motherfucker! That’s a word I don’t like and would never use it in casual conversation.”
I placed a pillow in the center of the bed and had her lie on it with the side of her face on another pillow at the head of the bed. I asked, “Are you comfortable?”
I looped silk ropes around her wrists and ankles using girth hitches and tied them to the four bedposts using quick release mooring hitches. I showed her how the girth hitches would secure but not tighten. I also showed her how the knots on the bedposts would release with one tug of the free end. I then placed the blindfold over her eyes and checked to see that nothing interfered with her breathing. When I was sure everything was as planned I placed the blindfold over her eyes.
Rhondda said, “This makes me feel very vulnerable.”
I said, “That’s where the trust comes in.”
I stood and with the riding crop in hand, stroked her body with the slapper. I patted the insides of her thighs and the cheeks of her bum. I slid the slapper up and down her spine ending at her exposed sex. Then I took a tease tickle feather stick and followed the same route. When she began to relax I touched her lower back with an ice cube.
“Ooooh, that’s cold.”
“It’s also surprising, you won’t know what’s coming next, but I promise nothing will harm you or leave marks, a little redness perhaps. Do you consent to have me begin?”
I started with the tease tickle feather and began at her feet, inside her thighs, then under her arms continuing down her sides. With the riding crop, I slapped her gently on the inner thighs then the cheeks of her bum.
“Does that hurt?” I asked.
I slapped harder on the cheeks of her ass. A warm glow began to appear. She winced.
“Should I go on?”
I placed an ice cube on the redness then continued slapping. I tried not to overlap the strokes and limited them to her buttocks and upper thighs. I developed a regular rhythm. Rhondda began writhing against the pillow, a highly erotic sight. My cock began to rise of its own accord.
“It feels so good. I want you.”
I continued slapping and her wriggling and squirming only increased. I released the knots and before I even had a chance to remove her blindfold she grabbed me by my hips and began swallowing my erect penis. I pushed her on her back and spread her legs. I dived into her dripping pussy and sucked the delicious juices as my nose rubbed her clit. I could feel her orgasm mounting. I penetrated her and was drawn into the vortex of this divine maelstrom where we went mad with a disturbing blend of violence and eroticism. We bucked and pounded in a seemingly relentless orgasm. Gradually we came down from the dizzying heights of euphoria and gazed into each other’s eyes. We were spent and happy luxuriating in the magic and love that was us.
I could tell that Patrick was in an adventurous mood. He watched me cross from the bathroom where I had been luxuriating in a claw foot bath that one might expect in an opulent castle. The room smelled of the candles that I had lit on the nightstand, though it was the morning I still loved the scent. Patrick sat across from the bed as I combed my wet hair on the edge. Suddenly he asked if I felt like experimenting if I trusted him. I trusted him implicitly to never to do anything that would not be pleasurable and since I recognized some toys that he had brought with us, I knew we were going to try a bit of dominant/submission, something new to me.
We decided on a safe word, and he positioned me on the bed as he wished, silken ropes held me loosely to the four poster. I could feel the deep sensation of desire welling in my belly, slowing moving downward. I did feel vulnerable, helpless, but that only added to my passion. I felt the swish of the slapper against my ass cheeks, perfectly applied I felt no pain but an exquisite rush of need and an aching deep in my sex. He continued to use the various dominant tools on me, at one point carefully letting the wax drip at my navel and watch it dry in streams toward my pussy. I needed to be fucked, to be fucked by him. He sensed my urgency and with one hand released me from the binds, pulled me toward him, his cock hard and ready, I stroked it with my hand and slipped it into my mouth, letting my tongue circle the head and I began to suck and lick rhythmically to his moans.
He pulled out and cupped my breasts, taking each nipple, sucking it, gently biting and each time I felt as if I would come that very second. I opened my legs wide for him, my feet touching the bed and when he entered me we looked deeply into each other’s eyes and I felt him pulsating and my sex tightened around his cock as I came over him, I felt his hot cum filling me and my legs lifted slightly from the bed and wrapped around him to pull him in further. We held each other, exhausted. We put off our plans for a while, we just wanted to be alone, wrapped around each other.
Rhondda and I hailed a taxicab and returned to the Cardiff Hilton. We packed our bags and rented a car that picked us up at the front door of the hotel. I said, “It seems that we have overstayed our welcome.”
“Where to now?” asked Rhondda.
“Where would you like to go? We can drive to anyplace in Great Britain. We can also drive to any airport.”
Rhondda said, “Life with you certainly isn’t boring.”
“I suggest that we drive to Bristol. It’s 44 miles via the M4 so we can be there in less than an hour. We’ll spend the night in Bristol then decide our future. The world is our oyster. Google hotels in Bristol and take your pick.”
“Hillcroft self-catering is interesting. It’s described as a Cozy barn conversion with all mod cons and close to the airport. The rooms aren’t overly large but they have access to a deck with table and chairs overlooking the countryside. Or, we could stay at Thornbury Castle in the duke’s bedchamber. Are you in the mood for ‘a four-poster bed with brocade bed hangings? Staying in the castle where King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and Princess Mary Tudor (later Queen Mary I of England) stayed for a time’ would be amazing. When we stop the car I’ll show you the pictures. You’ll be blown away.”
Thornbury Castle it was. From the time we passed through the arched stone gateway we entered the 16th century. The Howard Room had an open fireplace faced by a loveseat. The bed was a huge four poster with plush wine velvet tester, hangings and skirt. Two walls were of stone hung with tapestries, the doors were arched oak, the ceiling was sculpted plaster. There was a circular table with oak armchairs in front of a window with padded seat. Outside the window was a trellis with climbing yellow roses. The view was of sculpted hedges, the Tudor gardens and the breathtaking scenery of South Gloucestershire.
I ordered champagne to be sent to our room then I lit the fireplace. We undressed and lounged in the loveseat wearing the bathrobes provided. The flicker of the flames, the sparkle of the champagne and the warmth of Rhondda nestled beside me made for a perfect day. I nuzzled her hair, inhaled the fragrance and whispered in her ear, “Rhondda, over the last few months you have changed my life. I can’t imagine us being separated. I love you.”
“Do you really mean that? I’ve waited so long for you to say that because I love you too.”
She wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me with passion. I took her lower lip into my mouth and sucked on it. Our tongues touched, circled and probed each other. My heart was pounding. No woman had ever excited me like Rhondda. I don’t know what it is about her that is so special. I just know that every time we are near each other my body reacts in a way that is beyond my control. She has bewitched me and I love it. We kissed for what seemed an eternity, tasting, touching. I ran my tongue behind her ear and whispered again, “I love you.” She pulled closer. Our robes were coming undone and I couldn’t wait to have her skin against mine. I kissed her throat and licked across her collar bone. My lips slowly found their way down her breast to her waiting nipple.
“Patrick, bite me. Leave your mark on me.”
I grazed her nipple with my teeth and slowly increased the pressure. She squirmed with delight and draped her leg over mine. It was such a wonderful feeling of togetherness. I reached down and cradled the cheek of her ass in my hand, gently squeezing and manipulating, pulling her towards me. We abandoned our bathrobes and I pressed my chest against her breasts. I felt a tingling deep in my abdomen and my cock responded. I wanted Rhonda so much, but I didn’t want these moments to end. I was dizzy with excitement.
With the heat of the fire we were sweating and it felt so good. My hands slipped over her skin exploring every curve, cupping her breast and suckling her nipple. My breathing became heavier as I emersed myself in this waking dream. We slid against each other as we were made to. Rhondda’s hand slipped between us and held my aching cock, gently moving the foreskin up and down. I didn’t know how long I could endure this ecstasy. I needed to be inside her.
I slid off the loveseat, stood and reached my hands under her knees and shoulders. I picked her up as if she was weightless and gently carried her to the bed, placing her head on the pillow. Four poster beds were a new experience for me but I spread her legs and lifted her knees over my shoulders. Her eyes were wild like an animal. I expect that mine were as well. I felt like an animal, a carnivore. My lips kissed the inside of her thighs then worked their way to her vulva where I buried my face. I licked slowly from her perineum over her vaginal opening to her clitoris. Her juices were sweet and intoxicating. I explored her labia with my tongue, one side, the other then up the middle flicking her clit. I sucked her lips into my mouth and dipped my tongue in and out of her opening. I wrapped my lips around her clit and gently sucked. She tasted so good
Her vagina was dripping wet. While still attending to her clit I moistened two fingers and inserted them into her opening, stroking her G spot first with one finger followed by the other keeping steady pressure.
Rhondda whispered, “Patrick, I need you inside me.”
I couldn’t wait any longer and replaced my fingers with my engorged penis continuing to rub her G spot. We fell together pushing and pulling, sliding and rubbing. I held the headboard with one hand and moved back and forth still gently rubbing her clit between my fingers. I felt the pressure building, we rocked back and forth, faster and faster until we were both engulfed in an orgasm that overwhelmed us.
We lay together in mutual exhaustion, kissing and stroking. Embers still crackled in the fireplace. We pulled up the bed covers, nestled into the pillows and the knight fell asleep holding his lady.
A sliver of sun slipped through the silky draperies across the large window that overlooked the landscaped view below the hotel. The ashes in the fireplace glowed but the room was cold and I silently returned to bed where Patrick lay sleeping, slipped beneath the duvet and snuggled against his warm body, softly pressing my own as close as possible, my nipples still taut from the cold grazed his back and I deliberately pressed my warm sex against his firm ass. My thoughts were all over the place, I was still overwhelmed by hearing those words from Patrick, “I love you.” I had been in love with him nearly from the start and the idea that he felt it too sent an ache to my heart and a small tear of joy ran down my cheek. We were sharing an adventure most would never imagine or dream of and it had brought us so close that we felt as one mind and body.
I pulled back as he turned over, his arm reached across me, his eyes opened. My hand ran through his hair and over his face, I took his fingers one by one into my mouth and licked and sucked them, I knew this meant I was feeling orgiastic and did not try to restrain my need for him.
As though he read my mind, he grasped a hand full of my hair and with my head slightly back, placed the other gently at my neck, holding me still as he deep kissed me, biting my lip softly, not unlike big jungle cats in a frenzy to procreate. I slid my nails along his shoulders and whispered profanities in his ear, “fuck me, fuck me”
Patrick positioned me on my shoulders and knees on the firm bed, pulled a small pillow beneath me, held my hands above and with his knees spread my legs…I opened them wider, eager to feel his erect cock enter me. His warm breath on the back of my neck and his hands cupping my breasts swept all inhibitions away and I opened completely for him, completely his, I felt no shame, like an animal needing her mate.
I moaned his name again and again and felt his tongue slowly glide through my pussy, titillating my clitoris, enter swiftly in an out of my sex. As he bent forward and bit my neck, holding me still, he pushed his hard cock inside my sex, I stifled a cry of ecstasy but could not hold back the orgasm that began in my belly and shot like a lightning bolt to my pussy, the walls began to tighten around his cock that massaged my G spot with each rhythmic thrust. My hand between my thighs, I gently fondled his balls and they tighten against me, I waited to feel the warmth of his hot semen pulsate inside me and he pulled me tightly to him and his came hard, a low guttural sound escaping his throat. We stayed there for a moment, not want to separate until our bodies boiled down. Finally, he pulled away and held me to him, face to face we were lost in each other’s eyes. Could this kind of exquisite ecstasy be possible? We knew we did not want to ever let it go.
Together we showered and planned our day, still shaky from our forceful orgasms. When I looked at his beautiful naked body, I felt desire rising in me again but resisted.
We dressed in our thrift store clothes, left the hotel with our umbrellas and walked the streets around Cymru Shelter. The scene was the same as yesterday, people sitting in sleeping bags. Others wandered around with no obvious purpose in mind.
Rhondda sat beside one of the women whose arm was all purple and in a makeshift sling. The woman said, “Bo did this to me.”
Rhondda answered, “I hope you got him back.”
She said, “After he’d punched me three times in the head, I stabbed him in the side. I’d had enough, so I packed my bag. Sometimes, I just don’t want to be here.”
“Do you mean begging?” asked Rhondda.
She said, “I used to be able to take a break but now I can’t. I just don’t want to be on this earth.”
I sat next to a man and asked, “Do you have a place to stay?”
He said, “Yesterday I found a tent in the garbage. It looks brand new. I set it up in my living room. I’ve never seen a tent so small. It would only fit one person. There is no way that two people could get in there. If I don’t find a place by the end of the month, maybe I’ll be sleeping outside. I don’t think for too long. Who knows?”
His outreach worker stopped by and said, “The processing time for admission is quite lengthy. We’re looking at a few places, the problem is they become available December first, so we’ll have to find someplace temporary for you from the first to the end of November.”
A couple sat down next to the woman with her arm in a sling, Very excitedly, the man said, “My girlfriend is pregnant again. She went to see an apartment yesterday. She’s been put on first priority. We find out today if she’ll be accepted.”
Rhondda asked, “When is the baby due?”
The woman said, “We’re not sure. I took a home pregnancy test and it showed two pink crosses. I’m not taking any drugs or alcohol now.”
Her boyfriend said, “Same with me.” He looked longingly at a gram of pot the other woman had in her cigarette case. “That looks so good,” he said. They walked off together to have breakfast.
I heard another woman say, “I don’t want anybody to know that I’ve started cutting myself again either. My probation officer asked, ‘Why do cut yourself?’ I said, ‘It’s hard to explain, but when my mind is going a hundred miles an hour, in a ten-mile an hour zone, I don’t know where I’m going to stop. I need something to distract myself. Cutting does that for me.’ Mind you, the second time I cut myself I was thinking, ‘Hey, this hurts, I don’t want to be doing this.’ People nearly freaked when they saw me coming out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around my arm. It was a deep cut too. It was gaping open. I didn’t want to go to the hospital this time. I used band-aids to pull the skin together.”
Somebody else said, “Hey Barfly, do you know you’ve got a cigarette burn in the crotch of your sweat pants?”
“Yes, I know. These are my court clothes. I was in court this morning. I’ve been staying in shelters, but I hate it. To wake you up in the morning they kick you in the foot.”
I said, “I’ve heard that there are a lot of crack heads there, getting up every hour, walking around, keeping people awake.”
“Not only that, but they smoke crack in the bathrooms. The smell makes me sick. It’s like burning tires. My former wife used to be on crack. I’d wonder where all our money was going. We could never seem to get ahead. One day I came home and found two guys on top of her. One of them broke my leg. I took our two kids in the truck and they stayed with my mother. The next time I saw her she patted her backside and said, ‘Kiss my ass.’ That’s the last time I saw her.”
One man said, “My girlfriend has been going to a women’s shelter to have a shower and get cleaned up. She said there are always women smoking crack in the bathrooms.”
“Yeah,” said his girlfriend, “This morning I saw a woman with a hypodermic needle to her throat. I don’t know what she was shooting. I couldn’t believe it.”
Rhondda and I had an appointment with an expert housing adviser, whatever that was. We entered his office and he showed us some architectural drawings, building plans and real estate listings. I recognized the one on top of the pile. Its description is as follows:
Freehold Office Building with vacant possession
Close proximity to Llandaff City and Pontcanna
56 car parking spaces
11,462 sq ft (1,065 sq m)
Total site area approximately 0.83 acres
Prominent position at the entrance to Western Avenue Retail Park and Tesco Extra
The detached 3-storey, yellow brick office building needed repairs to the elevator, presently not working. It would, of course, require conversion from an office building to a university type dormitory for use as an emergency shelter.
The housing advisor said, “This seems to be the most practical for our needs. The problem is the asking price of $1,500,000.”
I handed him a bank draft for the remaining $500,000. “That is certainly generous of you. There will be renovation expenses and other costs involved with conversion.”
I handed him a second bank draft for 500,000. “Any further construction expenses will also be taken care of, after all, it’s only money.”
“We are very grateful. May I ask the name of your organization and their function?”
I replied, “No, you may not. Donations are completely anonymous, as are the names of the various international partners. You may rest assured that the money was legally obtained and our credit rating according to Fitch, Moody’s, and S&P is AAA. I’ll leave the design and details of the construction completely in your hands. It has been a pleasure doing business with you. We will be in contact with you as the building shows signs of progress.”
Rhondda and I left the totally flummoxed housing advisor stuttering his thanks and goodbyes. We exited the building into surprising sunshine.
As we left the courtyard of Shelter Cymru I noticed a man with a camera. I casually walked up to him and asked, “Are you a tourist, or do you have a reason to photograph us?” He didn’t see the uppercut to the solar plexus that I threw from my waist. It was from an angle out of the stranger’s eyesight so it not only caught him off guard but it was also more damaging. Before he fell I grabbed his throat and held him vertical. “You don’t mind if we examine your camera, do you?” I handed the camera to Rhondda who scrolled through the pictures.
She said, “There seem to be a lot of biker images. Perhaps our friend can offer an explanation.”
As the man’s eyes regained focus he gasped, “Why did you hit me and take my camera?”
With my hand still around his throat, I manoeuvered him into a nearby alley. I said, “Okay, spill! Don’t think of lying. It could cost you your life.”
“Okay, Okay I’ll tell you. A friend, who is in a motorcycle gang, handed me a photograph of you and the woman. He said if I found you there would be a lot of money in it for me.”
I slammed his head into the brick wall and could hear his skull crack. Making sure he was dead I let him slide down the wall. He would appear as a passed out drunk until someone took the time to examine him closely.
We flagged a taxicab and returned to the Cardiff Hilton.
The day is dreary, I can hear raindrops hitting the hotel windows leaving wet trails on the glass. I want to stay in bed but get up and shower, wash my hair, come back to you in bed and snuggle up naked behind you. The warmth of your body is delicious and I stretch mine full against you, my breasts pressing into your shoulders, my belly and pussy against at your lower back and bare ass. You turn over onto your back. I wet your erection with my saliva and suck you until you are fully erect, I love to see it fall back engorged on your abdomen. I feel my own sex with my fingers. I am slippery and needing you. Straddling you, I lean my breasts forward and you suck and run your tongue around the nipples, they hardened into firm buds and it sends a feeling into my abdomen, sinking into desire.
Your body is beautiful, you are a beautiful and sexy man. We deep kiss and bite gently each others throats, you gather me by my hair and pull me back. I sit up. You watch as I pleasure myself, stoke my clit until it is swollen with desire for you and I am softly moaning, my slant like a feral animal glazed with need. You are engorged and throbbing when I take your cock into my hand and stroke it upwards and hold it against my wet folds and slowly lower onto you. The rush is heavenly, riding you, my hand reaches behind and caresses your balls gently, feels them tighten. I ride harder, deeper, and faster. Perspiration runs in droplets between my breasts and you lean up and suck them again. I feel the sweat on your upper lip. I beg you to make me come and you roll me over, remaining inside me, pull my legs up, bent at the knees, pull them open wide and plunge deeper inside me rocking the bed. I raise my arms to hold onto the brass slats above me. The soft force of your cock at the core of my womanhood is the most amazing and exquisite feeling I can imagine, it triggers an orgasm that is hard and violent and delicious. My hand finds your balls. They spasm and you come in rhythms of waves. Your breathing is hard as your muscles tighten, your eyes close, and you come inside me. It is a paradise for me. When you pull away, our juices run down our inner thighs and we separate and kiss very deeply.
There are no words to describe this feeling of complete satiation. I get up and you watch me walk naked to the bathroom, come back with a warm soft cloth that I place gently over your pelvis and cock, lightly soothing you until our orgasm boils down. We get into the shower together then and bathe one another caressing tenderly.
When Rhondda and I returned to our hotel we discovered a message from Paddy. Our photos had been circulated internationally. He also sent a picture of the damaged motorcycle ridden by the deceased biker. I recognized it immediately. We ordered from the room service menu. It wasn’t overly impressive.
We started with the Angels on Horseback; bacon-wrapped oysters, watercress with aged balsamic vinegar. Rhondda ordered the whiskey roast pork shoulder, three potato hash, grilled asparagus and a glass of Red Rock merlot. I had the New York strip steak, roasted fingerling potatoes, tomato provencal, house steak sauce and a glass of the Main Street, cabernet sauvignon. For dessert, we had an artisan California cheese tray, a selection of grilled bread with a bottle of Dom Perignon Brut, 2006.
We took off our shoes, turned the lights down low and gazed at the view of Cardiff Castle from our window. Rhondda snuggled against me. We discussed the day’s events and the 11,462 sq ft building we would be viewing tomorrow on Excelsior Way. It had been a long, eventful day. I grabbed the bottle of Dom Perignon and lead her to the bedroom. Having turned down the bed linen. I slowly unbuttoned her shirt, helped her off with her jeans and lingerie then I undressed.
I turned toward the bed and she took me in her mouth. It felt like paradise. I watched her touch herself, slowly sliding her fingers into her pussy. I took her hand and sucked her fingers individually. She leaned into me, her hair fell around me and her breasts fell into my cupped hands, a warm, sumptuous gift of flesh. I kissed each nipple in gratitude, ran my tongue around the edges then gently sucked them into my mouth. They hardened into firm buds and I felt her intake of breath. The back of my hand touched her ribcage and I felt the quickening beat of her heart.
She traced the veins that extended up my arm and across my chest. As I tightened my fist the vessels enlarged like a roadmap then faded as I released the pressure. She ran her fingers through my chest hair then kissed and gently bit my nipples. Like an electric current my abdomen jolted with warmth and desire. We deep kissed. I reached back and gently pulled the hair at the back of her head so that I could see the beauty and the allure of the woman who was pleasuring herself while looking deep into my eyes. I reached around her hips and with my hands on the cheeks of her ass, I lifted her pussy to my welcoming mouth. I licked her folds, tasted her juices, flicked and sucked her clit with my tongue. I hummed a deep vibrating note that brought her to orgasm. She then slid back and forth over my engorged cock, stroked it with her hand and pressed it against her wet folds until she was ready to lower herself onto me. We sank into the depths of pleasure as every nerve fired. When she was ready to come she reached back and gently massaged my balls. Feeling them tighten I arched my back and she rode me until I was nearly ready to explode, harder and harder, deeper and deeper. We were both perspiring and slippery. I embraced her with my arms and pulled my face to her breasts. I tasted the sweat and pulled them into my hungry mouth.
She begged me to make her come again so we rolled over together, she pulled her knees up, I spread her legs and pressed her shins against my chest. With my hands at her waist, I pulled and pushed her, testing the depth of her cavity, before exerting pressure. I adjusted her legs so that I didn’t cause her any pain. Then I plunged in. The bed was rocking. She reached back to grip the slats. I arched my back as I felt my orgasm building. I was wild, out of control, everything depended on riding this climax to the end. My cock erupted and spurted inside her over and over again. I was weak with exertion as I slowly rocked back and forth. She lowered her legs and squeezed my shaft with her thighs. We hugged and kissed deeply allowed our breathing and heartbeats to slow. We luxuriated in the feeling of our bodies pressed together.
Later, she arose and I watched the vision of her legs and ass as she walked to the bathroom. She brought a warm, wet washcloth to wipe my cock then reached under and gently soothed my balls. We showered together, slowly lathered and caressed each other. We dried then lay back on the bed. I pulled her close so that her back pressed against me. Sleep took us to the dreams that we shared every night.
I awoke to the sound of rain and the feeling of a warm body behind me. I leaned back slightly to feel more of her breasts against my shoulders. I arched my back to feel her belly and pussy against me. I was in heaven. I reached around with one hand and stroked the firm cheeks of her ass. I fondled them and thought of all the pleasure they had given me. I imagined all the parts of her that I could feel, but couldn’t see. I caught the scent of pine and perfume and the faraway odor of wood smoke. My life was perfect.
Morning came way too early. I had forgotten to close the drapes and the sun was shining directly in my face. I thought about breakfast, about coffee, but settled for champagne. I asked Rhondda, “Do you feel as sick as I do?”
She answered, “Pass the champagne, I’ll think about it later.”
We dressed in the clothes we bought at the thrift store. Avoiding the Grey Restaurant we exited by a side door. We walked to the Cardiff Central Market on St Mary Street. Upstairs we found The Bullterrier that has one of the best views over the market. I picked up a newspaper and was pleased to see a headline that read: ‘Shipping container flats for homeless people in Cardiff won’t be ready until summer.’ I would rather they were ready now, but what a novel way to provide emergency housing. ‘Cardiff Council and Cadwyn Housing Association have agreed to set up 13 one and two-bed flats in shipping containers in Bute Street.’
The National Living Wage will rise to 8.21 pounds per hour. One reader commented:
2 people living together working full time on Living Wage (40hrs/ week) will be taking home about £30,000 between them (after tax etc.). In most parts of the country that is plenty to live off and save for a deposit on a house.
…AND save for a deposit on a house!
At the rate house prices are going up that’ll be after hell freezes over.
Naturally, the raising of the National Living Wage is welcomed by employees and condemned by employers. “The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents shops, said hundreds of thousands of jobs could go in the retail and hospitality sectors particularly. The former boss of Sainsbury’s, Justin King, said that the National Living Wage would ‘destroy jobs’ “
Unemployment in Wales has gone up to a rate of 5% – slightly more than the overall UK rate, according to the latest figures. Average house prices range from 75,000 pounds in the north to between 200,000 and 300,000 in the south. 255,541 is the average, with a prediction to increase by 20% over the next five years. Housing in Cardiff is relatively unaffordable compared to other cities. The average house costs around eight times the average salary. Monthly rent for a 480 square foot studio ranges from 443 to 775 depending on location.
‘The complex problems of homelessness, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, are regular sights on Cardiff’s St Mary Street. But for the people who work there, it’s something they can’t just walk past. It’s happening outside (and sometimes inside) their doors and not just having an impact on their bottom lines but leaving them fearing for their safety.‘ We saw dozens of people in sleeping bags lying on the wet sidewalk against the shop fronts. Others were sitting on the sidewalk. Some were walking the streets with sleeping bags wrapped around their necks.
I had read the newspaper article “Opening up empty buildings would be a very positive way of increasing capacity to address rough sleeping.” I browsed the Real Estate section. There were a number of boarded-up buildings in the area. One advertised ‘Rare opportunity to acquire a well located / prominent office building. Also benefits from planning consent for redevelopment for Student Accommodation. Planning consent was granted in December 2017 for 213 student units and 2 commercial units.’
Rhondda and I visited Shelter Cymru. I proposed purchasing one of these buildings with the idea of converting it into emergency accommodation. They were open to the idea, but I don’t think they took us seriously. I gave them a cheque in the amount of $1,000,000 to get the project started. I said, “There’s more where that came from.” I also told them of our success in Ireland. Their attitude immediately changed and they suggested viewing some buildings.
This was exciting. The next few days were occupied with visiting the residential and commercial real estate that met the requirements of Cymru Shelter. The building would need to be close to the city center because that is where medical, alcohol and drug treatment facilities were located. Also, it had to be within walking distance for people who had no other means of transportation. Other details could be worked out later, but we had made a start.
Again we breakfasted at the Grey Restaurant in the Cardiff Hilton. Rhondda ordered Crushed Avocado & Chilli on Rye Toast and poached, free-range hen’s egg. I chose the Eggs Royale Severn & Wye, smoked salmon and free-range hen’s egg.
As we relaxed over coffee I looked across at Cardiff Castle. I suggested to Rhondda that it would be a shame to visit Cardiff without seeing the famous Castle. Excavations have raised the possibility that the Roman legions arrived in the area as early as the first half of the reign of Emperor Nero (A.D. 54-68).
Tickets to enter the castle cost $23.31 each. We followed the tour guide and were immediately overwhelmed by the fairytale fortress. As the guide said, ‘Walk over the drawbridge, through the portcullis and leave the modern city behind in a visit that covers 2,000 years of history.’
Cardiff Castle began as a Roman fort. A new castle was raised within its remains by the Normans, Gilbert deClare, Lord of Glamorgan, ruled the castle in the eleventh century. He is principally remembered as one of the barons of the Magna Carta; he died in 1230, leaving his son, Richard, as his heir. I was most interested in Richard de Clare, nicknamed Strongbow since members of my family served under him as archers in the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland.
We climbed to the top of the Norman Keep and enjoyed the panoramic views of the city, from Cardiff Bay to Castell Coch. We also explored the Wartime Shelters, used by more than 1800 people during World War 2 as protection during air raids.
We visited the Firing Line, Cardiff Castle’s Museum of the Welsh Soldier, and discovered the story of Welsh soldiers over the last 300 years. Then, we headed for the main house and marveled at the spectacular interiors, designed by William Burges in the 19th century for the 3rd Marquess of Bute, who transformed the castle into a Victorian gothic fantasy.
The lordship was to be held by the Bute family, until 1947, when the Castle was given to the City of Cardiff. The Bute family brought power and prosperity to Cardiff, which they turned from a sleepy backwater into one of the greatest coal exporting ports in the world. They transformed the Castle into the gothic fantasy we see today, as well as revealing the Castle’s Roman past.
After a day of walking, we retired to the Keep Terrace Bistro that offered a selection of hot meals, sandwiches, daily chef’s specials and sweet treats, plus a range of coffees and blends of tea. We decided to relax on the terrace and observe the spectacular views of the Norman Keep and the castle grounds.
For dinner, as Welsh people call their evening meal, we decided to walk the short distance to Barrack Lane and the Dead Canary. Apart from its unappetizing name, the Canary is the top-ranked cocktail bar in Cardiff. They offered sublimely crafted cocktails inspired by the Deaths and Entrances, a book of poetry penned by the great Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas.
The menu stated: “Inspired by famous Welsh heroes of past and present, will you choose to sip the herbal and exotic concoction from Mr. Nice, share the gold-laden punch bowl of Goldie Lookin Chain, or take a hit with the Italian influenced cocktail of Joe Calzaghe?’ known as the Italian Dragon, Fighter, Champion and Legend. It contained Campari Cask Tales, Coconut infused Beefeater Gin, Byrrh, lemon and egg white. The drink named “Darling’ by Catharine Zita-Jones consisted of Kombucha, apple, rhubarb, ginger and lemon. Beneath the list of ingredients was her statement, ‘I think I will kiss you too!’ Other notables listed were Dylan Thomas, Dame Shirley Bassey, Christian Bale, Henry Morgan and Kirsty Hill, model and actress, whose menu item concluded with ‘Ass good as it gets’.
Rhondda and I had the whole evening to attempt to consume the entire drink menu. The ingredients were so exotic that we couldn’t decide, so we ordered two of each. Walking back to the hotel I had my arm around Rhondda’s shoulder. Suddenly, she seemed so small and vulnerable, yet only yesterday I saw her in a street fight. I pulled her close. I realized that I couldn’t do without her. The rest of the evening was a blur. We made it to our room. That’s the last I remember.
Rhondda and I breakfasted at the Grey Restaurant in the Cardiff Hilton. Rhonda ordered the Welsh Rarebit on Proper Toast with grilled, smoked, streaky bacon and a poached free-range hen’s egg. I chose the Full Welsh Brekkie consisting of locally cured bacon, locally made pork sausage, fried duck egg, confit field mushrooms, plum tomato, cockle and laverbread cake.
I had been awake for most of the night thinking of ways that we could effectively help homeless people on the streets of Cardiff. We had read reports, knew of all the organizations geared to help people in need. What we didn’t know was the experience of street people themselves; how they came to be there, what their treatment was when contacting the local agencies and how they were treated by the public. I suggested to Rhondda, “I think we should try living on the streets to see what these people are confronting.”
Rhondda said, “I wasn’t expecting that, but the idea does have some merit. I agree we can’t help people until we find out what they want. I’m sure that each person has unique priorities. The situation would be different for a man living on the streets as opposed to a woman. In either case, I see it as being very dangerous.”
“Are you willing to give it a try? We would be armed. We would be in sight of each other in case things turned ugly. If you agree, our next stop should be a thrift shop to buy more appropriate clothing. I don’t think that your Rodeo Drive purchases would give the proper message.”
“I’m willing to give it a try. After all, we have a place to stay. We aren’t destitute as are the homeless.”
At the thrift shop, we bought used but gently worn clothes. We wanted to look as if we were trying to make a good impression, not a fashion statement.
Our first venue was in front of the Playhouse Gentlemen’s Club in the Hayes district on St. Mary Street, one of the main shopping streets in Cardiff city center. St. Mary Street is home to a large ‘Howells’ or House of Fraser store, numerous arcades that house one-off, independent shops with many of the arcades having entrances on the Hayes. This seemed to be as good a place as any to see what kind of a reception we’d receive as beggars asking for change.
We took our stations with me in front of the strip club, Rhondda across the street where I could keep an eye on her. A group of university students passed by me and one at the rear shouted, “Get a job!” I replied, “I’ve got a job. I’m a beggar also an unemployed shepherd.” A trio of suits said the same thing. I said, “Hire me!” One of them answered, “Bathe first!” I replied, “Just because I don’t have access to a shower, doesn’t mean I don’t wash all over.” Another one said, “That’s an image I don’t want in my head.”
Across the street, Rhondda was sitting cross-legged on the sidewalk, her back to a stone wall. A man approached her and asked, “How much for a blow job.” Rhondda stood and said, “I have a problem hearing in one ear. Stand closer and repeat what you just said. The man stepped closer. Before he had a chance to open his mouth, Rhondda snapped a front kick to his groin. He doubled over in pain. Rhondda said, “Now what was that you were saying about a blow job?”
As we sat there more people wearing sleeping bags and duvets drifted by, some stopped at each bin to comb through the cigarette stubs left in the ashtrays on top. Others simply keep moving to stay warm. One man stopped and said, “Hello, mate, how’s it going? You can’t spare a smoke, can you?”
Patrick replied, “I don’t smoke, man, but someone dropped me a meal card. Do you want it?”
“I was hoping for something else, but I’ll take it. Thanks, man.”
There was a crash behind where Patrick was sitting and a bottle came flying through the plate glass window of the club. Shortly after a man was pushed onto the sidewalk where he received a vicious beating by bouncers. The talk was that the man had spent several hours and a large amount of money on one of the lap dancers, or she on him. He had taken a shine to her and had arranged to meet her outside the club at the end of her shift. He sat outside waiting for her with food and a bottle of champagne. Impatient, he went inside to ask for her. When she didn’t want to speak with him he felt hard done by and threw a champagne bottle over his shoulder hitting the front window of the club causing it to smash.
Police soon came by asking questions of everyone in the vicinity. Patrick tried to look inconspicuous and slip away unnoticed but a constable called him over.
The officer said, “What’s your involvement in this ruckus?”
Patrick answered, “I was just a bystander. I didn’t see much of what happened.”
“So that’s the way you want to play it. I’ll need to see some identification.”
Patrick handed the officer his passport. The constable said, “You’re a long way from home. What brings you to Wales?”
“I’m a retired soldier, writing about homelessness, especially among ex-servicemen.”
“That’s an unlikely story. You can prove this, I assume.”
“Yes I can,” said Patrick. I’m staying at the Cardiff Hilton. My writings are in my room.”
“Are you carrying any drugs or liquor?”
“I could issue you a section 35 notice, under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act, requiring you to leave the city center for 24 hours, but seeing that you have money and a place to stay in the area. I’ll let you go this time. If I ever catch you begging again you could be jailed, fined, or both.”
Patrick walked across the street to where Rhondda was sitting and said, “That seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turned sour. Let’s go back to the hotel, have a drink, a meal then relax in a cozy bed.” He helped Rhondda up from her sitting position then they walked away hand in hand.
At the Hilton, we noticed that the Executive Lounge had closed at 8:00 pm. It appears that executives aren’t late drinkers. We went instead to the Metropole lounge where we ordered snifters of Rémy Martin XO, blended from up to 400 eaux-de-vie by Rémy Martin’s cellarmaster, this velvety blend hits a symphony of notes full of white flowers, juicy plums, candied oranges, hazelnuts, and freshly grated cinnamon. It gave us pleasure to cradle the snifter in our palms and gently swirl the liquid to raise it to body temperature then bring the rim of the glass to our noses to breathe the heavenly bouquet. I also like to warm cognac over a candle. There are more elaborate ways. One is by rinsing the snifter with hot water, draining it then adding kirsch that is set on fire with a cigarette lighter. Swirling it until the glass is uniformly warm, empty the kirsch and add the cognac. There is no better way to end a delightful evening before going to bed.
The Ulysses docked at Holyhead at 11:30pm. We’d notified the owners at Bwthyn Y Borth of our late arrival. They assured us the cottage would be unlocked and ready for our occupancy. On our drive from the ferry to Rhoscolyn Head, we tried to get a glimpse of the breathtaking sea and Snowdonia mountain views, but we would need sunlight to fully appreciate the scenery.
The cottage was spectacular. We were tired, but couldn’t resist building a fire in the immense, cut stone wood burner. I fixed martinis and we snuggled on the love seat and rested our feet on the ottoman. It was a great ending to an eventful day. As the flames flickered to coals we made our way upstairs to the huge king-sized bed. We welcomed sleep as a breeze from the Irish Sea drifted in through the open window.
In the morning we walked 30 minutes across the cliff tops to The White Eagle, a fine dining pub where we both ordered the toasted steak sandwich on brown bloomer bread with cheddar cheese and red onion, served with coleslaw and a mixed greens salad. We asked the waiter about Welsh ales and he recommended for me the Rampart Brown ale with hints of chocolate malt and for Rhondda, a lighter taste, the Beachcomber Blonde with a delicate grapefruit flavor and aroma. To finish the meal we each ordered a Merlyn Welsh Cream Liqueur described as ‘rich, warming creamy texture and fudge toffee is overlaid with the tingling aroma of fresh clean spirit. Vanilla, hints of banana and exotic fruits – and even rose petals – all linger gently in the background.’ How could we resist?
High tide will be at 1:00pm, we looked forward to enjoying the private beach and natural seawater pool, described as ‘perfect for a summer dip!’ We walked back to the cottage, changed into swimwear and followed the steep, stone steps down to the pool. It was refreshing to languish in the cool water. Since we had complete privacy our swimwear soon came off and we enjoyed the sea view and each other’s bodies for the rest of the afternoon.
We phoned Paddy at the farm to learn if there had been any recent developments. He said that there had been a fatal motorcycle accident nearby. Was it the biker that we met in Teach Dolmain? Paddy said he would check the damaged motorcycle and forward a photo. Further to that Paddy asked that we travel to Cardiff and check on the homeless problem described in the newspapers as being ‘the worst in decades.’
It was revealed in January that homeless people in Cardiff were choosing to live in tents rather than access the Huggard Centre, claiming the shelter was rife with drugs and thieves.
“There’s not enough accommodation – there are no beds and no floor space,” he said. “If you went down there after midnight, you would cry.
“Where there’s not enough floor space, people are sleeping in the courtyard in flower beds. It is heartbreaking.”
We decided to book a late train to Cardiff. The journey would take close to five hours give or take a half hour. We weren’t in a rush, with the first class fare we would enjoy a 3-course meal on the northbound evening service. Our onboard chefs use fresh produce, much of it sourced in Wales. And we have a range of wines, champagne and spirits available to buy. I love traveling in style.
At the Cardiff Hilton, we chose a suite featuring a view of Cardiff Castle. I know it seems incongruous that we were staying in such luxury when tomorrow we would be visiting people sleeping on the streets, in tents and cars. I hope we can be of some help.
Homelessness is a universal problem exacerbated by wars, famine and poverty. As individuals, we can’t affect a universal solution, that is beyond the scope of our possibilities. The first decision we must make is whether to be on the side of finding a solution or to be part of the problem. To remain ignorant is to be part of the problem. To quote Ronald Reagan, ‘We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.’
Rhonda and I find ourselves in a unique situation, a unique community. We searched the internet to discover how the homeless situation was described in Cardiff, and what was being done about it at a municipal and national level. What help is available to a person who finds themselves homeless in Cardiff? The first resource I found was ShelterCymru, the People and Homes Charity in Wales.
They addressed the question:
Why do people become homeless?
It’s complicated, and it differs from person to person. But there are two main types of reason why people become homeless:
Problems in the person’s own life – such as physical or mental health conditions, relationship breakdown, or drug and alcohol misuse;
Problems in the system – such as the rising cost of housing, the poverty trap, and welfare benefit cuts brought about by the Government.
Over the last 35 years, Shelter Cymru has seen the housing crisis play a bigger role in creating homelessness. There aren’t enough affordable homes being built, and this makes housing more expensive for everyone – including you.
With rent levels rocketing and homeownership an increasingly impossible dream, it’s no wonder that so many families are struggling.
Homeless people are people first and foremost. Shelter Cymru offered the following suggestions:
Many people wonder whether giving to people begging on the streets is the right thing to do. We aren’t going to tell you what to do – it has to be your own decision. But here are some pointers that you may want to consider when deciding your personal approach.
If you give money, you must be comfortable with allowing people to make their own decisions about what to spend it on. The truth is you have no idea how hard their life might be. If you decide to give money, make it a gift with no strings, from one citizen to another.
If you decide to give, make sure this isn’t the only thing you do. If you decide not to give, do something else instead.
We watched a video online entitled A Little Change Please created by, Ben Blyth, a 20-year-old photojournalism student. He introduced the video with the words, ‘The number of people homeless in Cardiff has doubled in the last two years. All these people want is to feel human, something that costs you absolutely nothing.’
Blyth wanted to experience first hand what it is like sleeping on the streets before making a film.
He said: “I started going out and speaking to homeless people and getting their opinion on doing a film. I just took my notebook and pen and got a few ideas.
“Then I decided I was going to sleep rough myself. I had planned to do a couple of nights but I just couldn’t hack it. I wanted to try and understand what it was like to make it more genuine. I didn’t want to be completely ill-informed.
“In the end, I spent one night sleeping rough and two days on the streets begging.
“The hardest part of sleeping rough was not talking to anyone. I felt completely lost in a city where I had lived for two years.
“It was strange not having anything to do at all. I felt very isolated.
Lavanda is a small, brick-fronted, Croatian Bistro next to the Jameson Distillery. Plain and unpretentious describes the interior. The staff is friendly and efficient. We read from the menu, “We are a Modern European restaurant offering a range of locally sourced, freshly prepared, and seasonal dishes with a heavy Mediterranean influence.”
We started with a Selection of Cheeses, homemade apple & onion chutney, toasted walnuts, grapes, green apple and assorted crackers. For the main course, Rhonda ordered their signature Duck Confit with herby mash, beetroot puree, bacon fried baby carrots, and a clove-infused red wine jus. I had Beef Stroganoff with buttered mash, sour cream, and homemade bread. We finished the meal with Death by Chocolate, a dark chocolate sponge cake served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate syrup. Robert, the manager treated us to a complimentary Croatian liquor as an after-dinner drink.
We took a leisurely walk around Dublin until it was time to board the Ship, Ulysses at 8:15pm. Prior to retiring to our suite, we stopped at Leopold Bloom’s traditional Irish pub. Rhondda ordered a Remy Martin I stayed with my usual Jameson.
Our suite was above the water line on Deck 10. The bed wasn’t huge, but it was welcoming. I couldn’t wait to lock the door and have my way with Rhondda. She was equally eager. I helped her with the back zipper on her dress, then I disrobed as fast as possible, hopping on one foot while trying to take my pants and socks off in one motion. We lay facing each other, looking deep into each other’s eyes. It had been an exhilarating adventure and now we were ready for some together time. I brushed some wisps of Rhondda’s hair from her face before kissing her luscious mouth. Her lips were warm and welcoming, hinting at the pleasure we were about to share. We were in a sacred space known only to us. I pulled her close feeling her breasts press against my chest. I could feel my cock getting restless, urging me toward the paradise Rhondda promised.
There was no rush, the voyage allowed us three hours of intimacy. As always, I marveled at her beautiful, delicate body wanting to explore every feature. My hands traced her backbone to arrive at the supple cheeks of her ass. I tried to be patient, but my desires threatened to overcome my intentions. Slowly, I moved to the bottom of the bed. Taking each toe into my mouth I savored the taste and texture of her skin. Moving slowly up her long, well-turned leg my excitement surged. I knew this territory well, but it never ceased to amaze me. I could feel her excitement as her body quivered. I kissed the inside of her thigh lovingly. I realized that my mind was at peace, no explosions, no flashbacks. I had found my safe place. I gently spread her legs. My heart raced, my breath quickened. Slipping my hands under her ass cheeks I pulled her closer to feast on the mouth-watering spectacle before me. I licked from the bottom of her cleft to the top where my tongue circled her clit. I wrapped my lips around and sucked this marvel of eroticism. She squirmed as I continued licking her folds and penetrated her opening with my tongue. Rhondda pulled at my shoulders and said, “Patrick, I want to feel you inside me.” I slid up her body where her breasts beckoned to be suckled. Her arms encircled me and pulled me closer. Her legs wrapped around my back urging me to enter. I slid up farther meeting her lips with my own. My cock paused at her opening, the head caressed her clit. I took it in hand and rubbed the slick pearl of her excitement. Her body tensed, I felt a scream being stifled in her throat. Our tongues swirled together as my cock found its home. We were in ecstasy.
Rhondda acted nervous on the drive back to the farm. “Patrick,” she asked, “will we ever be safe?”
“I can’t predict the future, but I’ll always have your back; I’ll always be at your side. Whatever happens, we’ll face it together as we have in the past. It was a surprise to learn that our photos had been circulated in Ireland. Perhaps it’s time for a change of scene. I’m sure that Paddy has everything under control at the farm.”
When they reached the farm they told Paddy of their accomplishments, recommendations and their meeting with the biker who recognized them from photos.
Paddy said, “I can understand your concern, but nobody has traced you back to the farm. Soon we will be well armed, but in the meantime, perhaps you two should consider a change of location until we can get this sorted.”
“I’ve been in contact with the army. They’re willing to erect the mobile kitchen, supply the necessary dishes and cutlery. They’ll also send a camp cook and some kitchen help to wash dishes. I expect we’ll be having a visit from the camp commander to see how his resources are being used. He’s very supportive since this will assist veterans in their problems with addiction, homelessness and PTSD.”
“Where would you like to go, Rhondda?” asked Patrick.
“My ancestors came from Wales. I’ve heard that it’s very pretty there. Also, the Welsh were very successful in holding back the British from the time of the Norman Invasion in 1066 to the invasion by Edward the 1st in 1282. The land is very rugged, that helped in protecting the Welsh forces. Hopefully, it will help protect us as well.”
“Sounds great to me, I’ll make the arrangements. The Irish Ferries travel between Dublin and Holyhead and have six sailings daily. Driving to Dublin will take about an hour and a half. On the way we can search on the computer for places we’d like to stay and things we’d like to see and do.”
Rhondda said, “I’m feeling better already. I can’t wait to see where my ancestors lived.”
On the road, Rhondda checked the various listings for cottages near Holyhead. “Patrick, listen to this, ‘Bwthyn Y Borth,’ whatever that means, is in Rhoscolyn, near Holyhead. ‘This semi-detached cottage is positioned on the cliff tops of Rhoscolyn head, with a stunning outlook over the dramatic shoreline and distant views of the Snowdonia Mountains.’ Doesn’t that sound lovely? There’s more, ‘This traditional whitewashed semi-detached cottage adjoins the owner’s home and is peacefully situated on the cliff tops at Rhoscolyn Head. It enjoys a stunning outlook over the dramatic sea and shoreline, coastal path and distant views of the Snowdonia Mountains. A fine dining pub is a lovely 30-minute walk across the cliff tops, and guests to the cottage have direct access (via steep stone steps) to a private beach and, at high tide, a natural seawater pool perfect for a summer dip! ‘ Doesn’t that sound divine. Should I book it now?”
“Sure, go for it. Pay in advance if that will help to reserve our accommodations, it’s probably a popular place.”
“I also found a great place in Dublin for supper. It’s called Lavanda, 31 North Brunswick Street, they serve Croatian, organic food. It has great reviews. Want to give it a try?”
Rhondda visited the Women’s Aid Centre and registered as a volunteer for the 24hr National Freephone Helpline. Her experience as a former employer of women made her an ideal candidate. She’d listened to the dancers’ problems and offered advice and assistance when needed.
“The Helpline aims to empower women to identify what is happening for them within their relationship and support them to stay safe and support the safety of any children living within the relationship. The Helpline aims to at all times ensure that the responsibility for the abuse is placed firmly with the perpetrator of the abuse and not with the woman.”
They next drove to Smarmore Castle, a residential rehabilitation center for drugs and alcohol. Based in 15 acres of private land set amid the rolling hills of County Louth, Smarmore Castle is only an hour and forty-five-minute drive from Carlow (140.8 km) via M9.
The staff of twelve, including two therapists, a psychiatrist, a special addictions counselor, two nurses, and six administrative staff were extremely helpful in showing us around their facility. They mentioned that In 2011, Carlow had low alcohol consumption rates compared to other Irish counties, however in 2012 it had one of the highest numbers of patients treated for problem alcohol use relative to the rest of Ireland. Ireland and County Carlow, in particular, had some of the highest numbers of patients treated for problem alcohol and drug use, especially among 18-24-year-olds. There were 219 drug-related deaths recorded in 2014, compared to 189 in 2012. This is a beautiful and caring rehabilitation center. We felt confident in referring people to Smarmore and have the finances on hand to cover their treatment.
We also contacted the International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaches for all trauma survivors to share the experience of their trauma and learn new strategies for their recovery. Many war buddies with PTSD could interact with a community that had gone through similar situations. All trauma is as unique as the person suffering. This could be the first step in obtaining the proper treatment.
With these visits completed, we decided to break for lunch at Teach Dolmain. We were sitting quietly at a corner table when a leather-clad biker approached our table. “I’ve seen you two before.”
“That’s possible,” said Patrick. “What of it?”
“If I remember correctly your pictures were forwarded to us by a sister club in the States. I’ll let it go for now until I get more information. You may be seeing me again.”
“We’ll look forward to it,” said Patrick. “In the meantime may we buy you a drink? If we’re going to be neighbors it seems only right that we should get to know each other. My name is Patrick and this is Rhondda.”
“I don’t remember those names being associated with the pictures. Maybe it was someone else, but I’ll drink with you.”
Patrick looked out on the street and saw a customized Harley Davidson Sportster parked in front. He excused himself and stepped outside. Cutting the brake lines was easy and inconspicuous. He returned to the table and toasted their new neighbor. “Is that your motorbike outside?”
“I prefer to call it a motorcycle or chopper. A motorcycle is referred to something which is more powerful, bigger and has more HP. A motorbike, on the other hand, is used to describe a small, lightweight motorcycle. Chopper refers to the fact that I’ve chopped or customized it to my specifications. I’ve stripped excess bodywork; removed the front fender, shortened the rear fender and all superfluous parts removed to reduce weight.”
“You’ve done an impressive job, but why would you go to all that trouble?”
“It’s part of a biker’s life. The 1%er definition as we see it ‘is one that explains our commitment to Biking and Brotherhood. We ride our motorcycles every day rain or shine. We ride thousands of miles each year with our Brothers to attend parties, social events, funerals and just plain spending time together. We work, have families and do all the things that our neighbors do. In addition to that, we belong to a Brotherhood that we are able to combine with our day to day lives.’ Further, I can’t explain it; you wouldn’t understand. I’ll be hitting the road now. Nice meeting you neighbor.”
The morning was greeted by the rooster crowing, cows mooing, sheep bleating and people from the tents milling and chatting. Paddy had moved two picnic tables near the back door of the farmhouse. Brianna brought out a pot of coffee and one of tea. She shouted, “We’re not very well equipped yet, so breakfast will be porridge and soda bread. I’m sorry that we only have paper bowls and plastic spoons. Eat as much as you want and let me know when the tea and coffee runs out. Tomorrow I’ll make sure we also have cereal, fruit, yogurt, boiled eggs and toast.
“We don’t have enough chairs, so feel free to sit on the steps on rocks or on the grass.”
Rhondda sat beside a woman and asked how she came to be homeless. The woman named Shelagh said, “My life has always been messed up. I was molested by my father, grandfather and uncle. I got along really well with my mother; in fact, she was my best friend until I got into drugs. Then she threw me out. I’d finished grade eight and was fourteen at the time. I started hanging out with a local motorcycle gang. I was cute and chubby, they treated me like their mascot. I started using more drugs, then selling drugs, then went to prison. I’ve been staying with friends, but that can only last so long. So, now I’m here.”
“Are there any job vacancies that you could apply for?”
“I check the newspaper every day. Here are the employment want ads from yesterday. I could apply to be a Wellness Coach if I knew what that was, ICT Applications Analyst, that’s another mystery. Some people tell me that I have anger management issues. I’m not angry. I don’t think I’ve had a legal job in my life except for one week at a pizza restaurant that turned out to be the front for a drug operation. Do you know of any place that would hire a forty-seven-year-old alcoholic, epileptic, agoraphobic, ex-felon who may, or may not have anger management issues?”
After everyone had eaten, Paddy said, “I’m driving the bus into Carlow town. Everyone is welcome to come with me, but if any of you want to stay here, that’s fine too. For those coming with me let your friends in town know what we’re offering. The bus will be returning to the farm at 5 o’clock, everyone is welcome.
To Patrick and Rhondda Paddy said. “Take your own car and visit as many of the social service agencies that you can. Rhondda, you mentioned that you wanted to visit the Women’s Aid. I’m going to visit Father Peter McVerry, a Roman Catholic priest, notable for battling homelessness in Ireland. He appeared on the Sean O’Rourke Show on RTE Radio One and said, “They become homeless because the landlord evicts them, because they cannot afford to pay the rent or because the landlords say they’re selling their house or because the banks have re-possessed the landlord’s house because the landlord hasn’t paid their mortgage.”
Brother Kevin Crowley said, “We have people leaving here in the evening times after having dinner. Some of these people are walking the streets at nighttime and certainly, they’re glad to get a cup of tea or a cup of soup because otherwise what will they do for the rest of the night if they don’t get something to drink or to eat?
“It’s impossible to get the beds at nighttime, you wouldn’t have people walking the streets at night if they could.
“A number of people are also afraid to go into the hostels at night because they are afraid of getting robbed, they are afraid of the drugs and sometimes they could get attacked or stabbed and some of the hostels are appalling for how they treat people.
“Our main priority is to respect the dignity of the homeless people.
“I would do anything to keep people alive and to try to make sure that nobody goes hungry.”
Patrick said, “I can visit Carlow Community Alcohol Service at St. Dympna’s Hospital. We want to cover all the bases, but don’t want to interfere with what’s already working well. I’ll tell them what we have to offer and together we can decide the best route to take. I’ll see you later at dinner.
With that, Patrick and Rhondda drove to town. At all the places they visited they were welcomed. One woman said, “It’s great to have somebody offering help, usually we only have people requesting help.”
(Anyone in need of shelter in Carlow please contact the Carlow County Council on 0599170302)
The bus arrived at the farm and twenty people clambered off. Paddy was on hand to greet them. “Welcome to the farm, I’m Paddy your host, Brianna is my wife and my friends Patrick and Rhondda you’ve already met. Sean has been hired as my assistant in charge of accommodation. I’ll pass all information through him.
“We plan to build permanent housing and medical facilities in some of our outbuildings. These will take some time to construct. In the meantime, a friend at the Curragh Camp, Newbridge, of the Irish Army, has offered us three 18-foot by 24-foot tent army tents for occupancy and a mobile army field kitchen. One of the tents will be for women, one for men and a third for families. For security, we’ll have ex-army military police to patrol the grounds. Living in a tent probably doesn’t sound very appealing. Patrick and I are ex-army and this is the army way.
“I came upon this idea after contacting many of my former comrades in arms. They reported difficulty in returning to civilian life. Some suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, some had developed addictions, others faced mental issues, others were homeless. I wondered if there was a way that I could help some of my buddies by providing medical, psychological and addiction support in a stress-free environment. As you can see I have the land. I’ve applied to the Residential Tenancies Board for a license to rent accommodation. Non-Profit status is being arranged by my lawyer and we will be working with local agencies such as the Carlow Volunteer Center, Carlow Women’s Aid, the Monastery Hostel, Carlow County Council, the Health Service Executive, Gardaí and St Catherine’s Community Services.
“We’ll be offering jobs in construction, cooking and cleaning at current, local rates of pay. We also recognize you as unique individuals with unique problems, please tell us about your situation and any special requirements. We don’t judge or discriminate. We know that some of you are fleeing a violent relationship. We are here for the sole purpose of helping you transition through a difficult period in your lives. That’s all for my speech. Have a look around, ask questions and offer suggestions.”
A man approached Paddy. He said, “My name’s Ted. Will you be having Alcoholics Anonymous meetings here? I haven’t had a beer for thirty days now. At first, I got really sick. It was like the ‘flu. I’d have sweats one minute then I’d be shivering my ass off. My kidneys shut down. I didn’t pee for three days. After four days I went to the doctor. I told him about my problems. He said I was suffering from alcohol withdrawal. He said I could have died. I didn’t know that. He said I should have cut down to three beer a day for the first week, then two a day the next week, and one a day for the following week. Then it would be okay to quit altogether. I’ve had diabetes for the past ten years, so cutting out the beer will be good for that as well.”
That’s a good point, Ted, “Yes we Will be hosting AA meetings. Where are you attending now?”
“Every day I go to St. Catherine’s Community Services Centre. Their meetings are six days a week at 1 PM and 8:30 PM.”
“It will take a while to get AA located here, but in the meantime, we can drive you into town and back so you needn’t worry about missing your meetings.”
“It scares me. I hear these voices in my head. One will say, ‘Stay away from that stuff, Ted It’ll kill you.’ Another voice says, ‘Just have one drink. You can handle it.’ The problem is that once I’ve had a drink my resistance goes down and I’ll keep drinking until I’m unconscious. I’ll wake up and not remember anything.”
He asked the man standing next to him, “Chester, have you ever been in a rehab program?”
“Yes, three times. Each time I told them the same story and each time they said, ‘We don’t want you here.’
“What was the story that you told them?”
“I said, “Each morning I wake up, get drunk, fall down and have fun.”
Ted continued, “I know so much about those places I could be a counselor. In group sessions when you first arrive you have to give a statement. It would start with, ‘I am an addict and I can’t control my addiction.’ Sometimes, when young girls were asked to describe their situation they’d start crying and say they couldn’t talk about it, the counselor would say, ‘Go over and talk to Ted. He knows what’s going on.’ So, they’d come over and I’d say. ‘You have to be open and honest. You say you can’t talk about what happened, but the truth is that you’re not willing to talk about it. The only way this program is going to help is if you put your heart in it.’
“The counselors would question me and I could tell them just what they wanted to hear. They’d say, ‘Ted you have such good retention of information.’ It was like going for a school exam when I’d taken the same exam five times before. These places all asked the same things.” “So how are you doing now, Ted?” “I drink, smoke a bit of pot, occasionally take meth. I don’t drop two tabs like some of these kids; I cut a tab in half and take that. It helps with my sexual performance if you know what I mean. “I made a commitment this morning. I’m going to cut out the hard stuff. A couple of days ago I got really wasted. When I woke up this morning I had the shakes, my legs were twitching. I had two beer, 4.9 percent, and it leveled me off. From now on I’m going to stick to beer.”
“Do rehabilitation centers work?”
“Yes and no. I’ve been in rehab five times. I’m still an alcoholic, but they kept me clean for a while. The longest period was five years. That’s when I was living five miles in the bush. The outreach workers were great. Each Friday they’d walk the five miles into my camp to see if I was okay. They’d bring soup and other food supplies. I felt guilty so I said to them, ‘Instead of you walking here, I’ll be on the highway at eight o’clock every Friday evening.’ So, that’s the way we worked it out.”
A military truck pulled into the driveway of the farm. Two soldiers unloaded the four tents. One of the soldiers approached, “Paddy, you old son of a gun. I haven’t seen you for a while. We’ll have to get together and have a few beers.”
“Declan, I wasn’t expecting you to come in person. It’s great to see you. This group here is in need of emergency shelter. How can you help us?”
“At the Irish Defence Forces, we have the UN Training School. Your request falls into the category of Peace Support Operations: the provision of regional security missions and fundamental human rights. Our commanding officer is very interested in the care and treatment of veterans suffering from PTSD. We have Trainees in Military Medicine, Family Services dealing with domestic violence, drug and alcohol rehabilitation. We also have the Irish United Nations Veterans Association. I’m sure you will have many volunteers when they hear what you’re doing.
“So, we have the tents you requested, the emergency kitchen facilities, cots, blankets and bottled water. After you’re set up let us know of any further requirements, advice or services where we may be able to help.”
“Thanks, Declan, much obliged.” What do you say, folks? How about a cheer for the Irish Defence Forces.”
A cheer arose. They were happy to have a place to stay.
Patrick announced to the crowd, “You’re welcome to stay here. You can help to erect the tents. We’ll serve a hot meal. Brianna is working on it in the kitchen. If you want to return to Carlow I’m sure I can convince these soldiers to drive you where you want to go.
“If that’s it, let’s get those tents up and eat dinner.”
Sean had slept in one of the empty bedrooms at the farm. He joined us for breakfast and agreed to introduce us to his friends. On the drive to town, he chatted about everything and nothing, “I’m pissed off with this Brexit situation. I was born in Scotland, but if Britain separates from Europe I’ll need a passport to travel out of the country. I have a friend in Ecuador, he says there are plenty of harvesting jobs there.
“They should decriminalize panhandling, street prostitution and drugs. And I mean all drugs, heroin included.”
Sean directed us to where a group of people was gathered. Most of them were smoking. They all looked to see who Sean had with him and why?
Sean said, “These two are friends of mine. If anybody has a problem with that they’ll have to go through me. They’re here to help. They got plans to house homeless people. We’ll have access to, doctors, psychiatrists. Most of us have a problem in that department. In the meantime, they’ve offered tents, meals. It’s all free. We can repay them by doing work around the farm. Who’s interested in checking this out? You got nothing to lose but the hassle of the guards (police).
Patrick was concerned about transportation. He reluctantly decided to rent a bus. There was much discussion about local matters. Who’d been beaten, who’d been robbed, who’d been raped.
One woman said, “Whatever happened to that mother with her six-year-old boy. The one that had a tent set up a tent outside the local authority’s offices in Carlow. She had brought proceedings in the High Court challenging the local authority’s refusal to provide them with emergency accommodation.”
“I remember that,” said another.
Carol Singleton and her son Jake, who had been living in a tent outside the local authority’s offices in Carlow, had brought proceedings in the High Court challenging the local authority’s refusal to provide them with emergency accommodation.
In his judgment today Justice Charles Meehan dismissed her action, which had been opposed by Carlow County Council.
Following the ruling, the Singleton’s solicitor Shannon Kerry of Mercy Law Resource Centre said they were disappointed with the decision. She said Carol and Jake did not know where they would be living tonight.
The court had heard that after leaving the tent the Singletons had been living in accommodation paid for through charitable donations, pending the outcome of the court’s decision, the solicitor said.
Carol Singleton had left Dublin with her son in late March and returned to her native Carlow following a breakdown in her relationship. She had stayed with relatives until they were no longer able to provide them with shelter.
In April they presented as being homeless at Carlow County Council’s offices and, while initially having been refused emergency accommodation the Council put them up at B&Bs for short periods up until 12 June.
When the council stopped providing them with accommodation on 12 June last month she staged a sit-in before being removed by the gardaí. She then took up residence in a tent outside the council’s offices.
Due to fears her son may be taken from her, friends and supporters of the Singletons allowed Jake to sleep on their sofas. She had tried but had been unable to secure private rented accommodation.
The Singletons asked the High Court for an order directing Carlow County Council to consider their outstanding application for emergency homeless accommodation by way of social housing support or by any other means.
They had also sought an order quashing the council’s decision that the Singletons could reasonably be expected to use alternative accommodation until the mother was able to rent a property.
The council opposed Singleton’s demands on the grounds it had limited resources available and that her requests had been fully considered.
Justice Heenan, in a reserved judgment, said there was no basis to quash the council’s decision and the Singletons were not precluded from making a fresh application for emergency accommodation should further circumstances arise.
He said a detailed meeting between Singleton, who was accompanied with a representative of Focus Ireland, and the council had been held on 24 May last as a result of which he could not say the council’s decision to refuse further emergency accommodation could be “fundamentally at variance with reason and common sense.”
The judge said he was taking into account the resources the council had available and the competing demands on those resources.
The council had told the court there are 150 other persons in Co Carlow in a similar situation to the Singletons, and the council cannot afford to give the Singletons priority.
The judge rejected claims by the Singletons that the council had not given them adequate reasons for its decision.
He noted that Carol Singleton will have a housing assistance payment available to her where she would be paid a sum of money each month to go towards rent. (The Journal.ie, 14 August 2017)
“That’s no way to treat people,” grumbled the group.
Patrick shouted, “There’s a bus on its way. If anybody wishes to see the farm and the plans we have for it please climb on the bus. We’ll be happy to answer any questions. We’ll drive you back here anytime you want.”
Patrick and Rhondda awoke in the farmhouse to the aroma of bacon and coffee. They dressed in casual clothes then joined Paddy and Brianna in the kitchen.
“Something smells good,” said Patrick as he whiffed the air. He pulled out one of the vacant chairs and seated Rhondda then took the seat beside her.
“Thank you, ” said Rhondda, “I do appreciate the gentlemanly gesture.”
“My pleasure,” he answered.
Paddy waited until everyone had been served their food and drink then cleared his throat. “I’ve been giving some thought to your situation. A photographer will be coming this afternoon to take passport photos. If you’re completely satisfied with your new names I can start the process with your international driver’s licenses. After we have all the papers in order you can apply for health insurance through the Irish Health Care System. Most things are subsidized, but I’ll list you both as employees so you will be covered under the farm’s private insurance.
“Concerning your physical security, I think you are relatively safe here. With new identities, there won’t be any electronic way of tracing you. There would be more to be concerned about in Dublin, it being a bigger place. As I understand it the new owners of the strip club have access to all closed-circuit scanning devices so there will be photos of you circulated throughout the biker network. You’re the first person I’ve discussed this with, so I don’t know what the response will be. There are a lot of soldiers suffering from PTSD. They’ll be pleased to hear of a treatment center manned by other soldiers. I’m going to ask them, ‘Do you want to take lives, or would you rather save them?’ I expect that we’ll have a small army here on the farm. It’ll be no worse getting shot by a biker than it was being a target on the battleground.
That brings me to your appearance. Rhondda you’ll need to have your hair cut.”
“What? No way! I’ve worn my hair long since I was a little girl.”
“Just joking, but you may need an assortment of wigs.”
“That, I can do.”
“Patrick, there’s nothing we can do with you. You’re always going to look like a cop or a soldier. Perhaps you can try one of Rhondda’s wigs.”
“On to other matters, since we’re all in agreement about the possibilities of housing for the homeless. We hope to also build offices for doctors, psychiatrists, drug counselors, and rape crisis staff. We’ll need to know what their space requirements will be. Most important we need direct communication and advice from the people on the streets who are most affected: addicts, alcoholics, trauma and other vulnerable victims. Employing people from these ranks is absolutely necessary. Only a drug addict can counsel another drug addict. That’s a lot to cover. Let’s go into Carlow Town and speak to some interested people.”
Patrick said, “Rhondda and I’ll try to locate Sean. He’ll be able to steer us towards the homeless camps and I’m sure he’ll have some ideas about what works and what doesn’t.”
Rhonda said, “Later this week I’m going to visit Carlow Women’s Aid on Old Dublin Road. I’m sure they’ll be able to advise me. Maybe I’ll sign up as a volunteer.”
Paddy said, “I’m going to talk have an architect visit advise us how to best use the space and hear his recommendations. I’ll also set up appointments with doctors, psychiatrists and speak to the head of the Institute of Technology Carlow. We might be able to set up some cooperative programs sharing school work with hands-on work here.”
“That sounds good,” said Patrick. If you can drive us back to the cottage, I’ll collect the rental car, our personal belongings then we’ll meet you back at the farm late in the afternoon. You might also want to think about temporary accommodations such as military tents and camp gear. It won’t be ideal, as you know, but it’s better than sleeping on the streets.”
After collecting our rental car, packing our bags in the trunk, we headed back to Carlow Town to search for Sean. There he was sitting on the same rock as yesterday.
“Hello, Sean, I was wondering if you’d care to join us at the pub as our guest.”
“That’s an offer I can’t refuse.”
We walked to Scraggs Alley, sat at an empty table. The waiter took our order of a light lunch and a Guinness for each of us. After our meal, I said to Sean, “A group of doctors, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists and philanthropists are interested in providing accessible, mental and substance abuse/addiction care for the homeless in a nearby area. We have in mind an existing building starting with twelve beds. Is this something that you’d be interested in? Are twelve beds enough?”
“A thousand beds wouldn’t be enough, but twelve would be a dozen more than we have right now. Follow up and job placement would be mandatory. These people would need to trust that there was someone to turn to if they had a relapse or things went bad. AA has a helpline that alcoholics can use if the need for a drink is too great. They can also go to meetings whenever they want, some go once a day, some go five times a day.
“You’re asking me about this in what capacity? I’m not interested in rehabilitation for myself. I’m different than a lot of people who need drugs and alcohol. If they don’t get their fix or a drink for a couple of days they get symptoms of nausea, headaches, sweats, diarrhea, insomnia, and anxiety, among others. In extreme cases, alcohol detox can cause death. Sometimes, drugs are used to lessen the effects of alcohol detox. “I’m not one of those people.
“For me, it’s a lifestyle choice. I want alcohol, but I don’t need it. Deciding to give up sex doesn’t mean that a man doesn’t get a hard-on. The want is always there. I used heroin for a while but didn’t get addicted because I don’t have an addictive personality. Also, I wasn’t trying to escape from anything. There was nothing that I wanted to forget. I came to Ireland with five friends, we called ourselves a gang. Can you guess how many of them are still alive? One, and that’s because he’s serving twelve years in prison for murder, or manslaughter. Have you seen the movie Trainspotting? If you haven’t you should. It was filmed near where I used to live in Scotland. Do you remember the urinal scene? I was there. My friends were just like the characters in the movie.
“If you’re thinking of a model rehab situation you should look at Holland. Prohibition never works. See what happened in the States, it put all the money in the hands of organized crime. In Holland, what they did first was to eliminate the money. A drug or alcohol addict could get a government license and he would be provided a limited amount of the alcohol or drugs of his choice. He didn’t have to buy from underground sources, so they dried up.
Sean continued, “You must be willing to accept people who are drunk and/or on drugs. At present these people have been turned away from AA and the Salvation Army. They demand that an addict be clean for twenty-four hours before entering their premises. There is a small window where addicts have hit rock bottom and may decide that they desperately want recovery. If an addict or an alcoholic can resist for twenty-four hours they don’t need a program. In Scotland and Holland, addicts commit to seventy-two hours where they are locked in and sometimes tied down. After that, it’s their decision to stay or go.
“There would need to be a pharmacist to administer the drugs of choice. Methadone is not a substitute for heroin, it replaces the craving and is administered to a user who has given up the drug, much like a nicotine patch is used by someone quitting smoking. You can’t just slap a patch on a smoker and expect any results. They have to have a deep desire to quit. Being told by a doctor that you either quit or die is often enough motivation.
“It’s essential that there be representatives on the board who were down and out drug users or alcoholics and are now in recovery. Nobody else would know the hell that recovering addicts go through. As an example, a man wouldn’t be effective as a counselor at a rape crisis center, unless the man had himself been raped. A healthy youth wouldn’t be effective counseling to elderly arthritis sufferers about how to deal with their pain. As a parent you wouldn’t be effective counseling pedophiles, you’d look down at them with disgust. Am I getting my point across?
“Another thing you would need is security. If addicts can’t get money for drugs they’ll resort to violence and stealing. This causes bad feelings. If both the thief and the person stolen from are in the same room, or if one is outside and the other is inside, they’ll break down the door to get revenge. If you’d like I’d be willing to speak to this group, and could refer other people who may be of value in the program.”
Patrick said, “You’d be a welcome member of our team. The other members would be most pleased to hear your perspective and recommendations. They may also be able to find you a place to sleep. Tell your friends. You can be our spokesperson.”
We drove with Paddy in his Land Rover to his farm outside Enniscorthy, a village in the southeast of County Carlow and close to both the Wicklow and Wexford borders. The house originally built in 1825 has seven bedrooms, a living room, dining room, pantry and kitchen along with a utility room and one bedroom. Upstairs there are six more bedrooms and a family bathroom. Red took photos from every view imaginable.
Paddy said, “My family has lived here for close to two hundred years. There are over 200 acres of arable land. Currently, 60 acres are in tillage with the remaining in permanent pasture. We raise sheep, cows and horses. Beef prices have taken a tumble so this year we may reduce the size of the herd.
“So what do you think? Barn conversions to human habitation are common in this area. In the newspaper, I noticed fifty-one adds for barns that had been converted to homes. I think that with proper planning we could accommodate a hundred or more people and still keep it a working farm.”
Dane said, “This is perfect, Paddy. I can’t wait to get started with a hammer and saw. What do you think, Red? Do you see possibilities?”
“Most definitely. This place is beautiful, just look at the views from every direction. I love the sheep. They look so peaceful.”
“Well,” said Paddy, “since I have your approval why don’t you move into the farmhouse? That would make more sense. Being from America I didn’t know how you would react to farm living in Ireland.”
Dane said, “My ancestors lived not far from here. In 1823 they had a farm twelve miles from Carlow Town on the main road leading south. This is a return to my roots.”
“Have a good look around, then join me in the kitchen. There’s a bottle of Jameson with your name on it. I’ll have my wife, Brianna put out supper when you’re ready to eat.”
“I can help her,” said Red. “You two have a lot of catching up to do.”
They entered the main house were introduced to Paddy’s wife. She said to Red, “Aren’t you the stylish one. What pretty clothes. We don’t get fashion like that in Carlow. In Dublin, perhaps, but I don’t think so.”
“These are from a shopping spree on our last day in Beverly Hills. They don’t seem very practical here and I don’t think we’ll be going back. Like in a witness protection program we’re looking for new identities.
“If you have an apron I can help you with supper and we’ll have a chance to chat while the men are plotting and drinking.”Have you thought of a new name?”
“My ancestry is Welsh and I’ve always liked the name Rhondda with two ‘ds’, as in the Rhondda Valley in Wales. I’ve heard it’s pretty there.”
Brianna said, “I have an idea, Rhondda Redmond. Something new and something old.”
“I like that, now we’ll have to think of a new name for my boyfriend. He’s been going by Dane Cross. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that is the name of a porn star.”
“How about Patrick, you can’t get much more Irish than that. Now for the last name. Any ideas?”
“Pierce would go well with that. Patrick Pierce. Let’s run it by him. Dane, we’ve found some new names. How would you like to be Patrick Pierce and I’ll be Rhondda Redmond? They have a nice ring to them. What do you think?”
“Sounds fine. If, after a while, we decide we don’t like them we can change to something else.”
“Paddy piped up, “Don’t think of changing names too often. Remember, I have to arrange the paperwork. That can get a bit tricky.”
“Red, now Rhondda, asked Dane, now Patrick, “What’s it like building a new life. We can’t be able to see our families or old friends. We’ll have to avoid major cities, especially those frequented by biker gangs. It’s a depressing thought but we don’t know if we will be walking down a street one day, bump into the wrong person and have it all end then and there.”
Patrick replied, “What you say is true, but what guarantees does life offer? When you open a refrigerator door you expect the light to come on; when you close the door you expect the light to turn off, but that’s based on past experience, not a certainty. Every morning we expect the sun to appear over the horizon. But according to the philosopher David Hume, our expectation is wholly irrational. Not only is our belief that the sun will rise tomorrow wholly unjustified, so too are all our scientific theories.”
Rhondda said, “Thanks for the cliche psychology. Next, you’ll be telling me, ‘today is a gift — that’s why it is called the present.’
“There are more permanent solutions. What are your opinions on plastic surgery?”
“Most of the dancers that worked for me had some form of cosmetic surgery, mostly boob and nose jobs. Others had labiaplasty, vaginoplasty even clitoroplasty. I don’t oppose those procedures but have never considered them for myself.”
“If you choose to go that route we have access to the best cosmetic surgeons in the world. Price is no object. You could look like your favorite movie star. I’ll set up a consultation. The doctor can answer any questions you may have. He can even show you computer mock-ups of any”
Paddy was sitting at the far end of the kitchen at a table near the log burner. Patrick asked, “What motorcycle gangs do you have in this area? There’s one in particular that we’d like to avoid.”
“So, you’ve had a wee bit of trouble, have ye? If you’re asking about 1% clubs, we have the four big ones that you have in the US. The Banditos took over a lot of the smaller clubs. Further north is Hells Angels and Devil’s Disciples. It rains so much here that motorcycles aren’t very practical, they haven’t really caught on except with weekend riders. And then there’s the fourteen Prison Gangs. The guards keep them separated or else there would be fights all the time, even so, in the last year there were 107 assaults on guards. A lot of recruiting is done in prison. Joining a gang gives you protection. Then there’s the Mafia. They control most of the drug trade.”
The evening gradually wound down, the Jameson ran out. Rhondda and Patrick walked upstairs to one of the many bedrooms.
I awoke to the comfort of spooning Red. I loved the sight of her hair splayed over the pillow, her elegant delicate hands, her small feet, her voluptuous breasts that would always give me a hard-on, her beautiful shaved mound. I loved her scent, not just perfume but her unique fragrance, the smell of her sweat after a day in the sun, her morning breath, her pussy before she showered. I love the sound of her voice that reminds me of Brandi Carlile whose songs always give me the shivers. To me, Red is the essence of a woman. I worship and adore her and would do anything to make her happy.
She’s opening her eyes. They sparkle as they see me observing her. She yawns and says, “Like what you see?” I reply, “I love what I see and always will. Let’s shower and drive into Carlow for breakfast. I want us to become acclimatized to our new surroundings and, of course, see where my ancestors lived, possibly learn something about them. I know I have some distant relatives in the area but haven’t made any contacts.
“I thought we might breakfast at Teach Dolmain on Tullow Street. It’s Ranked #4 of 80 restaurants in Carlow and has live music. According to Google Maps, it appears to be in the center of town. It has great reviews and I can show you lots of images to help you decide.”
Red replied in her sleepy voice, “That sounds great. I’m famished.”
“After that, said Dane, “perhaps we could visit the Delta Sensory Gardens described as “An Oasis of Peace and Tranquility”, set on a 2.5-acre site with 16 interconnecting gardens located on the outskirts of Carlow Town. The gardens have so much to offer the visitor during all the seasons of the year, from the bright and beautiful daffodils and tulips in Spring to the breathtaking colors of the autumnal foliage.”
During the drive into Carlow, I brought Red up to speed on last night’s meeting with some of my colleagues. We’re a very loose-knit group based on our military connections. We’ve fought together in Afghanistan, the Gulf War and Iraq, but since we’re not officially deployed we’ve returned to our countries of origin. We act independently but call on each other when needed. We’ll be having a visitor this evening to go over specifics of this mission.
Red asked, “If we’re having company, what shall I serve for dinner?”
“We’re not entertaining, remember you’re a full partner with a say in everything to do with this operation. If there’s anything you don’t like, we won’t do it. I’ll shop for some steaks to throw on the barbecue and vegetables for a salad. To remain anonymous, especially from the motorcycle gang we left behind, we’ll choose new names with passports and international driver’s licenses to match.
“Do you have any questions before the meeting? I assure you it will be very informal. You’ll like Paddy. As long as there’s a bottle of Jameson on the table he’ll feel right at home.”
“Tell me more about this organization. What exactly do you do?”
“We do what suits us, as in helping you with the sale of your bar. We’re philanthropic. We each have causes that we like to support. In my case, it’s homelessness and addiction.”
Red said, “That sounds easy so far.”
“Easy peasey! No worries!”
We were nearing Teach Dolmain Pub and Restaurant. I was reminded of how hungry I was. I picked up two local newspapers, The Nationalist and Carlow People. The headline on the Nationalist read “Working Girls: Brothel operating above local employment service.” The Carlow People headline read “Bishop ‘sorry’ about mass walkouts. Parents said abortion talk was inappropriate.” The Teach Dolmain is in an old stone building with a cozy interior. We took a window seat and each ordered a full Irish breakfast with a Guinness. We could see across Tullow Street and all the regular morning activity. Sitting on a rock next to a wall was a man dressed in a grey hoodie, a black leather jacket and a huge pack full to overflowing with a pink towel strapped between the handles. He appeared homeless.
According to the newspaper Carlow Live: “Begging bye-laws for Carlow Town have been passed by members of the Municipal District in order to tackle the “professional and aggressive begging” that has become a regular feature in the town.
“A person who contravenes a provision of the bye-law shall be guilty of an offense and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €1,900. Where a person is convicted of the offense and there is a continuation by him or her of the offense after his or her conviction he or she shall be guilty of a further offense on every day the continuation continues and on each such offense shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not exceeding €129 for each day on which the offense is so continued.”
The man didn’t appear to be begging, nor doing anything aggressive. In fact, I couldn’t imagine anyone being more passive.
We paid our check and left the Dolmain. I was determined to speak to the man. I walked over with Red and handed the man a 5 Euro note. I asked, “Do you mind if I rent this rock beside you for a few minutes?”
“It’s your money, it’s your rock.”
Red leaned against the concrete wall behind. Her Rodeo Drive skirt wouldn’t allow squatting modestly near a public sidewalk. To open the conversation I said, “My name is Dane, with me is my girlfriend, Red. As you may have guessed were new in town. We don’t want to cause any offense through ignorance of local customs. I’ve been told there are some places we shouldn’t go and certain people we shouldn’t cross. We’d be pleased to pay for a guide to show us around and offer some advice.”
“How much pay, how much advice?”
“That part is negotiable, the more valuable the advice the more we’re willing to pay. I have deep pockets. Is that a phrase that makes sense to you?”
“I catch your drift. I watch a lot of American movies. Before we start, I could use a drink.”
“Talking in a pub sounds like the ideal solution. Could you recommend a place where we’d both be safe and welcome?”
“Scraggs’ Alley isn’t far from here. As long as they know someone other than me is paying the tab they’ll probably let me in. It’s been a while since I’ve been barred. We should probably sit near the door in case the punters get too rough. Friday special on the gin is €6.50.”
“Lead the way.” Scraggs’ Alley proved to be popular with college students and football enthusiasts. There was a big screen tv featuring Ireland in Gibraltar tonight for their first Euro 2020 Qualifier.
We ordered Guinness all around. Our guest of few words said, “Cheers, my name is Sean. I’m sure you have some questions. Fire away.”
“How dangerous is it here?”
“This isn’t the information that you’d get at our tourist information office, but The Republic of Ireland is the deadliest place to live in the Irish and British Isles. You are almost six times more likely to be shot and killed in Ireland as you are across the Irish Sea. Supposedly, Ireland stands at the abyss when it comes to violent murderous crimes generally and specifically involving guns. Irish police have extendable batons and pepper spray – Irish criminals have Glocks and AK47’s – there can only be one winner.”
“What about Carlow Town in particular? Is it better or worse than other parts of Ireland?”
“I’ve seen boarded up shops and houses on the main street for more than a decade. Open drug dealing in pretty much every area that people could possibly congregate. Just a wretched place that shows why all the ‘social supports’ we have in place are a woeful idea. This is what you end up with.
“As far as homelessness is concerned, at last count we had 150 people being forced to sleep rough in tents, cars, under bridges or in emergency accommodation. this is in a town with a population of just over 24,000.”
“It’s been a pleasure meeting you Sean. I hope we can do business again. Are you usually around Tullow Street?”
“I’m wherever I don’t get kicked out of.”
“Here’s something to show our appreciation for your company.” Dane slipped a 50 Euro note under Sean’s glass.
Dane and Red exited Scraggs Alley and headed back to their rental car. Dane said, “I’m ready to go home. How about you? I hope that Paddy has better news for us this evening. If we can believe Sean we’re in the midst of a war zone.”
When we arrived back at the cottage Paddy was already sitting on the patio under an umbrella. His bottle of Jamieson was on the table in front of him. He rose from his chair and with a big smile he embraced me with a bear hug and said, “It’s been a while, Mate!”
“Yes, it has, first let me introduce, Red my girlfriend and a force to be reconned with.”
“Hi, Paddy,” said Red.
I said, “You two get acquainted and I’ll bring out some drinks, fix a salad and put the steaks on the barbecue. It won’t take long, then we can relax.”
With supper out of the way, I brought out the chocolate mousse. Now, I felt relieved and was anxious to hear about Paddy’s latest adventures. He was a true storyteller and could make grocery shopping sound exciting. I told him about meeting Sean and the problems he was having.
Paddy said, “This whole Brexit thing has everybody in an uproar. The economy has been bad. Kids leave the farms and rural areas to head into Dublin. The urban areas are getting overcrowded. Reasonably priced rental accommodation is being torn down and replaced with expensive condos. Rents keep going up. It’s harder and harder for ordinary people to survive. It’s especially hard on the vets. That’s one of the things I wanted to talk to you about. I have a large farm outside of Carlow Town and was thinking of renovating some of the outbuildings to create basic housing for travelers, vets who are having problems, ex-felons, addicts and anyone else who is having trouble with reentry into the system. It could be based on the model of an army base. We’d have doctors, drug rehab facilities. People could pay their own way by helping with the farm work, preparing meals. What do you think?”
I said, “I’ve had similar ideas, but didn’t know how to go about it. What do you think Red, is it a good idea, something we could do? Would you be interested? There are a lot of homeless women who could use a helping hand. Money is no problem.”
“I like it,” said Red. “I have some ideas of my own, having supervised women.”
The evening passed pleasantly. Drinks kept flowing and Paddy entertained us with an endless round of stories. He crashed on the couch in front of the fireplace. Red and I retired to our bedroom. It had been an eventful day.
Settled in our cozy cottage in Ireland I received a message from Dane. He’s at a local pub discussing details of assignment. I’m waiting for the keys to turn in the lock, to find him at the cottage door. I miss him. How brilliant he is, he burns like a flame in my mind. I have thought about him so much while he has been gone. I want him near me where it is safe and he is never bound by expectations, only the desire to be here. I want to make a paradise for him.
Returning in a rented car to our cottage I thought of everything and nothing, my mind drifted. What was I going to do? What was most important to me? Who did I need with me? My mind always returned to Red. Whatever I did, she had to be part of it. I didn’t even know how she felt about me. We’d never discussed anything beyond the moment.
As soon as I turned my key in the lock Red opened the door. She must have been watching for my arrival. I have never before seen such a welcome sight. She was dressed in a light chemise, not quite see-through, but light from the roaring fireplace outlined her fabulous figure. We embraced and immediately I felt the security of her love. The world could fall apart, but as long as she was with me I would be comforted and knew that, no matter what happened, our being together was enough. Candles were lit, wine was poured into waiting glasses, sandalwood incense added to the romantic atmosphere. We sat on the overstuffed sofa and closed our eyes. This was, indeed, paradise. There were no expectations just the joy of each other’s presence. We kissed deeply. She said, “You seem stressed, love. Let me massage your shoulders.” She walked behind the sofa massaged the knots in my shoulders, my neck and then my scalp. She suggested, “I’ll run a warm bath, we can take our wine and candles to the bathroom. It will be much more relaxing.”
I was glad to get out of my clothes. I seated myself in the warm water and Red slipped behind me. I felt the cares of the day lift from my shoulders and evaporate into steam that clouded the mirrors. Long legs wrapped around me and I leaned back into warm, soft, slippery breasts. Red continued her massage at my temples. I leaned my head back on her shoulder and surrendered to her completely. I had never felt so relaxed. Her hands came around to cup my pectorals, then slid down the ridges of my abs. Her touch, as always, was magical. With a mind of its own, my cock raised its head above the soapy water. Red took it in her hand and slowly stroked up and down, changing the position of her fingers each time to explore and caress different areas; the slight ridge in front that extended from my balls to the head; the slight cleft that led to the opening slit already glistening with pre-cum, the ridge or corona, so sensitive, then down to my balls, the sac tightening with my building excitement. Her fingers were electric; tingling sensations flashed through my body. I was floating; not in water, but in another dimension — a world that we had created: safe from war, from lies and deception, from the world. It was becoming too much. I didn’t want to cum in the tub like this.
I said, “Let’s go to the bedroom. I stood and Red reached for a towel to dry my hair, shoulders, chest then lower to my crotch that she handled carefully and delicately. I grabbed another towel and draped it over her shoulders, memorizing the feel of each part of her. My face was in her hair as the towel slipped down to dry her arms, hands then to cup and weigh her fantastic breasts that came alive as my fingers lifted, separated and squeezed, finally pinching her nipples. She turned and we embraced giving me the opportunity to rub her beautiful ass as I pulled her to me. It was getting to be too much. My cock was rising between her legs and the warm wetness was enveloping the head. I lifted her in my arms and lay her gently on the bed. It seemed like months since we had made love when in actuality it was only a few days.
Red looked incredible spread out, her mass of red hair fanned on the pillow, her breasts moving gently as I mounted the mattress. I took a moment to fix her image into my memory, to return to when needed as my safe place. Here, indeed, was a paradise where everything we wanted was within hands reach. I nestled close and pulled her body against me. Looking into her warm brown eyes I could see my reflection and our future. I kissed her eyelids, the tip of her nose then found her lips that welcomed me with a restrained urgency. My tongue traced her teeth, inside her cheek then met hers twining around mine. I breathed a sigh of ecstasy having found perfection and the promise of so much more. I bent my head to become reacquainted with the supple breasts that looked so inviting. My tongue traced circles around her nipples, a sensation that I could never get enough of. She squirmed wanting my mouth and teeth. I suckled each breast then bit gently on her erect nipples. Our breathing was becoming faster. I didn’t want to rush. My cock was throbbing, being so close to the center of my desire. My kisses trailed down her stomach and lingered at her navel, continuing again to trace her shaved mound. I felt like a sculptor smoothing and caressing such an intricate shape. I got off the bed, my cock bounding in anticipation, to spread her legs and approach from her feet, her toes pink and wrinkled from the bath. I took each one into my mouth savoring the texture, the shape and the subtle taste of skin. I also felt that I was bowing to her as one might to a goddess. I was at her service to bring all the aspects of enjoyment that I had the ability to impart. My kisses covered her feet, ankles and her inner thighs. I could see the wetness between her legs that had nothing to do with our recent bath. She whimpered in anticipation. I savored the taste of her fluids as I traced her folds with my tongue. The taste was an aphrodisiac that further increased my already overwhelming sexual desire. It was all I could do to prevent myself from pouncing on her to satisfy my need. Instead, I continued tracing and prodding with my tongue, circling the engorged pearl sitting erect above her opening. I could see her mounting desire and didn’t want to cause torture so I climbed back beside her and slid two fingers into the slippery canal. I felt the different textures and rubbed and pressed the one that was slightly ridged. She squirmed in ecstasy and I knew I had found her G-spot. I asked her to tell me how it felt and how I could make it more pleasurable. She urged me to “Just keep going. Don’t stop.” Her breath was in my ear, monitoring the level of her arousal. As her excitement reached its peak. She screamed and I felt fluid squirting over my fingers. I held her tight and entered her with my throbbing cock. It wasn’t long before we both built to a mutual climax.
The cabin is sweet, it smells of sandalwood and lavender candles. We’ve arrived from another world outside and it’s insanity. Unspeakable things that we have little if any control over, horrific things and simple day to day things that exhaust us, haunt our rest and sleep and we have come here to a paradise we offer one another. Dane is tired from his journey and after a brief cuddling session, removes his clothes and steps into the warm tub of water I have run for him, placed candles around the edges and glasses of red wine within reach. My only desire is to please him when we are together. After he settles in I strip and step in behind him, soap my hands and massage his tense shoulders and back, run my hands up his neck and into his hair, I feel him relaxing, letting go. After a while I let my hand gently stroke his cock that hardens in my fingers, gently handle his balls, his breath is coming easily now and we meditate together as though in a trance. Finally breaking the spell, I move forward, my pussy against his buttocks and we both moan aloud.
He turns to face me in the big tub, my legs overlapping his. We deep kiss and the feel of his hand on my face and in my hair is arousing. He whispers something erotic in my ear and I feel the need deep in my sex. My breast in his hands ache, the nipples harden and I long for his lips and teeth to take them into his mouth, tongue and suckle them. I feel the urgency but want to hold back, to make this last. We dry off and he pulls me gently to the bed that we share in this paradise of freedom. When I am with him I feel no inhibitions, I am feral seeking fulfillment that only he can give me. He sits on the edge of the bed, leans back, between his legs I lick his cock, suck it, stroke it. I want him in every way. He motions me to lie on the bed face down, to lift my ass cheeks high where he places a pillow, massages my cheeks with oil, trails upward to my breasts to pinch the taut pink nipples, cupping my swaying breasts in his palms. He strokes his cock against my supple ass cheeks and when I am wet, my juices running down my thigh, he places the head of his penis against my clitoris, finding it hard and throbbing he circles it briefly, finds my G spot with two fingers and I bite my lip, drawing a slight taste of blood. Sliding downward his cock penetrates my pussy. I am breathing fast and moaning, he tells me to bear down and when I do juices squirt against him and down my legs, the feeling is incredible and he pushes deep inside me and we come in waves. Facing him again, I kiss his face and run my fingers through his silver hair and we know that this is our place when we need connection, freedom from worries, where we share our minds and bodies.
We wrapped ourselves in bathrobes, I put another log in the fireplace, refill our wine glasses and we snuggle on the overstuffed sofa. Through the windows is a beautiful view of the lake through the trees. Birds are singing and fluttering from branch to branch. A pair of golden eagles soar in sweeping circles. Bullfrogs and crickets add to nature’s sweet symphony. At last, the troubles of the world seem to have lifted from my shoulders and I breathe a sigh of relief. I pull Red closer to inhale the scent of her hair. I am indeed in paradise.
Without wishing to spoil the romantic moment I feel I should share some of the thoughts that have been mulling in my mind. The world is at war and it is impossible to sift the news from the propaganda. Global corporations and financial institutions ultimately control every aspect of what we once considered to be the land of the free. Accountable only to international board members whose focus is profit, these monsters are free to transgress national boundaries, laws and elected representatives. Our own government lies to us, makes secret treasonous deals and accepts economic situations that would be scandalous if made public.
Red said, “You are so sexy love, but that is not why I care for you so much, you are more special than you know, a beautiful man with a huge heart.” You are an amazing lover.”
I don’t know what I did to deserve such a glowing tribute but it was better than her remark that “I was almost as good as riding her Harley.”
red words the color of love passion and desire bathe me in the red of the paradise you have created
After Red fell asleep my head was still spinning with world upheaval; lack of trust in my own government allowing American corporations to aid and abet the enemy for the sake of profits; tens of millions of probable deaths worldwide. What possible good could come at such a high price in human life? What could I do? I needed to talk with Red She is the organized one, compassionate, sensitive as well as a fighter. She would know how we could be of some service to the greater good. Mostly what I wanted was holding her in my arms, breathing in the scent of her hair, feeling her warmth; my vision of paradise.
Eventually we had to leave St. Kitts. My business partners had contacted me and requested that I join them at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. The reason was a mystery, obviously something top secret that couldn’t be relayed via email.
After settling in at this landmark luxury hotel Dane was called away to a meeting in another suite. I lay down on the huge four poster bed and took a nap, I felt a bit jet lagged, when I woke the room was dark and a glance at the clock said it was after nine PM. I showered and washed my hair, pulled it up in a butterfly clip, a few tendrils left clinging to my cheek bones. Other than a very deep shade of red lipstick I was without make up and decided to forego the eye shadow. I dressed in a charmeuse slip of a dress, silky, satiny, it clung to my buttocks and breasts, bare beneath the sheer layer. I wanted to smell divine for him, body cream and perfume, light but sultry.
I felt nervous, perhaps he couldn’t get away. Should that be the case I’d probably end up at the downstairs bar. I despise being alone in a strange place. I don’t like being alone. I had left the door unlocked and around ten thirty he arrived looking wonderful. He announced that our next venue was to be Ireland, the birthplace of his ancestors. I was excited about the getaway, looking forward to seeing a country that I had only read about. He was beaming and picked me up, swung me about, his lips on mine, kissed me deep and long and our bodies clung to one another, it felt good to hold him. I felt that warm and comfortable connection that I adore. We took the elevator down to the famous Polo Lounge. Manager Pepe De Anda showed us to an alcove for intimate dates. Dane ordered a late night dessert named Sunset Boulevard 17:Baked Alaska with Swirled Passion Fruit, Orange-Guava Sorbet, toasted Meringue, Grand Marnier. To toast the occasion he ordered a bottle of Ace of Spades champagne, filled our flutes and we held them high, clinking glasses, cheers to a wonderful getaway.
Dane explained some of the details of the new assignment. He had tickets to Carlow, Ireland, flight time 10 hours, 20 minutes. We’d be flying Aer Lingus. I always chuckle when I hear that, it makes me think of cunnilingus, my favorite indoor sport. I’m feeling horny already. On his laptop he showed me pictures and reviews of our next lodgings, the Rath Bán Farm Cottage in County Wicklow near the border of County Carlow. Following is a review by Daryl one of the previous guests: Had a fantastically relaxing stay here with my partner. We spent most of the time relaxing by the roaring fire. It felt like a home away from home. Pádraig was super helpful and friendly, but never intrusive! Would definitely recommend and we will probably be back soon!
“Dane, I’m blown away. I was amazed by our accommodations in St Kitts, but the Polo Lounge is where movie stars dine. How did you manage to get a reservation? I’m overwhelmed.”
“In my business clients pay my expenses. They expect the best service and I charge for the best accommodations. They can afford it and I can deliver what they want. Discretion is their prime requirement. They’re willing to pay for it.
“Here is your own personal JP Morgan Chase Palladium Visa Credit card. It’s made of actual palladium and gold, etched with your information and account number. It’s only available to high net worth individuals who have an investment banking relationship with JP Morgan’s wealth management brokerage. Just showing this card will get you into places you never imagined. I don’t know what shopping is going to be like in Ireland, but here we’re within walking distance of Rodeo Drive. Since we’re not leaving for a couple of days, perhaps you’d enjoy some retail therapy. There’s no spending limit on your card, just remember that we’ll be travelling, so suitcase limits will be a factor at the airports. Have fun, or as an old friend would say ‘Fill your boots.’ “
I smoked a cigarette, wavering on my vow to give up the nasty habit. I could relax here. Later, at Dane’s suggestion we went back to the room. Inside he felt me through the sheer dress, then let it fall to the floor. His hand cupped the curve of my breasts and kissed the buds, licked and sucked. My knees felt watery and I sat down on the edge of the bed, removed his belt and he slipped from his clothes. We fell back wrapped around each other, the heat of our bodies raw and needing. My legs wrapped around him and my hand found his hardened cock, I spread my legs wide, I wanted him and ran his cock up and down my pussy, I held it teasing at the entrance, ran it through the silky fold to linger at my clitoris, then when I could wait no longer I slid it inside me, my breath exhaled with the ecstasy of his strokes, my belly against him, our hips tightly together. I arched higher instinctively, wanting more and more. He thrust harder and faster as we reached our climax, I held my breath with the exquisite thrill of orgasm sweeping through me, tightening my sex around his cock, he went with the rhythm of my orgasmic spasms until he reached his climax with a gruff groan, a lion over his lioness, cum flooding her, slipping down her thighs, her hand cupping her pussy on his withdrawal, tasting the wetness left behind.
On the plane, looking out at the fluffy clouds, it felt like we were leaving all our troubles behind. It was only two nights ago that I was in a bar fight with a biker and left him dead on the floor. That wouldn’t go unnoticed or unremembered. Bikers have an international communications network. We’ll have to remain below their radar. If, or when, we return stateside we’ll need new identities, passports and a new location. Red’s car is in the underground parking garage at the Sailport. We can’t be assured that it isn’t being watched or hasn’t been tampered with. It’s only a car.
America is in turbulence. Red is as upset about the current world crisis as I am. We both see the future as a scary place with our various groups of friends now being discriminated against and assaulted even more than they had been in the past. The Klan has been more active lately, openly staging torch lit parades, wearing full regalia. This vigilante group stands for what they consider to be white supremacy although they also hate followers of the Catholic and Jewish faith. They vilify African Americans, beating and lynching them for no reason. In short they declare war on any individual or minority group who stands in the way of their bigoted ideals and they do this behind the cowardly anonymity of white pointed hoods and gowns. No one is safe from this maniacal mob.
Airborne we’re at peace. We held hands, closed our eyes and imagined a magical future. Red snuggled close to me and calmed me with her regular breathing. I too fell asleep and awoke to the airline hostess announcing, “Ladies and gentlemen, as we start our descent, please make sure your tables and seats backs are in their full upright position. Make sure your belt is securely fastened and all carry-on luggage is stowed underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead bins. Thank you.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have just beencleared to land at the Robert L. Bradshaw Airport in Basseterre on the island of St Kitts. Please make sure one last time your seat belt is securely fastened. The flight attendants are currently passing around the cabin to make a final compliance check and pick up any remaining cups and glasses. Thank you for flying American Airlines.”
St. Kitts in the Caribbean is an island of intoxicating natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters and white sandy beaches. A couple of weeks without pressure, without listening to news of the world, to simply be in a world of our own sounds idyllic.
Upon arrival at Ottley’s Plantation Inn we were immediately struck by the warm historical appearance of the building. With the luxurious yet comfortable rattan furnishing we even had our own private outdoor plunge pool accessible from the main room. It felt like the chaos of the real world had been lifted from our shoulders. I closed the wooden louvered blinds enough for privacy while still allowing in the fresh Caribbean breeze. Fresh flowers and champagne on ice awaited us. We dropped our bags, undressed and flopped on the gigantic bed. It was heavenly to lie on our backs, gaze at the ceiling fan and know that there would be no distractions.
Red said, “I really should take a shower.”
I said, “I like you just the way you are, but if you insist, we should take it together.” I carried her to the shower room, adjusted the water to a relaxing temperature. Entering the cubicle I kissed her gently on her mouth, sucked on her lower lip, gazed into her golden brown eyes. This truly was heaven, her warm breath on my cheek, fingers traced through my hair. I kissed my way down her neck to her throat. Her breathing and heartbeat indicated her mounting excitement. Her skin had its own unique taste that brought back so many memories. Cupping her breast I brought her nipple to my mouth where I licked, sucked and bit into the tender flesh. Her response was immediate as she quivered and arched her back. These wonderful white orbs now lathered in soap suds moved with my fingers as I kneaded them tenderly appreciating the miracle that was us.
“Red, what I want is to be the best possible lover for you. I’ll do anything to make that happen. Let’s plan to learn Tantra together. I’ll want to be part of your wildest fantasies, take you places you’ve never been before.” I looked at her as if for the first time; stunning, breathtaking, mouth watering. Rodin’s sculpture of Galatea or Gerome’s painting of the same subject — an impossible feminine ideal that had come to life under the artist’s touch. That is what I saw before me. We pulled together, skin to skin, enjoying this marvelous moment. After washing and patting dry with the luxurious towels I carried her to the bed.
I slid south tracing her sensuous curves with my tongue, pausing briefly to dip into her navel. From the bottom of the bed I slid my hands under her luscious buns, lifting her and engulfing her sex with my mouth. I sucked it like a peach and tasted the sweet liquid that was her passion. Slowly my tongue travelled up her slit stopping short of her swelling clitoris. My tongue meandered her slippery folds, teasing and tormenting her desire. I puckered my lips then sucked on her clit, flicking it with my tongue. She writhed under my ministrations. With her hands on each side of my head she pulled me deeper. I rubbed with my nose and speared her opening with my tongue. I continued until I could feel her coming to a climax, then bit gently on the pearl between my teeth. She exploded in an orgasm that wet my face. I gently blew on her angry looking clit. Standing, I took both ankles in one hand and lifted her ass off the bed. With the other hand I smacked first her left cheek then her right, alternating until I counted ten. Lowering her legs I took her wrists in my hand and held them above her head. My other hand slid behind her neck and grasped a handful of hair. Under my control I spread her legs with my knees and plunged my lubricated cock deep inside. Ramming into her with my balls slapping her ass we both came in an explosion of ecstasy. Our bodies slippery with sweat and the fluids of our lovemaking we lay still and let the fresh Caribbean breeze wash over us.
In St. Kitts I could breathe again. I adore Dane for bringing me here, if only briefly I could escape my fear of a human catastrophe looming over us at home. Here with him the sounds of nature held a certain freedom, the birds flying with abandon high above, disappearing into safety among the banana trees, dipping for cover below the crowns. Dane was walking the beach. The nearness of him was affecting me, I felt the need for him. I longed to have his body next to mine, his scent, musk and cedar. I had missed him more than I cared to admit, I have a need to make love to him. I know he adores women and that he fucks them…but of all my lovers and would be lovers, he is the the one I crave most.
We lay on the bed, discussed world issues, in what way he is involved. He daily gets calls from his contacts around the world. Growing quiet we turned to one another, I wanted to make love. Urgently I helped him unbelt his trousers and naked he slipped my tee shirt over my head, buried his face in my hair, pulled my wrap around skirt and panties off. His lips drew my nipples into his mouth and he sucked and tugged them, I felt the most unbearable need in my belly and sex. I stroked his cock and sucked it, licked it like a starving feral cat. Pulling me upward he buried his face between my thighs and I came in wet waves of release. Above me his knees pushed mine wide and he entered me and with slow and steady thrusts that brought me to a frenzy, his fingers pulling at my nipples, my fingernails raking across his shoulders set off my orgasm and I pushed further against his cock, I wanted to feel him come inside me, I did not know when I would have him this way again. Afterward I washed him gently with a warm cloth, kissed his body as though it were a temple.
laid back in dusky shadows, sheer mirages drift across our bodies. Our hands grip Cuba Libre, the clink of ice keeps perfect time with Coltrane. Breathing in your scent, sandalwood and cedar, a thousand moths rise up pleading to be freed. I want to take you with me to a seething force of surge that penetrates the shoreline into the ancient caves where the footprints of lovers are lapped up by hungry waves.
I said, “Now it’s my turn.” She scrambled to her side of the bed anticipating what was to happen. For a minute I just stared at the beauty before me, then I rolled over and gently kissed her on her soft mouth. She responded by sucking on my bottom lip. Our tongues met and danced to music that only we could hear. I looked into her golden brown eyes and an eternity seemed to pass. I felt I was looking into her soul and all was good.
I awoke in soft bedding, with the scent of the Caribbean on the breeze. It felt so good I didn’t want to open my eyes. I had been dreaming of an erotic encounter with Red and had climaxed in my sleep. The pleasure sensation continued. I opened my eyes to find her between my legs sucking my cock and gently massaging my balls. With a mischievous smile she said, “I’ve been waiting to see the expression on your face when you awoke.”
Our bodies were responding to our genitals being in such close proximity to each other. I was still hard and wet from being in Red’s mouth. My cock had a mind of its own and gently probed the folds of her sex. As if for the first time it explored leaving a trail of slippery wetness behind. She gasped as her clitoris was circled by my pulsing glans. It descended into her already wet passage. The feeling was heavenly. Before pressing further I wanted to commit this ecstatic feeling to memory, beginning a new page in the scrapbook of our already wonderful and exciting sexual adventure. While looking into her eyes I pressed an inch further, then pulled back slightly. I could see her want and desire. She arched her back trying to engulf more of me, but I hesitated just inside her opening. I could see her frustration building, so I pressed firmly ahead until I was halted by her cervix. Such indescribable pleasure. I felt my balls tightening, urging me to continue. Inserting two fingers I felt for the ribbed surface of her G spot. With my thumb pressing the sides her hooded clit I continued the steady pumping in and out. Her fingernails dug into my back. The pain was exquisite. My pumping and her arching her back to meet me increased in speed and abandon. She grasped my balls and I entered a frenzy while still keeping our shared rhythm. The pressure was building from deep within and mounted until I felt I would lose consciousness. I felt my eyeballs turning back in their sockets. I heard Red screaming, “Fuck me, fuck me!” as we both fell into orgasmic bliss.
On to more practical matters, I had promised, Red a new wardrobe. St Kitts is known for their beautiful batik fabrics. We planned to visit Sun Island Clothes for swim attire and other essentials also a Harley Davidson store that I knew would be of interest to Red. Another stop on the itinerary would be at the Chop Shop Salon Spa. We both looked forward to a full body massage, manicure and pedicure with complimentary Reflexology. Red suggested that I get a full Brazilian wax. I didn’t know what that was but it sounded relaxing.
That night I lay naked in the soft bedding, listened to the fan softly whir above us, the soft breath of my lover beside me, occasionally quickening in what I knew must be an erotic dream. My hands and fingers roamed and teased my naked body, my nipples firm and aching for his touch, I wet my fingers with my tongue and ran them along the folds of my pussy. Unable to resist the need for him, I gently ran my hand over his cock and felt it stiffen beneath my touch, pulling my hair back I went down between his thighs, flicked my velvety tongue over the head of his penis. I watch it move forward and I thought it was the most erotic and sensual vision I had ever seen. I felt the juices of my own sex fill and spill out onto my inner thigh and perineum. I opened my mouth pulling his cock inside. I sucked it as I had not done before, deep into my throat, my head back, I let my fingers find my clit and swirl the wet swollen folds and tightening entrance. not once losing rhythm, I wanted him to come in my mouth, I wanted to swallow it, I was a ravenous animal who needed all of him. He awoke and placed his hand on my head, moving his cock in and out of my mouth, moaning for me not to stop. He throbbed violently in my mouth, my tongue licking, flicking, my hand stroking the shaft as it moved out of my lips, only to thrust in again. My hand caressed his balls, they tightened, pulled upward and I felt his cum fill my mouth, run out on my lips, I swallowed and wiped my mouth against his belly. I lay there and he lay back on the pillow.
Pulling me upward to his lips our tongues teased and forced our lips open wide, he sucked and tugged and bit my nipples soothing the ache, sending an urgent desire that only he could satisfy. I bit his lower lip, he rose over me, began eating my pussy, massaging my G spot with his fingers, “Fuck me…Fuck me” I pleaded, my nails scraped his shoulders and he moaned and pulled my clit between his teeth vigorously flicking and massaging it, I exploded in his mouth, my eyes closed so tightly with every muscle in my body a spasm of ecstasy. I looked deeply into his eyes,and we smiled slightly,” I want to be your little slut”, I’ve never had a man like you.
We woke early, ate breakfast and drank Mimosas in the dining room, then picked fruit and other goodies from the buffet. I stopped at our room to grab a blanket and a bottle of champagne for a picnic on the beach. Red guided the way to a secluded cave. We spread the blanket, dropped our belongings along with our beachwear. It felt glorious running through the surf then swimming to shoulder deep calm water. Red floated on her back while I moved between her legs and placed my cupped hands on the cheeks of her ass. I was presented with a rare tropical delicacy seasoned with seawater. Like a fresh peach ready to be devoured, or an oyster on the half shell, my mouth watered. I brought her to my mouth and licked slowly from the bottom of her slit to the top. I heard moans of pleasure. The tip of my tongue traced her silky folds, circled the pearl where I sucked and flicked with my tongue. I hummed in a deep voice that resonated on my lips. While flicking rapidly I inserted two fingers in her opening and rubbed her G spot. I could feel spasms of pleasure as she squeezed my head between her thighs and arched her back. There was a dreamy expression on her face that begged kissing. My hands explored her body, cupped her breasts and pinched her pink nipples. I dunked my head under water and kissed, sucked and bit her hard buds. My cock was hard as I pulled her to me and sought her warm pussy. With my hands on her ass cheeks I alternated slowly pushing into her then pulling back. We kissed deeply and I luxuriated in the feel of our bodies and tongues dancing in time to the warm waves swaying us back and forth in an endless rhythm. It wasn’t long before I felt a surge deep within. My legs felt like jelly, my eyes turned back and I exploded inside her. When my legs regained their strength I lifted her with one arm under her knees the other at her back. She hugged my neck and planted a multitude of sweet, salty kisses on my mouth and face. I set her down on our blanket then popped the bottle of champagne. I poured it into the flutes I’d brought for the occasion. We nibbled on grapes, strawberries, nuts and bit into lush mangoes, juice dribbling down our chins. We licked each other’s faces, ate more, drank more, then feeling fully satiated I pulled out some weed and rolled a joint.
Sex in the ocean was magical, an ethereal erotic experience as wild as the creatures that inhabit the sea. Spent we let the current part us, only to find one another again, his arms lifting me from the waves out onto the dunes, gently lowering me to the blanket just outside the deserted cave. Naked but for beach towels, Dane popped a bottle of champagne and we sipped slowly, feeling the bubbles burst on our tongues, the delicious fruity wine went straight to my head as we watched with awe the red sun dip below the sea. Leaning back on his bundled beach towel, he rolled a joint and settled back, offering me a smoke I inhaled deeply escaping the past and future as the smoke exhaled into the air and drifted away. Oblivious to time we suddenly realized it was growing dark. We walked leisurely to our room. I felt all inhibitions dissolve as I watched Dane stretched out on the bed, his tan body a invitation to ecstasy. I whispered to him,” I want to fuck you, do everything with you”. His smile told me he knew I was still feeling the weed. I wrapped a sheer scarf around his wrists and tied it to the posts of the bed. Straddling him, my lips kissed my and tongue flicked his, bit his lower lip and ear lobes. I nuzzled his neck, sucking there as well. Lifting his head he found my breasts, bit and teased my nipples, I moaned and pressed forward as he took in the pink circles around my firm buds. I ran my long red nails down his arms tied above his head. Light pink marks were left behind. I let them travel down his chest and abdomen, my fingers closing around his hard cock, I teased it with my tongue ring, swirling it around the head and down the shaft, finally taking it fully into my mouth I sucked until he was nearly ready to come. I stopped, easing forward like a stalking cat, my breast at his lips again, “bite them please”… he bit until I said that’s enough. Behind me, my hand found his cock very hard and throbbing. I released his hands from the binds and face to face on our sides, I guided his cock inside me, my legs around him he held me closely by my ass cheeks and began to glide in and out very slowly, filling me and then pulling back, and again, slowly. When we felt we were about to orgasm, we stayed still, then once again began to fuck slowly, the intensity rising, I wanted to stay this way forever, but the need for release was building and he began to thrust harder and faster as I pushed against him to feel his cock against my cervix. It set off an intense tightening of my pussy around his cock and it happened, lightening and thunder, I bit my lip to hold back the cry of pleasure, he bit and sucked at my throat, moaned until we were spent. Our bodies separated tenderly, we rolled over and went to sleep. H
We breakfasted at the Inn. The banana pancakes were amazing, as were the omelettes and French toast. Today we’re wore hiking boots, brought snorkel gear and a picnic lunch to visit the Devil’s Caves of Nevis. Red had only hinted at some of the spectacular attractions we were about to see. Leaving our suite we admired the lush greens contrasted with the blue of the Caribbean. As we walked Red told me some of the history of the area. As early as 2000 BC, the island was inhabited by the Carib people. Christopher Columbus landed in 1492 and british immigration began shortly after. In 1695 King Charles established the island of St. Christopher as a Crown Colony of Britain. One of the English nicknames for Christopher is Kit. Slave labor was used on the tobacco plantations and later to cultivate, harvest and manufacture sugar and its by products — rum and molasses. Slavery was abolished in 1834, but it was only in 1952 that Adult Suffrage was introduced. Prior to this, the right to vote in political elections was based on land ownership and income. This qualification barred most of the people of African descent from being eligible to vote. In 1967 St Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla became self governing.
“Where to partner? There’s no need to pack. I’ll buy you anything you need as a starting bonus. How does a sandy beach with palm trees and Iced Margaritas sound? Maybe we could share a hammock in the shade and you could read Aristophanes to me as we’re lulled by the crashing surf. I hear that St. Kitts is nice this time of year. Just a thought.”
“Well, since I have to start over someplace that sounds as good a place as any.”
“Excellent, I’ll make some phone calls and have our tickets and itinerary waiting for us at the desk of the Sailport. I’ll arrange for a large suite with an ocean view. The Skyye Bar and Grill overlooks the swimming pool and serves lunch and dinner. We should arrive just in time for happy hour.”
We entered Tampa as the sun was going down — an explosion of yellow, red and purple over darkening waves. After leaving Red’s car with the valet we entered the marble columned reception area. As promised our tickets, itinerary and room pass were handed to us at the reception desk. The rooms were large and we were greeted by a bouquet of tropical flowers, chilled André Jacquart champagne, Grey Goose vodka, Imperial Osetra caviar and Carrs biscuits on the circular coffee table near the l-shaped sofa.
“May I offer you a drink?,” asked Dane.
“This is a change, you serving me drinks. Is the champagne dry?”
“Brut Nature with hints of praline and hazelnut, but also displaying fresh citrus, chalk and mineral nuances. It’s especially good with caviar.”
“Sounds delightful. I love this breathtaking view of Tampa.” Dane poured their drinks then said, “Let me try to find some relaxing music. How about Blues Train, Cousin Mary and Naima by Coltrane to start.”
“A man after my own heart. You haven’t been reading my diary have you?”
“No, I’ve been reading your mind. What a fascinating mind it is.”
“You’re starting to scare me now. I’m not used to be in the company of a gentleman. Or, are you a stalker?”
“Fear not, I have only your best interests at heart. I propose a toast to a long and successful partnership.”
“Thank you, my sentiments exactly.”
“I also have menus from Ocean Prime, Oyster Catchers, Rusty Pelican, or we could order room service when you start to feel hungry.”
Red was lounging in the corner of the sofa, “Lets relax before thinking of food. Maybe we need to work up an appetite. This champagne seems to be going to my head. Would you pour me another please? Sit close, let’s get to know each other.”
“That’s an offer I can’t refuse.” Dane removed his shoes and crawled closer to reach her luscious lips. “I’ve wanted this for a long time,” he whispered.
“Me too,” she sighed, making room for him. Their first kiss was slow and sweet. Each exploring with lips and tongue the features of the other. Dane smothered his face in Red’s cascading waves of hair. “Mmmmmmm,” he moaned, as his lips brushed her ear, then behind working their way down her neck. Her perfume was subtle, yet exotic, taking him to mysterious places accessible only in his imagination. Her skin warm, welcoming. He traced a trail of kisses and bites along her collarbone to the space at the hollow of her elegant, vulnerable throat. His tongue traced her name then he blew a soft whisper across her damp, inviting flesh.
“Dane, tell me more about your work. I’m not quite sure what I’m getting myself into, or why you’d want to be partners. Why me?”
“In the broadest terms, I help people. At the end of the day my intention is to leave this world better than I found it by living with purpose. I think we have similar objectives in life. I’ve seen you as a rebel biker chick, a server in hospitality who has an easy banter with customers. I’ve also seen you as an employer with the interests of your staff at heart. I admire those qualities.
“On a daily basis I aim for simplicity and balance, to live in the moment. I meditate to free my mind of distractions and to be open to new situations. I strive to follow the principles of truth, honor and equality. I oppose hatred, bigotry and racism. I follow Dan Savage’s Campsite Rule: “I must leave the world better than I found it.” As I said before, I like to think that I’m working on the right side of the fence most of the time. I have no hidden agendas. What you see is what you get.
“I offer a service for a price, not profit based, but on equalizing the balance. I believe that greed is very detrimental to the soul. I also keep an open mind. I was taught by my brother that everyone has a story. Everyone knows something that I can learn from. I’m a student not a teacher. Listening to others, and learning from them is very important. Life isn’t black and white, there are a lot of grey areas. Right and wrong aren’t always what they appear to be. Justice is a matter of negotiation. Any lawyer will tell you that.
“When a client approaches me with a problem my first concern is that I do as little harm as possible. That can be tricky, so I keep my options flexible. I try to respond with reasonable force. Jack Dempsey has been misquoted as saying, ‘the best defence is a good offence’. In his book, Championship Fighting he states, ‘The best defense in fighting is an aggressive defense.’ He goes on to say, ‘Each defensive move must be accompanied by a counter-punch or be followed immediately by a counterpunch. You may have the best attack in the world; but if you’re an open target—if you’re a ‘clay pigeon’—you’ll likely get licked by the first experienced scrapper you tackle.’
“Muhammad Ali said, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” As partners we’ll discuss the client’s needs and decide whether or not we can provide an effective solution. Every case is different. Am I making sense, or am I just rambling?
“I should tell you that I’ve been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, so if I start acting weird there is a reason for it. I have nightmares, flashbacks, trouble sleeping. I may get jumpy or angry for no reason. I may space out at times…
“Let’s not talk. There are more important things we can do to occupy our time. Kiss me again.”
“Gladly.” He pulled her close, their lips met and a cloud of euphoria settled on him. It was as if the two of them were alone on a desert island, sea breezes, rustling palm fronds, the soothing crash of surf, tranquility. Everything he wanted in life was now in his arms. Her breath was coming in gasps. She undid the buttons on his shirt and ran her hands over his pectoral muscles and his abs. Fumbling at his belt buckle and zipper she found his throbbing erection. He pulled off his shirt and slipped off his pants with his underwear. She did the same. Flesh against flesh they consumed each other. His mouth found her breast. Sucking her nipple was heaven. His breathing was ragged. He couldn’t get enough of her. He raised his head then traced kisses down her stomach to her navel where his tongue drew ever expanding circles. He moved his body further down the sofa and slid his hands to grip the cheeks of her ass. Thighs draped over his shoulders as he dove into her wetness. She tasted of ambrosia, succulently sweet and divine, nectar of the gods. His tongue explored and thrust its way into her warm slippery opening. Pressure was building. He felt famished and she was his only nourishment. His tongue lapped from the bottom of her slit to the top ending at her engorged clit. With his tongue he circled, then sucked the bud into his mouth. He milked it with his lips, grazed it with his teeth. Two fingers slid inside her and found her g spot as his thumb moved to her clit. Slowly but firmly he pressed and rubbed, back and forth, beckoning her to come. Straining as she arched her back and crushed his head closer with her hands. His nose rubbed the swollen nub. She was nearly delirious as her pleasure mounted and then burst in a flood of ecstasy.
Dane said casually, “We have a decision to make. We could get dressed and go to a fancy restaurant, or we could order from Pearly’s Beach Eats and spend our time in bed. Pearly’s offers a few interesting items: Fuji Apple Chicken Salad, Fresh spring greens, tomatoes, red onions, pecans, feta cheese, apple chips, and apple vinaigrette, topped with choice of a scoop of chicken salad or grilled chicken, or Blackened Shrimp Cobb Salad, Chopped Romaine, blackened shrimp, ham, bacon, hard boiled eggs, feta, and diced tomatoes, served with lemon poppy dressing. “Do either of those appeal to you?”
“They both sound good let’s share and spend the time in bed.”
Dane made a phone call and put on the bathrobe provided by the hotel. He answered the door when the bell rang. He was fishing in his wallet for a tip, when the delivery boy stopped him. “Hey man, don’t worry, you go for it.”
Surprised, Dane turned to see Red posed seductively, still naked, on the couch.
He said, “You certainly gave him a thrill.”
“He probably deserved it after a hard day. You didn’t say we should get dressed. That was one of the options.” They ate their lunch picnic style on the carpet with their backs against the couch. The food was delicious and they fed each other from the take out containers. After washing the meal down with another glass of champagne Dane bent down to place one arm under Red’s shoulders and the other under her knees. He effortlessly carried her to the bedroom and laid her gently on the already turned down bed.
Red asked, “Dane, are you intending to have your way with me?”
“Yes, any objections?”
“No, not at all. I’m looking forward to it.”
Her perfect body against the white sheets, her red hair splayed on the pillow, she looked like an angel. He saw another side of her — vulnerable, defenceless. He lay beside her tenderly tracing her features with his fingers. For some reason she was different from his many other liaisons. He kissed her softly, told her his innermost thoughts; he spoke of his life, joys and sorrows. She could barely meet his eyes, those silver pools of dreams, and when she did she felt him slip beneath her skin as though they were one entity. She made love to him then, rocked him slowly, felt his tongue circle and suck her breasts. Ran her hands and nails down his back, encircled him with her legs, she never wanted to let him go. Their lovemaking was tenuous, exploratory, illuminating. How was this possible? He’d long lost track of the number of women he’d shared a bed with. He had some regrets, but in the end he was here by his own choices. After making love she fell asleep in his arms. For the first time in his life he felt contented. If he were to die tomorrow he could say he’d lived a full life.
Night was about to commence. He eased his arm from under her and left asleep in the bed. Sleeping had always been a challenge for him. Sometimes it happened, sometimes it didn’t. He had a ritual of listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on his iPod programmed to repeat. Every note was indelibly printed onto his mind. Wearing his headphones, lying on the couch he drifted into a state of limbo where he would do battle with flashbacks, nightmares and muscle spasms. Sometimes he would pace in circles around the room, do calisthenics, try to watch tv. The porn channel was boring. He watched a documentary on the Black Panthers, a group he had supported when he was younger. He had met one of them at a heavy equipment training course held in Charlotte, North Carolina. He invited the man out for a drink but was told, ‘I appreciate the offer and would like to accept, but places where I can drink wouldn’t allow you and places where you could drink wouldn’t allow me.’ At the same course he met, Robert a member of the Ku Klux Klan. At a local bar he sat at his right with twenty others drinking beer around a large table. Robert explained that he was brought up in the Klan, it was family. He said it was like belonging to the boy scouts — they’d get together, have meetings, but instead of a campfire they’d burn a cross or a church. He said he had nothing against people of color, but he didn’t have the choice of leaving the Klan or their activities, he couldn’t even leave the state without permission. As the night wore on and the conversation got louder locals from nearby tables stated their points of view. The topic arose of how people of color were better treated in North Carolina than they were in Mississippi. Something in the conversation irritated Robert who stood up and asked, ‘Who’d like to see a cross burning in their yard tonight.’ Without a word, half of the patrons walked out, their drinks still on the table. The power of the spoken word and the climate of fear had been revealed. That was a moment and that sentence has been seared in memory. As an outsider Dane knew nothing of the histories that had brought this moment to bear.
Another incident involved riding shotgun with five other friends. We were driving through a dimly lit area of Charlotte when next to my ear I heard a loud bang. I turned around to see a back seat passenger with handgun drawn and sparks flying off the pavement near a black man. He said, ‘Don’t worry, I wasn’t trying to kill him, just wanted to see him dance.’ The thought repelled him then as now. What could he have done? An inexperienced boy from the prairie, beyond his depth and uncertain of the future, he did nothing.
Soul On Ice wasrequired reading for my Humanities class at York University. It’s a memoir and collection of essays by Eldridge Cleaver who became an early leader of the Black Panther Party. A group of Black Panthers spoke to us in a theater as part of course content. Angela Davis had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. She had addressed civil and women’s rights, poverty and peace, health care and prison reform. This led to her arrest and trial on charges of kidnapping, conspiracy and murder. Davis’ imprisonment for over a year inspired the internationtreated ‘Free Angela’ movement; her case became a symbol of the abusive power of the criminal justice system against minorities. Free Angela Davis posters adorned university hallways and dorm rooms as did those of the Grateful Dead, Jim Morrison — American Poet and Robert Crumb’s Keep On Truckin‘. Chaka Khan attended several civil rights rallies and joined the Black Panther Party in 1967. She went on to win ten music awards and was nominated for another dozen.
It was easy to be impressed and influenced by these highly educated celebrities, as opposed to President Richard Nixon, nicknamed ‘Tricky Dicky.’ An election question concerning his appearance was, ‘Would you buy a used car from this man?’ He was defeated by Kennedy, but won against Johnson. The Panthers spoke against the Vietnam War whereas Nixon supposedly prolonged it for political gain.
Another group, possibly the Weather Underground or Weathermen, also spoke to our class. After concluding their presentation they asked, ‘Why are you people just sitting there? Why aren’t you out protesting or throwing bombs.’
They say that hindsight is 20/20. Why is that? What’s wrong is wrong is wrong no matter when it happens. When was slavery and oppression ever right. They talk about diversity as if it were something new. Everyone is unique. I don’t need to follow another’s religion, or sexual orientation to accept their friendship. We don’t have to be of the same race. These are imposed conditions not choices. The sociological theory of a generation gap first came to light in the 1960s, when the younger generation (later known as Baby Boomers) seemed to go against everything their parents had previously believed in terms of music, values, governmental and political views. My brother John and I were born fifteen years apart. We both liked music by ‘The Killer’ Jerry Lee Lewis, otherwise we disagreed on pretty much everything.
One point of contention involved Kent State University and the shootings of unarmed college students protesting the Vietnam War when confronted members of the Ohio National Guard. Twenty-nine guardsmen fired approximately 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis. John’s opinion, being a Korean War vet, was that anyone stupid enough to put a flower in the rifle of an armed guard deserved to be shot. I vehemently disagreed with such callous waste of human life.
The night passed fretfully. I awoke having to pee, then tried to escape the dream I’d had been living while in a somnambulistic state. Red awakened me wearing a black sexy negligee, “Hey, what are you doing here. Come back to bed.”
“I was having nightmares and didn’t want to disturb you.”
“Can you tell me about them, or are they too painful?”
“They don’t make a lot of sense — explosions of light and sound, being chased, closeups of horrendous faces, blood, lots of blood.”
“Hold me, perhaps I can help you to relax.” Enjoying the comfort of her head on his chest her body nestled close, naked breasts against his skin, the scent of her hair, her perfume transported him to another world where he drifted into peaceful sleep.
He awoke refreshed with Red lying beside him, her head resting on her hand watching him intently.
“It’s good to see you awake. You looked so at ease when you finally fell asleep. How do you feel?”
“Great.” Her hand slid down to his already hard cock. She said, “Somebody else is awake. I think I’ll reacquaint myself with him. She slid between his legs and licked his erection from the base to the head while still holding his gaze. “Mmmm, you taste like us last night. How delightful. She swirled her tongue around the rim before wrapping her lips around him while slowly sliding down and up pausing only to lick him like an ice cream cone.
“It’s my turn,” she said as she straddled him and rubbed the head of his cock against her clit. They were both oozing with juices. She closed her eyes and bit her bottom lip as she manipulated him to her will. Increasing the speed and pressure she slid him inside her and panted, “Fuck me! Fuck me hard!” To which he eagerly complied. Their orgasms exploded simultaneously as he held her hips and pumped her up and down. She rolled to her side keeping him deep within. He squeezed the cheeks of her ass pulling her against him.
“How was I?” Dane enquired.
“If you have to ask, you have a lot to learn. I don’t score lovers on a point system, nor by dick size. Let’s say you were almost as fun to ride as a Harley.”
“Don’t hold anything back just to spare my feelings. I’m a big boy, I can take criticism.” answered Dane. “I have to admit I’ve been going through a dry spell, but I’m open to suggestions, role playing, fantasies, bondage, anything you desire.”
“That’s promising. I wasn’t disappointed in your performance if that’s what you were asking. You’re not the best, but not the worst by any means. Average isn’t a bad thing. Knowing that you’re open to exploring your limits is encouraging. Have you experienced Tantric sex?”
“If that has to do with the Kama Sutra I have read it, or at least looked at the pictures. Most of the positions look to be beyond my acrobatic abilities, although martial arts has kept me quite flexible.”
Red continued, “Sting has bragged that he and his wife have had eight-hour lovemaking sessions using the ancient practices of Tantric sex. Are you interested or have I forever bruised your delicate ego?”
“Eight hours? Wow, I have new respect for the man and I thought he was most impressive for his singing.”
“Tantra is not something that can be learned by reading a book or watching a video. It requires becoming more in tune with your inner self. Translated, Kama Sutra means ‘treatise of pleasure’. By having sex the Kama Sutra way you can truly make your partner feel loved, and provide a sexual experience that would awaken the very essence of their soul.”
“That sounds fascinating. Lead on teacher, I’ll follow. First, let’s pack our belongings, deliver them to the pickup area, have breakfast and wait for the airport shuttle.”
We asked at the Sailport desk about breakfast. Unfortunately, they only served a brunch buffet on weekends. They recommended Datz Tampa on MacDill street about ten minutes away by cab.
The restaurant wasn’t much to look at from the outside, but inside it was colorful and cozy. I ordered the The Eggs Barbacoa. It was phenomenal. Red tried the Chicken and Waffles and said it was very good! For drinks I had a Bloody Mary while Red went for a Mimosa or two. An hour later we were on the plane for St Kitts.
Dane Cross, he liked the sound of that, simple, direct, easy to spell, easy to remember, enigmatic. A life of deception can’t have too many complications or explanations. He was a man for hire, private investigation, bouncer, anything this side of legal. Trained as a black op in combat with a license as a Private Investigator he was equipped for many rolls, most of them quick and dirty. Always the guy from out of town. He had no recorded past, not even fingerprints. He’d traveled the back streets and alleys in the worst districts of the world. What he’s seen, no one should see, no one should take part. The reality was that crime exists everywhere. The removal of low life crooks was his obsession.
Registered in a nondescript hotel he headed down the dimly lit back street in search of a bar. He saw flashing pink and blue neon and followed his instincts. The Playmate came into focus, a strip bar, how convenient. For a single male stranger, new in town, the sources of entertainment are limited. Movie theatres, restaurants are visited mostly by couples. A single person stands out. That he didn’t want.
She’s a Brick House by the Commodores was blaring from the downstairs club:
Ow, she’s a brick house She’s mighty-mighty, just lettin’ it all hang out She’s a brick house That lady’s stacked and that’s a fact Ain’t holding nothing back
Inside, past the bouncer, the ticket booth and the compulsory coat check were the sights and sounds of lust paid for by the minute, also the scent of cherry. He took a seat at a circular, Formica topped table in a dimly lit back corner with a view of the entrance. The wooden chairs were worn but not shabby. The carpet was worn also, paths of high traffic led to to the bar, washrooms and to a stairway that led to the private upstairs VIP rooms. He thought to himself, All that’s required to become a VIP is to hand a stripper a wad of bills.
A scantily clad woman was immediately at his side. “I’m Amber,” she said in a breathy voice. “Drink?”
Again the scent of cherry. “Double shots of Jameson, neat.” It wasn’t that he particularly liked the taste of Irish whiskey, but it reminded him of his roots and The Troubles, also it slowed his drinking. He couldn’t afford to become drunk and conspicuous.
“Coming right up,” she said in a Barbie Doll voice. His drink came soon enough. “There you go,” she giggled.
He gulped it down and said, “Another.”
“You’re a man of few words. With your drink would you like a table dance, or I could take you upstairs to the V.I.P Room. We can be more intimate there.”
“Just the drink, thank you.” As she sashayed towards the bar for his drink he thought. What a lack of creativity. With all the names in the world she chose — a fossilized tree resin, yellow in color. Why didn’t she just name herself Yellow? A wave of relaxation spilled over his crusty mood. The liquid from his glass burned his throat in a comforting way. He remembered his father’s words, ‘If it don’t hurt, it ain’t no good. Don’ t go spendin’ money on fancy labels.’
Amber kept coming back, pressing her thigh against his, placing her hands on his shoulders and letting her breast touch the top of his head. He knew her situation — there was no money in selling drinks, only in table and lap dances. He wasn’t in the mood for either so he walked to the bar.
He pulled up an end stool with his back to the dancers and his eye on the door to see who might come in. “Name your poison.” said the woman behind the bar. He couldn’t help but notice her small delicate hands, elegant fingers with fiery red nail polish to match her luscious lips. He named his usual. As she walked away he noticed her waves of red hair cascading down the sparkling green fabric of her short dress. She had to stretch for the Jameson bottle. Her legs were long and had a graceful shape, muscles undulating as she moved. She had a feline sureness about her as she set down his drink, collected empty glasses and gave the bar a quick wipe. He tossed it back and absentmindedly looked at the rows of colored bottles.
“Another?” she asked.
“Yeah, hit me again,” he replied, gazing into her golden brown eyes. They had a quizzical, dangerous look about them.
As she placed the drink before him she said, “You’re not like the typical customer we get here.”
“Describe the typical customer?”
“Well,” she said, “you sat at the back, so you weren’t interested in a clear view of the stage. You turned down Amber for a table dance and a visit to the V.I.P Room. That’s not typical.”
“What? Can’t a guy just come to a bar for a drink?”
“Yes, but not usually to this bar. They call me Red. If you need anything just shout.” The honeyed tones of her voice had timbre and resonance even when she was speaking softly. She’s probably a damned fine singer.
Red, he thought, how original.
She came back shortly after and asked, “You’re not a cop are you?”
“And if I was, do you think I’d tell you?”
She lingered before she answered, “No, I suppose not, but we do occasionally have unpleasant incidents — fights, girls being assaulted. It would be comforting to know that we had one officer of the law to keep us safe.”
“I saw your bouncer at the door, I’m sure he can take care of himself and your staff. I also noticed the line of motorcycles out front and the full patches on vests and jackets. I didn’t recognize the name but, surely some of them would come to the aid of a damsel in distress.”
“Have you looked closely at their patches. The top rocker is Sons of Irony, the bottom is Middle Earth, the image is a prairie dog. My dad was a poet, he thought the name was as appropriate as any other. Anyway, bikers can be unpredictable and the bouncer can’t be everywhere or see everything.”
“Well, Red, as they call you, who works in a biker bar, you want to come to me for protection? I should be the one concerned about protection. I don’t like cops any more than you do. If a fight breaks out I’ll stay well away from it. If one of your girls is in trouble I’d have to think, what’s in it for me?”
“I can see that you’re a real gentleman.”
“I know that these places are euphemistically called gentlemen’s clubs, but I don’t see a gentleman in sight, including me. As for ladies, I’ll reserve judgment.”
With that, she left me alone to enjoy my drink. I pulled out a pocket notebook and jotted a few sentences. Sometimes the right amount of alcohol and the right atmosphere brings out the poet or novelist in me.
“What are you writing? Anything about me?”
“I’m writing reflections, observations, impressions, word pictures. Maybe I’ll write about you. It relaxes me.”
“You a professional writer? Do you write for newspapers? Have you published any books, anything I may have come across?”
“You may have read some things that I’ve written, but then I don’t know your tastes in reading.”
“My tastes may surprise you, Rumi, Aristophanes, Baudelaire, Whitman, Gertrude Stein, Mary Oliver, Charles Bukowski, William Wantling…”
“You have eclectic tastes. I’m genuinely impressed and I don’t impress easily. I don’t recognize the last name you mentioned.”
“William Wantling? He was an American poet, novelist, ex-marine, Vietnam vet, forger, drug addict and resident at San Quentin State Prison. After being released he attended university and graduated with a BA and an MA. He became a college professor. He also hung out with Charles Bukowski. He’s considered one of the last beat poets. A line I remember from one of his poems:
Mostly I want you to see we are all in San Quentin.
(“But see how cunningly the trap is baited”)
He gave that line some thought and replied, “He sounds like an interesting guy. I’d love to read his work.”
“You may not find much. I certainly haven’t. He was never a New York Times bestseller, but he wrote reality, his reality, raw, violent, gritty, the life you’d find in prison.”
“That’s more what interests me. Cut the bullshit, tell it like it is, not just to glorify rich people like you see on tv, but for the families scraping to make a living, the people working for minimum wage or less with no pension to look forward to, the waitresses, janitors…”
“So is there a market for the kind of books you write?”
“People buy my books, but I’ll never be a bestseller. In some ways, it’s like this place. You don’t make money off the drinks, customers like me. You make money from sex: the sight of it, the touch, smell and whatever else goes on upstairs. The popularity of my books sometimes depends on the level of sex, violence — things I know about — just enough to get my point across.”
“What is your point?”
“My point is the human condition. I try to understand people, why they fall in love, why they hurt each other, why they kill each other. It’s a mystery, like you for instance. Why is a woman who reads Baudelaire and Aristophanes, serving drinks in a biker strip bar?”
“That would be a long story if I chose to tell it. I don’t just serve drinks. I own this place, inherited it from my father who was a biker. Even when I was underage he would bring me here off hours if he needed to work on the books. I’d keep myself entertained with the pinball machines, pool table and sometimes Solitaire…”
“I take it that your mother wasn’t around?”
“You don’t pull punches, do you. She died when I was five. I don’t remember much about her. I was raised by my grandparents and my dad. He played a big part in my growing up, so did a lot of the other bikers in here. He was nuts about vintage Harleys. He loved the look of them, the feel and sound when he rode them. He’d go to swap meets, get to know other bikers, buy what looked like a wreck, take it all apart, then rebuild it. Soon other bikers came to him to repair their bikes or buy ones he’d restored. He’d tell me about panheads, knuckleheads, shovelheads, softails, hardtails. They formed a club. I was their mascot. They said I brought them luck. When I was older, Dad would pay me to sweep out the place, wipe tables, wash glasses and ashtrays, clean washrooms. When I was old enough I started serving behind the bar. What about you?”
“Nothing special. I grew up on a small farm. I like animals more than people. I never had much social life. Dad was getting weaker year by year, so I took on more of the farm work. Eventually, he passed on, Mom shortly after. I moved around a lot. Never in one place long enough to make any real friends. I was always the new kid, the guy from out of town. Attended college on a football scholarship. I have the aching joints to prove it. I did my military service after college. I liked the military but didn’t like taking orders, so now I’m what you would call a security contractor.”
As a security contractor, what do you actually work at?”
“I’m open to whatever a client wants me to do, as long as they can meet my price. I don’t come cheap.”
“You’re a mercenary!”
“That’s not a term I use to describe myself. Call me a Private Military Contractor. Mercenaries work for everybody, they’ll go for the highest bidder on either side. As a PMC I like to think that I’m working on the right side of the fence most of the time. The main difference is that a PMC’s role is to protect and escape, rather than engage and attack.
“I do a lot of investigative and surveillance work. It’s not as interesting as the private eye shows on television. One of my former partners did not like surveillance work. He described it as, ‘sitting around and doing fuck all.’ For me, it allows for time to think and occasionally write.”
“If I had a problem and met your price could I hire you?”
“I’d need details. Maybe we could work something out.”
She called out, “Amber, take the bar. I’m going to the back.”
In the back room were open cases of liquor, a large commercial dishwasher, laundry facilities, a door marked Dressing Room, a staff area for coffee and a glass-enclosed office. Red directed me to a client chair in front of her desk. She started by saying, “It’s discouraging the way things have changed. In the early ’90s, a strip club in Montreal started offering lap dances. I visited the club and the owner showed me a closed circuit tv monitor of what was happening in the private rooms. He said they needed the cameras for security in case a dancer was assaulted, also they wanted to make sure the girls didn’t go too far. Prostitution wasn’t allowed.
“I discussed the changes with my dancers and the opinions varied. I didn’t want to force anyone out of their comfort zone. A lot of girls left the business at that time. I didn’t blame them. Some saw it as a way of earning extra money. I decided to leave it up to them to decide whether or not they wanted to offer lap dances, but it’s the dancer who sets the limits. I run a clean club which means no prostitution or drugs. We no longer hire feature dancers. It used to be that we’d book some of the best in the world, real international cabaret stars There were regular tour circuits. Now the girls serve drinks then take turns on the stage. I don’t like what’s happening. I see it as demeaning.
“I worked a deal with a local jiu-jitsu and kickboxing club. The girls get a free membership to learn self-defense. The membership of the club has seen a big boost in enrolment. The guys love seeing my girls training with them in singlets and short shorts.
“These girls, women, are like sisters to me, but more often I have to act like a mother. I hear all their problems. I have a calendar where I mark down when they’re having their period, so I know if they’re going to be grumpy or if they might phone in sick. If they thought they may be pregnant, because they were late, I could check the calendar and see if they’d missed the date or just forgot.
“People always ask me if I thought a lot of dancers had been abused as children. I always answer no to that question. Then follow it with, ‘not a lot of them, all of them.’ And I still believe that to this day. A woman can’t show her body to a man for money unless she’s lost something that once made her body special to her.
“When a girl is fifteen and has to leave home to get away from an abusive situation there aren’t a whole of opportunities out there for her. It’s pretty much stripping and hooking. The government makes it difficult for underage girls to strip, with their license requirements and all that. More of them are ending up as prostitutes instead…
“The club has a problem. A larger organization wants to take over…”
“If the larger organization is a one-percenter motorcycle club, you’ve got a big problem. I’d suggest you do what they say, take your losses and leave.”
“I agree, I don’t have a choice, but I don’t want to give this place away. These are my friends, this place is their livelihood, this is my home. I need a negotiator. It’s not like I can go to our local real estate agent. Do you have any backing?”
“Yes, I can bring in a private militia, as many men and guns as needed, if you want to start a war you can never finish.”
“I don’t want any violence. I want a fair price and protection for my staff during the transition. I want a show of force, not a war. A friend of mine who owned a club similar to this had a very unfortunate experience. He was contacted by a group of supposed buyers. He made an appointment to meet them early in the morning before the club was open. Four very large men were waiting for him at the entrance. He showed them the club. They offered him a lot of money, more than the club was worth. They said they’d drive him to their lawyer’s office. While in the car they threatened him with death if he tried anything. The guys stood around while the papers were signed. They pushed him back in the car. Before they dropped him back at the club one of the thugs grabbed the owner’s face in a large hand and squeezed firmly. He said, and I can still remember the words he used, ‘Welcome to the real world, you ain’t gettin’ nothin’.’
“Okay, work out your selling price, talk to other owners. My senior operatives are on call for immediate response. A local company can provide me with guards in a matter of hours. It’s the same situation with canine patrols and handlers. Those out of town will need to make travel arrangements. Set a date to meet the purchasers. Make sure the meeting takes place here. Tell them to come unarmed. Do you have metal detectors? If not get some. Also, have closed circuit tv covering all areas of the club inside and out. We don’t want surprises. We’ll also need all areas bugged for sound. I’ll have some of my people bring in the equipment and install it. You can reach me at the hotel down the street. Do we have a deal?”
“I don’t know your price yet.”
“We’ll work it into the price of the sale. Let me get some figures and background on who we’re dealing with. Don’t discuss my involvement with anyone. I don’t want to be a target before it’s absolutely necessary. I’ll contact my crew.”
“Okay, I guess you’ve relieved some of my stress. Don’t let me down.”
Two days later:
“Okay, Red, I have details of the audio and visual security. Everything seems to be in place and has been checked for reception. Arrange a meeting with the prospective buyers as soon as possible. Have your bouncer check them for weapons. Take them back to the staff coffee area. My men and I will be out of sight in the dressing room.
Three bikers entered, one wearing a Vice President’s patch. After looking around the room they agreed to be searched electronically for weapons. They were young, muscular and huge. Four men with grey hair and long beards wearing Sons of Irony patches were quietly playing cards at a nearby table. The new arrivals wandered over to talk, ‘You guys look as old as the bikes parked out front. Are you against buying American or can’t you afford Harleys.”
One of the greybeards stood up and said, “I ride a ’41 flathead BMW R71, the one that Harley copied after World War Two since theirs wasn’t good enough for the American Army. Where do you think Harley got their engine and transmission?”
Another of the older bikers said, “My ’73 Triumph Hurricane X75 is a classic. This model set numerous speed and distance records at Daytona and Bonneville. I’ll agree that their market was taken over by rice rockets, but It still gets me where I want to go. Harleys’ are overrated, overpriced and too noisy.”
The old man got up from the table and confronted the VP, “It’s not polite to disrespect your elders. I think an apology is in order.”
“You old coot, I’ll show you disrespect.” With that, he threw a right fist at the other’s jaw. The older man dodged and blocked the punch with his left wrist. His right hand came around the waist of his opponent finishing with a Hip Throw and standing Armbar. He said, “I can break this wrist, or let you walk away after I hear your apology.” The biker’s face was contorted in pain as his wrist was bent near to breaking. The other two bikers were ready to step in when they heard. “You may want to consider the two guns under the table about to blast away your manhood.”
The VP forced out the words. “I apologize. Let me up.”
The older man said, “You telegraphed your punch. You made it too easy.”
“What do you mean I telegraphed my punch?”
“I understand, in this electronic age telegraph is out of date. What I meant was, before you threw your punch you dipped your right shoulder. I knew exactly what you were going to do and counteracted appropriately. Now, do you want to try that again?”
The big man stood up. This time he tried a left hook. The older man defended with his hand to his right ear then attacked with his elbow, downing the biker again. “There, you did it again, you dropped your left. If I hadn’t hit you with my elbow I could have chopped your neck, wrapped my arm around yours, hit you with my right then taken you down with my right leg behind yours. Do you want to try that again?”
“Some other time, old man. I got business to conduct.”
“It’ll make more sense if I demonstrate. Are you sure you don’t want to give it a try. You could learn something.”
“Later. old man.”
The bouncer shouted, “Red, your guests have arrived.” Red walked up as the man was rising from his knees. She said, “Hey big boy, I appreciate respect, but I wasn’t expecting you to kneel. I see you’ve met Sensei Digger, my jiu-jitsu instructor. Would you mind following me to the back.”
They sat at the staff table, “I have some papers drawn up. you may want to have them checked by your lawyer. It’s being offered on the open market: twenty-five thousand square feet including a commercial kitchen, refrigeration, fixtures valued at four hundred seventy-five thousand and stock of twenty-five hundred. Included is the liquor consumption license with an estimated value of $175,000, and a municipal certificate of occupancy for adult entertainment. Sales revenue is four hundred thousand with a cash flow of eighty thousand. Total asking price is nine hundred and ninety-five thousand. Any questions?”
“Look, Bitch, this isn’t the way we do business. We’ll tell you what we’ll pay and you’ll accept it, or else.”
Dane and twenty men wearing street clothes and balaclavas entered from the Dressing Room. They were armed with AR-15 type rifles with a bump or slide fire modification. Handguns were strapped to their thighs. Each had a snarling dog at his side.
Dane said, “You’re not calling the shots here, I am. You’ll play by my rules.”
The biker said, “Hey, dude, that’s some heavy fuckin’ duty security you got there. Is that for our sake? Are those guns loaded or just for show?”
Dane said, “We don’t want to scare the patrons and staff or have someone phone the police. To keep the noise down, Number Two, show the man what you can do.” With lightning speed, he pulled a knife from his sleeve and threw it across the room sticking it inches above the lead biker’s head. It was still quivering. “To answer your question, yes the guns are loaded if needed and the dogs do bite.
“These soldiers are used to fighting in the jungles and rainforests where the breaking of a twig can mean instant death. They’ve learned to fight like ghosts. Nobody sees them coming until it’s too late. The fact that they’re still alive attests to how good they are. Also, they’re international. There’s nowhere you can hide that you can’t be found.
“You may take these real estate papers to your President. After your church meeting phone me with your decision. I can be contacted on this cell phone.” He placed it on the table. There will be no negotiations. If you don’t want a bidding war, or if you’re fussy about your future neighbors we’ll need an answer as soon as possible. Your clubhouse is now surrounded by soldiers with rocket launchers, so don’t consider bringing reinforcements or any kind of retaliation. Your telecommunication and internet devices are being monitored by encryption specialists. We also have audio and video recordings of your skirmish at the front door where you were humiliated twice by an old man. That could go viral before the night is over if we so choose. I’m sure that your home chapter and your enemies would find it very entertaining. You may leave now to make your decision. Call me.”
Dane and Red showed the bikers to the exit. The VP said, “I haven’t finished with you, Red.”
She confronted him and asked in a sweet as honey voice, “I don’t understand, whatever do you mean?”
The biker said with a smirk on his face, “I mean we have some unfinished business involving your legs draped over my shoulders. Your pussy could use a taste of my tongue.”
The smile still on her face she said, “You’re not man enough for my taste.” Her stilettoed foot came up with a right snap kick to his chin followed by a left roundhouse to the side of his head. He fell hard on his back with his legs spread. She placed her shoe on his crotch and pressed, “You owe me an apology, or I’ll crush what little balls you have.” The remaining two bikers were about to come to his aid when they looked at the Sons of Irony at the card table, guns are drawn, smiles on their bearded faces. “I apologize.”
Red said to Dane, “I’m glad that’s over. These soldiers must cost a fortune and you mentioned encryption specialists. I don’t know how I can pay for all this.”
“I’ll take ten percent of the selling price. If costs run over that I’ll cover them.”
“That’s very generous.”
“Well, I don’t expect to need all of them for the full term. As long as our three friends are convinced we have them they’ve served their purpose. They’ll convince the other members of the gang that we’re not to be messed with.
“They’re are on call twenty-four hours a day. We also have access to any other military equipment we may need. If we need a tank to crash through their clubhouse we can do it. Now, we wait for their phone call. If this fails we can probably find legitimate buyers. It’s a fair price and good value.”
Red said with a smile on her face, “This calls for a drink. Will you have your usual?”
“Yes please, ma’am.”
“Don’t call me ma’am. That makes me sound like a grandmother.”
As they entered the bar area, Amber was on stage suspended from the dance pole by her legs. Her body arched back and her long dark hair touched the floor. She slid down to a handstand, then supporting her weight on her hands she came down to a headstand, returned to a handstand. She slowly pulled herself up to her former position, hung on to the pole with her hands and spiraled to the floor.
Dane watched with appreciation. “She’s really very good.”
“She’s a trained gymnast and ballerina. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many jobs that can make use of her skill set and grace. What you saw was a tabletop, going into a lean back, leading into a bridged handstand, back up to a plank stand, ending in a spinning straddle to the floor. She makes it look easy, but it takes an expert to avoid pole burn.”
“So, what’s in her future after you close here?”
“Probably another strip bar in another town. She’ll do alright as long as she stays clean. Drugs take a lot of dancers. It’s not a problem for her now, but so many girls fall into that lifestyle, especially when their age begins to show and they aren’t so pretty or so popular.”
“Do you have someplace where I can crash for the night? I don’t want to be out walking the streets alone. There could be a sniper waiting for me.”
“Are we really in a lot of danger?”
“That all depends on the bikers and the skill of my soldiers. They’ve been issued infrared glasses for night vision. I’ll post snipers on the roof in four-hour shifts. Your windows will be manned. Roving scouts will be patrolling the outlying area and I’ll have snipers in camouflaged blinds, similar to hunting blinds but underground. They’ll be completely invisible even in broad daylight.
Two days later Dane’s phone rang. The voice on the other end said, “Okay, we’re in. Where do we exchange the money and the sales papers?”
Dane answered, “We’ll take two-thirds of the purchase price now. Bundles of large bills will fit in the saddlebags of a single bike. We’ll sign the papers, and count the money in the middle of the parking lot. In two weeks, after the premises have been vacated, we’ll accept the balance of payment and turn over the keys. After that, it’s all yours.”
The voice answered, “Okay,” then the line went dead.
“Okay,” said Dane to Red, “We’ve got the ball rolling. With luck, in two weeks you’ll have the money in your hand and can start a new life.”
“I have a feeling it’s not going to be that easy. We’re not dealing with Mr. and Mrs. suburban couple. These guys are used to taking what they want, on their own terms.”
Dane said, “Then let them bring it on. We’re ready.”
A phone call from the lookout advised, “A group of thirty is suiting up and have mounted their bikes. What should we do?”
“If they turn left towards the strip club launch a mortar shell ahead of them to blow up the road. We’ll see what happens then.”
“They’ve turned right. It may be that they’re planning to circle around and come at you from the other side.”
“We’re ready for them. Hold your location.”
Spotters with telescopes saw small groups advancing from all directions. Dane ordered his men on the roof to fire several rounds of rubber bullets to let the bikers know they’ve been detected. “What’s the reaction?” he asked.
“They’re moving back, but they’re not leaving,” said a spokesman for the shooters.
“Launch a couple of mortars. Try not to kill anybody, but let them know we’re using live ammo. Can you see what kind of weapons they’re using?”
“I see the expected axe handles, chains, handguns, shotguns also assault rifles. I see some Remington Bushmasters, GPCs, Colt CQBRs, CM901s and a Robinson XCR, all American dating from 2004 to 2010. I don’t see any grenade, mortar or rocket launchers.”
“What’s happening now?”
“They’re retreating slowly. I think it’s a standoff.”
“Call out to our roving men and the ones in the blinds. See if they can single out stragglers and hit them with tranquilizer darts. Work from the back of the group to the front. It would be great if we could immobilize their leader.”
“We’ve hit a couple and the leader is walking directly towards one of the blinds. I don’t know if our man has been spotted or not. I don’t think so. I can see a slight movement in the leaves, the tip of a dart gun has emerged. The President is down. Let’s see what happens now.”
“I think a phone call to the VP would be in order.”
“I see him picking up his phone. He looks pissed.”
“Your President is down, so are a half dozen of your men. Do exactly as I say or the next round of bullets will be live and we’ll be shooting to kill. Order your men to drop their weapons immediately or your leader dies first, then you. Raise your arms. You’re surrounded.”
“Fuck you!” yelled the VP as he ran toward the building firing his submachine gun.
Dane said, “He doesn’t have a target, the only damage he’s doing is to the brick walls. Shoot a tear gas cartridge in his path. That should slow him down. If he gets within thirty-five feet we can use a taser to stop him. It would be preferable if we can avoid killing anyone, on the other hand, we are under attack.”
“The tear gas seems to have worked. He’s holding his eyes and coughing. Bring the soldiers out of their blinds. They can approach from the rear. Keep using the tranquilizer darts. Fire more tear gas cartridges if anyone approaches. Bring out the dogs. What is the body count now?”
“There are about six still standing. They’ve dropped their weapons and have their hands above their heads.
“Round them up, use cuffs, herd them into the back room. Lock them in the beer cooler, with the exception of the President. He’ll be groggy, but if he wants this place he should be able to sign his name.”
The leader sat on a chair in the middle of the room, his hands cuffed behind his back. Red asked, “So what’s it going to be. Do you meet our price or do we offer it to another biker club?
“Uncuff my hands. I’ll sign. You’ll have the money tomorrow.”
Red said, “Send a lone biker to our parking lot. We’ll do a count and if we’re satisfied he’ll ride away unharmed.”
The President stood “I assume you’ll release my men now.”
“Yes,” said Red, “all but your VP. He can cool off here until the payment is settled.”
The bikers trooped out of the beer cooler, with the exception of the VP who was on his back with the boot of a soldier across his throat and a snarling dog straining against its leash. They left by the front door and walked the empty street towards their clubhouse.
The financial transaction took place at noon in the parking lot. The VP was released, arrangement for the handover of keys was arranged for later that night and the bikers rode away.
“Thank you,” said Red to Dane, “I really couldn’t have done it without you.”
“You handle yourself well. If you don’t have any other offers I’m in need of a partner with your qualifications.”
“That sounds interesting. I could give it a try. Shall we discuss it over a drink.”
They walked back into the bar, sat at a corner table as Amber poured their usual drinks. “So Dane Cross,” said Red, “what is this job you’re offering me?”
“Don’t get too used to the name Dane Cross, it’s an alias. In my line of work, I don’t like to be tied down to any particular identity or background. I like to stay flexible and creative. I’m usually on the move, but I stay in luxury. We’d be equal partners, share in the decisions and the profits.
“You mentioned spending a lot of your childhood here. I grew up in pool halls as well. When my brother who was fifteen years older, was assigned to babysit me. He’d take me to a pool hall, prop me in a chair and keep me contented with comic books, chips and soft drinks. I was in heaven. He’d be hustling the tables. Things sometimes got ugly if there was a sore loser, but Jack was a fighter, so he could take care of himself.
They talked into the evening. Amber brought sandwiches from the kitchen. After the last of the patrons and staff left and locked the doors they continued their conversation. An hour later the sound of a motorcycle approached and stopped out front. Dane got out of his chair, stood behind the pool table, switched off the overhead light and picked up two balls. There was the sound of feet stomping down the concrete stairs and the crashing of the door as it was kicked in. A spray of bullets from a machine gun broke lights, broke chairs, mirrors followed by the biker. When the dust had cleared he saw Red sitting at a table. She said, “You could have rung the doorbell, but it’s your place now, do what you like to the furniture and fixtures.”
“It was you I came to see, Red. I said we weren’t finished yet.”
“Yes, I remember now, it involved my legs draped over your shoulders. Do I have that part right? Then you indicated that my pussy could use a taste of your tongue. Are you up for that big boy? or was it all talk?”
Dane settled one of the balls into his right hand and pitched it at the biker hitting him between the eyes. The second followed in quick succession. He next picked up a pool cue and smashed the leaded handle on the other’s unprotected neck. The biker staggered but remained on his feet. Dane grabbed a fist full of his long hair with his left hand, jerked the biker’s head down as his left knee slammed into his chin. From his loose right pocket Dane drew his go-to weapon of choice in tight quarters, his spring assisted knuckle or trench knife — brass knuckles combined with a double-edged switchblade. While still holding him by the hair he drove the knuckles into his the side of his opponent’s head, then reached under and jabbed the two-sided blade into his neck, pulled back and slit his throat from ear to ear.
Red said, “I guess now would be a good time to leave by the rear door. My car’s out back.”
“Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then” is a lyric from Against the Wind written by Bob Seger. This line has haunted me since I first heard it in 1980. I have made many choices that I later regretted. I’ve been offered opportunities that, with more courage or persistance I would have explored. In many past relationships I’ve felt betrayed. For years I avoided becoming emotionally attached to anyone.
What life choices have you regretted? What would you have done differently if given the opportunity? Would you have avoided that toxic relationship that led to abuse? I expect that many people looking back on their lives question, “What if…?
We make decisions based on the information we have at the present time. That information, like the stock market, can change in a minute. We also make decisions based on who we were at a certain time. Were we emotionally mature, were we acting on impulse, were we trying to impress someone? Regardless, we are victims of the choices we made and their consequences.
There is still hope for our future. We can change. Perhaps, we need to forgive ourselves or someone else. We are not tied to, or defined by our past. Each new day is an opportunity to begin building a new me, a new you. It may take baby steps at first and we may need guidance from a professional but change is within our grasp. We may feel that we’re “still runnin against the wind”, but the exertion is worth our effort.