André D. Michaels © 2019
All Rights Reserved
Half an hour before Club Sandwich
closed, Cabot McCrae knew he wasn’t going home with anybody. Once again, he’d
sat in the corner, nursing his two drinks, eyeing the crowd for someone,
anyone, who might be worth pursuing. And once again, as the ice cubes melted in
the glass, he sat and did nothing while the few who drew his interest paired up
with others and went off into the night. One or two drinks were sent his way,
but the guys who sent them seemed creepy and stalkerish, and Cabot declined as
politely as he could.
How the hell do guys find each other?
People talked about what a meat market
this bar was, but if so, then Cabot was definitely not USDA Choice beef. Maybe
not even leftover bologna.
“Thanks, Hank.” He dropped a five on the
bar. Hank gave him a casual salute.
The cute Italian busboy didn’t even meet
Cabot’s eye. The burly bouncer barely grunted as Cabot left the club. The
darkness and cold, relative silence outside brought relief from the flashing
lights, steamy heat, and pounding bass inside.
Cabot got in his car and checked his
phone. Ring me, said the text from Lloyd.
At 1:45 in the morning, Cabot wasn’t
about to call his best friend. He texted back: In the a.m. Beat, dude.
Immediately, Lloyd texted back.
Understood. Hope you made out.
Cabot smiled grimly and started the car
to head home. No, I didn’t make out. I never make out. Nobody wants to make
out. But he wasn’t going to text that to Lloyd, either.
Lloyd always got lucky at the drop of a
hat. He’d slept with more women than Cabot could count. He even juggled several
girlfriends at a time, managing somehow to keep them all happy and coming back
Not Cabot. He hadn’t gone on a date
in—how many months? And he and good ol’ Rosie Palm were better acquainted than
The lights of the warehouse district
behind him, he pulled into the garage below his apartment complex and parked
the car. He sat there for several minutes, running his hands over his face.
People tell me I’m cute, he kept repeating in his head. But he sure didn’t feel
cute after one of these nights. No one talked to him. No one approached him.
No one wanted him.
His phone buzzed. Another text from
Lloyd: Sweet dreams dude.
Back in his apartment, Cabot showered
and padded naked into the kitchen. The blue calla lilies he’d bought himself
were withered in the vase on the table.
He could have another drink. And unlike
drinking at the bar, getting drunk at home wouldn’t make him go home with
somebody he’d be embarrassed to wake up next to. Well, unless you counted
waking up with yourself.
He virtually never wore clothes around
the apartment. Nobody could see in. Nobody came to visit except Lloyd, and
Cabot usually remembered to pull on some shorts or sweats when Lloyd visited.
And when he didn’t remember, Lloyd didn’t care. Why would he? Lloyd was
And besides, since he didn’t get much
sex with anybody else, being a nudist at home gave him easy access to the one man
who always enjoyed his lovemaking: himself.
His phone by the door buzzed again.
Jesus, Lloyd, give it a rest already.
The text read: Yo dude, call me, man.
Okay, that was scary. Cabot hit the call
“Hey,” said Lloyd’s sleepy voice.
“Hey. You okay, bro?”
“Sure. Kinda. No.”
“Okay, that’s three answers. What’s
“Just flirting with the nurse, man. He
says I have to talk to you later.”
“Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. You’re
flirting with a male nurse? What the hell is going on, Lloyd?”
“What? He’s cute.”
“Uh…you’re straight. What kind of drugs
do they have you on?”
Lloyd sighed. “Just c’mon to the ER,
man. Central MC. They’ll release me if I have a ride.”
“ER? What the fuck happened?”
“Tell you later. You gonna be my ride?”
“You got it, man. Be there in like five
seconds. Four point nine.”
Cabot grabbed his keys and wallet and
headed for the door, and then remembered he should probably put on pants. He
pulled on a pair of basketball shorts and shoes and grabbed a clean shirt out
of the drawer. No waiting for the elevator; he took the stairs.