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Releasing Omega: Book 3

Copyright 2018 Keith Randolph Linderman

Published by The Universal Void at Smashwords


Cover by

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Table of Contents

Dedication

Opening Quote (Quoth The Raven)

Chapter 21: The Stick Does Not Lie On The Lips

Chapter 22: Everywhere But Here

Chapter 23: To Relieve The Pressure

Chapter 24: The Prelude To The Masquerade

Chapter 25: The Wind Blows Against Us

Chapter 26: Content Comes Readily To An Empty Bowl

Chapter 27: Burden And Regret

Chapter 28: The World I Knew Is Gone

Chapter 29: At The Point Which I Cannot Point To

Chapter 30: The Rat’s Song

Chapter 31: Cracking Like A Cracker

Chapter 32: Time, Space And The Lack of Continuum

A Note From The Author

(What Is This?)

Dedication

The first book in this series was dedicated to my best friend, my grandmother, and this one is too. She passed away this last year but, without her, this series may never have happened. Or even if it did; it probably wouldn’t look anything like it does now. You could say that it began and ended with her. And personally; I am proud of how it turned out, and I am grateful to her. And so thank you again, Grandma; for everything. You are more than missed.

Opening Quote (Quoth The Raven)

“What are your dreams, if you won’t fight for them? What is your life? You are talking like a goddamned moron and you’re behaving like a pussy! You need to man-the-hell-up and own your desires; because you do not want to be like all of those other suckers, out there. You should be better than that. You need to be better than that. And if you want to get anywhere, in life; you are going to have to be! So it is time for you to start making some changes, it is time for you to start making the right moves; or your life’ll be nothing but a headstone, for a bunch of broken dreams and there are far too many of those already.”


-Atman; during a heated discussion, about the future.

It’s easily one of the most inspiring things he’s ever said.

Not that there has been a lot of them or anything.

About the only thing, that he usually inspires, is anger.

Chapter 21: The Stick Does Not Lie On The Lips

The doorbell rings and, when I move to answer it, I find Atman, David and Evaline on the other side; each carrying a birthday card for Dante. But while I’m busy greeting the other two; Evaline walks right past me, offering me nothing more than a cursory glance, and it is a little annoying. She clearly has no interest in me, but that is hardly anything new. She has always been cold and disinterested, and she’s the same way with Dante. I guess that we’re not good enough for her or her best friend, and that is honestly half the reason I hate her. But at least it looks like she got him a card. It’s the least that she can do, if she is going to be here; this party is for him.

“So where’s the keg?” Atman asks, stealing my attention away from Evaline; right as she’s greeting Iris with a hug, in the living room. The guy clearly knows what he wants, and he is not wasting any time getting to it. He is almost as bad as my dad was towards the end, but without the excuse. It is a whole different dynamic with him. He is not sick and his loved one didn’t die, he just hates himself and the world; but I suppose that would be reason enough to drink.

“It’s in the dining room, just outside the kitchen; up against the wall there. You can’t miss it,” I tell him, gesturing with my arm. And that is me, for you; always the enabler. Some habits never change. Because I may not like what he is doing; but I am sure not going to stop him from doing it. It’s his choice, it’s his life, it’s his right and it is none of my business. I respect personal freedom, even if I don’t always respect the choices that people make with it. Not that I have been any kind of role model, in that regard; or, you know, any.

Because, I mean; God knows that I have made my share of questionable decisions, of late. And I feel like I’ve been doing nothing recently except for thinking with my dick, and my dick isn’t exactly known for putting a whole lot of thought into what it wants. But sex just has this way of making me feel good for a time, when little else has been, and so it is what it is. And it has certainly got to be better than the alternative, which is feeling depressed and all alone. No one deserves that, not if you ask me; it’s like a kind of torture.

But now with that said; I don’t consider what I did with Iris to be one of those mistakes. I just can’t bring myself to think that way about it. It would be like saying that there is something wrong with her, or with the idea of being with her, and that is simply not the case. She’s special to me, she’s amazing and I feel like I am becoming addicted to her in the best kind of way. But that doesn’t make my decision, to finger bang her, any better though and I know it.

There are some vaginal lines that are definitely not meant to be crossed; and the one, belonging to your best friend’s girl, is easily one of them. And the fact that it happened right before his party only makes it worse. But I still can’t say that I regret it, because some mistakes are simply worth making. And if she is a mistake; then she is one that I will gladly make again. That may not be a good thing, I don’t know, but it is how I feel. I feel like I will always choose her. She is an easy choice for me.

“Cool, I’m going to check it out,” Atman says in response; and I am sure that he will be checking on it plenty, throughout the course of the night. He is very parental, in that way. He will make sure that the keg is well looked-after and wanting-for-nothing, especially his cup. That keg will never be wanting for a cup.

“I’m sure that you will become well-acquainted with it, in no time,” David jokes, practically speaking my mind. And I just hope that this doesn’t turn into another one of their fights, because it could easily get out of hand. David never backs down from a fight and Atman always has to get the last word in, so their arguments tend to drag on forever. It can get downright exhausting.

“You bet your skinny ass, I am going to! After the week I’ve had; you will be lucky if there is anything left, after I am done. I have been looking forward to this night all month. It couldn’t get here fast enough,” Atman says, before heading to the dining room, and suddenly I wonder if the keg is going to be big enough. I had no concerns about it before—I mean; the thing is pretty huge—but Atman can drink a lot for his size and I doubt that he will be the only one looking to get drunk. Now I wonder how many people Iris invited. Because there’s quite a few here already and the night is still young, so this place could easily get packed.

“So how have you been?” David asks me, once Atman is gone.

“That’s a good question, and I just wish I knew how to answer it,” I state with a sigh.

“What do you mean? And why do you seem so down? Have things really been that lonely, without me?” he asks with a grin, pouring on plenty charm.

“It has been, a little,” I admit with a smile. “But mostly I have just been feeling a bit… Overwhelmed, I guess.”

“What do you mean? Overwhelmed by what?” he asks, seeming genuinely concerned. He has always been a sweetheart.

“I don’t know, it’s kind of hard to explain; but things have been pretty crazy lately,” and that is definitely an understatement. I lost both of my parents, over a short period of time; I have been having all kinds of crazy dreams and experiences; and I have done a lot of things, and people for that matter, that I never thought that I would. And because of that; I’m starting to feel like I don’t even know myself anymore, and it’s an unsettling feeling. I’ve been letting a lot of people down and I know it, and what is worse is that I don’t even think that I care. I have got enough problems already, without having to worry about everyone else and what they might think about what I am doing. So I’m just doing my best, with what I have. And if that’s not good enough for them; then whatever, I can’t help it. They can find someone else to nag, because I have no intention of listening to it and no good reason to either.

“You have been going through a lot, I know; but I just hope that you know that I’m here for you, if you ever need me; all you ever have to do is just say the word! There is very little that I wouldn’t do for you, Pathos. And I know that New Venice is a long ways from here, and so it is not as easy as it used to be; but no distance could ever keep me away, if I knew that you needed me. I would hop on the first flight over!” he says and it’s very kind of him. I can’t help but smile.

“Thank you, David; that really means a lot to me, that you would say that; even if you are only saying it because you want my ass,” I teasingly grin. “And I hope you know that I’d do the same for you, if it ever comes to it. But I have to say, I’m a little surprised; I took you as more of the limo type. I didn’t think that planes would hold much appeal for you. I thought that you were scared of heights, for one thing.”

“Yes I am, and yes please; I would love a limo, but like I can afford that! I’m not rich, honey,” he chortles. “Besides; it’s not your ass that I want.”

“Hah; I bet! But so how have things been going for you, in NV? Have you finally started to settle in? I know you were having some trouble adjusting to it before, but that was a while ago now,” I say. He has been there since the start of fall. He moved there with Atman and Evaline, to attend The University; and things just haven’t been the same since they left. Course; we all knew it was coming, and I am honestly surprised that more of my friends haven’t left. There just isn’t much in this town, not if you’re planning on doing anything with your life.

“Things have been going great, actually; thank you for asking! I am finally starting to learn my way around the school, although the city itself still feels like a giant traffic-jammed maze and the canals aren’t much better. I don’t think that I will ever be able to find my way around it, not completely, and so I have just been staying on the one side of it, for the most part. But everyone has been really nice to me and no one seems to care what my sexual orientation is. Although, to be perfectly honest, that is not completely true; because I think I may’ve found someone, but it’s still kind of early to say and I don’t want to jinx it. But classes have been going well, I’ve found a great place to eat nearby and I’ve finally gotten my roommate to start picking up after himself, so things really couldn’t be going any better for me,” he says quite happily. “Unless, that is, you feel like buying me a limo; that could make things a little better.”

I smirk at that, and then I say, “I wouldn’t get your hopes up, about that limo; because it is not going to happen, not unless I suddenly strike it rich; but I am glad that things have started to turn around for you, you definitely deserve the break. And now that you’re settled in; I will have to come and visit sometime. I’ve always wanted to see the city. I love that whole gothic-vibe that it has going for it, and I want to take a trip through the canals and see the waterworks. But so you think that you have found someone though, huh? Do you care to tell me a little about him?” I pry hopefully, willfully ignoring what he said before.

“No; I am sorry, but I really don’t want to jinx it. But if everything goes well; I am sure that I will tell you about him eventually. But now if you will excuse me; all of this talk has made me quite thirsty,” he says, and then he heads off towards the keg. Although I suspect that what he is really doing is checking on Atman. He is always worrying about him, although he tries not to let it show. The two of them are a lot closer than either of them would care to admit. It is a love/hate kind of thing; every bit as annoying, awkward and complicated as it sounds.

Shortly after David leaves me; Koan arrives at the door, and with a date no less. It is a bit of a surprise, honestly; I don’t think I have ever even seen him so much as eye a girl before. But he is a man and he has never struck me as being gay. Asexual maybe, and completely disinterested in matters of the flesh, but not gay; and so I suppose it’s not that much of a surprise, in hindsight. It is a little disorienting though, I won’t deny. I am just not used to seeing him with anyone. So he almost might as well have brought an alien with him instead, because the effect would not have been much different.

The girl’s name is Kiana; and apparently we had some classes together, back in high school, but I will be damned if I can remember her. She must have sat behind me or something; because she’s pretty cute and she seems like a cool girl besides, so I don’t know how I could’ve forgotten her otherwise. She’s warm, friendly, polite and graceful; and there’s a philosophical air about her that reminds me a lot of Koan. I can definitely see some potential between them, and it is nice to see. I just wish that I could feel happier for them, but I am honestly feeling pretty down all of the sudden and it just kind of hit me.

Everyone else is hanging out and having a good time, but I just can’t seem to get myself there emotionally and it’s making me feel out of place. My home could not feel less like a home, right now; and it sucks, because it is not like I want to feel this way. A lot of my friends are here, and I don’t get to see them very often anymore. But the truth is that I am just not in the mood for a party and I’d much rather be spending time with Iris, and the fact that I can’t is bothering me; I can’t help but dwell on it, especially after seeing the two of them together. I’m feeling more than a bit jealous of them.

It gets to the point where I can’t take it anymore; so I part ways with them and then I grab a cup of ale from the dining room, and it’s not long before it’s finished. So then I grab another one, chug it down, and then I grab a third; before sitting down with it, in a chair in the living room. I sip at it slowly, while doing a little people watching. And without even really meaning to; I find myself staring at Iris a lot. It’s like my eyes are being drawn to her magnetically, and I can’t help it; not that I would honestly want to anyway, because she’s all too great to look at. But she’s over there; hanging out with a group of people, next to the couch. And if she has noticed me staring at all; she sure has not let on.

But then she seems pretty withdrawn tonight, she’s just not acting like her usual self. She is staying more to the background, and only really talking when addressed. Which is fine, it is not like she has to be the life of the party or anything, but I can’t help wondering what’s on her mind. Is she thinking about me too? Either way; I hope that she’s okay and I hope that I have nothing to worry about, not that it would likely stop me any. I can’t seem to help myself there either. Worry comes all too easily, at times like this. They’re practically a breeding ground for it.

Then as I am sitting here, watching her, casually sipping on my drink; I happen to notice Sophia eyeing me through the crowd, with concern plastered allover her face. But I am in a bad enough mood already without having to deal with her potential meddling, so I decide to take it as my cue to leave. I finish off the rest of my drink, and then I head off after another. I haven’t had nearly enough yet, to want to deal with her. As it is; I am barely even buzzed. I just hope that she doesn’t decide to follow me, because I don’t need the extra shadow. Mine is already big enough if you ask me and it would only serve to highlight all of the destruction that I’ve left in my wake.

After making my way through the house, which has really started to fill up over the last hour; I end up running into Atman at the keg, which is no great surprise honestly. He probably has not left it much since he got here, if at all. But what is a little surprising is that I find him leaning over it, pouring ale directly into his mouth from the tap. I laugh at the sight and then I ask him what he’s doing.

“What does it look like I am doing? You have got eyes, don’t you? So why don’t you tell me? Or are you just afraid that I am going to drink it all, before you have the chance? Because I’ve seen how you’ve been going at it, and it is like you have been dying of thirst,” he responds, although I think that he is exaggerating a bit. And I also think that, if anyone looks like they’ve been dying of thirst here; it is him. He was really chugging away at it there.

“No, I just meant; don’t we have any cups? We haven’t run out already, have we?” I ask with a chuckle.

“This is a lot more efficient. It cuts out the middleman and gets me drunk a lot faster. It also saves you a cup. See? What’s not to like about it? And so are you going to get off of your ass and help me with this or not? Because I could use a hand here,” he informs me impatiently, like I should already be helping him and he can’t understand why I am not.

“Help you with what? It is not like I can drink for you. Although, with the way that I am feeling right now; I would be happy to give it a shot,” I respond.

“What do you think, dumbass? I want to do a keg stand, but I obviously can’t do it alone; so quit fucking stalling! Just get your ass over here and lift me up,” he says, sounding aggravated. And so then I grab a chair from the dining room table, and I use it to help his ungrateful highness up. Because he may be being a dick; but I am kind of used to it. And if this is what I have to do, to free up the keg; then so be it. I will gladly help his ass get drunk, and then I will do the same for myself. It is a kind of equivalent exchange. We will both walk away as winners. You know; assuming that we can walk afterwards.

But so now I’m holding him up by his ankles, as he chugs away at it like a babe on a tit, and we’re gathering quite the crowd. It started with just a few people but now we have maybe twenty watching and more appear to be on their way. I think that we stole some of them from the Euchre game, that has been going on in the kitchen; but a lot of them are probably just waiting for their chance to drink, that or they were curious what all the noise was about. But whatever their reason for being here; he has been going at it for like a minute. And how a little guy, like him, can drink so much; I will never know. I just hope that he doesn’t end up getting sick, because that is about the last thing I need; especially if it ends up happening while I’m holding him. Because I can just picture the puke spraying everywhere; soiling my pants, the keg and the carpet below; and it is a very gross thought.

Suddenly he starts kicking his legs, as a signal; and so I step down off of the chair and I help him to get back on his feet. And honestly; I am glad that he is done, because I was getting really tired of holding him up. He was doing all of that one-handed, and so I was stuck holding up most of his weight myself. And it is a good thing that he’s so skinny, or I would have never been able to do it; I am just not that strong. I have some muscle on me, but not a ton and I don’t workout as much as I could.

Atman wipes some foam from his mouth with the back of his hand, as the crowd cheers him on and he takes a celebratory bow in acknowledgement. Yet somehow in doing that he winds up losing his balance, stumbling forward awkwardly. Me and this other guy try and catch him, but we fail to grab ahold of him in time; and so he ends up sprawling down over the carpeted floor and he’s all giggles about it now. Apparently he found the fall amusing, and the crowd seems to agree with him; there is quite a bit of laughter going around.

Then, after we turn him around and sit him up; he looks at me and says, “It’s your turn now,” while waving his arms around in drunken encouragement. And though I try to brush him off, since I have no interest in doing it; soon other people join in with him and I eventually cave, figuring what could be the harm? I was wanting to get drunk anyway, and this will only make it happen faster. But I won’t lie; I’m a little nervous about it. Because this will be the first time that I’ve ever done one and I’m still confused about how the drink is supposed to travel up my throat, when I am facing down. But oh well; I’m sure that I will figure it out. That or, you know, choke trying. Definitely one or the other.

“Go ahead and grab it,” the one guy from before tells me, and I guess that he’s planning on helping me. But hopefully, if I fall, he’ll do a better job of catching me, than we did with Atman. Because I really don’t feel like faceplanting right now. Not that, you know, I ever feel like it; and not that, you know, that has ever stopped me; but still though, I would like to avoid it if I can.

“Yeah; we’ve got you,” another guy says, as he approaches the other side of me. And while I don’t really know who either of them are; I guess it doesn’t matter, if they are willing to help. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that this second guy looks like he’s probably strong enough to hold me up by himself. So I go ahead and put my hands on the keg; and then suddenly, and without any warning, they lift me up into the air; and it is a pretty cool, if admittedly awkward, feeling. Then Atman takes the tap and pours the ale directly into my mouth; and I feel like I am doing a good job of gulping it all down, though a little manages to escape from the corners of my mouth. Just a little though.

The crowd is cheering me on, as they watch; counting away the seconds that I’m at it. And then, at around the forty second mark; I start to choke, but thankfully they don’t waste any time before setting me back down. I cough rather violently for a moment, after that, but I eventually recover and thankfully I don’t feel like I am going to be sick. My belly is really full though and Atman must feel like a walrus, because he drank way more of it than I did. But that is, of course, assuming that he can feel anything right now, and I don’t know if I would bet on that; because he has to be pretty out of it.

“Awesome job there, you did great!” the big guy congratulates me, while patting me on the back; effectively rattling me. “Though your friend still has you beat, by a good half-minute or so. That skinny little fucker is a real tank. I still can’t believe that he held on for so long. I have seen guys twice his size and with bellies nearly as big as him choke before reaching that point, and so I feel like I should be getting his autograph. That kid is going to become a legend, after tonight.”

“No autographs, people; my fingers have been drinking!” Atman slurs and the crowd laughs at that. He’s clearly a big hit with them.

“That they have,” the big guy nods approvingly, smiling broadly as can be and I’m surprised that he’s not patting his back too.

“I could’ve held on for a bit longer, but the ale was starting to go down the wrong tube,” I explain defensively. And I honestly don’t know why I am bothering, I don’t even know why I care; but clearly my pride, as a human receptacle, was injured. And I have got to have pride in something after all, or how would I ever be able to live with myself? It’s already fairly difficult. “Though honestly; I’m not sure how much longer I could’ve lasted anyway,” I admit. “I feel all wobbly and I swear that I can feel the ale sloshing around inside of me, when I move. I will be lucky if I can walk straight, after this stuff kicks in, but at least I’m not as bad as Atman.”

“Nothing bad, about Atman; Atman is all good!” Atman proudly proclaims; but he is not even looking at me, as he responds. In fact; I am not sure what he is looking at. He’s just facing the wall with his head a little slouched, while teetering back and forth in something of a cradled position. He must be pretty wasted and it figures that he would be the first one drunk at the party, but what is surprising though is that it looks like I am going to be a close second. And so if this were a race; it would be a more than respectable finish. But this isn’t a race and there is nothing respectable about it, but at least I am starting to relax a bit. It feels like a great weight has been lifted from me, and that is a victory in itself.

But deciding that there is nothing more for me to do there; I leave Atman and the others and I head back to the living room. And as I am approaching it; I see that someone has put a football game on the projector screen, and it’s looking like a pretty good game. But what really grabs my attention is how many people are crammed in here now. I have never seen the house look so full, and it has made it hard to even get around. But I guess this means that the party is a big success, and that should make Dante happy; so at least I have done something right today, and something good by him. At least I’m not a completely horrible friend.

I lose myself in the crowd, and time passes by in something of a blur; a blur of people and faces, and of conversations that I cannot grasp and which weren’t ever really intended for me anyway. It all serves as something of a relief, a further opportunity to escape from myself and my concerns, and I take full advantage of it. Now if only my life could always be so brainless. It’s nice to be able to just switch it off, for a change. I hardly have to think about anything, and it’s refreshing. I could definitely get used to this feeling.

Then, as I’m listening in on yet another random conversation; I’m surprised to find that I hear music coming from out of the basement. And they must really have the speakers blaring down there, if I can hear it over all of the noise up here; even if only as something of a diluted blur, but then everything’s like that up here. I feel like I am in a beehive, surrounded by constant buzzing and my head can’t really focus on any of it. Although, with the state that I am in; I’m not sure that I would’ve been able to anyway, even if things were more peaceful. Because the booze has kicked in and I have got a nice drunk going on, and it has made it hard to focus.

Some motion catches my attention, from the direction of the kitchen; and so I turn my head that way, only to find Dante looking at me. He is standing just a short ways off, but it still takes me a moment to register his face. That is how out of it I am, everything is all hazy. But seeing that he has my attention now; he says, “There you are! I had been looking for you, for a good minute there; you are a tough one to nail down. Has anyone ever told you that?”

“Yeah, and there’s a reason for that. I usually try to avoid hammers, I’ve found that they can be painful,” I respond.

“What?” he asks loudly, practically shouting over everyone to be heard. “I didn’t hear you!” And that definitely appears to be the way to go right now, if you can be bothered to. And yet, probably unsurprisingly, I cannot. I don’t have nearly enough fuck to give. I’m running on fuck rations, on fuck fumes. My fuck has run dry, as dry as my humor, and so now I don’t even have language to serve as a vehicle; to bridge the gulf, between he and I. These are dark times indeed.

“Never mind! It was nothing important,” I yell, more out of annoyance than any real desire to be heard. I hate repeating myself, and I hate repeating jokes even more. They’re just never as funny, the second time around; not that this one was particularly funny, in the first place. But still; there is the principal to consider, and a man needs his principals; they’re a great source of fiber. Just try them sometime, if you don’t believe me. You will be shitting for days and miles, making a more than worthy tribute to the porcelain throne. “But so what is up though? Did you need something?”

“Just come with me; I want to have a word with you, somewhere where we can actually hear each other,” he says; and then worry hits me, with all the subtlety of a mallet, and my mind starts to spin. Did Iris tell him what happened? Or Sophia maybe? Because she clearly must have suspected something, with the way that she was acting then. And who knows; maybe she’d taken a look through the window, before I answered the door. I certainly wouldn’t put it past her, and I know that I took a while to get there; and so I could easily see her getting impatient and having a look. She could not have seen much though, even if that did happen, because we’d have already stopped by then and I doubt there’s a clear line of sight to the couch. It is hard not to worry about it though, because I can’t be sure and it’s still possible that she might have heard something.

Noticing my hesitation; he frowns at me and then adds, “Come on; you’re not going to keep me waiting, are you? It’s my birthday! What are you thinking? Where are your manners at? I am all lubed up and ready for you, the hole is practically dripping, and so this isn’t any time for you to be dragging your feet, let alone that sexy cock,” he says, loud enough for anyone and everyone to hear. “Not unless you are planning on dragging it along my crack, because that would be okay with me. I like a good tease, as a lead-up to the main event. So should I bend over here? Because I am not opposed to an audience, if you’re game.”

“No, that’s alright; just lead the way,” I tell him quickly, before he can embarrass me any more; though I realize that’s probably hoping for too much. Because embarrassment is never far behind, when he is leading the way. Regardless; I follow him through the living room and into kitchen, bumping into a couple people along the way; though neither of them seem to notice or care. I suppose they must be used to it, with how cramped the place is. It’s hard to get anywhere, without bumping into somebody.

We head outside through the front door, and I see that it is a terrible night out. It is really boggy and windy; and the ground is completely soaked, out past the porch. It makes me wonder when the rain started to fall; because it must’ve been really pouring at some point, to make it like this, and it feels strange not to have noticed it. It almost makes me feel like I’ve been transported through time. Because usually I would hear the rain, even from inside the house; but it has been hard to hear anything in there, except for everything and you know how that sounds. Frankly I am enjoying the break from it.

There’s a small group of people huddled along the right side of the porch, using the overhang of the roof for cover as they pass a joint around in a circle. There’s a few more sitting on the left, smoking cigarettes, with their legs dangling off the porch. And there is this guy and girl making out, right next to them; pressed into the corner there; and they are really going at it. It is hard to ignore them; though I’m trying, and everybody else seems to be managing okay. It’s awfully distracting though, but that’s PDA for you. I mean; no wonder it is taboo. Because it is hard not to feel involved with it, even when you are not. It stirs up way too many memories and feelings, just being in proximity of it.

Dante leads us over to the one spot on the porch which is empty and we sit down. Then he tries to hand me an ale, one of the two that he has been holding, but I tell him, “No thanks; I’ve already had enough to drink for tonight. Atman had me doing a keg stand earlier, and I am still reeling from it. I feel like my brain is swimming around in my skull, trying not to drown in all of the booze, but it hasn’t been completely successful. Everything is all hazy, and that is including the two of us. We are all hazed, glazed over like a bunch of donuts. That is the world that I am living in now. And you’re welcome to visit, though I wouldn’t recommend staying for long.”

“You do sound a bit drunk, but you are way too coherent to be wasted. We’re going to have to work on that, and so why don’t you just go ahead and take this,” he encourages, while trying to hand me the drink again. He has always been nothing if not insistent, although he usually does not go overboard with it. He will insist to a point, but he won’t typically try and force anything on you and it’s one of the few really and truly sensible things about him.

“Sorry, I’d really rather not, but thank you anyway,” I state apologetically.

“Cool; guess that means more for me then,” he says; and then he proceeds to pour them both into his mouth at the same time, creating a huge mess in the process. The ale runs down from his mouth like a fountain, soaking the entire front of his shirt; but he doesn’t seem to mind it or care, it’s all just part of the act for him. He can be very theatric, when he has a mind to be, and it’s one of his best and worst qualities. I notice the people around us are staring, and one girl even laughs, but Dante doesn’t pay it any mind. He never does. He just asks, “You’re not really going to make me drink alone tonight, are you? Where are your manners at? Where’s your decorum? You could learn a thing or two from me. You should pay closer attention, I am full of lessons.”

“Sorry; I seem to have misplaced them, but I have never had any doubt that you are full,” I smilingly tease.

“Good; I guess you have been paying attention then. But you’d better find them and quick, before I get back; because I am going to grab two more. And I don’t care if you have to sip at it or what; you are drinking one with me. It’s my party, right? So you have to do what I say, and I won’t hear any arguments about it,” he says pseudo-authoritatively; and this is about as pushy as he ever gets, and it is a rare thing to see. And I know that, if I said no to him again; I know that he would let me off the hook, but I don’t. Because I don’t think one more will hurt me. Or that’s what I am hoping anyway.

“I guess I could handle one more,” I relentingly chuckle; and he smiles at that, but I notice that he is looking a little sullen. So I ask him, “What is wrong? You don’t seem like yourself. You seem kind of down. Did something happen?”

“Do you really want to know?” he asks with a dark little smirk, and it makes me wonder if I do. But I decide that I‘d better find out what is going on, because it could be important. And if I can be here for him; then I would like to be. God knows that he is always here for me.

So I assure him that, “I do.”

“Well; I hate to say this, because I know that you’ve put a lot of work into it, but this party has killed my mood. It doesn’t even feel like a birthday party to me, it just feels like a party. I mean; who the hell are all of these people? Because they don’t mean anything to me. All they’re doing is taking up space and time, time that I would rather be spending with my friends. But don’t get me wrong; I’m not blaming you for it, I know this wasn’t your idea. I’m sure that, if it had been up to you, there would only be a relative handful of us here. But clearly she had other ideas, and it seems like she has been getting more and more of them lately; but I suppose there is no sense in complaining about it now, huh? It’s not like you can do anything about it,” he says.

“I’m sorry, man. If I knew that it was going to bother you; I wouldn’t have let so many people in. Hell, for that matter; I would have been happy to just cancel the whole thing. It was a lot of work, for apparently nothing,” I say. Although, if nothing else; the house does look a lot cleaner now. But I don’t even want to think about how it is going to look tomorrow. It’s probably going to be a mess again. So much work for such a short-term gain. I can’t help but sigh over it.

“It’s fine, I am just annoyed. I told that girl I didn’t want anything like this, but she just had to have her way. So happy fucking birthday to me, I guess,” he says; raising a cup in toast, to the people around us. But not even a single one of them acknowledges him with anything more than a glance. Course; they don’t know who he is either, and he looks like a mess right now. That and we all know that there is nothing in that cup.

“I know how you feel, but I don’t think that you can blame it all on her. I mean; you know how it is, around here. It is a small town, and we were bound to have at least some crashers,” I argue; hoping that it might make him feel a little better, or at least take some of the heat off of her. I am sure she meant well, and I doubt she did it just to piss him off.

“You know, I used to think that it was a small town too,” he says; “but would you look at all of these people? Where the hell did they come from? Have they been breeding them somewhere? Are they supposed to be the new cattle? Because if we are doing that now; I would be happy to volunteer. They won’t find a stronger specimen or sperm donor than me. Dante will provide all of the milk they could ever need; to help them grow nice, big and strong.”

“I doubt anyone has been breeding them. I mean; why would they, with you around? You know how to sow wild oats better than anyone, and so they’d only be wasting their time trying to do it without you. But so when did you get here, anyway? You were supposed to be here a while ago,” I point out. “Oh; and Happy Birthday, man. I almost forgot to wish you that.”

“Thank you and, yes, I’m sorry about that. Work held me up and then I talked with Koan for a while, after I got here. We had some important Mindhandya business to discuss, you know how it is; but he and some girl were hitting it off and I was beginning to feel like a third wheel, so I went looking to find you. And now I know what you’re thinking; you’re thinking that normally I would be into that, and you would be right. But right now my other half can’t even be bothered to make a bread sandwich with me, which has put me in a bad mood,” he explains.

“I am sorry, man; I feel like I have let you down,” and in more ways than one. I mean; that is really a freaking understatement, isn’t it? Because I basically stabbed him in the back, through his girl, and I really don’t like how that makes me feel about myself. My self-esteem is at an all-time low; especially since I know that I would do it all over again, if I am ever given the chance. Some things are just too good to pass up, and she is easily one of them.

“Hey, don’t be; it’s not like this party was your idea. This has Iris written allover it, and it’s obvious. But speaking of which, that reminds me; there is something that I have been wondering about recently, and I think maybe you might know the answer to it. You paid a lot more attention in school than I ever did. But how do women think, without a dick? Is their second brain located in their clit? Because the clit is a lot smaller than a dick, especially my dick, and I was thinking that might explain how she has been behaving. You think I might be onto something with this?” he asks and I laugh.

“I don’t think that has anything to do with it, Dante,” I grin, and he seems to accept that.

But then a short while later, after a moment of silence; he looks at me and asks, “So whose lipstick is that on your neck?” shocking me out of my thoughts. “And what’s with that look now? What; did you think that I wouldn’t notice? You were getting your mac on, weren’t you? That’s my boy! It’s about time that you finally sunk your pole into somebody! Though I have to admit that I’m a little hurt that your first time wasn’t with me. I was looking forward to that, you know, and I could’ve used a good unclogging. That’s what flesh plungers are for. They will unclog any hole in need, especially mine.

“But so what was the problem?” he asks. “Wasn’t my ass tight enough for you? Or is it too tight? Is that the problem? I could’ve always loosened it up. A good amount of lube, a little time and patience and that’s all that it would take. Although, if you are really that big; wearing a butt plug for a week or two first might’ve been necessary. You can’t be too careful, with these kinds of things; because you don’t want anything to rip or tear, down there. Because the asshole may be the guardian of the butt, but it’s not built like a tank. You need to treat it with proper care and respect. Do you want me to show you how?”

“I’m sure that you would be all too happy to teach me; but I think that I will be able to figure it out, when the time comes,” I smirk. “And no one was getting their mac on or, at the very least, I certainly wasn’t. I sort of made out with a girl though,” I confess to him, just praying that he won’t dig any further into it.

“Awesome; score one, for Team Hetero!” he cheers excitedly with his best sports announcer imitation, earning him some more odd looks from the people nearby. “But don’t you worry folks; Team Gay is still close behind, and you can never count out Team Bi! Where other teams might lose your interest; Team Bi keeps the curiosity strong! For those who like to have their cake, and eat it to; for those who like their chicken sweet and sour; for those who like to scratch and sniff; for those who can’t decide between chocolate and vanilla and for those who just can’t make up their minds about anything; Team Bi is the way to go! You heard me, Libras! Personally, folks; I’m hoping that they will pull ahead, in the race for Pathos’ sexuality. Because you just can’t go wrong, if you go Bi; it’s the best of both worlds! Just hop onboard the sausage-taco train, it will take you to the party of your life!”

“Yeah, exactly; why choose, when you can have both?” I respond with a smirk.

“Now you’re seeing the light!” he happily exclaims.

“Is that what that is? Because it does seem awfully bright,” I conspiratorially grin. “But seriously though, there’s no race going on here; I am all Team Hetero, or whatever the hell you are calling it; not that the name even matters. The point is that I don’t like cock, and I am pretty sure that I am never going to. Don’t let that ruin your fun though. You can go on right ahead without me and hop on that train, enjoy that party’s considerable zest.”

“Sure, you say that now; but let’s just see what you have to say, after we get a few more drinks in you,” he says; and then he stands up and pulls me by the arm, leading me back into the house. Apparently he can’t wait to find out. And now it feels a little odd, being dragged around by him like this; and we receive more than a few odd looks for it; but I don’t pay it any mind because, honestly, I am kind of used to it. With him; it’s practically inevitable.

Then, on the way to the keg; we happen to bump into Iris, in the kitchen. She is at the end of a long line, which extends into the dining room. And although I cannot see the other end of it; it would appear to be the line for the keg. “Now just where’re you two going, in such a hurry?” she asks, while curiously eyeing us both.

“To get some ale,” I explain quickly; half-expecting Dante to barrel on past her, oblivious of the line; but I am not too surprised when he decides to stop. Maybe he saw the line, or maybe he just wanted some time with her; I don’t know and I don’t suppose it matters, all that matters is that he did.

“Well, in that case; the line starts here,” she says; turning away and reaching around behind herself, to point at her butt. Then she shakes it at us, as if to taunt us with it, before turning back around to face us. “All of the keg stands are holding up the line,” she explains; “and I hear that you and Atman started that nonsense, and so thank you for that. I’ve been standing here for over ten minutes already, and the line hasn’t even moved! It’s horrible, and my feet just weren’t made for these heels; they are absolutely killing me! Ah; you know what? Screw it,” she says, and then she leans forward; giving us both a good eyeful of cleavage, as she takes them off. Then she picks them up in one hand and straightens herself; shaking her head from side to side, to get her hair out of her face. “There; that’s much better! It’s not like I need these in here anyway. All they were doing was killing my feet, and my feet don’t deserve to be murdered. They are very hard workers. I put them through a lot and only rarely do they complain.”

“Maybe it feels better, but it doesn’t smell any,” Dante teases with a grin.

“My feet don’t stink!” she claims; but I don’t think that anyone is convinced, not even her.

“Maybe not as much as your breath. Just how much have you had to drink?” he asks.

“You are one to talk! I mean; just look at you! Look at your shirt! It is absolutely drenched! Just what have you been doing, swimming in it?” she counters.

“Nah, there wasn’t enough time for a bath; and it’s a shame too, because that would’ve been fun. But I was already running late and so I thought that I’d save myself some time by showering here. You know how it is. I had to make myself look presentable, for our adoring public. It’s just one of the many sacrifices that I have made, in the name of fashion,” he claims, but I don’t think anyone is buying that one either. Iris may care about fashion, but Dante never has and probably never will. As for me; I feel like I fall somewhere in the middle. Because I care about how I look, but only to a point.

“You are so hopeless, I swear! What am I ever going to do with you? Am I going to have to bathe you now? What are you supposed to be, some kind of baby? Apparently you can’t even clean yourself properly, without me!” she says in frustration, before letting out a long disgusted sigh. She is clearly not happy with him. And it strikes me as a little odd, because normally she’d just take his behavior in stride. It definitely speaks to her mood.

“That’s not true at all! I’ve got plenty of hope; God just saw fit to put most of it in my pants, and I have never been one to question his judgment,” he says rather smugly.

“Well; you do have that going for you, at least,” she smiles.

“I think I am going to vomit,” I mutter.

“Too much ale?” she asks with a mischievous smirk, feigning ignorance.

“Yeah; that’s what it is,” I say, rolling my eyes.

“Do you know what I like to do, when I am feeling sick?” Dante asks.

“What’s that?” I inquire, feeling almost curious. Almost definitely being the word.

“Drink more ale! That’s what I always do. Nothing’ll ease an upset stomach better or faster than drinking. It’s a scientifically proven fact, and Dr. Dante heartily recommends it,” he says.

“More ale it is, then!” I state with a conspiratorial grin. “I mean, if a doctor recommends it; then it has to be good for me.”

“And not just any doctor, but Dr. Dante. Emphasis on the butt,” he adds, as if we didn’t already know that.

“You two are hopeless!” Iris says in mock exasperation, pretending to sigh. It seems like she is full of those tonight, both real and fake, and I wonder why. Is it the reason that I think?

“Hey; I thought that we were already over this? Or were you hoping for a demonstration, of my prowess?” Dante asks, like he is offering to drop his pants right here and now. He probably would too.

“No, that’s okay; I have already seen yours,” she replies with a smirk.

“So; we are in agreement then. Very well, Pathos; you have heard the lady! We need a demonstration! After all; we can’t have her questioning our manhood, can we?” he asks, clearly enjoying this. And it is good to see that his mood has improved, he definitely seems more like himself now. I guess that all that he really needed was some time with her, and on that point I can relate.

“It’s not ‘our’ manhood to question,” I point out dryly.

“Yeah; and that’s exactly what I’ll tell her, after we have had a good look at it,” he responds.

“I don’t know why I hang out with you people,” I say, while grinning wryly.

“Hey; I don’t see anything ‘hanging out’ here,” Iris observes, egging me on; and I think that she’s enjoying this almost as much as he is, maybe even more. But either way though; we end up being stuck waiting in line for a while and, I don’t know how but, I somehow manage to steer the conversation away from my junk. It wasn’t easy though. They are both a couple of perverts with one-track minds, and they didn’t give up the topic without a fight.

When we finally make it to the end of the line, some twenty minutes or so later; we fill our cups and then we head back to the living room. But just as we are entering it; the doorbell rings and so I turn back to answer it; leaving the two of them alone, or as alone as anyone can be here. I honestly don’t know why anyone would bother ringing the doorbell, at this point. Because the last time that I’d answered it; I’d left the door unlocked. So it makes me a little nervous, because I can’t help thinking that it’s the cops. And if it is; I doubt they will go easy on me. There’s a lot of underage drinking going on, underneath my roof.

But I’m relieved to see that it’s Lenny, standing on the other side of the door. He is soaked to the brim and he is carrying a large speaker, with Howard’s help. The speaker is covered in a light-plastic sheet, to protect it from the rain. And behind them; there is a long line of people carrying speakers, instruments and other equipment for the band; which is all covered similarly. With everything else that has been going on; I had completely forgotten that they were coming.

“Sup, Pathos? It looks like this party is going strong, but now you’d better prepare to watch it flex; because we are going to make those muscles ripple! But first; would you mind holding the door open, for me and the guys? These people out here are fucking useless, and this shit isn’t light; we could definitely use your help,” Lenny says. And I guess this explains why they rang the door, apparently no one out there was willing to hold it for them.

“Bunch of lazy potheads,” Howard concurs; “they should learn how to drink, like real men!”

“Sure, man; not a problem,” I tell Lenny; as I make my way past him, to hold the door.

“Awesome; thanks! But now that we are here, I should warn you; we’re going to liven this place up! We’re going to make the fucking roof shake! Shit is about to get crazy in here! So you had better find something to hold onto and fast, because this place’s going to rock!” he proclaims proudly, as he moves past me into the house, and I don’t doubt it in the least. The shit they play makes your mind want to melt. You know; in a good way.


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